Beginning January 1, 2013

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

GUEST BLOG: RONI LOREN

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Click on the banner for more of Roni's stops. She will be giving away a signed set of Romance Trading Cards to one commenter on this stop, and all commenters will be entered into the drawing for a $25 Amazon gift certificate.



Write What You Know, Research the Rest




When you start writing, you’ll hear over and over again the old adage “write what you know.” In some ways, it’s good advice. It makes sense to pull some of your own experiences and infuse them into your story. However, I think that’s way too limiting of a saying. If you’re only supposed to write what you know, how exactly should you go about writing a story on an imaginary planet or a story of shape-shifting giraffe? (Okay, not actually writing that last one.)



Only writing about what we know could turn out to be a pretty boring stack of books unless your life has been memoir-worthy interesting. We’re in the information age. If you don’t know about something, you have more knowledge than you could ever need at your fingertips with the internet. And if you need more hands on experience, you can go out there and get it. Are you writing a novel with a lot of police procedures? Go interview a cop or do a ride along. And if you’re writing the kind of books I write, then well, research can be even more fun. (Just ask my husband, lol.) Believe me, if anyone ever checks out my search history, they’re going to draw some pretty interesting conclusions about me. ;)



So though I use “write what you know” is some regards--Brynn is a social worker (my former job), the story is in Dallas (where I live), and Brynn is struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (something I’m familiar with due to my psychology background)--I use it sparingly. The fun of writing is the creation. I don’t have to find a place like The Ranch (the BDSM resort in my book) to write about it. I can build it from the ground up in my mind. For me to write a love scene with a rockstar, I don’t actually have to sleep with a rockstar. (Though, Jared Leto, if you ever want to donate your body to literary research, give me a call.)



And sometimes knowing too many “facts” can even work against you. Ever read a book where you can tell the writer has the same job as the heroine or hero? There are so many mundane details about the day to day job, and it’s boring! When you know something so well, sometimes you can info dump and that can drag a story down. The key is finding a balance between writing accurately about something, but keeping it interesting and relevant to the story.



So write what you know...or don’t! That’s why they call it fiction. : )



If you wrote a book, what kind of research would you need or want to do?



Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. Though she’ll forever be a New Orleans girl at heart, she now lives in Dallas with her husband and son. If she’s not working on her latest sexy story, you can find her reading, watching reality television, or indulging in her unhealthy addiction to rockstars, er, rock concerts. Yeah, that's it. Her debut novel, CRASH INTO YOU, was published by Berkley Heat January 3, 2012.

Website/Blogs: www.RoniLoren.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/roniloren
Tumblr (where I post mancandy photos): http://roniloren.tumblr.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/roniloren

Brynn LeBreck has dedicated herself to helping women in crisis, but she never imagined how personal her work would get, or where it would take her. Her younger sister is missing, suspected to be hiding from cops and criminals alike at a highly secretive BDSM retreat—a place where the elite escape to play out their most extreme sexual fantasies. To find her Brynn must go undercover as a sexual submissive. Unfortunately, The Ranch is invitation only. And the one Master who can get her in is from the darkest corner of Brynn’s past.



Brynn knows what attorney Reid Jamison is like once stripped of his conservative suit and tie. Years ago she left herself vulnerable only to have him crush her heart. Now she needs him again. Back on top. And he’s all too willing to engage. But as their primal desires and old wounds are exposed, the sexual games escalate—and so does the danger. Their hearts aren’t the only things at risk. Someone else is watching, playing by his own rules. And his game could be murder.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

GUEST BLOG: DANA LITTLEJOHN

This post is part of a Virtual Book Tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Click the banner above to see the rest of Dana's stops and to be entered into a drawing for either a promotional pen or t-shirt.




Dana Littlejohn’s 5 "Must-Haves" for a Romance Story




1- Every romance must have a compatible couple.

Even when the forces around them are breaking down heaven and earth to keep them apart, the main characters must complement each other. She should be what he needs to bring serenity to his chaotic world, metaphorically speaking. For me, if you’re half way through my book and you’re not thinking, “Man, I hope this guy gets his stuff together so he can get his girl” then it’s time for a re-write.



2- Every romance must have a ‘tangible’ female lead.

The characteristics of the leading lady have to be real enough for the reader to connect with on some level. Each reader is looking to lose herself in the story and, when she can, connect to the heroine. Once she becomes a part of the story she is more invested in the heroine's journey and becomes much more interested in her happiness.



3- Every romance must have a great leading man.

Once the reader is invested in the female she wants her to be happy. The male main character has just become super important. Now that she is a part of the heroine she wants ‘them’ to fall in love. Handsome, heroic, honorable are just some of the things that come to mind; the fact that he is a mess to begin with and has to grow to become all of that just makes him that much more appealing.



4- Every romance must a problem for the couple to overcome.

There has to be a problem for the couple to overcome for all to be well in the universe. That’s probably the only thing from the real world that makes sense in a romance. LOL The drama is the best part! He has to do something crazy or some fool who wants to keep them apart frames him so she can be all like, ewww and then he spends the rest of the book trying to win her over. Once she’s all like, aww, he really does love me, then they can live happily ever after. :-)



5- Every romance must have a happy ending.

No matter how much interference, drama, or chaos happens between the two lovers in question there has to be a happily ever after or at least a happy for now at the end to make it all worthwhile. After you have invested so much time reading and getting to know the people you want them, and expect them, to make it.


About the Author:Dana Littlejohn was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, but has called Indianapolis, In., her home for over ten years. She has always wanted to write since early childhood, but put that wish on hold to raise her growing family and have a career. With the encouragement of her husband, Dana picked up her pen again in 2003 and has no intention on putting it down. With 3 novels, 8 novellas, 4 stories in anthologies, 42 short stories published to date and a long list of wip (works in progress) she is literally living her dream. Join her on the wild journey through her imagination. It’s a ride you’ll never forget!



Website: www.DanaLittlejohn.net

Blog: www.authordanalittlejohn.blogspot.com
Facebook: search authordanalittlejohn
Twitter: follow authordanalittlejohn

Jade Dupree had always been a hot commodity among the young airman. She tried not to date them, but having an old school mother and a worldly father gave her a challenging social life. Her mother’s only goal in life seemed to be to get her to settle her down with the next available airman and birth as many babies as possible.


Her father’s outlook for his children’s future was much less intense. Jade let her mother set her up with an extremely handsome tech sergeant, just as she met the very interesting Mike Davis.


Having spent time with both men Jade can’t help but wonder if her mother finally got lucky in choosing Steven Jones for her…or was Mike Davis a better match for her after all?

Friday, January 20, 2012

GUEST BLOG: Stephanie Draven, Laura Kaye, Leia Rice

Click the banner to find out other blogs these authors are visiting this week.

Leave a comment on the guest blogs here all this week for a chance to win a $15 Amazon GC.

Heroes to Husbands: How to Keep the Sex Appeal Going
Three HQN Authors and Three Sexy Heroes




Harlequin is known for sexy alpha heroes who are tamed by the love of a good woman. Today, Harlequin authors Laura Kaye, Leia Rice and Stephanie Draven are here to tell us how they make the transition with their heroes from lover to love.



When a heroine meets a hero, sparks sometimes fly, but what did you do in your stories to keep that fire burning?



Stephanie Draven: In the Fever and the Fury, sparks literally fly whenever my hero and heroine come together because he’s an immortal phoenix, who has a habit of setting everything on fire whenever he feels like it. But the sexual chemistry actually burns slowly. It isn’t a naked chest or flirtation or even a grope that sends my heroine spiralling down into sexual pleasure. It’s a simple kiss on her hand. She’s a fury of Greek myth, an avenger, and no one has ever touched her with gentleness before. It’s her undoing. But what makes Luke Lazaros, ex-soldier on the run, so sexy is his ability to burn away the fury’s layers of protection, one right after the other. He’s an officer and a man used to beying obeyed. He’s a hero who keeps coming up with new boundaries to push, new ways to scandalize a heroine, new lines to cross...a hero who doesn’t like to hear the word no. Even once Luke has fallen deeply in love, the heroine and the reader are left wondering what depraved acts he has in store for her next...



Laura Kaye:In the Service of the King starts with a feeding ritual between an ancient vampire warrior king and a consenting young human woman. What keeps the sparks flying once they meet is the erotic nature of the act they’re both planning to partake in and their conflicting agendas (his: to keep as distant as possible to insure the ritual can’t identify her as a possible mate; hers: to do whatever she can to lure his interest, because she believes an in with the king and his warriors is the path to redeeming her sister’s murder). When Shayla’s plan unintentionally begins to work in the feeding chamber, Kael reacts badly and throws her out before the ritual is completed. I love the moment in a story when the hero completely screws up, and this is that moment for Kael. And then the question is, did he make a mistake? Will she give him a second chance? Can he let down his walls enough to see what she could be to him? Plus, in a paranormal, there’s always the revealing of the world that helps keep the reader interested and the spark building, and that’s true in this story, too.



Leia Rice: I previously mentioned that I love to explore sexual acts which don’t actually involve sexual intercourse, and this is mostly because it keeps the tension present without having to go straight to the sex. The tension is what keeps the fire going between the characters, and I hate to intensify that to a climax too soon without letting them explore each other first. In The Revolutionary Mistress, Mariette is often taunted by hands and mouths before she ever gets to do the deed with whatever partner she’s sleeping with at the time. It’s a sweet seduction, and it’s that seduction that drives forward the passion and fire of the characters.



What doesn’t your heroine know about your hero that will make him sexier to her even after they’ve made a commitment to one another?




Laura Kaye: Despite being one of a small cadre of humans who know about and have formed relationships with vampires, Shayla’s still only on a need-to-know-basis. Plus, since her only expected role was to feed the king’s appetites, once something more develops between them, she’s in completely new waters. She knows little about his powers and absolutely nothing about what happens when a vampire mates, so there’s quite a bit about Kael she learns in those moments that makes him even sexier than he already was. And the mating was a complete surprise even to me--it’s possibly one of the most erotic scenes I’ve ever written and I can’t wait for readers’ reactions to it. And, because you’re in Shayla’s point of view for most of it, you get to discover what a mating entails right alongside her. I have to say, I’m pretty freaking excited about it!



Leia Rice: Mariette makes a commitment to Rene, and in turn, to his agenda in the French Revolution. She didn’t play a part in it beforehand, but due to her infatuation with her knight in shining armor, she has no choice but to plunge into the mayhem while keeping both Rene and a nobleman complacent. Rene’s secret passion for justice in this war is what draws Mariette to him, even if she doesn’t realize what does exactly for the Revolution.



Stephanie Draven: As a law-and-order fury, bent on dispensing justice, Phaedra doesn’t really know much about sexual intimacy. Then she meets the phoenix and he opens a whole new world to her. What she doesn’t know about him--or at least what she hasn’t yet connected the dots about--is that Luke’s military training made him the kind of man who has a plan of attack for everything. He’s rich and bored and disillusioned and conquering Phaedra is going to be a constant source of pleasure for him. He’s figured out that she’s turned on by embarrassment, by shame, by doing things that she thinks she shouldn’t be allowed to do. He’s going to exploit that weapon mercilessly and she’s going to enjoy every minute of it.




===



About the Authors:
Stephanie Draven is a multi-published award-nominated author of myth-inspired paranormal romance. Writing for HQN Nocturne, Stephanie’s Mythica series asks the question: What if the monsters of ancient mythology still walked the earth...and what if you found out that you were one of them? Currently a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies, Stephanie lives there with her favorite nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books.



Buy Stephanie’s Books




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Laura Kaye is a multi-published author of paranormal, contemporary and erotic romance. Three of her four current books have hit bestseller lists, and two have been nominated for or won awards. Available books include: HEARTS IN DARKNESS (contemporary romance), FOREVER FREED (NJRW Golden Leaf Award for Best Paranormal of 2011), JUST GOTTA SAY (erotic romance), and NORTH OF NEED (Book 1 in the Hearts of the Anemoi series, contemporary fantasy romance). IN THE SERVICE OF THE KING is the first in a mini-series of novellas featuring the Vampire Warrior Kings. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.



Buy Laura's Books




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Leia Rice is an avid lover of everything Parisian, Ancient Grecian and Ancient Roman. She wishes that women would still wear the pretty dresses and petticoats that they did back in the 18th century, but she’s well aware how much of a pain they must have been. Leia writes historical fiction, romance and erotica in these areas, because she cannot get enough of each respective time period.



Buy Leia’s Books




Website and Blog|Facebook|Twitter

Thursday, January 19, 2012

GUEST BLOG: Stephanie Draven, Laura Kaye, Leia Rice

Click the banner to find out other blogs these authors are visiting this week.

Leave a comment on the guest blogs here all this week for a chance to win a $15 Amazon GC.

What I’d Never Write
Three HQN Authors Dish About Their Hard Limits


Harlequin offers the world a buffet of romance and steamy sex stories. Today, authors Laura Kaye, Leia Rice and Stephanie Draven are here to tell us where they draw the line.

Ladies, is there any kind of erotica that you would never write? Is it related to things that you’d never do or are there some other guidelines you use?

Laura Kaye: There are no story types that I would have some hard aversion to or stance against. I’m a pretty open minded and adventurous person in my real life, and that certainly translates to my writing, where the safety of my imagination lets me explore even more than I would for real. More important to me would be whether the act or the fetish excites me, whether I have enough knowledge to feel I can do it justice, and whether I can create characters the readers would sympathize with for needing and wanting to do certain things. Except for blood in the case of a paranormal story, most bodily fluids do absolutely nothing for me as a fetish--I just don’t get it, though I do generally get the turn-on of humiliation because it’s a power play. So, for me, bring on the kink! LOL

Stephanie Draven: There’s a ton of stuff I’d never do but would happily write about, so that doesn’t really factor into it at all. Some stories are thought experiments. They’re fantasies and nothing more, so I don’t limit myself to exploration of sex acts I’m into any more than a mystery writer would only write about murders he might be willing to commit. However, I have to be able to understand the turn-on. In some respects, writers are like actors, so I need to be able to put myself into the character’s shoes and imagine what she feels. And there are a few fetishes that I just don’t get. I don’t have anything against any consensual fantasy...I just won’t write about it if I can’t feel it in my gut. For example, I get the tingles over psychological power games like the ones I explore in The Fever and the Fury. I get them. But I can’t get my head around the fetishism of rope-art and latex. I understand why a woman might be turned on by being restrained and powerless, but I’m not sure I get the arousal attached to the idea of tying pretty knots. Oh, and also, I don’t really get the blood thing. Maybe Laura can teach me a thing or two.

Leia Rice: What I write in erotica has nothing to do with what I am personally comfortable with or what I would do. I am writing fiction, and everything that is created is just that -- created. On that note, I am not into fetishes either, so I probably wouldn’t touch that. I also like to stick to the more “traditional” forms of sex, be it with two people or more. I don’t like to be surprised by sexual acts when I am reading erotica; if it makes me have to re-read it to figure out what they are doing...then it’s probably too much for me.


What kind of lines are you willing to cross in writing erotic fiction?

Stephanie Draven: I would absolutely write erotic stories about off-limit fantasies like bodice-ripping, reluctance, non-consent, face-slapping, etc. But I would only do it if I were paying very close attention to the subtext of the story. That is to say, I would never write a story, the subtext of which that said brutalizing another human being against their will is ok. People have these fantasies--and they’re allowed to have these fantasies and I think fiction should give a healthy outlet for them. The emphasis is on healthy. If I can craft a story that has a powerful message underneath the forbidden, I’ll do it.

Laura Kaye: I’d be willing to cross most lines, though I’d be less likely to cross the non-consent line. I get why that is a source of fantasy for some people--and among men, rough sex and pushing lines of consent is a top-ranking fantasy (not that the vast majority would ever act on it, no more than the majority of women fantasizing about force fantasies means women want to be forced...). But it’s a line I personally don’t want to characterize as crossable. However, anything that consenting adults want to do to or with one another, I’d be willing to experiment with and explore.

Leia Rice: I like to push sexual acts that don’t actually involve intercourse. I think that it’s hot when characters are being sexual, but they aren’t having sex. There are lots of other options besides oral and manual pleasure, and I like to explore just how far I can go with this before they actually do-the-deed.

===

About the Authors:
Stephanie Draven is a multi-published award-nominated author of myth-inspired paranormal romance. Writing for HQN Nocturne, Stephanie’s Mythica series asks the question: What if the monsters of ancient mythology still walked the earth...and what if you found out that you were one of them? Currently a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies, Stephanie lives there with her favorite nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books.

Buy Stephanie’s Books


Newsletter|Twitter|Website and Blog|Goodreads|Facebook

Laura Kaye is a multi-published author of paranormal, contemporary and erotic romance. Three of her four current books have hit bestseller lists, and two have been nominated for or won awards. Available books include: HEARTS IN DARKNESS (contemporary romance), FOREVER FREED (NJRW Golden Leaf Award for Best Paranormal of 2011), JUST GOTTA SAY (erotic romance), and NORTH OF NEED (Book 1 in the Hearts of the Anemoi series, contemporary fantasy romance). IN THE SERVICE OF THE KING is the first in a mini-series of novellas featuring the Vampire Warrior Kings. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Buy Laura's Books


Website|Blog|Facebook|Twitter|Newsletter SignUp



Leia Rice is an avid lover of everything Parisian, Ancient Grecian and Ancient Roman. She wishes that women would still wear the pretty dresses and petticoats that they did back in the 18th century, but she’s well aware how much of a pain they must have been. Leia writes historical fiction, romance and erotica in these areas, because she cannot get enough of each respective time period.

Buy Leia’s Books


Website and Blog|Facebook|Twitter

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

GUEST BLOG: Stephanie Draven, Laura Kaye, Leia Rice

Click the banner to find out other blogs these authors are visiting this week.

Leave a comment on the guest blogs here all this week for a chance to win a $15 Amazon GC.

Listen Up Authors, This is What I Wanna Read!
Three HQN Authors Put On Their Reader Hats & Talk About Their Literary Desires


Harlequin offers the world a buffet of romance and steamy sex stories. Today, authors Laura Kaye, Leia Rice and Stephanie Draven are here to discuss what they wish they saw more of when they go shopping for books they love.

Ladies, what kind of erotic stories do you want to read that you just don’t see enough of?

Stephanie Draven: These days there seem to be a lot of rules about romance and erotica. Everybody has to wear a condom. Nobody can have sex just for fun. The heroine has to be a stand-in for your best friend. The hero should be an alpha-hole or else you’re writing cutesy contemporary romance. And so on, and so on. I’m so bloody sick of it. I have a wondrously loving and healthy real life relationship--I don’t need to see my choices validated in fiction. I want to read stories that push the envelope. I want to read about things that scandalize me and make me uncomfortable like the public sex scene in my newest novella, The Fever and the Fury. I want to read about risky behavior. I want to read about people behaving badly. I want to read about the bad girls. The sluts, the tramps, the vamps. Stories with heroines who take on the football team for the sheer joy of it. A hero who isn’t just a pretend rake--but who is a true libertine. One of the authors I think is genuine chain-yanker right now is Jasmine Haynes. I want to read more stories like hers.

Laura Kaye: I’m a complete and total vampire nut, so I’m always searching for paranormal erotica and paranormal erotic romance, and it’s not rare, but it’s also not the most common thing out there. I’d love to see more paranormal menage, more paranormal BDSM, and for the love of the guys, I want more paranormal male-male. I’d be interested in these stories if both/all characters were paranormal, or if only one protagonist was and the other(s) human. It just adds a whole other layer to the erotic tension of the story. Oh, and as a general lover of the group sex fantasy, I’m shouting an enthusiastic hell-to-the-yes for Stephanie’s idea of the football team! LOL [Note from Stephanie: Do vampires play football, because if so, I think we’ve got a story!]

Leia Rice: I like historicals, but I’m tired of seeing regencies. I’d like to see some more unique historicals set in ancient Rome, or in the Far East, or during war time, with our couple all cooped up in a bunker while the world is falling apart around them. Something that will spark my interest without having to submerge myself in the Tudor court. The Tudors got their attention, let’s move on to something else that’s spicy and lends us to a piece of history as well!



What kind of erotic stories have you seen too much of? Or what kind of stories really annoy you?

Laura Kaye: I’m not sure I’ve seen “too much” of any one thing, but there are things that bug me. I’m personally not a fan of the unwilling hero premise used in a way meant to titillate--the general idea of these stories being where a female “convinces” a male he wants her and ultimately loves her through a relationship that begins with him in prison or tied down against his will, etc. I also find myself gritting my teeth through anal sex scenes where the characters don’t use lube. Every time an author writes an anal sex scene without lube, a kitten dies. Seriously. A cute little fur ball of a kitten with a sweet pink nose and big pleading eyes. LOL Whatever the fetish or activity, I just need the author to sell it to me, make me believe the characters need/want/enjoy it (and why), and keep me interested with scenes that raise the stakes each time.

Stephanie Draven: There’s a lot of boring sex out there. I’ve been reading contemporary romances where there’s just not a lot at stake--and if the story doesn’t have a sexual journey in it, if the characters haven’t learned something about themselves, then it’s a snooze-fest for me. That’s probably why I shy away from erotica where there’s nothing particularly taboo going on. If the hero and heroine aren’t doing it in public, risking getting caught, tying each other up, taking pictures for the internet or otherwise raising the tension level, I’m not sure why the story isn’t fading to black on the sex scenes.

Leia Rice: Regencies. How many times can you have a nobleman bang a lady’s maid? It just gets old after awhile. I also think that it set a standard for historical erotica that is very hard to write around if you choose not to write a regency. For example, I love the French Revolution, but how many erotica stories do you find during that time? Or any other time, for that matter? Everyone is looking for what they are used to, but very few are writing outside of that box.

===

About the Authors:
Stephanie Draven is a multi-published award-nominated author of myth-inspired paranormal romance. Writing for HQN Nocturne, Stephanie’s Mythica series asks the question: What if the monsters of ancient mythology still walked the earth...and what if you found out that you were one of them? Currently a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies, Stephanie lives there with her favorite nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books.

Buy Stephanie’s Books


Newsletter|Twitter|Website and Blog|Goodreads|Facebook

Laura Kaye is a multi-published author of paranormal, contemporary and erotic romance. Three of her four current books have hit bestseller lists, and two have been nominated for or won awards. Available books include: HEARTS IN DARKNESS (contemporary romance), FOREVER FREED (NJRW Golden Leaf Award for Best Paranormal of 2011), JUST GOTTA SAY (erotic romance), and NORTH OF NEED (Book 1 in the Hearts of the Anemoi series, contemporary fantasy romance). IN THE SERVICE OF THE KING is the first in a mini-series of novellas featuring the Vampire Warrior Kings. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Buy Laura's Books


Website|Blog|Facebook|Twitter|Newsletter SignUp



Leia Rice is an avid lover of everything Parisian, Ancient Grecian and Ancient Roman. She wishes that women would still wear the pretty dresses and petticoats that they did back in the 18th century, but she’s well aware how much of a pain they must have been. Leia writes historical fiction, romance and erotica in these areas, because she cannot get enough of each respective time period.

Buy Leia’s Books


Website and Blog|Facebook|Twitter

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

GUEST BLOG: Stephanie Draven, Laura Kaye, Leia Rice

Click the banner to find out other blogs these authors are visiting this week.

Leave a comment on the guest blogs here all this week for a chance to win a $15 Amazon GC.

The Hottest Fantasies and Fetishes
Three HQN Authors Dish on The Classics and the Trendy in Erotic Fiction


While Harlequin is known primarily for romance, they also offer hotter fare. Today, authors Laura Kaye, Leia Rice and Stephanie Draven are here to discuss how to push a reader’s naughtiest buttons.

Today’s erotica caters to different sexual tastes. Can you tell us what’s hot right now and what sexual fantasies will never die?

Laura Kaye: Certain fantasies appear consistently at the top of women’s lists: force fantasies, group sex, stranger sex, voyeurism/exhibitionism, and domination/submission. I think these are both fantasies that are hot now and classics. What these fantasies have in common is exploring taboos, engaging in risky behavior, and giving in to wantonness and sensation. And, because they’re fantasies, they allow those who embrace them to imagine these sex acts in ways that are safe, low-risk and without consequences--which is why readers love to read them!

Leia Rice: Definitely the more-than-one-partner fantasy. Readers love to fantasize about what the possibilities are when you can give yourself to more than one partner, and as long as they want to explore this, group sex will never, ever get old. I also agree with Laura, that stranger sex, voyeurism and force fantasies are at the top of the list as well.

Stephanie Draven: If you can think of it, somebody is turned on by it. In fact, there are probably things you can’t even imagine that someone has sexualized. Take balloons. Seriously, there are people out there who are aroused by the sound of them popping. Because sexuality is so personal, so wound up with our early experiences and our unique upbringing, I’m going to say that no sexual fantasy will ever die. However, I don’t see a glut of balloon-sex fiction in the market, so I think it’s safe to say that some fantasies are more popular than others. Right now, group-sex fiction is trendy and getting trendier. I think this feeds into a bigger more classic theme of excess and taboo. If one lover is great, wouldn’t it feel better to have two or three? And oh, the tingly wrongness of it all! The best thing about fantasy fiction, of course, is that you don’t have to deal with any of the real-life consequences of risky business. So, I expect more and more taboos to be explored. As for sexual fantasies that won’t ever die, my vote is for forced seduction because it keeps cropping up in various disguises. First it was in bodice rippers, now it’s in paranormal romance...we can clean it up and make it pretty but as long as women are conflicted about men, this is a fantasy that will endure.

Ladies, you write erotica designed to tease and titillate. What kind of fetishes or fantasies to you play with in your newest stories?

Leia Rice: In The Revolutionary Mistress I toy with the idea of “belonging” to more than one partner. It’s the first time that I’ve ever written in a relationship like this, one that doesn’t have a “happily ever after” with just one partner. I really wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and try to write something new. I like how it turned out, and it was just enough of a relationship forged between the three to make it interesting and hot at the same time.

Stephanie Draven: In The Fever and the Fury, my heroine is an ancient tormentor of mankind. Because she’s been sent to unleash vengeance, she’s been untouched by a lover of any kind. In fact, she is probably the first virgin romance heroine I’ve ever written. That first fresh discovery--that first time of being ravished--that’s certainly a fantasy I play with. Then there’s the fact that my heroine cannot say yes to my hero’s sexual advances without bringing down the wrath of the goddess Athena on them both. She can’t give the hero permission, she can’t give her virginity to him...but she also can’t seem to say no and she doesn’t stop him when he takes it. Finally, the kinkier fantasy I present is that of public sex. Exhibitionism. The thrill and fear of being caught. When my fury and the sexy Phoenix she’s fallen in love with get it on in an alleyway in a tourist town, her fear of being caught makes it that much hotter...

Laura Kaye: The main fetish explored by In the Service of the King, my dark paranormal romance releasing February 1, is domination and submission. The vampire king Kael practices domination with his human partners as a means of restraining his primal urges--giving in to them might reveal the woman as his mate, a risk he refuses to take. Her restraint, in all ways, makes his possible. The mating ceremony in the book also plays with the voyeurism/exhibitionism fantasy, as Kael’s inner circle of warriors must, ahem, watch. What exactly does that ceremony entail? Well, for that you need to read...

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About the Authors:
Stephanie Draven is a multi-published award-nominated author of myth-inspired paranormal romance. Writing for HQN Nocturne, Stephanie’s Mythica series asks the question: What if the monsters of ancient mythology still walked the earth...and what if you found out that you were one of them? Currently a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies, Stephanie lives there with her favorite nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books.

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Laura Kaye is a multi-published author of paranormal, contemporary and erotic romance. Three of her four current books have hit bestseller lists, and two have been nominated for or won awards. Available books include: HEARTS IN DARKNESS (contemporary romance), FOREVER FREED (NJRW Golden Leaf Award for Best Paranormal of 2011), JUST GOTTA SAY (erotic romance), and NORTH OF NEED (Book 1 in the Hearts of the Anemoi series, contemporary fantasy romance). IN THE SERVICE OF THE KING is the first in a mini-series of novellas featuring the Vampire Warrior Kings. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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Leia Rice is an avid lover of everything Parisian, Ancient Grecian and Ancient Roman. She wishes that women would still wear the pretty dresses and petticoats that they did back in the 18th century, but she’s well aware how much of a pain they must have been. Leia writes historical fiction, romance and erotica in these areas, because she cannot get enough of each respective time period.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

GUEST BLOG: Stephanie Draven, Laura Kaye, Leia Rice

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Erotica and the Sexual Journey
Three HQN Authors Dish on What It Means To Them


While Harlequin is known primarily for romance, they also offer hotter fare. Today, authors Stephanie Draven, Laura Kaye and Leia Rice are here to discuss the concept of a sexual journey in their newest naughty novellas.

Ladies, if pure romance is a journey of the heart, what kind of journey are you writing in erotica?

Stephanie Draven: Something special about erotic romance is that it’s about self-discovery. It’s about exploring all those taboo fantasies and desires we’re not supposed to talk about, but which are really integral to a healthy and loving relationship. And perhaps more importantly, sexual self-discovery is important for a woman’s self-esteem, inside or outside of a relationship. When I write an erotic story, my heroine always leaves the experience with a little more than the love of a good man; she leaves with a new appreciation for herself, too.

Laura Kaye: To me, the characters’ journey in erotic romance is to find love and self and meaning through erotic encounters. Sex and eroticism are such primal parts of our beings, and often buried or denied, that they’re great mediums for self-realization and discovery. I tend to write even my straight romance on the erotic side...

Leia Rice: To me, erotic romance is more than just a love story. It’s a story about a woman coming into herself through a sexual journey. She has to discover who she is at her very core, and what primal and natural instincts drive her forward.

What kind of sexual discoveries do your characters make in your newest novellas?

Stephanie Draven:
The Fever and the Fury is a paranormal erotica novella about a modern day fury who has been sent to torment a man who cannot die. In all the centuries of her existence, she’s never touched anyone except to inflict pain and she’s never been touched except by someone trying to fend her off. The moment our hero kisses her hand, she shatters, and through their seduction she learns that in order to give or receive the blessing of pleasure, she has to let someone past all her defenses...and forgive human foibles.

Laura Kaye: In The Service of the King is a paranormal erotic novella about the Night of the Proffering, an ancient ceremony where Kael the Fair, one of seven remaining vampire warrior kings, must feed from a human virgin to maintain his immortality and his humanity. Kael loathes his need for the ceremony in part because it could reveal the Proffered to be his true mate--something he refuses to consider having ever again. But he’s completely unprepared for Shayla McKinnon, whose family has long been allied with the vampires and who yearns for a way to avenge her sister’s death by evil vampires known as Soul Eaters. In the feeding chamber, a battle of wills plays out, one that will change both of their lives forever...

Leia Rice:
In The Revolutionary Mistress, Mariette has to get by through the French Revolution by selling favors in the back room of a lonely bar. She becomes involved with a patron, Rene, and finds herself actually enjoying his company, and not just for the money. Rene gives her a task that plunges her deeper into the throes of the Revolution and consequentially gets her wrapped up in an affair with both Rene and a nobleman.

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About the Authors:
Stephanie Draven is a multi-published award-nominated author of myth-inspired paranormal romance. Writing for HQN Nocturne, Stephanie’s Mythica series asks the question: What if the monsters of ancient mythology still walked the earth...and what if you found out that you were one of them? Currently a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies, Stephanie lives there with her favorite nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books.

Buy Stephanie’s Books


Newsletter|Twitter|Website and Blog|Goodreads|Facebook

Laura Kaye is a multi-published author of paranormal, contemporary and erotic romance. Three of her four current books have hit bestseller lists, and two have been nominated for or won awards. Available books include: HEARTS IN DARKNESS (contemporary romance), FOREVER FREED (NJRW Golden Leaf Award for Best Paranormal of 2011), JUST GOTTA SAY (erotic romance), and NORTH OF NEED (Book 1 in the Hearts of the Anemoi series, contemporary fantasy romance). IN THE SERVICE OF THE KING is the first in a mini-series of novellas featuring the Vampire Warrior Kings. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Buy Laura's Books


Website|Blog|Facebook|Twitter|Newsletter SignUp



Leia Rice is an avid lover of everything Parisian, Ancient Grecian and Ancient Roman. She wishes that women would still wear the pretty dresses and petticoats that they did back in the 18th century, but she’s well aware how much of a pain they must have been. Leia writes historical fiction, romance and erotica in these areas, because she cannot get enough of each respective time period.

Buy Leia’s Books


Website and Blog|Facebook|Twitter

Monday, January 9, 2012

GUEST BLOG: BERENGARIA BROWN

Going the Indie Route
by
Berengaria Brown




It’s a few years now since my first books were published, so the earliest contracts have come up for renewal. For an author with an established fan base, going indie, self-publishing, seems to be a no-brainer decision. The author already has people looking for her books, so why pay a publisher to do the work an author knows how to do herself. With self-publishing the author has full control of cover art, release dates, and other areas that often cause disagreement.


I also had a book with a publisher which ceased trading, and the wait and worry to get the rights back was not something I wanted to have happen again.


But there’s a lot of work involved in self-publishing. The book still needs to be edited thoroughly. A cover artist has to be chosen who will make covers the author likes. Then there’s all the paperwork to publish the book on the various third party etailing sites, and formatting for all the various devices. Or paying someone else to do all that.
I decided to self-publish two books, as a sort of trial run. I had a good relationship with several of my editors, so re-editing was not a problem. Cover art was a bit more difficult, and took me longer to finalize. Filing in the paperwork for the various retailing sites was annoying. I think I filled out every lot twice, maybe even three times.


Then there is the issue of ISBNs. One ISBN costs $125 and a publisher needs one for every different publishing format. Buying in bulk is a lot cheaper, but it’s still not cheap. Added to the costs for editing, cover art, and formatting, this was starting to become an expensive trial.


I decided to publish on Smashwords because they provide an ISBN and make the different formats for the self-publishing author. Their formatting rules for submission of the original book are strict, but they provide a “how to” manual.


Will I self-publish some more books as my contracts expire? Maybe. I’ll see if these books sell any copies first!


Berengaria



Noticing Nigel

Matthew is singing in a choir for a special Christmas presentation of the oratorio, “Messiah” by Handel. He’s a tenor soloist. But his eyes are on one of the basses, Nigel, a deliciously muscular and well-built man with sparkling eyes and golden-brown hair.


Matthew takes his courage in both hands at the full-dress rehearsal, and invites Nigel out to lunch, then to dinner.


But can this be more than a one-night stand?



Sappho’s Sisters


Lady Eustacia Lumley is the only child of the Earl of Wentworth. It’s her duty to marry well and ensure the succession.


Margaret Durrell is the fourth daughter of a gently born, but near penniless Vicar. She has no option but to marry a man who can provide for her and possibly for some of her sisters as well.


Both young women are very interested in Sappho’s poetry and ideas. One evening, Margaret has a headache and Eustacia offers to massage her scalp. This leads to sex, and Margaret’s very first orgasm.


They fall deeply in love, but is there any hope for them? Or will they both have to conform to the rigid rules of Regency society?



About the Author: Berengaria is a multi-published author of erotic romance: contemporary, paranormal (ghosts, vampires, fairies and werewolves) and Regency-set historical. She loves to read all different kinds of romance so that is what she writes: one man/one woman; two women; two men; two men/one woman; three men, two women/one man…. Whatever the characters need for their very hot happily-ever-after, Berengaria makes sure they get it.


Find Berengaria online at:

http://berengariasblog.blogspot.com/
http://berengariabrown.webs.com/

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

GUEST BLOG: AMBRIELLE KIRK

Out with the old...In with the new?



You've heard that saying before, haven't you? Do you agree with it? I'm not so sure I do. Hhhm...maybe just a little.


The start of the new year 2012 encourages change, new commitments, improvements, acceptance and all those other things we must deal with in our everyday lives. Sometimes we strive relentlessly for the things we don't have, but we forget about the things we do have. I'm not one of those lucky paranormal characters of the tales I pen, so I believe that we only have one life to live and that we should improve it each day.


Do you have any New Year's resolutions that inspire you to improve as a person? I'm not talking materialistic things, like gaining more money, cars, clothes, the latest iPad or iPhone. I'm talking about learning to be more thoughtful and respectful of others around you. Give more, rather than always expect to receive. Put in that extra effort at work even though you're not always commended for your achievements. What about your love life? Do you strive to be a better spouse or partner? Communication and understanding, I think, is the backbone to any relationship. Without it, commitment hangs by a thread.


So before you throw out the old for something newer in the hopes of change, think about what you can do to improve upon what you have. If you made resolutions last year that you didn't meet, revisit them in 2012 and see how you can turn your old goal into reality.


Some things aren't meant to be changed, but improved on. Some people, friends, lovers are meant to be cherished. Maybe your situation, be it your love life or career, only requires a little improvement. Let this year be the year when you are thankful for what you have.


In my latest release, old lovers reunite for a second chance at making things right. Rekindling the Flame was released November 2011 from Amira Press.



Mia deals with trouble the only way she knows how…by avoiding it. Jordon has pursued Mia since their college days, but they’re adults now, and she wants more than an occasional sexcapade. When a business trip brings them together for one last chance at rekindling the flame, Mia succumbs to what she wants and needs. When another old lover walks back into her life, he unintentionally reminds Mia why she gave up on romance in the first place. She must decide whether she'll give her heart to the man who rocks her world, or walk away from her carefree past.



Warning: This book contains a sultry alpha male who knows what he wants, and a brazen diva who makes him work for his prize. Prepare yourself, for this read will leave you breathless!

Monday, January 2, 2012

GUEST BLOG: CHELLESIE B. DANCER

Write What You Know?


“Have you tried all those things you write about?” they ask with a snicker. Such is the life of the erotica writer. Well I had fun answering that in my biography. But people don’t ask suspense writers that question. An author friend of mine who writes steamy stories answers, “Absolutely, I try everything I write about. When my villain cuts off someone’s hand, I make sure I have experience doing it.” And what about the paranormal and science fiction writers?

But on the other hand (the one still attached), you do have to have some experiences in life, some firsthand knowledge, to be able to write well. If you’ve never had a sexual encounter, you couldn’t write believably about it. Just as you have to have experienced some anger, heartbreak, and disillusionment to write a believable villain, you have to have been in love and felt lust to write about them. The bottom line is that it’s the emotions that have to be real for readers to identify with the characters.

But then there are the details. Personal knowledge is helpful, but there’s always research. Right now, the amount of information available to us all, writers and readers, is astonishing. I’ve written dozens of stories, many steamy, but this is the first one that specifically deals with sensual bondage. Although I’m not in the BDSM lifestyle, I’ve learned a bit about it. I’ve felt that marvelous sense of abandon that submissives feel. Anyone can try sensual bondage at home. And I’ve learned a lot from people I know, from non-fiction books I’ve read on the subject, and also from fiction.

Yes, I’ve learned about BDSM, and even about sex in general, from reading erotic romance. Sure, they’re fantasy. No doubt about it. But many stories explore sexuality in a way that allows readers not only to live vicariously, but to get an insight into other techniques and experiences. Writers like Eden Bradley (aka Eve Berlin) bring their real-life experiences from the BDSM world into their fiction. (And don’t you wonder if Angela Knight has had some personal experience with a sexy vampire?)

So instead of write what you know, some say to write what you know or are willing to learn. That’s good advice. I say read a good story and you can learn that way too!

Chellesie B. Dancer enjoys writing contemporary, historical, and erotic love stories with a sprinkling of comedy. The women in her books dare to ask for their desires, so they truly will be satisfied ever after. Be careful what you wish for...

Chellesie lives on top of a hill overlooking the smog of sunny Southern California. Other than writing, she entertains at parties as an M.C., a paleontologist’s assistant, and occasionally a dancing gorilla. She’s the mother of three beautiful boys and an assortment of other critters. Luckily her husband cooks!

www.ChellesieBDancer.com