Friday, January 31, 2014

The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray: #BookReview

Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray: A NovelWilde Passions of Dorian Gray: A Novel by Mitzi Szereto

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One caveat: I never read The Picture of Dorian Gray. I knew the basic plot, perhaps because I did a unit on Oscar Wilde in middle school and read one of his shorter works - I don't remember exactly. Before I started reading this book, I thought it was going to be a mash-up of the original with some of Szereto's original thoughts added in, like her Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts. At first I was a little disappointed, since I really enjoyed that Austen parody. However, as I read on, I was glad to discover it was a wholly original tale crafted from the "what if" of Dorian becoming an immortal - or at least very long-lived - being.

Because I didn't read the original, I don't know how true Szereto wrote Dorian Gray to the way Wilde wrote the character, but that didn't matter as I read this. Szereto's Gray gets into some very imaginative scenarios, starting with a run-in with some very famous expatriate American writers in Paris. This chapter is fun. The tale becomes quick a bit darker in the next setting, and the darkness continues as Gray spirals downward into total depravity.

Dorian is a bastard, but it's a fantastically well-told story. Still, even Dorian Gray has some hope for redemption, and the ending of this novel is very fitting.

In the past I've enjoyed Szereto's signature blend of erotica and humor, so this novel is a definite change of pace from what I'm used to from this author. I like it. It confirms once and for all that Szereto is a well-rounded and talented novelist.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Click here to listen to an audio interview with Szereto about this book.

About Szereto's Other Books on This Blog:

Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts - interview with Mitzi Szereto
In Sleeping Beauty's Bed - book review

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book, unsolicited, from the publisher. I was offered no other compensation for this review, which represents my own honest opinion.

***

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Norman Reedus of 'The Walking Dead' Likes 'Daryl' in the Adult Parody

[Press Release] LOS ANGELES, CA/JANUARY 30, 2014 … In a recent AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD Q and A with actors Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln in Singapore, Reedus admitted to watching THE WALKING DEAD: A HARDCORE PARODY. The film is produced by BurningAngel Entertainment and directed by Tommy Pistol (2014 AVN award winning “Best Actor”) and Joanna Angel (BurningAngel Entertainment owner and spokesperson).


“I had hoped and dreamed of a cast member of AMC’s The Walking Dead to see the Porn Parody we made – but I didn’t think it would ever actually happen,” said Joanna Angel owner and spokesperson of BurningAngel Entertainment. “Thank you Norman Reedus for taking time out of your busy zombie killing schedule to watch our porn.”

After months in a hospital bed, County Sheriff Rick wakes up from a coma and realizes the world has been overrun by zombies. The undead were hungry for brains…and sex! The only way to fight and return these undead creatures to the grave was to fire a jizz shot. Viewers will find out if Lori gets with Shane or Rick, if Michonne and Andrea get together, and if Daryl shoots his bow.

The film features adult stars Joanna Angel, Kleio, Skin Diamond, Jessie Lee, Larkin Love, Sierra Cure, Arabelle Raphael, Phoenix Askani, Tommy Pistol, Danny Wylde, Wolf Hudson, Owen Gray, and Tommy Gunn. DVD features special behind-the-scene featurette, trailers of upcoming features, photo gallery, animated menus, and zombies!

To purchase a copy of THE WALKING DEAD: A HARDCORE PARODY, please visit http://store.burningangel.com/products/the-walking-dead-a-hardcore-parody. For wholesale orders, contact Wilma at wilma@mile-high-media.com or (800) 363-0133


ABOUT JOANNA ANGEL AND BURNINGANGEL


Pushing the envelope, the BurningAngel Empire is a refreshingly unique web cocktail of sex, rock n' roll and pop culture. BurningAngel.com launched in 2002 with a few sets of photos and a band interview, conceived by two amateur college kids from Rutgers, Joanna Angel and Mitch Fontaine. Since its launch, it has exploded into a fierce indie company that has pioneered a new species of erotica known as "alt porn," with a network of websites and hundreds of DVDs to its credit.

The company is revered for popularizing alternative style girls, and prides itself on delivering hardcore adult content alongside band interviews, record reviews and a community with its own social networking. As both the star of many of BurningAngel's movies and the company's spokesperson and owner, Joanna Angel has stormed both mainstream and adult media. She's appeared on the cover of every major adult magazine (AVN, Club, Hustler, Picture Magazine, Adam Film World and Xtreme, to name a few) and has been featured in many tattoo magazines as well (some include Prick, Taboo, Inked and Savage). She has been featured on Fox News, Playboy TV, Fuse TV, G4 TV, KROQ Radio, as a regular on the Jason Ellis show on SIRIUS Radio, as a guest on the 2008 series premiere of TLC's LA Ink, and in a speaking role on Adult Swim's "Children's Hospital."

She has also appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, The Village Voice, The New York Press, Esquire UK, Details and Penthouse, among others. Heeb Magazine featured Joanna as its cover girl, naming her one of the Top 100 Up-and-Coming Jews in 2005, and The New York Post featured her as one of the Top 25 Sexiest New Yorkers in 2006.

She's also made her mark in the sex toy world, becoming a venerated Fleshlight Girl in 2013. The same year, she made further strides into the mainstream world with a speaking role in the indie drama Scrapper. BurningAngel has brought home several awards from all the major adult shows—from AVN to XBIZ, to XRCO to YNOT. Some of its accolades include Best Porn Star Website, Best Web Premiere and Best Sex Comedy. From a college dorm room to national television, BurningAngel has made a mark in entertainment, and it's only just beginning.

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Till Zombies Do Us Part by Celeste Ayers. $0.99 from Smashwords.com
Noah and Amy are two teens in love. There is however one problem; the world as they know it was turned into nothing but a pile of chaos and zombies. As they battle for survival they’ll embark on a journey into the unknown while facing new trials that will put both their love for each other and their humanity to the ultimate test. Just how far will they be willing to go?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snow Day! Reading 'The Ringmaster's Daughter'

Snow day! I'm trapped in the house by bitterly cold weather - which is excellent, because it means all I have to do today is edit the latest edition of my novel Midsummer Night, book two in the Pagan Spirits trilogy.


My editor, Dara, said the following about Midsummer Night:

"It was a good read. It has a nice flow and it isn't overwhelmed by too much sex and not enough story. As you know it is easy to go from erotica to porn but you keep a nice balance. I find myself interested in the storyline and not just waiting for the next sexual experience. Very well done. I was a bit disappointed that Priya wasn't mauled by pit bulls or hit with a falling meteor...what a bitch. Great character."

The first book in the series, Beltane, has been receiving some nice reviews on Amazon.co.uk.

If I finish that and spend a little time working on the historical romance short story I'm ghostwriting, I may even have time to read more of Grace Elliot's utterly charming romance novel The Ringmaster's Daughter, which currently has me enchanted.


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Friday, January 24, 2014

Who Needs Flowers and Candy When You've Got Books? #ValentinesDay


The poet Virgil wrote, "Omnia vincit amor," but to the bookwormishly inclined, that phrase should probably be modified to, "Omnia vincit libris." Now through February 14, you can show your love for books by saving 14% on your selections from Lulu.com to celebrate the feast of Lupercalia in the month of Juno Februata. 

Say, have I ever mentioned that I have a book published through Lulu.com? Why, you could use your 14% discount to save on the crime thriller The Smell of Gas. You can find it on Lulu in paperback and e-book. Its short, gritty vignettes that all dovetail together in the end have been compared to Pulp Fiction


If crime fiction isn't your kind of thing, how about a collection of short stories? Try Hearts of Tomorrow, an anthology featuring me, plus Phil Geusz, Mysti Parker (hers has dark elves and other Norse mythology!), and S.S. Hampton. My contribution is "Melusine's Secret," a gender-bending, erotic take on the classic French fairy tale of Melusine. You can read an excerpt here.

Hearts of Tomorrow is available on Lulu in paperback and e-book.


If you want to get your sweetie a custom-written short romance, see this post.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Excerpt: The Pygmalion Hypnotist (Erotica/Crime Fiction)


Blurb/Synopsis

Hypnotist Darren Braid is getting ready to launch a new line of erotic hypnosis CDs. A potential publicist suggests that he collaborate with her other clients, wannabe film producer Scott Sunderland and his discovery Liza Hill. Her plan calls for Darren to hypnotize Liza and transform her into a dominatrix. Sunderland will film the transformation and produce a series of BDSM videos.
But shortly after Darren begins hypnotizing the starlet, repressed memories of her childhood abduction begin to surface. Investigating further, he and FBI Agent, Kristen Parker, discover that Liza had been stolen as a child and sold to a ring of pedophiles. While they help Liza deal with her trauma and build her self-esteem, they discover she can identify one of the FBI's most wanted, a sadist who mentors pedophiles in hidden regions of the internet. The FBI has never identified this man offline, but finding him is their only hope of tracing Liza's origin. To find her birth mother, Darren and Kristen must help Liza control her fear and face the man who tortured her as a child. 

Excerpt

"Braid!" Kristen Parker pounded on his apartment door. She couldn't hear anything inside, but it was almost 10 pm. He had to be in there. "Braid, I'm not going away. Open this door."

After pounding for several minutes, Kristen finally heard the bolt being drawn. She didn't wait for him to open the door. As soon as it was unlocked, she pushed her way inside.

She caught a glimpse Latoya Douglas standing by the sofa before reeling on the hypnotist. "You should have told me."

"Told you what?"

"Liza. You should have told me she's being abused."

"I didn't see anyone abuse her, did you?"

"No, of course not. But he is, and you know it. Or you wouldn't have told me to watch her. Sunderland has got her so messed up, she afraid to even form an opinion, let alone express one."

"Maybe, but her problems could just as well be the result of past abuse. Unless we see it, or she complains, there's no way to know for sure.

Kristen gaped at him until she remembered that he had been a psychology professor as well as a hypnotist. He might actually know what he was talking about.

Kristen fumed as she turned away. But Latoya's presence brought her up short. The slender black woman wasn't moving. She stood completely still. She wore high heals and a black lace corset, which left her shoulders complete bare. The lace was cut high over her thighs, and dipped low in front of her breasts. Hypnotized and frozen, Latoya was a statue of elegant sensuality.

Kristen had experimented a bit with other women, but always preferred men. She had the sudden feeling that Latoya Douglas could change that. She swallowed hard as she tore her eyes away.
"We have to do something."

"Tell me what happened. First, do you want something to drink?"

Kristen nodded. "Beer, if you have it." She sat down on the sofa and tried to avoid looking at the sexy statue two feet away.

Darren went to the kitchen and came out with an open bottle of beer. Kristen took a large swig then related her experience with the starlet.

"I was afraid of that. Her self-esteem is so badly damaged that she's afraid to make even small decisions. It makes her totally dependent on Sunderland."

"We have to get her out of there."

"If you take her away from him now, she'll become dependent on you. She has to decide to leave. And before she can do that, she has to learn to make decisions and trust them.

"What can we do?"

"Exactly what we are doing. I'm hypnotizing her, and you're being her friend. Together, we encourage her to start eating properly and taking care of her health. Then we encourage her to start observing and thinking analytically. It's important to get her to start exercising her own judgement; and then to start trusting her judgement. Start with other actors, then her own acting, then other aspects of her life.

"Eventually, hopefully, she'll be able to see that she can make her life better by relying on her own judgement."

Kristen eyed Latoya's frozen body. "Like your uh, boy-toy here."

"Believe it or not, Latoya is one of the most confident and capable women I've ever met. Her self confidence lets her enjoy being controlled in the bedroom, and taking control in the boardroom."

Darren got a mischievous gleam in his eye. "Her self confidence even enables us to enjoy an occasional threesome." He was obviously teasing. But seeing this stunning black woman like this, completely vulnerable, completely available, Kristen felt tempted; too tempted.

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My Bio

Before writing my first novel, I worked as a technical writer for 17 years. I hold a BS in Engineering and an MS in Technical Communication.

Since 2000, I've been pioneering the art of hyperempiria (creating sensory experience through hypnotic suggestion).  This is accomplished by integrating hypnotic language patterns, positive affirmations and NLP into the narrative of an audio story. One of my hypnosis programs, The Ultimate Kiss, was nominated for an "O" Award for Outstanding Innovation.


The Pygmalion Hypnotist is my second novel. 

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

#SexTalkTuesday Welcomes Midori As Special Guest Moderator Tuesday January 21st @PlanetMidori

CYBERSPACE [Press Release] – Twitter-based sex chat program #SexTalkTuesday announced today that it is welcoming BDSM superstar Midori as a special guest moderator for its upcoming show on Tuesday, January 21.


“We’re absolutely thrilled to have a BDSM star of Midori’s caliber moderating #SexTalkTuesday,” said #SexTalkTuesday organizer Angie Rowntree. “Recent years have brought about increased interest in BDSM, and we’re looking forward to a very spirited discussion with Midori at the helm.”

A fun and provocative Twitter-based chat held every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month from 4pm to 5pm Eastern Standard Time, #SexTalkTuesday is hosted and coordinated by Sssh.com, the web’s premier destination for erotica made by and for women.

Each session, a guest moderator asks thought-provoking questions to a large and active group of participants, who send hundreds of tweets during each round of #SexTalkTuesday. The result is a lively and entertaining discussion that invites participants to be open and candid with their thoughts and opinions on sex, life, love and the humor of it all, in a way that fosters a supportive and compassionate environment for the conversation.


 An accomplished photographer, Japanese rope bondage artist and author, Midori has been featured in Cosmo, Vogue, Playboy and Der Spiegel, among many other publications. Her written works include the best-selling books Wild Side Sex and The Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage. She has been dubbed "the super nova of kink" by Dan Savage, and is known for her hilarious and practical classes on enhancing sexual fulfillment, boosting confidence and expanding personal growth.

To participate in Sex Talk Tuesday, go to twitter.com and use the #SexTalkTuesday hashtag. For more information, or to inquire about serving as a guest moderator, contact Angie Rowntree at editor@sssh.com.


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Social Media, Writing, and Editing Services I Offer - Erin O'Riordan

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Social Media and Writing Services I Offer

In the past couple of weeks, the long-term freelance writing contract that was the main source of my income ended, and I find myself once again a freelancer at large. In an attempt to pick up some extra cash here and there, I've joined Fiverr, which allows anyone to offer and order services for a flat rate of $5. 

Writing and Editing Services

At the moment, I offer six different services. So far, the most popular one has been writing 100-word biographies. I've done this one for three different customers, and this is the feedback I've received:

"Very creative. Loved it!"

"Amazing job! So fun, creative, and prompt! You exceeded my expectations! Thank you!"

"Absolutely terrific work. An excellent writer who put a lot of time and thought into the gig. Most highly recommended!"

As you can see, for less than the cost of a venti cafe mocha, you can have me write a blurb for your blog, website, social media site, book cover blurb, writer's resume, or whatever else you can think of. I'll have it back to you in 24 hours or less. 


Need a Valentine's Day gift? I'll write you a custom 250-word (about one page in MS Word) romance. You can supply me a few details, and I'll write a creative, 100% original short-short romance story for you, as sweet or as spicy as you desire. (I'll do "spicy" if all the characters in the story are consenting adults over the age of 18.) Allow me two days to finish this gig. 

Need proofreading services? I offer those, too. I'll check a document of up to 5 pages for grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation (no content edits). I can check your school paper, resume, blog post, or just about anything else. I have more than three years as a professional content writer and editor, so this is something I'm good at. The turnaround time for this service is 24 hours. 

Social Media Services

The other services I offer are for those who need to get their books out there in social media, but don't have the time or the will. 

My apologies if you're not a fan of the Doge meme.
I'll post your book cover, with a link to your sales page or your book website, on my mostly-bookish Tumblr, Something Kitten This Way Comes. If you don't want to invest the time in creating a Tumblr blog, I'll be happy to get your product out into the Tumblrverse for you in 24 hours or less. 

Or I'll tweet your link on Twitter every day for five days. @ErinORiordan has over 1,000 followers, all organic (no tricks used to gain followers), and most of them are other readers and writers. My Twitter feed stays active with genuinely helpful tips for aspiring writers, how-tos, giveaways, and book reviews I find interesting. It's a great, inexpensive way to promote a book, a giveaway, a website, or a fun book-related product. This one, for obvious reasons, takes 5 days to complete. I'll send you the URLs of each tweet. 

Or, if you're using Pinterest for your business and want a fun way to get your pins out there, I'll write a blog post here on this very blog that embeds your Pinterest pins. Then I'll promote that blog post on all my social media sites. Allow 24 hours for this service. 

If you need a social media gig done that I haven't listed above, I will consider it. You can send me a note on Fiverr. I don't do Instagram, though, because I have a dumb phone, not a smart phone. But Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Google +, and Goodreads are all social media sites where I can do tasks for you. 

...Not spammy tasks, but sharing-useful-information tasks. Please don't ask me to do anything that would get one of my accounts flagged for spam. I'm trying to contribute in a creative, meaningful way that helps out my fellow artists. 

Of course, I'm also available for hire for bigger, more cost-intensive gigs. I can review, beta read, edit, ghost write, format text for an e-book, and much, much more. Feel free to visit my LinkedIn profile or my Elance profile to see my skills and experience. 

Thank you in advance for your business! 

- Erin O. 

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Twelve of the world's greatest living authors reveal their tips for writing a book that sells over a million copies in Celebrity Authors' Secrets. A must-have guide - filled with publishing and book marketing info - for aspiring writers, authors, publishers, editors, writing coaches, creative writing tutors and anyone who loves books. Find out how to make your book stand out from the masses!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Trying to Meet Women the Old Fashioned Way - Guest Post by the Conflict and Scotch Blogger

Originally published on the Conflict and Scotch blog

I have a face made for online dating. It's not because I am so devilishly handsome that women would fall over themselves to meet me. On the contrary, with online dating I control the first look women will have of me. I decide which slightly blurry old photograph taken at just the right angle where I pass for attractive will be placed in my profile. This way a woman could get to know me before actually meeting me face-to-face. Why do I need this buffer? Well, if there is one thing I know about myself is that I can write funny e-mails and once I get someone laughing, I've won half the battle of winning them over.

Before online dating I had to meet women the old fashioned way: drinking and going to bars.

I have never been very good at meeting women, whether in a bar or on the street (not hookers). I don't have many success stories of ending up in a long term relationship with a woman I met in a bar. I met my ex-wife in a bar (enough said). Maybe it was me, the way I presented myself. One Friday night I was standing at the bar at a local franchise restaurant and, after one or two beers, the bartender came up to me and asked me if I was alright. I assured him I was fine.

"Ok," he said, "just wanted to check. You look angry."

The next night I was in another bar and, after one or two beers, that bartender came up to me and asked me if I was okay. I assured him I was.

"Okay," he said, "just wanted to check. You look angry."

I would think a six-foot-two-inch man grinning wildly, alone, at the end of a bar would be more frightening than that same man just staring off in the distance sipping on a beer. Live and learn.

I did have a few barroom encounters that I thought would have ended better.

I will preface this first encounter by saying the following - after my initial separation I had a very hard time concentrating or getting any sleep. This went on for quite a while, to the point where I needed some help. A doctor (bless her heart) to whom I just told my aforementioned problems reached into a drawer, handed me samples of Zoloft, and then wrote a prescription for additional supplies. While on Zoloft I had no anxiety whatsoever - zero. I will credit Zoloft, and the beer I wasn't supposed to be drinking while taking them, with what happened next.

It was a random Saturday afternoon in Hoboken, New Jersey when I found myself standing alone in a bar. I looked over and saw a very pretty woman being bothered by the man that stood next to her. With each step back she took her unwanted companion matched it with his own step forward. I then did something I had only seen done in movies. Something I had never done before or since. I stepped in between her and her unwanted friend, slipped my arm around her waist and said, "There you are, I've been looking for you" and then guided her away.

Thank you, Zoloft.

The rest of the day flew by, we had great conversations, and we laughed - a lot. She lived in Brooklyn but her family was originally from East Brunswick, N.J, which is not far from where I grew up. Just before she left with her friends I asked if she'd like to get together again and in response she gave me her number. The following Monday I called her from work.

"Hello?" she answered.

I told her who I was and she quickly replied, "Can I call you right back?"

That was twelve years ago - I'm almost ready to give up hope that she will return my call (almost).


 Jump ahead a few years from that first encounter and again I was in a crowded bar, Zoloft-free now, with my friend, Kevin. He looked over my right shoulder as we talked and then told me that a woman across the bar kept looking at me. I laughed it off but he insisted that she was. I quickly turned and scanned the crowd (I am so smooth) and found the woman on the other side of the bar. A man stood next to her, who leaned in close, and talked to her - continuously. She looked bored and after a few seconds I saw that she turned her eyes away from him and looked directly at me. She then repeated the routine: she listened, she listened, she looked.

This was new.

A short time later she left her companion and moved toward the restrooms but instead of taking the less obstructed route she cut through the most crowded part of the bar and then squeezed past me.

"She did that on purpose," Kevin said and I astonishingly agreed.

On her return trip she squeezed past me again and as we stood eye-to-eye her right hand appeared and she handed me her business card - all without saying a word. She then returned to her companion but continued the flirtatious glances in my direction.

The next day (too soon?) I called the number on her card, but it went directly to voice mail. I told my female co-workers what happened, and asked them if I should call her again since she didn't reply. They unanimously agreed that I should not call her again, that I should wait for her to return my call. So, of course, I called again and left another message on her voicemail.

Maybe she was on the phone with the girl from Hoboken, but I never heard from her.

I'm not sure why women would give me their numbers, even unsolicited on my part, and then never return my calls. Was it a game, give out your number and then see which idiots would actually call you? Is there a bell near their phones that they ring, like bartenders receiving tips, to let the room know that they caught another one?

So back to online dating I went. But, just to be safe, if in the future you happen upon a slightly blurry man who, given the right angle could pass for attractive, and he's grinning wildly to himself while sipping a beer - that will be me.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

What You Shouldn’t Do if You Love Somebody - Guest Post

Love will die if somebody betrays it. It can be lost if somebody hurt it by indifference and cruelty.
What kills love in marriage
You meet when you both have time for it. Your relations get on such way, that you always have time for communication and intimacy. Everyone thinks that his beloved person is the most important one in the world. But when you start live together your feelings will put to different tests. “Suddenly” you will see that your dear gave parents, friends, job, hobbies and affections. Of course you heard about them before, but now all husband’s relations are actualized and take much of his time and attention. You should realize and accept such state of affairs if you want your marriage be strong.

Creative Commons image by pedroalmovar
A type of blackmail
In relations with a man you mustn’t lay claims to him which only love is able to perform. “If you love me you will never do anything without me; If you love me you will do everything I ask you; If you love me you will give the thing I want…” Such manipulations, if you formulate them more frankly, sound like blackmail.
Myth about sameness
“Family requires total sameness” is a mistaken opinion. It is impossible to find two absolutely identical people, even if there is total coincidence. There always will be many differences between you in taste, dreams and hobbies. It would be really boring if all people became identical.
Re-education plan
Some women before the wedding think: “We will get married and he will change under my influence”, some of them begin to make plans about husband re-education. Every of us heard that it is impossible to re-educate an adult person, but tries to do it all the same. Everyday lectures and moralizes will make everyday life unbearable for both.

Creative Commons image by Jenn Davis from Austin
Pros and cons of love
Of course love is beautiful and miraculous. It is the only thing which can give boundless opportunities for receiving absolute satisfaction and real pleasure from each other. Love guarantees us the most powerful feelings, but what? It is unknown. Love is feeling, and feelings are selfish and changeable. Love can’t be measured, there are no precise predictions how it will develop, will it remain or will be over. It can’t be weak or strong, short or eternal, unhappy or happy… But “love” and “family” will always stand close to each other. Only love can’t satisfy all the life’s demands. We need new knowledge, impressions, some development and professional progress. Risk of loss of beloved person leads to agonizing worries onset, arouses negative emotions. Time and mind help to make from a passionate love a calm and wonderful feeling, which brings you less anxieties but more happiness and joy.
So as you see it is not so difficult to save such awesome feeling as Love. You just have to follow such easy points and never try to change your beloved person as you personally like.

About the author: To make wonderful and qualitative work in short notice is job for Paul Smith – the most intelligent writer. If you don’t believe it, try Paul and you will see how quickly and in workmanlike manner he copes with any work, where is it’s art, fashion or design. All you need is to contact Paul on Google+|custom essays.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Getting Married After Living Together - Guest Post by Annabeth Leong

Thanks so much for hosting me today!

After I got married, tons of people asked me if it "felt different." I think this question comes partly because there are plenty of reasons that it seems as if it might not. For many people today, the wedding night is far from the first time they've had sex, and it doesn't necessarily mark the transition from living with parents to living as an adult or the moment that a couple begins to live together.

I've heard some people answer that question by saying that they don't think it's different to be married, but I don't agree. For me, marriage is different from living with a partner in many ways. It may not be romantic to say while talking about a story that I wrote about a wedding, but a lot of what I know about marriage came from getting divorced. When I went through my divorce, I learned exactly how tied to my spouse I was. For the first time in my life, I couldn't pack up my CDs and clothes and just leave. I had to disentangle myself legally, financially, and emotionally. I had to break the tiny family that my spouse and I had formed together, and I had to leave the larger extended family that I had been accepted into. I also had to back out of meaningful spiritual and emotional promises that I had made.

When people get married they tie themselves together far beyond the personal connection that they have. They connect themselves to each other in the eyes of family, state, and, if applicable, the appropriate deity or deities. I've read a lot of articles bemoaning what a big deal people make out of marriage and criticizing how much money couples spend on tying the knot and how caught up they get with planning details. I'm not out to support the wedding industrial complex, but I think it is a big deal. Marriage has been seen as a major life transition in many cultures throughout history, and it's appropriate to treat it as such.


I do, however, think that some things have to change in response to the practice of living together before marriage. For example, it doesn't make sense to me for a couple to register for an entire kitchen's worth of appliances if they already have a kitchen. Similarly, I think expectations for the wedding night need to be adjusted. For many couples, it's not their first time together, and it might not be the best time or the most romantic time. I do, however, think it's a significant time, and it deserves attention. In my recent release, One Flesh, Leticia and Rosalie are getting married, and as part of the process of planning, they define what they want out of the wedding night. They go farther with that than I've done in my life, but I admire the conversation, and I it's one that couples should have. Marriage, including the wedding night, is different from living together, and I think it's good to steer that difference consciously.

Blurb:

Leticia and Rosalie are planning their wedding, wanting very much to make their special day one to remember, but Rosalie has something else weighing on her mind, one more thing she wants to make as special and as memorable as the ceremony itself—their wedding night. Rosalie wants to be with Leticia in a way that neither of them had ever been with anyone else. But finding something that would be a first time for both of them turns out to be harder than expected.

As it turns out, there is one thing Leticia has wanted to do but has never trusted anyone enough to allow herself to overcome the fear of it. And it's something that Rosalie has never done either.

The women discuss the idea of fisting as a means of connecting and forming an intimate bond with each other, one that they've never formed with anyone else. They've never loved or trusted anyone else they way the love and trust each other, and they are determined to find a way to make it work.

Excerpt:

"I'll call tomorrow to tell the church how many flowers we want to order," Leticia said, sighing and folding her notebook closed. No matter how many neat lists she made with her favorite purple pen, the sheer quantity of wedding-related details was overwhelming. "Can you call the caterer back, Rosalie? I still feel like they sneaked a charge in somewhere, but I can't get a straight answer out of them about it."

Her fiancée smiled indulgently. "Better yet. I'll go in person on my lunch break, and they won't know what hit them."

"Great." Leticia rubbed her temples and closed her eyes. She'd wanted to go to bed early, but another evening of wedding planning had made that completely impossible. She was excited to be marrying her one true love and all, but it was easy to lose track of that when she had fourteen phone calls to make and her mother demanded an e-mailed progress report every single night. "That's got to be enough for now."

Leticia stole a quick glance at Rosalie. She'd changed into a cute pair of pajamas when she got home from work, the childish pattern an odd contrast with her sophisticated coppery makeup. Leticia briefly fantasized about peeling the clothing away, revealing her lover's curves and smooth brown skin. Unfortunately, at that very same moment, she had to stifle a yawn. She was so damn sleepy. They would need to get to bed immediately if she was going to give Rosalie proper attention.

"We can't quit planning yet," Rosalie said. "We haven't discussed the most important thing, and it's coming up soon."

Leticia groaned. She flipped her notebook open again and paged through her color-coded, highlighted lists. "We've talked about everything I had listed for the day, and we even went over things that have deadlines coming up in the next few days. I don't see what we're—"

"The wedding night," Rosalie purred. "We haven't discussed that at all."

There was no mistaking the sparkle in her eyes. Leticia actually blushed, the way she had at Rosalie's makeup counter the first time they met, when the other woman's soft words of praise, roughened by the obvious desire in her voice, had gotten Leticia so hot and flushed it had been impossible to identify the correct shade of foundation for her skin tone. She'd been forced to come back later, not that she'd minded.

Now that she'd figured out what Rosalie was hinting at, Leticia played innocent. For all her lover's passion, her Catholic upbringing had left her with an adorable aversion to using direct language. Leticia loved to watch Rosalie get flustered while trying to explain her naughty desires. She batted her eyelashes and focused on her notes again. "We've reserved our hotel room the night of. We've got our plane tickets to Puerto Rico for the honeymoon a couple days after that. Everything appears to be in order."

"The wedding night," Rosalie said, apparently oblivious to Leticia's teasing. She rolled her hands through the air, one over the other, the gesture an invitation to take the word "night" and run with it. "The whole reason I wanted an afternoon wedding was so we could have plenty of time together. Afterward. In the hotel."

"You mean to take a good, long nap? I'm sure we'll be tired after dealing with all the guests, and coming down from pre-wedding nerves, too." Leticia couldn't resist continuing the act.

"Not a nap. But I am talking about what we might do in bed."

Buy Links:

All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-oneflesh-1355652-149.html?referrer=6bdb1f9160564c0525b41f36e51861a0

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GUMJ080/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00GUMJ080/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B00GUMJ080&linkCode=as2&tag=lucyfelthouse-21

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/one-flesh-annabeth-leong/1117483502?ean=2940149014910

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/one-flesh-1

Storm Moon Press: http://www.stormmoonpress.com/books/One-Flesh.aspx

Bio:

Annabeth Leong has written erotica of many flavors—dark, romantic, kinky, vanilla, straight, lesbian, bi, and menage. Her lesbian stories have appeared in the Lambda Literary Award-nominated Lesbian Cops, Circlet Press's love-spell anthology Like Hearts Enchanted, Lovecraftian erotica book Whispers In Darkness, and others. When not writing erotica, she is frequently reading it. She has lived in six states in various parts of the United States, and traveled to most of the others. Annabeth believes passionately in freedom of speech, rights for people of all sexual orientations, and the need for compassionate religion. She loves shoes, stockings, cooking, and excellent bass lines.

Giveaway:

I'm giving away a $5 Amazon gift card. Check out the Rafflecopter below!

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Reading 'Middlemarch'

Submitted for your approval: a perfectly normal paperback copy of Middlemarch by George Eliot. It's the Barnes and Noble Classics edition, purchased at my local brick-and-mortar B&N in February 2013. Here it is waiting patiently on my bookshelf in a photo I snapped last year.


The front papers look perfectly normal.


The introduction seems to be perfectly fine. Then chapter one starts. Can you read what it says? It starts out with a Biblical passage, and then, "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."


Well, that seems awfully familiar. It seems, in fact, exactly like the first page of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Okay, I never officially read Anna Karenina, but I may as well have, because I read all 600 or so pages of Android Karenina.

Either way, clearly some error has occurred at the Barnes and Noble publishing house. Pages 1-36 of this book are not Middlemarch, but Anna Karenina.


This one may be a bit harder to see, but if you zoom in closely, you'll see that after page 36 of Anna Karenina comes page 27 of Middlemarch.

I called Ben, the manager at my local B&N, and he said I could bring it in to exchange for a replacement copy. He checked the replacement copy - it's normal. Still, this is the very strangest thing I've ever seen a paperback book do.

On another subject, this mysterious, unsolicited package showed up from HarperCollins the other day.


What could be inside? I wondered. It turned out to be...


...an ARC of a dystopian young adult novel called Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam. I must have either requested an ARC or entered a contest to win an ARC and forgotten all about it. I hope it's as good as Divergent.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Girls Rule, Boys Drool by Lucy Felthouse

Three lesbian erotic short stories from popular writer Lucy Felthouse.


Girls Rule, Boys Drool

Boyish dyke Toni is working at the local golf club, serving champagne to arrogant, privileged folk when she spots Clarissa. She’s one of the posh people, but she looks like she’d rather be somewhere else—anywhere else. Toni’s immediately smitten and wants to put a smile on the older woman’s beautiful face, so she decides to show Clarissa just why girls rule and boys drool.

Making An Impression

Joely’s holiday has consisted mainly of chilling out by the hotel pool, having the occasional swim and reading lots. That is, until a hot brunette arrives and suddenly, Joely has trouble concentrating on anything else. Her gaydar non-existent, Joely decides on an unusual course of action to find out whether the newcomer bats for the same side as her.

Fear as an Aphrodisiac

Girlfriends Nikki and Sonya are on holiday in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city. They’re having fun sightseeing, until a super-scary tourist attraction sends Nikki into meltdown. Once outside again, Nikki slowly starts to feel better—and, much to her surprise, horny. Quickly realising that the fear has acted as a potent aphrodisiac, she decides to take advantage of that fact, right there in the middle of the city.

Available from:



Coming soon to all other good eBook retailers.


*****

Excerpt:

Finally, Nikki and Sonya found the turning off Edinburgh’s Royal Mile that they needed. They’d expected a road, but Mary King’s Close was nothing more than a narrow passageway that looked like it led to the next street along. Glancing at one another, it seemed both girls suspected they were in the wrong place—despite the name of the alleyway—but as they headed along the close, they came across more signage and discovered they were wrong. The signs proclaimed that they were indeed at The Real Mary King’s Close, and this time they exchanged a relieved look and moved inside the tourist attraction.

After paying their money, they were put into a group that was already waiting, and after a few minutes was called to attention by a member of staff. The young man, dressed in incredibly old-fashioned attire welcomed them to the attraction and gave some brief information about what they should expect from the tour, as well as some health and safety spiel.

Then they were ushered deeper into the building and down some stairs. Another peculiarly-dressed actor met them and gave his talk. The group soon learned that Mary King’s Close had been a town of sorts, a collection of streets and houses, named after the most prominent local—Mary King. It had functioned well, this part of Edinburgh—in its day. But it had also befallen hard times and tragedy, including the Black Death. It was rumoured that people affected had been bricked into their houses to prevent the disease spreading further. It had never been confirmed nor denied, but the very idea sent a shiver down Nikki’s spine.

As they advanced into the underground town—now covered over by modern Edinburgh—they learned more about the inhabitants, their lives and, in some cases, their deaths. By the time they were shown the shrine of a young girl, covered with offerings both old and new, Nikki was clinging onto Sonya’s arm so hard that the other girl gave her a nudge.

“Oi, you’re hurting me! What’s the matter with you?”

“Sorry,” Nikki replied. “I’m getting a little creeped out, that’s all.”

“A little? The way you’re squeezing my arm, I’m beginning to think you’ve seen a ghost or something.”

“I said I’m sorry. God. Don’t you think it’s spooky down here?”

A meaningful glance from the tour guide shut them up. Nikki dropped her hand to Sonya’s and held it. The group continued through the subterranean labyrinth, listening to more tales of the past, the things that had happened within the very place they stood, over four hundred years ago.
Some periods of total darkness with recounts of history later, and Nikki was a nervous wreck. She’d always had an overactive imagination, and although she’d never seen a ghost—despite Sonya’s words—she believed in them and was really succumbing to the eeriness of the ancient place. She had gotten to the stage where she fully expected to see the spectre of little Annie—having left the site of her shrine—peering around a corner, beckoning to her. Or the chilly finger of a plague victim trailing down the back of her neck. She grew so paralyzed with fear that she fell silent and didn’t take in a word of the rest of the excursion—simply holding onto Sonya’s hand as they walked through the rooms and tunnels.

When they eventually emerged into the outside world once more, Nikki heaved a sigh of relief. “Sonya, darling, take me for a drink, now. A stiff one. A double vodka and coke sounds perfect right now. Maybe even a triple.”

“Were you really that scared?” The other woman looked disbelieving.

“What do you mean, were? I still bloody am. I’m sure I’d have found it interesting if I wasn’t so busy being terrified. I’m surprised I didn’t wet myself.”

“Aww, babe.” Sonya pulled the other girl into her arms. “I didn’t realise you hated it that much. We could have left if I’d known.”

“No,” Nikki shook her head. “It’s okay, I didn’t want to ruin it for you. I just got to the stage where I blocked it all out. But I’d still really like a drink, if you don’t mind.”

Sonya gently pushed Nikki against the wall of the alleyway and hugged her once more. “Okay, we’ll go for a drink soon. Let me hold you for a few minutes, first.”

The other girl said nothing, just relaxed into her lover’s embrace and slowly, very slowly, felt the fear ebbing away. With not a small amount of horror, she realised that she was turned on. Her knickers were damp and sticking to her, and the heat emanating from between her legs was unmistakable. What the actual fuck? She kept quiet, instead nuzzling into Sonya’s neck and pressing a kiss to the delicate skin there.

“Ooh,” Sonya said, shuddering, “that was lovely. What was that for?”

“For being nice.” Nikki’s voice was muffled, and she kissed her girlfriend again.

“Hey,” Sonya said, grabbing Nikki’s hands and squeezing them, “you’d better stop that, otherwise I’m going to get turned on. And that’s the last thing you want right now. I’m trying to be understanding here, sweetheart.”

Nikki came to the conclusion that she didn’t mind if Sonya got turned on, not at all. In fact, some sexy fun might just take her mind off the creepy underground place they’d just visited. It was damn weird that being scared had turned her on, but the more she thought about it, the more she figured it kinda made sense. Nothing, in her opinion, was scarier than death, and the French word for orgasm translated to ‘the little death’—so it was widely accepted that sex and death were connected. Sex was about life, death was about, well, death. So, in an attempt to stop thinking about things that confused the hell out of her, she was going to embrace life, wholeheartedly. And if that meant experiencing the little death, then so be it.

“I don’t mind,” she whispered into Sonya’s ear.

“What do you mean, sweetie?” Sonya replied, grabbing her shoulders and moving her back so she could look at her face. “You don’t mind what?”

“I don’t mind you getting turned on.”

*****

Author bio:

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over eighty publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women's Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house. She owns Erotica For All, and is book editor for Cliterati. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sense and Sensibility: Joanna Trollope's 21st Century Update

Sense & Sensibility (The Austen Project)Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Apparently, HarperCollins is embarking on a project of bringing some of the best-loved Jane Austen classics into the 21st century with modernized retellings. Joanna Trollope's is to be the first of three by three different writers.

I found this updated version of Sense and Sensibility to be charming and delightful. Trollope's retelling is true to the characters of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood as Austen wrote them, even if Elinor is in her last year of architecture school and Marianne is a talented, if unambitious, guitar player.

Okay, so it doesn't make as much since in the 21st century that three grown women can't support themselves than it did in Austen's time, but I was willing to overlook the plot holes because the Dashwoods are such likable women - yes, even little Margaret, who's a bit more of a bratty teen in this version than in previous incarnations.


One caveat, though: if you simply cannot abide the use of such terms as "amazeballs" and "totes amazeballs" in dialogue, steer clear of this novel. It's not that the entire novel is written in that style, it's just that a few characters talk that way when they're among other young people  (and some of them are the more obnoxious characters you love to hate anyway, so it's obviously intended to be annoying). Joanna of the illustrious Trollope family tree is perhaps a little too good at capturing 2010s textspeak and slang.

Disclosure: I received this book at no cost through the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review in any other way.

Further disclosure: I've never actually read the original Sense and Sensibility. I read Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, which uses a lot of Austen's original text, and I've also seen the movie adaptation that stars Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet as Elinor and Marianne. I still love Alan Rickman's portrayal of Colonel Brandon in that movie.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Friday, January 3, 2014

Thoughts on 'After Dead' by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse #13.5)



After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse (Sookie Stackhouse, #13.5)After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I checked this book out from my local library, unwilling to pay for a book that's mostly blank space and pictures until after I'd given the text a chance. I've been a very loyal reader of the Sookie Stackhouse series, starting around 2005 or so when my mom loaned me the first book. I read this in about an hour, sitting in a restaurant waiting for dinner while my husband watched college football.

Although I've read all 13 books, I have to admit I don't remember a lot of the minor characters, so a lot of the entries in this reference book didn't mean anything to me. That will be frustrating to anyone who's a more casual reader and not an obsessed fan.

It is good to know a bit more about the fates of the main characters: Sookie, Sam, Eric, Bill, Jason, Pam, and Alcide. The information isn't very detailed, but at least it gives you a general idea of who lived happily ever after.


Hint: Sookie and Sam do.

Some of the entries show signs of what I'll generously call unpolished writing, and that too is frustrating. Harris has an unpleasant habit of telling us about a misfortune that occurred to a character and then making us infer from context that the result was death. Was it really so hard to say that so-and-so died? Clearly she has no qualms about giving her characters horrid endings, yet she can't seem to bring herself to come out and say so blatantly.

Hardcore fans may enjoy the information found in these pages (200 pages, with about 30 pages of actual text), but the average reader isn't going to enjoy this book.

On the bright side, the entries for Barry the Bellboy and Quinn seem to imply that these characters will get some kind of spin-off or sequel. The Quinn illustration was actually my favorite page in the whole book.


View all my reviews on Goodreads