Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Character Naming and Other Writer Resources

By Jaye Valentine (Guest Blogger)

I'm not a book reviewer sort, or the advice-giving sort, but I am a stickler-for-details sort and as such, I've accumulated a rather impressive number of writerly resources throughout the years. I thought I'd take this opportunity to share some of these resources with my fellow authors.

As a reader, character names can make or break a story for me. In particular, names that are anachronistic to the time period or names that seem implausible for the character's parents to have chosen (e.g., wealthy Victorian Bostonians naming their son Zeke or Moe, or 1940s West Virginia coal miners naming their son Reginald Bartholomew, for instance) send my eyebrows shooting upward.

I give a lot of thought to my character names, including taking into consideration names that were popular when the character was born as opposed to when the story takes place. For example, an American female character who is age 70 in a story taking place in 2010 would unlikely be named Kristin. This character would've been born in 1940, and according to the popular baby names statistics collected by the Social Security Administration, Kristin was 1,005th in popularity at that time. This 70-year-old character would've more likely been named Margaret (11th in 1940) or Helen (18th), or perhaps Rosemary (85th).

However, had this character's age been 26 – 30 in 2010, her name being Kristin would be significantly more likely. In 1980, on the nighttime soap opera "Dallas," a character named Kristin was the one who shot J.R., an event that was massively advertised. The name Kristin soared to the 31st most popular name given to newborn girls in the United States by the following year. As fads change, so do names. The name Kristin had fallen way back down to 885th place by 2008, the most recent year for which statistics are available.

Another excellent character naming resource is Baby Names World on ParentsConnect. The "advanced search" truly is, and it enables you to narrow down names by gender, ethnicity, popularity, letters of the alphabet, and myriad combinations of those and other criteria. This site is particularly useful for finding foreign names (whatever "foreign" might mean to you) and their meanings. Reno and I relied heavily on this site when choosing Japanese and Arabic names for our characters in our recently released novel "Little Japan."

Since I've taken up more space than intended on the subject of names, I'll briefly list my other favorite research resources.

For currency conversion, the XE Universal Currency Converter is awesome and easy to use. If you need to convert to or from the metric system for any type of measurement, my favorite site is World Wide Metric.

The Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL) is my favorite resource for nitpicky grammar and punctuation issues.

Having a problem conjugating an irregular verb? The list of irregular English verbs at Using English might save your sanity (not to mention your relationship with your editor).

Need to know what time sunrise and sunset occurs, anywhere in the world on a certain date? Or when the full moon will make an appearance? Writers of vampires and lunar-bound shifters will find the United States Naval Observatory's Complete Sun and Moon Date for One Day website invaluable. Just plug in the date and location, and the site returns everything you need to know to keep your vampires from accidental spontaneous combustion and your werewolves on their howling schedule.

I have many more websites in my bookmark folder, but these are by far the ones I visit most frequently. How about you guys? Any favorite resource websites you'd like to share?

And readers, what say you on the topic of character names? Is there anything that puts you off about names in the stories you read?

Happy writing,


BIO: Jaye Valentine lives in a small New England town famous for producing bungee cords and a notorious ax murderess. Along with partner Reno MacLeod, Jaye enjoys writing, watching movies, and is shamefully fond of competitive reality shows. In addition to the gritty, not-for-the-faint-of-heart urban fantasy, horror, and sci-fi novels Jaye co-writes with Reno, Jaye writes somewhat fluffier short stories under the pen name of Acer Adamson. For more information, visit Jaye and Reno's website and Jaye's GLBT Bookshelf Wiki. Follow Jaye's Twitter at your own peril.


Little Japan by Jaye Valentine & Reno MacLeod

ISBN 978-1-60592-092-4

Full-Length Novel (80,000 words)

Noble Romance Publishing, LLC

Release Date: March 8, 2010

Buy Link:

Japan. Land of honor and beauty, crowded streets with neon signs, and exotic markets where ancient traditions still hold fast in modern-day society. As Japanese business people rush about their busy lives, there exists a place in Osaka, Japan where a modern take on the ancient tradition of the geisha thrives.

Kuri and Daichi work at Kingyo Club, a popular host club in the Dōtonbori district of Osaka. After sleeping their days away, the boys' nights are owned by the host club lifestyle and anyone willing to pay the steep price for a few hours of hard drinking and flirtatious companionship. Kuri and Daichi are lovers and best friends, and along with their roommates Sora and Takumi, they look out for one another in an occupation fraught with both physical and emotional danger.

In addition to the endless bottles of fizzy champagne, expensive gifts, and confessions of false love courtesy of regular clients, every now and then comes a customer with even deeper pockets and much darker demands. Gabriel Hartley is one of these men. After a chance meeting, Gabriel targets the stunning Kuri to feed his obsession with seducing and dominating young Japanese men.

The relationship between Kuri and Gabriel dramatically changes when a traumatic event plunges them from the Land of the Rising Sun into the land of powerful sheikhs and servant boys in the dark underworld of exotic Dubai. As Kuri struggles with the heartache of having what's most precious to him ripped away, he helps Gabriel learn important lessons about love, honor, and the power of self-forgiveness.

Warning: This title contains graphic male homosexual sex, dubious consent, age play, and group sex.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Constipation of the Imagination

I'm not like some authors. I don't have characters screaming in my head, begging me to write their stories. I do have a long list of possible premises in my files, each one associated with a set of potential characters. However, I find that characters don't really become real to me until I begin writing. At that point, they unfold, revealing themselves to me chapter by chapter as they find their way through my fictional world.

Lately, I've been suffering from what I call "constipation of the imagination". This condition manifests itself mainly by the difficulties I'm having getting started on new projects. I have three projects lined up, two with hard deadlines, but until this weekend, I hadn't written a word on any of them.

I had done some research. I'd spent several hours (collectively) on the elliptical trainer, blocking out scenes and considering plot details. I even sat down and wrote a free story, trying to get the words flowing. Deep down, though, I knew that I was simply procrastinating, avoiding the point where I'd begin a new work.

This weekend, I got out my figurative whip and beat myself into submission. I tried something that other authors have recommended but which I've never attempted, namely, creating some formal character profiles. Usually I know only a few facts about a character when I start a book. When I need to know more, I ask them. In this case, I wrote down every detail I could dredge up about my hero and heroine: their appearance, socioeconomic background, education, strengths, weaknesses, strongest desires, greatest fears. I did mini-profiles for the secondary characters. Then I sat down and forced myself to write that first sentence.

Once I actually started, everything became much easier. I wrote 5000 words in two afternoons. Now I'm eager to push the story forward, but the real world is interfering! I won't have a chunk of writing time until the end of the week. Meanwhile, scenes and conversations are whirling in my mind. I'm praying that the inspiration stays fresh for the next few days, until I can get back into the story and my characters' heads.

Meanwhile, though, I feel a tremendous sense of relief. I worried, as all authors do on occasion, that my talent had deserted me. I was facing some kind of psychological barrier--I don't know why and I guess, ultimately, I don't care--but now I've pushed past it. The story is unfolding, and it's going to be deep and hot, the way I like it.

I'm looking forward to finishing, so that I can start my next project.

For those of you who also write--what do you do when your creative pipes are clogged? What are your strategies for freeing your imagination?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Why Erotica?

By Jenika Snow (Guest Blogger)

Why erotica?

This is a question that a lot of people around me have asked, and a question that I have asked myself.

Before I even started writing, I never envisioned myself writing erotica. I had started writing at a young age, but the stories were that of my twelve year old imagination. As I became older, I checked out a Christine Feehan book from the library on a whim.

Vampires and anything paranormal snagged my interested in movies, so I thought I might as well give books a shot. I was not disappointed! It was pretty much all over from there, and I found myself reading every book in her Carpathian series with fervor. Although this annoyed my husband because he thought I spent way too much time reading, I assured him it was great brain stimulation. Needless to say he didn’t buy it.

The very idea of an immortal creature finding that one person to spend eternity with touches a chord inside of me. Isn’t that the ultimate love story? A man trying to overcome the evil he feels lives within him so that he can be with the only woman that has ever awakened him?

When I first read the love scenes in the Carpathian novels I won’t lie, it raised my eyebrows. Now that I am an erotic romance author, I look back at my reaction to those love scenes and laugh at myself.

So, after reading all of Mrs. Feehan’s books, I started branching off into other paranormal romance authors. I read anything that I could get my hands on. One day my husband made the comment that he thought I should write a book. I looked at him like he was crazy—-me, write a book? No way!

Although I had ideas that swam around in my brain on a story, I talked myself out of writing. There was no way I could write a story that someone would read. So, time went on and my husband would make small comments about me writing a story. I had brushed the idea away every time, but one day, I decided to give it a shot. My husband was the only one who would ever read it so I convinced myself no harm, no foul.

So, I sat down at the table, pen and paper in hand and started writing my very first story. It wasn’t anything paranormal or really with a stable plot, but I found that the words flowed easily from my fingers onto the paper. When the hero and heroine finally came to the point in the story where they become intimate, I wondered how I was going to go about it. It didn’t take me long; because I knew I wanted the sex scenes not only to be about the love the main characters shared, but also very graphic, as if the reader were actually standing in the room experiencing it for themselves.

I thought I would feel uncomfortable actually writing out every little detail, but surprisingly, I found myself writing more and more graphic details. When it was all finished, I gave it to my husband to read, embarrassed now that it was finished and worrying about what he would think. I watched his facial expressions carefully, trying to gauge what he thought of the extremely erotic and explicit story I had conjured up. His eyebrows raised and I knew he had gotten to the sex scene.

I was worried I might have gone overboard, but when he finally finished the story and told me he really thought I should write one—not a small story, which is what he had read—I had finally agreed I would give it a shot and sat in front of my computer. It was with his nudging that I wrote Deliciously Wicked: Dimi of the Seven Moons, my very first published erotic story.

So why erotica you ask? Well, when I read a story and fall in love with the main characters and experience their journey through the story, I want to experience what they are experiencing when they finally are together. My theory is the hotter the better!

Since I like to have the full disclosure when reading stories, I wanted to convey that in my writing as well. I want the readers who decide to pick up one of my stories to see exactly how the hero and heroine come together, how not only they struggle with being together and getting through the hard times, but also being together as one in the most elemental sense.

I want to thank Lisabet Sarai for opening up her blog for me today. It has been a fun and entertaining time. Thank you everyone for your continued support, it means the world to me.


BIO: Jenika lives in the too hot northeast with her husband and their young daughter. Thankfully, he shares her unusual sense of humor, and naughty nature. Along with taking care of their daughter, they have to keep an eye on Milo, their spunky cat. When not writing, Jenika works a full time at a hospital and attends school for nursing. Writing is Jenika's number one passion, but since life gets in the way, she isn't able to write full time (at least not yet.)

Jenika started writing at a very young age. Her first story consisted of a young girl who traveled to an exotic island and found a magical doll. That story has long since disappeared, but her passion for writing has stayed strong.

Jenika loves to hear from readers, and encourages them to contact her and give their feedback.

The Chosen: A Tale of the Blood Breed

Available from Siren Publishing


Aleksei is feared by all who cross paths with him. He is the great ruler of a race of immortal vampires known as the Blood Breed. Setting eyes on Lana for the first time sets off unquenchable desires that Aleksei has never experienced in his existence.

One night out leads to a destiny that will forever change Lana's life. It was an immediate attraction to Aleskei, feelings so strong they left her body on fire, so intense she didn’t know if it was real.

When an age old prophecy brings Lana and Aleksei together, nothing can stop the unbreakable bond that weaves itself into their lives, and when an unseen predator threatens to take away Lana, Aleksei will stop at nothing to destroy all who stand in his way from making Lana his.

Adult Excerpt

“Take them off of me.” Her eyes grew wide at the growl that came out of him. He gripped the top of her panties and ripped them clean off of her, tossing the fabric to the ground. She would be lying if she said his aggressiveness didn’t turn her on.

“You smell so fucking delicious. I can’t stand it.”

His voice became deeper, and before she realized what he was doing, he was between her thighs with his hands holding them open. His breath brushed across her exposed folds, and she let her thighs open wider of their own accord. The hot touch of his tongue along her engorged clit caused her to throw her head back and moan. It felt so good, so much better than when she touched herself. He ran his tongue in a circular motion, sucking her clit into the hot depths of his mouth before running over it again. He nibbled and teased her labia, twirling his tongue along the opening of her pussy and running it back up to torment her clit. She had her legs as wide as they would go, but even that didn’t feel wide enough. His tongue continued its exploration of her clit as one of his fingers ran in a slow motion around her pussy hole. She wanted, no, needed him to plunge it inside, to end the exquisite torture he was giving her. It was never ending, the pleasure he brought to her body with just a flick of his tongue and a tease of his finger.

He left no part of her untouched, swiping his tongue over her lips, around her center, and making his way back up to her clit. Moans and groans came from his mouth, vibrating off her clit and causing her orgasm to come closer to the surface. His hands had a tight clasp on her thighs, his big body wedged between them. He lifted one of her legs over the back the couch, opening her up even further to his wicked tongue. He continued to suck at her clit, and the tight coil of her climax moved through her body. Her sex blossomed like a dam opening up and getting ready to spill forth. Her wetness flowed out of her core from the tidal wave of pleasure that coursed through her.

“Oh, yes. I think I’m going to come.” She had climaxed plenty of times by herself but had never felt the feeling that washed through her at this moment.

“Come for me, Lana. Fucking come all over my mouth. I want your cream covering my lips.” He continued to suck and lick at her, and just hearing the provocative words he said set her off. Her orgasm tore through her, causing her to thrust her breasts out and groan loudly. He never let up, just kept sucking and licking until her orgasm tapered off. Although she felt sated and relaxed, the orgasm did nothing to stop the arousal still pulsing through her veins. She opened her eyes to stare at him, his glorious body now naked. She didn’t know when took off his clothes, but his shirt and pants now sat on the floor. Her breath caught in her throat at the sight of his hard, muscled body.

He grabbed his cock as she slid her eyes up and down his body. She stared at his erection, eyes wide and heart beating quickly. He was huge, so big she didn’t even know if he would fit inside of her. His hands slid under her back and flipped her over so she straddled him. He leaned against the couch and gripped her naked hips.

“It will fit perfectly. You will feel exquisite when I slide in and out of you. Fuck, you’re beautiful.”

She breathed heavily, loving the dirty way he spoke to her. His cock rubbed along her slick folds, teasing her clit as he slowly thrust his hips up. The flame in her body grew stronger, her desire burning hotter and hotter. She initiated the next kiss, dipping down to meet his firm lips and slipping her tongue inside. He groaned and slid his hands to her ass before slipping one hand further down to rest by her vagina. He brought his other hand to her breast, tweaking and pulling at her hard nipple. His finger didn’t move any closer to her pussy, just sat close to her hole, making her want to thrust onto it. Their moans filled the room, and before she knew it, he scooped her off the couch and carried her to his bedroom.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Does the Writing Matter?

I've been pondering this question for some time, wondering whether I dare raise it on my blog. Then I thought, what the heck. I'm not going to name names...

I've been writing, and hence reading, erotic romance for about three years now. I review for several official sites as well as my own. I do peer reviews. And I visit lots of my colleagues' blogs and read lots of excerpts.

I've come to the tentative conclusion that in this genre, an author's writing skill is far less important than other considerations in determining popularity and sales.

Sometimes I feel as though I'm reading the same book or the same excerpts, over and over. Same vocabulary. Same tired images. All too often I'm yawning by the second paragraph.

Then there's the head-hopping and the grammar errors and the factual inconsistencies. I find myself wondering how this author ever got published--or what her editor was doing instead of cleaning up the text!

Yet some of these authors have huge fan bases and sell many more books than I do. I'll be honest and admit that I find this annoying.

I am starting to believe that what matters in romance, more than anything else, are the characters. If the characters grab the reader, she won't care too much if the prose is of indifferent quality. The plot can be familiar, the resolution can be obvious, but this won't bother the reader at all if she really identifies with the hero and heroine. My theory is that romance readers are looking for that "love high"--the pure emotion that shoots through you when the hero and heroine (or the hero and the other hero) connect. Everything else is secondary.

Am I right about this? If so, then maybe the time I spend on crafting my sentences and searching for just the right words is wasted. I'd hate to think that's true, but maybe I've got to be realistic.

What do you think?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Characters in My Head

By Jude Mason (Guest Blogger)

“No, don’t listen to that idiot, it’s my turn,” snarled Jazz, one of the newest men in my life. A smart ass at the best of times, Jazz liked getting his own way and often went just a little too far in order to get it.

“Idiot?” Sammy’s eyebrows rose and he carefully placed a well manicured fist on each hip. “Who do you think you’re calling an idiot, you swine?” The spike haired man turned on his heel and sashayed across the room, his beautifully tailored purple suit clinking in all the right places.

Jazz snorted and crossed his massive arms over his chest and leaned against the wall. “Listen, dimshit, I’m new, it’s my turn. She hasn’t even got me in the damn book yet and I’m raring to go. Doc needs me!”

From the doorway, a husky male voice called, “You two, she’s working with me right now. You’ll both just have to wait.” Quinn shrugged and entered, striding to the comfortable looking easy chair sitting in front of the fireplace. “Jack and I have a wedding to plan,” he added before picking up the glass of wine left sitting on the coffee table. He sipped it and peered from the muscular Jazz to Sammy.

Jazz crossed the room, heading for the newcomer. He stopped in front of Quinn and scowled down at him. “She’s dropped you. She’s working on Doc’s story and mine.” He tore his gaze from the seated man and glared at the swish in purple. “And you, she’s freakin’ forgotten all about you!”

Grabbing my head, I pushed away from the computer and strode into the front room. “Men!” Tossing my hands into the air, I added, “Freakin’ gay dimshits. All of you!”

The three men, characters in books I’ve written or am writing, cowered in the corners of my mind, awaiting whatever explosion they must know was about to happen. Even Sammy, the most familiar and beloved of my collection of gay guys seemed concerned for his place in my thoughts.

He blinked up at me, and tried a smile. “Jude, take a breath, hon. We’re just anxious to get our say in stuff, you know that.”

“Yes, dumbass, I know that.” I turned and headed into the kitchen. Coffee might calm me; these idiots sure as hell weren’t going to. “But, how the hell am I supposed to get anything done with you three belly-aching?” A moment later, cup filled with steaming black coffee, I returned to the den and sat in front of my computer. The screen faced me, its blank white page waiting for me to fill with text.

“Mine’s the one you want to work on, my lovely woman,” Jazz’s silken sweet voice whispered in my ear.

I scowled at him and he stepped back.

Sammy winked and went towards where Quinn sat gazing into the fire. He plunked himself beside the newest of the Kindred Spirits group and smiled up at me. “Jude, take a break. You’ve been pushing too hard lately and you’re going to burn yourself out.”

I scowled at him, and he shut his mouth with a soft pop.

Quinn looked at me, but seemed to know better than to say a word. I nodded and took a sip of coffee before allowing my mind to leap into the story.

Yes, this is how my days go sometimes. The more I write, the more characters there are to inhabit my daydreams. I adore each and every one of them, but I tell you, there are times I’d happily strangle one or two of them. They never die. The do fade into the background for a while, but let there be a day when I have time to myself or a plot doesn’t work out quite right and OMG, the suggestions or harping for attention begins.

Do I actually talk to these ‘people’? Well, not always. Since my hubby has been home, I try to limit my rantings to these guys to a bare minimum. Can’t quite imagine what he might think of me yelling at the air at some imaginary guy? He’d think I was … uh… crazier than he already does.

I’ve asked non-writers if they have story ideas like I do: people whispering, or yelling, inside their heads when they sit at a stop light or stand in line at the grocery store. So far, not a one has said yes. I used to think everyone had them. Even up to a few months ago, I assumed that while they may not be plagued with the ‘voices’ all the time, they would at least get the odd nudge or urging from some ghostly phantom. Seems not.

Would I change it?

I have nightmares of the voices stopping. What would I do if they stopped and there just weren’t any more stories inside me? So, even though these guys drive me crazy sometimes, I’d miss them more than I could say if they weren’t there. Just don’t tell them.

Who am I going to write about next?

Well, I’m afraid Jazz and Sammy are going to have to be patient. Quinn is a character in a book Jenna Byrnes and I are working on together called, Quinn’s Blessing, book 4 of the Kindred Spirits Series. I’m working on the edits of Jenna’s last addition and, after a quick glance ahead to see what she’s suggested next, I believe I’ll be writing a hot and heavy sex scene. Yum!

Jazz next, him and Doc will be meeting soon and I can’t wait. Sammy, sorry dude, you may have to wait for awhile yet. But, you have been the focus of a couple of very hot reads, so just hold on to your shorts, baby.


BIO: Multi-published Canadian author, Jude Mason, writes in a variety of genres and adores stretching the boundaries. The bulk of her work has been D/s and femdom, but she enjoyed straying into fetish, pulp fiction, m/m. f/f, paranormal and sci-fi, among others.. A picture, a smell, an unexpected glimpse of flesh, or a load of soil in the back of a pick-up, are all fodder for her writing. Her male characters run the gamut from the alpha male ruling his women with an iron fist, to a simpering purple-clad boy-toy, whose only desire is to please. As diverse and as richly depicted, her women find themselves in a myriad of exotic and erotic situations, and are as lusty as their male counterparts, of not more so. Jude has work in print, e-book form and audio

Interested? Google her name, you'll find her. ‘Readers needed: Come, explore with me…if you dare!

Places to see Jude online:


My Blog:

My Yahoo group:

My Space:

Sign up for my mailing list:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Getting the Details Right

I'm currently reading a mystery/thriller by very well known and popular author. It's not the best written book I've ever encountered, but I'm enjoying the novel enough that its problems have not overwhelmed its entertainment value.

One issue that tempted me to quit, though, has to do with research about technical issues. The book includes a pivotal plot element related to websites and computer security issues such as viruses and worms. There are also sections involving computer forensics. These sections are so wrong that I came close to throwing the book across the room. (It's a real paperback, not an ebook!)

I make my living as a software engineer. I know something about computers, web development and computer security. The computer-related material in this novel is--to put it nicely--total nonsense. Gobbledygook. Anyone with a background in computers would recognize this.

When I hit the first of these sections, my awareness of the errors pulled me completely out of the story. I was, frankly, insulted. I don't expect that the author should be a computer expert. However, if she wants to talk about technical issues, she should do the research necessary in order to get them right! It's not as though this is an obscure topic. An hour or so checking her facts would have done the trick. If she doesn't want to spend this time, she should cut this stuff out of the plot.

Now I find that I have lost my respect for this author and her fiction. As it happens, the heroine of this novel is a forensic pathologist. I find myself wondering whether all the gruesome corroborating details that the heroine notes about the corpse, all her clever deductions and inferences, are hogwash as well. I don't know much about forensics, certainly not enough to spot mistakes. But if the author was that lazy in the area of computer technology--well, who knows?

When I write, I try very hard to get the details right. In preparation for Incognito, which has a story thread set in Victorian Boston, I did research on such disparate topics as names for items of women's clothing and whether you could go by train from Boston to Lowell in the 1880's. When I wrote my historical short Shortest Night, I spent hours poring over a map of Shakespearean London. Raw Silk features a heroine who works with computers and who invents a new method for producing three-dimensional graphics. I don't know if Kate's invention is actually feasible, but as a computer professional, I can tell you that it is as least plausible.

We all make mistakes. Some readers mind more than others. (I remember a comment on one of my writers lists from an author who happens to be a textile expert. She came across a spinning wheel in a historical novel by a famous author, a novel set two centuries before the spinning wheel was invented. She claimed she could never read this author again!) I do believe, though, that the author owes it to her readers to be as accurate as she can when it comes to details--especially if those details are central to the story. In this case, I'm trying to ignore the silliness as I really would like to know "who done it". Since I already bought the book, it wouldn't penalize the author if I stopped reading it now.

I'll probably think again, though, before I buy another of her novels.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

How I Got My Book Published

By Robin Glasser (Guest Blogger)

This is the story of how I got my book published. A friend sent me an email about a reality show called “Book Millionaire.” You didn’t even have to have a manuscript written—BIG clue—which I totally ignored. All you had to do to qualify was fill out an endless questionnaire and send in a video of yourself explaining why you wanted to be on the program. I wrote a great script (you can judge for yourself on—“Robin in 7 Minutes”) and won the first week contestant contest. Competitors were chosen by viewers—having an enormous network of family and friends would definitely be advantageous. There were nine more weeks of judging and then all the winners would begin filming for the show. The prize was to be a million dollar book publishing contract. Another HUGE clue—again ignored. Let’s be realistic here—how many first-time writers would receive such a windfall?

Months barreled by. Emails flew back and forth between contestants and the ‘producer.’ The results: nada, rien, zero, zilch from BM (exactly what the show was turning into). Tired of the waiting game, I decided to take matters into my own capable hands. In the local branch of my library, I plodded through references including the Literary Digest and the Writer’s Handbook, looking for publishers who accepted electronic submissions. I composed a tantalizing query letter declaring that I was the Book Millionaire Reality Show’s first week winner and the publishers should checkout my video on their website. Within ten minutes, I received a reply from a small online publishing house that stated they’d never received such a unique query before and please email them the manuscript. I did and got a contract. HEA, right? Wait. There’s more.

A few weeks before MY LIFE AS A CONCUBINE was to be released, I went down to Miami. A writer friend had rented a table for their huge book fair and invited me to share her space. I had a self-published book of suggestive poetry, MEN AT WORK, plus a zillion postcards printed with the cover of my romantic comedy on the front and blurb, publishing info on the back. Pressing my promo into countless hands, I felt like a politician. My campaign seemed successful—many potential customers professed profound interest.

I returned home and, while wading through a tsunami of emails, saw one from my publisher informing me that they were no longer in business. Talk about devastation! Several margaritas, numerous consolations, and %$#!! outbursts, I took deep yoga breaths and emailed my editor from the defunct publisher, asking if she knew anyone who’d be interested in my book. She put me in touch with one of her publishers and they gave me a new contract. Of course, I was a tad trepidacious about this release. I wasn’t about to have a repeat performance. Basically, I kept my lips sealed—okay, I did tell several, actually more than several, friends but who’s counting?

Yes, MY LIFE AS A CONCUBINE was published as an e-book. It wasn’t until it came out in print and I could hug it to my perky breasts that I finally believed it was real.

The moral of this tale: Believe in yourself. Do NOT give up. When you get in that funky mood, after receiving yet another rejection, reread this story—some do end HEA.

Recovering copywriter, Robin Glasser has written for a variety of magazines ranging from Readers' Digest to Penthouse Letters where she wrote a column called "The Red Hot Woman." Her poetry has been published in Upstairs at Duroc and The Riverside Poetry Review. Ms. Glasser's latest novel, My Life as a Concubine, which is based on her experiences in Paris or as she likes to call it, The City of Merde, is available from and Amazon Books & Kindle. Robin guarantees that Men at Work, her fully-illustrated book of poetry, will put twinkles in your eyes and sparkles in your pants. Don't forget to watch her fast-paced peepshows based on these poems at, Robin now reads at various venues in New York


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Safe Sex and Erotic Romance

I was reading a book for review purposes a few days ago when something brought me up short. The author was in the midst of a hot and heavy sex scene. The narrator is unbelievably aroused and dying for the hero. She thinks "Condom?"--and then decides that she doesn't really want one, not just because of her reluctance to break the mood, but from the perverse desire to have unprotected sex.

Something in me screamed: "Irresponsible!" I had a visceral reaction to this decision on the character's part. I can understand that a sexual fantasy might want to ignore the danger of AIDS. Who wants to focus on negatives in the midst of passion? But for the author to bring the issue up and then dismiss it--well, I was quite surprised by my own negative reaction.

Fiction is just that. I don't subscribe to the notion that authors need to worry that their readers will try to turn their stories into reality. A book about a serial killer does not create murderers. A book that features wild, raw, bareback sex doesn't necessarily encourage readers to indulge in unsafe activities. We have to assume that our readers are rational adults. And we're not here primarily to teach them about safe sex. So why did this passage bother me so much?

I guess I was turned off by the heroine's attitude. Even if she didn't care about herself, I would have liked her to consider the question of her partner. I suspect that the author was trying to add to the intensity of the scene, but for me it had the opposite effect.

For authors of erotica and erotic romance, safe sex presents a problem. I grew up and became sexually active in the "golden age"--after the Pill and before AIDS. I hate the fact that, these days, something as enjoyable and life-affirming as sex can kill you. I despise condoms as much for the way they kill the spontaneity in a scene as for the way they feel.

Even so, I feel uncomfortable writing a scene that includes unsafe sex, unless it's clear that I'm writing total fantasy, or I'm writing a committed, monogamous couple. Sometimes, of course, a rash and deliberate choice to ignore safety is an important part of the characterization (though more in erotica than in romance). Otherwise, though, I'll at least mention condoms, especially in scenes between individuals who do not know each other well. Anything else seems odd, old-fashioned, and yes, irresponsible. Much of my work is realistic and contemporary. In the twenty first century, I just can't pretend AIDS doesn't exist.

I would love to know what readers think. Does mentioning safe sex kill the magic for you? Does unprotected sex ring alarms? Or am I shooting myself in the foot, driving away my readers, by insisting that my heroes use condoms?

What's your opinion?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Published Author Is...

By Franny Armstrong (Guest Blogger)

What does becoming an author do to your lifestyle?

For years I lived by the moment, moving from one job to the next and was never satisfied with the work I did. My first jobs were working in a bakery, waitressing, motherhood, then, three years of college (late bloomer) and into laboratories as an Environmental Technologist.

Working with chemicals was not a great idea since I ended up with a chemical brain injury that caused an environmental illness called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) that made me react to many chemicals like fragrances, cleaning products, exhaust fumes and so on. This took away eight years of my life while I suffered through depression and illness. I became agoraphobic and had panic attacks, and even slept up to twenty hours a day.

One day, someone suggested I write books since I read so many of them. It was like a huge light bulb went off in my head. Suddenly I was on the computer night and day, pounding out stories and learning all I could about becoming a published author. I joined the Romance Writer’s Association as well as my local chapter in Toronto, Ontario and took classes online.

In six years I had twenty books written. Granted, many of them require a lot of editing as I’m still learning new ways to make my characters leap off the pages and express themselves. Needless to say, my first printed book came out March 11, Extrasensory Elements Series Book 1-Author’s Demise.

Though not the first book I wrote, it’s my favourite (so far). I hope readers love it as much as I do. It’s a paranormal romantic suspense with a hunky undercover cop, a feisty telekinetic CEO of a publishing firm, a Shakespeare quoting serial killer, and plenty of extra characters to make the plot unfold with a ‘whose doing it’ theme.

Writing has kept me motivated and excited about my life and brought me out of the pits of despair and set me on my feet. Of course the amazing support of my husband, children, mother and sister has made all the difference. I don’t write because I want to be the next J.K. Rowling, I write because I absolutely love what I do.

My health gets better one day at a time, though I may never be completely well as I was told that MCS is a lifetime illness, but I don’t dwell on that. Focusing mainly on writing, promotions, marketing, and networking, I have few minutes in the day left to dwell on what might hold me back. As a matter of fact, I don’t believe that anything can! That’s where two mottos come in. I keep them pinned to the wall in front of my desk. ‘NEVER SURRENDER! NEVER GIVE UP’ and ‘A PUBLISHED AUTHOR IS AN UNPUBLISHED AUTHOR WHO NEVER QUIT’. Yes, I’m shouting them out. Without them, I don’t think I would have persisted.

If you wish to see the rest of the books I have out, please visit my site, which I share with my equally published sister, author Kali Willows. We do EVERYTHING together.

Franny Armstrong-ParaNovelGirl Co-Hostess Sundays at 2 PM EST

Monday, March 15, 2010

Naked Heart: My Introduction to BDSM

Give me your body.

Give me your mind.

Open your heart.

Pull down the blind...

My head encased in fat 1970's era headphones, I hear only the music, but I understand that he is speaking to me through the lyrics. He's behind me, towering over me, his big hands resting on my bare shoulders as I listen to the album he has brought me as a gift, a British group called 10cc. I feel my heart pounding in my chest, in time with the bass. I don't know what he'll do next. The uncertainty is disturbing and thrilling.

His fingers trace a path along my upper arms, light, teasing, raising goosebumps. Then they lock onto my nipples. I gasp as he pinches hard, then twists. I remember what he told me about clamps. What he promised. He knows what I'm thinking—I'm sure it is just what he intends. I imagine his smile, behind me, full of gentle mockery.

I'm soaked and trembling. I am mortified by my own desires, desires I hardly knew I had until he exposed them and showed me who I really was.

His slut. His slave. We both know it, know that I'll do anything he asks. I trust him not to ask for more than I can bear to give.

I was twenty five. He was a year younger, but with knowledge born of years of study plus the experience of two other kinky relationships. He told me that he had had S&M fantasies for as long as he could remember. And me? I was a total innocent—not sexually, but as far as BDSM was concerned.

Did he somehow recognize my latent submissiveness? Or was he initially just attracted by my ripe body and raging hormones, only later starting to wonder if my fantasies were the complement to his? He was my classmate in grad school. We used to flirt, but I never took him seriously. Then he left the university for a job on the far coast, and we began to write.

Postal seduction. Asking me how I felt about spanking. Sharing his desire to tie me up. Discoursing on homemade whips and the efficacy of birch switches. I pretended lightness, laughed off his outrageous suggestions, but they left their mark on my psyche.

He would call me late at night and tell me his plans for me, his intuitions about what I wanted. Did he plant my fantasies or simply lay them bare? He claimed that he was meant to master me, to open my eyes to my own perversity. Arrogant and charming by turns, he wooed me, instinctively pressing all the right buttons—buttons I didn't know were ever there. Finally, he invited me to come visit him over Thanksgiving.

Never having even touched him in a sexual way—rash, crazy, my inflamed imagination totally trumping my rational self—I agreed.

It was the best decision I ever made.

The first night, we had vanilla sex. The next night we tumbled together into a well of dark fantasy. He led me through a magic door into a world of intense sensation and raw emotion, power and surrender, trust and communion. Looking back, thirty years later, I'm still astonished by that sudden connection—so real and so true despite the fact that we were practically strangers.

He changed me forever.

Our lives ran in different tracts. We lived thousands of miles apart. I had other lovers, though he had a way of slipping into my head when I was in their arms, reminding me to whom I really belonged. When we managed to meet, our days together were a frenzy of kinky experimentation: leather belts, bungee cords, ping pong paddles, hot wax. Ultimately, though, it wasn't the physical sensations that bound me to him. It was the sense that he saw me as I was, as deviant and sluttish as he himself, and didn't condemn me. No, he liked what he saw. I could be truly naked with him; he would not condemn me. From the very first, I trusted him with my body and my fantasies. Eager to please him, I exulted when he shared his own and allowed me to fulfill them.

Our relationship wasn't easy. We were both too young to realize the value of what we had, I now believe, or to nurture it the way it deserved. Misunderstandings, recriminations—we drifted apart, and three years after our initial incandescent coupling, I married someone else.

Yet all these years later, we are still in touch, and I still consider him my master, though he would laugh bitterly at the epithet.

Lisabet Sarai the writer would not exist if it were not for him. My erotic writings began with the fantasies I sent him. Raw Silk, my first novel, is a fictionalized account of my own initiation into dominance and submission. I even borrowed some of the dialogue from his letters. From the perspective of craft, Raw Silk is nowhere near my best work. But anyone who reads it is touched by its emotional intensity.

I have tried to branch out, to explore other paths through the tangled forest of erotica. Still, dominance and submission, power and surrender, remain the themes that fascinate me the most. Sometimes I feel as though I'm writing the same scene over and over. My readers will certainly be bored. Not me, though. I'm breathless and wet as I relive those magic encounters of my youth.

[I recently posted this entry at my group blog, Oh Get A Grip. However, I wanted to share it with my readers who don't tend to visit OGG. I would dearly love to know your thoughts. -- Lisabet]

Saturday, March 13, 2010

How Romance Changed my Life

By Juniper Bell (Guest Blogger)

A funny thing happened to me on the way to becoming a romance writer. I fell in love. For real.

Here’s how it happened. For years I lived the single life in the big city. Sex and the City was the show that spoke to me more than any other. I knew those characters, I was those characters, at least bits and pieces of them. I dated like mad, got my heart broken, broke hearts myself. Between men, many pints of Cherry Garcia were eaten, many nights spent alone with my TiVo. Over time I grew more wary and self-protective. I didn’t give my heart away so easily. I didn’t want to get hurt any more, even if it meant being alone.

Then my life fell apart. A bad breakup, a personal medical crisis, a downward turn at work, everything happened at once. It was like a perfect storm of misery. So I did what I always do … turn to romance novels for a little escape and comfort. I started with my longtime favorites, Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Elizabeth Lowell, then began discovering new writers, Lisa Kleypas, Teresa Medeiros, Julie Garwood. Then one day it occurred to me that I should try to write one. So I did … and loved it. I started another one. At that time I had no thought of publishing. All I wanted was to write, to find a haven from the drama swirling around me.

It turns out that beneath my ‘who-needs-love’ exterior, I still believed in romance. At least on the page. I read it, I wrote it … and before I knew it, a miracle happened. I left my job, moved to another state, and lo and behold, met someone who opened his heart to me so fully that I couldn’t resist. I fell in love. I wasn’t just reading and writing romance, I was living it. After all that time, all those wrong turns, I found my soulmate.

To this day, I believe I owe my shiny new love life to romance novels. When I was miserable, romance novels were there for me. They made me believe. And when I started writing romance, I had to believe even more. I had to reach down and resurrect that hopeful part of me that had gotten buried. Once I’d done that, I was ready to meet someone and fall in love.

So thank you, wonderful genre of romance! I will always be grateful. (And, of course, relieved that I didn’t turn to crime novels in my moment of need.)

How has reading (and/or writing) romance changed your life? Do you read for escape, comfort, or something else?

Happy reading!

Juniper Bell

BIO: Juniper Bell lives with her sweetie in a cabin in Alaska with no running water and a spectacular view of glaciers. She spends her time writing, shoveling snow, and dreaming of her next trip to a warm climate. Juniper’s third book, “Training the Receptionist,” is out now from Samhain Publishing. For more, visit her website or her blog. You can also find her on Twitter as @AuthorJuniper.

Training the Receptionist by Juniper Bell

Genre: Erotica

ISBN: 978-1-60504-949-6

Publication Date: March 2, 2010

It’s her naughty dream job—if they’re satisfied with her performance…

Eager to escape her miserable existence in Low-Life, Long Island, street-wise Dana Arthur jumps at an entry-level position with the consulting firm Cowell & Dirk. As her training period begins, she quickly discovers she’s required to do more than take messages and order office supplies. Her job description contains some deliciously naughty duties that give receptionist a whole new meaning.

Simon has almost given up on finding the right woman who will please his clients as well as his demanding partner and mentor, Ethan Cowell. No one measures up—until Dana. Her inner fire and fearless nature are perfect for the job. No matter what wicked punishment he devises to chastise her for her on-the-job mistakes, she accepts with a relish that leaves him wondering which one of them is really in control.

The last thing he expects to discover is that she’s a perfect sexual soul mate he can’t bear to share. But share he must—it’s part of his business agreement. Unless he makes Ethan the deal of a lifetime…

Warning: This title contains explicit sex, bondage, ménage, ingenious use of office furniture, lingerie, and the occasional sex toy. Oh, and did I mention the package delivery guy?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Congratulations to My Winners!


I've been away for the last five days, but I'm happy to see that my guests have been keeping things interesting!

I have several winners to announce.

Andrea wins a free ebook for commenting during my guest-fest last week. Thanks,Andrea! And thanks to all of you who made my guests feel at home.

Meanwhile the lovely Jenna Byrnes was the only person to correctly guess which of my seven statements were true, in my Bald-faced Liar post. The correct answers were #4 and #6. Alas, I've never been in a long-term polyamorous relationship, though I have been fortunate enough to participate in several ménages a trois. (Want to know more? Drop by Oh Get a Grip! next Sunday!)

I can't tell you who the Pulitzer Prize-winning author is, for fear of revealing my true identity. However, I can share the fact that the miniskirt was hot pink (my favorite color at the time) and so were my cheeks when I was hauled into the school office. On the other hand, it was the sleazy principal who was ultimately embarrassed, when he looked up my records and discovered that I was the top student in my class. I'm sure that he was thinking I was some cheap, stupid bimbo whom he could intimidate. I've always thought that dress codes were unutterably dumb, just a way to regiment kids and suppress their individuality.

It was actually quite difficult to come up with plausible lies. I'm basically pretty honest. Also, I've shared quite a bit about my life experiences here and there on the 'Net. I didn't want to use any facts that I'd already revealed!

So here's a challenge for you readers. What's the most unbelievable truth about yourself? Leave me a comment and tell me something that nobody would ever believe -- but which is true nevertheless. I'll randomly pick one commenter, and give away yet another prize!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mindless Romance? Pssshaw!

By Nina Pierce (Guest Blogger)

What is it about reading romance that attracts so many readers? Well, the fantasy of course! Who doesn’t want to fall in love with a hero who is strong and protective when the going gets tough, but soft and gentle when the lights turn down and the music goes up?

I think I was probably twelve when I read my first romance. And we’re not talking any Harlequin romance pilfered from my mother’s nightstand or Judy Blume romance here (though I love both of those right to death), I’m talking the hardcore romance in the “Thorn Birds” by Colleen McCullough. Oh, you know it. The forbidden love between a priest and a young woman who wants to follow her heart and not the rules was my introduction into the romance genre.

I was completely hooked. From that moment on I devoured anything romance. What young girl doesn’t want to find the man of her dreams that all the heroines of these books seemed to discover? Pick me! Pick me!

So it was no surprise, when I had to retire from teaching for medical reasons and allowed my muse to run free, that I decided my writing would involve the very love stories I had come to adore. Being a teacher, I wanted to learn the “right” way to write fiction. I took a fiction writing course at the local college. The first day when I proudly announced I was beginning a career in writing romance, the instructor gagged. Literally. I’m not kidding. I have enough confidence (and business sense) not to be deterred. It’s what I loved to read so I knew it would be what I would want to write. (And the highest grossing of the book markets.)

As the semester progressed and I had to read my short love stories, the professor refused to comment on my writing. In his opinion, if it wasn’t literature, then it was not true writing. As a former teacher I was appalled. The man was there to teach writing techniques not be judgmental about a genre. Whatever. It’s been five years since I took that class and two and a half years since my first romance was published. I realize now that that professor didn’t really teach me a darn thing. I learned from contest entries, other writers and even some rejections from publishers.

I’m not really sure why the romance genre gets slammed so hard, And now that I’ve found my niche in erotic romance, I find sometimes this genre really gets stuck at the bottom of the barrel. Seriously? My story and plots are no less complicated because the main characters find themselves in bed and often times walking down the aisle by the end of the book. The mystery and twists and turns of a suspense plot are still woven in there. Oh, did I forget to mention that? Not all romances are boy meets girl. Girl hates boy. Boy saves her life and voila!—marriage. The romances I enjoy reading most usually have some kind of thriller or suspense plot in them.

Yep, as a scientist, I love the idea of solving puzzles. So that’s what I write and read. Romantic suspense. When you open the bedroom door it becomes erotic romantic suspense. And if I add a werewolf or vampire it becomes paranormal erotic romantic suspense. Then if I push it further and put it in a future that doesn’t exist where I can stretch my imagination it becomes, futuristic paranormal erotic romantic suspense. Whew, now that’s a mouthful and it is just so not worth trying to explain that to people.

So if someone asks what I write, I simplify it by saying erotic suspense. All of my books, save for one, are erotic suspense novels. Some are contemporary, others futuristic and still others have a paranormal twist. But at the heart, they’re all romances and that’s what makes me just sigh with satisfaction.

My newest release “Healer’s Garden”, from Ellora’s Cave is a futuristic. I fell in love with the hero, Brenimyn, long before I knew him. He is the conglomeration of all those heroes who entertained a teenager’s fantasies.


He understood she was his destiny. She never knew a man was her future.

In the female dominated society of the 23rd century, mating with a male, even if it is to save the human race, is a distasteful task and one Healer Jahara Hriznek has successfully avoided—until now.

Brenimyn is a gifted breeding instructor at the Garden of Serenity. Forced to copulate with all females requesting his services, he yearns to find the one woman who responds to his touch. When Jahara arrives with the new class of breeders, Brenimyn’s body immediately aches for her, but convincing the stubborn healer that sex between a man and a woman is more than just an act for procreation proves to be a challenge he refuses to fail.

Jahara doesn’t want to enjoy the sinful rapture only Brenimyn brings to her body. Brenimyn has no intention of dousing the flames of desire licking at them until Jahara is completely his—body, mind, and heart. But when the government finds their loving relationship a threat to the natural order, there may be more than their stubborn wills at stake.


I want to thank Lisabet for letting me take over her blog today. I love talking about anything writing, romance and most especially, my books. I’d love to hear what you think about romance, either as a reader or a writer. Do you think it gets a bad rap?

And here’s where I hang out on the web:





my book trailers:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Twin Flames: Concentric Circles Magical Marvel

By Aithne Jarretta (Guest Blogger)

Hello and welcome. I am Aithne Jarretta and Lisabet has invited me to share with you some of the paranormal concepts used in writing stories. The elements of magic within the pages of my book come so naturally to me that I must stop and give them extra consideration when asked to write and explain them.

Today, I’d like to share my personal concept of Twin Flames with you.

Several years ago I encountered the notion of Twin Flames while reading one of my many esoteric spiritual books. The idea latched onto my spirit and wouldn’t let go. Eventually it came out in a book. ;o)

In the realm of paranormal I used the knowledge and turned it into a legend. Creating legends within a story is so much fun. Here’s the legend as it occurs within my realm of mystical possibilities.

In the beginning there were only beings of magnificent light. Each being had been born from the sacred source which manifested itself in violet flames. When the spirits of these beings were first created they resided within a golden sphere of magical protection. (much like our human womb)

Within their sphere each began to take on the attributes they would carry over when they entered the material world.

Some of the spirit flames remained alone within their tiny sphere. Others…

With a magnificent energetic burst of power others were split during the birthing process. Two spirits emerged from a single flame.

When they descend to our earthly realm they may be so devastated over separation that they lack understanding of their deep longing to connect with another.

This may prove problematic for some resulting in misunderstanding and misdiagnosing their individual problems. (psychological, physical and spiritual distress)

Let’s not forget though that each spirit is here for an earthly purpose. Frequently it will not be rejoined with its twin due to separate life paths.

What happens when they find each other?

There is a joining of such magnitude that it is felt across all energy magickal line into each realm. Their power bonds into a single force which grows when they join together.

Joining on the physical level reconnects them, their hearts and their magic.

When they are a force of good all the world rejoices.

When they are not… Unpenetrable darkness falls.

But as CONCENTRIC CIRCLES goes, the Twin Flames serve the good of all… (Magical Moment™)



“During your fight with Zubird, I saw your magic.” She faced him and moved closer. Hands moving in the air around him, she motioned with flexing fingers. “It’s purple—so beautiful. Like little stars on fire in purple flames. I saw it consume Zubird’s black magic. What was that? I mean—I saw Seamus’ aura of fear when I went to Syther’s lair, but this was different. It’s like everything suddenly became clear to me about us, but even that opens more questions.”

“There is a legend,” Meekal said huskily. “When God created souls, each came from a single sphere of fire…”

Thank you for reading.


Read more extensive excerpts:

BIO: Aithne Jarretta, born in Akron, Ohio now lives in Florida under sunny skies surrounded by tropical beauty and gentle gulf breezes. She is a mother of two grown sons and a graduate of Walsh University, North Canton, Ohio.

Her first whisperings of a story and being a romance writer came during a college History of England class when studying about Hadrian’s Wall. Much too busy with raising two children and academic studies, she brushed the voices away and completed her college degree.

Eventually she migrated to Florida where she has lived, worked and studied writing since arriving on the sunny shores of the Gulf of Mexico.

Aithne finally listened to the bard’s whispers, sat down to begin writing a story and words tumbled forth. That moment in time changed the direction of her life. Now, a writer for only four years, she has spent time honing her craft.

Romance built around seeds of world history give a unique flare to her paranormal stories. Love and romance binds everything together with endearing energy, weaving them into inspiring folktales. Excerpt where this is taken from ch 8 Death Knell “Kal?” “Humm?” “During your fight with Zubird, I saw your magic.” She faced him and moved closer. Hands moving in the air around him, she motioned with flexing fingers. “It’s purple—so beautiful. Like little stars on fire in purple flames. I saw it consume Zubird’s black magic. What was that? I mean—I saw Seamus’ aura of fear when I went to Syther’s lair, but this was different. It’s like everything suddenly became clear to me about us, but even that opens more questions.” “There is a legend,” Meekal said huskily. “When God created souls, each came from a single sphere of fire. I’m amazed and awed that you saw it in action.” “I’ve never heard that legend. Even with all my reading.” “Aye, well it’s because you’ve been sheltered from magic. That isn’t the main point.” Shayla tickled his pulse point with moist lips. “Humm.” He swallowed and leaned away. “Within each sphere of fire resided two souls in polarity—male and female. They are unique in divine design. No one else matches them.” He hesitated, allowing her loving gaze to study him. “Some stories refer to such souls as twin flames. Unlike soul mates, they truly have a single origin.” “Twin flames?” “Aye. To see my purple flames—well,” he said, looking at her with an expression of tenderness. “It confirms what you said about us being bonded. I knew with certainty in that exact moment when I saw them. That’s why I said I knew everything, but still have questions. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. But now I understand a bit better and realize this isn’t just some sexual fling on my vacation.” “That’s true. It’s so much more than that,” he said. “Violet energy in the form of flames transmutes dark magic. That’s the only way I could’ve conquered Zubird. Snapping his neck was an action that occurred in the heat of battle. I would have preferred him imprisoned.” Meekal brushed fingertips over a curl escaping down her shoulder, wrapped it around his finger and repositioned it down her breast. “You know, Black Bry and Morna are twin flames. In their case, they bridged the chasm between the human and Fae worlds. “And us?” “I haven’t figured that out yet. Are you ready to go down now? Mum will be wondering how you are. Gail may be here soon, too.”

Friday, March 5, 2010

Feminine Feminists

By Fiona Jayde (Guest Blogger)

As the role and power of women in society has been changing, so have female heroines. More and more we see instances where the heroine rescues the hero as well as apprehends the bad guy. More and more we see kickass women not afraid of danger while at the same time not afraid to show their softer side to their families, their friends and their lovers.

I always wonder how this role of feminism applies to our romance heroines. If a strong woman is aroused by a sexually alpha hero, does that mean she secretly craves to be "mastered"? Is she seen as weak by the reader? If a strong woman refuses to get into a fight with her assailant, choosing instead to give him her purse and safely get away, will the reader consider such action as weak? In real life, I'd call that smart, but would we expect extraordinary feats from our fictional heroines? On the other hand, if a heroine is too strong (mentally or physically), is the reader no longer able to identify with her?

Recently I saw a comment about Yancy Butler - who played the tough detective Sarah Pezzini in Witchblade, The Series. The comment was that the portrayal of Sarah was too masculine. These were all of course opinions, but considering that Butler was often shown in tiny tank tops which showed her belly and outlined her other assets, I had a feeling that the word "masculine" came from her behavior - tough, no nonsense, swaggering motorcycle riding asskicker. And this made me strongly question my own writing and my own heroines.

My favorite novels and shows features extraordinary kickass heroines: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Eve Dallas from In Death series, Maxine from Dark Angel with her genetically bred "super powers", Starbuck the Hotshot Pilot from BattleStar Galactica, Detective Sarah Pezzini from Witchblade. These are extraordinary women, most of them living in extraordinary times. They have loved, have lost, and have a soft spot under a hard shell exterior. And they kick major ass - as do the female characters I naturally gravitate toward writing.

In Pas De Deux, I was faced with a challenge of writing a very feminine heroine - since a ballerina would think twice about kicking someone for fear of hurting her feet! Lynn Kovaleva is determined to get back her reputation, despite the pain and discipline of arduous training. She is probably the most feminine heroine I've written (there's no punching bag in sight anywhere in the novel!). And yet I would still consider Lynn to be a kickass heroine - due to her immense inner strength and discipline. And her smart mouth:)

I did include a small kicking scene in Pas De Deux, but even that was done in a smooth motion resembling a dance.

Pas De Deux © Fiona Jayde


She smiled, serene and beautiful. And Mateo barely missed a pink-shod foot aimed at his jaw.

He caught it just before she clocked him, felt a short tremble when he gave in to the urge and rubbed his thumb over her skin.

Those dark eyes flared wide and soft and brown.

“Let go.” A firm no-nonsense voice. More color on her cheeks.

“Say pretty please.”


To The Readers: Who are some of your favorite feminine kickass heroines?


Fiona is a space pilot, a ninth degree black belt in three styles of martial arts, a computer hacker, a mountain climber, a jazz singer, a weight lifter, a superspy with a talent for languages, and an evil genius. All in her own head. In life, she is an author of kickass, action packed, steamy romances, possesses a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do and blue belt in Aikido, a web developer, scared to death of heights, loves jazz piano, can bench-press about 20 pounds — with effort, speaks English and Russian fluently, and when not plotting murder and mayhem enjoys steamy romance novels, sexy spy thrillers, murky mysteries and movies where things frequently blow up. Her website is: .

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bald Face Liar--I mean, "Creative Writer"--Contest

My good friend and fellow author, the lovely and prolific Jenna Byrnes, tagged me to participate in this harmless liar’s game. I figured why the hell not? ;^) I’ll post seven items about me, only TWO of which are true. The others are “little white lies”. Try to figure out which two are true, and leave a comment. Correct guesses will be tossed into a random drawing for a free ebook. Winner will be chosen at noon on Wednesday March 10 (I'm going to be away this weekend--so I'll give you extra time).

1. When I was growing up, I had an imaginary playmate named Layla who told me she was an exiled princess.

2. My first kiss took place on the ferris wheel at a local carnival.

3. My first international travel, other than to Canada, was to France.

4. In high school, I was sent to the principal's office because my miniskirt violated the dress code.

5. I nearly died in a car accident when I was sixteen.

6. I am related by marriage to a Pulitzer prize winning author.

7. I spent three years in a polyamorous relationship with two men.

I now hereby pass on the Liar’s Torch to these writers ( in no particular order!). Keep the liar’s game going. Visit their sites and see if you can guess which of their statements are little white lies:

Ginger Simpson

Brynn Paulin

Bronwyn Green

Devon Rhodes

Kim Dare

Desiree Holt

Have fun and good luck! ~ Lisabet

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wild Wild Sex

By Laura Tolamei (Guest Blogger) (Note: this post is triple X!) This is a fun and sexy post to reflect if and how characters change their sexual style to adapt it to their partners. In my writing, I often have characters sleeping with both men and women, sometimes both at the same time, but I’ve never thought to analyze if they act differently. To be fair, they have anything but an easy time of it for I always require them to be as open minded as possible in bed! So here’s an exercise I hope you’ll enjoy in which you can confront Lidia, my Roman matron in Spying the Alcove, in various situations, including some very embarrassing ones, and judge if she indeed has a different attitude.


Please,” I begged at last, not really knowing what I wanted.

Please…what?” Brutus asked ironic.

Take me, fuck me, do something…anything. I can’t stand this torture any longer,” I replied, my head feeling hotter with the blood rushing to it.

This is just the beginning,” he assured, bending on his knees.

I tensed, unsure what he wanted to do. When I felt the wet tongue circling my ass hole, a wave of desire hit me so hard I almost fell. As if expecting it, he held me firmly on my legs, his tongue hardening as the circles narrowed on the hole. He lingered on the outside without taking the plunge despite my swaying. His slow rimming was irresistible, but he didn’t stop there.

Still holding my legs, his fingers traveled to my bursting clit, brushing it lightly. I almost jumped at the unfamiliar sensation. Men had never touched me there so I didn’t know how it felt. Even more surprisingly, his tongue slipped between my open legs, vigorously lapping the dripping wet skin hidden underneath. I tensed again, unsure about the situation. No one had ever taken this kind of interest in my body, let alone my pleasure, and the feeling was unsettling at best. But he kept going, uncaring about my reactions, his aim seemingly to make me feel more pleasure. So I dispelled the doubts, allowing him to do whatever he wanted.

Brutus’s wide spread tongue stroked the outside of my slit before rubbing its hard tip along the inner folds. I felt myself drip into his mouth, my fluids mixing with his saliva in a delicious combination. I slid on him, pressing down to brush harder against his tongue and he did not stop me. In fact, he even moved to the center of my throbbing sensation, hard tip curling around it before licking lavishly.

It would have been more than enough for my excited senses, but unexpectedly he added something more. With a decisive shove, Brutus pushed two fingers in my slit while other two ravished my asshole.


I must admit she’s good,” Britannicus reconfirmed at last, grabbing my hair, “but I’d like to play differently today.”

Not quite understanding what he meant, I raised my gaze and saw the men exchange an incomprehensible glance. Before I had time to think, Brutus pulled me up. “You’re right, Britannicus, so I’ll start with her and you can join any time.”

Grinning, he took me to the bed for a change, laying me down on my back. His hard cock had no trouble finding his way in my wet, actually drenched pussy, slipping inside in one single shove. I arched my back, curling my legs around his waist in order to pull him deeper, then moved my hips at his tempo, rubbing my clit against his crotch. The dance was moving faster when I noticed Britannicus settling behind Brutus. Tickling my feet with his tunic, he exposed the other man’s buns. I felt his hand travel lightly first on my legs, then obviously on Brutus’s naked skin. My eyes opened wider, partly curious as to what would happen, partly shocked at the strange images popping in my head. Is it going to happen? I wondered.

Don’t worry, Lidia,” Brutus breathed huskily as if reading my mind, “the game’s only going to get more interesting.”

How?” I asked, unable to contain my curiosity.

Can’t you guess?” he challenged.

Before I could answer, I felt him push harder on me as if something was holding him down. His movement changed, too, and that was when I understood Britannicus had shoved his hard cock in his ass. Disturbed at the mere idea, I stopped moving altogether while the two men adjusted the rhythm between them, going about it as if I weren’t there at all.

Obviously, men having sex with their own kind was nothing new to me, but I had always assumed they wouldn’t like women, having trouble satisfying them. Yet, both men had proven to be more than adequate in the art of lovemaking, using their cocks admirably well in all my available holes. Some women had told me about distressful situations where their partners had failed to have a hard-on, thereby ruining their entire evening. Nothing like that had ever happened to me, of course, well…at least until today. Or rather, their cocks were still as thick as the day before, but this unexpected twist made Brutus look less the conqueror and more the slave to my eyes. And I definitely didn’t like it.

Uncaring of my doubts, they kept pumping, coordinating their movements, rise and fall perfectly matched while I had lost my taste for it all. I just waited patiently for them to finish their business, but Brutus must have perceived something was wrong because he stopped.

Let’s change positions, Britannicus,” he suggested, hardly looking at me.


Without even glancing at me, they went to the triclinium, Brutus lying down on his back while Britannicus picked up his legs and placed them on his chest. Fascinated in spite of my misgivings, I watched the thick cock disappear inside Brutus’s slightly raised ass, the huge head fitting easily in the tight hole, enlarging it to an incredible size. I saw it shove forward, then pull back, taking a steady rhythm, followed by Brutus, too. Again, they seemed completely unaware of anything beyond their pleasure, but I was wrong.

Hey, Lidia,” I heard Brutus call me, “aren’t you going to join us?”

I blushed deeply. “I…don’t know how. I thought you wanted to be alone,” I said, my voice sounding as disappointed as my body.

Come here,” he invited me softly.

I reached him. Britannicus, still pumping hard, ignored me.


The lady’s having fun,” Britannicus mused, stopping my head. “That place you’ve found, Brutus, must be really something. Mind if I try it, too?”

Love switching,” Brutus assured.

Pulling out of my ass, he brought me to the triclinium where Britannicus had already lain down. With my back turned to the sprawled man, Brutus placed me on top of the jutting dick, pushing until my asshole felt the hardness nudging at the entrance. I tensed for a second, but he didn’t give me time to adjust. With one fast shove, Britannicus’s cock penetrated deep inside all the way to the balls.

It feels excellent, Brutus,” Britannicus remarked, again talking as if I weren’t there.

Yes and it’s going to feel even better.”

He made my back stretch down on his friend’s chest, my legs on either side of Britannicus’s body left my slit wide open for another guest. Kneeling between his friend’s legs, Brutus’s hungry cock penetrated in the free space, soon giving me a taste of his harsh shoves, which paired with the ones I felt in my ass.

The two immediately found a congenial rhythm and all I could do was lie there, trapped between them, my crushed body completely possessed by them. And it was magnificent. Never in my life had I felt so deliciously full. Cramping my tight spaces, my flesh wrapped around such big, hard cocks, wanting to suck them dry. The awareness that both wanted me, was pure pleasure in itself so I let their tide wash over my body. I couldn’t move anyway, their shoves jiggling me until everything shook on its own, fiery contractions spreading from the center to the farthest corners. My flesh coiled around their shafts, squeezed them tight, sucking them in so deep they had no way to resist. In a matter of seconds, they flooded me, both holes drenched with their fluids, remaining limp and dry.

Spying the Alcove by Laura Tolomei


GENRE: M/M, M/F/M, M/F, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

ISBN: 978-1-55487-347-0

HEAT LEVEL: 4 flames

RELEASE DATE: August 1st, 2009

PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books