Monday, January 30, 2012
Lucy Felthouse of Writer Marketing Services sent me this excerpt - I hope you enjoy it!
The Initiate by Miranda Lake
The Lady Hysena Macarydias, teenage daughter of the most noble house of Qalle, finds her illusion of how life will be as an Initiate at the formidable Citadel utterly shattered.
The excesses of Father Tarrip, High Priest of the Holy Prophet , would be beyond the endurance of the terrified girls in his charge were it not for the efforts of Sister Maria, who as an Adept of the secretive and forbidden Society of T’arn, is able to control him – but only to a degree.
But Maria has concerns beyond the fate of the pampered young ladies of Qalle aristocracy; the delicately balanced peace between the warring nations is under threat, and the very future of the planet may be in her hands.
The struggle for control of Qalle is a secret one, known to only a few. Caught between the opposing factions are the innocent Initiates: Hysena, the beautiful, intelligent yet naive Lady; Jagdig, the formidable warrior girl of Kallinia; plump Princess Leel of Calith; tiny, demure Silka of Sis Narash and the others.
And, somewhere within the sprawling walls and forbidding towers of the ancient Citadel, are the Acolytes, male counterparts to the Initiates, who in the timeless manner of young men everywhere will undertake any risk if it may result in the chance to meet young women, even if that risk may result in disaster...
The world of Qalle is a world of cruelty, of pain, of punishment. A world of plot, counter-plot and intrigue, but which still allows time enough for love, tenderness and yearning desire.
First published some years ago, The Initiate by Miranda Lake is now available in downloadable form for the first time – one of the most erotic novels to be published this century.
All Romance E-Books
Xarrith was right, he reflected. Risk did make the blood sing, but what risk! He did not know what punishment would follow discovery on such an adventure, but had not been joking when he suggested to Xarrith that he feared for their very survival. His researches into the Citadel had offered hints of people entering the forbidding walls never to be seen or heard of again. Was a few hours of ecstasy worth possible death? As he watched the taller of the two naked girls, now lying on her back with her legs held high and wide by the one with the magnificent breasts and the holy sister bringing the tokan down directly on her spread vagina, he almost thought that it was.
As she plied the tokan between the open legs of Nephraan and heard her shrill scream as the whippy leather bit into her swollen labia, Sister Colya was wondering whether to order one (or both!) of the Initiates to lick her soaking cunt. With a grimace, she decided against this, knowing from experience that, while all of them would do this delightful service for each other, they hated to do it for their sister elder. Or at least this sister elder. She suspected that they showed no such reticence with Maria and felt a bitter pang of envy at the thought, bringing the tokan down with all her strength in her frustration.
Nephraan screamed even louder as the cruel device once again bit into her exposed sex.
The sound of the scream came clearly through the wall to the ears of the fascinated Tasnar. Unlike Xarrith who had seen punishments carried out on his people at home, in Sis Narash the though of treating another person in such a barbaric manner was anathema. He found the sight deeply shocking but even more exciting. Once again he applied his eye to the small hole in the ancient wall.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
My #1 favorite way to destress after a long day of writing, editing or publishing, which can be very brain-draining and frustrating, is with a game of Combine. Combine can be found at MindJolt Games on Facebook. Even though it's a video game, ot's not like the mindless video games I used to destress with after homework when I was a kid. It involces strategfy: different colors of balls fall, two at a time (at a pace you control, unlike Tetris) and you have to cmbine three of one color to make them all disappear. At first it seems really easy, but as they pile up, you have to be quite stratefic or you'll end the game.
My husband doesn't really like thta my destressing thing keeps me in front of the computer scroeen. Someimes I read a fun book (not one that I habe to review) instead. I've been really into Sherlock Holmes for fun lately. The most relazing place to read is our pontoon, which doesn't have a motor, so we use it as dock. It's winter, though, so the pntoon is frozen to the bank quite firmly now.
That's five minutes. As you can see, I clearly did not cheat and use spellcheck or do any editing.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Tales of an Animal Communicator
by Nancy A. Kaiser
Soft Cover, 2011, $16.95
Also available as an e-book
Available on Amazon or
Reviewed by Carol M. Upton
My hope for this book is that its characters and their tales will cause you to view your own animals with new eyes and with a new perspective about their significance to your life. Remember, they’ve answered your soul’s cries for help. So why not let them help?
~ Nancy A. Kaiser
In this first book of a series, Nancy A. Kaiser draws on her extensive experience to share her personal journey and anecdotes about the animals she has encountered along the way. The result is a spiritually uplifting book that inspires all who truly care about animals or are drawn to the world of interspecies communication.
Kaiser had imaginary conversations with animals as a child. In her adult work as a veterinary assistant, the animals she treated helped her realize that telepathic communicating was possible. She was guided to experiences that would develop her abilities and lead her to embrace her destiny – to help heal the human-animal bond.
We are introduced to Love, an exceptional filly born with curvature of the spine. Although she couldn’t stay on earth for long, Love’s story is one of unlimited possibility. Ongoing paths to transformation are provided by the myriad of Kaiser’s dogs and cats. There are other horses - Squiggles and her first foal, Dash, who later needed two surgeries, and Stormy, who offers powerful lessons of his own during training. Each chapter leaves a lasting impact on the reader’s heart.
Kaiser’s writing style is clear and compassionate. She includes vivid descriptions of her communications with animals – conversations that reveal their love, their fears, and their preferences. There is a companion CD or MP3 download to the book, entitled Gifts From the Universe, which contains the two releasing processes that form the final chapter of the book.
While the circumstances of Kaiser’s life form a fascinating backdrop for these tales, it is the animals themselves who are the real stars. They provide perspective and true partnership, if their humans are willing to receive what they offer to teach. Reading this book is the place to start that exploration. It will definitely introduce fresh dimensions for animal lovers everywhere.
Nancy A. Kaiser lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with her two Labs and Swedish Warmblood horse, where she operates Just Ask Communications. Nancy is an ordained minister in the Universal Brotherhood Movement and works as a spiritual liaison for animals and their human companions, offering consultations via phone, email, Skype, or in person.
Photo taken by Seth Zeigler at the Nokota Horse Conservancy, Linton, North Dakota
This is an affiliate link:
Think like Cat by Benedict Stewart. $1.99 from Smashwords.com
Cats are probably the most adorable creatures on this planet. At least that is what cat lovers would say, but there are times when they can get very unpredictable and you would just want to get your way into their minds to think like cat. You want to know what a cat likes and does not like and before that, you would also want to know whether you should get yourself one or not.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Shannon also made me aware of Drinkify.org, which is either a work of sheer inspiration OR a really stupid time-wasting random generator.
Simply put, you tell Drinkify what music you're listening to, and it tells you what you should be drinking. (You're under no obligation to comply. It's actually more of a suggestion.) It also plays a sample of your music, with matching band graphic and album cover.
For example, I type in the late, great Etta James, and it tells me I should mix 2 oz. Hennessy, 2 oz. coconut milk and 1 oz. elderflower cordial in a highball glass, then garnish with cucumber. That seems appropriate.
(Obviously made by Americans, since the WHOLE REST OF THE WORLD pours drinks metrically.)
Suppose I were listening to Maroon 5 as I write this. (I am.) It would again suggest elderflower cordial, this time 10 oz., mixed with 10 oz. Glenmorangie Scotch (you may have some left over from your January 25th Burns Night Supper!) and 8 oz. club soda. I dunno - that one doesn't sound great to me. Plus, I thought there would be Manischewitz.
I don't think it quite nailed Lady Gaga either, suggesting vodka, neat, garnished with an olive. Surely something more theatrical would be more appropriate? Shouldn't it at least be birthday cake-flavored vodka, garnished with a burning glitter candle?
I typed in a few literary-themed bands, and this is what Drinkify suggested:
Shakespeare's Sister: vodka and cranberry juice
Moby: 6 oz. gin on the rocks
Poe: gin again, this time with Red Bull and lime juice, garnished with a maraschino cherry
(Red Bull is, in itself, a literary reference - to a character in Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn. But I digress.)
So, is this thing brilliant, or is it just random?
Image: Rick A., Creative Commons license
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
One of my current works in progress is a collaboration with Rushmore Judd. Its tentative title is The Spell You Cast. This may or may not be the final cover (without the watermark, of course):
The blurb: Troy falls for Madeline’s magic only to discover he is part of a much larger plan plotted by Madeline and her ‘sisters’. The sex is steamy as Troy’s infatuation with Madeline becomes deeper, even as she introduces him to the other women of her coven.
Through the end of February, you can get Rush's latest erotica e-book, The Director's Couch, free on Smashwords if you use the coupon code JK74J.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
"Smoke" by Elizabeth Coldwell is another nice entry - I don't know why Dutch people are so sexy, but they certainly are (even if you're not a big fan of their cigarettes).
Editor Rachel Kramer Bussel contributes "Hot for Teacher," in which she deftly appropriates what was once a male fantasy for a self-confident 40-something woman. In fact, many of the stories in this anthology feature women in their forties, women who know exactly what they want and how to get it. I'm in my 30s, and I found this delightful. Self-confidence is incredibly sexy.
I was thisclose to naming Rachel Kramer Bussel one of my Hanukkah hotties last year. We're both contributors to SexIs Magazine; this is HER and this is ME.
Another story that subverts the traditionally male fantasy is "Cherry Blossom" by Kayar Silkenvoice, which explores the intercultural (American-Japanese) fantasy and an all-woman version of the happy ending massage.
The closer is "Comfort Food" by Donna George Storey, which can only be described as pure and utter deliciousness.
It's wonderful to read about women in lust - women who are bold, free, shameless (in a good way), women who know how to reach satisfaction. It's nice to read a book full of heroines unburdened by guilt, with very few obstacles between them and their fondest desires.
If you look closely, you'll see that the cover model looks like Kat Dennings, who plays Max on Two Broke Girls. My husband declares that the sitcom "sucks," but ya know what? I like it, and I especially like Max.
(*) The last book I read by Portia Da Costa was "An Appointment With Her Master," a short BDSM erotica e-book. My review on Amazon runs thus, "I've always found Portia da Costa to be an erotica writer worth seeking out, and this book was no exception. It's perfectly imagined, completely sexy and it ends quite happily. I don't think anyone who enjoys erotica will be disappointed by it, and those who enjoy BDSM with a dominant male will be especially pleased. I generally prefer female-dom, but I really liked this. What else can I say about it, except that it was perfect? The only way it could have been better would be if it were slightly longer."
Disclosure: I received Women in Lust from the publisher at no cost. I can't remember how I received "An Appointment With Her Master," but I believe I downloaded the e-book at a time when it was offered free of cost on Amazon. This review represents my honest opinion of both books.
Images: © 2005 by Tomasz Sienicki [user: tsca, mail: tomasz.sienicki at gmail.com] - Creative Commons; Kate Tegtmeyer - Creative Commons; Ed Van-West Garcia - Creative Commons
Monday, January 23, 2012
There are five different kinds of Years of the Dragon: Earth, Fire, Metal, Water and Wood. 2012 is a Year of the Water Dragon; the previous Year of the Dragon, in 2000, was Metal. Metal dragons are the strongest of all dragons, so people born in 2000 (Chinese astrology goes) are natural-born leaders. Those born in the year of the water dragon (the last cohort was born in 1952, the year both of my parents were born) are calm and take a balanced approach to life, seeing things from multiple points of view.
All dragons, including those born in '64, '76 and '88, are said to be hard-working and independent. They'll help you, but rarely ask for any help in return. They may have colorful personalities that attract others to them, but deep down, all dragons prefer to be alone.
It may help to know that in East Asia, dragons are rarely vilified as they are in Western culture. According to David Colbert's The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter, Asian dragons are typically benevolent, "though sometimes bossy." One such benevolent dragon is Haku in Spirited Away.
The West is coming around to the idea that dragons might be misunderstood creatures, though. The wizards and witches in J.K. Rowling's novels consider them worthy of study, and they're appalled at the mistreatment of the Gringott's dragon. (Some might still call the use of dragons in the Triwizard Tournament rather exploitative.) Christopher Paolini's Inheritance series, Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles and Cressida Cowell's How to Train Your Dragon series all feature heroic dragons.
Dragon shape-shifters are also counted among the immortal hotties in Gena Showalter and Jill Monroe's Dating the Undead, a comic guide to vampires, zombies and other immortals out there in the dating pool.
Katie MacAlister, who was born in the 1964 Year of the Dragon, has written not one, not two, but three paranormal romance series featuring dragon shifters (technically, they share the same general cast of characters and take place in the same world): the Aisley Grey, Guardian series, the Silver Dragons series and the Light Dragons series. A dragon shifter tale called "Perils of Effrijim" appears in the anthology Death's Excellent Vacation.
1964 was the Year of the Wood Dragon, and appropriately, wood dragons are highly creative and must express their artistic side.
Just don't be like Homer Simpson. If a dragon asks for your airline peanuts, give him or her the entire bag - or you'll break the dragon's heart. The dragons will cry rainbow tears and sing about it accompanied by a traditional Chinese stringed instrument (the erhu).
Sunday, January 22, 2012
I stumbled across All.Things.Fadra the other day, and I thought Stream of Conscious Sunday - a prompt for five minutes of free writing - seemed like an interesting idea. I thought I'd try it at least once and see how it goes.
Today’s Writing Prompt: How did you spend your Sunday mornings growing up? What are some of your favorite memories?
When I was growing up, I had to go to church every Sunday morning. It wasn't typically something I enjoyed, except for the year I made my confirmation in the Catholic church, when I was an eighth grader. I went through a phase when I was convicted about my faith then. It didn't stick, though. This was shortly before I looked at the family tree in the front of the family bible and discovered that Mom and I were of Jewish descent. Being multicultural then made me question whether I could remain faithful to any one religion when, apparently, I was supposed to be given choices. It set me on the path to my current state of embracing parts of Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and the Pagan Wheel of the Year with a "take what you need and leave the rest" attitude.
Before church, it was time for Sunday morning cartoons, and when I was a kid that meant Hanna Barbera. I think the Flintstones were part of the line-up, but that wasn't my favorite. I preferred Josie and the Pussycats, Jabber Jaw or the one with the cave people and their pet dinosaur - yeah, that sounds like the Flintstones too, but this one wasn't a comedy. I think it was actually set in the future. It looked like the moon was broken, which always freaked me out a little.
For the rules and the linky, please visit All.Things.Fadra.
Post-stream of consciousness, I looked it up: the show I'm talking about is called The Herculoids. It was produced from 1967-69, but all of the cartoons I watched as a kid on Sunday mornings in the '80s were already old reruns.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Some day I really, really need to read T'Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present by Rhetta Akamatsu. Etta James is the subject of Chapter 13. Nineteen other women are featured in the book, starting with Mamie Smith, Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith and finishing with Koko Taylor.
My all-time favorite rock book is She's A Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll by Gillian G. Gaar. (I own the original 1992 edition and the expanded 2002 edition - the true book nerd must buy the expanded version of a book she already owns.) Gaar places James in the "Roots" chapter. Gaar writes:
"Etta James was another performer with roots in the R&B scene who eventually found success on the pop charts. Born Jamesetta Hawkins in 1938 in Los Angeles, James sang in the church choir as a child. She later moved to San Francisco with her mother and in her teens formed a vocal trio with her sisters Abbye and Jean Mitchell. The trio auditioned for Johnny Otis...and Otis brought them to L.A., where he had the girls record a song they had written, 'Roll With Me Henry.'"
The song was released in 1955, and in 1960 she moved to Chess Records, where she recorded her first Top 40 hit, "All I Could Do Was Cry." Considered racy by '50s standards, "Roll With Me Henry" was re-recorded as "Dance With Me Henry" by another performer, Georgia Gibbs.
Going on tour was James' first encounter with the brutally-enforced segregation of the American South, Gaar writes. She was once threatened with a shotgun for refusing to use a bug-infested "Colored" bathroom. She only escaped by apologizing to the man who pulled the gun on her.
Not that it was in James' nature to submit. She told Rolling Stone in 1997, "I've had people say to me, 'Can't you be more feminine? I would go, 'Feminine? Why do I have to be feminine?' Does that mean I have to put a little apron on and bake some cookies or something?" James also said she was a feminist before she knew what the word meant.
Gutsy, rebellious, unabashedly sexual, unique and undoubtedly talented, Etta James will be missed by music-lovers and by those who look up to strong women.
Some of you will watch Cadillac Records in her honor. You may recall that James was miffed that Beyonce, who portrayed her in the film, performed her signature song "At Last" at the inaugural ball for President Barack Obama when James herself was available to do so. She seemed to have forgiven Lady B, though. (According to the Rolling Stone interview, James was a fan of Mary J. Blige's style, and not-so-much of Toni Braxton's breathy voice.) So I don't think James would be offended if you do.
Just remember what I said in "5 Dudes," though - Adrien Brody enacts ethnic stereotypes in his role as Leonard Chess. Don't think that I endorse said stereotypes.
I do, however, heartily endorse interracial snogging in films.
Images: Roland Godefroy (Creative Commons); public domain; Louis Ramirez (Creative Commons)
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Adult themes, including erotic novels, are discussed on this blog - sometimes, but not always. I also discuss young adult and children's books, too. I welcome guest bloggers on all book-related topics, whether the book is geared toward an adult or teen audience. I recommend this blog for readers 18 and older because of the links to books that contain adult content, but I trust my readers to decide for themselves whether they want to visit my blog or not.
But I hope you do.
I get a little disappointed when potential guest bloggers say, "Your blog is not appropriate for me - it has an adult content warning." It's not a porn site; it's a book site written by a college-educated erotica and crime fiction author who was raised in a Catholic household. Many who were scared off by the content warning would be pleasantly surprised by the actual content.
Therefore, no more content warning. Come on in and discuss literature with me.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Erin O'Riordan: This is the beginning of one of my current works in progress - romance, not erotica, this time. I was planning on having this polished up and ready to submit by the end of January, but the deadline got moved forward to April 1st. I've also been working on one called "Sheep Shifter" this week (definitely due Feb. 1) and another (already accepted) called "Aftercare."
Eric sat on the long bench of dark wood, its seat worn smooth by heavy traffic. He sat alone, which only underscored to him that whatever the Queen had to say to him, it had to be important. Queen Jasmine rarely had the opportunity to clear her schedule.
To his left, the heavy door built of the same dark wood at the bench was flanked by two members of the palace guard, dressed in Avalonia’s traditional black and white uniforms. The baroque garments of velvet, satin, lace and hosiery surely looked rather ridiculous to an outsider, but never failed to make Eric proud of his fiercely independent nation and its ancient heritage. Besides, when two men were as tall, muscular and generally dangerous-looking as the two members of the guard currently on duty, no one would dare make fun.
The doors opened, and a prim-looking young woman with short hair, wearing a dress accented with a red satin rose, stood in the doorway. “Eric de la Fontaine, Her Majesty’s minister of finance,” she announced in the clipped, upper-class accent of the Avalonian capital, Givene. He took his briefcase from where it sat between his feet, rose and approached the woman. She turned, and Eric knew he was to follow her.
The Queen, a dignified, petite olive-skinned woman of about fifty-five with intense hazel eyes, sat in an ergonomic chair behind a long table. She wore her long, black pulled back in a tight French braid and dressed in a sensible gray wool suit with a skirt that reached just below her knees.
Eric bowed his head respectfully. “Good afternoon, Your Majesty.”
“There’s no need to be formal, Eric,” she responded. “I haven’t called you here to talk to you about the affairs of state. I’ve come to talk to you about a personal matter. Please, have a seat.” The Queen’s assistant pulled out a chair across from the Queen, nodded, and returned to her small desk beside the door. Eric placed his briefcase on the table.
“A personal matter, Your Majesty?” he asked as he sat.
An attendant, a young man with shockingly red hair, brought the queen a decanter of Scotch, a dish of ice and two glasses on a tray. The attendant added ice to each tumbler, then poured a generous portion of the amber liquid over it. He served the Queen first, then Eric. Eric nodded to indicate his thanks. As the Queen took a long sip of her drink, Eric nipped at his. It was stronger than he typically liked to imbibe this early in the afternoon. He leaned back in his chair and tried to relax, although he felt a surge of anxiety.
“As you know, Eric, my third daughter Evangeline is almost twenty-one. She’s a strong, responsible girl, and soon I’ll want to abdicate my throne to her.”
When she paused, Eric broke in, “It’s far too soon to think about abdication, Your Majesty.”
She smiled. “It’s true that I come from a line of long-lived queens, but I don’t want to be stuck in this official life forever. Honored as I am to fulfill my hereditary position, I truly cannot envision serving Avalonia from behind this desk for the rest of my days. I want to spend time with my husbands, directly involved in our favorite charities. But before my crown princess can become queen, I want to make sure she has her household in order. She needs at least one husband.”
Eric swallowed hard. “Yes, Your Majesty,” the minister agreed, taking a sip of his Scotch. “As I am sure you’re aware, Her Highness is in love with a friend of mine, the Irish banker John Gabriel.” He smiled slightly. He was a bit jealous, of course. Crown Princess Evangeline was a lovely young woman, a favorite of paparazzi the world over.
The Queen shook her head. “I’m sure Gabriel is a fine man. But he’s an Irish citizen, and out of the country half of the time on business. Traditionally, the queen’s first husband is either native-born or royalty. Gabriel will make a fine second or third husband.” She finished her drink and set the glass on the tray. “Eric, you’re not married, are you?”
Eric’s heart leapt. He answered in a trembling voice, “No, Majesty.”
“Please forgive me, Eric. I don’t mean to be so personal, but I must know: do you have a lover?”
He blushed slightly. At one time, he had been the lover of the queen’s eldest daughter Morgan. That was long before Morgan married her two husbands, and Eric had been without female companionship for longer than he cared to remember. “No, Majesty.”
“Do you have any children?”
“No, Majesty.” He felt certain he must be blushing a deep red, if not the color of a beet. It was not every day that one had one’s personal life so closely scrutinized by the head of state.
The Queen seemed a bit surprised, arching her black eyebrows slightly, but continued. “If my Evangeline agrees, will you marry her?”
He froze, considering his answer carefully. When the Queen had asked for him that morning, he was expected her to ask him to head off some minor financial crisis. Never, in his wildest flights of fancy, did he consider having to answer this particular question. He reached for his drink, drained it down to the ice cubes and made up his mind.
Anybody have an idea for a title?
Monday, January 16, 2012
I'm pleased to announce the eXcessica Publishing's semi-annual erotica anthology is out, and once again it contains an Erin O'Riordan. This original, never-before published story is called "The Witch's Tale." It has a witch - and werewolves! The anthology's title, and theme, is Heartache.
A snippet of "The Witch's Tale:"
...At the darkest hour of the night, all the wolves seemed to go away. Except one. His howling kept me awake. I went to my window and looked; it was a big brown male with honey-colored eyes.
I went to the door and opened it. "Come in, Milos," I said.
The big wolf trotted in and lay on the rug in front of my fireplace, whining. I brought him the remains of the bread I’d eaten for dinner (unlike the wolves, I ate no meat). He ate the bread. I sat beside him and stroked his fur until he fell asleep.
I fell asleep stroking the wolf. I awoke to find the fire had died out, and I was lying on the floor with only a naked, sleeping Milos to keep me warm.
"I was lonely," he said when he woke up. "I am alone in my den now. You were always kind to me and my people."
"You’re welcome to visit," I said, staring hard at the pattern on the rug and trying not to see his well-muscled body.
"I want to stay," he said.
"I don’t think you should," I said, drawing my conclusions about his intentions. "Milos, you’ll find another mate. One of your own people. A woman who can give you children that are like you."
"I know," he said. "But it will be many seasons before another single female becomes mature. I can’t wait that long. I got too used to Svjetlana, and then the babies, lying beside me. I won’t stay forever. Only let me stay for a few nights."
He lifted my chin so that I stared into his honey-colored eyes. They were both innocent and wild, sad and hopeful. I wanted to comfort him, especially after all the times I failed to help him. Still touching my face, he brought his lips to mine.
The gesture stunned me; in truth, it was my first kiss. I’d devoted so much of my life to aiding the sick and injured on this strange isle, I’d neglected finding a mate of my own. Milos, however, seemed to know exactly what he was doing. His thumb stroked my cheek as he kissed me, his tongue begging entrance into my mouth. The effect of his naked body, so near to me and so affectionate, was dizzying. I wasn’t thinking straight; it was as if I’d swallowed one of my medicines. Milos wanted more…and so did I. I parted my lips.
The official blurb: "Erotic, romantic, poignant and wistful, this anthology collection from Excessica authors will thrill you, touch you, and stay with you. These stories dare to explore the pleasure and pain of a lover gone, the one that got away, the forbidden affair, a true love existing on borrowed time. These are tales of passionate affairs that cannot last, but they are exquisite gems while they do, and like the star that burns brightest, these stories burn fast, dazzle and smolder in the memory."
Heartache is my 6th anthology with eXcessica. I also wrote stories in:
Sale at Melange Books: For the month of January, take 10% off every e-book at Melange Books, in honor of the publisher's first anniversary! That includes books by Erin O'Riordan: the crime thriller The Smell of Gas and the Hearts of Tomorrow anthology, which contains my take on the French fairy tale of Melusine.
To get the e-book discount, use the promo code 4P096350 at check-out.
Friday, January 13, 2012
Susie White and her stepmother-to-be have never seen eye to eye, despite all of Susie’s best efforts to be friendly. Eager not to spoil her father’s happiness, Susie still agrees to be bridesmaid at their wedding. When the big day comes, she meets Louise’s right hand man, Scott. Susie had never believed in love at first sight until that moment. The pair hit it off, sharing a mutual dislike of Louise and her wicked ways. Their camaraderie quickly develops into something more, and they date in secret until it’s time for Susie to leave for University – and freedom. Unfortunately, Scott has an earth-shattering revelation, which means the two of them of them must work together to unravel Louise’s evil plan, before it’s too late.
More info and buy links: http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/susie-white-and-the-right-hand-man/
I should have known my stepmother was up to something when she offered to help me move all my stuff to my University digs. It wasn’t like her to be civil, much less helpful, but I figured that she was happy I was moving hundreds of miles away, and therefore would do anything to make sure it happened as quickly as possible.
As my father’s only child, I’m the sole heir to White’s Bites, a massively profitable confectionary company based in Wiltshire, England. My stepmother had made no secret of the fact she resented that she wouldn’t get a stake in the business, should anything happen to my father. Of course, the reason for this was that my father knew the first thing the witch would do was put the business on the market to get her greedy little hands on the cash. I, on the other hand, loved White’s Bites and would continue to run it to the best of my ability.
We’d never seen eye to eye, my stepmother and I. However, it wasn’t the usual ‘child resents someone trying to replace their parent’ syndrome, it was her that resented me.
My mom had died of cancer when I was fifteen. My father and I were devastated, as you’d expect, but I’d always urged him to get on with his life. After all, it’s what mom would have wanted, and I certainly didn’t want my dad to be lonely when I got married and left home.
So, a couple of years later, when dad met Louise and they started dating, I was thrilled. He was happy, therefore so was I. Soon it became more serious and dad wanted me to meet her. I was excited, but nervous.
When the time came and Louise had walked into our house, I’d been in awe. Don’t get me wrong, my mom had been beautiful, but in a natural way, as if she didn’t realise, or care. But Louise clearly did. Her gorgeous hair was perfectly quaffed, and her attractive features were enhanced by expertly applied makeup. Her outfit looked like something from a fashion magazine. I managed to pull myself together before she saw me standing there, all slack-jawed and stupid-looking. Walking towards her, I’d held out a hand.
“Louise!” I’d said, beaming, “I’m so pleased to finally meet you. Dad’s told me so much about you.”
She’d smiled thinly and without any real emotion. “Charmed, I’m sure, Susan.” She’d shaken my hand gingerly, as though she was afraid she’d catch something. I’d half expected her to wipe her hand on her clothes afterwards.
“Oh please, call me Susie.” I’d said, ignoring her odd behaviour. I’d been eager to get on with the woman, knowing it would please my father. “Everyone does.”
Another tight-lipped smile. I’d tried hard to make conversation with her and make her feel comfortable in our home. But I never felt like I was succeeding. At first, I put it down to her being nervous or shy, but as weeks and months passed, I still never felt as though Louise warmed to me. I never bothered my father with my concerns. After all, as long as she liked him, what did it matter?
While Louise and my father were just dating, things weren’t too bad. They went to restaurants, the theatre, the cinema, and so on. I didn’t see her very often, and therefore didn’t have to put up with her frosty behaviour towards me.
Naturally, everything changed when dad told me he was going to ask Louise to marry him. He’d sat me down to break the news – fortunately – and I’d done my best to act delighted. Luckily, dad hadn’t noticed anything was amiss, and as he’d chatted about ceremonies, honeymoons and Louise moving in, a cold shiver had run up my back. This could not end well.
More info and buy links: http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/susie-white-and-the-right-hand-man/
Lucy is a graduate of the University of Derby, where she studied Creative Writing. During her first year, she was dared to write an erotic story - so she did. It went down a storm and she's never looked back. Lucy has had stories published by Cleis Press, Constable and Robinson, House of Erotica, Noble Romance, Ravenous Romance, Summerhouse Publishing, Sweetmeats Press and Xcite Books. She is also the editor of Uniform Behaviour and Seducing the Myth. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter. You can also subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Amber Lea Easton: I'm working on a WIP that I'm really excited about. It's definitely a work in progress at this stage--only 100 pages written but flowing fluidly. Although I'm a published romantic suspense author, this is going to be more of a Jodi Picoult-type book--definitely not a happy ending but filled with suspense.
Little Earthquakes Chapter One (partial)
Bloodstains remained on the hardwood floor despite the endless bottles of bleach and hours of scrubbing. Someone—maybe her mother—had bought a shag rug to cover it. She nudged the corner with her toe.
The house reverberated with emptiness despite the people gathered downstairs, talking about her life as if it were an impersonal news story. And the questions, the endless questions…as if she had any answers. Ten days ago her life had been whole, maybe not perfect but definitely whole. Family trip to Hawaii: snorkeling with sea turtles, Mai Tais in the moonlight, beach walks with the family…and she had been clueless the entire time.
Sure there had been trouble, but that was why they had gone on the trip. De-stress, reconnect, all the buzzwords she had used in desperation of holding the family together.
Lesson learned: buzzwords sucked.
Fingertips traced the top of the dresser, mind lost in all that had been and would never be. Teeth bit into her lip. Body shook with restrained emotion. Every ounce of strength had propelled her through the day, had held her up while she spoke at her husband’s funeral, had dragged one foot in front of the other as she guided her children down the church aisle.
And it wasn’t over; this was the threshold.
There hadn’t been a moment of peace since Marshall had pulled the trigger and blown his face off right in front of her. Chunks of his skull had embedded themselves in her hair, blood had roped across the bed like insane silly string and his body had crumbled where she now stood dressed in a black funeral dress.
She could still hear it…the gun going off, the kids screaming, “daddy, daddy” from the doorway…could still feel the disbelief gripping her mind, could still feel his lifeless body beneath her hands as she had knelt over him and begged him to stay alive.
“People are asking about you,” her mother said from the doorway. “You need to—”
“I know, I know, I know…” she rubbed her hands over her hair.
“Riana? Are you okay?” Her mother took a step inside the room.
Okay? Hell no. Her husband had killed himself five days ago. Of course she wasn’t okay. She doubted she even knew what that word meant anymore.
“I’ll be down in a minute,” she said.
“We’re all taking this hard, you know.” There it was, the accusation that maybe—just maybe—she should feel guilty for grieving her husband.
“There are a lot of people here. You need—” “I need everyone to stop telling me what I need and let me take care of myself and my kids.” An overwhelming desire to slam her hand into the mirror quaked through her. “Just go. I said I’d be down in a minute.”
She wanted to throw up, curl into a ball on the bathroom floor and escape into numbness. But that wasn’t allowed, not here with these people. That would be seen as weak, as less than whatever the hell it was they thought she should be. As far as she could tell, there wasn’t a manual on how to survive this, let alone how to act on a minute-to-minute basis.
“You don’t need to be bitchy. This is a tough day for everyone. We all loved Marshall.”
“Believe me, I wouldn’t want to make it harder on you or anyone else, that’s for damn sure.” Back to her mother, she stared at Marshall’s truck in the driveway.
If only she could have one more conversation, one more chance to understand, one more…anything. One more kiss. One more hug. One more knock-down-scream-the-walls-down argument.
“People are here to see you, Riana. You have a responsibility as the widow.”
Widow. Silently, she repeated the word, tried it out in her mind…it didn’t fit. Widow. She cringed at the word. Too young. Only thirty-seven. Widow. The sound of it twisted the knife deeper into her heart.
Blowing out a long breath, she squeezed her eyes closed and summoned more strength to keep standing. She heard her mother stir behind her, approach without touching and then leave.
Hands shaking, she grabbed one of his sweaters he had left hanging on the chair and held it against her chest. Even now she expected to hear his voice any moment, see him walking from the shower wondering what all the chaos was about, see his quick smile and feel his hands move over her arms.
But none of those things would happen ever again.
She pulled the sweater over the dress and walked downstairs. One foot in front of the other. Forward momentum.
In-laws, friends, relatives, and various acquaintances filled the house. Raised voices from the kids outside confirmed their whereabouts. She paused at the picture window on the landing to look at her two children, only 7 and 8, who played in their church clothes as it this were only a big party instead of a memorial for their father. And she prayed and prayed and prayed that they would survive this trauma without too many scars.
“I don’t know what to say, Riana. I…if there is anything we can do for you…anything…” A hand closed over her shoulder.
“Thank you.” She looked into the eyes of Marshall’s friend Ron. “I appreciate it.”
He rocked back on his heels as if he wanted to say more but lacked the courage. She stared him down; waiting for a confession that he had known what Marshall was capable of, that he knew the why. Tears filled Ron’s eyes. With a shake of his head, he backed down a few steps before retreating completely.
Coward, she thought. Looking around the room she wondered who amidst this group knew the why. She didn’t. She had no idea. Well, maybe she suspected, but she didn’t know the facts. She didn’t know the real reason why.
As if dragging her legs through mud, she walked to the corner with a good view of the yard.
“Big group.” Jenna, an old friend from high school, leaned against the wall next to her. “Want a glass of wine?”
“Thought so.” Jenna handed her a full glass of white wine. “Do you even know half of these people? It’s like the whole town has shown up.”
“I know.” Both palms cupped the wine glass. “Terri Reynolds even asked me if I was getting life insurance because of the suicide. I have maybe had two conversations with the woman in my entire life.” Her laugh sounded as brittle as she felt. “And look at Marshall’s family from San Diego. In the ten years we’ve lived in this house, they have never bothered to visit. Now here they are, acting like hosts. His uncle even asked me for a tour of the place.”
“A tour?” Jenna snorted. “I caught your cousin what’s-her-name coming out of your bedroom earlier. She snapped at me to leave her alone.”
“My room? No one is supposed to be in there.”
“I told her that. I think she is trying to communicate with his spirit or something.”
“Whack job,” she muttered before taking a long sip of the wine. “She met him once last Christmas and then again this Easter. Total. She didn’t know him.” Her entire vibrated with the realization that most of the people here were mere acquaintances, that none of them really knew the family at all. Marshall had been her best friend. Not only had they married and raised a family together, they had also worked together. Other people hadn’t been a priority.
Jenna laid her hand on hers. “It’s okay, Riana. I shouldn’t have mentioned Piper. She’s—“
“We’re all subject for gossip now, aren’t we?”
The wine glass crashed to the floor.
She squatted down to pick up the shards while blinking back the tears that wanted to flow. Helping hands echoed her motions on the hardwood floor, murmured words of encouragement fluttered into her consciousness.
“Mom, can we go to the rec room?” Her daughter Vanessa’s shoes crunched on the one remaining piece of glass. Blond, blue-eyed, tanned and flawless, Vanessa grinned. “I want to show Sara the air hockey table dad set up.”
She doesn’t get it, the thought whispered through her mind. Leaving the mess to Jenna, she squeezed Vanessa’s shoulders.
“Sure. You go.”
“Shouldn’t the kids be changing clothes?” The cousin in question stepped to her side. “I can help them, watch them, make sure—”
“They’re fine. Let them play.” She looked at Piper. “I heard you were in my room.”
“This is all so difficult for me.” Piper’s eyes liquefied in an instant. “It’s bringing up so much from grandpa’s death, my dad’s death, my brother…you know. I have had so much grief in my life. I just—”
“My bedroom is off-limits.”
“I wanted to be close to Marshall.” She tossed a strand of bleach blonde hair from her face and blinked at the tears.
You want to be immersed in the drama, she wanted to say but didn’t.
“Be close to him somewhere else,” she said through clenched teeth.
“And don’t worry about what people are saying.” Piper squeezed her upper arm. “You’ll be fine.”
“What are people saying?” she asked Jenna after Piper walked away.
“Do you really care?”
“Riana,” a woman she recognized as one of Marshall’s patients wrapped her arms around her, “I am so sorry. What are you going to do?”
Do? Stand here. Survive today. Survive tomorrow.
“I couldn’t believe it when I heard.” The woman held on, her voice slurred with either alcohol or tears. “You’ll have to close the practice. What a tragedy for everyone. How could he be so selfish?”
“Why would she close the practice?” Jenna asked.
She broke free of the woman’s clutches, her mind struggling to remember her name and concentrate on her words.
“Obviously that’s the only choice.” The woman’s voice lowered to a whisper. “It doesn’t invoke confidence when the most reputable psychiatrist in town kills himself. I doubt—”
“I need some air, excuse me.”
She half-stumbled, half-ran to the deck. Hands clenched the railing, face lifted toward the sun, lungs struggled for breath. Close the practice. She hadn’t even considered such a thing. They were both psychiatrists. What was her fate now? Lose the husband, lose the career…what next?
“Who cares? I care.”
“What?” She blinked, startled by the comment.
Marshall’s biological father stood behind her, face twisted into a sneer. Winston Warren hadn’t spoken to his son in over three years, yet here he stood acting like a victim for all to see.
“Never say I didn’t care,” he muttered.
“I didn’t say it.”
“Bitch.” With that, he walked back into the house.
“Riana,” someone called her name but she ignored it.
She walked down the deck stairs, onto the grass and toward the stream. Fallen leaves crunched beneath her feet. Aspen and pine trees stretched toward a flawless blue sky. Air smelled like late autumn, crisp and rich.
Numb, she sank onto a rock, squeezed her eyes closed, wrapped the sweater tight around her, inhaled the sweet mountain air, and listened to the garbled whispers of the river.
“Damn you, Marshall,” she whispered, mouth wet with tears. “Why did you leave us?”
Diamond Head Image: VideoFrog, Creative Commons license
White wine: Tim Parkinson, Creative Commons license
Autumn aspens: © Andrew Dunn, 1992, Creative Commons license
Amber Lea's website, blog, Bookstrand page, and Twitter
Monday, January 9, 2012
Along came Stacey Jay, whose paranormal young adult novel Juliet Immortal cast Juliet Capulet in an entirely new light. Suddenly, Juliet had a personality, a consciousness, thoughts and opinions and the ability to tell her story in her own words. According to this Juliet, Shakespeare got it wrong - way wrong. Although she loved Romeo when she secretly married him, but by the end of their honeymoon night, Juliet had good reason to hate Romeo Montague forever. They were not dead by their own hands, but rather given an immortality in which Juliet was a sort of cosmic bodyguard, sent through time to save pairs of lovers whom Romeo would try to rip apart.
Jay allowed Juliet a full range of emotions above and beyond fawning over a hot guy. Her Juliet has pent-up rage, even murderous impulses, tempered with a basic goodness and sense of duty. She has little reason to believe in true love, yet it’s the very thing she’s sworn to protect. She’s complicated. She has better days and worse days. Her emotions are realistic.
This is not to say that female authors can write a kick-ass teenage heroine better than male authors can. Consider the examples of two fictional teenage girls forced to become warriors when war broke out in their once-peaceful homes. One is Scarlett O’Hara, heroine of Margaret Mitchell’s 1930s masterpiece Gone With the Wind.
Before the Civil War broke out, Scarlett’s biggest concerns were boys and parties. She’s a smart young woman, but thinks it’s “cute” to play down her intelligence. For a while, she saw the war as the dreadful thing that forced her to be a nurse and wear widow’s clothes when she only wanted to wear bright colors and dance. Once the Yankees burned Atlanta, something inside her snapped. Scarlett’s fierce determination to “never go hungry again” hardened her. Some might say she went from a thoughtless young woman to a heartless one. Love her or hate her, by the middle of the book, Scarlett will do anything to survive.
Scarlett’s more modern counterpart is 17-year-old Irena Zaric in Scott Simon’s novel Pretty Birds. She loves to play basketball, hang out with her friend Amela, sneak around with boys, listen to Madonna and watch Johnny Depp movies when the Bosnian Civil War hits her home of Sarajevo. Like Scarlett, she’s forced to starve. Her family lives in the ruined remains of her grandmother’s apartment building, where they crawl on the ground like crabs to avoid becoming targets for snipers.
Like Scarlett, Irena makes a hard decision to survive: she becomes a sniper herself, learning how to use a rifle. She shoots at the teenage boys, classmates only days before, who have become soldiers. She kills young women not unlike herself, only they happen to be Serbs and she is a Muslim. Still, she never becomes heartless. The one thing Irena will never do is betray a friend.
Written seven decades apart, one by a Southern belle who wrote to avoid boredom while recovering from a broken leg and the other by a Chicago journalist who witnessed the war firsthand, these very different novels tell the same story. To write a kick-ass heroine, you must capture all sides of her, the good and the bad. If everybody loves her all the time, why is she interesting? The reader needs to know what makes her angry, what can push her over the edge, what she hates as well as what she loves...and who loves her. To write a kick-ass heroine, you first have to discover the human being.
Images: Juliet by John William Waterhouse is in the public domain.
Retouched photo from Gone With the Wind is in the public domain within the U.S.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Please, allow me to assist you in the fine art of man-watching. Let me take you back to Halloween week, when Pagan Spirits celebrated Werewolf Wednesday:
Back in June, I created one of my all-time favorite posts...but you knew that from my New Year's round-up of my favorite posts from 2012. It was 5 Jewish Dudes I'd Most Like to See Lewd, inspired by Anthony Weiner. This gives us the infamous Adam Levine (one of my Hanukkah Hotties) nude shot.
In Romantic Heroes and the Hotties Who Inspired Them, you get to learn where some of the inspiration for my stories comes from. Some of it comes from Milo Ventimiglia.
Men are fun to watch by themselves, and great when they come in pairs. The fictional should-be couple I keep obsessing about is Qhuinn-Blaylock, J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Conveniently, "Qhuinn and Blaylock should totally get together!" has been shortened to "Team Qhuay." Hotness results.
You can't tell from the above fanfic graphic, but Qhuinn has two different-colored eyes. Just like David Bowie, who turns 65 on this National Man Watcher's Day 2011. He was in the The Prestige, along with the one man you just knew I couldn't go without mentioning, and watching.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Tit Elingtin and I were interviewed about Eminent Domain at The Best of Everything (link is now defunct, unfortunately).
Gabe Habash, in his Publisher's Weekly blog, brought us the best book memes of 2011 (another dead link, alas).
According to Entertainment Weekly, Chris Columbus, who directed the first two Harry Potter movies, is collaborating with YA author Ned Vizzini to produce a 3-book series called House of Secrets. Could be interesting...
Speaking of my favorite, phenomenally popular book franchises: as much as I love Twilight, I can't help but get a chuckle out of "If Famous Writers Had Written Twilight."
This book came out in September, but I just discovered it now: Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star. It's not a mash-up, but a P&P-inspired tale in which Darcy, Bingley and Fitzwilliam have a band, and their new opening act is Long Borne Suffering, a band featuring Lizzie and Jane Bennet and Charlotte Lucas. It's just about the coolest thing since Little Vampire Women.
If you're enamored of Pride and Prejudice and its myriad sequels and tributes, you might also like The Spinster's Vow by Enid Wilson. It's another Lizzie Bennet-Fitzwilliam Darcy romance.
Our favorite TV inspired by our favorite books: here's Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust's summary of the most recent crop of supernatural TV shows, including The Secret Circle (based on the L.J. Smith novels) and my new favorite, Grimm.
Now the sexy stuff:
Sex toys, this article states, are increasingly being marketed to a religious audience. Why not?
Finally, if you need a little liquid inspiration, you can always order a make-your-own absinthe kit (sorry, that link no longer works). I can't resist making this terrible pun: absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.
(Public domain image)
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
After a brutal relationship which nearly killed her, Gillian Hillard has withdrawn from everything, including sex. Burying herself into her work, she avoids life and its entanglements out of fear and lack of confidence. When she meets Firefighter Jack Payle at her mother's wedding the sparks fly and she gets a taste of how exciting it is to stand so close to the flames.
Gillian’s different than any woman Jack’s been with, calm, plain, but beneath the staid clothing and glasses he senses a woman with fire, one who can light his world. He sets out to get her – to claim the woman behind the mask but can his love save her from the darkness?
Fighting fire with fire has never felt so good for them. Passion flares into a five alarm fire threatening to overwhelm them both in its heat.
Sin's Bite: Love, lust, and a blood fued can't keep these lovers apart.
Master's Mistress: In a world of betrayal and murder, a vibrant Celtic slave woman holds the key to her Viking master's heart. #1 Bestseller for May - Champagne Books
The Viscount's Prize: A rugged spy, an innocent courtesan and a court bent on destroying them both. Carnal Passions
Love Thy Neighbor: In a land devastated by the Civil War, can water flow uphill to unite the two lovers destined to reclaim it? Champagne Books
Phantom's Pleasure: Can true love trascend death itself? Passion in Print
Firecracker: Love sometimes means accepting the inevitable.
Bordering on Love: Love will conquer all obsticles
Cowgirl's Christmas: A sexy cowboy, a secluded hideaway - and a love stronger than fear.
Image: Denis Janssen, Creative Commons license
Sunday, January 1, 2012
January - "The Journal of Rosa and Bella" Pt. 1, by Shah Wharton
February - Amber Chen's Hottest Sci-Fi Couples
March - The Forgotten Saints of Ireland
April - Crime thriller The Smell of Gas by Erin O'Riordan and Tit Elingtin
May - Day of Revenge by Deanna Proach
June - 5 Jewish Dudes I'd Most Like to See Lewd
July - The erotic art of Christopher Chamberlain
August - The Science of Writing Science Fiction
September - For the first day of fall, books about Persephone
October - Love Spells From the Witch of Umbria
November - The Best Parts of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Pt. 1
December - The Witches' Yuletide Ball
Happy New Year! May 2012 be the best year of your life so far. I'm looking forward to more guest posts and more great books in 2012. And Breaking Dawn Pt. 2, of course.
Jakob Dylan image: Mike from Boston
The Odor of Pomegranates by Zaida Ben-Yusuf, 1899, is in the public domain