Pay Attention!

When certain authors come up with a new release, I pay attention. We all have those authors in our lives, the ones whose work we connect with, who impress us every time. And when someone like that writes something new, I just know I have to read it!

We’re in luck, because one of the most unique and original erotica authors I know — Mr. T.S. Tarot — has his latest work on pre-order. In case you don’t know who this is, may I suggest that you take a look at his collection of published work. His stories are unlike any erotica I’ve ever read before. M.S. Tarot is a storyteller extraordinaire. I wish I knew how he does it, because everything I’ve ever read of his takes twists and turns I’d never have seen coming. He’s not afraid of the dark and gritty stuff, but there’s a deeper emotional side to his work as well. All of this is shallow description; what you need to do is just buy his new release and check it out! I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

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Blackberry pickin’

When I got home from vacation, it was only to dive right back into work — hence the lack of writing or any kind of online presence. But, I am back! We came home into the height of a hot, dry Seattle summer. Heat is not really my jam… I can’t wait for the rain. But there is one thing about Seattle in late summer — besides its beauty, backyard BBQ’s, forest hikes and sunsets — that is unlike anything else I’ve found anywhere: wild blackberries.

They’re actually an invasive variety, but few people care because they are so delicious. And this summer, for whatever reason, it was the perfect year for blackberries. Truly, there is nothing more delicious that a fat, fresh, ripe blackberry, just off the vine, still warm from the sun… so good. It’s more than that, though. Part of the pleasure is the hunt itself.

Now bear with me, please; I’m crafting a metaphor. It came to me while I was up to my elbows in brambles, reaching for that elusive berry (the perfect ones are always just out of reach, aren’t they?) The most rewarding thing about picking wild blackberries is that you have to fight for them. You have to dare the thorns. You have to look under low-hanging leaves, and find the secret treasures hidden deep. These are not cute, domestic farmed berries. They’re tough, thorny, unkillable thickets whose only goal is survival. (And outgrowing the poor native species.) These berries don’t care about you — their delicious fruits are a prize you have to earn.

Which makes them taste all the sweeter.

Isn’t that the way with a great romance novel? We love reading about lovers who struggle. We want a happy ending, of course — just the way I salivate over a fresh blackberry tart — but we don’t want to just give it to them! Passion comes from the fight; that’s the part we truly love. Conflict and thorns.

As I ease back into my writing routine, I plan to remember that blackberry picking afternoon. How good it felt to reach perilously deep, to snatch that sweet prize and pop it, triumphantly, into my mouth. The burst of warm juice; the earthy grittiness of a wild berry. If I can make my romances feel like that, then we’re all in for a tasty time.

Free Summer Reading Time!

Yes! It’s summer at last! I always go on a relaxing vacation (yes, I am aware of my good fortune), where I eat, drink, and be merry until it’s time to slog back to work.

This summer, I propose a free armchair vacation for my readers. How about a trip to King Solomon’s Court? Perhaps a journey to a magical kingdom where princesses disappear each night, only to return with their dancing shoes worn through? Or maybe you’re in the mood for Tokyo, Japan? And in honor of the new Wonder Woman movie (and Amazons in general), why not spend some time in a world where women rule and men are kept only as tools for pleasure?

It doesn’t matter which destinations you choose, because I‘m making them ALL FREE this summer! Yes, every day you visit my Amazon author page, there will be something offered for free. (Besides One Night to Tango, and Taking the Reins, which as you know are always yours for the fantastic low price of 0.00!)

Enjoy your summer reading!

 

BAM! 3 new releases out today!

Yes! The day has come! If you pre-orderd, you are now no doubt enjoying (at least, I hope you’re enjoying it!) one of my brand new, just-released, fresh-off-the-press erotica stories. Two fairy tales and one sort of sexual travelogue… yeah, I’m a bit all over the place these days. But I’m happy with the result.

Now, if you DIDN’T pre-order, you’re still good, because today’s the day they’re all three on sale at our favorite little small-town bookshop, Amazon.com. I think Senegal Beach and The Seal Wife are some of my best work yet…. and Little Big Man & The Rani makes me laugh. (And we all know laughing is sexy!) If you’re curious — and you know you are — check them out!

Senegal Beach — a young Peace Corps volunteer confronts her prejudices. Culture shock can be sexy!

The Seal Wife — a lonely Irish fisherman, a legendary creature; an erotic fairy tale tragedy.

Little Big Man & The Rani — doomed to death if she does not spin straw into gold, Shivangi is willing to bargain with everything she has…

Spinning my wheels

I do love a good fairy tale. But they’ve cleaned most of them up to get rid of all the really good parts, in order to make them acceptable to parents of today’s much more sheltered children. (Pretty sure the old medieval storytellers had fewer qualms… of course, when you only live to be 25, childhood is forcibly much shorter anyway!)

For this erotic fairy tale, I took something fundamentally unsexy — a brutish king obsessed with gold, a pitiful girl doomed to die, and a tricky dwarf who only helps her in return for promises of increasing value — and plopped in right into the middle of pre-Colonial India. So there! Fixed it! Have I mentioned that I think saris are the most physically flattering traditional clothes? Something about the modesty of a veil, with the flash of midriff, and an elegant pleated skirt, just really spells seduction. I enjoyed using that beautiful garment to great effect in Little Big Man & The Rani.

Honestly, this one was purely for the fun of it. And you’ll have fun, too, if you grab it on pre-order today! It will be delivered to you, freshly e-printed, on June 30th. Just in time for summer reading season!

rani cover

Foam on the Sea

I’m on a fairy tale kick lately. It has long been my goal to reimagine some of my favorite old stories in new (and sexier) ways, and to that end I’ve got lots of ideas scribbled down. Two of those ideas actually evolved into complete stories — available for pre-order now, to be released on June 30th.

The first one I want to share is a blending of Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ (yes, the depressing version, where after her deal with the witch the poor mermaid’s every step feels like a thousand knives, the prince dumps her, and her dead body disintegrates into foam on the sea… Scandinavians aren’t known for their happy endings!) and the Celtic legend of selkies, or seal-people.

I really got sucked into this story. It was a fun challenge to imagine this kind of magical creature, all woman on the outside, but somehow animal within. Selkies had the reputation of being excellent wives and mothers, but they always long for the sea. If they find the hiding place of their stolen sealskin, the selkie will not hesitate to snatch it back and return to the waves from whence she came. It’s such a sad and beautiful legend… the perfect match for our Little Mermaid of sea-foam fame.

If you’re curious, pre-order today! I think you won’t regret it. 🙂

selkie cover DONE

It’s Earth Day every day!

I was in Hawaii for a brief vacation a couple months ago, and various cafes, acai bowl shops, and juice bars proudly proclaimed on their travel mugs and tote bags: Earth Day Every Day. Which is easy to remember when you live in paradise, with plumeria trees and coconut palms swaying in the tropical breeze. The rest of us often need more frequent reminders to love and care for this planet we all share.

Everything we do – our mere existence – has an impact on the environment. The trick is to make choices to minimize our impact, or help alleviate it. Species (including our own) are threatened daily by loss of habitat and natural resources. So thoughtful individuals ask themselves, “What can I do?”

One of my all-time favorite erotica authors, Patient Lee, was inspired by that question. Monarch butterflies, much admired for their beauty and incredible migration, are at risk. This article from 2014 gives a good overview of the monarch problem: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/01/29/the-monarch-butterfly-population-just-hit-a-record-low-heres-why/?utm_term=.8b3c6e59c01e

Patient Lee says: “Depletion of milkweed is only one of the factors contributing to the decline in the monarch population, but it is the one factor individual people can do something about. If we plant milkweed in our gardens, we can replace some of the plants lost to farming.” And if we CAN do something, then we SHOULD. And must.

milkweedIf you wonder how diminishing butterfly population could possibly be made into a sexy story, then you are in for a pleasant surprise. Milkweed & Gossamer is one of the most extraordinary, romantic stories I have read in a while. It’s a page-turner, but also thoughtful, bringing up questions we’ve all considered when grappling with the pressures of family, work, school, and a new relationship. There’s also a fun little surprise… but I won’t give everything away!

Whether you’re looking to laugh, cry, or fall in love, this story will deliver. Here’s just a little peek of what you’re gonna get:

Excerpt from Milkweed & Gossamer

During the second week, Carlos and Josh strung the white lights over the party pavilion in preparation for the outdoor party season.

“Yeah, this place is, like, number one for parties for little girls now. They all wear their fairy wings and come party with the butterflies,” Carlos said. “It’s more popular than the bowling alley and the roller-skating rink.”

“What are the lights for? They have these kids’ parties at night?” Josh asked.

“No. It’s a whole different crowd at night. The butterfly house closes at four, but they’ve turned it into a place for all kinds of parties—wine tastings, pig roasts, weddings. You’ll see.”

Josh was climbing the step ladder when the blonde who had given him the hard-on the other day walked into the pavilion. He stumbled a bit when he realized it was the same girl. “Who is that?” He asked in a low tone.

“Hey, Milkweed,” Carlos called. “Come over here. Josh wants to meet you.”

“No! Hey! You didn’t have to call her over,” Josh stage-whispered as she approached.

“Josh, I guess you don’t remember Scott’s little sister, Jaime,” Carlos said. “Jaime, this is Josh. He used to work here when you were still in a training bra.”

“Thanks, Carlos,” she said dryly. “Thanks for pointing that out.”

“Jaime. Holy shit,” Josh said. “You grew up.”

“Yeah. I did,” she said. Josh could tell by the look on her face that she thought he was a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

“I’m sorry. I just . . . Wow,” he said.

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” she said. “Sorry, guys. I gotta go shop for a dress for my party next week.”

She turned and left, once again causing Josh’s cock to stiffen a bit as he watched her ass moving away from him.

“You heard the boss,” Carlos said. “She’s off-limits.”

“Yeah,” Josh said, shaking his head. “Off-limits.” He reached for the lights and then stopped. “Why did you call her Milkweed?”

“Everybody calls her that,” Carlos said. “She’s obsessed with saving the monarchs.”

“Saving the monarchs . . . you mean the butterflies? Aren’t there, like, tons of them?”

“Not as many as there used to be, I guess. That whole greenhouse in the back is milkweed she planted to give away.”

“Why would anyone want to plant weeds?” Josh said.

“The monarchs need the milkweed. It’s her graduation project. Just watch yourself. If she gets an opportunity, you’ll get the whole lecture,” Carlos said. “Twice if you’re alone.”

“I’m not sure she’d want to be alone with me. I didn’t make a very good first impression.”

“Well, it’s probably better that way. Mr. Yaple would fire your ass if he found the two of you alone and your pants were sticking out like that.” He gestured toward Josh’s fly. “And Scott would kick your ass after Mr. Y fired it.”

“Scott is hyper-protective of her.” Josh shook his head. “I don’t get it. Did something happen before?”

“Personally, I think he can’t get a date, so he doesn’t want his little sister dating.”

“He always had girlfriends in high school.”

“Yeah. He was actually engaged for a couple months, too. I think the girl got sick of his ‘waiting until marriage’ philosophy, though.” Carlos grinned. Josh couldn’t tell whether or not he was kidding. “Now c’mon. Back on the fuckin’ ladder. We gotta finish this.”

**

I know, it’s SO good! And the rest is even better.

Author D.E. Vice says: “This story […] managed to be sweet while also showing just the smallest bit of teeth, like a quick, teasing kiss, sandwiched in the middle of a grinding day. The characters were likeable, almost adorable, and your dialogue was exceptional. Unpredictability is a trait I admire as well, and your tale provided that. It was a pleasure to read and left me with a warm, fed but still hungry feeling—satisfied but never sated. Sexy and succulent.

Yeah, I can’t add anything to that. You’re going to want to buy this one, plain and simple!

 

Summer is Coming!

Birds are chirping, the sun is shining, it stays light out until 9 o’clock… yes, summer is almost here! And as usual, I’ll be doing some big giveaways to celebrate my vacation. (Hope you get a summertime break, too!)

Also, for the first time, I’ve decided to release three short stories at the same time. Another first for me is making them available for pre-order. I know, so many firsts, it’s crazy! All three stories will be released on June 30th. But you know you want to be the first to read them, right? So pre-order right now!

**

The first story I want to highlight is an intensely personal one. I’ve mentioned this only briefly, but I lived in Senegal, West Africa for two years in the mid-2000’s. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer stationed in a very small village with all the usual amenities: a mud hut, a grass roof, a well, and a dirt road. And peanuts. Lots of peanuts. It was an incredible (and incredibly challenging) experience. This story is loosely based, not on actual Peace Corps service, but on something I observed during a short – but very informative – trip to the beach.

Senegal has a long Atlantic coastline – no surprise the national dish is fish stew over rice! It has charming coastal villages, brightly painted pirogues, and broad, white-sand beaches. Basically a tourist’s dream… especially if said tourists are also interested in sex. I am hardly an expert, but I saw with my own eyes that it’s the thing to do: both women and men engaging in casual vacation sex with gorgeous beachside companions.

As a young observer, I was disturbed by this. Especially given my background knowledge of poverty in Senegal, and the many dreams of foreign wealth I heard about daily.  Of course I understood and sympathized with the young Senegalese – they were taking advantage of a rare opportunity to make some money. What I did not understand was the many European tourists who came down, not just for the sun, but for the sex. It disturbed me for the simple reason that those White tourists, by the simple fact that their currency is worth more, had huge economic power. Yet they carelessly reinforced a backward kind of modern colonialism. Taking what they wanted from an ‘exotic’ country, and not bothering to truly understand it. Money flying everywhere, all to create the version of Senegal that suited them – a version that includes beautiful, available, anonymous, and cheap (currency exchange, again!) sexual partners.

I’m all for sex work. Legalize everything! But only if sex workers are truly treated fairly, as equals providing a service to other equals. Sex tourism – at least as I observed it – is based fundamentally on the economic superiority of one person, and relative vulnerability of the other. Sad stuff, guys.

And not sexy. Yet, I wanted to explore it, shed some light on it. And also, you know, write a good story. What I accomplished, I think, is some of my best work yet. It sheds some light on this small sliver of Senegal, while also (I hope!) crafting what turned out to be a heartfelt, and sexy, love story.

I hope you enjoy! And remember to pre-order, y’all!

senegal beach cover

Sources for further reading about sex tourism in Senegal:

https://www.pri.org/stories/2010-04-29/senegal-draws-tourists-sun-sea-and-sex

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maya-lau/senegalese-sex-tourism_b_952640.html

http://www.nswp.org/timeline/event/sex-work-legalised-senegal

 

The Sad and Shocking Truth…

… is that, although I write romance and erotica, I honestly don’t read a lot of either.

Because so much of it is bad.

I know! That’s a terrible thing to say! (Especially for someone in my business.) But here’s how it came about. I was down in Portland (Oregon, not Maine) last weekend, and made the inevitable pilgrimage to Powell’s City of Books. (Don’t know it? You haven’t LIVED until you’ve been there! Hope remains for independent bookstores, yet!) Anyway, as anyone who’s ever been to Powell’s knows, it’s organized by genre. Eagerly I perused the aisles of historical fiction, contemporary fiction, graphic novels, classics brought to the forefront again, even the latest-and-greatest nonfiction on display. At last, my arms full of books, I ventured into the back corner, behind the cafe, where they stash all the romance and erotica.

From the moment I entered, I felt turned off. What met my eyes was shelf upon shelf of waxed, muscular, glowering male torsos (in various states of undress, to indicate their respective settings), swooning maidens, and cringe-worthy titles. (“His Christmas Bride,” anyone?) I did my best to give a couple covers a chance, but the blurbs had me running back. Back, back into the relative safety and dignity – indeed, the superior sexiness – of the other fiction aisles.

So what gives? Why is so much romance and erotica so god-awful bad? Honestly, it bums me out, because a story without sex is like bread without butter for me. (Hence my lackluster appreciation of YA… but that’s for another post.) Also, I know for a fact that there are many excellent erotica and romance writers out there, who do far more with their work than deliver the necessary bump and grind. And yet, romance remains a genre I am hesitant to read – despite my interest and appreciation of its content – because the vast majority is, sadly, unpalatable. (Even more appalling… might I be lumped in with authors of such books? Worse, is my writing just as – gulp – bad?!)

What is a person like me to do? I love sexy books, but I also love GOOD books. They have to be one and the same! And that, alas, is the pickle. Until we readers demand smart, literary erotica that stimulates our minds as well as our tingly bits, Powell’s is going to have to keep that section hidden in the far corner of the cafe. Where few people venture anyway, and with good reason.

Back in the saddle again!

After a LONG hiatus, I’m pleased to announce that I have actually written something. (Ta-DAH!) Actually, it’s silly, because it’s the story I’ve been working on for months, and hadn’t managed to get the last scene written to wrap it up. Now, at last, the thing is finished and tied up in a nice pink bow.

Just in time for my summer vacation, which, as you know, is full of relaxation and getting great ideas, but generally void of actual, productive writing!

So here is my promise to you, my faithful blog readers, who have been so patient with my extended absence. I PROMISE to get these three new stories — yes, I have been sitting on three; it’s embarrassing — edited, cover art’d, and out to you before the end of June.

There! I said it, I wrote it, and now I have to do it. So stay tuned! The upcoming weeks have three new releases from me coming right up. (And, I hope, plenty of other sexy surprises, too.)