Friday, April 30, 2010

The Bookworm

All my life I've been addicted to words. My parents taught me to read beginning around age four. I haven't stopped since. Even before then, they read to me and to my brother, stories and poems. My father made up rhyming songs for us, about dancing goldfish and clarinet-playing cats. Very early I became attuned to the rhythms of poetry and prose, the way words breathe, the way they sing.

I was the kid who lay on my bed reading, even on the sunny days, ignoring my mom's injunction to “go outside and play”. I was playing, tripping through the worlds of wonder between the covers of my books. I still remember the places I visited. Eleanor Cameron's mushroom planet. Evelyn Sibley Lampman's and Honore Valintcourt's city under the back steps. Nancy Drew's sleepy town full of secret doors and underground passages. I toured ancient Egypt and revolutionary America, met Betsy Ross and Helen Keller, Juliette Gordon Low and Sacajawea. I recall spending days in the Chateau D'If with poor, suffering Edmund Dantes. I wandered the red planet with Ray Bradbury and Robert Heinlein and journeyed through Middle Earth with Frodo and his band.

As I read, I also wrote – my first poems around age seven, my first stories no doubt even younger (although unlike my poems, none survive). I wrote plays about the Beatles and the 1964 U.S. presidential election. I wrote part of a novel about woman who falls in love with a ghost in a haunted mansion by the sea. Delighted by the music of the language I was studying, I wrote verse in French.

All through school I was the bookworm, the egghead, the shy girl with the coke-bottle eyeglasses who got all As but few dates. This really didn't change much until I got to graduate school and “blossomed”. In the interim, I wrote dozens of angst-ridden poems about my unrequited loves.

It's surprising to me now, but I never really planned on being an author. I was going to be a famous scientist, like Marie Curie. Aside from some work published in my high school newspaper, my writing was mostly private. As my career goals morphed and I became a computer scientist and software engineer, I continued to write – research papers, proposals, specifications, manuals, marketing blurbs -- interspersed with more creative work. I tried my hand at a romance but foundered, not really knowing the genre. Under the tutelage of the primary man in my life, I began to read erotica, including quite a lot of BDSM. I wrote fantasies for his pleasure. I penned a couple of science fiction/erotica tales and toyed with the notion of a collection.

Still, I didn't actually write anything for publication until I was in my forties. I happened to pick up a copy of Portia da Costa's Black Lace classic Gemini Heat while I was traveling. I found it intelligent, imaginative and above all arousing. Then I thought, “I'll bet I could write something like that.” About eighteen months later, my first novel, Raw Silk, was published by Black Lace. The rest, as they say, is history LOL. (My full publishing history is available at

Since then I've published six novels and dozens of shorter works. I love to write. I began in the erotica genre but now I also write erotic romance. My earlier works tended to be realistic and contemporary, but as I gain more experience I'm starting to experiment with paranormals, historicals, thrillers and other sub-genres.

Nevertheless, my first love is still reading. There's nothing like thrill of finding a book that takes you over completely. I recently had that experience with Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale. Both the language and the story held me spellbound. Of course, I probably appreciated the novel more because it is about the magic of the written word, about stories and the difference between literal truth and emotional truth.

Words have power. They can inspire. They can wound. They can crystallize entire new worlds out of mere thought.

These days I'm proud to be a bookworm. I consider myself fortunate to have discovered the joy of reading at such an early age. I look forward to the many books waiting for me in the years ahead.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Danger on the Westward Trail

By Anna Kathryn Lanier (Guest Blogger)

My current work in progress is set during the 1860’s and takes place on a wagon train heading to Oregon. I’ve taken to read diaries of the brave women who took this arduous journey. In some cases, truth is stranger than fiction, but in all journeys, the trip was fraught with danger.

In “Days on the Road: Crossing the Plains in 1865,” Sarah Raymond Herndon’s diary relates the accidental death of a fellow traveler. As was the custom, the men often hunted for wild game while the wagons moved across the prairie. In this case, they were hunting prairie chickens. All the men and boys fired at once, but one boy’s gun failed to go off, so he tossed it into a wagon. Soon thereafter, the wagon passed by Mr. Milburn, who dropped to his knees, saying “I am shot.” It was thought he’d shot himself, but whileholding his cold gun, they knew he hadn’t. Upon investigation, it was discovered that when the wagon struck a hole, the gun the boy had thrown into it had fired, striking and killing Mr. Milburn.

Disease was very common among the travelers, cholera being especially rampant. In “Covered Wagon Women: Diaries & Letters from the Western Trails, 1840-1849,” Sallie Hester’s diary relates “a great many deaths; graves everywhere.” Anna Marie King writes in a letter “sickness and death attended us the rest of the way…whooping cough and measles went through our little camp…and a lingering fever prevailed.” She goes on to say that “eight [in] our two families have gone to their long home.”

River crossings were numerous and very dangerous. Elizabeth Dixon Smith tells of a man “swam after the cattle…sunk and was seen no more.” Sallie tells of “a lady and four children were drowned” on the Platte.

An unfortunate, but common danger for the emigrants was taking the suggestion of a guide to follow them on a “short-cut.” Often, these short-cuts were undeveloped trails not worthy of wagon travel. Sallie Hester and Tabitha Brown’s families both fell victim to “rascally” fellows. Believing the route to be faster, Sallie’s train finds “neither wood nor water for fifty-two miles.” (The average daily mileage was 10-20 miles; in rough terrain, it could be as little as two miles a day). Tabitha’s wagons faired much worse. The men had to hack and clear a trail after their guide ran off. They were caught in a canyon for two to three weeks, their food running out and they themselves dying from fatigue and starvation.

With winter setting in and two mountains still to climb, they group decided to settle in for the winter. Her son-in-law went ahead in the hopes of at least bringing back provisions. He didn’t have to go far, however. Tabitha’s son, who had already made it to Oregon, had heard of a “wayward” train and he had set out with provisions to find it. The two men met up and returned to the starving emigrants. With the help of mixed-blood French-Indians as guides, the train soon found a settlement to spend the coming winter.

Six and half months after starting their journey, Sallie’s family arrives in Vernon, California. “Our party of fifty, now only thirteen, has at last reached this haven of rest.”

Many of the diaries note the number of graves passed each day. Others keep note of the deaths in their own party. One estimate states that one in seventeen emigrants died on the trail. That’s 20,000 people of the more than 350,000 who travelled westward between 1840-1860.

I do not know if I would have had the fortitude to make such a long, hard journey, but we should be grateful to those who did.


Anna Kathryn Lanier writes both contemporary and historical westerns. Her novella Salvation Bride is a best seller at The Wild Rose Press and won the Preidtors and Editors Reader’s Poll for best short story of 2009. You can discover more about Anna Kathryn at or

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Winner for the Week of April 18

Hello Readers!

I've just gotten back from my travels and drawn the winning name for the week of April 18th. Carol L, please send me email letting me know which of my ebooks you would like to receive as your prize.

You still have a few days to enter the contest. I'll announce the final week's winner, and the grand prize winner, on Sunday May 2nd.

Review: Standish by Erastes

Reviewed by Lisabet Sarai

(You can buy Standish at

Historical settings have long been popular in the erotica genre. There are many potential advantages to using the Victorian era, the Regency period, medieval France or ancient Rome as the site for a sexy tale. Plot, character, and setting elements that would be difficult to justify in a contemporary story fit naturally in the past: corporal punishment, kidnapping, and slavery; ruined gentlewomen and debauched nobles; exotic costumes and accessible undergarments; romantically isolated castles and conveniently private carriages; candlelight instead of electricity; hand-penned missives, scented and wax-sealed, in lieu of email.

Many "historical" erotic novels, however, merely adopt the trappings of their chosen period while retaining a modern perspective. The attitudes and actions of the characters are not consistent with the mores and assumptions of the historical period. Even the language is frequently contemporary, using modern conventions that eschew description and favor a third person limited-omniscient point of view, focused on one or two characters.

STANDISH, a homoerotic romance set in England in the Regency period (roughly 1800-1830), is the real thing, a genuine historical novel in which the characters are believable creatures of their era. In Regency England, buggery was a capital crime and duelling was an accepted method for settling disputes. Society was divided between a wealthy aristocracy renowned for its excesses, and a rabble of poor, uneducated commoners who lived in unbelievable squalor and misery. A fledgling middle class struggled to emulate the respectability and extravagance of the nobles. Position and reputation were supremely important. The world was a dangerous and uncertain place as Europe looked back fearfully on the bloody years of the French Revolution.

STANDISH is set against this background. It chronicles the relationship of Ambrose Standish, a bookish, sheltered former aristocrat fallen on difficult times, and Rafe Goshawk, wealthy, cynical, and highly susceptible to beautiful young men.

From the very first, Ambrose and Rafe are in implicit conflict over Standish, the elegant Dorset estate that should have been Ambrose's birthright. Rafe's grandfather won the estate from Ambrose's grandfather in a reputedly rigged card game; the elder Standish was later killed in a duel when he accused his opponent of cheating. Ambrose lives with his spinster sisters in a modest dwelling on the fringes of the Standish property, the main house always before him like an unachievable dream.

After living abroad or in London most of his life, Rafe decides to move to Standish with his young son Sebastien. Unaware of Ambrose's family history, Rafe hires Ambrose as a tutor. As soon as the worldly aristocrat sets eyes on the handsome young scholar, Rafe desires him, although Ambrose is cold and formal. Rafe's schemes of seduction are derailed when he suffers a serious fall and is bedridden for several weeks. Ambrose cares for the invalid Rafe, and gradually falls in love with him. Eventually Rafe recovers and realizes that Ambrose is more than simply a conquest, that he loves the man and that his passion is returned.

All this happens in the first dozen chapters. The novel continues in the typical mold of a romance, with obstacles and misunderstandings arising between the lovers, which at long last are resolved. The obstacles, however, are far from typical. Just as he is learning to enjoy the physical aspects of loving Rafe, Ambrose is brutally raped by one of Rafe's discarded paramours. This sets off a chain of events that culminates in Ambrose narrowly escaping the gallows for buggery and being imprisoned in the notorious Newgate.

On one level, STANDISH is a classic romance. Rafe and Ambrose are truly and deeply in love; this is a conjunction of souls, not merely a physical dalliance. At the same time, it turns romance conventions on their heads. In this period, Rafe and Ambrose risk their lives if they love openly. Homosexual desire is a mortal sin; homosexual activity is a crime punishable by death.

The historical authenticity of this novel is enhanced by Erastes' stylistic choices. The author writes in the third person omniscient, with extensive descriptions and passages of bridging narration or backstory that would be out of place in a contemporary novel, but which fit the current tale perfectly. Erastes is not Jane Austen, but I could almost believe that this book had been written in the period that it describes.

The minor characters add to the effect. The clergyman dedicated to educating slum children; his gentle and self-sacrificing sister; the dissolute soldier who is ruined by his infatuation with Rafe; the scheming Irish prisoner who controls the Newgate occupants through bribes, threats and carnal favors; these characters are familiar figures from stories of the period.

The one aspect of STANDISH that is likely not historically authentic is the sexual description. The sex scenes are much more graphic than anything one would be likely to find in a mainstream Regency novel, though they are less explicit than what one finds in contemporary gay erotica. Erastes doesn't mince words, but Rafe's and Ambrose's encounters tend to be sensual and intense rather than crude and raunchy.

I read a lot of erotica. For me, STANDISH was refreshingly different from the froth of recreational sex or the edgy post-modernism that characterize much of what I read. It is a well-executed period piece with stimulating characters and a surprisingly unpredictable plot. Even though I knew that this was a romance novel that should end happily ever after, I wondered up until the very end whether Rafe and Ambrose really would manage to be reunited.

If you are the sort of person who gets impatient with description and annoyed with an author that tells a story rather than focusing solely on the action, you probably should skip STANDISH. On the other hand, if you sometimes prefer the more leisurely pace of nineteenth century novels, and you're interested in gay male themes, then you will probably enjoy STANDISH as much as I did.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Exposure - An Excerpt

Exposure is an erotic thriller with a strong element of romance. Stella, the main character, is probably my favorite of all the protagonists I've created. You can buy your own copy of this novel at Phaze Books


Stella is just minding her own business and having a bit of fun, working as an exotic dancer at the Peacock Lounge. Through no fault of her own, she witnesses a double murder and gets pulled into a shady dance of deceit with political bigwigs, mob bosses, dirty cops and scheming widows. Now she’s everyone’s target; her only chance is to sift through the lies and expose the truth.

Excerpt - Adult

The first bars of the music free me from any anxiety. I fix my eyes on him and begin to move. Graceful. Sensual. I'm extremely turned on, but I want this performance to be classy, not raunchy the way I sometimes am.

The shoes go first. Now I unfasten my jacket, lingering over each button. Building the suspense. I'm wearing regular lingerie, flimsy and feminine, instead of one of my costumes. My breasts are like melons, encased in black lace. No padding or wires on this bra; my nipples are clearly visible, pushing the fabric into sweet little peaks.

I do the classic strip, turning my back and inching the skirt zipper down. Shimmying the garment over my hips to my ankles. I feel his eyes on my rump. When I turn back to face him, I try out the stare on him. The results are mixed.

He's not closed off like his friend. I can see deep into his soul. I see passion, hunger, clean and healthy. Not twisted and painful like some of the guys at the Peacock.

At the same time, though, I feel like he sees into me. It's like he's touching me inside, probing, trying to discover what I want. It's strange and very intimate. His eyes make my clit harden and my juices flow.

But my eyes are doing the same to him. I can see the bulge in his tailored trousers. His breath is coming a bit more quickly, too.

I unfasten the bra in front. Instead of tossing it at him, which is my first idea, I let it drift to the floor. I caress my breasts, as much for my own pleasure as for his. I love their heaviness in my hands. I love the way the skin shades to rich darkness at their tips. And the nipples themselves, round and firm like the best Kalamata olives. I roll them between my fingers, my breath starting to become ragged.

Finally, there are just my bikini panties between me and nakedness. I hold off as long as I can, letting the music build to its climax. At the crescendo, I undo the ribbons at each hip, so the thing just falls away from my body. For a moment I stand there proudly, my curly black pubic hair glistening with my own moisture. Tony's eyes devour me. Then the music dies away. I sink to the carpet in a curtsy, strangely exhausted.

I came here to dance. Just a job. But now I want more. And so does Tony.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

How Does a Writer Find the Time?

By Patricia Pellicane (Guest Blogger)

We’ve all been there. Many times I’ve wondered after a hard day, how did I manage to get all that done? Because it’s not only writing that needs doing. It’s not just deadlines that have to be made. It’s advertising, it’s networking, it’s blogging, it’s working on your website. And it’s life. Life gets in the way of everything.

When I worked a steady job I remember remarking, “I haven’t got the time for this.” What with two children still at home, a house that was always in desperate need of repairs, or just simply cleaning, groceries to buy, meals to prepare. And yet I did. If I wanted my salary at the end of the week, and I surely did, I found the time.

Now, I’m retired. Retired from a steady job but hardly retired. Life still gets in the way.

When I first began writing, I remember women complaining they couldn’t find the time. They had a house to see to, a husband who wanted dinner on time, children that needed to be taken to scouts, religious instructions, softball and soccer practice, horseback riding and games.

Who didn’t? In the beginning, I had all six kids living at home. Still I managed to do the things that needed getting done. Granted things became a bit less than perfect. My floors no longer glowed, my kitchen didn’t sparkle. Still things got done. I had help of course. My kids were teenagers and they helped me with the cleaning and did some babysitting. Sure things weren’t done the way I liked them, but I had to make a decision. Did I want a sparkling clean house, or did I want to publish.

Well, I’d had a sparkling clean house for about eighteen years and big deal. What came of it? Everyday that house got dirty again. Everyday the bathroom needed scrubbing, the dishes needed washing, furniture needed polishing and nothing stayed as I left it. And no one expected that it would.

But when I wrote. This was the time for magic. This was when things stayed as I put them. Unlike a clean floor, a book lasts.

I’m still a wife and mother of six. My kids are married and out of the house now, but there are always occasions to make, birthdays, graduations, communions, showers, weddings, the birth of babies, christenings, the list goes on. It’s life.

Still, I write everyday. Whether I have to meet a deadline or I’m simply in the midst of a story, I write. And I write because I must. Finding the time is not an option. I’m a writer. It’s the reason I get out of bed every morning. It’s what I do. It’s what I am.


Patricia Pellicane lives with her husband on Long Island in New York. Her six children live in neighboring towns as do most of her fifteen grandchildren. Her favorite hobby is reading. Patricia insists her ideas for stories come while doing dishes. “Could anything be more boring? It’s nearly impossible to keep your mind from wandering.” In a recent interview she was asked. How hard or easy is it for you to write? Patricia returned with, “Someone once wrote. ‘Writing is easy. All you have to do is put a sheet of paper in a typewriter and stare at it until blood forms on your forehead’. Sometimes writing is exactly like that. And other times it’s a wondrous happening where words flow from mind to fingers to computer screen almost without conscious thought. It doesn’t matter which way it works for you. Once a writer begins the journey, they’re hooked. It’s a drug and you can’t stop looking for that next story, that next high.”

Patricia’s fans can contact her at, ppellicane[at] or stop in at her website at Click under Books for a list of her twenty two printed published books and About Me to catch a glimpse of what Patricia thinks about life in general and more.

Heat Flash

By Patricia Pellicane

Resplendence Publishing -- March 30th release


Vinnie never considered her nakedness as she reached for her gun. She grunted at nearly crushing weight of him as he’d slammed into her, spun her around and fell full length upon her. Heavier than a boulder, he squashed her almost flat. She couldn’t breathe.

This monster was going to kill her, and she couldn’t manage enough of a breath to call for help. Damn this brute to hell. Maybe she was going to die, but she wasn’t going to leave this world without a fight. She swung at him, her hand curled into fists. She grunted in pain as he blocked her swing just before she would have contacted with the side of his face. A second later, both her hands were pulled tightly over her head. She tried to kick him; she bucked her hips beneath him in an effort to throw him off. Nothing. He was heavier than the earth and equally as hard. He had to know she couldn’t breathe; her strangled gasps and soft desperate grunts were enough to tell even the most simple-minded that she was in serious trouble. But did he care? Obviously, he did not.

Suddenly, he pulled away, just enough to allow her a lungful of air. Their gazes locked for an instant before his mouth came crashing over hers and what would have been a scream became little more than a moan, lost in the warmth of his mouth.

She gasped in his breath. It didn’t matter. Her starving lungs cared not. Her heart pounded wildly. It didn’t matter that he tasted of clean skin, of fresh air, of warm coffee, a distant hint of whiskey, of man. It wasn’t that he tasted good, of course. A man who broke in couldn’t possible taste good, could he? Didn’t one have to love a man, or at the very least like him, before enjoying his kisses. Well, of course, she wasn’t enjoying his kisses. Good grief! Besides, they both knew he wasn’t really kissing her. The only reason his mouth covered hers was to quiet her screams. And if he was more gentle than most, it mattered not in the least. Liking this man or his kisses bore no consideration. She didn’t know him, therefore, she couldn’t honestly say she liked anything about him. Still, she knew one thing. She most certainly did not like his kisses.

Then why wasn’t she crying, begging him to stop, pleading for mercy

She did none of those things. Even her struggles had ceased. Why? Because there was no need. In truth, he posed no real threat. He wasn’t the madman who had killed her husband. He was the man from the bathhouse and there was nothing threatening in his kiss.

She’d stop him in a minute. All she had to do was wait for him to lift his head, to gasp for a breath of air and she’d scream the house down. She wouldn’t have to wait much longer. She was sure she wouldn’t. Any minute now, she’d get that chance.

In the meantime, it couldn’t hurt if she relaxed. After all, she gained nothing but aching muscles if she remained tense. Once he noticed she was calmer, he’d raise his head. She was positive he would.

Only he didn’t.

The oddest thing happened. Even as she swore it to be impossible, Vinnie’s breath caught in her throat and her heart pounded. Granted it was already pounding with fright, but this…this was something different. It pounded still, and she couldn’t honestly say why.

She forgot her insistence that it couldn’t be so and silently admitted he did taste good. Odd, despite her wild and extreme emotions, she had the sense to realize this man certainly knew what to do with his mouth, especially when that mouth touched a woman’s.

Vinnie couldn’t remember ever being kissed like this. It was more than lips, more than a brush of his tongue. It went deeper than that, far more intimate. It tantalized as it involved all of him, his touch, his taste, his breath, just the right amount of pressure. It was all of that yet nothing she could name.

“More,” he muttered. “Give me more.”

She frowned as she listened to his softly uttered demand and frowned again as she realized she was unable to maintain any resistance, any thought beyond the taste of his mouth and the sensations that mouth caused her. Something was wrong, yet she couldn’t, for the moment, understand what that might be. She forgot to be afraid, forgot to fight and forgot to think. And none of it mattered. Nothing mattered but the feel of him, the delicious roughness of his clothes against her nakedness, the smell of him and the taste of his mouth. Nothing was more important than her sudden need for more.

Vinnie moaned her pleasure as her lips parted and he dipped his tongue into her heat. And moaned again as she sucked him deeper into the fire. God, she’d never been so hot, never thought it possible to be so hot. She squirmed beneath him, her body telling him without words that she wanted more. Without thought, her hips lifted slightly against his erection.

She smiled at his moan of pleasure. He released her hands, but she had long forgotten the need to fight. Of their own volition, they cupped his cheeks, discovering the rough texture of whiskers, then threaded into crisp, clean hair. God, she loved this more than she could say.

And when his hand slid down the length of her, she almost cried out her pleasure. He murmured something, she didn’t know what and it never mattered less. The only thing that mattered was he should never stop kissing her, never stop breathing her.

“Taste you. I have to taste you.”

She smiled as the words slowly penetrated a fog of desire. Yes, she wanted to cry. Oh yes, please taste me. The thought came, but she never said the words. Never got the chance for his mouth had already left hers to settle deliciously against her throat and moved to where her shoulder met her neck. God, did anything feel better than the touch of a man’s mouth on a shoulder, than the roughness of whiskers as they moved over soft skin?

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Joys of a Dirty Mind

People sometimes ask me why I write erotic fiction. I could offer many serious answers, but sometimes I just smile and tell them that it's because I have a dirty mind. I was cooking for a dinner party last week, Melanzana Al Forno (baked eggplant). I opened the prepackaged bag of Italian eggplant to discover the item shown in the photo below.

I could hardly bear to chop up this article and dump it in my casserole. Now, to you it might look like nothing more than a slightly misshapen vegetable, but to me it's another stimulus to my over-active imagination. ("Melanzana Al Forno" would make quite a good title for a short story, I think.)

Then there was this rock formation, which my husband and I encountered on an idyllic island vacation... I just can't help it. Wherever I go, whatever I do, the sexual side of life just seems to jump out at me.

Mostly, I don't focus on inanimate objects. People have far more potential as the subjects for erotic imaginings. When I see a gorgeous guy in a tight tee shirt on the subway, or a svelte career woman striding down the sidewalk in a fitted suit and heels, or a young couple holding hands on the department store escalator, I find myself imagining their lives and their loves. A particularly warm smile from a cute waiter; a shiny pair of handcuffs dangling from a policeman's well-tailored uniform pocket; the long, thick braid dangling below the waist of my Indian neighbor; pretty much anything can set me off. Few of my friends know how often they feature in my dreams and fantasies.

Of course, reality is only the starting point. In my writing, I've been known to push things to extremes, starting with a simple what-if. What if a lover coated his fingers with chili oil before stroking my sex? What if billiard cues and balls were turned into obscene toys? What if there were a club where you could offer yourself to strangers without shame or consequences?

I capture the results of these hypothetical imaginings in my writing. It might sound as though I'm obsessed with the physical aspects of sex, but nothing could be further from the truth. In my view, the body is the reflection of the spirit. The tangible offers clues to the intangible. When I find someone desirable, it's because of who they are, not what they look like.

The most deliciously seductive imaginings involve the timeless constants of romance: eternal love, perfect communion, passion that never dulls or fades. I like to write about men and women finding their true selves in each other. I write about connections made at the physical level and the psychic level. I write because I want to reveal what is to me an obvious truth: that sexual relationships can be paths to self-realization.

Now that does sound serious. Maybe I should have stuck with the dirty mind excuse!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

We're All Liars!

By Rebecca Rose (Guest Blogger)

As an author I tend to get many curious looks and questions when people discover what I do as a ‘hobby’. I say hobby because while this isn’t my primary job, it is the one that keeps me sane. I love putting words down and sewing them into tales that entertain and sometimes educate my readers. And while many don’t understand how you can put so much time and effort into a ‘hobby’ that doesn’t pay like a full time job, it’s the love for words that has us authors striving to be the best at what we do.

At the end of March I attended a conference in Pennsylvania called The Write Stuff. I thought of it as a college course crammed into four days of intense learning. I wasn’t disappointed. They covered everything from how to write a novel and end it, to what a prose and premise are. One of the best pieces of advice I received at this meet was from author James Frey. He said to us that anything we write is ‘crap’. Yes crap, because any story can be made better with a little education and lots of practice.

What we need to remember is that all authors are liars and our goal is to be an expert liar. This can only happen with a lot of research and patience. To weave together little intricate things in your story to make the tale more believable for the time and place it’s set. Dialogue, cars, computers, what people eat/wear, all of these things combined together, when done right, will make your story more believable and less, dare I say, ‘crap’. To some authors these things are a given, a knowledge that everyone knows. So why am I saying it? Well, as I learned on this weekend of substantial information, what comes easy and evident to some, is not to others. For instance, I didn’t know I was a liar. Something as obvious as this actually had a light bulb going on in my head and suddenly it became easier to write the scenes I was previously blocked from.

There are so many things which go into creating a story. So many in fact, I sometimes lose track of what is what. Premise, Prose, Plot, Character Development, Narrator, Limited Omniscience, Full Omniscience. Okay, I had never heard of the last two until the conference but trust me they’re helpful. Actually here’s a great site for you with definitions. I refer to it when my brain decides to leave me at pivotal points in editing.

So there you go. A little knowledge I learned and passed on to you. We’re liars who write ‘crap’. Hee hee hee I love my job!

Thank you Lisabet for having me. Nothing is as wonderful as spending the day among friends.

Rebecca Rose

Bio: Once Rebecca Rose picked up her first romance novel she knew her destiny was typed on those pages. She lives to find romance in ordinary life doing everyday things, by believing you just need to be conscious enough to look for it. While being slightly dyslexic has created some challenges for her, she feels compelled to write about the characters living in her head.

Divine Turmoil was her first adventure in writing novel length stories. After finishing this work of love, inspired by the death of her Grandmother, she felt the need to find out what happened to the other characters. And a series was born.

This started a new and exciting life for Rebecca and her family who live in Western Massachusetts with their three tenacious children, deaf dog Max, and three cats: Enzo, Snowball (who’s all black) and a very lazy Maine Coon named Murphy’s Law. She’s also had numerous short tales published with her hometown magazine.

Reading was, and still is, an enjoyment that her whole family takes pleasure in. It is the only time the house is quiet, unless the family has gone hiking. Otherwise, Guitar Hero guarantees their home is never dull.

Rebecca is always delighted to hear from her readers.

Blurb: A family illness draws Serena home to face issues she's avoided for years: an absent father, an ornery sister, and steamy neighbor Brian Allan. With one broken marriage behind him, Brian can't believe he's falling for Serena. She's a risk on heels -- spirited but vulnerable, and utterly irresistible. He'd be crazy to give her a second glance. She'll break his heart. Or his bed. Probably both...

Excerpt: When the knock came on the screen door, Serena happily yelled an enthusiastic, “Come in! I’m down the hall!” Given she’d spent the morning making sure the yard was in the best shape possible for her mother’s arrival the next afternoon, she was running a little late and still getting dressed after her shower. Serena was just pulling on her shirt when she heard Brian’s voice.

“Hey, babe. I’ve come to join you, Hope and Will.” Brian walked right into Serena’s room, since the door had been left open.

Serena caught a glimpse of the heat rising in Brian’s cheeks before he turned his back to her. God, he’s cute was her first thought. “Knocking’s nice, sweetie.”

“I did knock. You told me to come in, remember?”

He was embarrassed, Serena realized. And this wasn’t a man that would embarrass easily.

“Sorry,” Brian said in more of an accusing tone than an apologetic one.

“It’s nothing you haven’t seen before on another woman. Hey,” she said putting a hand on his shoulder, “it’s okay.”

“Sorry,” he said again.

He was watching her so intently, Serena felt heat rise from her toes to wake every nerve in her body. “Really... It’s o...okay.”

“No, it’s not.”

Before she knew what was happening, one of his hands was in her hair, while the other wrapped around her waist, pulling her close. His mouth was savage on hers, and his tongue demanded hers to play. It only took Serena a second to register what was happening. She was becoming a prisoner to Brian’s desires. Without thought, her hands went possessively into his hair and her body responded to his in a violent need.

The world spun away from them. Brian’s lips were full and soft with a mouth teeming of potent flavors. When his hand streaked up Serena’s back, her breath hitched and her hands began to roam, creating a hurricane of sensations that rushed through the both of them. She could feel the tight muscles under his shirt, and whimpered at the thought of feeling them without any barriers. When Serena pressed her nails into Brian’s shoulders, he trembled. This is quickly going to get out of hand, she realized, if I don’t do something.

Brian stepped back at the same time she did. His eyes were glued to her mouth, which was still slightly parted and swollen. He cupped her face and looked intently into her eyes. “My God, Serena, you’re driving me crazy.”

Serena tried to say something, but nothing came out. They both stepped farther away from one another when they heard the rap on the door. Hope’s voice carried through the house as Serena emerged from the hallway trying not to appear like she’d just gotten done doing something naughty.

“You seem a bit pale, Serena. Are you feeling all right?” Whatever she would have said next was lost when Hope saw Brian also emerging from the hall. “Oh! Did I interrupt something?” She gave Serena an accusing look, as if to say ‘I can’t leave you alone for more than a minute without you getting into trouble’. “You’re still planning to come with us, right? You did promise Lizzy.”

“Of course I’m still coming. I don’t know what’s going through that head of yours, but I’m pale because I spent the morning doing the lawn and I’m a little tired.” She gave Hope an insolent glare. “We’ll meet you in the car. I have to find my sandals.”

“Well, make it quick.” With that, Hope tromped out the door.

“That girl could use a vacation and some good ole lusty sex.” Brian nodded his head in agreement with himself.

“She makes me feel like I just got done doing something sinful and got caught by my mother. Damn her!” Serena said in a raised voice.

“Yeah!” Brian said, shaking a fist. “Let’s get her.”

Serena couldn’t help but laugh. It was as if Brian knew exactly what would melt away all the tension. “Come on, Bri,” she said, looping her arm through his after grabbing her sandals. “If we take too long, she’ll think we’re having a quickie.”

Brian raised his eyebrow mischievously. “She has a dirty mind, eh? How about you?”

Serena winked at him. “It runs in the family.”

“I’d like to see what your mind could come up with sometime.”

“I bet you would.”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Blog Contest Drawing for week of April 12th

Hello, all!

Sorry to be a bit late with this...I've chosen my weekly winner from all of you who left comments last week. The lucky individual is Angelia!

Please visit my books page, Angelia ( and pick out which ebook you'd like to receive, then send me email at lisabet at

There are still two weeks left to the contest. So please, keep adding your comments! Remember that every comment left on a guest's post counts twice.


Review: Sparta Rose by Ginger Simpson

Reviewed by Lisabet Sarai (You can buy Sparta Rose from Eternal Press.)

Seventeen year old Ellie Fountain hates being a girl. She is sure that her father would have preferred having a son to help him run the family ranch, Fountainhead, perched in the beautiful Cumberland Hills above the town of Sparta, Tennessee. Ellie can’t even remember her mother, who died when she was an infant. Her dad is all she has, and she wants to prove to him that she is as capable as any man.

However, Tyler Bishop, the ranch foreman, keeps interfering with her goal. Ty is her father’s favorite, monopolizing her dad’s attention and admiration. Ellie suspects that Ty is scheming to steal her birthright by ingratiating himself with her father. Even if his intentions are honest, he doesn’t take her seriously, viewing her as “just a girl” despite the fact that she has grown up in the saddle and can ride, rope and handle a shotgun as well as any of the ranch hands.

Ben Fountain needs all the help he can get. Newcomer Dude Bryant and his twin sons, Jeb and Joshua, are putting pressure on him and the other locals to sell their land. When persuasion isn’t sufficient, the Bryants appear quite willing to use intimidation and other unsavory tactics. Secretly, Ellie buys herself a pistol and teaches herself to use it, in order to assist in defending Fountainhead. When Ty and her father discover her ambitions, though, her father scolds her and Ty belittles her.

Despite his dismissive behavior, Ellie can’t stop thinking about Ty. The feelings that he evokes are puzzling, disturbing and thrilling, even though the two of them spend most of their time in each other’s presence arguing. When her father convinces Ty to invite Ellie to the annual harvest dance down in Sparta, Ellie’s excitement at the prospect of being close to Ty overwhelms her annoyance at her father’s meddling. The night of the dance begins as a romantic idyll. However, misunderstandings between Ellie and Ty make her vulnerable to the evil plans of Jeb Bryant.

I greatly enjoyed reading Sparta Rose. Ellie is a fabulous character, distinctive and believable. She’s brash and funny, sometimes silly, sometimes strong. Her conflicting emotions and volatile moods fit in well with her tender age. Ms. Simpson does an excellent job showing us her growing maturity in the face of danger and blossoming love.

I loved Tyler, too. He’s not the perfect, stereotyped romance hero. Sure, he’s handsome and capable, but he’s almost as confused and vulnerable as Ellie. He’s constantly putting his foot in his mouth and making her angry. The author doesn’t tell us how old Ty is, but he’s obviously pretty young and inexperienced himself, especially when it comes to women.

These two characters really carry the novel. Their banter comes alive on the pages. Although the plot somewhat predictable, the resolution did surprise me. Still, Jeb Bryant is portrayed as such a thorough villain, you know right away that he’s going to do something extremely nasty.

Sparta Rose is a sweet romance. There are some intense kisses, and some lustful feelings, but nothing more explicit. Although I tend to write much more graphic romance myself, I didn’t feel disappointed at all by the lack of sex in this novel. It fit with the main characters, both of whom were new to love.

If you like sweet romance with a western flavor, I highly recommend Sparta Rose. The cover is a perfect image of Ellie: slender and feminine, strong and proud, loving and defending her Tennessee home.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ruby's Rules - An Excerpt

Another excerpt, this time from Ruby's Rules. It's hard to know how to categorize this novel. It's definitely a romance in a sense. The hero and heroine are clearly in love, no matter how hard they fight against their feelings, and they get together in the end. On the other hand, the book might be labeled as erotica, since it includes scenes where the main characters are involved with other individuals. It also includes a lesbian sub-plot.

I guess you'll have to get a copy from Eternal Press and decide for yourself!


Brilliant, beautiful and ruthless, Ruby Maxwell Chen heads the British business empire founded by her late father, tycoon Liu Shan Chen. She uses both her financial acumen and her sexual persuasiveness to turn every negotiation to her advantage. However, she may have met her match in Richard Martell, the charismatic CEO of an American high technology company, who challenges her claim to a chip fabrication plant in her native Malaysia.

Martell is as expert in the exercise of sexual power as she is, and just as willing to use his skills to advance his business objectives. He invites Ruby and her assistant Margaret to his enclave in Los Angeles, where the owner of the fabrication plant and his innocent daughter are enjoying a lengthy visit Ruby and Rick engage in an escalating contest of wits and of flesh that ultimately involves everyone around them, as each tries to make the other submit. Ultimately, there are some surprises in store for both of them, as they gradually recognize their mutual affinity, and the double-edged nature of power.

Excerpt – Adult

“Bravo.” A soft, melodious male voice, and then the sound of applause. “I’m extremely impressed.”

I pull myself abruptly upright. Did someone dare to watch me and my medieval servitor?

I have just been finger-fucked to exhaustion, yet my first reaction is a wave of total, incomprehensible lust. Incomprehensible because the man who stands between the parted curtains is not at all my type. He is short and wiry. His hair is scraggly and a bit too long around his ears, and he has a dreadful drooping black mustache. He wears nondescript jeans and a khaki shirt.

Somehow, though, he radiates sexuality. His aura is palpable, the air thick and sticky as syrup. He fixes me with his intense, dark eyes and grins. I feel like I am melting. I want to spread my legs wider, desperately offer my swelling sex for him to use as he will.

I struggle with my impulses, close my legs decisively and try to stare him down. “I gather you were spying on me and my admirer.”

“Indeed. A most entertaining and instructive tableau.” He enters the balcony-space, letting the curtains close behind him, and picks up the flogger. The knotted thongs dangle an inch above my cleavage. “You seem to be quite an expert in the arts of discipline.”

“Hardly,” I say, taking the whip from him, trying to take control of the interaction. “I am just beginning to explore the possibilities. But,” I say, my eyes narrowing to watch his reaction, “I do find myself quite sensitive to my partners’ desires to yield to my power.”

“I could see that. You knew what he wanted, and you gave it to him.” He paused, and searched my face. “But, do you know what I want?”

Truly, I have no idea. He seems fascinated by the flogger, but I sense only a hint of submission in him, a playful curiosity totally different from the aching need of my recent conquest.

His eyes play over my body in a leisurely fashion, appreciative, it seems, but not urgent. Surreptitiously, I glance at his fly: an appealing bulk there, but no indication of arousal.

I, on the other hand, am hornier than I have been in weeks. Maybe months. Or ever. My clit throbs like a sore tooth. I lean forward so that my breasts part invitingly, and lick my painted lips.

“Tell me what you want,” I purr. “I’m feeling generous tonight, and just might grant your request.”

He leans toward me in answer, and grasps my chin. Strange electricity flows from his touch. My breasts ache. My cunt is on fire.

“I want you to take me home with you,” he says with a cryptic smile. And then he kisses me.

I am not sentimental. I am not romantic, susceptible, easily mastered. But I swear, I could drown in this kiss.

His lips are smooth and full, his tongue demanding. He tastes of peppermint, and behind that, an aromatic trace of pipe tobacco. I smell his cologne, something clean, woodsy, Scandinavian.

I do not want to give in, and yet I do. I return his kiss, open my mouth wide to his probing. He senses my partial surrender, and presses his advantage. He has slipped his hand inside my vest, now, and is pinching my nipple hard.

I love it. I am awash with lust. I am dying for him to take me. My sex is liquid, spilling over. My scent rises in the velvet-draped space. I know that I cannot hide my desire, but still I try.

“You seem most enthusiastic,” I say, my voice surprisingly steady. “But why should I allow you into my personal space?”

“Because you want to,” he says, deftly extricating my breast from its leather casing and planting a kiss on its tip. “And because you think that you will have more control on your home territory. As an interloper, I will necessarily be at a disadvantage.”

He is right. Many women would feel vulnerable, bringing a stranger into their home, but I am more confident on my own turf than in some unfamiliar locale. I am astonished at his perspicacity. Who is this man? He appears so ordinary and yet there is both physical attraction, and psychological intrigue.

“Let’s go, then,” I say, trying to take the offensive.

“Just one moment,” he replies, and swallows me up in another one of those kisses. My resistance is even more feeble than before. After all, I tell myself, it is only a kiss.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Putting the Science Back in Science Fiction

By Don Luis de la Cosa (Guest Blogger)

From “Mission First”:

Once inside, there was a hurried, heady flurry of information suddenly streaming in from all sides, making my head spin more than it already was. Absorption rates, temperature readings, transcription and duplication, stability, and ‘hydrophobia’. That was going to require some explaining. Shyla was, in fact, the research doctor in charge of managing this entire affair, and I was only partly able to keep up as she pointed to jars of liquids that seemed to agitate themselves, colors and shadows mixing almost at will while other scientists observed, pipettes suctioned liquids and redistributed them, microscopes projected images on encased oversized plasma screens and analyses were made. At each work station, every pair of eagerly energetic hands, as well as their owner’s body, was encased in a uniform the same as ours. Had I not been an already recognizable visitor, I could have easily been lost in the buzzing hive of activity. One of the drones scurried over to the doctor and handed her a plastic clip board written on in wax pen.

When did you get these results, Ashton?”

An hour ago, ma’am.”

But, these can’t be accurate, it’s way too high!”

I ran it three times, because I knew you would say that. All three samples had the same levels.”

Impossible…” Shyla put her hand to her head and realized there was no way she’d be able to feel her fingernails against her skull through so much rubber, and then went back to looking at the board.

Might I inquire as to the nature of the issue?”

I wish I knew. This is a side project being developed for military application – better soldiers, faster reaction times, muscle regrowth, tissue regeneration, etc. We’ve been using the skin cell to stem cell production technique so we don’t have to wait on new lines to show up, and then injecting damaged areas with an admixture of pharmaceuticals: a few pain killers, some growth accelerants, binders, nothing extraordinary. Our test subjects are volunteers from the huge numbers of wounded that so recently got pulled out. Their regeneration and stabilization rates are generally in a recognizable sequence, and usually at a predictable rate that we’ve documented hundreds of times over. But we have one volunteer that is showing extremely abnormal rates of regeneration and even hypertrophy in some regions.”


Growth and increase in mass in areas otherwise unexpected.”

Then he would have an enormous schwanstucker!”


Nevermind.” Not a Mel Brooks fan. Oh well.

That whole scene erupted from an article I read about ‘hydrophobia’ in amino acids that describes its consequences, and what hydrophobic cells tell scientists. It just happened to show up on the Google front page one day when I opened up the browser. Of course, shortly after that entrance, both the reporter and the lead scientist descend into decidedly debaucherous derelictions of duty (or not, depending on how you look at it };)) but the importance of the entrance remains: there is an actual scientific concept and its attendant attitudes hidden in the suspense laden description. I’ve read gods know how many texts that work phenomenally well as completely unbridled flights of fancy, but the actual scientific concepts wouldn’t even fly inside of a Marvel Comics mag. So, what is it that makes William Gibson, Phillip K. Dick, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and yours truly (naturally) stand out from the crowd? It’s putting the science back in science fiction.

Consider, for a second, Bladerunner, the quintessential sci-fi film – androids, flying cars, extra-planetary, travel, synthetic creatures, language mixing… Now consider our current reality: the only one of those things we haven’t managed to make real progress on is the synthetic creatures bit, but only because cloning protocols have, up to now, produced individuals with respiratory systems so compromised that they don’t survive very long. Flying cars haven’t made it into mass production because, well, just imagine if the Big 3 produced them, and then found themselves again in such financial dire straits that they actually went out of business. Or the vehicles magically ended up with Toyota-like sudden acceleration syndrome. There are no anti-hyperactivity drugs for that. As one of my old roommates used to say: “that is not the way to happiness.” However, that doesn’t mean that people aren’t hard at work on the concept. After that, with Virgin Galactic’s first commercial extra-planetary aircraft, Richard Branson is set to start taking in incredible sums for the privilege of going for a spin.

Speaking of exo-planets, in a recent press release by cosmologists, it came to light that the number of stars catalogued could have been underestimated by as much as 90%. Meaning, up until just a few weeks ago, we believed there were only 10% of the stars in the universe than actually exist. Sort of eliminates the possibility of us being out here alone by sheer force of statistics, doesn’t it? Now, picture, if you will, the very first encounter between Europeans and indigenous folks on this side of the pond. Next, replace those indigenous populations with us, and the Europeans with some extra-galactic intelligence that just happens to pop in for a visit. And as a nation we can’t even agree on health care…

Speaking of health care, it used to be that the following was only conceivable within the construct of a Star Trek episode, but there are recent developments in machinery aiming at just this sort of thing in “Battery Drain”:

Back in my subterranean dungeon of drearitude, I ended up actually cracking their security server and found, after some topical searching, specs, inventory lists, combat applications, and deployments of their drones. I stored all that info and shut down my deck, rubbing my eyes from sheer force of habit until I realized, my eyes didn’t really hurt. Tomorrow, I’ll have to ask Doc for a list of my specs. Almost on cue, one of the nurses who I’d recognized for her taste in black brocade and satin knocked and infiltrated my space. A bit shorter and with more dangerous curves than Morgan, her loose auburn curls fell to the center of her back to complement the olive tones of her skin. Her name was Heathyr, and she rolled a tray full of items dedicated to doing analysis on each of the modifications, data grabbers, signal strength testers, and multi-scanners, right up next to my table.

I’ll start at the top. Doc wants to find out just how well everything went today.” She wore a jasmine and citrus mix perfume that tickled my brain, no doubt also dreamt up by those at the helm, and stood painfully close to my mostly naked skin, circling my head with something that clicked and beeped and shone lights against my skull. Strange symbols popped up on the mini screen as she pushed buttons on its side before she reached for something else the size of Doc’s palmtop. A purple beam shot out from a lens at the top and stretched the width of my body as she dragged the line from my shoulders along my torso to waist level. Her palmtop’s screen showed internal mappings of all the implants and everything to which they were attached, with notes in symbols I could neither read, nor understand upside down. More beeps and clicks.

A great many people ask why I write science fiction. To me it has always come naturally, perhaps because of my upbringing in a medical family, and my natural curiosity in all things. Though the current crop of scientists, researchers, and developers is making my job infinitely more difficult, because at the very point I invent something for a story, it’s generally already become reality within some wild schemer’s laboratory. Even the autonomous drones I used in the later pages of the book are already in current development and limited deployment with the Army, and that’s at once frightening and not at all unexpected.

So, how does one acquire all this information? Start by reading. Go purposefully into realms in which you’re uncomfortable, and discover interesting details about far away concepts that can help enrich the life of your mind. Then, follow the yellow brick road, from one concept, start to branch out into others, make connections, draw idea webs, add two plus four, debate the spiritual significance of a Fibonacci worm, scare yourself with how much you uncover, and then travel somewhere completely unfamiliar and discover some more. Challenge your beliefs, and above all, have fun! Lastly, if you’re looking for jumping off points, you could always start with my books

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Friday, April 16, 2010

The Fantasy of Acceptance

I write erotica and erotic romance in a variety of genres. My last two pubs, however, have been M/M erotic romance. As a result, I've also been reading more gay romance lately. One thing that I've noticed about this genre is that in many books, “gayness” is a given, a normal and accepted aspect of society and relationships. Many gay heroes seem to live in a world where every other man is also a lover of men (especially the handsome and muscular guys!). Homoerotic relationships are the norm rather than the exception, and the non-gay characters completely accept the gay heroes and their lifestyles

Authors of historical M/M books frequently do highlight the legal and societal risks of homosexuality. The criminalization of homoerotic activity is often a major source of the conflicts in these works. Quite a lot of contemporary gay romance, though, seems to ignore the enduring problems faced by GLBT individuals, even today.*

  • FBI statistics show an 11% increase in gay-related hate crimes in 2008, compared to a 2% increase in all hate crimes.
  • Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are at a four times higher risk for suicide than their straight peers.
  • 85% of teachers oppose integrating lesbian, gay and bisexual themes in their curricula.
  • A survey of 191 employers revealed that 18% would fire, 27% would refuse to hire and 26% would refuse to promote a person they perceived to be lesbian, gay or bisexual.
  • In thirty U.S. States, LGBT citizens can be fired on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity without any legal recourse.
  • Thirty states have passed constitutional amendments or laws explicitly banning same-sex marriage.

Our M/M heroes tend to live in a golden world where these facts don't exist. I can understand this, of course. Romance readers are seeking escape. They don't want to think about problems the hunky heroes might encounter in society. They want to focus on the developing relationship.

Still, I can't quite seem to banish such concerns from my own M/M work. In Necessary Madness, my M/M paranormal novel released last December, one of my characters is a gay police sergeant. He's a great cop, with more than ten years experience, yet he's been passed over for promotion time and again, most likely due to his sexual orientation. He's afraid to have a real relationship because it might jeopardize his job. Rob's concerns about being visibly “out” are not the most critical conflict in the tale, but they play a role in his personal decisions and his initial reluctance to become involved with Kyle, the other hero. Significantly (for me at least), by the end of the book the heroes are not only together, but also publicly proclaiming their mutual commitment.

Even in the clinches, the risk never completely vanishes from the heroes' minds, as you can see in this excerpt.

I enjoy a hot, hard M/M romp as much as the next reader. Nevertheless, I'm always aware that the aura of acceptance is, at this point in time, just a fantasy. I'd love to live in a world where you could love whomever you wish, of whatever gender, freely and without fear. I'll do whatever I can, in real life and in my writing, to bring that world closer to reality.

* Statistics with original sources cited at and

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Love Affair

By Shelia M. Goss (Guest Blogger)

The relationship between a writer and a reader can equate to a love affair. First it’s the courting period. Before the first date, the writer must introduce themselves and their book title. The title should be catchy; something easy for the reader to remember. Don’t be shy. Tease the reader with a short synopsis about your book.

If you’re feeling risqué, now would be the time to flirt a little by allowing the reader a sneak peek of the book by offering a chapter excerpt on your website.

Once you get the reader’s attention, put your best foot forward and make sure on one of your dates you show them an eye-appealing book cover for your new book. If you don’t have a book cover yet; don’t fret; the reader is not going to turn you down just because you don’t have the cover yet. In fact, with a catchy title and unique premise, readers will be salivating at the mouth to see you unveil your cover.

While building up a solid relationship with the reader, make sure you keep communication open. Communicate your release dates and where your books will be sold. Communicate with your readers through one of the many social networks. At the very least, try to return all of your fans emails—even if you only say two words—Thank you.

Readers, just like lovers, like gifts. Don’t hesitate to offer prizes for purchasing your book. Don’t forget about your faithful mailing list subscribers either. I know it may be hard when you have so many potential lovers, but you must treat each one as if they are special.

Also remember just like you, readers love others; so there’s no need to hate. There’s enough love to go around. Cross-promote with other writers and reach more book lovers.

When the “release” date finally arrives, don’t be shy. Don’t hesitate on letting your devoted fans know as well as family and friends. Enlist their help in spreading the word.

After courting the reader, the reader decides if they will take you up on an exclusive relationship for X amount of hours by purchasing and reading your book. When the reader picks up your book, they are expecting to be taken on a journey. Let the journey be enticing and enthralling so that your book lover won’t hesitate to tell their friends about the great love they’ve found in your book. In the book love fest, the more the merrier and the pleasure you’ll get from hearing about a book club selecting your book is immeasurable.

If you build a solid relationship with your readers, they will look forward to your next release. Continue to learn ways to improve your techniques and hopefully with each book release, you will gain more lovers.

Shelia M Goss is the national best-selling author of six multi-cultural romance books: Hollywood Deception (April 2010), His Invisible Wife, My Invisible Husband, Roses are Thorns, Paige’s Web, Double Platinum and three young adult books: The Lip Gloss Chronicles series: The Ultimate Test, Splitsville, and Paper Thin. For more information, visit her website: or

Hollywood Deception by Shelia M Goss

Two friends, one woman, and one deranged fan. Former supermodel and talk show host Hailey Barnes has a knack for catching her guests off guard with difficult and personal questions. Her tough interviews have earned her a Daytime Emmy, but while her professional life is at its peak, she’s not satisfied with her personal life. Hailey wants what she can’t have, and that’s her ex-college sweetheart’s hand in marriage. Her on again/off again relationship with Trevon keeps her name in the tabloids, and that works for her, until she receives a wedding invitation in the mail—inviting her to Trevon’s wedding to another woman. He’s ready to settle down, just not with Hailey. Besides dealing with a broken heart, the ex-supermodel is dealing with a deranged fan who has resorted to sending her disturbing mail at her Hollywood studio and her home. Hailey decides to use the opportunity as a quest to convince Trevon she should be his bride. Trevon and childhood friend Garrett Morgan are co-owners of GT Securities, a security firm that caters to celebrities. Hailey’s plan backfires when Garrett heads her case instead of Trevon. When ex-playboy Garrett starts developing feelings for Hailey, Hailey’s life becomes even more complicated. As Garrett investigates, all evidence points to the person Hailey least suspects. With fans like this, who needs enemies?

Available in stores everywhere or online.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Review: Base Nature by Sommer Marsden

Reviewed by Lisabet Sarai

(You can buy Base Nature from Ellora's Cave.)

Wolf-shifter Garrett Gustafson has left his pack. He can't accept the death of his beloved mate at the hands of a drunken hunter, nor the decision of his pack not pursue vengeance. Still grieving, he never expects to find another woman who calls to him, body and soul--especially not a human.

Liv McCoy spends her life in fear. Daughter of a battered mother, she finds herself attracted despite herself to men like her father, men who threaten and abuse her. At first, when Garrett protects her from her angry boyfriend, she doesn't dare trust the big, handsome carpenter. Before long she understands that even though Garrett is half-beast, he will protect and nurture her in a way that she has never experienced. For Liv, however, that is not enough. Having spent her life without power, now she wants the power that only Garrett can give--by turning her into a wolf like him.

Sommer Marsden's Base Nature is a classic shape-shifter romance with all the traditional elements of the sub-genre: a massive, strong, noble but emotionally tortured hero; an irresistible attraction between him and the heroine; a quirky but supportive shapeshifter clan; an excruciating change from human to other; and of course, a happy ending. As one might expect from a writer with Ms. Marsden's credentials, the book offers a well-crafted development of the relationship and plenty of hot sex scenes.

What sets this book apart from the dozens of other wolf-shifter novels available, in my opinion, is the character of Liv. Especially in the first half of the book, her emotions blaze off the page. I remember reading a scene where she is being stalked by her abusive boyfriend and suddenly realizing that adrenaline was flooding my body. My heart was pounding; my mouth was dry. I was there with her. Ms. Marsden has vividly evoked the tangled psychology that draws the abused to her abuser.

As the tale developed, I found Liv's changed personality somewhat hard to accept. It seemed to me that she trusted Garrett a bit too quickly to be plausible. By the end of the book, though, when she and her wounded lover are holed up in the deserted house where she saw her mother abused, I was ready to believe that she had truly found a reservoir of strength within, power that had nothing to do with her beast nature.

The novel also appealed to me because the wolves are portrayed as powerful but not invulnerable. Their hyper-keen senses and muscular strength are believable extensions of real wolf abilities. They can, however, be hurt or even killed, including by careless humans. As I've written in other posts, I prefer a paranormal world in which the magic is clearly defined and limited. I dislike worlds where anything can happen, where the author can pull out some new, unexpected power at any time in order to save the day.

If you're a fan of were-wolf romance, you'll enjoy Base Nature. The book has all that you expect, and more.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Winner for the First Week of April

Hello, readers!

Thank you for visiting and commenting over the past week. I just randomly drew a name from the list of everyone who has dropped by since the first of April. The winner is booklover0226!


Booklover, you win her choice of free ebook: Serpent's Kiss, Truce of Trust, Ruby's Rules or Monsoon Fever. Please email me and let me know which book you prefer (to lisabet [at]

I'll draw my next winner on next Sunday. Meanwhile, remember that if you comment on a guest's post (on Wednesdays or Saturdays), you get entered twice!

Truce of Trust - An Excerpt

Here's an excerpt from Truce of Trust, a M/F/M ménage erotic romance with a bit of BDSM thrown in. The books is available from Total-E-Bound


Some women might think Leah's existence heavenly. She shares her home with two sexy men who both adore her. Ten years married to lusty, artistic Daniel, she still enjoys the discipline and release offered by Greg. But her lovers' jealousy and possessiveness have made Leah's life a hell. Unable to bear the continuous conflict, she flees to an idyllic seaside resort to ponder her future. Gradually she realises that she cannot live without either of her lovers. If the two men can't settle their differences, though, then how can she bear to live with them?

Excerpt -- PG

Greg stirred in his chair. "It's late, and I've got to work tomorrow. Finish your wine, Leah, and come to bed."

Daniel looked up abruptly. "Wait a minute. Tonight's my night."

"No, it's not. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays she's with me. In case you've forgotten, this is Friday."

"That's not fair. She was away last night at her seminar. So she and I should be together tonight as compensation."

"Sorry, old man." (Daniel was three years older than Greg, who liked to rub that in.) "You know that's not how the system works."

"Well, perhaps we need to consider changing the system. Somehow it always seems to work out that Leah is away from the house on my nights."

"Please..." Leah stood, trying to intervene, but it was as though she wasn't there.

"I'm sorry, but that's not my problem. Anyway, you shouldn't be such a bad sport. After all, you had her to yourself for years."

Daniel snorted in exaggerated disgust. "To myself? Hardly! I couldn't make love to her without wondering if she was fantasising about you. I couldn't look at her without seeing the marks that you had left."

"Marks she asked for, don't forget."

"That's what you claim, at least." Daniel was sexually adventurous, but he had no interest in BDSM. Leah knew that he was truly perplexed by the power dynamics between her and Greg.

"Believe me, I can make her beg to be beaten," Greg said smugly. "Isn't that true, little one?"

Leah blushed fiercely, as embarrassed as she was angry. Of course, Daniel knew this about her, but still she didn’t want to admit it out loud.

Both of them stared at her in mute accusation.

"Answer me, Leah." Greg put a hint of steel in his voice. Shivers of anticipation raced through her in response. Her deepest instinct was to obey him, but she resisted, silent and rebellious.

"Why do you put up with him?" Daniel donned his wounded boy expression, pouting under his moustache. "All he does is hurt you. He has no respect for you. I can give you all the love and tenderness that you need."

"You have no idea what she really needs," said Greg softly. His aim was true, as always. Daniel slumped in momentary defeat, then roused himself.

"If that's so, then why did she marry me?" he asked, playing his own trump card.

Leah had heard it all before, and suddenly, she couldn’t take anymore. She turned her back on them and headed for her room, ignoring their voices calling after her.

Her overnight bag was still packed from her business trip. She pulled out the dirty things and threw in some clean underwear, jeans and jerseys. She was debating whether to bring a dress when her door opened. Stubbornly, she continued her packing.

Greg towered behind her. He put his hands on her shoulders and turned her around to face him. "Where are you going, little one?"

"Away. Away from the two of you and your constant bickering."

"He started it, after all, with his claims about things being unfair." He bent to kiss her. She turned her head away, unwilling to be mastered, but he grasped her chin and pulled her mouth to his.

Leah didn't want to surrender, but she couldn't help it. She was dizzy with instantly kindled lust. He nipped at her lips, probed her with his tongue. He drank her in, consumed her. Between her thighs everything melted. The room began to smell funky, as though he already had her naked and open before him.

Without taking his mouth from her, he grabbed her nipple and twisted it, hard. Her body arched against his, the familiar pain quickly transformed to shimmering pleasure. He broke the kiss and looks down at her, shaking and helpless with desire.

"You're mine," he whispered. "You'll always be mine. You just keep him around because you're afraid to give yourself completely to me. Afraid of going too far. You don’t trust your own desires."

Leah had a vision of Daniel, his wine glass filled to the brim with vodka, filling page after page with angry, aching prose. There was a wrenching pain in her chest. They've grabbed my heart and they are rending it into bloody pieces, she thought.

This pain that had no sweet after-echoes. She tore herself from Greg's grasp.

"You're wrong." Her throat tightened into a sob. "I love him. It's different from the way we are, but it's just as real."

"If we were together, by ourselves, you'd forget him."

"No!" His arrogance, sometimes so exciting, was nothing but frustrating to her now. "You don't understand. He's a part of me, just as you are."

He reached for her again. "I'd make you forget him, Leah. I'd beat him out of you." His voice was gentle, contrasting with the violence of his words. Underneath his bravado, she feel his need.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Searching for Nixie

By C. Sanchez-Garcia (Guest Blogger)

Consider the handiwork of God;

Who can straighten what He has made crooked?

-- Ecclesiastes 7:13

The Lady and the Unicorn

“ . . . Blood has a range of taste, as scent has a range of aromas. Blood has a high level taste and an under taste. It is a blending of elements like music. This is also the way of scent. The under aroma tells you there is a trail and betrays to you the direction. If the scent becomes fresher you are following the creature that produced it, so you must use the under scent to know which direction is older and which is newer. It is as though the air were filled with singing voices and you are picking out from the choir the sound of a single voice. The high scent will tell you the individual, the condition of the individual, if it is injured or sick, horny or filled with fear. It will tell you how to catch him, where he is likely to run to. To acquire the high scent the animal, or myself, must pause to commune with the air and pay attention. Close the eyes. Hold the nose still and just so. Let the night air speak. It is the same with the deep taste of blood, except that scent is on the move, and if you are tasting the blood – well. It is no longer on the move. . . ."

The bookstore. Pushing the doors, rushing to get in. Surrounded by books. That's where the feast is, dining with pencil and yellow pad. Keeping the faith. Surrounded by the chatter of people. Keeping my vigil. It’s a magician’s workshop here in this bookstore. I open a book on a table describing a mysterious religious figure held political prisoner who refuses to talk and people begin mysteriously dying. I make a mental note of that. Another book – a man in a midnight forest, being run to ground by the shape shifter at his heels. Plunging through the dark running for his life in the high moonlight, running across a wide open field wailing like a fool. I make note of that. A man on an island vacation with his wife, but they’re not alone in the hotel. An invisible lost soul seems to be in the bed with them. I make a note of that.

I'm searching for Nixie.

I feed my head, stuff snapshots of scenes and premises and ideas and file them away in there. Cram them in, stomp them down. A compost of words. A mulch of emotions. Soon - very soon - when the time is ready, something good is going to sprout there. That is my faith, like a farmer watching over his spring field waiting, as much as any religious person ever believed he could move a mountain, I have faith in the story fairy slumbering in the back of my mind.

Somewhere out there, a desperately lonely vampire girl is waiting for me. She is waiting to explain her life to me.

I am searching for Nixie.

Nixie is weeping blood tears for me to find her, to run to her. To hear her confession.

Nixie is not searching for me. Nixie has faith too, faith that I will find her when the time is right.

This is how it works.

The first paragraph you've read here is the opening paragraph of a part of an episodic novel. It’s an episodic novel by default, a collection of stories adding up to a larger story. I started my writing life four years ago with something called "Nixie in Love". It was a short story about a German-born vampire girl in a BDSM relationship with a mortal man. They understand each other and they love each other. The man is trying to help her work through her addiction, not only to blood but to killing. That was the story that introduced me to Nixie. And then I forgot all about her.

I wrote a story about an illegal Mexican immigrant crossing a railroad yard late at night. He's obsessively afraid of the dark. And then he starts singing to get his panic under control. And then - a voice in the dark begins singing back to him. In German! My forgotten vampire girl has showed up to make his troubles much worse. I hadn't planned for that.

That is when writing is fun. That is when it soars, when you surprise yourself. When a character you’d forgotten comes up behind you and covers your eyes with her icy bloodless hands.

"Guess who, leibling."

I like that story. There was another, a short story about a priest who hears a confession one night from a girl claiming to be a vampire. He doesn’t believe her even when she vanishes mysteriously. Then she shows up on his doorstep.

It was about this time my mentor Lisabet drew my attention to the fact that a trend was developing. "If you arrange these in some kind of order, you’re not that far from having a novel." I wrote a fourth story "The Lady and the Unicorn" linking the stories I had together. But now I needed one more, the story of Nixie's origin, the story that would begin the others. I had written a novel backwards. Now I need the beginning, and so far it has eluded me.

I am searching for Nixie.

Somewhere out there is a story I haven’t discovered yet. Somewhere a seed hasn't sprouted yet. I keep feeding and watering my head, waiting for that moment when my revelation will appear like an angel with a trumpet. I'm not in a hurry. Waiting is delicious, like lying in bed with a lover, waiting for the touch that you know is coming that will set you on fire. Preparation is delicious, like scattering rose petals on the clean sheets.

I watch the old horror movies on TV, such as "Dracula's Daughter" and I am searching for Nixie in the wide and tormented eyes of Countess Zaleska as she pines for release. Is that how Nixie feels? Is it a curse? How did she get such a curse? Why doesn’t she tell me?

She would say she was betrayed, she would say this is not what she wanted. But how? And then the connection is dropped. I sit with her in a bar and she watches me drink a beer. My pallid German girl sips hers, only tasting it. Tell me, I beg her. How did this happen to you? She excuses herself and steps outside, a small beautiful doll, a fatal marionette going out into the dark alone. This big man with Nazi tattoos has been eyeing her all night and follows her outside. An hour passes and she hasn't returned. A sound of approaching sirens. Blue lights flashing in the distance coming down the highway fast. They must have found the man where she left him.

I think it must be like this for many writers. Like a pregnant woman. You feel the life inside you, moving, becoming independent, dreaming. Perhaps the unborn is dreaming about whatever past life it has arrived from. Maybe dreaming of nothing, enjoying its quiet oblivion. But its time is coming and the peaceful time will be over.

A book of women's erotica. I take it from the shelf and thumb through it, snatching at paragraphs and sentences. A woman with a strange fetish, who likes to lie nude on a mortuary slab as her lover pulls the sheet away from her face. Would Nixie do that? Would that game turn her on? Is Nixie afraid of death? Is that what happened to her?

I am searching for Nixie.

Snacking on novels and stories about the undead and the spiritually lost. Looking for kindred souls. A conversation on a bus. A preacher on the radio. Another writing exercise, another experiment. Another act of faith leading no where, like an unanswered prayer. This is how novels are written sometimes. Not born fully formed, but half born, still born, often aborted. Love making late at night with keyboard and coffee, with the will and the passion of language, trying again, again the fertile swelling and the anticipation. And the pain of the miscarriage, of the idea that goes nowhere.

You’re out there in the dark Nixie, and I will find you. Maybe you're wandering in some German forest at midnight, or crossing a lonely parking lot or rail yard in the dark or waking from a nightmare of love making with the dead. I will find you.

Wait for me, Nixie. Be faithful.

I will be with you soon. Then we'll talk.

I am coming.