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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

GUEST BLOG: ARI THATCHER

New Year’s Revolutions

By Ari Thatcher


No, that’s not a typo. I’m talking about complete and sometimes radical change. Why set trivial goals when we can effect real change?

As most women of a certain age, I have to lose a few (quite a few) pounds. I also want to exercise more. Write more and better steamy romance books. Be more organized. Is my list close to yours?

Since they are so prevalent at this time of year, I’ve been visiting the sites of respected TV doctors and fitness gurus for advice. I know how to eat healthy. I know how to exercise regularly. So why am I overweight yet again? One site gave me my answer in a few simple questions.

Mayo Clinic Online asks if you are ready to make long-term lifestyle changes, and if you’ve resolved any emotional or stress issues that hold you back. No matter what change you hope to bring to your life, if you don’t want real change and if your day is filled with stress, you will find something to keep yourself from correcting the crutches we use to survive.

New shoes. Chocolate. Cigarettes. And Saturday nights spent at home alone watching romantic comedy movies. Or curled up with a favorite book. Except for the cigarettes, none of these things are awful, really. But are they all you want for yourself?

Let’s make real change! Fix the budget problems that flare up every payday. Learn to love yourself enough to give a darn about getting off your chair and moving around. Believe you are worth loving, so you’ll attract the perfect man for you.

Do you see why I’m talking revolution? It’s time to revolt against the weak self-image and embrace the loving, deserving being inside. We are worth it. Once we convince ourselves of that, money, men, love, all the good stuff will begin to flow to us. We can read those sexy romances for ideas to share, rather than a replacement for connecting with someone.

What about your life would you like to change forever? What’s keeping you from doing so? Focus on correcting the issues and you’ll lose the need for whatever crutch is holding you back. Let’s make this decade the one where we celebrate the real person inside us all, so we can live happily ever after.


When not organizing revolutions, Ari Thatcher writes erotic romance, makes quilts, and dreams of grandkids to come. She lives in cougar heaven, Los Angeles, California, with her two dogs, a rabbit, guinea pig and a bird. You can keep up with her mindless ramblings and recent release, Kyle’s Redemption, at her website.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

GUEST BLOG: JEANNE ST. JAMES

Men in uniform! The ultimate Alpha hero, right? My books tend to revolve around them. My heroes are ones who wear uniforms in one way or another. Whether he is law enforcement, or a football player, I find men who wear uniforms super sexy. Just my type of hero.

The Alpha male tends to be the preferred hero for most romance readers. They want a hero who is sexy and is a “take charge” type of guy. For example, in my first release, Banged Up (a m/f erotic contemporary with Liquid Silver Books), my hero is an FBI agent. Even though he comes home to heal physically from a bad gunshot wound, he is still a strong man and proves it in his actions. He’s a typical Alpha male.

I wrote my second release, Rip Cord (a m/m erotic novella), for a special call for submission that Phaze Books had. They were looking for short stories for their themed “Heatsheets” and I decided to write one for the “rebel” theme. Thinking of current events, I realized pro football players (who I find very hot!) have been very bad boys lately! They can be quite the rebels. So I came up with Ripley “Rip” Cord, the Bad Boy of the NFL. However, I needed to pair him up with someone. And two Alpha males can bump heads (and egos) so I created Gil.

Every once in a while, I know I (as a reader – not just a writer) love to read something out of the norm, like a hero who is NOT Alpha, but Beta. Or just a plain nerd. That’s what Gil is – a computer geek. I wrote Rip Cord strictly in Gil’s point of view since it was a short story. But he truly is not someone who is strong-willed. He is unsure of himself and doesn’t have a rebellious or aggressive bone in his body. But it was so much fun writing the story in his eyes. It was a change for me and I hope readers enjoy it too.

Now, how about my third release, Double Dare, which comes out this month with Loose Id? Double Dare is a ménage a trois, where the heroine joins an already established m/m relationship. I needed my Alpha hero (Logan), a Beta (Ty) and my heroine. However, Ty, who, by the way, is another pro football player, is hardly a wimp. He “allows” Logan to be the Dominant in their relationship. He accepts it because he enjoys it and loves his partner, Logan. But Ty could be an Alpha in his own right. He is a very manly man. And yummy to boot!

So what is my point in all this? I love to read and write about Alpha males. But it is nice sometimes to take a break from all that testosterone and write and read about a non-Alpha, like Gil. It made me (and the hopefully the readers) root just a little harder for him.

Jeanne St. James loves to write about an Alpha male (or two). She has a m/f erotic contemporary romance, Banged Up, out with Liquid Silver Books. It is bringing in some GREAT reviews! Read more about it at http://tinyurl.com/bangedup. She also has a m/m erotic novella, Rip Cord, out with Phaze Books. Read more about it at http://tinyurl.com/phaze-ripcord. This month her third release, an interracial m/m/f ménage a trois, Double Dare, is releasing with Loose Id. Find info here: http://www.loose-id.com/Double-Dare.aspx

Her website is http://www.jeannestjames.com and her blog is http://jeannestjames.blogspot.com. You can also find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jeannestjames), MySpace (www.myspace.com/jeannestjames) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/jeannestjames).

Monday, January 11, 2010

GUEST BLOG: LISA LANE

FOR THE LOVE OF SCI-FI

I’m a huge science fiction buff. When it comes to aliens, alternate worlds, and clever uses of new or imagined technology, I really do become a geek. Sci-fi is fun, provides limitless venues through which an author might express speculative ideas, and allows one’s imagination to soar to new heights. For these reasons, when Ravenous Romance asked me if I would be interested in writing an erotic space trek, I jumped on it—and I’m so glad that I did.

Lust in Space, which won Best Book of the Week here at Whipped Cream in June of 2009, is probably one of the most fun books I have had the privilege to write. Based on the deep space exploration ship, Pandora’s Hope, the story captures the campy essence of my favorite episodic space adventures, most notably Star Trek and Red Dwarf, while also working as a highly experimental erotica piece and a light, heartfelt romance. The crew runs into problems at seemingly every turn, from passing through a patch of space inhabited by dream-possessing aliens that live off tantric energy, to contracting a space flu that sends the entire crew into fevered, orgiastic frenzy, to human-alien dynamics with which the crew handles with soap opera-like dramatics.

Science fiction is such a broad genre, and that is one of the reasons erotic and romantic science fiction is so much fun to read and write. Who hasn’t wondered, while watching a favorite episode of Star Trek or reading a sci-fi classic, “How might these characters take their relationship(s) to a further level? What fun possibilities might there be between a human and an alien? What might that say about us?” In Lust in Space, I strove to answer those questions, working to push my readers’ boundaries without going too far, stretching my own limits as a writer, and taking the human-alien dynamic to places never before explored. The result is an erotic experience that is unique and outrageously fun.

A few months ago, the publisher approached me about transforming Lust in Space into a sweet romance, for use in an exclusive collection of books the company planned to sell through the Home Shopping Network. As HSN does not sell erotica, but was excited at the opportunity to sell romance, I found myself with a unique writing opportunity: take my kinky, erotic space trek and turn it into a work that I could share with even a broader audience. From it arose Love in Space, the sweet sister book to Lust in Space, which follows the same basic plotline, but takes the story to an entirely new level. Because the length needed to be about 10,000 words longer than was its predecessor, I was able to develop the characters more fully, enrich the romance between main characters Nora and Robert, and—best of all—I was able to add in a new “episode” to the story. In the new episode, the team embarks on an away mission to a planet inhabited by androids created by a long-deceased group of rogue human explorers. In the androids’ attempt to emulate the society they were initially built to serve, they offer a glimpse of the positive and negative aspects to human nature, which is really what reading and writing speculative/literary science fiction is all about. Through both stories, Love in Space and Lust in Space, I was able to portray various themes and current events, offering not only a fun and enjoyable space trek, but also commentary on our world, society, and human behavior.

That’s what I love most about science fiction, and that’s why I’m so proud to have both of these stories available to share with you.

For more about me and my writing, visit my website at http://www.cerebralwriter.com.

Happy reading!

Lisa Lane

Lisa Lane lives in Las Vegas with her husband and their two cats. She has authored over a dozen novels and screenplays, as well as numerous short stories and essays, and she prides herself in her ability to move between different genres and formats. Her literary influences include Olaf Stapledon, Kurt Vonnegut, and Anne Rice.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

GUEST BLOG: ANITA PHILMAR

Finding Happiness with Your Spouse

Share a common dream – when two people join together to reach a unified goal. It connects them in ways that inspires trust. This can be as simple as planning a vacation or deciding on a new car, or as big as having a family.

Choose each other as your first family – once two people get married they both need to remember that the other person should now become their main concern. This is not to say you avoid his or her family but that you need time alone together.

Learn how to fight right – It can be easy to take your stress out on your spouse. Try to recognize those times when you are not at your best, then warn your partner you need time to regroup before discussing certain subjects.

Find a balance between time for two and time for you – Just because you are now with someone doesn’t mean you can’t have time for yourself. Each of you came into the relationship with interest that attracted the other. You still need that creative outlet to fuel your soul. Give yourself the time for yourself so you can be the person your spouse fell in love with.

Build a best friendship – if the two of you can become best friends then you’ll be closer to achieve the relationship you both want and can face down the major challenge in your life together.

Anita Philmar
www.anitaphilmar.com

Monday, January 4, 2010

GUEST BLOG: RIE MCGAHA

2009: WHAT A YEAR!

As 2009 comes to an end and 2010 peeks around the corner most television stations will, to one extent or another, begin the annual “Year In Review”. While the focus will be on world events and Mr. Obama’s first year as president, I’m afraid the majority will focus on celebrity happenings. I, for one, couldn’t care less about a bunch of over paid actors and entertainers or the people who feed off of them. I have never come to terms with the fact that someone who makes an ass of themselves is more publicity worthy than say, oh, someone who is working to cure cancer, or is making advances in medical technology, or the people who work selflessly for nearly no pay at all to feed the hungry, bring clean water to third world countries, or help the homeless.

But I digress. The other day I began reviewing my year and although it has slipped by way too fast for my peace of mind, that’s what I get for surviving all these years! As it turns out, 2009 has been a pretty spectacular year for me, though not without a few down spots, but that’s life for everyone.

This year brought two new granddaughters, Isabell Moriah, third child for my son, Michael and his wife; and Meagan Grace, the first for my daughter Lisa and her husband. My son, Cody got married and was recently discharged from the Marine Corps. My daughter, Rocky also got married this year. I found homes for eleven dogs and was able to have all the rest spayed/neutered, and I became a mom to three cats. As a first time kitty-mommy, I am happy to say I not only like cats, I have fallen in love with these guys. I bought a new house, a new truck, and everything is paid for. I am actually debt-free. That in itself is an awesome gift.

Publishing wise, I’ve had several books published this year with seven more due out in 2010. WOW! But let’s not measure success by how many were published, but by the fact I’m actually getting royalty checks for them! No one is more surprised by that than me!

For me, success is in my family and the relationship I have with my children, grandchildren and my personal life. I am happy in my life, happy in my relationships, and happy with my little corner of the world. Perhaps it’s because I’m entering the stage of life where I know I have fewer years ahead of me than what’s behind me, or perhaps it’s because I’ve finally come to terms with the mistakes of my youth and I’ve learned to accept my shortcomings and live in my own skin without regret. Perhaps it’s because, for the first time in my life, I feel settled and secure in who I am, who I’ve become and I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that while my face isn’t on a magazine cover, I am a rock star in the lives of my grandchildren. When I show up they scream like the girls used to do for Elvis and The Beatles, but it doesn’t end when the show is over.

2009? Yeah, it’s been a spectacular year.

Friday, January 1, 2010

GUEST BLOG: GISELLE RENARDE

Happiness in Three Easy Steps

The holiday season hits some people hard. The stress of managing every detail of life to create a perfect dinner, or party, or Christmas morning gets some of us feeling high-strung and exhausted. When December flips over to January, many of us are left feeling empty—in our hearts and our wallets. So, I thought this might be a good time to talk about happiness.

According to one researcher who’s been conducting trials with university students in the UK, there are three simple steps we can take to start feeling happier and improving our outlook. I mean easy peasy. This is stuff we can all do:

1. Force Yourself to Smile

Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm not much of a smiler--especially in public. Sure I smile when I'm having fun with my family and friends, but when I'm out in the world I am very straight-faced. I think a lot of that comes from living in a big, impersonal city. Nobody wants to let their guards down because the second you do--POW!--someone's going to take advantage of you. What a way to live! But that's urbanism for you.

I'm not sure I'm ready to take my smile to the streets, but apparently just the act of smiling--forcing your facial muscles into that position--on a regular basis can help make you feel happier. So, whether you're at work, in bed, or in the shower, SMILE! Smile at yourself, at your dog, at your neighbour. It helps.

2. Express Gratitude

This is another exercise that can be done alone or with other people. Every day, think about five things you're lucky to have and express gratitude for them. You'll start to focus on all the great things you already have rather than jealously coveting what you wish you had.

I'm so grateful to have a roof over my head. I'm grateful for my two happy and healthy cats. I'm grateful for my always loving, caring, and understanding girlfriend (maybe I should have said that one before the cats...) and I'm grateful that there's food on my plate every time I want a meal. When I think about all the freedoms I have, I realize I'm an extremely fortunate person.

3. Acts of Kindness

A couple months ago, I was doing some volunteer work and I met an artist who mentioned how badly he wanted to showcase his work in such-and-such a place. He said he'd tried to get in there before, but it just wasn't happening. He didn't know how to get the ball rolling. Well, it just happened that I used to work in such-and-such a place. I loved his art, so I advocated on his behalf to get him slotted in. He was over the moon. "I don't even know how to start thanking you," he said.

He didn't need to. I couldn't believe the emotional high I got just from helping someone achieve a goal. I wasn't going to get anything out of the situation in terms of remuneration. It wasn't about money, or power, or esteem, or any of those things we're taught to seek in life. I saw that I could help him out, so I did, and it made me feel incredible. Even as a writer, I don't have a word to express how good I felt about it.

That's what the acts of kindness are all about. I've started doing a lot of volunteer work over the past five years, and with no exaggeration I can tell you it has changed my life. My experiences of helping others while expecting nothing in return have made me a happier and more fulfilled person. Volunteer. Give money to charity. Feel good.

Three simple actions can boost your happiness factor:

1. Smile

2. Express Gratitude

3. Acts of Kindness

Start off the New Year on a happier note. Give these actions a try. See if they work. Chances are, the effort itself will make you happy!

Bright Blessings,

Giselle Renarde

Eroticist, environmentalist, and pastry enthusiast Giselle Renarde is a proud Canadian, supporter of the arts, and activist for women's and LGBT rights. For Giselle, a perfect day involves watching a snowstorm rage outside with a cup of tea in one hand and a chocolate truffle in the other. Ms Renarde lives across from a park with two bilingual cats who sleep on her head.

For more information on Giselle and her work, visit her website at www.freewebs.com/gisellerenarde/ or visit her Donuts and Desires blog at donutsdesires.blogspot.com.