Beginning January 1, 2013

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

GUEST BLOG: W. LYNN CHANTALE

Have you ever wondered how to eat a banana? What’s the appeal sticking a long cylindrical piece of fruit in one's mouth? When done correctly it can be quite satisfying for all involved.

First, choose a nice, firm banana. Preferably one that isn’t green. Green bananas tend to be hard, have a more acidic taste, and can leave one with a nasty tummy ache. The perfect banana is bright yellow, free from overt bruising. If there are significant dark marks on the skin this will translate to brown spots on the flesh and should be avoided.

Second, slowly peel away the outer layer and discard. Savor the exposure of creamy flesh. Inhale the sweet scent. Just close your eyes and take a moment.

Third, delight in the shape of the banana. Notice how delicately it curves? The tiny ridges and veins. Truly a marvelous specimen of nature. Run a light finger over the tip and along the underside of the banana. Feel how smooth and slightly sticky the flesh is. Does it quiver in anticipation?

Fourth, move your tongue over the same path your finger traveled a moment ago. Taste the sweetness? The slightly bitter after taste of the peel. Gently close your lips around the tip...and enjoy.

When I’m not... ahem... savoring a banana (I like mine with chocolate), I can be found at:

Blog: http://wlynnchantale-decadentdecisions.blogspot.com/
Email: wlynnchantale@gmail.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/wlynnchantale
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/W.LynnChantaleAuthor

Monday, November 28, 2011

Guest Blog: Dana Littlejohn

Hello everyone!

Dana Littlejohn here to share my experience in the lovely city of New Orleans, Louisiana. Beautiful city, fantastic food and rich culture. Who could ask for anything more? I went for a training session for work, but let me tell you, I got so much more. It was a one of a kind experience.

It was eight women in my group. The company I worked for at the time set us in one of those stay weekly hotels. It wasn’t the best of places believe me, but at the end of our two week stay it didn’t even matter. We started out on one of those rickety one engine planes that made my heart leap every time it bounced. I left the snow and ice of February in Indiana for the mid 70 temps of Louisiana.

It was great! We arrived in Lafayette on Saturday and didn’t have to show up for work until Monday. A few people who would be training us at work showed up to take us on a tour of the city. What a beautiful city Lafayette turned out to be with friendly people and amazing food. I even ate gator and lived to tell the tale. LOL Although Lafayette was great I couldn’t wait until we went to New Orleans.

Sunday morning we went to New Orleans and I was floored by the things I saw. I didn’t know what to expect since I had not seen the city pre-Katrina, but I was stunned none the less. The natives made sure to take us pass the devastation so people would know that things were not as they seem, We went to the roof of the tallest building they knew and we could see the actual wall that held back the sea. It was the most frightening and beautiful sight I had ever seen. I was scared to death to go any further, but I couldn’t be that close to New Orleans and not go. So I sucked it up and continued and it was the best decision I ever made. Our next stop was Bourbon Street where all the tourists hang out. It was incredible.

We passed a ‘haunted house’ where a woman sat outside trying to encourage us to enter. My group was game but the natives completely freaked. They wouldn’t let us anywhere near it for fear we bring bad spirits back to Indiana.

The people were still hyped because Mardi Gras had only been the week before. We saw a parade just for the sake of having a parade and yes, they threw beads for boobs! I was determined only to eat food I could get in New Orleans. I found out how addictive etouffée was, that I like crawfish better when it’s not looking at me and that okra makes even gumbo taste nasty.

My trip to Louisiana is high on my great memories list to be sure even if it started as a business trip. From it I learned more; I loved Cajun food, southern accents are sexy even when they are spoken in training mode and New Orleans was a great place to visit, and boy do I want to go back.

Also from my trip came the inspiration for my story Cajun Magic. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Blurb:
Gerald was a police offer wounded in the line of duty resting and healing in Louisiana. He was a solemn man who spent his time married to his work.

Margarita Malveaux was a ghost killed over a hundred years ago by voo-doo.

Gerald visited Margarita's house in New Orleans. His warrior's soul and disbelief in voo-doo was all the ghost needed to know he was the only one who could help her be free. Would Margarita's short time with Gerald be enough to convince him to help her?

Or will the ghost ask for much more for the wounded cop to bear?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dana Littlejohn was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, but has called Indianapolis, IN her home for over 10 years. Falling in love with love she started writing her own ongoing story in weekly installments to entertain her friends as they passed it around the lunch room.
When she became an adult she put her love for writing on hold to do the start a family, but in 2003 with encouragement from her husband she picked up her pen again. This time she has no intention on putting it down. To date she has written 3 full length novels, 11 novellas, 36 short stories and has had her stories in 3 anthologies under her own name and a pseudo for another genre.

Her do-do list grows daily and the ideas flow freely. To keep an eye out for what she has coming next go to her website: www.danalittlejohn.net

Friday, November 25, 2011

Guest Blog: Lacey Wolfe

Why I chose to write erotic contemporary romance by Lacey Wolfe


Most people look at me and see this girl who looks sweet and innocent. Often times when I tell someone what kind of books I write, they are intrigued that I wrote something like that. Then comes the question, why did I choose erotic romance?

It’s simple. While I don’t always require a book to get as detailed as I write the intimate scenes, the last thing I want is for the author to just shut me out. A few years ago I was reading a popular author. The chemistry between the two characters was flying off the pages. When these two finally came together, I was excited. Then the author ended the scene and started later in the day. The characters didn’t even discuss what they did. I stared at my pages feeling unsatisfied. What did they do in that bedroom? How could she just shut me out?

It was then I knew I could never do that to a reader. If I was going to write romance, my readers were darn well gonna know what these two did between the sheets, or wherever they made it to before tearing each other’s clothes off.

I have read plenty of contemporaries that gave me enough that I didn’t need to know each detail. To be honest, when I wrote Amber’s Muse and decided to give it an erotic edge, it was more to see if I could do it. Could I actually write the dirty details? I then found, I could. I enjoyed it. I got to create what these two did. So, my style of being a contemporary romance author switched over to erotic contemporary romance author.

Do I plan to always write dirty? No, I plan to write something cleaner before long so my mom can read it. But for now, I hope I leave my readers satisfied and never staring at their e-reader wondering what just happened…or at least in the intimate department.

To learn more about me and what I am working on, visit http://www.laceywolfe.com/

Buy Links to my latest release AMBER’S MUSE: Amazon / Nook / Beachwalk Press

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lacey Wolfe has always had a passion for words, whether it’s getting lost in a book or writing her own. From the time she was a child she would slip away to write short stories about people she knew and fantasies she wished would happen. It has always been her dream to be a published author and with her two children now of school age, she finally has the time to work on making her dream come true.

Lacey lives in Georgia with her husband, son and daughter, their six cats and one black lab who rules the house.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Guest Blog: Sapphire Phelan

What Makes a Good Romance Novel?


A romance novel is a narrative depicting heroic or marvelous deeds, pageantry, romantic exploits, etc., usually in a historical or imaginary setting. It where we escape into pages of words where we fall in love with the hero when the heroine does, kiss for the first time or make love finally, and where today’s heroine is no shrinking violet, but can take on the bad guys as much as her hero.

Even the author falls in love as she or he writes the story. You can’t help it. Any good writer worth their salt has to believe their story for their readers to believe it. Just because mine is mainly paranormal, doesn’t mean I do not believe my heroes and heroines are not real; not flesh and blood as anyone else! They want their stories told like any body else does.

What makes you believe in a romance novel? When do you first suspect you might find the hero a worthy fellow? Or really care for the heroine? Is it at that first line--that hook--or do you need to read more into the book or novella?

In this world of cynicism today, it takes a romance novel for us to follow our hearts. For a good book is equal to a beating heart. It is about blood, sweat, tears, and happiness, all rolled into words that makes a romance that digs its way into our hearts.

What do you think?

Sapphire Phelan

http://sapphirePhelansPasshttp://www.SapphirePhelan.com

http://sapphirePhelansPassionCorner.blogspot.com

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SapphirePhelansParanormalNewsletter

http://twitter.com/SapphirePhelan

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sapphire-Phelan/324399690647


Go beyond the usual, instead take the unusual that stretches the boundaries and find romance with Sapphire Phelan's aliens, werewolves, vampires, fairies, and other supernatural/otherworldly heroes and heroines.

My latest release is A Familiar Tangle With Hell. In eBook form, it is the sequel to the Prism 2010 Award winning and EPIC Award 2010 Finalist erotic urban fantasy, Being Familiar With A Witch.

Blurb:
Tina and Charun thought it was all over and that their life would be normal—well, as normal as it could be for an immortal Witch and her demon Familiar. Except there was another prophesy, one that laid claim that if Lucifer snatches Tina and mates with her before the last chime before midnight of the new year and gets her pregnant with his son, that the real Armageddon would begin, spelling the end of life as they knew it.

When Tina is stolen away, Charun, along with Jacokb the archangel, must race against time into the bowels of Hell to rescue her. But with demons, Lucifer, and a cute demon bunny with fangs out of a Monty Python nightmare, out to stop them and Heaven not lending a hand, will Tina become the mother of the Antichrist and the start of a new Hell on Earth?

About the Author:
Sapphire Phelan writes erotic and sweet paranormal/fantasy/science fiction romance along with erotic horror stories and urban fantasy. Her erotic urban fantasy, Being Familiar With a Witch (The Witch and the Demon Familiar series) is a Prism 2010 Awards winner and a Epic Awards 2010 finalist.

She also has done acting on stage and in films. And is a Master Costumer, costuming since 1972. For more on her, check out her website at http://www.SapphirePhelan.com

She admits she can always be found at her desk and on her computer, writing. And yes, the house, husband, and even the cats sometimes suffer for it!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

GUEST BLOG: ROSE ANDERSON

Leaf piles, Tootsie Rolls, & a steamy ghost story


I love this time of year. I left the city for the country more than thirty years ago but I have very fond memories of growing up in Chicago during the 1960’s. I lived in one of those post-WWII boom neighborhoods several miles from the heart of the city. Before Dutch elm disease took them all, my neighborhood had huge cathedral trees lining every street. These large old elms reached across the blacktop until their branches entwined…and the leaves, oh my, the leaves. If someone were to tell me the term Fall was coined right there on my block where the leaves were so thick, I’d believe it. For fall they did. Hours of manpower were needed to clear the lawns of this bounty.

My neighbors raked and raked until the curbs were piled high with crispy reds, yellows and oranges. Piles like that just begged for a leaf fight. If you listened closely, they whispered when they rustled, “Come on, jump in. We won’t be here long.” Most of the friendly neighbors wouldn’t mind if you shuffled through or fell into the mound as long as you raked it all into a neat pile again. I remember more than one dad leaning on his rake, smoking a pipe or cigarette and waiting for us to wear ourselves out so he could light the pile.

The leaves smoldered and smoked and planted within me an olfactory memory. To this day, the redolence of a burning leaf pile takes me back to my childhood as surely as the scent of calamine lotion reminds me of having chicken pox. The dozen or so burning piles changed the theme of our play. The hazy air stung our eyes and made us smell like bacon. Not only did we daringly jump over the slow consuming fires to show how brave we were, we became angels and ghosts coming out of the mist. A fan of the old Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movies, I pretended I was on the moors with the hound.

To a child who disliked school like I did, autumn was the double-edged sword of the seasons. It meant back to school but it also meant Halloween was just around the corner.

Young families were the majority on my block. On both sides of the street, just about every house had an assortment of kids of all ages. When it came to Halloween and trick-or-treating, we went out en masse. We were farmers dressed like witches and mummies taking in the harvest. I remember heading out right after school, coming home for dinner, and then heading out again. The necessary second trip toured the streets that were missed the first time around. With pillowcases and brown paper bags we went door to door and it was rare to find no one at home. In the days before fun size, I lugged my plunder until I literally dragged the heavy bag on the ground. More than once, my brother offered to lighten my bag. Ha! I knew better. As hard as it was to haul the haul, we couldn’t go home. If we went home to empty our sacks, our dad would say we were done for the night. So we pressed on.

Not once in all my prime trick-or-treat years did I hear of an actual incident of fiends loading razor blades in apples, and pins and needles in candy bars. They must have been old urban legends, because we weren’t supposed to eat anything until we got it home and our dad could look it over. I remember kneeling on the dining room chair to get a good look as we sorted the loot into types. Baby Ruths and Butterfingers go here, Tootsie Rolls (my favorite) and bubblegum go there. The last resort pile had the suckers and those disappointing black and orange wrapped taffy things. When you’d finished gorging yourself on the good stuff, you might eat those. Ah the memories.

If you’re looking for a ghost story to give you more than one type of shiver, my erotic romance Dreamscape might fit the bill. Written in homage to Agatha Christie, Dreamscape is a reader's Easter egg hunt in the truest sense. Peppered throughout are hints suggesting a story behind the scenes.

Here's the blurb:
Unable to deny his own translucence, Dr. Jason Bowen determines his lack of physical substance could only mean one thing—he’s a ghost. Murdered more than a century before, Jason haunts his house and ponders the treachery that took his life. When Lanie O’Keefe arrives with plans to renovate her newly purchased Victorian mansion, Jason discovers, ghost or not, he’s still very much a man. Despite its derelict condition and haunted reputation, Lanie couldn’t be happier with her new home, but then she has no idea a spirit follows her every move throughout the day and shares her captivating warmth at night. Jason soon discovers he can travel through Lanie’s dreams and finds himself reliving the days before his murder with Lanie by his side. It took one hundred and twenty years for love to find them, but there’s that insurmountable little matter of Jason being dead.

~~~



I love hearing from readers. Find me (my books too) all over the place!

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Guest Blog: Rachel Cron

Where has all the tolerance gone?



I’m not a television watcher, my family enjoys it, I prefer to read, write or cruise the internet. On my internet perusals I have found that as much as society screams about tolerance, it’s getting harder to find. I understand that people have opinions and certain ways that they would like to live and raise their children, but they seem to forget that theirs is not the only opinion out there. They can’t seem to understand that if everyone felt the same way we would live in a very boring world.

If I’m offended by something than it is my problem.What happened to just not buying wares from a company that went against your morals or turning the television channel is you didn’t like the show? I’d vote for turning the television off all together.

We have total transparency in our household. We do not lie to our children. Sure they think Santa brings those presents at Christmas and that the Easter bunny decorates our yard for a fun filled hunt on Easter morning. We consider those‘things that make childhood fun’. When it comes to more important issues such as sex and drugs, we have total transparency. Explaining it in ways that are age appropriate and promote open discussions, I feel it’s important for my children to be educated about the facts and not afraid or judgmental of people or lifestyles that are different, or god forbid believe what their friends or other kids tell them. Our children are bombarded with things every day; I’m just thrilled that they come to my husband and me for clarity.

Our society is so diverse that we have to think for ourselves and there are always going to be people out there that are different than you. As long as they are not hurting anyone I don’t feel that’s it’s any of my business. I just remember the golden rule: Judging a person doesn’t define who they are, but it does define who you are.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
My name is Rachel Cron. I have lived in Fort Myers, Florida for over 30 years. I’m happily married and the mother of two. I’m also the grandmother of two. Growing up around English teachers and musicians, books and music have been a constant in my life. They have help shape me into the person I am today. My inspiration for my books stem from my life, the people I’ve met, the things I’ve done or the things I have weathered through. Pair that with an overactive imagination and…here we are. I’m a firm believer in family and laughter. Why are we here if we’re not enjoying ourselves?
linx: http://www.facebook.com/rachel.cron1
http://www.siren-bookstrand.com/
http://rachelcronauthor.blogspot.com/
rachelcron@rocketmail.com

Punk Rox Warrior
Siren Publishing
Contemporary Erotic Romance

Life is about to get interesting for Rainne.

Rainne Stanton is a young woman who lives by her own rules. She has her band, she has her little business, and now she has a stalker. Her world is turned upside down when her mother gets involved.

James Decker is competent, lethal and Rainne's new shadow. Hired by her mother to find and eliminate Rainne’s stalker, he never anticipated what was waiting for him.
Their passion was something neither one expected or welcomed.

Together, can they clear the haze of deception surrounding Rainne? As James begins to unravel the mystery that is Rainne herself, what he finds will forever change him in ways he never could have anticipated.
Note: this book contains anal sex

Friday, November 18, 2011

GUEST BLOG: RAINE DELIGHT

How do you name your characters?  

Well that question stumps me each and every time I am asked that. How do I name my characters…well for one thing, my characters have a mind of their own. If I say Character A is named Max, he will turn around and say “My name is Derrick, not Max” and frankly overpower my muse's desires. I can try to get a word edgewise in but it is a losing battle. I learned early on to give them free rein on their names and personality traits. I like to be surprised by their comments and desires. One day I was working a WIP (work in progress) and found myself instead of dealing with a vampire like I originally planned, he wanted to be a were-tiger instead. Needless to say after butting heads with him, I found myself agreeing he works better as a tiger, especially if he is a rare white tiger with no pride. Hence forth, my next Devon Falls story, Moonlight & Magic was born and I am currently trying to finish the edits on it. You can find more on it on my website (http://authorrainedelight.com) or on my blog (http://authorrainedelight.wordpress.com).

In my Haunting Magic story (out now at Secret Cravings Publishing), I tell a tale of a wolf shifter named Rodrick Dracon. Now he was a fun character to create. He was the playboy of Devon Falls and loved the ladies. But alas, destiny has a way of slapping you in the face when it decided that its time to settle down. When fate picked his mate, the feisty and annoying Jaxon, lots of sparks fly and passion boils over. These two characters struck me when I mentioned them in Fiery Magic as secondary characters. They had so many sparks flying; it was any wonder that their story just had to be told. You have to check out the book trailer a friend made for me. Hot sexy man candy to feast your eyes on with haunting *no pun intended* music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvmFxgLQtx4)

My inspiration for my characters tends to revolve around Johnny Depp. Anyone who knows me knows I love this man's acting ability. He plays a wide variety of parts and always seems to deliver a stellar performance each time. So basically all my heroes tend to look like him and go from there.
:-) Though I have to say some things caught my imagination like what would happen if gamma rays from space hit earth and wiped the planet out…what would happen to the few survivors? That made me think and since I was watching POTC with Johnny, I created my Space Pirates- all alpha male, dominant and sexy fun. :-)


So I have a question for you readers, what character's name was the best you hear or the silliest? I look forward to hearing your answers.

Raine Delight loves to be pampered by her harem of men that exist solely for her pleasure. Wait…..that was in a movie she saw. Hey, she can dream. :-) Raine loves to fight with her muse, attack her manuscripts and find a way to silence the many voices in her head. Inspiration hits at odd times and for Raine, a blank word document page gives her many possibilities on story ideas.  Living with her two kids, a significant other who supports her every move in writing and doesn't seem to mind she gets up at 2 am to type away on the computer. With a love for Johnny Depp, movies and 80's hair bands, Raine finds a way to bring all her chaotic thoughts into a story that tells her readers about love and romance.

Website: http://authorrainedelight.com

Raine's Blog: http://authorrainedelight.wordpress.com

Author/Reader Loop: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Author_Raine_Delight

Email me: rainedelight@yahoo.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorRaine-Delight

Secret Cravings Publishing: www.secretcravingspublishing.com

Thursday, November 17, 2011

GUEST BLOG: SARA TRIMBLE

Procrastination. That's this writer's kryptonite. At the beginning of the year, I made the New Year's Resolution to be more organized and stay on schedule. Well, here it is, November, and I still haven't accomplished that. I'm beginning to accept that I'm a chaotic person. There's just too much going on in my life to ever run smoothly. Just being a mom is crazy enough. Add to that, my attempt at a writing career, maintaining a social life, and trying to keep my house in some semblance of liveable, and you have the recipe for crazy.

Due to a recent spurt of insanity, I allowed myself to sign up for NaNo, and a full month of guest blogging, as well as featuring multiple authors on my site for their book promoting. This may seem like a lot, and believe me it is, and yet, I feel so energized. I am loving that I can be so busy doing what I love. Writing. It's who I am. It's how I keep my sanity in times of screaming kids and non-stop errands. I love creating a new world, characters so real they can leap off the pages and make you scream. I don't know if this is how I write, but it's what I hope my readers feel.

I started seven years ago and haven't been able to stop. To date, I only have one book published through Smashwords, but I have two other stories, one a full novel, the other a short erotica, that I'm ready to send in. For the purpose of this blog, I'm allowing one lucky reader to get a free copy of my published novel, Heart Over Mind, and a copy of my erotica, Perfect Mate. This is not yet been seen by anyone outside of friends and family.

For your reading pleasure, I give you an excerpt of the final WIP:

Marcy piddled about her apartment, still shocked that she'd ever went to that company she'd seen advertised. Create your perfect sexual partner, the logo had said. Was she so pathetic that she needed to make someone just to fulfill her sexual needs? Apparently.

“Maybe I can cancel the order. It shouldn't be too late.” Her doorbell rang. She hurried to answer it. Her hand flew to her mouth as she opened the door and stared into the face of the man she'd dreamed up. He smiled, a sexy lift of his right lip. He stared at her with smoky gray eyes. They trailed down her body with the speed of a snail.

“Hi.”

That one word and Marcy felt her knees go weak. She sagged against the door jamb.

“Can I come in?”

Marcy gave a short jerk of her head and stumbled into her living room. Before she could turn back around, hands gripped her waist. A warm mouth nestled against the crook of her neck. Marcy gasped and tried to pull away.

“Stay still.”

She froze at the command. This isn't happening. I'm in a dream. One hand slid up her waist to cup her breast through her thin tee shirt. He pinched her nipple and she moaned. Desire shot to her clit. His mouth moved to her ear and he nibbled.

“Do you like that?”

She nodded.

“Say it.”



Sara Trimble is new to the world of publishing, though not to writing. She has one published novel, one in the final revisions and a stack of stories ready to work on. When she isn’t writing, Sara spends her time with her three children, wonderful fiance Justyn, spending time with friends, and just enjoying life. You can find her at her website, follow her blog, Tweet her, or check her out on Facebook. She loves to hear from her readers so send her an email at saratrimble@saratrimble.com.

You can find her books at Smashwords for all e-book formats, and CreateSpace for the paperback version.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

GUEST BLOG: Z.A. MAXFIELD

Writing During NaNoWriMo

As we've all heard by now it's National Novel Writing Month! Huzzah. I'm always thrilled when November comes around because it offers me the opportunity to think outside the box, to write for pleasure, and to write uninhibited by the presumption of publication. NaNoWriMo allows me to write without a contract -- like some literary flying Wallenda -- on an imaginary high wire, without a net.

And what good is that, you might ask, when most of us are slogging along with deadlines and edits and the need to write what we've said we'll write, again and again?

Actually, I use NaNo as a time for pushing the boundaries of craft, for finding new and different voices, for creating new worlds and writing about them. I go where I've never gone before...

And then I REGRET IT.

Oh, sure, it's great for me to stretch the old noodle as far as I can. There are things I've never written. So far I've not penned space operas or boy-raised-by-wolf books. I've never written a ménage. I've never written a book about a man alone at sea or a society infiltrated by aliens.

And at first, wow... the freedom. It seems like I could write ANYTHING. I could just take my little starship of the imagination and sail it wherever it will go, amuse yourself Mr. Sulu, all thrusters full.

And then I remember why I don't write those things. Why I choose not to write those things.

I'm no damned good at it. :(

That's right. Even when I have months and months you're not likely to get a decent space opera out of me. Even when I have years, I won't be writing my version of The Old Man And The Sea.

Everyone has a wheelhouse, and mine, this RomCom, falling in love, first love, young love, comedy of manners wheelhouse is mine. So yeah. I like stretching and dreaming, plotting and planning. But inevitably, I'll peter out around this particular time of November, the 16th, and give in to the joy of writing what I like to write --what I know I can write -- and I'll give up on the Steampunk, the fantasy, the untrod roads of future worlds, and sigh with envy.

But maybe, just maybe, I've learned something that will carry me through another year, content to work on the books I like and with a greater appreciation for the things my esteemed colleagues write. Maybe I won't be rewriting the same books. Maybe I'll rethink things enough to make them new again.

Perhaps if I put my whole self in I can turn myself around.

After all, like the Hokey-Pokey, maybe that's what NaNoWriMo is all about!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

GUEST BLOG: RIC BERN

My first car was a 1987 Chevette. It was cherry red, had four doors and an AM radio. It wasn’t wholly mine; it was one of two used family cars we siblings shared. I used it to deliver newspapers and to get back and forth from school my senior year. As I got older I ventured further and further from home. On lonely Friday nights I would drive up rural routes, roiling with angst. Eventually I had a tape deck/FM radio and a couple of cheap speakers installed. As I would cruise I’d sing along with Alice Cooper: “I’m eighteen and I don’t know what I want.”

My favorite place became Braley Pond. Finding it was an issue. I had been there with my parents on a day trip and I remember liking the place. I drove out where I thought it was but I headed back after turning down a couple of gravel roads in a vain search. I couldn’t imagine it being so far away. It hadn’t seemed so remote the first time. After more attempts than I am proud of, I found it. It’s only about a thirty minute drive from town. Then, it felt like a major trip when everywhere I drove was five minutes away in our small town. I spent many evenings and summer days fishing there, mostly alone. Anytime I felt depressed I could get away and be awkward by myself.

To this day I go there when I need to be alone with my thoughts. I went there today to think about this blog. The difference is now I have a more mature appreciation for the place. I have a photo log of the butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies of the pond and the surrounding woods. I have mapped out the trails that crawl about the national forest in the area. I have become enamored by the variety of mushrooms and other fungi that thrive there. I care for the place. I even run a Facebook page for Braley Pond. What was once merely a refuge is now a place of study and personal reflection.

I feel the same way about my writing. Passion for the printed word did not boil in me at a young age, driving me to learn the craft. Far from it. I was a good student, but not because I studied and worked hard. I have a good memory. History was my best class. It combined my inherit interest in the subject matter with my ability to recall facts. I won my schools Daughters of the American Revolution award for American History as a Junior. I wasn’t in AP classes and I didn’t advance beyond community college. I simply love history. On my own I have read and studied for innumerable hours, focusing on the ancient and dark age eras in Europe.

Like millions of Americans, I lost my job (bookkeeping) in 2008. I filled in my time listening to/watching college level courses from The Teaching Company that I borrowed from my public library. I read voraciously. I like to say Robert E. Howard saved my life. I started reading Conan novels and I have yet to stop. I am just a little over halfway through the nearly fifty paperbacks. I also made sure I watched all the documentaries I wanted, setting reminders and waking up early to catch just the right ones. Without a place to go every day, I was driving myself mad to keep my mind occupied. It was not only an economically devastating time; it was an emotional rollercoaster, a real blast to my ego.

I started writing in earnest. In previous years I had flirted with the idea. Stories had come to me and I had attempted to put them on paper with little to show for the effort. My work improved when I got the idea to scribe certain sexual fantasies. I had been a fan of erotic fiction for some time. My first exposure was the “letters” section of men’s magazines. Then the advent of the internet made erotica much more accessible. You can find any sort of dirty story you like, but not necessarily a good one. For the longest time it was a matter of searching sites for an author you liked and reading their work. That is what inspired me to write my own. I wanted to create the sort of stories I wanted to read. I shared them with people I had chatted with online and they enjoyed them as well.

I wrote a couple of very poor manuscripts while unemployed and submitted them to publishers. Suffice to say they were not picked up. They were Viking adventure stories and while they had elements I still like, my ability to relate the tale in a professional and aesthetically pleasing manner was lacking. But I was in luck. I found a job. Writing took a back seat. Normalcy returned to my life. Then I picked up a copy of Ravished by a Viking by Delilah Devlin at a local book fair. I emailed her and let her know just how much I enjoyed her work. She responded. We corresponded a bit and she encouraged me to try to get published. Not used to receiving such positive reinforcement, I took her kind words to heart. I took some of the best elements of prior stories and wrote a piece that I submitted all over the place. Again, she helped me by finding a listing of interested publishers.

Breathless Press and one other party offered on my manuscript. Two out of forty something wasn’t bad for a first try! I thank my editor Jackie Moore for seeing potential in my first draft and working with me to make my piece the best it can be. Crimson & Steel was released on October 14th. It is my first published work of any kind. Set in the Noricum province of ancient Rome, it follows the lives of two girls. One is a trained pleasure slave from the eastern desert, the other a naïve Germanic servant. A second part entitled Scarlet Sands will be released on a date yet to be determined.

I am deliriously happy to be published. Marrying my love of history and erotic romance is a pleasure. But I am far from done. Just as I matured and ventured further and further from home and found a deeper and more profound appreciation for my private sanctuary, so too will I find a more complex understanding of the writing process. I want my storytelling skills to sharpen. I need my writing style to become more succinct and my characters' point of view to suck the reader in so that they can’t stop reading. To do that I must write and practice. I hope that I continue my streak of luck and have more of my stories published.

Please give Crimson & Steel and me a shot. I thank you.

Ric Bern

Friday, November 11, 2011

GUEST BLOG: JAXX STEELE

Older Men: Love them!


Jaxx Steele here to give you my take on older men. I wanted to take this moment to give props to sexy men over forty-five in the world. The men that are aging like fine wine and getting sexier as time passes, you know the ones I’m talking about: the Sean Connerys, Mark Harmons, Samuel Jacksons, Denzel Washingtons, Antonio Banderas’ and one of my favorites, the late Ricardo Montalbans in the world.

I write romances and work really hard trying to bring out my characters' inner-, as well as outer-, beauty. Although most of my characters are in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties, I personally adore older men. I have nothing against a young man; I just prefer an older man. If you will continue reading I will share a few reasons why.

Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of Jaxx Steele and not necessarily shared by the good people at Long and Short of It. :-)

Now, that the legalities have been observed….

The physical beauty of a young man is one of his assets to be sure and surely one of his prize possessions. I mean, who doesn't walk along the beach just to see those lovely hard bodies, burned to a golden glow by the sun, glistening with a sheen of perspiration, flexing beautifully in the bright July heat? 0-0 *ahem*

Sorry about that. I was lost in the visual of all that.

Anyway, as I was saying, that's all good, but it takes more than a pretty face, doesn’t it? I am not trying to bash younger men, but if physical beauty fades with time and that’s all you have, well… An older man who is healthy in mind and conscience of his physical health can be just as beautiful! He appreciates the days he has and lives them to the fullest. His graying hair looks distinguished on him and ups his sexiness tenfold.

As far as physical beauty goes, Father Time has been kind to his body because he remains active. He may not possess that six pack he used to at twenty-five, but as he hovers around fifty, he is in good shape and shows appreciation for your six pack! And Lordy! Let’s not forget there are still a few out there who do have the body they had at twenty-five!

There is also the matter of 'finding one’s self'. A young man is still searching, trying out new things, figuring what he wants in all levels of his life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. We all change as we grow into the people we are going to be. It's a fact of life. When dealing with a younger man you have to be prepared for that and be willing to be flexible enough to ride out the changes and deal with the ones that you may not like. But!...an older man has gone through most of the transformations. Therefore, he is less likely to change on you. They have already been educated so they are intelligent, worldly and confident in who he is as a man. He has no problem teaching you what he knows and welcomes the challenge of learning new things from you.

I would love to read more gay romances with older men like that. I have been lucky enough to meet some outstanding men in their forties, fifties and even sixties. Men who are in the prime of who they are and are looking fabulous doing it make exceptional companions. I’ve written a few books about that type of man. If you're interested in reading them they are:

Papa knows Best (available at Phaze) Healing the Beast Within (Phaze) Care Package (Silver Publishing) and coming this holiday season, Hosting for the Holidays (Muse it Hot). Links to buy can be found on my website when you click the covers. Feel free to email me with your comments.
Until next time…
Jaxx Steele, lover of older men, has left the building. :-)
www.jaxxsteele.com
jaxxsteele@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

GUEST BLOG: WENDI ZWADUK

I’m So Dizzy....


Silly title, eh? Maybe, but I thought I’d write today about being overwhelmed. Almost every writer I know gets overwhelmed from time to time. I do. We’ve exchanged stories as to what we do when we get the point of being overwhelmed. Here’s mine.

First, writing this post was a bit of a moment of panic. I mean, crud, what the heck do I write about? Had to hunt down the BFF and brainstorm. Thank heaven I have her. Sometimes my brain just doesn’t work unless I have someone to talk things over with. Once I got that moment of freak out over with, the next moment began.

I have two kinds of overwhelmed. The first kind is when I want to write, but life won’t cooperate. I get the best I idea I think I’ve ever come up with. I can’t wait to get it jotted down. What happens first? I can’t find paper. I have to jot the idea down or it’s out of my brain and gone forever. Yup, I have a leaky brain. Things can go one of two ways at this point. Either I can get it jotted down and put somewhere where I can find it until I get time to put it in the computer or I try like heck to remember and get busy doing something else. This is when it’s poof! gone! Sometimes I get lucky.

If it’s a lucky moment, the idea is just stuck in the brain. But that’s when I have the laundry to get done, the kitchen to clean, a list a mile long of errands, and three hours of day job to get done. By the time I get it all accomplished, then the muse locks herself in the closet. She’s a pain that way. At that moment, I’m overwhelmed.

But it can go another way, too. Sometimes I get lucky enough to have stretches of time when I can write. No kids, no pets, no DH staring over my shoulder. No interruptions. You’d think I’d be in seventh heaven. Sometimes I am. Then there are the times when I find myself super overwhelmed because I really want to write, I have the ideas out before me in the notebooks, but the muse won’t come out. I’m staring at a blank document. And procrastinating.

So what do I do to get past the freak out moments? I find something to listen to on television. My favorite things to watch? If I want a drama, I pull out the DVD of The Goodbye Girl. I could listen to Richard Dreyfuss holler at Marsha Mason a thousand times. Or, if I’ve seen that recently, I turn to Field of Dreams. Still stuck? Chat with the BFF. Ok, that’s sorta not right. I chat with her whether I’m watching the movies or not. I’m also one of those people who need lots of noise and lots of stuff going on to get anything done. I’ll have the television on, the music playing on the computer, and a chat window open. If that’s not enough, I’ve got the laptop on the counter and am dancing.

Usually at this point, I tell myself, look, you’ve got now or no time later. For some reason, that brings the muse out. Oh, and she loves to really get moving about half an hour before I lose my time to myself. She’s a brat.

One great way to relieve the tension is the moment I turn the current submission in. There’s a split second when I feel proud that I got it done. Then the whole new waiting game freak out comes.

How about you? How do you deal with stress? What are your coping mechanisms?

'Savin' Me' by Wendi Zwaduk

Three is their magic number. Now they’ve got to decide if the magic is worth saving.

Razrs Edge used to pack stadiums, fuelled by the inner turmoil and passion of the three founding members. Now that the threesome has parted ways, the lights aren’t as bright and the cheers of the crowds not as loud.

It’s time to bring the magic back.

Parkur has never been convinced the split was for good. They were meant to be three. But can he write the music to convince Juniper and Jacoby to give him a second chance?

Juniper and Jacoby want the triad intact. Is the love they shared as three enough to erase the destruction in their collective past?

Reader Advisory: This book contains hot manlove and ménage action, a little spanking, some toy play, and some bondage...oh yes...

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 eleven books under contract and more than my brain can handle percolating. I can't wait to share them with you!

Monday, November 7, 2011

GUEST BLOG: SUZANNE ROCK

What Makes a Good Kick-Ass Heroine?


Thank you so much for having me here today! I’d like to take this opportunity to talk to you a little bit about a very popular character in romance novels – the kick-ass heroine.

It can be a little confusing as to what exactly constitutes a good kick-ass heroine. Immediately an Xena-like image comes to mind of a warrior with a large weapon and even larger boots, ready to save the world or stick her toe up her hero’s ass. While these types of heroines do exist, I like to think that these types of heroines are a little deeper than the “Me-Against-the-World” tough-girl image the name applies.

Very few women can identify with the kick-ass heroine with the cool, calm exterior who can take out an entire army with one hand tied behind her back. While she may be good at martial arts, or hit a target blindfolded, a good kick-ass heroine also has some more… womanly characteristics that the reader can identify with. Whether it’s sleeping with a stuffed animal, or wearing her bunny slippers on a cold, winter evening, these little quirks soften the character and make her more identifiable and endearing to readers.

In my newest release, Unholy Pursuits, the main character Arianne, is a guardian of a mystic portal between hell and earth. She is strong, fast and a fierce warror, but she is also vulnerable. Her sister, the queen of her people, doesn’t see her as the capable warrior she’d like to be. Instead the queen sees her as her little sister, someone who should be coddled and protected. This constant struggle between sisters is the basis of Arianne’s struggles. She wants to prove to her sister – and her people – that she is the strong woman they need to help protect their home.

In Arianne’s mind, proving her worth means saving the hero, Darien, from self-destruction so that he can in turn save her people. What she doesn’t count on is the strong connection they feel between them, or how much she craves his darker side.

Who is your favorite kick-ass heroine? Does she have any traits that you can identify with? Leave your answer in the comment section below. I’m always on the lookout for a great read!

In the meantime, here’s more about my newest release from Ellora’s Cave, Unholy Pursuits.

Darien let his guard down once, and Arianne stole the demon stone from under his nose. Now he has to get it back, no matter what the cost. It doesn’t matter that the feisty redhead calms the voices in his head, or that her body tempts him beyond reason. Only the stone will ensure his survival. He decides to appeal to her feminine side and use gentle seduction to get it back. As he begins, something inside him changes, and the voices in his head compel him to use pain to heighten desire.

As Darien’s touch turns dark, Arianne’s lust escalates, and a connection forms between them. Yet despite her need, she can’t let the sexy FBI agent have what he wants. If placed in the wrong hands, the stone would release an unholy force intent on destroying everything she loves—including him.



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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Guest Blog: Scarlett Valentine

My name is Scarlett Valentine and I write Erotomance.

We in the romance and erotica world like to think we invent words . . . Romantica, Romagasm, even Erotomance . . . when referring to Erotic Romance, but these words have all been around a good while.

In fact, Erotomance is actually Polish slang roughly translating to Nymphomania, which I guess is a pretty accurate term to use for those of us who read and write erotica.

Let's face it. We're all a bit of a nymphomaniac at times. Some of my friends on Facebook collect and share photos of heart throbs all the time. Men and women alike.
And we all have our 'thing' when we’re looking. Legs, bums and boobs are the top three, but we also like eyes, smiles or even just the way a person carries themselves, because it denotes an air confidence. And we all love a confident person.
And how many of us have said or thought, "Yeah, give me an hour with {enter name here} . . ."

I once heard, "Just because I have my meal doesn't mean I can't still look at the menu." That's what we're all doing when we see people like Liam Neeson or Sandra Bullock. Or even the hottie who lives next door.

And what about that game couples play -- The Celebrity Sex List. Each person makes a list of five people they're allowed to have sex with if the opportunity arose, and it's OK with their partner, mainly because it will NEVER happen in a month of Sundays. At least not for us average people. The five people listed are meant to be celebrities, not the hottie next door!

Who's on my list, you may ask? Well, no particular order and in (brackets) why —

1) Liam Neeson (I love a man with an accent, and he has 'the look')

2) Nathan Fillion (totally charming and sense of humor)

3) Johnny Depp (philanthropy and charity, and a killer smile)

4) Clive Owen (a gaze to get lost in and sexy voice)

5) Liam Neeson (charming to a fault and confidence)

Yeah, I know. I listed Liam twice. Does that mean I get two hours?

And I have to add Adam Lambert to the list too, but that's strictly for make-up tips. Hot as he is, he doesn't sit on my side of the fence. Doesn't mean a girl can't appreciate him though! Just as I'd love to meet Steven Tyler . . . for hair tips!

I’ve shown you mine, now you show me yours — who's on YOUR list?

The point is this — we all look, we all fantasize, and I’d bet my last Rolo most of us experiment and use what we’ve read in erotica for inspiration. It’s all healthy. It’s all natural. And it’s all good!

Look for my first book, AWAKENING, on 2 November. AWAKENING is the first book in The ABCs of S-E-X: Love by the Letter series, and is being released by Hellfire Publishing. Log into my site for tour information, 31 October to 11 November. Please join me.

As I always say — What’s a little bondage between friends?
~ Scarlett

www.scarlett-valentine.com
www.theabcsofsex-com
www.facebook.com/scarlettvalentine
www.twitter.com/theabcsofsex

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Scarlett Valentine is the alter ego of award-winning romance author, Kemberlee Shortland. For those who don't know 'us', here's a little introduction.

I was born and raised in Northern California in an area known as America's Salad Bowl. It was home to many authors, including John Steinbeck, and for a while Jack London and Robert Louis Stevenson.

In 1997, I had the opportunity to travel to Ireland on what began as an extended holiday. I'm celebrating more than fourteen years here and loving every minute of it.
I've always enjoyed writing and began my professional writing life as a book reviewer in 1995.

In 1998, I opened a travel consultancy and began publish travel articles. I'm an avid castle hunter and photographer so writing articles to go with the photos was a natural progression. I love the travel and research involved, I get loads of story ideas, and I learn a lot about Irish history at the same time.

In 2006, I had four short stories published as Kemberlee Shortland, as well as a novel in 2010.

This year, on 2 November, as Scarlett Valentine, my novella Awakening will be published with Hellfire Publishing. This is book one in The ABCs of S-E-X: Love by the Letter series. Keep your eye open for Beguile, book two!

Because there is so much scope to explore in twenty-six stories, The ABCs of S-E-X: Love by the Letter series will cross subgenres to explore hetero, gay and bisexual relationships in a series of stories including time periods — historical and contemporary, futuristic and science fiction, paranormal and suspense, and more. From straight sex to fetishes, there's something for everyone in this collection.

I hope you'll join me, Scarlett Valentine, in this new venture. As I always say, "What's a little bondage between friends?"
~ Scarlett