By Ali Baran (Guest Blogger)
Thanks so much for inviting me, Lisabet. My very first book came out this month, and I'm excited. It's sexy and romantic and just a wee bit different, because it's a May-December romance.
I've always been a reader and I love romances. I found a stash of them in a closet as a young teen and I was hooked. Then I discovered hot romances. (Does anyone really think a teen doesn't know about sex? Yet my book comes with that adult reader warning.) It also didn't take me long to figure out that romances in books didn't follow real life. Why not?
Okay, so there's this fantasy involved. Maybe I've been the bridesmaid too many times, but Mr. Wonderful seems to be Mr. Close-Enough for a lot of my friends. Really? Why? I'm waiting for Mr. Wonderful and I refuse to settle for Mr. Close-Enough. I've dated those guys along with Mr. Hope-You-Lose-My-Phone-Number, Mr. Did-You-Ask-Your-Mother-First, and Mr. You've-Got-the-Kids-This-Weekend. Enough! I want Mr. Wonderful!
My mom's BFF is an author, and one night we got into a discussion about what makes a guy great. She was talking about characters, and I was talking about real life. Before the evening was over, she suggested that I should write romances and promised to mentor me through the whole thing. The idea clung to me until I finally decided I'd try doing it. I wrote one and sent it to her. Oh my! She called me up and said to meet her for coffee. She had printed out about half of the manuscript, handed me markers, and a 3 x 5 card with a color key.
I discovered all the important things like head hopping and point of view. By the time I was done, I was sick of those characters but I learned some important lessons. I played with some characters in my mind until something began to congeal.
It all happened one night when I was out with a female friend and realized there was this other couple... My imagination just took over. Was the man with his daughter, granddaughter, or was she his girlfriend? My father is slightly older than my mom, and my boss is married to a much older man - what's the attraction? Could I be attracted to an older man? What would it take? Then I was out with some co-workers for lunch and this guy walked into the restaurant. He was impeccably dressed, silver haired, and handsome. Enough that he caught the eye of just about every female in there. Bingo! I had my hero.
If that man had asked me out for dinner, I would have said yes - even though he was wearing a wedding band. Of course I look for the "band"! At that point, I would have said yes to just solidify my hero. No, I don't date married men, but he had my curiosity piqued. Considering there's a courthouse not far from there, I assumed he was a lawyer. The average man doesn't walk around in a suit like he was wearing. It took me a few more days of playing with that man's image in my mind. Then one night I sat at my computer and began to type. The story just came together.
Each time I finished a scene, I'd email it to my mentor and she'd email it back with highlights. But when I was done, I was thrilled with what I had written and so was my mentor. I knew nothing about publishing so I leaned once again on my friend. She told me about Lost Goddess Publishing because she knew the owners, and I submitted my manuscript. I was thrilled to be accepted.
I'm not looking for a man who is that much older, but in writing that story, I realized I could see myself with someone like him. Maybe age is just a state of mind. Do our hearts even care about age? And what is sexy? What makes a man sexy?
Naturally I want a man who looks good and takes care of himself. But I also want more than a chest-beating set of muscles on two legs. We all want men who care about us and appreciate what we have to offer, but maybe I'm different because I want brains to go with it. I want a man who reads and can discuss things. I want to be fascinated by dinner conversation over bubbles transmitting data, nebulae that was discovered, a lost civilization or colony, or even a new book about a war hero. And if he can't make it exciting, I don't want to hear it. There's more to life than just sex and being able to enjoy the time spent with another person is important.
Besides, sex isn't anything new. We've been doing it for thousands of years. Maybe the difference is women today have a choice. We aren't innocent girls being wed to men we don't know. We want someone who knows how to please us. Maybe that's why Randal is so delicious. He knows how to please Tessa, truly enjoys pleasing her, and he also appeals on an intellectual level. (And having money doesn't hurt either.)
The writing bug has bitten me, and the characters for another hot romance are playing in my mind. My mother is shaking her head in shame and has made me promise not to tell my aunt. Because my aunt will probably think that I'll burn in hell over it. But Mom is telling all her friends that they have to read my book because she's raised such an open-minded daughter.
Tessa is my first book but it won't be my last. Tell me what you think is the magic behind finding Mr. Wonderful and what makes him different. If you leave a comment with your email address, I'll toss your name into the hat this month for a $20 gift certificate to Starbucks. The winner will be drawn on Christmas and announced on my blog. http://alibaranauthor.wordpress.com
Warning: May December romance for the mature reader
Years of wisdom have taught Randal that it's not the destination but the journey that makes everything worthwhile. When the tentative friendship between silver fox Randal and young Tessa bursts into lust, it ignites a passionate affair that leaves them both trembling. There's nothing more fulfilling than a beautiful woman in the arms of a man who can appreciate everything she has to offer.
As Randal embarks on a second career and Tessa is preparing for her chosen field, Randal's daughter flounders in a sea of depression. When Randal's love for his daughter is pitted against his love for Tessa, can there be a winner?
In the water, Randal didn't act like an invalid. Those piercing blue eyes sparkled and his body was ripped, better than any guy Tessa had dated. The man was damn sexy, and in the week she'd known him, she'd grown to like him – maybe too much. Way too much. Aside from a few thin, pink scar lines over his knees, no one would have believed he was living in a wheel chair.
He trapped her against the side of the pool and held her prisoner between his arms.
She turned and faced him. Now she stared into those beautiful blue orbs and caught the grin that crinkled the skin at the outer edges of his eyes. "You have the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen."
"And you have a beautiful body."
She inhaled as he drew himself nearer. His breath flowed over her face. She closed her eyes and she prayed he'd kiss her.
A finger touched her jaw, and she opened her eyes. He was inches from her with a warm smile on his face. Heaving in a deep breath, she hoped to cool the sensation building in her, but she couldn't stop it. She tried to imagine his lips on hers. His finger traced her entire face, including her lips. She parted her mouth and touched her tongue to his roaming finger.
"Damn woman. You're giving me an erection."
She cast her gaze toward his trunks but she couldn't stop the grin that was pulling on the edges of her lips.
His finger went down her neck and followed the edge of her bikini top. Her chest rose with his touch. Heat flowed through her, settling between her legs. She had never been one to have casual sex, but she was not a virgin. Right now, she wanted fulfillment. She tried to tell herself that older men weren't usually capable of sexual intercourse, but somehow she figured this man was quite capable. His fingers splayed over her breast. And a moan escaped from someplace deep in her throat. She wanted to wrap her legs around his waist and pull him closer to her.
She pushed past him and headed for the stairs. She had to get a grip on her feelings because inside she felt as though she was about to shatter into a million pieces.
He followed her. "Tessa, I'm sorry if I've offended you. I meant no harm."
She turned and touched her fingers to his lips. "We're adults."
"Don't leave. I won't do it again. But seeing you has awakened something inside of me."
"Yeah. I know that feeling." She walked up the stairs and found a towel before turning back to him. "Do you need help getting out?"
"No, not yet. I need to swim some more. I try to swim every morning that I don't have therapy. You just aren't here. So to answer your question, yes, I can get in and out by myself."
She settled onto a chaise lounge and watched him in the water. He was as graceful as a dolphin as he swam lap after lap. She couldn't help but admire his body. Even his legs had beautiful muscle definition. Inside, she still quaked. There was something about him - something dangerously sexy, and she felt it to her toes.
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tessa-ali-baran/1120868487?ean=2940149846382
Lost Goddess Publishing: http://www.lostgoddesspublishing.com/
I'm young, single, college educated, and looking for Mr. Wonderful. I'm also a minimalist. The less I have, the less I have to clean! Some people save for Christmas, but I save for vacations. I'll go wherever it's warm with plenty of sun and water. Some women collect shoes ﾖ I collect bathing suits. The last time I counted, I owned forty-two suits. Why do you think I try to stay in shape?
I've always been an avid reader, and there's nothing I love more than a sexy romance. My e-reader stays packed with books. By day, I'm tame and conservative, but once I leave work, the real me emerges. I always have a hunky guy calendar hanging over my desk at home. I kept February up until April rolled around. He was just too delicious. Some guys are worth the fantasy. I want a guy in real life who can kiss me and make my toes tingle. So far it hasn't happened anyplace but in books.
So there you have it. I'm about as exciting as my pet goldfish. The big difference is that I have a computer, a muse, and I know how to use both. I don't think Goldie gives much thought to having Mr. Golden swim into her life and she's already got the castle. I believe she's missing out on a lot of fun!
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