Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Miss Gottlieb Tells All!

By Juliet Waldron (Guest Blogger)

Thanks, Lisabet for having me as guest on your blog. It’s good to be included among so many talented contributors.

Sex and the Story

The most interesting thing about the “sexual revolution” of the sixties, at least for me, was the open admission that women naturally liked sex, and that there was no good or bad about it. There had always been pornography for men, but that, we were told, was the nature of the beast—but not his mate. Then, the old taboos began to disappear.

An 18th Century novel, Fanny Hill, was re-released with great fanfare. For two centuries Fanny was one of those “under the counter” books, obtainable only in certain back street shops. Anais Nin’s Delta of Venus, written in the 1930’s, reappeared, along with the startling BDSM tale of, The Story of O. Anne Rice contributed The Sleeping Beauty trilogy. The e-book revolution has continued to add content and a new business model for genre fiction was born: Erotic Romance. The sales success that followed this innovation exploded the traditional romance industry’s staid notion that women didn’t want to read explicit sex.

With all this social history in mind, I didn’t worry much about being put down because I included a generous helping of sex in two of my books. What goes on in a bedroom can show the reader a great many things about characters of any gender, and also about the dynamic of a relationship. Because I write historical novels, part of my task is to set the manners and morals of yesterday up for the reader’s inspection, and to demonstrate what the socially approved games of status and power between men and women of the past were actually like.

I’ve been a little surprised to discover that a writer can still be rapped on the knuckles for being “bogged down in sex.” I recently received some negative reviews for a book called My Mozart. I don’t write erotica per se, but this novel is the first person narrative of an 18th Century fan-girl, a young musician with a big talent who is in love with an older—and married—artist. I believed (and I still do) that sexual experiences with her idol are central to this story. Certainly, we all remember the first surges of passion and the wet fantasies which went with them. In My Mozart, an orphaned heroine, growing up in the fast, loose 18th Century theatrical scene and musical to the bone, is utterly susceptible to the man who has been for years her teacher and mentor. 


"Mozart, Ich liebe dich. I love you. Love you."

"Come here, Nanina Nightingale. Come and give your poor old Maestro some of your ‘specially sugary sugar."

My mouth on his - the friction produced warmth and sweetness, with a decided undertone of the expensive brandy he liked, flowing from his tongue to mine. I slid my arms across the brocade of his jacket, none too clean these days, and swayed a slender dancer's body against him.

Let me assure you that my sophistication was assumed. It really doesn't matter, then, or now. I was young, foolish, and drowning in love. I was seventeen. He was thirty five… I believed he knew everything, that he could see right through me with those bright blue eyes. He probably could. He'd been my music master--and, more--my deity, ever since I'd met him, in my ninth year.

His jacket, now spotted and stained, must have been fine enough to wear in the presence of the Emperor. Bright blue, it perfectly matched his eyes. I can still feel the fabric sliding under my fingers as my arms passed over his shoulders and around his neck. I can still see him a woolly frizz of blonde hair, long, aquiline nose--a ram that had once been an angel. Sometimes, when he was loving me in some exquisitely naughty way and joyfully smiling while he did it, I could almost see horns.

So you will understand exactly how I loved him, so that you will know that it was a real passion, I'll tell you that I adored the feel of him, the smell of him, the taste of him. They've tried to turn him into a tinkling porcelain angel, but I'm here to tell you, here and now--he was not.

Mozart's eyes were big, slightly protuberant, and as I’ve said, so blue. Alarming, those eyes! Once they'd shone with the pure light of genius, radiant and blissful as a summer sun. Nowadays, they were simply wasted. My adored Maestro was mostly either drunk or hung over.

He'd fallen from grace. Everyone knew it. Creditors hounded him. There were too many wild parties, not enough money. His wife had given up coping, had gone back to the Baden spa where she had an on-going romance with a big, handsome Major. And who could blame her? Pretty Constance, in the last ungainly stages of yet another pregnancy, fleeing Vienna after a winter of freezing and begging for handouts...

Even a seventeen year old idolater could recognize her defection for self preservation. I didn't judge her. I didn't judge myself. I was simply glad to have her out of the way. When she was gone, he was restless, at loose ends, spending most of his time hanging around our theater. Of course, nothing could have suited me better…

As I immersed in Nanina’s story, she started to wake me up at night. She told me how it was for her, this brief, searing experience of love. Even the death of Mozart could not bring about the death of her passion. Her sexual memories were hoarded, treasured, exactly like any modern fan-girl’s memories of a single night spent with a rock star idol. Moreover, those memories would be physical—each passage of the hand, taste of tongue and flesh, each kiss—etched into the mind, ecstasy preserved for endless re-runs. Not to tell the story as Nanina told it, to pretend that the last fifty years of freedom to talk about sex--about what it means to us, about what it does to us, about how it lifts us up and casts us down—wouldn’t be true, either for this character or for me.

~~Juliet Waldron

Learn more about Juliet Waldron

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Laura's Light

[Greetings! I'm sharing a bit from Donna Gallagher's newest book in her League of Love series, Laura's Light. If you like rugby - heck, if you like sweaty, athletic guys - you'll like Donna's stories! ~ Lisabet]


Forty-two- year- old single mother Laura Harris devoted more than half her life to raising her son. She remembered the concept of having sex but it had been aeons since she’s actually been a participant - especially with a real flesh-and-blood partner. But it’s time to reclaim her life. Her son is a man now. And the rising star of the Jets rugby league team. Their future is brighter than ever and, for the first time, financially secure. But Laura is starting to think agreeing to have dinner with Trevor Hughes could be biting off more than she can chew. Not that she can’t see herself taking a nice big chunk from the absolutely gorgeous thirty-four-year-old sports commentator’s rump, he’s one prime piece of masculinity! She just isn’t sure how or when the whole sex thing will become an issue. She can’t even get past the what-to-wear step. Let alone the when-to-take-it-off stage…

Trevor Hughes usually avoids the woman with substance - he has enough of his own demons to deal without trying to care for anyone else. But there’s something about the upbeat, sexy, one-woman-dynamo Laura Harris. The woman is pure sunshine and happiness. And that’s surprising when you look at what life has handed her. Nothing seemed to dampen Laura’s spirits and she quickly becomes someone Trevor needs in his life…Until misunderstandings come between them. Can Trevor put things right?


I didn’t mean to fall asleep. I’m sorry… I should have left hours ago. This isn’t what is supposed to happen these days, I suspect.” Laura caught sight of the light shining from the corner of the closed drapes.

The sun is up! I have no idea what time it is. What on earth is Mitchell going to think?” Laura started to struggle in an attempt to free herself from Trevor’s hold, tried to remove herself from his arms, his bed. Then, realising she was naked, she froze. How the hell was she going to make a gracious exit when she would have to hunt, completely naked in front of him, for her clothing? Any chance of her maturing body’s flaws remaining hidden in the room’s darkness was now fading as the sun rose. Not to mention the walk of shame she was facing, going home in the probably now rumpled clothing that she’d left home in last night. Laura groaned.

Oh, this is so embarrassing. I’m not really up on the etiquette this sort of thing involves. You know, the morning after the night before. What the hell was I thinking?” Laura buried her face into the pillow, thinking that hiding from the world might magically make all her uncertainty and embarrassment go away.

She heard Trevor chuckling next to her, and anger was the first emotion to take hold.

This might seem funny to you, but I’m not some young bunny that hops from bed to bed. This is my first one-night stand and I’m a mother, for goodness’ sake. What will I tell my son? ‘Yes, Mitchell, it’s okay for me to stay out all night without letting you know, but heaven help you if you do the same to me—I’m the only one allowed to worry in this family.’ Not to mention the fact I’ve never stayed away from home before. No, I’m sure Mitchell is feeling just fine that his accusations proved correct, that we did end up in bed together. My God, what must he think of me?” And if the embarrassment of admitting her lack of a sex life hadn’t been enough to completely humiliate her, then bursting into tears left her in no doubt.


Sydney-born Donna Gallagher decided at an early age that life needed be tackled head on.
Leaving home at 15 she supported herself through her teen years. 
In her twenties she married a professional sportsman, her love of sport -- especially rugby league -- probably overriding her good sense.

The seven-year marriage was an adventure. There were the emotional ups and downs of having a husband with a public profile in a sometimes glamorous but always high-pressure field. There were always interesting characters to meet and observe and even the opportunity to live for a time in the UK.

Eventually Donna returned home a single woman, but she never lost her passion for watching sport, as well as the people in and around it.

Now happily re-married and with three sons Donna loves coffee mornings with her female friends, sorting through problems from the personal to the international. But she's on even footing with the keenest man when it comes to watching and talking rugby league.

Donna considers herself something of a black sheep in a family of high achievers. Her brother has a doctorate in mathematics and her sister is a well-known sports journalist.

An avid reader, especially of romance, Donna finally found she couldn't stop the characters residing in her imagination from spilling onto paper. Naturally rugby league is the backdrop to her League of Love Series, published through UK publisher Total-E-Bound, spicy tales of hunky heroes and spunky heroines overcoming adversity to eventually find true love.


By the way, Donna's running a blog blitz today and giving away a $50 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky commenter. Want to check out the other blogs (she's got a bunch of different excerpts!)? Just go here:

Monday, February 25, 2013

Coming in June - Smut by the Sea in the Flesh!


The always fun-loving Victoria Blisse and her friends are organizing a day of sun and sexy delights this summer!

Smut by the Sea takes place on the 22nd June at Scarborough Library. The event runs all day with readings and an erotic marketplace during the day (10am-4pm), featuring top authors like KD Grace, Janine Ashbless, Victoria Blisse, Lucy Felthouse, Tabitha Rayne, Lexie Bay, Slave Nano and Ruby Kiddell. And then the evening will showcase Smut by the Sea volumes 1 and 2 between 6-9 pm. 

Valentine's Day has come and gone. Sometimes it seems that Valentine’s gifts last for no time at all. Flowers wilt, chocolates get eaten, champagne drank. But right now, special for Valentine's, you can purchase Smut by the Sea tickets for £7.50 from now until 25st February 2013. This is a 25% off the usual price. This ticket will get you in to the Smut by the Sea Book launch with free nibbles and a glass of something bubbly plus readings that will get you in the mood for some seaside good loving.

Pick up tickets for your beloved today and give a gift that will keep on giving! For more details check and buy your tickets here

And if you can't be there in the flesh (alas, I cannot!), get into the right mood with the seaside erotica anthology Smut by the Sea, volume 1.

You can read my review at Erotica Revealed. And you'll find a lovely excerpt to whet your appetite below!

Excerpt from A Proper British Seaside Holiday by Victoria Blisse

I jumped on the next open top bus that came along, paid my fare and climbed upstairs. No one was up there. That wasn't a surprise since it was still raining hard. I sat down near the back. I always wanted to sit at the back when I was little and my parents wouldn’t let me. It was fun to let my little rebel take over.

The seat was damp and cold and the water seeped into my jeans. I’d have to go back to the hotel and change again once the trip was over, but then I could maybe enjoy the firm mattress of my bed while I waited for my clothes to dry. Apparently, once you reawaken a libido it doesn’t give you five minutes rest.

It's hard to appreciate the view when rain is slapping you in the face like an irate lover. So I just closed my eyes and enjoyed the harsh rush of wind against my cheeks and listened to the pitter-patter of the drops dancing over my coat. I felt the bus stop, so I opened my eyes. I was near the harbour, fishing boats sitting quietly in the water, huddling together before their next jaunt out to sea.

I heard the clomp, clomp, clomp of shoes on the stairs and I wondered who on earth was as crazy as me to want to sit up in the elements. It turned out to be a very handsome man in a red raincoat similar to my own. He cracked a smile when he saw me, his head just peering over the top of the barrier as he continued up the stairs.

“I thought I’d be the only one crazy enough to sit up here in this weather.” His voice was earthy and deep with a hint of the local accent. I wanted to hear more of it.

“No, no. I’m afraid you’ve not got the monopoly on crazy today.”

“So,” he said, covering the distance from the front of the bus to the back in a few long strides. He was very tall and did I mention handsome? I was sure the wetness seeping between my thighs wasn’t simply the rain. This tall, dark man was whispering to my most feminine desires. “What brings you up here on such an inclement day?”

“Appreciation of life.” I replied with a smirk.

“Ah, that.” He nodded, “do you mind if I sit with you?”

“Not at all, as long as you don’t mind getting a wet arse.” I chuckled uneasily. I shouldn’t have mentioned his bum, I hardly knew him!

“I’m already wet everywhere else, what’s another body part in the grand scale of things?” He sat down and offered me his hand. “Hello, I’m Daniel. You’re not from round here, are you?”

“I’m Abby. I’m from Manchester but I live in London right now.”

“Well, that explains a lot,” he smiled, “the dark around your eyes, the half lingering sense of hopelessness, the rounded vowels.”

I should have been offended but I was stunned by how observant he was.

“You’ve got me,” I shrugged. “I’m trying to rediscover myself. Shit as that sounds.”

“I understand,” he said. “I’m pretty certain we should all spend more time doing that kind of stuff and less time worrying. It has a better yield, anyway.”

I nodded and twisted my fingers together in my lap. I was suddenly acutely aware of his body heat beside me and the scant half inch between his arm and mine.

“Do you live here?” I asked, finding conversation far less scary than silence and my erratic, erotic thoughts.

“Yeah.” Daniel nodded. “Most of my life.”

“Lucky sod.” I said with a sigh.

“It’s not a bad life,” he agreed, though I saw a little sadness in the depth of his darkened eyes. “Took me a while to work that out, though.”

It’s difficult to describe something that happened without word or movement but I realised then that Daniel understood me and my troubles. It’s like his soul recognised the same weakness in mine.

“Look,” he turned his body towards me, “this is going to seem very forward of me but, I’ve been looking at your lips and they’re just calling to be kissed. Would you mind if I just leaned in a touch and rested my lips against yours for a bit?”

Propriety would have screamed at me to shout no and to run like the wind away from the man with determination and longing in his eyes. Luckily I was there with passion, not propriety, and passion urged me to nod my head and lean in to speed up the action. I’m never usually so impulsive but as his lips brushed mine I knew I’d made the right choice. Daniel’s warmth flowed from his body into mine.

Smut by the Sea volume 2 coming soon!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Snog: Exposure

Today's snog comes from my newest release Exposure.  My heroine Stella has been mugged by a gang who clearly don't want her to continue her investigations into the murder of Tony Pinelli. She's stuck at home with bruises and torn muscles, wondering who set her up. Then she gets a phone call from Jimmy Ostermann, the police detective who's carried a torch for her since high school. Still, he has behaved suspiciously over the past few days. She has decided that seeing him would be dangerous. But she can't resist.

As part of the celebration for the release of Exposure, I'm giving away a copy of the book to one lucky reader who comments on my Thursday post, or here. Comment on both and you have two chances to win!

And don't forget to check out today's other kiss offerings, over at Snog Central!

There’s an awkward silence. I can hear Jimmy’s breathing on the other end of the line, and my own heartbeat, speeding up. I’m beginning to feel warm again. Even hot.

“So, what are you doing?”

“Not much. Reading, watching TV. Trying to relax.”

“Would you like some company?”

Loneliness slams into me and runs over my body like a ten ton truck. Do I want company? God, I’ve never felt so alone in my life.

Be careful, I tell myself. You can’t trust anyone.

“I don’t know, Jimmy...” I begin.

“It’s okay, I understand. I’m sorry that I asked.” He sounds so lost, so forlorn. So sexy.

Screw being careful. “Yes, I’d love some company. I’m going crazy here, all by myself.”

“Really? You don’t mind?”

“Really. I’m not up to my usual form, but I’d love to see you.”

I can imagine Jimmy’s ear-to-ear grin. “Well, then. I’ll be right over. See you in about fifteen minutes, okay?”

“Great, Jimmy. See you.”

I know I’m being weak, but I’m really too excited to care. Fifteen minutes. Just enough time to change. Should I put on those black satin lounging pajamas I got on sale at Victoria’s Secret? Or maybe the embroidered silk kimono? On the other hand, maybe that’s coming on too strong. Jimmy finds me scary enough already. Perhaps the long hippie dress of Indian cotton is the right look. It’s casual and understated but still kind of exotic...

In the end, I don’t have the energy to climb the stairs to my closet. I figure that Jimmy’s an old friend, and he’s already seen me naked. I don’t have to put on a costume for him. I sit there on the sofa, wearing the lightweight summer bathrobe I put on when I got up from my nap. It’s that peach color that sets off my skin so well. It will have to do.

There’s a soft knock. I hobble over to the door and peer through the peephole to confirm that it’s Jimmy. It seems to take hours for me to unfasten the chain and retract the bolt, but I finally get the door open.

“Hi, Stella.” His voice is soft, concerned. It feels like a caress. “I didn’t want to ring the bell. Figured your nerves were kind of shot, the last thing you need is the jangling.”

Jimmy looks a bit rumpled. His sandy hair is in his eyes. His white business shirt is damp, wrinkled and untucked in the back. He needs a shave.

He looks good enough to eat.

“Come on in out the rain. I’m so glad to see you.”

“Not as glad as I am to see you.” Jimmy wraps his arms around me in what begins as a brotherly hug.
He buries his face in my hair, breathing deeply. “I’ve been so worried about you, Stella. This whole thing with the murders...”

“Shush, let’s not talk about that.” I am enjoying the feel of his lean, strong body pressed against mine. I ignore the dull ache from my bruised ribs. I want him to be my only reality. He smells clean, despite his disarray: soap, menthol, some kind of lemony aftershave. Just a hint of sweat, enough to blend the other scents into something organic and distinctly Jimmy. Breathing him in, I feel a bit light-headed, like he was some kind of drug. My knees go weak, and I hold onto him more tightly.

“Stella...” he whispers. His hands begin to roam, gliding from my back under my arms to cradle my breasts. He holds them almost reverently, ignoring for the moment the swollen, demanding nipples poking into his chest.

I adjust my position, inserting one thigh between his legs, to seek out the rigid bulk I know I’ll find there. Ooh, Jimmy! Very nice! I rub myself back and forth over his cock, teasing, feeling him grow even bigger and harder. A shudder runs through his frame and I think for a moment that I’ve gone too far, that he’s already going to come. I try to back away, but he grabs me and pulls me back, grinding his thigh against my pubis.

Even through two layers of cloth, my clit pulses and throbs exquisitely. I reach around and grab his butt cheeks so that I can control the friction. He does the same to me. For I don’t know how long, we stand there tangled up in the doorway, dry-humping each other like two teenagers.

I’m halfway to coming, when he stops suddenly. I start to protest, but he silences me with a rich, delicious kiss. It’s strong and sweet like Greek coffee, brazen tongue probing, shy lips nibbling. I kiss him back eagerly, trying to pour all my gratitude and my lust into the moment.

All at once I’m off balance. Before I realize what is happening, Jimmy sweeps me up in his arms and carries me into the parlor. “Jimmy, you’ll hurt yourself!” I’m half laughing, half concerned. I’m not a small woman, and Jimmy’s no Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“Just relax and let me do the work.” He settles me gently on the couch and for a moment just stands back to look at me, something like adoration in his eyes. I’m embarrassed by his intensity. I focus my attention on the appealing bulge in his groin.

“Why don’t you open your fly and make yourself more comfortable?” I reach for his zipper, but he catches my hands in his, holding them tight. His lips twist in an odd half-smile.

“Why don’t you let someone else take control for a change?”


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Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Joyous Misfortune of Working at Home

By Nancy Adams (Guest Blogger)

Thanks for having me today, Lisabet.

Sooo, I work from home. The work in question, would be my writing and taking care of my kids. It’s not always easy and it has its times where it is a thankless job, but other times it is fantastic. The up side… I can stay in my warm p.j’s on cold days, take my laptop outside to work on warm days and I don’t have to choke down the crappy coffee that every company enjoys torturing its employees with.

The down side… I’m on call 24/7, 52 weeks a year. I deal with snotty noses, fights, and scraped knees. Growing eyes in the back of my head and the ability to read minds may sound quite freakish but it’s a necessary part of the job. However, not all the ups and downs happen when my demon oops!...My bad! I mean when my CHILDREN are home. The small window of freedom I have during the day has its own set of problems.

The day I received an email from Lisabet telling me the date my blog would be posted, I was sooo excited. This was Lisabet's blog, have you read her stories...HOT! Anyways, I immediately pulled up a blank page in Word and…got up to make myself a coffee. I had already taken my kids to school, walked, and fed the dogs but I had yet to eat breakfast myself or have my traditional cup of Colombian goodness and I would need that both to get my ideas pounded out. My goal was to send the blog and info on my up coming release to Lisabet early so I wouldn’t have to worry about it over the Christmas holiday.

Breakfast eaten and coffee in hand, I sat back down, took a sip, and…checked my emails. Might as well get anything pressing out of the way first, then I can focus solely on Lisabet’s blog. After 75 minutes of reading news feeds, checking and updating my Facebook Page, I finally checked my hotmail account. That done, I got back to it and once again pulled up the blank Word page. First step, a title. Okay no problem. Could I think of one…no. No I couldn’t. I was too busy trying to get my dogs to stop barking, so I booted them out into the backyard for some peace. On my way back to the computer, I saw the mountain of clothes I had asked my nine year old to bring down so I could wash them. Okay. I’ll quickly through them in the washer, then start my blog.

After starting my sons’ laundry and tidying up the mud/laundry room. I passed through the kitchen and decided a quick clean up was in order. I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on writing it I knew the kitchen was a mess. I quickly straighten it up and feeling my stomach growl for lunch, I grabbed a bite to eat. I was just settling back down at my computer only to have the phone ring next to me. My husband was on the other end asking about my day and what I wanted for dinner and if there was anything I needed him to pick up on his way home. After a lengthy discussion about food, I hung up and heard the buzzer on the washer go off. I hopped up and transferred the wet clothes into the dryer and was heading back to my computer for a third time when the dogs started barking…again. I let them back in the house and after getting, them calmed down I sat down once again at my computer.

Staring at the blank screen I suddenly had an idea for my current WIP and quickly pulled up the file and pounded out the idea. An hour and a half later, I saved my progress and switched back over to my blank blog. I still hadn’t even typed a title for it and it was -- I looked at the time-- 3:45pm. I sighed…"Shit!” It was time to get the kids from school. Ok, so my day of pounding out a blog was over and once the kidlets enter the house, I wouldn’t get any writing done.

But no problem! I still had more then two months until my blog was to be posted. I would just pound it out tomorrow.

Yeah, that was back in December and it is now the beginning of February!

So much for the ‘I’ll get to it tomorrow’ way of thinking. I can’t count how many days I had like that one, where every time you turn around something had to be done or was waiting to be started. A couple of times I just said to hell with everything and focused on my writing, which wasn’t a walk in the park because I get distracted quite easily. (I bet that’s a shocker!) And during the whole time there was that little voice saying ‘you need to vacuum up the dog hair, Nancy’ or ‘you need to put the kids clean clothes away’ or ‘let’s go get a pedicure’.

Argh! I used to have such great discipline when we lived out in Edmonton. Then again, my kids weren’t in school full-time like they are now and my free time was those sacred hours in the afternoon during Pre-school or after they went to bed at night. I used my time wisely when at home, cooking, cleaning, or whatever, with one or sometimes two little shadows following behind me. When that precious ‘Me Time’ finally rolled around, I spent it at my local library. It was a wonderful building and not your typical library. It was busy and noisy and it was incredible how much work I got done in that short amount of time. I still don’t understand how I was able to work there and not in my own home. Crazy!

Do I need to get back on track and organize my time better? Totally! I also need to cut ties to the outside world. Facebook, emails, surfing the web (unless it for research), are all way too distracting. What I need to do is to take pointers from Meghan Kennedy; she’s the heroine in my latest release The Bannockburn Spell. Meghan works for a small publishing house out of Toronto and even though she is forced to leave her work and life and flee to the safety of Little Glen, Scotland, she is still able to focus on her job when the time calls for it. Of course, that changes when hotty ex-SBS soldier, Will Mackenzie, watches her with those hypnotic eyes and warms her with his hard body. Everything vanishes then even the memory of their little love bet...and the 800-year-old marriage contract that he threatened her with and then there is the spell. Oh! Did I forget to mention the spell? Yeah...Meghan has had a spell cast on her too. 

Yet despite all of these distractions, Meghan can some how concentrate when she has too. Well…most of the time, anyways. I wonder where I can get some willpower like that? 

Blurb – The Bannockburn Spell

With the help of a bet, an eight-hundred-year-old marriage contract and a spell, ex-SBS soldier Will might just have enough in his arsenal to capture Meghan’s heart.

Since arriving in Little Glen, Scotland, Meghan Kennedy’s life has got decidedly more interesting. She enters into a bet with hunky ex-SBS soldier, William MacKenzie, discovers an ancient marriage contract and to top it all off, she learns that she had a spell cast on her…eight hundred years before she was even born. None of it matters, because she refuses to make the same mistake twice. Will’s hard body and sexy grin don’t matter, his beautiful hypnotic eyes don’t matter, and it doesn’t matter that every time they kiss her body calls out for his, as though denied of his touch for hundreds of years.

Ex-SBS soldier William MacKenzie is disciplined, trained to be an efficient soldier and he takes the same approach with his life as he does his business. Then Meghan arrives, with her fiery temper and hair to match, all he can think about is Meghan. Her feisty temper bemuses him, her beauty astounds him and her stubbornness annoys the hell out of him. Lucky for him, he doesn’t know how to quit, he can be just as stubborn and occasionally ruthless, and he will use any means necessary to get her. Of course the ‘means’ at his disposal just happen to be a bet, a marriage contract and an ancient spell, but if in the end Meghan belongs to him, who is he to argue?


“There is no way this contract is—”

“Possible?” Will supplied, looking down at her finger. “Oh, it’s possible and it will happen.” She was a brave lady to be poking him in the chest, the last person to poke him in the chest had ended up getting a few broken fingers for his effort. Except this wasn’t anyone, this was Meghan and he loved her feisty temper, it made him want to pin her to the wall and do wicked things to her. He focused on her mouth as he continued, “But how it happens is up to you.”
“How it happens? What do you mean how it happens? Nothing is going to happen,” she yelled, throwing her hands in the air.

He raised an eyebrow at her remark. This wasn’t how this was supposed to turn out, but the time had come for Meghan to understand that he never gave up, or gave in, to anything in his life and he wasn’t about to start now. He would get what he wanted, and at that moment, he knew with complete certainty that he wanted Meghan.

“Yes, it will.” He laced the words with smooth confidence. “You can come to the realisation on your own and agree, or you will be told to. The choice is yours. I would rather you realised it on your own, but I have no problem with the alternative. Either way, I win.”
She threw a hip out to the side and placed her hand on it, daring him, “If you think this piece of paper will make me do anything, you are living in a dream world, but I’d like to see you try.”

He expected nothing less. “Are you sure that’s what you want?”

“I told you I like to gamble. Give it your best shot.”

God, she was beautiful when she was mad, her passion was overwhelming. The sudden image of him riding her against a tree in the forest appeared before him. Her red hair was long, longer than she wore it now and it was hanging down her bare back as she clung to his neck. Her dress was gathered around her waist and her lovely legs were wrapped around him as he pounded into her again and again, her wet core squeezing him. His cock jerked to life as Meghan came back into focus.

What had just happened? He blinked, fighting his body. What had they been talking about? Gambling. “That’s right, you like to gamble, then how about a little wager?”

“A bet?” She narrowed her eyes. “What kind of bet?”

He crossed his arms. “I bet that you fall in love with me.”

“Yeah,” she snorted. “Like that’s going to happen.”

“Well, then this should be easy for you.”

She clicked her tongue.

“Not scared, are you?” He gave her pride a nudge.

She mimicked his stance. “What are the stakes?”

He smothered a smile. “If you win, you’re free from the contract. But if I win…” He lowered his head until they were nose to nose. “I get you.”

Will saw the doubt cross her face. “Think you can win?” Straightening to his full height, he held out his hand to her.

She eyed his hand suspiciously, then slid her smaller hand into his. “You bet I can.”

He held fast as she tried to pull back, running his thumb over the back of her hand. The skin was so soft and smooth and for some reason he already knew what it tasted like. His mouth watered. “Good.” He drew in her lavender scent. “You’ll forgive me if I don’t wish you luck. I don’t want you to win.”


Bio: Nancy’s addiction for a good trash novel began in her late-teens when her grandmother gave her a bag of Harlequin Romance books. She was hooked and spent the next few years lurking in the dark corners of used bookstores searching for her next fix. Until, one marriage and two kids later, her own ideas had her jumping up at 3 am (much to her husband’s annoyance) and typing them into her laptop. Beside her husband and children, Nancy has three passions, rearranging furniture, buying bed linens and, of course, writing. Nancy lives in Eastern Ontario with her family and two over sized lap dogs.


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Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Perils of Writing Contemporary Fiction

Last week I had B.J. Scott as my guest here at the blog. In response to a question I asked her, she provided a fabulous post on the perils of writing historical romance and historical fiction (which she clearly distinguished - something I hadn't ever thought about).

Anyway, recently, I discovered there are pitfalls lying in wait when you write contemporary fiction as well. Technology and society move so fast these days that a book can become dated in just a few years, especially if its characters tend to be the sort of people who would be early adopters of new trends.

The stimulus for this realization was editing my erotic thriller Exposure for reprinting by Books We Love, Limited. This novel is contemporary suspense - actually erotic noir - set in the gritty city of Pittsburgh. The main character, Stella Xanathakeos, is an exotic dancer. Strong and independent, she takes care of herself, guards her heart, and is beholden to no one. She works as a stripper because she enjoys it - and she's good at what she does. Through no fault of her own, Stella witnesses a double murder involving a local politician with possible mob connections. Soon she's a target herself. As she tries to unravel the mystery behind the murders, she comes to realize that there's no one she can trust, not even the man with whom she might be in love. 

Exposure started life as a short story in 2002. I expanded it into a novel in 2003 and started shopping for a publisher, but although I had some nibbles from New York, I couldn't seem to find a home for it. Finally, I sold it to Phaze Books, and it came out in 2009, already six years after the book's completion.

When I began re-editing the book two weeks ago, I immediately realized there was a big problem. Nobody in the book uses mobile phones. And I was rather surprised to note that practically every chapter included a phone call - that this was a major device I used to move the plot forward. In the original book, every call comes in on Stella's land line.

I knew that I had to adjust this. Stella's income is modest, but in today's society she would definitely have a mobile phone, even if she didn't have a computer or a tablet, and like most of us, she'd take it with her everywhere.

A trivial change, right? Not as trivial as one might assume. For instance, there's one scene where Stella is coming back from grocery shopping. Her arms are full of bags and in the original, she hears the phone ringing inside as she's juggling her keys. In the new version, she hears her phone inside her purse, and totally different physical actions are required.

Then there's the fact that mobile phones do not necessarily ring. They chirp, beep, buzz, sing songs, crow like roosters. They certainly don't make the kind of jangling clamor associated with an old-fashioned land line.

Anyway, you'd be surprised at how many modifications were required just to bring the book up to the minimum level of believability from a technological perspective. I decided I didn't need to go too far. Pittsburgh is in some ways a rather traditional place, with lots of working class people, and many immigrants. It's not New York or San Francisco, or even Boston, where twenty-somethings are hungry for the latest gadgets. Besides, technology is not at all the focus in Exposure. Stella gets involved in good old-fashioned detective work, complete with disguises.

To make a long story short - Exposure is now available, in a newly edited, updated version and with a sensational new cover by Michelle Lee. I've included an excerpt below.

Buy your own copy at:



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Or - if you're feeling lucky - leave a comment below with your email. Next Monday I'll do a drawing and give away a copy to one person who comments!

Excerpt (R)

A screaming siren wakens me at four-thirty. The sound fades off into the distance, but my heart continues to pound against my ribs. Somebody else bleeding, maybe dying. Another victim.

I try to argue myself out of these dark thoughts and back to sleep, but it’s no use. The rectangle of gray that is my uncurtained window gradually brightens: first to charcoal, then to ash, finally to pearl. I turn my thoughts to Jimmy Ostermann, but they keep sliding away to Tony Pinelli.

Finally, around six, I give up and head downstairs for a cup of coffee. Throwing open the back door, I take a deep breath of the early morning. The air is cool and smells of earth and growth. It’s drizzling, the sticky warmth of the previous day only a memory.

My work means late nights. I don’t usually get out of bed before noon. I hardly know what to do with myself at this time of day. Munching on a piece of toast, I consider the question.

Rainy weather. Good for paperwork: paying bills, filing receipts and so on. Maybe I’ll spend some time looking through those Adriatic cruise brochures I got last week.

And Tony? Some other part of me interrupts my planning session. You need to figure out what’s going on with this situation, she says. If only to protect yourself. How did Tony’s widow know who you are, or how to find you? Why did she come by, and why did she seduce you? And why did you tell her that Mr. Clean—Andy—intended to shoot you in the hotel room? What’s going on, Stella? You’re a smart lady; figure it out.

This other voice is giving me a headache. Okay, I’ll spend some time on these questions. But bills first, and then a bit of a workout. After that, I’ll sit down and do some serious thinking.

Telephone, electric, gas, dry cleaning account. (My costumes need special care.) Department store charge. (They had a big sale last month, and I do like to dress well.) Maintenance fee for my dad’s cemetery plot. With a sigh, I update the balance and slide my checkbook back into the desk drawer. I can take care of myself, but it feels as though I have been doing it for an awfully long time.

Some stretching will pull me out of this funk. I change into leggings and a jog bra, then carefully unwrap my ankle. It’s still swollen, but a lot less discolored. Definitely better. When I put full weight on it, though, fiery pain shoots up my leg. Okay, so I’ll go easy for today and just do floor work and my weights.

A Supremes CD in my compact stereo, I begin with some leg lifts and sit ups. It doesn’t take long before I’m shimmying my shoulders in time with the beat, singing along with Diana. “Stop, in the name of love,” I moan as I alternate bicep curls with pec presses. “Before you break my heart, think it over.” Old as it is, this music never fails to cheer me up. Three quarters of an hour, and I feel like myself again: Stella Xanathakeos, queen of the strippers, one tough cookie.

I throw on a sweatshirt and sit back down at my desk with a legal pad, ready to attack the puzzle of Tony Pinelli’s murder. The chirp of my mobile phone interrupts me before I can start.


Stella? It’s Jimmy Ostermann.”

Warmth floods through my body at the sound of his voice, warmth with a definite component of wetness.

Hi, Jimmy. How are you?”

Fine, fine. How are you doing?” There is real concern in his tone. I continue to liquefy.

Well, my ankle’s a bit better, and I guess I’m a little less shaken up than I was yesterday.” I recall our embrace in his office. I know he’s thinking about that, too.

That’s good news.” Jimmy pauses. I can imagine him blushing.

Any developments in the Pinelli case?” I ask, suddenly wondering if he had anything to do with Francesca’s appearance at my door.

Nothing yet. Forensics is working on the firearms. Pinelli’s funeral has been set for the day after tomorrow. We’ll have people there to watch for anything suspicious.”

Well, I should probably tell you that I had an interesting visitor yesterday afternoon. Anthony Pinelli’s widow.”

Mrs. Pinelli? What did she want? How did she know who you were and how to find you, anyway?” I hear a thoughtful scowl in Jimmy’s tone now.

That’s exactly what I wondered. So you didn’t tell her about me?”

Of course not. We agreed I’d keep what you told me confidential as long as I could.”

Thanks, Jimmy, I appreciate it. Anyway, she somehow knew I was with Tony when he died. She wanted to hear my story of what happened.”

Hmm. Strange. I suppose that someone else in the department might have seen you, and shared the information with her. I’ll ask around.”

Let me know what you find out, okay?”

Sure, Stella.” There is another one of those heavy pauses. My nipples tighten in anticipation. “Anyway, I didn’t actually call to discuss the case.”

Oh?” I let my voice rise, teasing him a bit. “So what can I do for you, Jimmy?”

I actually hear him swallowing nervously on the other end of the line. “I was wondering if you’d like to have dinner with me tonight. If you don’t have other plans...”

Images from yesterday’s fantasy flood my mind. I realize that the crotch of my leggings is soaked through. I catch sight of myself in the mirror on the opposite wall. I am wearing a silly grin.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Swimming in Caviar

By M. S. Spencer (Guest Blogger)

In my new romantic suspense novel Mai Tais and Mayhem, our heroine Tessa Diamond volunteers at the famous Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida. Founded in 1955 by Dr. Eugenie Clark, the “Shark Lady,” today over 200 scientists on five campuses conduct research on sharks, red tide, marine mammals, sea turtles, coral reefs, coastal ecology, and sustainable fish farming. One aspect of their work that is featured in Mai Tais and Mayhem is a public-private effort to save the American surgeon, funded by sales of fabulous caviar. All 25 sturgeon species found in the Northern Hemisphere are listed as threatened or endangered. Mote has been growing several species of sturgeon since 1997 and in 2006, it began producing caviar for the market.

While writing Mai Tais, I had the opportunity to do quite a bit of research on sturgeon. Called living fossils, sturgeon range all over the world and the fossil record goes back almost two hundred million years. American sturgeon can weigh up to 1500 pounds and grow eleven to twelve feet long, while Asian sturgeon get even larger.

What many people don’t realize is how abundant the fish was, even as recently as a hundred years ago. Sturgeon constituted one of the United States’ biggest money crops until the 20th century. In Colonial times, we supplied much of the world’s smoked sturgeon. Upstate New York, a hub of sturgeon fishing, processed so much of it that housewives referred to it as Albany beef.

As for caviar, since one good-sized cow can produce up to 250 pounds of roe, we were swimming in the stuff. Why, a bartender might be as likely to put out a bowl of caviar as a bowl of peanuts. By the latter half of the 19th century the U.S. was one of the largest exporters of caviar in the world. Sadly, due to overfishing, the big three species—Atlantic, River, and White—were nearly extinct by the 1990s. Once the U.S. supply ran out, Russia embarked on an advertising blitz that eventually convinced customers that they made the best caviar. Nowadays Mote caviar is giving them a run for their money!

If you want to find out more about Mote Marine (and the caviar), here’s a link: If you want to find out more about Mai Tais and Mayhem, keep reading! One lucky reader will receive a pdf of any of my backlist, described in the short bio below.

Mai Tais & Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine (a Sarasota Romance)

Secret Cravings Publishing (January 2013)

EBook 64,848 words (208 pp)

Contemporary romantic mystery, M/F, 2 flames

When Tessa Diamond rescues a baby pufferfish from a hungry seagull, her good deed leads her into a shady world of smuggling, Russian gangsters, and coded messages. She confronts murder, attempted ravishment, parrots, sea turtles and big fish, only to encounter blossoming romances at every turn, including one of her own.

She is torn between Cameron Mason, tiger-eyed and handsome, and Dugan Trevally, sexy and dangerous, but before she can drop her longstanding opposition to marriage and accept her true love, she must face the possibility that one of them could be a thief, and even a murderer.

EXCERPT (R) ~ Morning Delight

Filtered blue light fluttered on her eyelids. She shivered in the light breeze. I must have left the window open. And the curtains. She pulled her grandmother’s quilt up under her chin and stared at the ceiling, trying to remember how her night had ended. The sound of a sliding door made her sit up. Praying her sudden terror didn’t peal through her voice, she cried, “Who’s there?”

No answer came, but she heard whoever it was go into the kitchen. She cringed at the sound of cups and plates cracking against each other. This guy is going to pay if one edge of George’s favorite crockery is chipped. She found herself hoping it was Dugan so she could engage in a satisfying rant.

Tessa? Are you awake?”

Relief and something warm and fuzzy flooded through her. “Yes, Cameron.”

I’m bringing coffee up.”

A minute later a tall, cool piece of manhood framed the doorway. He ducked his golden brown head under the lintel and set a tray down beside the bed. A sunbeam rippled through the window, melding with Cameron’s eyes. An image flashed across her mind, of swimming naked in a vernal pool under the canopied rainforest, begging the green-eyed leopard that drank from the verge to come make love to her. A heavy body bouncing on the bed brought her out of the trance. “Stop that! You remind me of my brother.”

Was he a brat too?” Cameron’s eyes glinted with humor.


Ah, but he didn’t make up for it the way I do. At least I hope not.”

Tessa lost her will to argue as his fingers found their mark under the sheet. “Urgggh. Unnnh. Oooh.”

Is that the extent of your repartee?” His voice—and his fingers—were relentless. Two fingers kneaded her thigh, then crawled toward the sweet spot. Tessa could feel her juices start to ooze in anticipation and when the tip of his thumb bore down on her clitoris her muscles clamped down, urging him on. Just as the orgasm began to click he pulled out with a wet, smacking sound. “Cameron!”

Patience, patience.” He pulled up the quilt and ducked his head under it. She felt his tongue flick at the so-sensitive labia and she spread her legs wide to give him an entrance. The tickling drove her crazy. She wanted to thrash about, to let herself buck, but feared she’d lose the connection with that rough, agile tongue. Finally, she slowed, breathing as steadily as she could, waiting. His fingers joined his tongue in her hole, rubbing, squeezing, licking. Without warning her climax hit. Before he could fly off her, she clamped her thighs around his head and rode his lips like a mermaid on a dolphin, moaning in ecstasy.

When she’d settled back he extricated himself, whistling softly. “My, we’re certainly energized today. You were so sedate last night.”

She looked up quickly to see his mouth tilted up in a waggish grin. Her stomach rumbled, begging for food, but she decided she could put it off for a few more minutes. “Let’s see how you handle yourself in a similar situation.” And she went to work.


Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five continents, the last 30 years have been spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. She now divides her time among Virginia, Maine and Florida. She has published six contemporary romantic suspense novels.

Ms. Spencer has published six best selling contemporary romance novels. Lost in His Arms is set in the spinning world of 1991 when countries fell like flies and a CIA fixer had his hands full. In Lost and Found we follow a desperate wife searching the wilds of Maine for the husband who disappeared. Losers Keepers is a tale of love, lust and treachery set on the island of Chincoteague. Triptych tells of jealousy and intrigue high above the Potomac River. In Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders, Milo Everhart, artist, meets her match in lawyer Tristram Brodie on the battleground of the old munitions factory turned art center called the Torpedo Factory. Her latest release is Mai Tais & Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine.

She’d love to hear from you!

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