Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Hysteria" by Rushmore Judd

I had the pleasure--and I do mean pleasure--of reading Rushmore Judd’s erotic novella “Hysteria” the other day. Set in 1890, the fictional story is based on fact. In the Victorian era, vibrators were medical devices. Women made appointments to see their (always male) doctors for vibrator treatments that induced orgasms. This was seen as a legitimate cure for hysteria, a vague disorder said to make women irritable and causing headaches and other womanish ailments. The word “hysteria” comes from the ancient Greek word for “uterus,” and the ancient Greeks imagined a woman’s uterus getting restless or angry and wandering around inside her body, causing all kinds of mischief.

Isabelle has heard the other ladies in her social circle talking in hushed tones about the wonders of Doctor Tunney and his treatments for female hysteria. She makes a clandestine appointment to see him, without telling her husband. Isabelle, a typical Victorian lady, is shy about letting a strange man see her body. When she sees Dr. Tunney, a handsome thirty-something single man with dark, curly hair, broad shoulders, muscular arms and a deep voice, she’s torn between her modesty and a coquettish desire to flirt with him. Isabelle’s “cure” is so pleasurable, she can’t wait to see Dr. Tunney again.

In fact, Isabelle so enjoys the world of secret pleasures behind the doctor’s soundproofed door, she makes an appointment for her willful daughter Margaret. “Spirited” Margaret is just coming into her young womanhood, unmarried, and still a virgin. By the time her first appointment is over, Margaret would very much like Doctor Tunney to change that. Will he be able to maintain his professional demeanor? Or will he give in to Margaret’s unspoiled charms?

“Hysteria” reminded me of “The Ontological Engine, or, The Modern Leda” by Vinnie Tesla, one of my favorite erotic stories ever. Like Mr. Tesla, Rushmore Judd is gifted with a fertile and wonderfully shameless imagination. This story is very sex-positive. All the participants are willing and joyful, despite the restrictive Victorian atmosphere. The only problem with “Hysteria” is that it will leave the reader panting for more.

You can get “Hysteria” and Rush’s other stories online at

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Modern Day Witch Hunt by Kiki Howell (review)

Kamillia, the heroine of Kiki Howell’s A Modern Day Witch Hunt (eXcessica Publishing, 2009), is like a female version of Harry Potter, mixed with Sookie Stackhouse and Sarah Connor.

Kamillia, as far as she knows, is a fantasy writer. Like Harry Potter, she has no idea of her true powers. She’s a witch, just as her parents were. Like Harry, Kamillia lost her parents to an evil group of dark wizards. Like Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse, Kamillia can read minds, an ability that has made it difficult for her to fit in with others. Like Sookie, the orphaned Kamillia was raised by a fiercely honest, deeply beloved grandmother.

Luca, a Watcher who appears to be eternally twenty-five years old, was sent to protect her. This part of the story reminds me of Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor in the original Terminator movie. Like Kyle and Sarah, Luca and Kamillia are headed down an inevitable path of attraction. Unlike Kyle, Luca sees colorful auras swirling around human beings. He’s acutely sensitive to emotions, and the way human emotions affect the world around them.

The sex? Scorching, yet still achingly romantic and mystical. The sadness? Just as overwhelming. Although Luca and Kamillia feel an inexorable attraction to one another, his job as a Watcher, watching over the river of life, means he will inevitable have to leave her. When Kamillia and Luca must travel to Florence, Italy, they learn their lives have been linked for centuries. Are they destined to be star-crossed lovers for eternity, or will the universe finally let them be together? It will take a powerful kind of magic to right the wrongs that have been done to them, but Luca just might know a way.

A Modern Day Witch Hunt on Amazon

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sins of the Flesh

My guest blogger today is Caridad Pineiro. I asked Caridad to tell us a little bit about her new book, SINS OF THE FLESH, and this is what she said:

What would you do to save your life? Would you cut off an arm? Fight someone to the death?

Hopefully most of us have never faced that question unlike Caterina Shaw in SINS OF THE FLESH. When faced with the announcement that she has a brain tumor, Caterina faces that diagnosis with class and determination. It’s the way Cat is. She’s not about to let something like cancer dictate what she can and can’t do. Until the brain tumor robs Caterina of the one thing she cannot live without – her music.

Faced with losing the music that feeds her soul is what drives Caterina to try something radical – an experimental gene therapy. For Caterina the unproven treatment offers her the possibility of not only saving her life, but also restoring her sight and eliminating the pain that has kept her from playing the cello.

Unfortunately, the scientists developing the gene therapy decide to use Caterina for a guinea pig. In addition to injecting her with genes which do help to save her life and restore her sight, they also slip in a number of other genes to attempt to create special powers. The renegade scientists believe that if they can get the right combination of unique abilities, they will be able to create genetically modified humans they can sell to terrorists and criminals.

Luckily for Caterina, the scientists enlist the help of Mick Carrera to track her down when she manages to escape the lab. Unluckily for the scientists, Mick has scruples. When Mick encounters a woman who is nothing like he has been told he knows he must protect her until he finds out what is really going on.

In the fight that ensues to discover what is happening and to keep the genes from making Caterina less than human, Mick will be drawn to Caterina because of her incredible spirit and heart. Caterina will discover a man who is filled with honor and love despite the hard exterior he portrays to most of the world.

I loved combining all these different things – science, suspense and romance - to create a new kind of paranormal story. I hope you will enjoy this unique story as well as Caterina and Mick, two heroes of my heart.

The Sins of the Flesh Book Tour 2010:

Mon Jan 11: BronzeWord Latino Authors
Tues Jan 12: Julia Amante
Wed. Jan 13th: Latino Books Examiner
Thurs Jan 14th: Babbling About Books and More
Friday Jan 15th: Heidenkind
Mon Jan 18: Una in a Million
Tues Jan 19: Pagan Spirits
Wed Jan 20: Bergers Book Reviews
Thurs Jan 21: Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
Fri Jan 22: Chasing Heroes


Link to website: Website
Link to the book on the site: Sins of the Flesh
Link to Video: Video
Link to Podcast: Podcast
Link to prequel: Prequel

Please leave your questions and comments for Caridad.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Keta's Review of Vamps: A Lesbian Anthology with Teeth

VAMPS, A Lesbian Anthology with Teeth
Torquere Press,
Edited by Lorna Hinson
ISBN: 978-1-60370-901-9, 1-60370-901-0

4.5 Stars, Reviewed by Keta Diablo, Erotic Romance Author

VAMPS, A Lesbian Anthology With Teeth is series of short stories that explores the lesbian side of vampires from historical to avant-garde. Stories from Las Vegas to ancient Rome enter into the mix, as do shorts from ménage to HEA and not-so-HEA.

I was pleasantly surprised by this anthology and must say; the writing shines. You’ll be engaged, entertained and invested in these stories; will feel as if you’re right there with these hotter than hot characters who deliver in spades. VAMPS is an eclectic mix of lesbian love that will have your heart racing while you squirm in the chair.

Well done, authors! And kudos to Lorna Hinson who edited this anthology released by Torquere Press.

Stories in VAMPS

Seven Come Eleven, J.T. Langdon, murder, mystery and mayhem in Vegas. Honors, J.T. Langdon.
Ways and Means, Kate Cotoner, escape to ancient Rome with demon hunter and her lover. High recommendations, Ms. Cotoner.
Vamp Girl, Penelope Friday, two misfits find temporary love and perhaps themselves. Well done, Ms. Friday!
Heatsong, Shanna Germain, lyrical prose explores primal need among the undead. Woot! Ms. Germain.
Neighbors, Elizabeth Black, look-alike roommates introduce neighbor to kinky ménage a trois. Applause for Ms. Black.
Wherein Elen Encounters The Ladies. Teresa Noelle Roberts, servant finds fulfillment with knowledgeable spinsters. High praise, Ms. Roberts.
Strange Relationship, Tracey Shellito, boss seeks employer’s credentials and gets glamoured instead. Accolades for Ms. Shellito.
Oakley Falls, Erin O’Riordan, pain of past relationships bring two opposites to terms and love. Spellbinding, Ms. O’Riordan.
The Power That Dreams Have, Mercy Loomis, dreams really do come true in Athens. Mesmerizing, Ms. Loomis.

Thank you, Keta, for your wonderful review! Find Vamps at Torquere Press

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The First Bite Is the Deepest by Elisa Catrina. $2.99 from
“Funny and clever and emotionally hard-hitting” "A perfectly creepy read." Elisa Catrina's debut novel begins as a quirky send-up of vampire romance, but quickly turns sinister. High schooler Stella Ortiz starts dating the mysterious new guy, but her friends are convinced he's bad news: Sebastian misses tons of school, he day-drinks something that smells like pennies, and oh yeah, he's a vampire.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Five Things I Love About The Sin Eater’s Prince by Keta Diablo

Sin eater: One gifted with magic, able to absorb the sins of a dying person so that person’s soul is free to go unencumbered to heaven. In Keta Diablo’s paranormal erotic romance The Sin Eater’s Prince, the sin eater is Owen Rhys, a pariah in his small village in Wales. Since his father died, Owen’s only friend is Carys, the physician’s assistant. Owen harbors a secret longing for Carys’s employer, the unbelievable beautiful healer Andras Maddock. Andras has his own magical secret: he’s a long tooth, a vampire. Their undeniable attraction puts Owen in grave danger.

There is much to love in this lush novel from Ravenous Romance; here are my five favorites.

1. The hypnotic cover. From under a gray hood, the vampire stares at us. His eyes are icy blue, his hair and long eyelashes black, his gaze both beautiful and terrifying. This is Dagan, a nasty--but gorgeous--vamp who threatens to put a serious damper on Owen and Andras’s relationship. The cover perfectly captures what Owen feels: attraction and revulsion at once toward this terrible being.

2. The Welsh language and lore. The native, Celtic language of Wales is notoriously difficult (and un-phonetic) for English speakers. They spell Wales “Cymru,” for crying out loud! Keta Diablo’s story is laced with strange Welsh folklore, history, and myth, as well as those lovely Celtic words. Lest the reader be unable to keep up, though, there is a glossary of Welsh terms, from Annwyn to Uffern.

3. The vampire’s prayer. Dagan offers an eerily beautiful but chilling prayer to his Dark Lord, the devil. For readers who like their vamps scary and dangerous, the vampire’s prayer delivers just the right touch of evil. An excerpt:

“Whatever flows through your body, flows through mine. I am in your likeness, he who feeds on the warm, red elixir of life. I am the dreaded vampire, a blessed composition of your energy, lust and desire. My day is the mortal’s night, my sustenance their blood. When earth has witnessed its last day, I shall rise again and serve you for all eternity. “

4. The kisses. In this very sensual novel, Owen and Andras crave one another’s touch. No parts of their heavenly bodies go unexplored as they make love desperately, ecstatically. Each encounter begins when Andras looks into Owen’s beautiful green eyes…and then they kiss. Keta Diable is skilled in the art of taut sexual tension, turning up the heat until it boils over with every steamy kiss in passages like this:

“Owen’s touch on his arm, the taste of his lips melding with his, sent a jolt of unbearable pleasure rushing through him. The sin eater’s fingers wound their way into the hair at the back of his neck and Owen drew him deeper into the kiss. Andras parted his lips with his tongue, evoking a breathless moan and a defenseless surrender of his body against Owen’s. “

5. Carys. Even a boy-meets-boy romance can use a female character to root for; in The Sin Eater’s Prince, that woman is Carys. Loyal, determined, and clear-headed (despite her tendency to believe in Welsh superstitions), she is a true friend to both Owen and Andras. Carys is less damsel in distress and more Celtic warrior woman.

Lovers of paranormal erotic fiction will find The Sin Eater’s Prince irresistible for these, and many other, reasons. It contains a well-crafted world of British Isles magic, wonder, and romance.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Guest Blogger Caridad Pineiro, Jan. 19th, '10

Please join me in welcoming author Caridad Pineiro on January 19, 2010 at Pagan Spirits. She will be here to discuss her new novel Sins of the Flesh! Come by and leave your questions and comments.

book info:
SINS OF THE FLESH (Grand Central, Hachette Books, ISBN: 978-0-446-54383-5)

book description:

Caterina Shaw’s days are numbered. Her only chance for survival is a highly experimental gene treatment – a risk she willingly takes. But now Caterina barely recognizes herself. She has new, terrifying powers, an exotic, arresting body — and she’s been accused of a savage murder, sending her on the run.
Mick Carrera is a mercenary and an expert at capturing elusive, clever prey. Yet the woman he’s hunting down is far from the vicious killer he’s been told to expect: Caterina is wounded, vulnerable, and a startling mystery of medical science. Even more, she’s a beautiful woman whose innocent sensuality tempts Mick to show her exactly how thrilling pleasure can be. The heat that builds between them is irresistible, but surrendering to it could kill them both . . . for a dangerous group is plotting its next move using Caterina as its deadly pawn.

The Sins of the Flesh Book Tour 2010:

Mon Jan 11: BronzeWord Latino Authors
Tues Jan 12: Julia Amante
Wed. Jan 13th: Latino Books Examiner
Thurs Jan 14th: Babbling About Books and More
Friday Jan 15th: Heidenkind
Mon Jan 18: Una in a Million
Tues Jan 19: Pagan Spirits
Wed Jan 20: Bergers Book Reviews
Thurs Jan 21: Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
Fri Jan 22: Chasing Heroes


Link to website: Website
Link to the book on the site: Sins of the Flesh
Link to Video: Video
Link to Podcast: Podcast
Link to prequel: Prequel

Monday, January 4, 2010

Midsummer Night is Released Today!

Priestess-in-training and part-time witch Zen Van Zandt loves biology grad student Ramesh Sudhra. Only two things stand in the way of their happiness: his traditional Indian-American family doesn’t welcome Zen, and Zen’s training requires a yearlong vow of celibacy.
Between Ramesh’s stern mother’s disapproval, Zen’s vow of celibacy, and her assistant’s romantic troubles with a wild new witch, Zen wonders if she and Ramesh will ever see their wedding day...
Hot off the press! The release of a new book is always exciting for the author! I've put much love and care into telling this story, and now I want to share it with you.
Please click on one of the links below to read Book 2 in the Pagan Spirits series. MIDSUMMER NIGHT is now released in paperback! Find the print edition at

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The Wheel of The Year. . by Maureen Murrish. $5.99 from
The Wheel of the Year is a beginner's guide to celebrating the eight traditional pagan festivals of the the year.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Best Books I Read in 2009

Happy New Year! My first post of 2010 is a look back at the books I really enjoyed reading for pleasure last year.

10. The Surrender of Persephone by Selena Kitt (2009; Phaze Books) retells the Classical Greek myth of the virgin goddess of spring, Persephone, and her abduction by the god of the Underworld, Hades. In myth, Persephone grows into her role as queen of the Underworld to become a powerful and mysterious goddess. In Kitt's uncensored version, Persephone chafes at her mother Demeter's restrictiveness and dim view of males, both human and divine.

Up from the depths of the earth comes Hades, also known as Aidon. He lifts Persephone into his chariot and takes her to the eerily lovely splendor of his Underworld kingdom, the land of the dead. In his mind, this is a perfectly acceptable arranged marriage, a deal between Aidon and Persephone's father Zeus. Persephone feels a mixture of fear and attraction to the handsome, amber-eyed god. A thoroughly modern spin on an ancient fable.

9. From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris. Many things happen in this book (including Alcide's ascension to leader of the Shreveport pack and the appearance of a new fairy), but the entire effort is rather disjointed. Sookie is at her most fickle (she's suddenly keen on Calvin Norris and Eric, not so much Alcide and Quinn), and there is a notable lack of romance. Interesting, but not the best of the Southern Vampire series. On the other hand, Bill seems to want Sookie back...could the long-awaited reconciliation be in the works?

8. Dead After Dark by Sherrilyn Kenyon, J. R. Ward, Susan Squires, and Dianne Love. The four stories in this collection are all highly entertaining. The best of the best is J.R. Ward's "The Story of Son." It's not part of her Black Dagger Brotherhood storyline, but it's excellent, with a truly engaging heroine and a darkly romantic, tragic hero, a bit like Z in the Brotherhood. (And he's my favorite.) This is the first I've read from the other authors, but I'll certainly be wanting more in the future thanks to this introduction. All of the stories could be themed "They came from different worlds." Very spicy, very diverse tales, all very good.

7. Dead is the New Black by Marlene Perez. Ever since the days of Scoobie Doo, teens have wondered whether adults were conspiring to get them. And you know what? Sometimes they're right. Daisy Giordano is not only a resident of the quirky town of Nightshade, but also the only "norm" in a family of psychics. When girls at her high school start turning up undead, she and her hunky best friend Ryan must get to the bottom of this mystery. Is a vampire on the loose? Could it be Nurse Phillips, or perhaps Miss Foster, the head cheerleading coach? Daisy may not be gifted with her mother's and sisters' special powers, but she is smart, curious, and above all determined. If anyone can get to the bottom of this, Daisy can.

6. Hell's Belles by Jackie Kessler. There are many reasons to love Hell's Belles by Jackie Kessler (Zebra Books, 2007). One is its heroine, Jezebel, who is literally a cloven-footed demon spawned in the depths of Hell. When Hell undergoes a change in management, succubus Jezebel is forced to give up her career of seducing the souls from mortal men and become a nightmare. Jezebel doesn't adapt well to the change, fleeing the Lake of Fire to become a mortal. And, since mortals have to pay the rent, she becomes a stripper.

Lacking a soul, Jezebel certainly isn't planning on falling in love. Still, when she meets Paul Hamilton, she's more fascinated by him than an ex-demon should be. Paul is beautiful, to be sure, but with his "poet's eyes" and boxer's broken nose, he's also a sweet and sensitive soul.

Other characters in this book are also well-written and interesting. There's Daun, the incubus. He gets his own book, Hotter Than Hell, two more volumes into Kessler's Hell on Earth series. Then there's Lucifer himself, who's given perhaps the most sympathetic and romantic portrayal since Milton's Paradise Lost. I was delightfully surprised by Kessler's reinterpretation of Lucifer.

Another wonderful surprise awaiting readers of Hell's Belles is the music. Kessler animates Jezebel's strip club with with classic Melissa Etheridge, new INXS ("Pretty Vegas," with JD Fortune as lead singer), The Bloodhound Gang and, best of all, a U2 medley with "Desire" and "Mysterious Ways." I wanted to stick a five dollar bill into the paperback to tip the dj.

A fellow reviewer of Hell's Belles found the ending "a bit pat," but I disagree. The ending made me cry, with its poignant blend of sadness and hope. I highly recommend Hell's Belles to all lovers of paranormal and fantasy romance.

5. The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl by Marc Schuster. First rule of parenting: you don't use drugs in front of your kids. Especially if you're the one member of the parent-teacher association charged with running the school's Just-Say-No program.

Audrey Corcoran is blindsided when her husband of ten years leaves her for a much-younger, thinner woman named Chloe. Desperate not to lose her young daughters the way she lost Roger, Audrey decides to get in touch with her fun side. Her adventures lead to her try cocaine, against her better judgement. In this tragicomic novel, Audrey copes with life on and off drugs.

I'm always a little amazed when a male author paints such a touching and realistic portrait of a woman's life. Scott Simon did it for 17-year-old Irena Zaric in Pretty Birds, and Marc Schuster does it for 30-something Audrey Corcoran. Thanks to Desperate Housewives, the suburban mom secretly on drugs may be something of a cliche, but Schuster never allows Audrey's life to become a caricature or a morality play. He simply gives her 292 pages to be her Super Mom + Party Girl self, and readers will be grateful for that.

4. Happy Hour at Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta. Thoroughly enjoyable. In this witty novel, Acosta creates a wonderful heroine in Milagro de los Santos. Mil, as she is known to friends, wants what every girl wants: to be taken seriously as a writer, live in rat-free apartment, and maybe find a fabulous guy she can get serious with. That guy is definitely not her ex, Sebastian, the hot writer du jour (del dia?) who is sitting on top of a pile of dark secrets. Along comes Oswald, who may be a vampire, and whose secrets may or may not be of the dark variety. Wonderfully written, funny and romantic, this one is a real winner.

3. CrowWoman and MudGirl by Victoria Selene Skye Deme. The author is, I believe, the illegitimate love child of Sylvia Plath, Barbara G. Walker (who wrote the wonderful Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets), and American Indian writer Louise Erdrich. CrowWoman and Mudgirl is an all-too-brief collection of poems steeped in myth and folklore. The theme, generally, is the reconciliation of the age-old dichotomy of feminine archetypes: is a woman a sweet-faced angel, or a raging bitch-goddess? In Skye Deme's poems, she is daughter, lover, monster, and more. These are big poems for such a tiny book, and deeply satisfying. My personal favorite is "Dreary Summer Day." What sounds like something perfectly mundane is actually a beautifully spun vampire tale.

2. The Prestige by Christopher Priest. First, you have to see the movie, which stars Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale as a pair of warring stage magicians. It's sort of a steampunk-ish thing, where turn-of-the-nineteenth century technology meets the late Victorian/Edwardian era. AFTER you've seen the movie (and drooled over your choice of Jackman, Bale, Scarlett Johannson or David Bowie!), read Chris Priest's awesome book, which stunned me by being even weirder than the film.

1. GoneAway Into the Land by Jeffrey B. Allen. Remember, in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, when Willy Wonka took the children and their guardians for a ride in a boat? Remember how the boat ride suddenly because dark and sinister, and you sensed there was something seriously evil afoot in the chocolate factory? Keep that boat ride in mind, and you'll have some idea of where GoneAway Into the Land (2008, Wandering Sage Publications) is going to take you.

"His name was Danny Greber, Daniel Johannes Greber, but I named him the beast." From its opening line, GoneAway crackles with danger. Author Jeffrey B. Allen creates a vivid, animated world in which trains breathe and an attic full of discarded housewares plots its revenge. Clearly, Allen has a poet's eye. His young hero, thirteen-year-old John, has a poet-warrior's heart. Imagine Harry Potter if, instead of the slightly unpleasant Dursleys, Harry had been raised by a full-grown mountain troll. John's beast of a father is unpredictable and dangerous. He takes the story book villain to a whole new level of greed and ignorance.

"The beast" finally goes too far when he disappears, taking John's little sister, Marny, with him. The search for Marny leads John and his mother, Ellie, in the Land, a place they couldn't have imagined in their wildest dreams. (Think of Candyland crossed with Gregory Maguire's vision of Oz and you'll have something of an idea.) Allen skillfully combines the everyday world with the fantastic, a seemingly seamless combination which reminds the reader of the very best of fantasy novels. Yet, GoneAway never imitates the style of other fantasies. It remains fresh and surprising, giving the reader little thrills of recognition but never descending into fairy tale cliches.

A note at the end of the book promises the GoneAway series will continue in a second book. The GoneAway series promises to be a fascinating one, as the first book ends on notes of hope, but also of missed opportunity. It will be rewarding to see how the series develops.

GoneAway Into the Land is a highly satisfying reading fix for older children. It will not disappoint adult fans of fantasy, either. Readers who enjoyed Keith Miller's The Book of Flying and other fairy tales for grown-ups will also appreciate GoneAway.