It’s here! The last book in the excellent November Snow series!

Those of you who actually read my blog know I am a HUGE fan of A.M. Manay’s November Snow series. I’ve had the great pleasure to read them all, and the frustration of finishing book two – which ends in a nail-biting cliffhanger, by the way. Now, at last, the long-anticipated third book is here! She Marches Through Fire : November Snow book 3.

I’m not a vampire-romance groupie, and usually books about supernatural creatures… well… bore me. There’s so much magic in the real world I’d prefer to sink my teeth into! Therefore it was my delight and surprise to fall utterly in love with A.M. Manay’s characters and story. Despite all their special powers, the fairies, werewolves, demons, and vampires in this series are never one-dimensional. Their world is our own, with all its challenges and joys, its hope and disillusion. It’s rare when an author can blend to much reality into a fantasy tale, but this is it! And the result is something even more rare: a rich, fast-paced, thrilling series that I could not put down.

Please do yourself a favor and buy all three November Snow books today! I’m serious. They’re THAT good.

Celebrate Romance!

Valentine’s Day is coming soon, and to celebrate I’m offering a lovely selection of erotic-romantic stories for your FREE reading enjoyment! These giveaways only last for a couple of days, so get in there now before they’re done. Because everyone knows, the best way to celebrate romance is with lots of steamy hot erotica. To be enjoyed alone or en couple. 😉

Here’s what you can get:

An Amazon’s Equal – free on February 13th!

amazonequal3DcoerPyrena, an Amazonian warrior, lives in an idyllic society. All sisters, the Amazons share everything: work, meals, homes… and captive men. The men they keep are for pleasure; love is unknown among these fierce women. For Pyrena, things become more complicated after she captures a handsome Greek warrior, Astrastos. As she comes to know him, she begins to realize that her world is not so perfect, after all.

Flowers for the Ancients – free through Feb. 14th!

flowers-working-coverThis collection of erotic stories features women across the ancient world, from Africa, through the Middle East, to Asia. Their stories are as diverse as the heroines. They are queens and peasants; virgins and mothers; loveless and adored. Some of their names are familiar. Others are unknown. All of them lived, and lusted, and loved. Just like us.

 

lemonscoverLemons In Their Slippers: an erotic romance retelling of ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses’– free through the 14th!

If you’re in the mood for some erotically imagined fairy tales, this one written just for you! Why did those princesses really wear out their dancing shoes? (It should come as no surprise that more than the shoes got some action every night!) Romantic and sexy, this remains one of my fuzzy-good-feelings favorites.

And finally, ALL the ‘Ancients’ stories are FREE on the 14th only! The stories (also to be found all together, in Flowers for the Ancients) are: Sheba’s Lovely Maidens,   Queen of Beauty,   Buktu’s Well,   The Girl With The Golden Eye,   A Bride for Seven Brothers, and   How The Lotus Blossoms.

Beauty Never Dies

For my second “Ancients” collection giveaway, I’m going to go ahead and offer what is perhaps the best story in the entire collection: Queen of Beauty. It’s the best, I think, because of the situation and Nefertiti’s character – an older woman, uncertain in her role, battling midlife worries everyone faces. At the same time, her husband is dying, the kingdom is being torn apart from within, and if that weren’t enough, she’s falling in love!

Falling in love is the worst thing that could possibly happen to you. Also, potentially, the best. What I tried to explore with Nefertiti’s story is the many ways love can manifest, especially as we mature and grow into ourselves. (Which begs the questions: is teenage love the “real thing?” Is love ageless, or does it deepen with time? Is romantic love possible without physical attraction? At what point does friendship give way to love?)

Sink deep into love’s many incarnations (and the meaning of beauty, too) with this free story. It’s a visit to a fascinating moment in Egypt’s history, too, during the reign of the first known monotheist king.

History fans: read the original post here: Nefertiti On My Mind

And every kind of fan, be sure you grab your free copy of Queen of Beauty!

The importance of a varied diet

We all know we need to eat our fruits and vegetables, limit fat and sweets, balance our whole-grain carbohydrates and healthy proteins. The importance of a varied diet is well documented. But the same goes for reading: if we overindulge in our favorite things (and be honest about your sugary favorites!) we end up with rotted teeth and diabetes. Or, in the literary sense, a lazy, mushy mind.

To that end, I encourage everyone — writers especially — to diversify their reading diet. Truly, it keeps your senses sharp, and offers plenty of perspective that can improve your own writing. If you don’t read, you can’t write. Period. (And if you don’t read many different genres and styles, you can’t write well.)

And just so no one can claim I don’t practice what I preach, here is a list of some recent books I have read and enjoyed, more or less in order. Amazon buy links included, as well as genre. With a growing stack on the horizon, I’ll be busily eating my literary vegetables for a long time! (And, you know, indulging in candy bars regularly too…)

Currently reading: The Things They Carried – fiction – The Vietnam War revisited through a series of brief, vivid tales, each a visceral reminder of the horrors of war.

The Cellist of Sarajevo – literary fiction – A gritty, wrenching portrayal of a city under siege, and the struggle to preserve humanity under inhuman circumstances.

Knight of Jerusalem: a biographical novel of Balian d’Ibelin – historical fiction – Well researched and unique, focusing on a little-known character during the medieval Christian occupation of the Holy Land.

The Shipping News – contemporary fiction – Superb characterization, snappy writing, and a darkly humorous look at love, life and struggle in modern-day Newfoundland.

Saga – graphic novel/space opera – One of the best things I have read, ever. Great adventure story, excellent dialogue, and gorgeous artwork. Go get yourself a copy now!

The Sport of Kings – literary fiction – A new take on the dark, gothic Southern family saga. Incest, violence, wealth, and racism intersect in all the worst possible ways.

My Antonia – American fiction – It’s a classic for a reason. People just don’t write like this anymore.

I Won a Basket of Porn – erotica/humor – In case you needed another reason to love author Patient Lee! Hilarious fun poked at small-town politics. Plus sex.

Because Beards – erotica/romance anthology – A fun collection of sexy stories, all with some kind of bearded hero. Some were excellent; all were okay. Plus, it’s for charity!

A Heart’s Promise – romance – On the sweet side, a classic romance novel featuring a horse-loving gal and a hot, modern cowboy.

Little Birds – erotica – Sexy short stories, from back in the day when erotica was all about turning on classy, well-read rich people.

Ancillary Justice – science fiction – An unusual SciFi adventure, featuring a ship that is also, somehow, a person. Totally unique.

All The Light We Cannot See – historical fiction – The kind of book that moves you to tears… and makes you wish you could write like that. Utterly superb.

 

Effortless Diversity : a book review

Some books can justifiably be defined as masterpieces. These are literary works that stand the test of time; The Classics, and all the other fine novels and texts we can read over and over again without tiring. All of us have books like that. I, for one, have always loved losing myself in words, in the geography of my imagination.

My husband, however, is not like that. If he reads a text-heavy book, it is probably nonfiction. However, a true Frenchman, he has long been an admirer of graphic novels. In the American context, these have until recently often been dismissed as (or rather, lumped in) with comic books. Superheroes and stuff. No offense if that’s your thing; too much spandex for my taste.

One book we can both agree on, now, is Saga. This is fast becoming one of my favorite series ever. It is, essentially, a space opera. Think SciFi/Romance. Yet of the deepest, most engaging kind. Yes, sexy aliens are getting naked and busy on a regular basis (That’s fun! And hey, graphic novel, so you get the artsy eye candy to go with…), but there’s so much more to it. Themes of diversity; clash of cultures; discrimination and stereotyping; the meaning of family; even the uniting power of literature; are woven throughout the main story. Adventure can be found aplenty, but for me, Saga is an inspiring example of effortless diversity. (Much like the delightful online cartoon I previously mentioned, Fated.)

15704307With my recent musing on how to address white privilege in writing, reading the recently-released sixth book of Saga was a welcome reminder that there is lots of great literature out there already fighting the good fight. In Saga, aliens come in all shapes, sizes, ages and colors. They live together, fuck together, fight each other, and generally are no better or worse than most “humans;” except way more badass. The blend makes this fantastic world excitingly familiar. Reading Saga, I can totally imagine how an inter-galactic, multi-species society might be. And you know what? All of a sudden, small differences are erased by the bigger picture. That picture happens to be an endless (and pointless) civil war, but hey, conflict has to come from somewhere.

Saga is the real deal. If you want some seriously good science fiction – and enjoy beautiful art, snappy dialogue, an un-put-downable story, thoughtful sexiness, and effortless diversity to boot – then you need to buy a copy right now. I’ll just be counting the months until the next book comes out…

Because Beards keep you warm… in more than one way!

I’m one of those women who happens to love beards. Don’t get me wrong; there are many handsome, smooth-faced men out there, and I appreciate that many cultures do not admire beards (mostly, cultures where most of the men can’t grow one… just sayin’). In my younger years, I was attracted to boyish good looks. You know, charming young men wit lots of hair on their heads and practically none anywhere else. Thinking back on it, I believe that was because they seemed “safer” to me, less virile or masculine, more familiar to my girlish eyes. Now that I’m older, wiser, and far sexier, however, I have decided that the woman in me is most aroused by a mature man. By which I mean the kind that grows hair. Everywhere.

Yes, hairy chests are my thing, and hairy faces too. Alas, my husband will never have a Viking’s capillary talents, but I do enjoy his scruffy beard after a week or two. (And the fun part is, when he shaves it off I get to enjoy all the stages of its regrowth… almost as much fun as having an affair with a clean-shaven guy, and not nearly as much trouble!)

For all you ladies (and gents) who, like me, love a man with a beard, I am delighted to announce the upcoming release of a beard-themed erotica anthology: Because Beards. What’s even better than that? Why, all profits go to charity! So now you can actually feel good during your feel-good sexy times.

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Read on for author bios, a sexy sneak peek, and more!

***

beards4Be it a little scruff or a full length beard, there’s nothing more attractive than a man with a well-groomed face. Masculine. Powerful. Sexy. Devoted. Lose yourself in this tantalizing collection of original short stories by your favorite romance authors in support of a great cause. Hipster CEO, bartender, best friend, baseball player—just to name a few—these men all have one thing in common: they’re bearded for your pleasure and deliver one hell of a happy ever after.

All proceeds from this anthology will be donated to The Movember Foundation, an organization that supports charities in the research and treatment of prostate and testicular cancer as well as other men’s health initiatives.

Written by Alexis Alvarez, Faith Andrews, M. Andrews, Jeannine Colette, Hayley Faiman, Angelita Gill, Ace Gray, Ruthie Henrick, Scott Hildreth, Evie Lauren, Jerica MacMillan, R.C. Martin, Emmanuelle de Maupassant, Leslie McAdam, Maria Monroe, Adrienne Perry, J. Quist, Renee Rose, Kacey Shea, Martha Sweeney, and Tom Sweeney.

beards1Sexy Excerpt: The Beard Made Me Do It by Scott Hildreth

I grabbed my purse, turned toward the bathroom, and began to walk away. Carefully placing each foot in front of the other, and at least attempting to look sophisticated, I intentionally walked past the bearded wonder positioned between me and the restroom.

As I walked by, I glanced over my shoulder.

I would have sworn our eyes met.

Maybe it was because I wanted them to.

Either way, he was the most handsome man I had ever seen.

His beard?

Perfection defined.

After relieving myself of the afternoon’s alcohol, I stood at the sink and stared blankly into the mirror. Mentally preparing to talk to the magnificent stranger, I was convinced I had what it took – short of a little courage – to impress him.

I turned toward the door, inhaled a breath of bravery, and pulled it open.

Oh shit!

Standing on the other side of the door stood the bearded wonder. Wearing a shitty little smirk, it appeared he knew I was coming. Although I had many things planned to say, and many more I wanted to say, I executed none of my plans.

Instead, I stepped to the side, gazed at him with wide eyes, and muttered a half-hearted apology as I passed. “Sorry,” I squeaked.

His hand gripped my shoulder lightly. “Wait.”

Oh God.

My legs began to shake. I turned around.

“Yeah?”

“You’re single, adventurous, and have no problem keeping a secret,” he said flatly. I couldn’t help but notice that his teeth seemed as white as the winter snow, but it was his beard that commanded my attention.

I stared back at it – and him – in disbelief.

His eyes narrowed slightly. “Am I right?”

My eyes were still fixed on his beard. I nodded. “Uh huh.”

He reached for my hand, turned toward the back door, and paused. “You’re going to come with me.”beards2

Author Bios:

About Kacey Shea

Kacey Shea is a mom of three, wife, and indie author who resides in sunny Arizona. She enjoys reading and writing romance novels as much as her son loves unicorns, which is a lot. She has an unhealthy obsession with firefighters. It could be the pants. It could be the fire. It’s just hot and on occasion she has been known to include them, without their knowledge, in her selfies outside the grocery store. Kacey’s contemporary romance novels are a mix of humor and heat, all the while weaving a story that brings readers joy and keeps them guessing every turn of the page! (Website www.kaceysheabooks.com )

About Angelita Gill

Angelita is the author of fun, sexy contemporary romance, where the heroes tend to drop sexual innuendo, and the heroines have all the real power.

When she’s not torturing them to their happily-ever-after, Angelita loves volunteering for the arts, spending time with her own alpha hero and dancing with her friends while she tries not to spill her wine. Sign up for her newsletter here. (Website: www.angelitagill.com )

About Ace Gray

Ace Gray is a self-proclaimed troublemaker and connoisseur of both the good life and fairy tales. After a life-long love affair with books, she undertook writing the novel she wanted to read, which culminated in her first release STRICTLY BUSINESS then the remainder of the MIXING BUSINESS WITH PLEASURE SERIES and now the TWISTED FAIRY TALE series. Often she is referred  to as the creator of adult Highlights and the Oprah of D. Insert winky face emoji here…

When she’s not writing, she owns her own business teaching Pilates and slings brews at Deschutes Brewery. She loves rainy days, shellac manicures, coffee shops and bourbon—all of which are bountiful in her adopted home of Portland, OR where she runs amok with her chef husband and two huskies. (Sign up for the wild and crazy newsletter here: http://www.ace-gray.com/extra-extra-read-all-about-it/ )

About Alexis Alvarez

Alexis Alvarez is an author, photographer, and digital designer who loves writing steamy romances.  Her female heroines are always strong, intelligent women who fall for the sexiest guy around…and get the happy-ever-after ending of their dreams.

You can usually find Alexis hanging out with her family or her sisters, who are also romance writers, at their website, Graffiti Fiction.  The three of them love to drink wine together and laugh like hyenas while making dirty jokes and inappropriate comments. Their mom is very proud.

Alexis loves meeting new people on Facebook, so please come on by and say hello. Thanks and happy reading! (Website:  http://graffitifiction.com/ )

About Scott Hildreth

Born In San Diego California, Scott now calls Naples, Florida home. Residing along the gulf of Mexico with his wife and children, he somehow finds twelve hours a day to work on his writing. A hybrid author who has published more than two-dozen romance and erotica novels, his three book Mafia Made series through Harlequin is due to start release with the first book in summer 2016.

Scott has spent his entire life pushing boundaries, and his writing is no exception. His books are steamy, however, they always include an HEA, and have no cheating, no sex outside the relationship, and no OW OM drama.

Addicted to riding his Harley-Davidson, tattoos, and drinking coffee, he can generally be found in a tattoo shop, on his Harley, or in a local coffee house when not writing.

Loyal to the fans and faithful followers who allowed him to make writing a full-time career, Scott communicates with his followers on Facebook almost daily. He encourages his readers to follow him on Facebook and Twitter. (Website: www.scotthildreth.com )

About J. Quist

Whether growing up with five sisters in a small midwestern town (population 700), cleaning campground restrooms (yes, totally gross), teaching patients to walk again (awesome career), J. Quist is always surrounded by interesting people. Where there are people, there are stories. So many stories to tell.

Some of her favorite things include Duran Duran, iced tea, all sports, books, musicals, soccer boys and neuroanatomy. Oh, and tacos. Don’t forget the tacos.

Quist lives in the concrete desert metropolis of Phoenix with her husband and three daughters. You can find her on the sidelines of her kids’ soccer games, working with special needs children as physical therapist, reading all the books and cheering for her beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers and Liverpool Football Club.

About Faith Andrews

Faith Andrews is living out her dream right outside the greatest city in the world, New York City. Happily married to her high school sweetheart, she is the mother of two beautiful and wild daughters, and a furry Yorkie son named Rocco Giovanni. When she’s not tapping her toes to a Mumford & Sons tune or busy being a dance mom, her nose is stuck in a book or she’s sitting behind the laptop, creating her next swoon worthy book boyfriend. Coffee addict, lover of wine and cheese, and sucker for concerts and Netflix, Faith believes in love at first sight and happily ever after. (Website : authorfaithandrews.com)

About Renee Rose

USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR RENEE ROSE is a naughty wordsmith who writes BDSM and spanking romance novels. Named Eroticon USA’s Next Top Erotic Author in 2013, she has also won The Romance Reviews Best Historical Romance, and Spanking Romance Reviews’ Best Historical, Best Erotic, Best Ageplay and favorite author. She’s hit #1 on Amazon in the Erotic Paranormal, Western, and Sci-fi categories and is a contributor to Write Sex Right and Romance Beat. She also pens BDSM stories under the name Darling Adams. (Website: www.reneeroseromance.com )

 

About Martha Sweeney

Martha Sweeney is an Amazon Best-Selling author for her Just Breathe trilogy and her writing has just begun.  She plans on writing in a variety of genres other than just romance, some of which will overlap into mystery, suspense, and science fiction, and has already released a book themed coloring book entitled “Bookish.”

Martha has been creative since she was little, always drawing, coloring or making crafts. When her adult life kicked in, her creative outlet disappeared until she discover Adobe Creative Suite products. Now, Martha is a self-taught graphic and website designer, works with her husband on their business, and writes into the wee hours of the night.

She lives in sunny California and has recently begun to enjoy reading in the past few years, unlike in high school or college which has sparked her new creative avenue of writing. (Website: www.marthasweeney.com )

About Maria Monroe

Hi! I’m Maria Monroe, contemporary romance author. I’m honored to be part of this anthology, which benefits such an important cause.

I hope you enjoyed Tessa and Ben’s adventure participating in the Wife Carrying Competition (which is actually a real thing)! Tessa’s friend Jessica is the star of my book The Rescue, which takes place in the same fictional town of Deerfield, ME, as this story does. And my novel  Julian & Lia is about an innocent freshman at Maine University at Deerfield (MUD), who meets sexy college senior Julian. (Website: www.graffitifiction.com )

About Jeannine Colette

Jeannine Colette is the author of the Abandon Collection, a series of standalone novels featuring dynamic heroines who have to abandon their reality in order to discover themselves . . . and love along the way.

A graduate of Wagner College and the New York Film Academy, Jeannine went on to become a Segment Producer for television shows on CBS and NBC. She left the television industry to focus on her children and pursue a full-time writing career. She lives in New York with her husband, the two tiny people she adores more than life itself, and a rescue pup named Wrigley. (Websitewww.JeannineColette.com )

About Leslie McAdams

Bestselling author Leslie McAdam writes about the men you fantasize about. Her first published novel, The Sun and the Moon, won a 2015 Watty, which is the world’s largest online writing competition. She lives in a drafty old farmhouse on a small orange tree farm in Southern California with her husband and two children.

Join her active Facebook fan group, Southwinds Coffee, for near-constant mancandy and giveaways: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SouthwindsCoffee/ (Website: www.lesliemcadamauthor.com )

 

About R.C. Martin

R.C. Martin is a dreamer of stories and a writer of words. Forever a Colorado girl at heart, the Rocky Mountains is where her characters come to life and their journeys begin. For more from R.C. Martin, be sure to visit her social media pages! (Website: www.rcmartinbooks.com )

 

About Hayley Faiman

Hayley Faiman is an only child, born in California. She currently resides in Texas with her husband, of twelve years, their two boys, and a chocolate lab named Optimus Prime. (Website: http://hayleyfaiman.com/ )

About Ruthie Henrick

Ruthie’s an Arizona girl, married to her high school sweetheart and mama to three grown sons. She writes contemporary romance with heroes who make you swoon, yet might live right next door. She’s a true romance junkie and a lifetime avid reader who spent far too much time shushing the voices in her head—until the day she sat down at her keyboard to see what all those voices had to say.

She’s a big fan of coffee and easy to cook meals, and she loves country music. It’s generally the soundtrack to whatever she has going on. At work, doing housework, in the car—the music is always on. Except when she writes—that she does in silence.

Ruthie loves chatting with other readers, sharing her favorite books and authors, and discovering those new to her. Go by and hang out with her on any of her social media! (Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/XHh0Oo )

About Jerica MacMillan

Jerica MacMillan is a lifelong reader and lover of romance.  Nothing beats escaping into a book and watching people fall in love, overcome obstacles, and find their happily ever after.  She is the author of six books in two series: Players of Marycliff University and The Rebound Series. She was named a semifinalist in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write 2015 contest.

Jerica is living her happily ever after in North Idaho with her husband and two children.  She spends her days building with blocks, admiring preschooler artwork, and writing while her baby naps in the sling.  Sign up to join her Book Club at www.JericaMacMillan.com and get a free book!  you can hang out with her in her closed reader group on Facebook—Jerica MacMillan’s Book Junkies.

About Evie Lauren

Evie Lauren resides near the beautiful mountains of Arizona, but was born and raised in Florida and is a beach girl at heart. She writes young adult fiction under the pen name R.S. Reed. While her passion has always been her young adult series, L.I.A., romance at any age is a story that she loves to tell, and the characters from her short story Hometown Prince have quickly become two of her favorites. Thank you for the support and the love, and for taking time to spend a few minutes in Hannah and Rhett’s little corner of the world. To keep up to date on all of her new projects, check out her website, and follow the links on that page for her social media. (Website: http://www.rsreedbooks.com )

About M. Andrews

Andrews resides in the suburbs of Seattle with her husband and two daughters. She is a self-proclaimed cupcake hound and coffee addict who loves to write sticky sweet erotic romance. M is the author of the Gambling on Love Series and the Sticky Sweet Series. (Website: mandrewsauthor.com )

About Adrienne Perry

Adrienne Perry writes contemporary erotic romance with plenty of heat and humor.  When she’s not writing fiction, she is a professional science writer and in her spare time she likes to warp young minds (but only those of her own children and sometimes her nieces and nephew).    

For more information about Adrienne and her two real-life sisters, who also write romance novels visit http://graffitifiction.com.

About  Tom Sweeney

Wanting to expand his creativity and storytelling skills beyond music, Thomas has now added being an indie author to his repertoire.  He’s already working on two new stories, one of which is a continuation of his first novel, “The Harem.”

Thomas has read a lot of great and inspiring books over the years. From training and experience in this wonderful thing we call life, he was inspired to become an author. (Website: www.theharembook.com )

About Emmanuelle de Maupassant

Emmanuelle de Maupassant lives with her husband (maker of tea and fruit cake) and her hairy pudding terrier (connoisseur of squeaky toys and bacon treats).

She is best known for her ‘Noire’ series: named by Stylist Magazine as among the sexiest reads of 2015. Her latest work, a feast of the unsettling and the erotic, is Cautionary Tales, inspired by Russian folklore and superstitions. (Website: www.emmanuelledemaupassant.com )

Elizabeth Bennet Syndrome

So I’ve been reading a lot of romance novels lately – what a surprise! And something struck me. Not for the first time, but for some reason I felt the need to define it, and respond to it. I call it: The Elizabeth Bennet Syndrome.

Here’s what it is (and you’ll surely recognize this plot point right away): that typical – almost expected – part of a romance novel, when the two main characters are just getting to know each other. And instead of hitting it off, they actually start out disliking the other. Sometimes mere annoyance or discomfort due to unfulfilled sexual tension, but often full-on “I can’t stand you” confrontations. Yes, just like Lizzie Bennet and her hate/love relationship with the inimitable Mr. Darcy, of Pride & Prejudice fame.

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The smoldering eyes, the sexual tension, the money… Of course, it takes several dramatic hours before the actually smile at one another!  (And before you speak, there IS no other version than the BBC one. Don’t mention that recent movie they made – not a candle to it!)

When Jane Austen does this, it works beautifully because (as we learn throughout the course of the story), Lizzie and Darcy really are a great match for each other, but this only comes about through communication, gradual understanding, and seeing Darcy in a clingy white shirt after a hot&sexy swim in his (huge, rich) mansion’s pond. However, honestly, even when reading the original Pride & Prejudice, Darcy & Elizabeth’s relationship is not my favorite. No, I’m a fan of Bingley and Jane.

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So good together!

In stark contrast to her sister, Jane Bennet falls for Mr. Bingley, the all-around nice guy. (Not as rich as his friend, incidentally, but sufficiently well off for a practical Regency gal). Jane and Bingley are instantly attracted to one another, not merely physically, but also because they have similar, complimentary personalities and worldviews. Basically, they are a perfect match.

So why do we swoon for the Darcy’s of the world, and not the Bingley’s? Why do so many romance novels have characters who dislike each other in the beginning, and then fall in love? Why not fall for the nice guy first?

Part of it, I think, is the idea that the more “tension” you have in your relationship, the more passionate it is. Darcy and Lizzie argue, which leads us to envision bedroom delights of the tie-up-throw-down variety. (You know, the fun kind!) Whereas happy, easygoing Jane & Bingley don’t demonstrate that outward confrontation. Sex is a game and a battle; who’s on top, who’s setting the rhythm; who climaxes first; who yells and who thrashes. It’s all about control and submission, just like an argument, really.

The problem I have is how this translates to expectations, in literature and in the real world. As authors, we are taught that stories must have conflict. So when writing romance, naturally it is tempting to pit the protagonists against one another, only to bring them together in a blaze of exploding hormones later on. I get it; tension is hot, it gets the pulse going, it keeps you turning the pages, wondering how they will end up together. The less they like one another in the beginning, the more dramatic their eventual relationship seems on the page.

But life is not really like that. From personal experience, I can tell you that usually, the guy you don’t like at first is actually a guy you will not like, ever. Probably, he’s a jerk. Maybe controlling, maybe just has personal issues, or someone you don’t click with for whatever reason. That does not make the sex better. (The opposite is often true, in fact; those guys can be selfish in bed, and I don’t care how much erotic tension there is between you, if he’s crap in the sack, he’s not worth your time!) On the other side of the coin, couples who just seem to get along and be cool together can have awesome, passionate, kinky sex lives. True relationships are built on respect and communication. So is great sex. (We don’t read about it, but I bet sweet Mr. Bingley has some unexpected tricks up his perfectly tailored sleeves… lucky Jane!)

We need to see more of that represented in literature and film. Not only because it’s true – and I like to seek truth in fiction – but also because it’s way more interesting than retelling Elizabeth Bennet’s story. That’s been done over and over again. And seriously folks, Jane Austen already did it best.

First Sexy Books – remembering your literary first time

If you don’t already follow SexScribbler on WordPress, you should! Not only is she an amazing writer, she also reveals these bits and pieces that remind me we are never alone. Not now, in our over-connected world, and not ever. Who doesn’t remember the first time they discovered sex in a book? I certainly do… it’s one of those memories that will stay with me forever.

Mine was a surprise. I was a huge horse girl – one of those who preferred horses to boys all through puberty (and with good reason, considering the quality of the boys at the time… men, like wine, are better aged). Anyway, I volunteered at the school library, and as it was a K-12 school there were books at all levels. As I was reshelving some high schooler’s novel, I came across the evocatively-titled The Valley of Horses, by Jean M. Auel. Of course I grabbed it, and therein discovered not only a fabulously feminist version of prehistory, but also enough smoldering sex scenes to blow my little thirteen-year-old mind. Needless to say, I eagerly read through the rest of the series, and the rest is history.

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My first experiences of sex were in the pages of books. I was an avid reader growing up and one day it dawned on me that not only could I find adventure and romance in books but there was sex too! …

Source: First Sexy Books

Summertime Freedom!

School’s out for the summer! And so am I. Ahead of me are five wonderful weeks of relaxation and freedom, as I enjoy time with family overseas we only get to visit once a year, catch up on my pleasure reading (and pleasure of all kinds, for that matter), and indulge myself in excessive quantities of food, wine, and sex. In other words, I’m going on vacation.

And so are my books! From June 25th – August 5th (yes, I know, I have an awesome vacation schedule), a large selection of my work will be available for FREE on Smashwords and AllRomance eBooks.

So what does that mean for you? Well, quite simply, it means click on all the links and read erotica to your heart’s content, for the beach bum vacation price of nothing. Now that’s summertime freedom! (As usual, I only request that if you read it, you leave a review. Reviews make indie authors smile!)

Here’s what’s free for you this summer:

tango cover (804x1024)One Night To Tango : a hot-blooded one night stand… with ball gowns. (Permanently free on Amazon, Smashwords, and ARe)

 

cowboy cover NEWTaking the Reins : sweet & sexy cowboy romance at the horse show! (Permanently free on Amazon, Smashwords, and ARe)

 

lemons thumbnailLemons in their Slippers: an erotic romance retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses (with all the good bits…)  Smashwords or ARe

 

football thumbnailFootball Her Way : lots of halftime fun in the marital bed of this adventurous couple! Smashwords or ARe

 

bday thumbnailHer Birthday Breeding : purely for fun (and, you know, to channel that primal reproductive beast within each of us), join a vibrant married couple and their sexy stud-for-hire in a birthday party to remember. Smashwords or ARe

 

NotSoSquareTHUMBNAILNot So Square : this accountant isn’t as square as he originally seems… and what he does with clothespins might change the way you look at laundry forever. Smashwords or ARe

 

Sheba thumbnailSheba’s Lovely Maidens :  a sensual visit to King Solomon’s Court in the encourage of our magnificent Queen of Sheba. Smashwords or ARe

 

Nefertiti thumbnailQueen of Beauty : Nefertiti lives again! A story of  the love, sacrifice, and passion that grows with maturity. Smashwords or ARe

 

amazonequal3DcoerAn Amazon’s Equal : this is the big freebie, so grab it now! Novel-length erotic romance, featuring an Amazonian feminist fantasy, sexy Greek warriors, and true love. Smashwords or ARe 

 

Also, stay connected on Wattpad to follow the story of my current work in progress, Major Arcana: sex, love, and Tarot. It’s more than halfway done now, so you can use your summer reading time to catch up! (Plus, always free to read on Wattpad, at least until it’s done. Be sure to check it out!)

maor arcana
Major Arcana: sex, love, and Tarot