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Wednesday, September 29, 2010


The Muse

Hey, are you paying attention? Do you write? I do. Do you look to a muse for inspiration? Me, too. Question? Does the muse (or in my case, both of them) like to play hide and seek? I don’t know about yours, but mine do. And it’s a pain.

Now you may be wondering—muses? You see, she didn’t like being alone. Nope. She didn’t. So she went out and found a friend. And it really wouldn’t shock me if she found another. She’s fickle and likes to collect. But I was talking about her playing hide and seek. (See? Even when I’m talking about her, she still feels the need to be number one...muses...)

I don’t always have the copious amounts of time I’d like to write. Nope. I have a job and a family. For some reason, the exact moment they need my attention, is the precise moment the muses need—no ifs, ands, or buts—my attention. What’s worse? That’s when they give me the best ideas. You know, no paper, no pen, no remember? Yeah, that’s them. I think they’re favorite time is when I’m about to go to sleep.

“Oh, she’s about to tumble into dreamland. Time to give her ideas.”

“She won’t remember.” (He’s the voice of reason between the two of them.)

“If they are that important, she’ll find a way.”

“You realize you’re mean, sometimes.” (He shakes his head and sighs.)

She just sneers and starts whispering in my ear. Brat.

I’ve learned to combat them, though. Yes, I have. I have become quite adept at writing in the dark. Pitch black. It’s a matter of guessing where the letters are and assuming it’s readable. Sometimes it is. When it’s not, I blame her.

But you see, it’s not always this easy. No way. There are these little scraps of times when I do have the convenience of writing. I tend to have a notebook with me so I can write the drive-by ideas. I even get time at the laptop when I can put the ideas together in a cohesive form. Do you think she’s around then? Not a chance. In fact, she grins like a Cheshire cat and goes back to her business.

Did I mention her business? No? Well, let me fill you in. The muse likes pictures. Not dirty pictures. Nope. (Although, as a good dirty girl, she doesn’t turn them down—that would be unconscionable.) Her favorites are the things that are innocuous. You know, ducks on a pond with an empty pavilion in the background. Or a muscle car with the windows tinted. Her mind whirls to...what’s really going on under that pavilion? Does that car have enough space in the backseat for play? Or can play take place on the hood without marring the paint? (Funny how she worries about muscle car paint, but not being nice to me. As I said, brat.)

Although she’s a pill through and through, and despite the fact that he encourages her to run in every direction her dirty little mind goes, I love them. They’ve helped me come up with some fantastic stories and made me see things in ways I never thought possible. Let your muse run, play, and cause havoc. It’s a lot of fun.

Bio: I always dreamed of writing the stories in my head. Tall, dark, and handsome heroes are my favorites, as long as he has an independent woman keeping him in line. I tend to write books with titles taken from songs because music is one of my many muses.

I earned a BA in education at Kent State university and as well as a Masters in Education from Nova Southeastern University. I've tried my hand at teaching, waitressing, and retail sales, but writing holds my heart.

I love NASCAR, romance, books in general, Ohio farmland, dirt racing, and my menagerie of animals. I have six books under contract and more than my brain can handle percolating. I can't wait to share them with you!

Visit Wendi at her website and blog

Monday, September 27, 2010


Erotic Romance, Writing and the Dixie Chicks

Growing up a kid’s life is usually defined by their parents. Well, mine were very country. I can remember being on my Daddy’s shoulders during some of the greatest singers in the genre at the Grand Ole Opery in Bainbridge, Ohio. Some of those old melodies that I heard then can still waft through my house especially when I write. There’s nothing like those good old country songs to get one in the mood.


Tonight, I fell asleep in front of the TV as I commonly do when I’m on a writing spree. I’ll work and work then take a break when before I know it, I’m stumbling to bed again because I just couldn’t keep my eyes open. I’ve always been a late night person and while it doesn’t surprise me it is sometimes disconcerting. This time though, instead of dragging myself up, I was riveted to what was on the TV. I had apparently fallen asleep to some documentary that I was watching on historical political events. What I woke up to was something totally different. You’d think I’d have something better to sink my teeth into. LOL!

Still, this one completely captured my attention. While I no longer listen to country music any more unless I’m nostalgic or just really can’t get into the mood, I do listen to singers like Shania Twain, Faith Hill, Shedaisy and the Dixie Chicks. What I was seeing on my big screen was a documentary about three women and something known as ‘the incident’ to them and the rest of the world. An incident that everyone by now realize should never have been blown out of proportion because what was said has been found to be relatively true in the years since it has happened.

And while I don’t want this blog to turn into a political forum at all, it made me wonder about my own chosen career and just how it can hinge on the whims of the reading public just like theirs hung on the whims of a listening public. There have been times when I tell people I write erotic romance and something between horror and disbelief cross their face. When that happens I have to grit my teeth sometimes and just smile because when all is said and done, I will write what I write for a variety of reasons.

Now some of you may ask ‘How can you love smut?’ to which I would reply ‘How can I not?’ I mean everyone has a different perception of what porn is, what smut is and what romance is. Mine just happens to be a little bit broader than most. But here’s the key to the whole thing and it something most of you don’t know. I write just as much non-erotic stuff as I do the erotic venture. Yup, you heard me right. Again, I can hear you say ‘Huh? What are you talking about?’

What, indeed. The bottom line is that I write what I love at that moment. Some days it’s just as hard for me to get into a sex scene as it is the writer who has never written one. I truly understand that as I write, I am not the one in control but my characters are. If they don’t want to have sex, they won’t. If they want to shoot someone, they will. And if they need to defend themselves against the next wave of alien bloodsuckers, they will do it superbly.

I write what is in my heart at the very moment I put the words onto the page and not a second before I’m supposed to. I’m one of the few writers who won’t write to a market because it’s popular nor will I be swayed against finishing something that isn’t the latest trend or fashion. I need to be passionate about what I write and if I can’t be, the piece may never get started or even finished for that matter.

At a talk I gave this past week, one of the topics I spoke to was career. I’ve been around a long time in the romance field and I have always written the ‘hot’ stuff long before it was in vogue. I can remember the very first time that Sandra Brown put in the words ‘tongue f**k’ and that book hit the best seller list. And the very first BDSM book I ever read was in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s by a science fiction author named Sharon Green and the book was The Mind Guest, another one who made it to the NY Times bestseller list. The moment I finished the book I told my husband that someday I would write a book just like it. And I did in my own way.

I used to tell people to write what they know until I was corrected by a bestselling author who told me to write what I could imagine. I’ll take it one step even further and say one should write what they know along with what they can imagine. Only then will you get the full effect and range of your writing.

I’ll end this by saying thank you to the Dixie Chicks for giving me this blog idea. I was always on their side about ‘the incident. They’re good at what they do and they won’t comprise who they are to get it done their way.

Just like me. I will always write what I love no matter what genre.



Friday, September 24, 2010


The Call

The Call. The fabulous call that announces you Have Sold A Book and all your writerly fantasies are about to come true… I fantasized about that call for eighteen months. I read all the blog posts I could find, both to live vicariously and to pick up etiquette tips. The only common consensus, though, was that it took much longer than anyone had imagined for the damned phone to ring and, amusingly, most of the about-to-be-published-for-the-first-time writers apparently descended into blithering incomprehensibility when confronted with a real live editor on the other end of the line. I figured I could stick out the wait (I’m stubborn) and it sounded like the editors expected and/or enjoyed the authorial babbling (which was a relief as talking on the phone ranks right up there with going to the dentist for me and both result in complete babble on my part as my dentist provides nitrous gas on demand).

I had just signed with the agent of my dreams, Roberta Brown of the Brown Literary Agency. After I hung up the phone with her, I literally danced around the house because I was too excited to sit still. Fortunately, her dogs kept barking in the background at the UPS man, which conveniently covered up the worst of my babbling. My husband, equally elated (and probably thinking: “My God, maybe she could make money doing this!), promptly sent flowers. He also forgot to sign his name on the card, however, so I spent the remainder of the afternoon emailing everyone I knew who might consider me flower-worthy, asking if they’d sent a fabulous bouquet of Stargazer lilies with a card that said only “Meow.” Most of those acquaintances, not realizing that I was shopping a sexy shapeshifter romance, decided I was crazy. Or had kinky habits of which they would rather be unaware.

Just in case I was in any danger of forgetting the Getting an Agent Call, however, I purchased a handful of Stargazer lily bulbs and planted them in my garden. I would, I decided, add a new lily every time I hit a writing milestone. A literary garden, like I’d read about. Of course, about a week after tracking down the bulbs, interpreting the picture-only direction on the back of the package, and standing 24-7 garden against marauding squirrels who thought my literary good news meant a super-special lunch for them, I realized my inspiration from this came from Anne Bishop’s Briarwood garden in her Black Jewels trilogy. Whoops. Because those flowers commemorated some rather unsavory and sadistic murders. Still, it was the thought that counted, right?

Agent acquired, bulbs planted, I settled in to wait. One of the great things about having an agent is that your book typically goes out to multiple NYC houses for editorial consideration. It’s like being offered a great big all-you-can-eat buffet of editors. Of course, it also means you get a great, big, heaping pile of rejections as well. My husband offered to locate some sea thistle bulbs for each rejection, but I declined. When, finally, my first book, THE HUNT, found its home at Dorchester, I actually didn’t get a call (bummer, because I’d practiced). I was commuting to work on the train and was miles below the San Francisco Bay, jammed nose to armpit with a lot of strangers. When I staggered into the office, there was email waiting for me. Alicia Condon wanted to buy my book. Since I had just started working at the day job, I restrained my urge to dance up and down the hall shrieking (not professional). And I restrained my urge to burst in on the senior vice president of engineering (my boss and the only other human being in the office with me) because I wasn’t quite sure what company policy was on checking personal email. During work hours. I spent the rest of the day reading and re-reading that email. Email is actually rather handy--- no worries that you didn’t hear your agent correctly. I was going to be a published author!

The lilies came up beautifully this year (take that, squirrels!) and I’ve been adding to my collection. I have some beautiful pink and white patches in the garden now: my floral happy dance at selling my second book, BOND WITH ME. I just sold books three and four, which means I’m due a date with my garden…

A professional technical writer, Anne discovered that getting laid off was actually A Very Good Thing. While looking for her next writing gig, she picked up her pen (well, okay, she used her writing as an excuse to buy a new Apple laptop) and started writing. She soon discovered that writing was uncomfortably similar to sit-ups: add a few more crunches each day, wake up sore, but, by God, you will fit into that bikini. Or finish the book (she’s still working on the bikini). Now she cranks out software manuals during the daylight hours– and writes about alpha shapeshifters the rest of the time.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


The Imperfect Heroine

Since I’ve become a published romance writer, I’ve learned a lot about the unspoken “rules” that govern what you can and cannot write. Or…well…should not write, if you don’t want to be raked over the coals by readers and reviewers. One of those rules is that the heroine should not be flawed, lacking in confidence, or damaged by past abuse.

Problem is, absolutes can be very confining. A lot of women are imperfect. A lot of women have had traumatic past experiences. A lot of women are still searching for that strength inside themselves. I don’t think that makes them doormats, losers, or failures as heroines. I think it just makes them real.

In my newest BDSM romance, Deep in the Woods, the heroine is not a strong, self-actualized woman working at a six-figure job and completely reliant on herself for her own happiness. No…Sophie is more like the women (and men) I meet in my day-to-day life. She’s not sure where she wants to go in life yet. She sometimes makes mistakes -- like sticking around in an abusive relationship long past the time she should have. She’s still learning to stand up for herself and demand healthy relationships. All of these things, perhaps, make her a failure as a romance heroine, but sometimes I find “strong and perfect” really boring -- and not just in heroines. It’s boring in heroes too. Sometimes I want to read about someone who still has some work to do. Then, when they reach the point where they find strength or redemption, we all get to enjoy the success.

A few decades back, romances were a lot different. Women were definitely portrayed as weaker, men were always stronger (and sometimes abuse masqueraded as romance.) I definitely don’t want a return to those days, but I do think there is a danger of making our romantic heroines so strong and perfect that we can’t relate to them anymore. Sometimes I wonder if, in our determination to distance ourselves from the non-PC romances of the past, we’ve robbed ourselves of a bit of the complexity and tenderness that comes from letting the heroine be a little weak and imperfect sometimes. I don’t know about you, but I like leaning on my hero’s broad shoulders every once in a while.

Annabel is a multi-published erotic author specializing in the romance of the BDSM lifestyle. She writes contemporary stories of couples trying to balance romance, real life, and BDSM kinkiness, although she has also been known to dabble in a historical or two. Annabel lives in the deep south with her husband of twelve years and her children. Besides writing erotic romance, she also dabbles in mainstream fiction and screenwriting. You can learn more about Annabel and her books at

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


A little over a year ago, my writer’s group hosted a guest speaker, and to my amazement, this speaker held the key to writing good romantic fiction. Leslie Kelly spoke for about an hour on the relationship between characters and conflict. In romantic fiction there are two basic types of conflict, external and internal. The dynamics of the characters determine the internal conflict and can even guide part of the external conflict. During the talk, the group developed character sheets describing the characteristics of our characters to help identify possible areas of conflict. These characteristics include things like family, education, bad habits, relationships, etc. I still do this exercise for every set of my characters. When I put my potential characters for A Shared Range through this exercise, something unusual happened, because not only did I get the internal conflict between the characters, I also got the scene of the story as well as the driver for much of the external conflict.

In A Shared Range, Dakota is a rancher who dropped out of medical school to take care of his chronically ill father, and Wally is a newly minted veterinarian from the city who hopes to be able to work on larger animals. Through a mutual friend, Wally gets the chance visit the ranch on vacation. Both Wally and Dakota find themselves attracted to one another, but they have very different views on a number of issues, including the wolves that have migrated into the area from Yellowstone National Park. Wally dreams of standing outside, hearing the calls of the wolves, while to Dakota, those cries represent a threat to his ranch and way of life. To me that sounded like an interesting source of internal conflict, but as I completed the exercise, I also got a great scene for the novel, with the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone as a backdrop, as well as one of the sources of external conflict, because much of the community feels the way Dakota does, and that causes additional trouble when Wally rescues an injured wolf. I absolutely loved writing this story and am not ashamed to say that I fell in love with my own characters.


A truck pulled into the yard, and Wally saw a small pack of dogs race out of the barn to the truck and then race back to begin circling his legs. “What’s all this?” He knelt down and was mobbed by the ragtag bunch. “Are they friendly?”

“Goodness, yes.” The smallest, some sort of terrier mix, jumped into Wally’s arms and began licking his face. “The mutt giving you a bath is Max. The lab is Libby, and the boxer mix is Sparky.” At the mention of his name, Sparky made a lunge and knocked Wally on his butt before he, too, joined in the lovefest. Wally made the mistake of laughing and got a doggie tongue in his mouth, but didn’t really care too much as he handed out scratches behind ears and received lots of doggie love.

“Mario,” Dakota called, and the man from the truck walked over. “This is Wally.”

Wally tried to shake hands, but the wiggling, squirming dogs sort of got in the way.

“Wally, this is Mario, my foreman.” Dakota started to laugh as Wally tried to get up, only to be jumped again by the dogs.

Wally finally got to his feet and extended his hand. “It’s nice to meet you.” They shook hands quickly.

“Boss, we had a few problems in the north range.” Mario turned his attention to Dakota, his face serious.

“That wolf again?” Dakota’s smile faded and his voice darkened. “Did we lose anything?”

“That’s the strange thing. It was definitely him, but there’s no sign that he tried to take down any of the herd. He just stood by the edge of the wooded area and watched until I took a shot at him.”

“Maybe he wasn’t hungry.” Wally spoke up, and saw both men looking at him like he was from outer space. “Wolves don’t kill for sport. They kill because they’re hungry or to feed their mate or young, and they’re more likely to take down small game than a full-grown steer.” Wally was on a roll and hadn’t realized his strong feelings had made him raise his voice. “And you took a shot at him?” Wally glared at the foreman and felt his anger build. “Excuse me.”

Turning away, Wally walked back toward the house, muttering under his breath. He really wasn’t sure if they could hear him, but at the moment he didn’t care. “Great, if you don’t understand something, just kill it and mount it on the wall. That’ll take care of everything.” Wally opened the door and walked into the house, letting the screen bang behind him.

As soon as he reached the living room, he stopped himself and flopped on the sofa. Jesus, he’d been here less than an hour and he’d insulted his host.

“What’s going on?” Phillip sat next to him.

“I shot my mouth off and made an ass of myself.” Wally looked up and saw through the window that Dakota was on his way in and didn’t look happy.

I’ve used the exercises that we performed in that guest lecture for almost all of my novels, including Love Means… No Shame and An Unexpected Vintage, but this was the one time when everything seemed to come together. I’m very pleased with A Shared Range and I hope you enjoy it.

And to Leslie Kelley, I want to thank you for sharing your insight with our group and with me. Your talk was truly one of the most helpful and productive hours I’ve spent since I began writing.

Andrew Grey grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation. Andrew's hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing). He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Visit Andrew's web site at " and blog at

E-mail him at

Monday, September 20, 2010


How I got started writing and advice for aspiring writers

People often ask writers how they started. Well I can only answer by telling them how it happened for me. I’ve always enjoyed reading - especially romance with the door left open – and when I found myself living in a new area, with no friends and no job I realised the time was right to write!!

I checked out the local University and took a part time course in creative writing. Soaked up every bit of feedback and advice my wonderfully talented teacher gave me and then I was off…

I wrote and wrote and wrote, and when I had more words than I knew what to do with I started sending them off to publishers and editors who advertised on ERWA (Erotica Reader and Writer Association at ). It’s a great site and they always have a ton of requests for long and short stories in all erotic romance genres, some pay, some just get you a foot on the ladder. The website also has a host of information about reading and writing steamy stuff!

I went with royalty paying publishers, ones who would edit my book and give it an ISBN number, and also ones who’d expressed an interest in the themes and lengths of stories I’d written. No point sending an epic historical romance to a house that’s asked for short snappy space sex! I got lucky on a few short stories which went straight to print in anthologies and then longer ones were accepted by Ellora’s Cave, Total-e-Bound and Xcite. The result, as you can see from my website, is a cacophony of publishers and editors for both my long and short stories, all of whom I adore working with.

New authors should also try competitions – some are advertised on ERWA. My first big success was a contest hosted by ‘Love Honey Vulgari’in 2009. It was the first time I’d attempted writing something truly steamy and ‘Madam President’ won first place! (Read it for free by following the book link at ) I couldn’t believe it, not only did it pay handsomely it also boosted my confidence and profile to suddenly be an ‘award winning author.’ So go for the comps but don’t be disheartened if they’re judged on public vote, many people enter and have a data base of thousands to vote for them whether the story is any good or not. Better to have a panel of judges or better still, a publisher give your book the thumbs up.

If you can find a crit partner to read your stuff before you send it off then all the better. When looking for a crit partner you need to find someone who already has an interest in the genre, someone who can pick out writing hiccups in the middle of a ten people orgy laced with whipped cream and strawberries and not be so shocked and stunned by the content that they miss the fact you’ve given one person three arms and someone else two tongues! I have a crit partner and she’s awesome and way ahead of me in the erotic romance game. I admire and trust her and I’m always very excited to receive her comments. We have the same editor, who introduced us, which helps us to be consistent in the house style. I love the fact that she’s so honest with me. If it’s good she tells me, if it’s not she tells me too.

But if you send that perfectly polished manuscript off and it gets rejected - don’t worry. What author hasn’t had rejection letters? Or these days, rejection emails. Just delete and focus on the positive. It’s hard sometimes, and as you go about your daily routine you find yourself sighing in frustration, but when the positive begins to out-way the negative life sure feels great. Just to get loads of stuff out there, that way you’re bound to find someone who likes something. As for the information in a rejection letter, nine out of ten times there is no explanation, but if there is, for example ‘we like your style but we’re looking for M/M stories at the moments’, then it’s well worth having a bash at M/M and sending your new submission to whoever sent the rejection letter. If they like your voice they’ll want to hear it again.

Here are a few other tips I stick to when doing the actual writing, maybe I’m a bit kooky but this is what works for me…

~~When writing dialogue just go for it, let it flow out of your fingers as fast as you would speak. Don’t even think about speech marks and punctuation, or if he is scratching his head and she’s licking her lips, you can add all that in afterwards – dialogue moves the story forward and if you can get it flowing naturally then you’re onto a winner.

~~Don’t get bogged down with adverbs, eg. he groaned ‘loudly’, she panted ‘heavily’, it’s considered much less lazy to write ‘his groans were loud in her ear’ or ‘her heavy pants filled the small space’. There’s usually a way to describe your scene better if you circle around the adverb and it will make the story meatier.

~~Let a story brew in your head. Have the idea, jot it down if you need to, and then sit quietly and play out the scenes like watching a film in your imagination. It will give you a clear picture of what you want to achieve in your writing and help you with the tiny details.

~~If the house is quiet make the most of the peace and get busy getting those words down. You can iron and dust and cook with everyone around chattering and demanding help with homework and lifts to friends and clubs. Writing, for me at least, requires silence, so silence has become a very valuable commodity in my life.

~~Incubate the final product. When it’s written tuck it aside, for a few days, longer if you can, then go back to it. I can guarantee you’ll spot silly mistakes, inconsistencies or simply find better word choices to slot in. There’s nothing worse than sending a manuscript off and then on a re-read seeing stupid errors. In fact now, when something has gone I refuse to look at it again unless it’s with an editor.

~~Start off with shorter stories, maybe just one scene, (but give the characters a background and a way to step into the future,) then if you don’t quite hit the mark you’ve not wasted 50,000 words plus.

I can only recommend doing it my way because it’s what I know and it worked for me. Get the brain cells into gear at a locally run or on-line course and then when you’ve grasped the basics of creative writing just get it down. Write and write and write. First attempts will make you cringe in later years but you have to start somewhere. Try offering free stories too; it lets readers hear your voice, and the time it takes you to write them will be worth it. I’ve got two free stories coming out.’ Stockholm Seduction’ with Ellora’s Cave and ‘Unhealthy Obsession’ at Total-E-Bound. I hope you’ll check them out and when the house is quiet get your creative juices flowing and have a bash at writing in this fabulous genre.

Good luck and happy writing

Lily x

Lily Harlem lives in the UK and when she isn't chasing her workaholic man around she is sitting at her desk letting her imagination run wild!!

Lily's stories are made up of colourful characters travelling on everyone's favourite journey, falling in love. If the story isn't romantic, sexy and exciting, it won't be written, at least not by this author.

Friday, September 17, 2010


What's the first romance novel you ever read?

I confess: I have several books on my shelves that I stole from my mother when I was fourteen years old. I don't think she knows, though I'm sure she'd remember them despite their broken spines and ragged covers that nearly hide the titles done up in fancy curlicues. My fingers are dusty as I page through them and I realize that I began reading these novels with their shrinking heroines and domineering men before I read any other genre of fiction.

I remember enjoying Amanda Rose by Karen Robards over and over again. That was the first book that seemed unabashedly sexual to me; I remember the initial kiss in that book to this day. It doesn't happen until page one hundred twenty seven—talk about unresolved sexual tension! Sadly, the characters hated each other by the second half of the book, but the sense of eroticism lingered. I ransacked my mom's shelves and found Laurie McBain's Wild Bells to the Wild Sky. Then I read Laura London's The Windflower and decided that pirates were the sexiest men on the planet. Happily, I moved on and discovered Pamela Morsi, Mary Balogh, Mary Jo Putney and my love affair with regencies began.

Years later, I picked up a book by Emma Holly and discovered the amazing world of erotica. I shopped around, only to discover that erotica as a genre was in its infancy. Oh sure, I read A.N. Roquelaure, Anaïs Nin, the Yellow Silk anthologies, but there weren't a lot of erotic romance novels in the late 90s. There's always smut to be had if you look hard enough, but I longed for more. I wanted to recapture that sense of tension and heightened arousal that Amanda Rose provoked in my teenage psyche. It was written nearly thirty years ago, but Karen Robards understood even then that the power of sex lies in the mind and the suggestion of what might happen just as much as in the most detailed love scenes. Certainly I love to read (and write) about sex, the hotter the better, but the sweet buildup before the first kiss or the trembling anticipation that rises the first time a character undresses can make even an explicit sex scene step from merely heated into scorching.

That's what I love most in erotica: the tension, the naughtiness. It can be experienced when a woman explores her sexuality with a man, when two men fall in love, or in the midst of a polyamorous fling, but it has to have a sense of discovery to truly appeal to me. My love affair with erotica really began when sweet, innocent Amanda Rose melted into her first kiss from a dark-haired stranger she rescued from the beach. He dirtied her up and she let him and with every new book I read I want to see that happen again and again. I don't think I'll be giving that novel back to my mother anytime soon.

[Ménage Amour: Erotic Contemporary Ménage a Trois Romance, M/M/F, with M/M, Suspense]

Two men.

One woman.

A mystery shooter.

Who is trying to kill Sabrina and why? Will Jimmy be able to protect her, or will he need the help of sexy FBI agent Gabriel? And how can Sabrina resist falling in love when she experiences passion for the first time?

Despite the danger, she can’t help how she feels, especially not when Gabriel and Jimmy begin to rekindle the romance they had to abandon years ago. When she realizes that both men desire her just as much as they want each other, she falls head over heels for the first time.

When violence strikes, the only way out of disaster is for the three of them to trust in each other and in love.

A Siren Erotic Romance

Erin M. Leaf's romance novel, The First Time is the Sweetest, is a Siren-BookStrand bestseller.

Her first story, written in third grade, involved a burning house, a desperate jump, and the last-minute save of her older sister. Since then, Erin has been a technical writer, an editor, a proofreader, and a poet. She has won awards and published poetry chapbooks, learned to crochet, and worked as a full-time mom.

author page at Siren-BookStrand:
link to The First Time is the Sweetest:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


My heroine in My Three Lords has a very unusual quality for her time. She tells the truth. My Three Lords is an erotic Regency novella in which Miss Alicia Silverwood gets involved with three lords. When the story starts, she’s an innocent, but as it progresses, she discovers her true sensual nature. Only by being honest about that can she and her three lords find mutual happiness.

The Regency time period in England was famous for its social rituals, its etiquette, its class consciousness. Society was built on elaborate rules of politeness. Dukes were addressed as “Your Grace,” whereas Earls had to be called “My Lord.” You weren’t supposed to speak to someone at a ball unless you’d been formally introduced. People rarely used each other’s first names, even in private. The rules go on and on ….

But Miss Alicia Silverwood was raised in the country along with her six brothers, which allows her to be a bit more down to earth. In most ways, she’s a girl of her time. She doesn’t expect love in her marriage. She knows her role in life is to be a wife and mother. But since she has this quality of honesty, she’s able to admit her own desires -- once she discovers them.

Most importantly, she’s able to admit them to herself. Was that harder to do back then, when your every move was dictated by proper protocol? Probably so, but that’s what makes Alicia Silverwood (Lady Dorchester), so compelling to me. It takes a special person to overcome the social restrictions of their time and find their own path to happiness. Especially if it means breaking the rules in such a scandalous way. So maybe honesty is the best policy, at least when it comes to getting naughty.

Juniper Bell is a multi-published author and avid fan of romance novels, the steamier the better. She lives with her sweetie in a cabin in Alaska with no running water and a spectacular view of glaciers. She wound up in the frozen north after leaving her career as a stressed-out Los Angeles TV writer. Luckily, her love for writing survived the move. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her family, traveling, shoveling snow, and dreaming about the day she moves to Hawaii.

Her website is

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Monday, September 13, 2010


The 5 senses...sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste

What is it that turns a man or a woman on? Is it the sight of an attractive person? Or perhaps the alluring scent of someone’s perfume or cologne. Hmm…maybe it’s the sound of a sexy voice. What if for you it’s none of these things, but rather the certain way you’re touched. These are interesting questions all by themselves, but imagine me thinking of these things when I got into my car to drive to work and stumbled upon a radio show, with a sex therapist as the guest.

I was listening to the radio show, and found I was almost instantly interested in the topic she was discussing. She was talking about how more couples today are reconnecting with one another in an exciting new way, touch. Now, I know what you’re all thinking. Um…Nicole, most people do connect by touching one another. Well obviously I know this is true. :-) However, the therapist was referring to a new technique she was teaching her clients. She placed emphasis on couples spending long periods of time teasing each other's five senses, leading up to touch.

With sight, she has asked her clients to first show one another a picture which they find erotic or stimulating. This can be done with one or several images as long as it is an image that the subject responds to. Then once that is done, they are to say something to entice their partner in their sexiest voice imaginable. Having taken care of sight and hearing, the therapist coaches her clients to then blindfold their partner and have them lay relaxed and comfortable in a position they feel at ease in. It is at this point they are to move onto the smell and taste portion of the exercise. Using a dessert of the couple’s choosing they are to first hold the item near their partner’s mouth and nose, tantalizing them with the aroma. After an adequate amount of tormenting (LOL) has gone on then they are to feed tiny bites, just enough to taste so their partner isn’t satisfied, but rather is craving more.

*Insert evil giddy laugh here* This is the point in the exercise when the therapist wants the teaser to truly tease their partner. Instead of touching to the point of caressing and massaging, she instead instructs them to hover their fingertips over them, just above their skin leaving them with just a whisper of the touch. She tells them to do this from head to toe. She says that the sensation of barely being touched will literally make their partners body tingle and it will awaken all their senses, bringing them to arousal.

Now, this is my favorite part. She suggests to her clients that once they’ve reached this level it’s a fun and sinfully exciting idea to use a feather. Now, instead of whispering their fingertips across their skin they are gently caressing. Again, she suggests this be done all over the body, from head to toe.

This whole experiment, if done correctly, with patience and care, she says both parties will both be aroused and stimulated in a way that they probably have never experienced before. She claims the different senses, awakened in progressing order as she outlines will heighten their sexual arousal and their subsequent love making will be longer, more memorable and much more gratifying. :-)

After listening to this nearly hour long radio show I found myself completely intrigued by the ideas she laid out. Could it work? Well, listening to what she had to say I certainly thought it could work, but, yes I feel there needs to be a ‘but’ placed in here because I have to wonder how many of us would allow ourselves to be teased for so long without both parties being so turned on they give into temptation and race to the finish line.

This is where all of you beautiful and naughty readers come into play. Would you allow yourself to be teased to the point of almost torture, knowing that eventually you’d get to that proverbial finish line? Or, would you be more likely to, at one point, get so turned on that you want to race there, not wanting to take the long scenic route to get there. Or maybe I’m asking the wrong question. Maybe you have already tried this?

Regardless, I would love to hear from all of you. Do you think that you would love to take part in such a sinfully seductive experiment, or do you think there would be no way that you could hold out for that big O that you’re both seeking? Leave me a comment. Tell me what kind of person are you? :-)

Friday, September 10, 2010


Sex in the Water
Berengaria Brown

Huge numbers of erotic romance books have a sex scene in the shower. Likely all that steamy heat, scented with yummy shower jells and even yummier naked men, is why such scenes are very popular. Besides vertical sex is just plain hotter than horizontal sex.

Hot tub sex is quite common. Again, near naked or totally naked bodies, plus steamy heat is just crying out for a sex scene.

But what about sex in the ocean or river? Likely if people are swimming it’s a hot day, and there is once again the whole nearly naked aspect bound to crank up the sexual tension. But now we have a logistical problem. Even if it is a private beach with no people around, how do the characters know there isn’t someone out on a boat, or back on the shore, with binoculars—or worse still a camera with a telephoto lens—watching them? Or does the thrill of discovery just make it naughtier and more exciting?

And then there is the problem of friction. Successful orgasms generally require friction, especially for the man, and water prevents friction. Which means pretty much anything below the waterline isn’t going to happen. So we need knee-deep water and the couple standing up. Which brings us back to the onlooker and his camera.
Or we could forget all about physics, sit our characters down in the water, and let our imaginations run wild!

Which is likely why my two books out now at Breathless Press have sex scenes in a bed. Likely they are less innovative, but factually, they are accurate.

Carnal Connections by Berengaria Brown released 27 August form Breathless Press.

Ithiel meets Jason and Toby at a wedding, and a night of hot passion follows. But what will happen the next morning?

Jason is darkly handsome and delicious. Toby is quicksilver lightness and fun—and Ithiel wants them both. But can three men form an ongoing relationship, or is one night all they will ever have?


Taking a Closer Look at Khrin
Janie Franz

“Everybody should have a Khrin in their lives.” That’s what Barbara Ehrentreu said to me after reviewing The Wayfarer’s Road.

I can understand what she means. Khrin, the wandering bard that Jan-nell meets on the Wayfarer’s Road, is a playful, gentle soul. Though he carries his own burden and secrets, his joy is making people laugh and feel comfortable.

He’s an entertainer who has gone from inn to inn, spinning tales and dipping into his never ending supply of songs. One of the skills he has is to come into an inn and visit with the patrons in the tavern room. Soon he weaves them into a song. Sometimes, it’s the funny awkwardness of the local farmers that would apply to anyone or a remark about someone’s features. Sometimes, the words hit the mark, but always Khrin does it with gentleness, wanting to bring people together and not make anyone angry.

In the first scene in the book, Khrin produces a bit of doggerel about the miserly innkeeper that gets Jan-nell’s attention. Later, when he brings hot meat pies to the barn where she and her daughter are spending the night, Jan-nell realizes that he not only has wit but he’s a survivor on the Wayfarer’s Road as she is.

But it is his playfulness that endears him to her and her daughter. That spirit also produces a safety that perhaps another man would not have. Though it is a question who is protecting who on the Wayfarer’s Road, it is soon clear that Khrin would do anything to keep this makeshift family safe.

Even his sexual overtures are colored with play, as if giving Jan-nell a gift rather than taking something from her. As she looks into those brown eyes and plays with his light brown curls, she knows that her life will be forever changed by this man. And perhaps his will be also.

The Bowdancer Saga continues in The Wayfarer’s Road. Healer Jan-nell, now a woman traveling alone with her precocious young daughter on the Wayfarer’s Road, meets a handsome wandering bard. But he is carrying his own secrets along with the priceless chance at hope for her and her child to belong.


Brewing Up Some Passion
Liz Crowe

Beer—It’s one of the oldest known beverages in the world, dating back to Ninkasi, a Mesopotamian Goddess (yeah, she said God-DESS). The Code of Hammurabi even included laws regulating beer and beer parlors (jeez, it started early). It is the third most popular drink overall after water and tea. It is a simple beverage that starts with a combining of water, malted barley, or other cereal grain, with some flavors varying from hops (the most commonly used) to raspberry juice to cinnamon to bourbon (the hottest new craze).

Oh, I know this is a guest blog about erotic fiction..I’m getting there never fear. But you gotta know something about what I do as The Beer Wench to understand where my fiction is coming from. I am part owner of a microbrewery in the mid west. We have been making and selling a lager-style beer for three years and have had amazing success (yes, thanks to me as the marketing director) growing our business to the point that we are on the cusp of opening up our own brewing facility and Tap Room, hopefully within the next month. It’s been a long road. As a woman in this business of craft beer I am an anomaly and I like it that way. I love being able to walk into a room full of alpha males who either make or sell or write about beer and hold my own on all fronts.

All that time amongst these guys has lead to more than a little fantasy action for me and “The Rookie”, the first in a series (Brewing Passion) from Breathless Press is the result. I’m a prolific blogger ( has over 1000 international followers and I’m going to be featured at a Women in Brewing session at the Great American Beer Festival next week in Denver) and constant researcher of my industry but the “boots on the ground” work of sales is the heart and soul of any consumer product company’s success. As sales and marketing director for my company I am dealing with multiple audiences and consumer for my particular product, including “end users” (all you craft beer drinkers out there), bars, restaurants, grocery stores, package stores, event planner, alumni groups and, most importantly, beer distributors.

“The Rookie” is the story of a highly driven and successful sales woman for a beer distribution company –oh darlings, you do NOT want me to get started on the challenges of how I get the stuff sold—send me an email or go back and read some of the Beer Wench’s previous rantings for that!

Part of her job of selling her company’s many products is riding around with representatives from the various suppliers (like a brewery just getting started) and going on sales calls with them. This can be horrifically boring and a waste of everyone’s time OR amazingly exciting and educational for all concerned. On this day, when she meets the guy she thinks is some rookie from her newest account, she gets more than a little surprise.

Let me tell you, the craft beer biz is loaded with interesting characters (my Huge Beer Crush Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head in Delaware being one—and, no, you can’t have him, he’s mine), and is nothing if not a hot bed of sexual innuendo, touchy-feely encounters and opportunities for me to shine. I just took some of that fun and turned it into some seriously hot fiction. And there is more to come. . .

The stories in the Brewing Passion series are the “missing chapters” from a serialized novel you can follow on That Other Wench’s Blog.

Happy reading—and cheers to you all!

Lisa loves her job in the male-dominated beer sales industry and has built a reputation as one of the best. But she dreads the "ride along" days when beer companies sends their least experienced representatives to see how she operates—until her one bad day turns into something more with The Rookie.

Undercover for his own brewery, Trent has heard of Lisa's prestigious sales prominence and sets out to see for himself—to show Lisa what he is capable of—in business and pleasure. Their attraction leads them to an amazing encounter in the most unlikely place, but will Lisa accept Trent's true identity once it's revealed? Or will she finally surrender and reach out for the unexpected?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Sneak Peak

Hi everyone! Thanks so much for having me here today. Today, I'd like to talk a little bit about something I really enjoy – book trailers.

Book trailers are a relatively new phenomena. I've noticed that more and more stories are showcasing these book “previews” to promote their stories. Some sites even host book trailer competitions. I think everyone agrees that book trailers can be visually entertaining. The music and images they provide give you an instant tone and feel of a book better than anything else. Some trailers can be dark and intense, others quirky and whimsical, but all of them are fun.

A lot of time goes into the making of a book trailer, either by the author or by a production company. You have to find just the right music and pictures to create believable characters. Then you have to string everything together in such a way as to pull the viewer into the story. Some big-named authors even go so far as to use live actors to play the main characters in their book trailers.

But do they sell books?

Personally, I'm torn about this issue. As an author, I love making book trailers. They're the fun reward after a sale. As a reader, I have to say that I have never bought a book based on the trailer alone. Many times I find sites like youtube and “blazing trailers” hard to search (mostly because people don't put up the right tags for their trailers), so I'm limited to either book trailer websites, competitions, guest blogs, or authors who have the money to buy ad space on reader's sites. But even if we had a user-friendly, searchable site for romance books, would people use it? And more importantly, would it influence their buying decisions?

So I'm asking everyone today, do book trailers work for you? Why or why not? Which are your favorites? Have you ever bought a book based on the book trailer?

In the meantime, check out my book trailer of my newest release, Dark Deception. I hope you enjoy it!

After being plunged into a chaotic and deceitful society, Maria Guerrero finds comfort in the arms Enrique Torres, a man she believes is innocent of her world. She keeps him ignorant about her inner monster, and the blood oath she took to save her brother's life. Instead she prefers to use their sexual play as an escape from her supernatural world. When her secrets catch up with her however, Maria is forced to confess her sins. Will Enrique find it in his heart to forgive her deception? He must, before her vampire master demands her to pay him his due. With the help of a disillusioned fey warrior, she convinces Enrique that vampires are real, and danger lurks around every corner.

Enrique can’t allow himself to fall for Maria charms, or he’ll risk revealing secrets of his own -- secrets which would not only scare her, but put his mission in jeopardy. He hopes that by forming a physical connection with the young vampire, he’ll lower her defenses and earn her trust, for she’s the only one who could help him bring peace to the Immortal Realm. As they play out their sexual fantasies, her true identity is uncovered. On impulse gives her his trust, only to be repaid with her betrayal. Now he wants revenge… but what will be the cost? As the Immortal Realm descends into chaos, Enrique and Maria must choose whether to trust each other again, or fall victims to the dark deceptions that rule their world.

After over a decade in the scientific world, Suzanne needed a creative outlet. She tried scrap booking, cooking, crocheting, painting, and piano, none of which held her interest for very long. Then one of her friends suggested writing. Thrilled with the idea of creating her own worlds, she opened up her lap top and never looked back.

When Suzanne’s not writing, she can be found playing with her two daughters, testing her husband’s latest kitchen creations, or curled up with her favorite romance novel in her central Massachusetts home.

Embrace the Shadows Blog:

Youtube Channel (so you can see my other book trailers):

Monday, September 6, 2010


What is hot? What is sexy? What gets your motor running?

These questions can be answered in a variety of ways by a variety of different people. Sexuality has evolved over the past several years. What was once considered taboo is now the norm and what we find taboo now are things we never would have dreamed of ten plus years ago.

I could have written a blog post on my answers to these questions, but that would only give you one person’s perspective and I really wanted to delve into the differences of people today and what made them tick. So I decided to ask some people about their likes, loves and must haves when it came to desire and intimacy.

First, I asked people what their trigger point was. In other words, what is their weakness, what makes them say, “oh my…” as their temperature rises and their blood begins to pump a little faster. I was surprised to find that while some people’s answers were as different as night and day, some answers were so simple I found it surprising.

Here’s what some people had to say about what sparked their mood:

“Seeing and hearing someone be naughty. Playing with their own motor and letting it roar”

“The vision of a bra strap slipping off the shoulder”

“That sexy look in the eye with added lip bite just before he reaches for the back of my head”

“Being looked at with smoldering eyes that say take me somewhere and f*** me now."

“Beautiful, loving, sexy and down right dirty, nasty words”

“A guy fresh outta the shower wrapped in a towel. Or no shirt. Jeans unbuttoned. Mmmm and looking at me in the eyes”

“watching someone getting dressed really makes me want to undress them”

“A big heart and beautiful smile”

“A woman who smells unbelievable sexy”

“Seeing her hard nipples thru a shirt”

While I loved hearing all of these responses I thought why not step it up a notch. It was more than a little obvious I was getting vanilla responses. It might have been due to shyness or embarrassment but regardless I could tell they were holding back. So I asked them what some of the things were that they absolutely LOVED while in the ‘act’.

Here’s what they had to say about what makes them sizzle:

“When she plays w/ my pierced nipples”

“Kissing, it drives me nuts!”

“Licking and scratching!”

“Long hair brushing against my face, my chest and thighs”

“Lying on my back while she kisses me, running my fingers through her hair.”

“Watching a woman climax”

“Hearing her screaming and moaning while I work her with my tongue.”

“Demanding things from me. Telling me exactly what to do.”

These various answers and different personalities are why erotica has so many different genres. Not every reader is the same, nor are their tastes. Just like one person can’t stand hot and spicy food. Another person craves it and has to have it. Erotica, just like sex is not that much different than your taste buds. Some like sweet and simple, while others have to have the intense and hot. You’ll find most of the erotic sites these days have heat rating indexes to assist the reader in making their selections. There are M/f stories, ménages, GLBT, the possibilities are endless in this day and age. I myself have written everything from a 3 to a 5 on that heat scale. Although, I have to admit, writing a good old scorching #5 is what I love!

What’s your cup of tea? What makes you go mad and drives you insane with lustful needs? Leave a comment and tell me what you like, what you hate and what you absolutely love in your romance novels. One random winner will be chosen from the bunch to receive a free eBook copy of my latest release Love Knows No Boundaries.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Welcome to Between The Covers, my monthly blog about erotic romance in the news! My name is Rebecca Gillan. This is my first time guest blogging here, so I’ll give you a quick run-down of what to expect. I am a news junkie. Sometimes I come across stories that look like normal humans doing normal human stuff. And sometimes I come across stories that sound like someone tried to re-enact their favorite scene from a romance novel and it didn’t go so well. Once a month, on the first Friday of the month, I will share some of these juicy gems. So grab your popcorn and enjoy the ride!

I need to thank my FB sister, Abby, for every one of these finds. I don’t know where she found them and I don’t want to know. But I am going to share! We have a lady who got pulled over by the cops while enjoying a little private time. We have a bail bondsman who looked in the wrong place for a new sub. And last but not least, we have a New York judge who got caught judging porn at work.

Police: Woman Arrested With Sex Toy In Lap

It’s Friday night and everyone’s in the mood to party! But that long drive between clubs can be a real drag. A normal person might chat with her passengers and listen to music to pass the time, but not this inventive lady!

She was pulled over for reasons the cops failed to report, not that I blame them for the oversight. They found her in the driver’s seat with her chonies hanging out, B.O.B in her lap and her passenger playing a video on a laptop computer. I’d have forgotten why I pulled her over, too. They also didn’t say what kind of vid, but I’m betting no one needs to be told, right?

Like all readers of erotic romance, I have my fantasies. I’ve read passages that I just had to re-enact, too. I would not recommend anyone try reenacting this one, though. If texting while driving is dangerous, just think how dangerous getting yourself off while watching a video while trying to navigate down town Friday night clubber traffic could be! Maybe next time she could leave B.O.B. in his little velvet bag and have her extra just read a passage out of her favorite book?

Cops: SC Man Made Woman His Slave For Bail Money

Doms take note: while looking for a new sub, keep work and pleasure separate! Here we have an ordinary man looking for love who tries to help a down-and-out woman get out of jail when she doesn’t have the bail money. So he suggests a little trade: he posts bail for her and she be a literal naked maid for him.

Now this has the making for an awesome erotica story. But to be included in my blog, something had to go horribly wrong. Turns out she was desperate to get out of jail but to too desperate to be his sub. Five days after he got her out, she called the cops on him. The first thing I thought when I read this was what made him think anyone he found in jail would be a good submissive? Or that she would stick to the bargain? Dom/sub relationships are based on trust and respect. Any relationship that begins with blackmail is destined to fail!

Manhattan Judge James Gibbons quits after massive porn cache is found on work computer

The phrase “I’d like to see you in my private chambers” has taken on a whole new meaning in New York. Or rather, it has gone back to what it has always meant. As an erotic story, this scenario had a lot of promise. Charismatic, hardworking criminal judge finds love in the court room with the hot new legal aid lawyer. It goes horribly wrong, though, when it comes out that he’s not content with happily-ever-after and starts scoping out his next conquest on the internet, probably with her in the room.

Even with a plot twist like that, it could have been saved. She discovers his perfidy and uses a little private chamber time during court recess to remind him why he loved her best. The ick factor comes in when we find out he was on paternity leave at the time. Ew. Just ew. Checking out other women’s crotch shots while his baby momma is struggling to bring his child into the world- that ruins it for me.

Thanks for sticking around. Until next month, remember that there’s nothing wrong with finding romance when and where the opportunity presents itself, but please keep in mind that if you’re not careful, your romance could end up fodder for the blotter!


By day, Rebecca can be found in a cubicle surviving the corporate utopia as best as she can. By night, she lets the little people in her head tell her stories, which she writes down for others to enjoy. Her specialty is Fantasy Romance and her home on the web is Her first e-book, The Hawk’s Bride, is now available at

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Alpha Males: Why are they so appealing?

I sincerely do love a strong alpha male. Not only do I find them the most attractive, they always seem to have leading roles in the majority of my stories

Alpha males to me are those who exude confidence and are typically more at ease with members of the opposite sex. They excel in leadership positions and leaders recognize, encourage, guide, and lead. These are some of the traits I look for in a significant other. Don’t you? Being an alpha male has nothing to do with good looks, although being a sexy hunk would add to the credentials. And more importantly, the alpha male is just as capable as loving a woman with his mind, body, heart, and soul, as any other male.

I like to pair strong, intense, and intelligent heroines with my alpha males. Why? Because the pairing brings lots of conflict, drama, and emotions into the story. If they want the HEA (happily ever after), they must find balance and compromise. Isn’t that what we strive for in real-life relationships?

My erotic romance, A Player’s Agenda, features an alpha-male who knows what he wants and a strong female who isn’t shy about her attraction to him, but sees something positive in this “rumored player”.

Ambrielle Kirk's fiction ranges from contemporary erotic to dark paranormal romance. Her vivid imagination inspired her to create stories in her pre-teen years and now, over a decade later, that inspiration continues to thrive, bringing flair and edge to everything she writes. Please visit her website at for more information on current and future book releases.