Monday, March 31, 2014

The Celluloid Woman

By Henry Corrigan (Guest Blogger)

If there is one thing I have learned from all my years of watching too many movies, it is this; Poorly executed sex scenes are like disappointing orgasms. All of the essential components may be there, but no one walks away happy.

Sex has been a guiding influence on the life of cinema since the day it was born. From the earliest kinetoscopes to today’s digital film, seduction, eroticism and all forms of sexuality can be found. The world’s first moving pictures were actually shorter than some of today’s YouTube videos. But despite their brevity, they were no less powerful or scandalous.

In 1884, Eadweard Muybridge’s “The Human Form in Motion” was meant to be a test film. It showcased the human body as it performed certain menial tasks, such as swinging a tennis racket or walking down stairs. Each subject, both male and female, was filmed in the nude. One could ask why nudity was necessary, but then one would have missed the point.

The earliest distinctly erotic films took this idea a step further. They involved women, usually clad in an elaborate costumes, dancing provocatively before slowly stripping. But “A L’Ecu d’Or ou la Bonne Auberge” (I will give a dollar to the first person who can help me pronounce that), is described as the world’s oldest surviving hardcore pornographic film. Created in 1908 in France, it has absolutely no plot to speak of. It treated the original audience, most likely male since films such as this were predominantly screened in brothels, to the view of a woman pleasuring herself with a dildo, then later engaging in a passionate threesome with another woman and a man.

The oldest surviving American pornographic film is titled “A Free Ride”. Created in 1915, the plot revolved around a wealthy business man who, while on a drive through the country, has sex with a pair of prostitutes by the side of the road. The film was directed by A. Wise Guy, written by Will She and photographed by Will B. Hard. (I am not in the least bit kidding about this.)

Putting aside the gonzo porn attitude for a moment, let’s focus instead on the key difference between the two movies.

In “la Bonne Auberge” the main character is a woman, firmly in control of her own sexuality. She not only pleasures herself, but enters into a threesome purely of her own volition. “A Free Ride” however, focuses solely on the man’s pleasure and eschews any depiction of a sexually assertive woman.

While neither film was created with women in mind, this disparity does reveal a certain cultural hesitancy when depicting female sexuality. Further evidence can be found in the fact that the first female orgasm wasn’t introduced to the silver screen until many years later.

Ecstasy,” the big screen debut of Hedy Lamarr in 1933, was no where near as graphic as it could have been. In fact, though Ms. Lamarr was nude for a significant portion of the film, when it came time for the pivotal love scene, only her face was shown as her costar brought her to earth shaking…well, the title kind of gives it away, doesn’t it?

Since “Ecstasy’s” release, Hollywood’s decency boundaries have expanded to the point where nudity is now practically considered the norm. It is truly the rare actress whose film credits do not include being nude, or near to it, in at least one film. Just as it is rare to find a major actress who hasn’t taken a turn as the scream queen of a horror movie, or the protagonist in a romantic comedy. But while nudity and sex may have become common, the female orgasm is still capable of causing controversy.

In 2010, “My Blue Valentine” caused a stir, not so much due to its content, but because of the Motion Picture Association’s reaction. In the weeks before its premiere, the film was given an NC-17 rating from the MPAA, which is basically the kiss of death in cinema. This meant that no syndicated theater would screen the film, which killed any chance the movie had at the box office. When the producers asked why, they were told it was due to the graphic sex scenes, which included a realistic depiction of a man giving a woman oral sex. At the time this seemed strange since, that same year, several horror movies of the torture-porn variety passed through the censors without any red flags. It was only later, pressured by both the producers and cast, that the MPAA lowered the rating.

Blue Valentine” is not the only sexually conscious film to cause a stir in recent years. Others such as “Blue Is The Warmest Color,” “Black Swan” and the soon to be released “Nymphomaniac Volume I,” all bear the same markings. It is also no coincidence that this move towards realistic sex scenes runs parallel with the rise of the strong female main character.

Now more fully fleshed out and believable female MC’s are capable of not only spearheading their own films, but also blockbuster franchises. And along with this rise has come a natural decrease in the audience’s ability to accept Tab A into Slot B sex. Movies which depict a woman going from kiss to orgasm in sixty seconds or less are now lambasted as chauvinistic and blatantly sexist. Well rounded characters don’t have unrealistic hanky panky.

There are those who say that the attempt to depict sex more realistically on screen is proof of a loss of morals in society as a whole. But in actuality, the exact opposite is true. By heeding the wants and needs of women as well as men, cinema has shown not only a greater maturity and respect, but also a solid business plan. It makes no sense to alienate half of your potential customers by offering a product which doesn’t appeal to them.

After all, while a sex scene that turns a man on can be stimulating. But a scene which also excites the woman sitting next to him is…well, honestly. Is there anything better?

About the Author
Henry started writing erotica for the same reason that gets most people into trouble; Because of a girl. Several years ago he decided to turn his passion into a professional career. By day, Henry is a full-time federal employee, and by night a student working towards an MBA in healthcare. Whatever time he has left over, is devoted to family and writing. His work has been featured at and twice in the ERWA Gallery. He is currently at work on two novels. Updates and randomness can be found on twitter, @HenryCorrigan. More of his work can be found hanging in The Cave at

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Snog #119: Late Show

Happy Sunday!

I just sent two lesbian short stories to Laura Antoniou, who is editing the next volume of Best Lesbian Erotica. I'm not sure why Cleis tapped an author famous for BDSM as the editor - maybe it's pure name recognition - but I would dearly love to be in this collection.

Anyway, both stories are previously unpublished. I thought I'd give you a kiss today from the more romantic of the two, entitled "Late Show" - a story about opposites attracting and second chances.

When you're done with my snog, head back to Victoria's for more Sunday kisses!

Her scent hadn't changed – tobacco and leather, old-fashioned lavender and good honest sweat. Like a trained dog, I began to salivate, new wetness flowing everywhere. When she leaned in, reaching for me, though, I shrank away. It was too dangerous. If she touched me, I was lost.
“No – Haley, there's no room in here – Mr. Parsons...the customers...”
She paused, her gaze raking over my trembling body before returning to my face. “After ten years, Di, you still gonna shut me out?”
We hung there in silence, mere inches between us. Close up, I could see the past decade in her face: some lines at the corners of her eyes, a hard set to her mouth, a half-inch scar along her right cheekbone. Then she smiled and the years vanished. Once more she was the bad girl, the school rebel, the one who'd cornered me behind the diner and dared me to kiss her.
“Never mind. I can wait till you get off work.”
She strolled back to straddle her bike and lit a cigarette. I couldn't take my eyes off her, and she knew it.
For the next hour, she ignored me, or at least she pretended to. I sat in the ticket booth, squirming in my wet underwear, watching her chain smoke, imagining those blunt, competent fingers molding my flesh.
The show let out. People wandered out of the theater, chattering about the movie, and disappeared into the balmy darkness. Harvey killed the lights on the marquee. “You want me to lock up inside?” he called out through the door.
“No, that's okay. I'll take care of it. You can go home.”
He stepped out into the street. “ Noticing Haley, he gave her a friendly nod. “Good evening, miss. Nice bike.”
“Thanks. I'm here to take Diane for a ride.”
“Lucky lady.” He waved and headed for his VW Beetle. “See you tomorrow, then.”
The grumble of his vehicle died away as he rounded the corner onto Maple. Silence settled over the empty street. Still perched on her motorcycle, Haley watched as I stowed the cash drawer and locked the ticket booth behind me.
I swallowed the lump rising in my throat and held out my hand. “Come on.”
Her calloused palm felt dry and cool against my fevered skin. I led her through the lobby, lit only by the glowing Coke machine, then through the velvet curtains into the dim auditorium.
I'd been thinking of heading for Mr. Parson's office, behind the screen. Haley didn't give me the chance. She yanked me to a stop, then swung me around to face her. One arm encircled my waist and pulled me into a tight embrace, compressing my full breasts against her smaller ones and striking sparks from my nipples. With her other hand, she fisted my hair and dragged my mouth to hers.
We went from zero to sixty in seconds. She forced her tongue between my lips, savage and hungry. I let her take me, drinking in the mingled flavors of smokes, beer and mint toothpaste. Meanwhile she grabbed my ass and ground her crotch against mine. Fierce bolts of pleasure shot through the heaviness coiling in my cunt.
I clawed at her shirt, desperate for her skin. She released me long enough to pull the garment over her head and toss it aside. She'd never worn a bra as a teenager; she hadn't changed. The girlish swellings still featured coffee-colored areolae the size of silver dollars. I dove for her sweet nipples, sucking hard the way she liked. If you had asked me what turned Haley on, I might not have been able to tell you, but my body remembered how to make her moan.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

How Men Communicate

By Chris Redding (Guest Blogger)

Today I want to talk about how men communicate. You can use it when writing your male characters.

Communication is about independence and intimacy.

Men tend to focus on independence. They give orders and tell people what to do. Women crave intimacy. For instance. a man will make plans without consulting his wife. (Not all men, of course.) He will see no reason to “ask permission” of his wife. He actually views it that way. He would see it as not being able to act independently of her. He sees at as being the underling if he has to ask permission. Even though is isn't really asking permission, but consulting the wife about her plans. (Which is how she would see it.)

Here you can add conflict. The hero makes a unilateral decision be it about a social event or in the heat of running from the bad guys. He doesn’t see why he needs to clear it with the heroine. Of course she wants to be in on the decision-making process so we have conflict between the two. He doesn’t understand why she needs to be part of making the decision.

It is the same mindset when men go out and spend money. They don't feel they need to “ask permission.” My husband once bought a car without any input from me. He was going through a rough time and I think he needed to assert his independence not so much from me, but from his job. I didn't make a big deal about it, but the next time he bought I car I mentioned it. And of course he had no idea that I would feel that way. Until I told him.

Intimacy says we're close and connected. Women bond with each other, especially through talking. In feeling connected, two women feel symmetry. They are equals.

Independence is connected to status. Men like independence and their lives are about status. So status and independence are asymmetrical. Both people in a contest cannot have the upper hand.

Imagine someone other than the hero interested in the heroine. There would be an automatic competition between the two men. Conflict! Not huge conflict, but enough to show another side of your hero.

In ancient societies, men protected women. It is still in their biology to do that. There aren't man-eating animals that women face on a daily basis so they do it other ways. (Quick story: In a bar recently with a mixed group, someone else we knew asked one of the guys in the group to help her get this guy off of her. Now he doesn’t even like her, but she was clearly scared of this other guy hanging on her. So my friend asked the guy to leave. Twice, nicely. The guy, of course, gave him a hard time, and they almost came to blows. My friend was willing to protect this woman merely because she was a woman.)

A mother naturally protects her children. But when a woman extends her protection to a man he bristles at it. He sees himself as a lower rank, a child. Since I was a kid in the age before widespread seat belt use, if my father had to brake suddenly he would put his hand out to protect whoever was in the front passenger seat. I developed the same habit driving.

Fast forward a few years. I begin delivering pizza and using a seat belt on a regular basis. I'm driving with my boyfriend (the one who convinced me to wear a seat belt.) and I have to break suddenly. My arm goes out. He thought that was the most ridiculous thing. He made fun of me for it for awhile. Looking back, it wasn't about me. It was about him feeling as if I'd lowered him in the hierarchy of our relationship.

Along Came Pauly by Chris Redding

A contemporary romance about a dog that brings two people together who don’t want to be. She’s a vegetarian veterinarian who needs cash for a no-kill shelter. He’s the heir to a hot dog fortune who must give away money before he gains his inheritance. Sounds like a perfect match. It isn’t.


Paul arrived home that night “Jeeves, I’m in love,” he said to his butler.

The emotion filled him with a sense of purpose. He had a name and a face. Now he could find the address. With Jeeves’ help.

Paul Vincenzo’s butler peered over his half-glasses. He sat at the giant island in the giant kitchen. “That’s the third time this week.”

Paul undid his bowtie, dropped it on the kitchen counter, and then pulled out his cufflinks. Jeeves just didn’t understand.

Paul thought back to the way her hair glowed under the chandelier. As if the heavens had shone a light just on her. He couldn’t have stopped looking at her even if he’d gone blind. “No, really. I met the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen."

Jeeves put down his newspaper to sip from a glass of white wine. “I’ll bite. Who is she? A Greek heiress slumming it in New Jersey? No? A starlet on sabbatical.”

Paul shook his head. He understood the butler’s reluctance to believe him. Women had always been a salad bar to him. He’d wanted to taste them all, but this time it was different. Daria was different.

“Jeeves, I’m serious. Her name is Daria Jacks.” He’d liked the feel of her name in his mouth. Daria. He rolled it over in his mind. Daria. What an interesting name.

“And what does this fine specimen of a woman do?”

Jeeves’ question brought him back to reality. Not many people at the ball had even known her name, let alone where she’d come from. Like Cinderella, she’d lost her shoe. “I think she’s a doctor. Maybe a vet.”

“You think?” Jeeves lifted his paper back up to read.

“I didn’t actually get to talk to her.”

Paul had been a panther stalking his prey all night. She’d been seated well across the room. Her date hadn’t led her onto the dance floor, giving Paul a chance to cut in.

Her elusiveness had made the chase even more exciting.

Jeeves frowned. “How do you know you’re in love with her?”

“There was something…” he paused to find the right word, “familiar about her.”

As if he’d known her all of his life. Or maybe in another life. Not that he was deep or metaphysical. He just knew there’d been a connection, a meeting of the minds. Their psyches had bonded.

He strolled to the fridge to pour himself some wine.

“Uh huh.”

Jeeves wasn’t buying it, but Paul didn’t care. He had to meet Daria. As sure as he’d take his next breath.


Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids and various animals. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. When she isn’t writing, she works part time for a local winery.

You can find Chris Redding:

This post is an excerpt from her workshop "Show Up Naked: Writing the Male POV".

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sneak Peek: Doctor How and the Illegal Aliens by Mark Speed

[I've got another sneak peek for you today, and another chance to win fifty bucks worth of books! Check out Mark Speed's hilarious scifi parody, Dr. How and the Illegal Aliens. Then use the Rafflecopter widget at the end of the post to enter the giveaway. ~ Lisabet]


Doctor How’s famous megalomaniac brother Doctor Who sold his fictional life story to the BBC half a century ago, painting himself as a lone hero. Disillusioned, their four cousins dropped out. For fifty years, Doctor How has held the line against the forces of darkness and stupidity. And he’s not that happy, since you ask.

Illegal aliens try to hack How’s Spectrel (TARDIS is a very rude word where he comes from), just as he suspects his estranged cousin Where has been compromised. When reports come in of mysterious attacks by alien creatures, Doctor How has to rely on his new companion Kevin, a petty criminal from south London, and Trinity, a morphing super-predator, as he counters this threat to humanity’s existence. Bungling agents from MI16, long desperate to capture the Time Keeper’s technology, hamper How’s efforts to combat the alien menace. Can Doctor How keep ahead of MI16, save Where and combat the alien threat?


Kevin lowered his window and said, “Come on, Doc. We haven’t got all night.”

Where honked lightly twice, and Kevin laughed.

Doctor How smiled and took a couple of steps towards the cab.

There was a crash from inside the house, and the sound of splintering wood. The Doctor whipped around to see the sofa burst through the front window and tumble into the garden. It came to a stop upside down against the wall. He took a couple of steps back, pulled out his Ultraknife and held it towards the house.

Get in the bleedin’ cab and let’s go!” yelled Where.

I want to know what it is. Kill the headlights.”

Kill the headlights? You’ll kill us all. Get inside!” Nevertheless, Where turned off the headlights.

Get in, Doctor!” shouted Kevin.

The wall beneath the living room window collapsed outward in a cloud of dust, and the radiator that sat underneath it fell with a resonating clang onto the rubble. Water gushed out of a piece of broken central heating pipe.

A pair of black antennae waved through the dust. They were followed by two interlocking pairs of black mandibles two feet wide that scythed back and forth in the night air.

Oh, you absolute beauty,” said the Doctor, lowering his Ultraknife a fraction.

Oi, nutter! Get in the bleedin’ cab, will ya?” Where turned the headlights back on, lighting up the rest of the creature. It was six feet wide and six feet tall, with a rounded shiny black body.

I wish you hadn’t done that,” said Kevin. “Get in, Doc. Let’s go!”

It’s after you, cousin,” said Doctor How. Or your Spectrel. Or your cab. Or all three.”

Well, I don’t want to stick around and find out which, do I? Get in, you bleedin’ maniac!”

The Doctor opened the door and got in the front beside his cousin, who jammed the vehicle into reverse just as the creature edged forward a few feet, to where the cab had been two seconds before.

Wait!” said the Doctor. He slammed the cab into neutral and jerked the handbrake.

About the Author

Mark Speed has been writing novels since he was fifteen. His comedy writing has appeared in newspapers as diverse as the London Evening Standard and The Sun, and been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra. He performed his solo comedy, The End of the World Show, at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2011 and 2012. He is currently working on the five-volume Doctor How series.

Amongst other postgraduate and professional qualifications, he has a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from City University, London. In 1995 a chiropractor told him he’d never run again. Sensibly, he gave up chiropractors, runs every day and has completed several marathons and a couple of Olympic-length triathlons.

NLP founder Dr Richard Bandler called him a ‘polarity responder’.



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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Legacy of Stories

By Allison Knight (Guest Blogger)

“One night, while the Earl of Sandwich was playing cards, he got hungry...” So began another dinnertime tale about people to whom my father swore we were related.

With every story Dad told, he instilled a love of history in all of us. For example my sister has become a genealogist. I wonder if it isn't inherited for I have a granddaughter following in my sister's footsteps.

But Dad wasn’t the only one. My grandfather, a great story teller, would delight in gathering his grandchildren around him and telling us about his life. He described how the snow came through the cracks of their one room log cabin on the night he was born, why he never got further in school than third grade, although by all standards he was a very successful man. Of course there was the tale about our great grandmother who had been capture by the Sioux and released in a trade in Detroit.

And believe it or not, that story was true. Although I'm not so sure about the Earl of Sandwich being related to us.

Mother also had stories to tell. Her tales also centered around an antique left to her by a distant relative who journeyed to the US from Germany, Holland, even a bride from Spain who was supposed to have been a purchased bride. I even have a rose bush that has traveled around the US with us which supposedly came with one of the relatives from Holland nearly two hundred years ago. Notice -- I said supposedly. Unfortunately, it
must not like the southern climes for it has only given me one rose in three years.

Is it any wonder I turned out to be a historical romance writer? Not only do I like to visit the past but I also have to have a happy ending to my stories. Yah, I really like those fairy tales which have 'and they lived happily ever after' endings. And I find the past intriguing.

I also love delving into facts, researching a book. I can get lost in research. Finding an old book, a reference to an unknown fact on the 'net', get fascinating information from a site mean hours delving into the past, sometimes long past. I spent hours and hours researching the care of King Edward I of England's forests. I also found some of the most interest facts about those forests and the kind of trees that grew there.

However, some facts have a nasty habit of alluding an author, no matter how many attempts are made to discover the truth. So, as an author, I get to imagine how it would have been. After all, it’s called fiction for a reason.



Injured, Edward's spy is recued by an abused, but stubborn woman, unwilling to trust a man but with a heart ready for true love.

Arvel Ap Brynn Ffrydd has served as Edward' sspy long enough and will complete this last mission for the wife and estate promised him. Discovered by his enemy he must conceal his identity and find a way to deliver his message. His efforts force him to care for a widow, a beautiful, bossy and stubborn woman, then drag her with him, only to find she has grown to mean more than the King's reward.

Catherine de Berford Javier, physically and emotionally abused by her first husband, refuses to trust men. Another marriage is the last thing she wants, but the injured man who claims to be in Edward's service makes her heart flutter. However, she believes she means nothing to him until he offers his love but will sacrifice his happiness to keep her secret. Fate, in the form of traitor, gives them a future together.

Lovesong By Allison Knight


Catherine de Berford Javier swayed in her palfrey’s saddle. Worry grew. Anguish had her gripping the reins tighter and biting her bottom lip with each step her mount took. As the horse fought the pull of the straps, she tried to reassure herself.

Tis a beautiful day, I’m away from the manor house and despite the objections of Sir Robert, I want to enjoy market day at Bakewell. Still, bitterness sat heavy on her heart.

She could not forget that her father would soon return from London, bearing the name of the man he selected as her second husband. Marry again? Never. She could not. Her father did not know of the cruelty of Ronald Javier, the pain, the bruises, and the contempt whenever her husband spoke to her. If she was honest, she wondered if her father even cared. Mayhap he would care, if he knew her secret...

“Halt!” The shout came from Sir Robert Deemer, her father’s favorite man-at-arms.

She jerked the palfrey to a stop, almost unseating herself as she watched a man stumble from a clump of brush and into their path.

“Oh, nay,” she whispered. She threw herself from her mount.

He staggered toward them, blood dripping slowly from his head and holding his left arm close to his body as if it too was injured. His kirtle had been torn, and hung from one shoulder. Bare hands and no head covering told her thieves had waylaid him and left him for dead.

The dirt-encrusted embroidery of gold and silver oak leaves adorning his garment marked him as noble. Could this be a wealthy man of some importance? Aye, for hadn’t she seen enough of them during her marriage to Baron Javier?

“Nay,” Robert shouted at her as she moved toward the injured man, but for once his considerable bulk worked to her advantage. She was close to the victim before Robert managed to leave his saddle.

As she approached the man, matted dark brown hair hung to his shoulders and although his face was bruised and swollen, he was a handsome man. He was certainly a big man, taller than most and carrying several stones more, as well.

It had to have taken an army of men to bring him to this condition.

Just as she reached him, Robert caught up to her.

“Nay, you must not,” he yelled and grabbed at her.

She spun around and yanked her arm from his hold.

“Do not tell me what I must do. This man is injured. We will see to him.”

“Nay, my lady,” he muttered.

“This is my father’s land. It is our duty.”

She turned back to the man before her who had sunk to his knees. Turning to the second man-at arms, Jankin, she said, “Hurry to the manor house, and bring a litter to bear him there.” She turned to her maid, now at her side, “Laura, we will need hot water, linen to bind his wounds and my herbs. Go, go, both of you.”

Sir Robert shouted, “M’lady, they cannot leave you. I forbid...“


“London,” the man at her feet whispered. “The king. Must get to Edward...” His voice was a stark contrast to his condition. It was deep, melodic, but full of pain.

“Sir, you are injured. I must see to your wounds.”

He attempted to stand and groaned.

“You are too weak to continue. Rest here for a time while my people bring aid.”

He gazed up at her and a shot of desperation struck her. ‘Twas obvious this man was an agent of their king. Was he an important man?

“Your name, sir,” she asked, her voice nearly a whisper as she knelt at his side.

“The king. Must get to Edward.” Now his voice carried a strained note. What pain he must be suffering.

He blinked, blood oozing into one of his eyes. She pulled the edge of her bliaud from under her knee and wiped his brow.
He had taken a blow to the head hard enough to break the skin, mayhap the bone itself. Had he suffered a head injury severe enough to destroy his chance to survive? She shivered. Wounds to the head such as this were often a death knell. More than once, someone who suffered such an injury died in her arms.

He stared up at her, his wide brown eyes glazed with pain.


What strength he had deserted him and he fell forward into her arms. While she cradled him in her arms, holding this man and having to watch him die sent a ragged stab of pain slicing through her. Nay, he would not die. She would see to it.

About Me

I began my career like many other authors when I read a book I didn't like. My children scoffed when I announced I was going to write a book, but, after lots of rewrites and the support of the world's greatest husband, I garnered a three book contract for my first historical romances. And from a big New York publisher at that.

Today, with my husband's continued support and to the delight of my children, I write the genres I love to read, musing about my writing life on my own blog or as a guest blogger and eagerly praising the growing digital market and the convenience of an e-reader. In fact many nights, my husband and I spend the time in our recliners, listening to music and reading from our readers.

LOVESONG is the last of the series about a Welsh family caught up in Edward I's attempts to conquer all of Wales and Scotland. It is an independent romance set in the turmoil of the period. It will be available in May of 2014 from Champagne Books.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Oh, No ... Not a Sex Scene...

Yesterday I spent eight hours working frantically on a short story for an anthology with a deadline next week. A character driven tale about second chances, "Late Show" was moving along well. I'd been building sexual tension, as the heroine awaited the arrival of her old flame, whom she'd learned was back in town at the start of the story. Her frantic mix of fear and desire felt real and compelling, at least to me.

Then something weird happened. I got to the point where I needed to begin the main sex scene, and I simply froze.

I'd written about 2500 words at that point. Suddenly I was exhausted. I thought about putting the story aside until I felt fresher and more inspired. However, I knew I wouldn't have another chance to finish it for days, and I really wanted a chance to send it off to a beta reader or two before I submitted the darn thing.

So I sat back to analyze my problem. I'm an author of erotica. Why was I resisting plunging (no pun intended) into the carnal heart of the story? I'm not shy about sex, as anyone who has read my work will testify. I had a fairly clear idea of the choreography for the scene. My characters were raring to go. What was wrong with me?

After a while I understood. I didn't want to start the scene because it just seemed too difficult to write it well. I've penned almost innumerable sexual encounters in my fourteen years of publishing. And the longer I write erotica, the more challenging it becomes to convey the essence of sexual experience in mere words.

I want to make the sensations palpable. I want my readers to taste the sweat, to feel the heat, to writhe and groan right along with my protagonists. However, words are always inadequate to convey physical experience. One is forced to resort to metaphor, and after a while, all the usual ones feel tired and overused. How many times can I compare an orgasm to a storm, an explosion, a runaway train, a fall from a precipice? I find myself reduced to abstractions when what I really seek is the ultimate in concreteness, the telling details that make one fuck different from another.

Maybe I'm getting too old for this game. I hit menopause half a dozen years ago. My husband's more than a decade older than I am. Our formerly riotous sex life has become subdued, to say the least. It becomes more and more of a challenge to recapture the freshness and intensity of overwhelming lust.

In any case, I managed to reason my way past the block, telling myself that given my schedule, I really had no choice. I had to do the best I could manage. I turned down the volume on the inner critic and finished the story (4500 words). It's by no means the best thing I've written, but these characters have been bugging me for a long time. I had to get them out of my notebook and onto the page.

Perhaps my brother is right, though. Maybe I really should switch over to writing mysteries!


Monday, March 24, 2014

Sneak Peek: Banished Love by Ramona Flightner

[Today I have a sneak peek for you from Ramona Flightner's historical romance Banished Love. This is part of her blog tour. Enter using the Rafflecopter widget at the end of the post for a chance to win a $50 bookstore gift certificate. ~ Lisabet]



Clarissa Sullivan dreams for more from life than sipping tepid tea in stifling parlors in Victorian Boston. She defies her family’s wishes, continuing to teach poor immigrant children in Boston’s West End, finding a much-needed purpose to her life.


As a suffragette, Clarissa is considered a firebrand radical no man would desire. For why should women want the vote when men have sheltered women from the distasteful aspects of politics and law?


When love blossoms between Clarissa and Gabriel McLeod, a struggling cabinetmaker, her family objects. Clarissa’s love and determination will be tested as she faces class prejudices, manipulative family members and social convention in order to live the life she desires with the man she loves.

Will she succeed? Or will she yield to expectations?

Banished Love follows Clarissa Sullivan on her journey of self-discovery as she learns what she cannot live without.


If you don’t mind me saying so, Mr. McLeod, you seem quite domesticated,” Savannah said in a haughty tone.

Gabriel laughed. “Like a favorite pet, Miss Russell?” He glanced toward her with humor. “I always think domestication ruins the better part of the beast.”

But you wouldn’t want a wild dog in your house,” Savannah protested. “And horses must be tamed.”

Gabriel nodded. “I would hate to think you compared me to a horse or a dog, miss. I hope I have better manners than that?” he asked, raising his eyebrows mockingly toward Savannah. “Though, I agree, horses are most useful for our purpose when tamed, but I wonder if they truly enjoy working for us?” He looked toward me, although he did not push me into the conversation.

He let out a long theatrical sigh. “Domesticated cats, dogs. Domesticated women. Wonderful creatures. Wouldn’t you agree, Miss Sullivan?” He looked toward me wickedly. I had bolted so hard in the rocker at his words I had nearly flown onto the floor. I watched him with wide eyes, wondering why he pushed Savannah so.

Savannah replied, “Now you are offensive, sir.” She vibrated with anger.

Isn’t that what all young women long to be?” Gabriel asked Savannah, setting down the filled mugs with a clunk. “Domesticated. Demure. Tamed to the needs and ways of their husbands?”

You know perfectly well you are describing the ideal wife,” Savannah spat out.

Am I?” he asked, sounding unconvinced. “What do you think, Miss Sullivan?” he turned to me. “Is that what you long to be, a domesticated woman?”

No!” I blurted out before I could stop myself.

Rissa!” Savannah scolded me, eyes flashing. She had begun to breathe heavily, and I feared she would faint with her tightly laced corset.

I blushed but met Gabriel’s eyes. “No,” I said. “I have no desire to match that description. Slightly less clumsy, perhaps,” I muttered.

Yes, I agree,” Gabriel said, causing me to worry he agreed with my assessment about my clumsiness. “Domestication is akin to docility which is an unattractive trait in a woman.” He smiled knowingly at me, and I felt a flash of pleasure.

Do you speak in earnestness, sir, or are you in jest?” Savannah demanded. When Gabriel merely turned to look at her, she continued. “Men want docile, demure women,” she expounded, as though teaching a rudimentary fact to Gabriel.

Well, pardon me, ma’am, for not learning my lessons well,” he replied, nodding his head deferentially.

I watched Savannah’s face become flushed red with anger and was worried she would erupt. She generally kept her temper under control, but, when it blew, it was a frightening thing to behold.

I’d actually like to meet a young woman who can think for herself and doesn’t want only what her father or husband wants.” His quiet statement made my pulse quicken.

Savannah scoffed, “That path leads only to misery.”

Or tremendous contentment,” Gabriel countered.

Savannah stood, knocking into the table with such force she caused tea to spill out of the mugs. “I will not sit here any longer and listen to your insolent beliefs,” she declared. “Rissa?” She turned toward me expectantly, then headed toward the door.

I looked at Gabriel with remorse, wanting to have spent longer time in his company. “I enjoyed our conversation. Maybe we could continue it one day at the school?” I watched him, hopeful he would agree.

He smiled, releasing a sigh of relief. “I would enjoy that very much, Miss Clarissa.”

I had forgotten how his voice could feel like a caress. I closed my eyes for a moment, having missed hearing his gentle baritone. No matter how much I had enjoyed his letters, I had missed him.

Get your copy of Banished Love today!

About Ramona

Ramona Flightner is a native of Missoula, Montana. After graduating from Tufts University with a B.A. in Spanish, she earned a Masters degree in Spanish Literature from the University of Montana. Her Master’s thesis, Chilean Testimonial Literature: the collective suffering of a people, highlighted her continued interest in the stories of those who were at risk of being forgotten or silenced.
She studied nursing at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a Master’s in Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She has worked for ten years as a family nurse practitioner providing care to the poor and under insured at two community health centers, first in Wilmington, Delaware and now in Boston, Massachusetts.

An avid reader, she began writing three years ago. She enjoys the demands of research and relishes the small discoveries that give historical detail to her books.

Ramona is an avid flyfisher and hiker who enjoys nothing better than spending a day on a remote Montana river, far from a city. She enjoys research, travel, storytelling, learning about new cultures and discovering new ways of looking at the world. Though she resides in Boston, Massachusetts, Ramona remains a Montanan at heart.

Her dreams are to see the plains of East Africa, marvel at the wonder of Petra in Jordan, soak in the seas of the South Pacific, and to continue to spend as much time as possible with her family.

Banished Love is her first novel and is the first in the forthcoming Banished Saga.

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Snog #118: Limits

Happy Sunday!

I just learned that my tale Limits: A Love Story has been chosen by Maxim Jakubowski for the next volume of the Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica. This is a romantic but pretty extreme tale about cutting that really captures my perspective on dominance and submission.

There's no blood in the excerpt below (and anyway, lots of you are vampire fans...), but it's still pretty intense.

After you're done with my snog, head over to Victoria's place for more weekend kisses.

Oh, and if you don't want to wait for MBBNE, this story is included in my collection Spank Me Again, Stranger, available now from Amazon.

How long has he been cutting me? I don't know. I don't care, not really. I float in a rosy fog where love and surrender are the only realities. Not until he begins to loosen my bonds do I return to my body.
"Little one," he's saying, chafing my wrists. "Are you okay?"
I nod, warmed by his smile, soothed by his voice. I feel vague, intoxicated, boneless. When he unfastens the strap around my waist I slump forward. He captures me in his arms and carries me to the bedroom, where he stretches out beside me and peppers my face with kisses.
"Oh, Becca! The things you make me do!" He cups my unmarked breast and suckles the tip. Pleasure emanates from that taut nub to suffuse my whole body.
His tenderness focuses my thoughts and my lust. I grope downward, seeking his cock. He's already swollen; he hardens further at my touch. "Please... Master..."
He lifts his head from my breast and arches one eyebrow. "Yes? What do you want now, my little slut?"
"Take off your clothes. Please? And fuck me."
"You're weak. You've lost blood. You need to rest." He's trying to be the sane, responsible Dom, but I know him too well.
I try to pull his shirt out from his trousers. "I need you inside me. More than anything else."
He doesn't resist, not really. He knows how stubborn I can be, and of course he's dying to take me, too, to finish the job of claiming me.
I lie on my back, arms spread wide and thighs even wider, as though I were cuffed. We both like to pretend I'm powerless. He kneels between my legs, huge and fearsome in his nakedness, his massive erection arrowing toward the ceiling. Ocean-musk rises from my cunt to fill the room. He rubs the fat bulb of his cock back and forth over my lower lips, carefully avoiding my clit.
"Don't tease," I beg. "I can't take it."
"You can take more than you realize," he replies with an evil laugh. "And I'm the one to give it you." Aligning his cock with my slick opening, he impales me with a single jerk of his hips.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Writing - A Personal Journey

By Danita Minnis (Guest Blogger)

Writers, like many other creative people, come to it from very personal paths. My journey to becoming a writer was a natural progression in my development. I have always been a passionate reader. As a child, I entered fascinating worlds in the books I read - the more imaginative, the better. I remember adults in my family would always remark on my vivid imagination but I thought everyone daydreamed and made up stories like I did. I should have gotten the hint I was a writer when I wrote a short story at the age of ten about a girl in the Victorian era. The scenes were so vivid, they kept bombarding me and I just had to write them down. Next, I was writing poetry, another clue, but life gets in the way sometimes and you can’t see the forest for the trees. After a serious push for a singing and song-writing career, I decided it was time to become just as serious about my story writing.

As I explored the writer in me, I started analyzing my writing style. I found that creating sketchy outlines work best for me. I don’t like to be held to an ending or even a character because things change, and change again, if I need them to. It’s better for me to remain flexible because I never know where the characters are going to go. I usually write the ending of my story first, pages of it, and then bring the characters to that conclusion. Sound backward? Definitely, but if you understand writers, you know we have our own way of doing things.

It’s exciting when I am hit with that first character. Physical characteristics and their location jump out in a key scene and spur me on. Next, I throw a monkey wrench (usually paranormal) into whatever outcome this character wants, whether it’s to have another character or a situation resolved. The supernatural is one of my strongest inspirations. I love the possibility that there is more to life and will always explore this theme for a story. Demons, ancient cults, ghosts and witches are just a few of the things I gravitate toward. Sometimes they are secondary characters, which are great vehicles to produce surprises. The mystery lover in me can’t do without those hidden agendas. When I’m satisfied with all my conflicts and their resolutions, I tie them all together. If I’m successful, the results range from murderous obsession to lustful ghosts - and plenty of romance.

I am steeped in romanticism, which is great for my historical scenes. I don’t know if it’s due to my love of history, art and music – being a singer definitely has something to do with it. I actually have to watch this romantic bent for my contemporary scenes. Otherwise, they can end up sounding like a romantic tragedy. But wait, my stories are romantic tragedies most of the time.

I write about the flawed hunk who can’t resist the strong-willed beauty. In some way they are enemies, whether it be through lineage or circumstance. Their being together means hell for both of them but they do it anyway. Dark fairytales, I love them. A hero with a painful story the reader can feel. It creates such a yummy conflict. I hate him, but I understand why he did it…

Being in love with love, my personal goal as a writer is for the girl to get the guy in every lifetime.

Love Entwined, A Cardiff Novel by Danita Minnis


Amelie’s goal is the top of the jewelry designing world. Her orderly life comes undone when jewelry tycoon Roman steals her away on assignment to a remote English estate. He wants Amelie all to himself but St. Clair Manor’s ghost has waited for her much longer than he has.

An unseen gunman takes a shot at Roman and he blames a business rival. But Amelie and Roman are to blame, for falling in love 200 years before in a time neither of them remember.

From the heartbreak of pre-Revolutionary France to modern day corporate wars, Amelie and Roman uncover a history of blood jewels, lust and demons.

When Amelie discovers her inner witch she learns the real reason she was summoned to St. Clair Manor. Il Dragone will kill to get her back. Amelie will kill if they do.


Later that night, Amelie passed through the kitchen on her way to the pool.

She went through the gym, catching a glimpse of herself in the mirrored walls. She was a mermaid in the incandescent green two-piece with a diaphanous sarong. She loved it and would have bought it for herself except that it probably cost as much as one of her business suits. Work attire and jewelry were the only things she could see spending that kind of money on.

Roman had guessed her size. The man was an expert; he knew how to make a woman feel beautiful.

That was dangerous.

She was no match for his subtle prowess and he was too well versed in things she had not played at long enough to know her own capabilities.

When she opened the door, he was already in the pool swimming laps. She stood near one of the benches lining the walls. The underwater lights bathed the room in a bluish-green glow and illuminated his retreat. His strokes were long and powerful, breaking the silence and echoing in the cavernous room.

He swam toward her and she took off her flip-flops. She was the wallflower while he was…Godlike, more than a man should be. He climbed out of the water and stood in a puddle, pushing dark, wet curls out of his face. Her eyes followed the rivulets running down his chest over sculpted abs and finally over his feet. Everything about him was oversize.

He walked toward her in black swim trunks and her skin burned crimson as reality confirmed what her dreams had already conveyed; the man was superbly endowed.
“I see you found your way down.”

She wrapped her arms around her waist, and managed to stop just short of turning back the way she’d come. “I was watching you swim,” she said unnecessarily.

He grabbed a towel hanging on a hook. “You look beautiful.”

“Thank you for the swimsuit.”

“I should be thanking you.”

She stood mute, but unfolded her arms.

He gestured to the shower in the corner. “Why don’t you get wet? It will help you get accustomed to the water.”

Aware he was watching her while he dried off; she twisted the end of the wrap in her fingers.

He picked up a bottle of water and sat down, leaning against the tiled wall. He took a long drink before saying, “Of course you could always swim in it.”

“Of course not.” She took off the wrap and crossed over to the steady stream of water.

Closing her eyes, she blocked his eyes out of her mind, but still felt them as she turned in a slow circle under the stream sluicing her breasts. She felt his eyes as the water traveled down her waist, glancing off her hips in droplets that danced in puddles over her feet.

When she turned off the water, she felt much calmer.

He held out a bottle. “Water?”

“No, thank you. Do you want to get back in?”

“Your wish is my command, Beauty.”

He kept pace with her underwater. In a steady rhythm, he glided next to her. He needn’t have worried; she was a good swimmer.

They reached the other side and she started back the other way with the butterfly stroke. They swam together and met at the deep end, holding on to the side and facing each other.

She waved her legs in the water, feeling so much better after exercising away her nervous energy. “This is nice.”

“Where did that come from?”


“That genuine smile on your face. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen that before.”

She made a face.

He grinned. “There is nothing like a few laps in the pool before bed. It helps clear my head.” He followed her line of vision to a beach ball floating nearby.

Grinning, she swam off in that direction. She held the ball up over her head and took aim.

He chuckled. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

Shaking one waterlogged lock of hair out of her face, she asked innocently, “And why is that?” She treaded further away, still brandishing her weapon.

“I might have to come after you.” He hadn’t finished his sentence before she threw the missile. It was close, but she missed. She looked around for something else to throw.

“Nothing but pool water left, Beauty.”

She treaded away. “It didn’t hit you.”

“Ah, but that was your intention, and now you will pay the price.” He dove underwater.

She squeaked and started swimming in earnest to the other side of the pool. By the time she saw him swimming underneath her it was too late. He rose up out of the water and grabbed her around the waist. She tried to get away, but weakened by laughter she stopped struggling and leaned against him.

He took her to the side of the pool and they caught their breath as their legs wove together. The gentle lapping of the water against their bodies broke the silence.

“Give me a few days’ practice and I’ll be chasing you.” She laughed up into his face, looking forward to it.

Roman wasn’t laughing. He moved closer and his lips brushed hers.

Feeling relaxed and exhilarated, she didn’t stop him, but parted her lips. He slipped his tongue into her mouth, rolling it over hers in long, lazy strokes. She slid gently into bliss as he deepened the kiss.

She wrapped her arms around his neck, and her nipples hardened against the hair on his chest.

When he cupped her buttocks and moved against her, a languid moan escaped her lips.

Love Entwined is available on Amazon

About Danita

Danita Minnis grew up singing and once thought she would do that all her life. She soon found writing just as fulfilling and writes paranormal romance. She loves mystery, mysticism, the fantastic and the fey. She has published The Cardiff Novels, a series about one family’s trials with vengeful demons, a legacy of ghosts and mysterious blood jewels. She is currently working on the third novel in the Cardiff series, which introduces the Cardiffs’ connection to ancient vampires.
Danita is a member of Romance Writers of America. She is a lover of chocolate, a good, scary movie, kittens and pups - especially Siberian Huskies. When she is not writing, she exercises her lungs at her son's soccer matches and their favorite theme park, because everyone knows it's easier on the stomach to scream your way down a roller coaster.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Why do we love vamps?

By Suz DeMello (Guest Blogger)

In a word: because they’re hot!

Like great chocolate, vampires are smooth, seductive and dangerous. They're invariably wealthy because they prey upon whoever they please and can steal for a living if they choose. Anne Rice's Lestat is the classic example.

And many female fans enjoy the fantasy of losing control to a sexy, dominant male. On top of that, our culture worships the young and the beautiful.

In my writing, I emphasize not only the vampires’ sensuality, but also their unnatural strength and speed. In Blood is Thicker... my heroine works as a PI. In one scene, she leaps with ease onto the roof of an apartment building.

In my Temptation in Tartan, the hero is the laird of a clan full of vamps. When the heroine is attacked, he tears off the head of his enemy and drinks the blood, an event which startles the heroine, who has never even heard the word “vampire.”

In Highland Vampire, the descendant of vamps valiantly protects the heroine even though his blood has been diluted by the passage of many years.

Oh, and yeah: he’s hot.

Blood is Thicker... a short story by Suz de Mello
(previously Immortal Hunters)
Genre: Paranormal action-adventure.
A century-old vampire, Rama is used to shadows and loneliness. 
She uses the name Hestia White and lives in a coastal town working as a private investigator. If some bad guys disappear on her shift, no one cares…until John van Helsing shows up. Bearing the name of the vamps’ greatest foe, he interferes in her case and in her life.
Friend, lover or enemy?

Here’s a little excerpt from Blood is Thicker...

...he gave me his pussy-warming smile, then leaned forward and kissed me. He thrust his tongue into my mouth, and when it scraped past my sharp canines, I tasted his blood.

Yes. I sucked greedily. Sweet. Rich. John was a vampire, and he’d fed recently on young, healthy prey. I let myself drown in that lushness for a moment. It suffused my every cell with rapture, energizing me even though I went weak from pleasure. Then I returned the favor, pushing my tongue into his mouth and searching for his canines, deliberately pressing into their edges to give him a part of myself, my blood. The tiny cuts would heal quickly, while the mingling, the sharing would last forever.

An otherworldly tingle started in my lips and tongue, spreading over my flesh like magic rainbows dancing over my skin. All-encompassing pleasure wrapped me in ecstasy. His kiss transported me into another world, a private, magical universe of bliss. For a brief moment, nothing and no one else existed. Desire flamed into violent life, capturing me with unbreakable bonds. My clit quivered, and my pussy clenched with need. I reached for John, grasping his jacket’s lapels, uncaring when I gripped so tight that my greedy, needy fingers tore the gray gabardine.

I cannot begin to describe the communion that’s created when two immortals connect. Kissing is like an orgasm not only of the body, but of the mind and soul as well. (Yes, we have souls, unnatural though they may be).

I tugged him closer, frantic to feel his chest against mine, desperate for his cock to enter me. It had been so long... Besides, up close and personal, John’s sheer masculinity overwhelmed me. I’d forgotten how seductive lust could be. I could become addicted to his kiss, the hard planes of his body beneath my questing fingertips, his raw animal blood-scent.

I wanted to kiss John forever, and make love with him throughout eternity, but I was wary of becoming ensnared. We immortals are a suspicious lot. We don’t love very often. We fear our fellows, and with good reason.

John could kill me. The tiny sips we’d shared were tasty, but my heart’s blood would make him immensely powerful.
Best-selling, award-winning author Suz deMello, a.k.a Sue Swift, has written seventeen romance novels in several subgenres, including erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and non-fiction articles on writing. A freelance editor, she’s worked for Total-E-Bound, Liquid Silver Books and Ai Press, where she is currently Managing Editor. 
She also takes private clients. 
Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist, won a contest or two, attained the finals of the RITA and hit several bestseller lists. 
A former trial attorney, her passion is world travel. She’s left the US over a dozen times, including lengthy stints working overseas. She’s now writing a vampire tale and planning her next trip.

Find her books at

For editing services, email her at suzswift [at] yahoo [dot] com

Befriend her on Facebook:, and visit her group page at

She tweets her reading picks @ReadThis4fun and @Suzdemello