A Creative Slump

We’ve all been there, right? Things get busy, life is chaotic, and writing falls by the wayside. There’s a more-than-halfway-done story sitting in my file, and yet, somehow, I haven’t managed to sit down and actually finish it. Which is frustrating, because scenes keep dancing in my head, poking at me, burning to be let out… but those fires are doused by the ‘everything else.’

So, in short, I’m not feeling the writing these days. That’s not to say I don’t have stories in the works – there are plenty! – but it’s been weeks since I actually had the creative energy to actually sit down and write. (What can I say? Life happens. And as a part-time artisan, everything else has to be balanced and settled before art can take the forefront again.)

Hopefully I’ll be out of it soon, but if you’re wondering ‘Where is Fionna!?’ that’s the simple answer: in a creative slump.

An Exciting New Release! (Tumble in the Scottish Highlands, anyone?)

After tumbling across – and subsequently devouring – author Emmanuelle de Maupassant’s ridiculously erotic Victorian novel, Gentlemen’s Club, I’ve been avidly keeping up with her latest work. This lady writes the kind of erotica I love: tense, raw, and full of beautiful language, so you can taste each sentence and feel it resonate in your core. Yes, the writing is that good. Her stories make sex entrancing as well as arousing, transforming the pleasure of reading into the joy of participating.

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of her latest, Highland Pursuits. Needless to say, I highly suggest you get yourself a copy! Read on for more details. You don’t want to miss this one!

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Emmanuelle de Maupassant is thrilled to announce the launch of her saucy 1920s romance romp: ‘Highland Pursuits’.

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In celebration, Emmanuelle is not only offering three signed paperback copies, via Goodreads here, but has her entire catalogue on sale for 99c/99p from March 1st-8th: Baby Love, Scarlet, Cautionary Tales and Gentlemen’s Club (as recommended by Stylist Magazine)
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What readers are saying:

“I can’t tell you how much I love this book. It was a true delight to read. The author has captured 1920s Britain wonderfully, and her detail is exquisite.” – Rachel De Vine

“As a comedy of manners, this is exceptionally well done.” – Fionna Guillaume 

“Highland Pursuits is a wry, clever, incredibly sexy romp… a completely engrossing, utterly enjoyable read. I can’t recommend it highly enough…fabulously fun.” – Malin James

“The scene was set beautifully… I felt like I went back in time to high society Scotland.” – Christine of Sweet and Spicy Reads

‘Highland Pursuits’ draws inspiration from a short story of the same title Emmanuelle wrote originally for the charity fundraising anthology Because Beards: all proceeds have been given to the Movember Foundation.

This longer, novella, length offers more scope to explore the wonderful characters’ eye-popping shenanigans. Hamish and Ophelia were in Emmanuelle’s dreams for many weeks, as she wrote this story. high-cover

Find ‘Highland Pursuits’ on Goodreads  and for sale on Amazon

(Pssst…  if you enjoy Highland Pursuits, don’t forget to leave a review. Reviews make books more visible online, bringing new eyes. If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, tag Emmanuelle in your review post and she’ll say hello. )

 

 

Social Media Links:

Explore Emmanuelle’s website here

Find her on Twitter here

and on Facebook here

sign up for Emmanuelle’s newsletter here 

 

Chocolate is a Girl’s Best Friend

I know lately I’ve been offering free books like they’re going out of style, but I couldn’t resist getting my new release out there into the world with a great big giveaway! The Chocolatier, free on Amazon today through 3/2/17. This one is a super shorty, 4,000-ish words of sweet, succulent, drippy, melty chocolate. And sex, of course.

I’m fortunate to be married to a Frenchman, so we go to Paris a lot. It truly is a city like no other. One of my favorite things is going into little shops so specialized, only artisans could staff them. The Fromagier – cheese shop, stocked wth hundreds of varieties, each more pungent than te last; the Boulanger/Patissier, where your mouth will water at the sight of delectable sweets and crusty, hearty breads; the Bucher, with all kinds of fresh meats, cured sausages, and all sorts of fatty things; and the Chocolatier, a specialist of my most favorite culinary indulgence: chocolates, truffles, and candies.

Who wouldn’t want to visit the back room of a chocolate shop? Especially if the artist in question is a maestro of cocoa, cream, and erotic touches…

Please grab your free copy today! It’ll only be $0 until March 2nd, at which point you’ll have to pay up if you want a literary trip to Paris. Enjoy!chocolatier-cover-final

Vive la difference?

Everyone knows that opposites attract. Right? That’s like, the oldest rule of coupling up, or creating fictional couples that belong together. Every romance writer knows, the heroine invariably detests the hero right off the bat — usually for his aggravating confidence and disarming seduction skills — but as the story wears on, she discovers he’s actually a total catch, does a 180, and bam! Opposites come together in a burst of fireworks. (Personally, I blame Jane Austen for all this.)

Of course, in real life things don’t usually happen that way. If you can’t stand a guy when you meet him, chances are you’ll never like him that much. Probably you’re right, and he really IS a jerk. Moreover, when you are attracted to someone in the first place, it’s usually for an entirely different reason: because you have things in common.

I still remember a college Biology class teaching us that some animals actually are attracted to difference. The more different the better! Orange bird gets the hots for blue bird of same species, for example. Then the professor asked us, “And what about humans? Are we attracted to differences, or to similarities?” Of course, we all parroted ‘opposites attract!’ And then she showed us a bunch of engagement photos. Like these:

(All courtesy of Google image search; click to go to source site)
View More: http://angelicacriscuolophotography.pass.us/marlonleslywashington-dc-lesbian-engagement-session-lgbt-37

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First of all, I’d like to say that I wish all of these lovely couples the very best! Long life, happy marriage, and all the good things that go with both. Anyway, as you can see — and as I saw all those years ago in Biology class — most couples are together because, well, they look alike. Because they ARE alike. They have a lot in common. That’s why they’re getting married!

And before you say anything like ‘But what about multiracial couples?’ I will counter by saying that, at least to me, ‘looking alike’ has less to do with the shape of your face, your height, size or shape, or color of your skin, than it does with your expression, the way you carry yourself, and how your personality shows. Kind of like how people grow to look like their dogs, right? And vice versa? Same thing for couples. (My mother-in-law took a look at our wedding photos and proclaimed that my husband and I both had the same smile; they could cut and paste them on our mouths and you wouldn’t know the difference! Doesn’t say much for my shade of lipstick… too discreet, maybe.) So whatever combination you happen to have made, I would bet you and your honey, set side by side, would ‘look like a couple.’ Am I right? Right. Let’s move on.

The reason I’m blogging about this today is because I’m thinking about what it all means for romance writers. Opposites attract, yes, but similarities are what bring staying power to a relationship. Therefore, when developing your characters, keep in mind that they must have more in common than not, if they are to be believable.  Maybe they are the same height, either much taller or shorter than ‘average.’ Perhaps they have a similar interest that ties them together, and affects the way they dress or behave. In lots of couples, both partners wear glasses. Something as simple as that, and yet it can make all the difference.

So let those hot opposites sparkle, crash, and burn, and vive les similaires!

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.

An Evening in Pearls

Those of you who are my avid blog readers know that my husband and I did something fun for Christmas: a sexy advent calendar. Needless to say, it made the December countdown much hotter! Among the goodies to be found in those little numbered boxes was a pearl thong.

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Mine is very much like this little number, only en noir!

There are many variations of this sexy little item. Mine happens to be black stretch lace, with small, faceted jet beads going all the way up and down, front to back. Naturally, I was curious to try it! So I arranged a night out with my husband, slipped into my beaded lingerie, and took copious mental notes. Here’s my hour-by-minute review:

 

6:00 – I put it on. It’s comfortable; the beads are snug, but not too tight. The string rubs pleasantly against my clitoris. I’m thinking this should be a fun night out…

6:20 – In the car. It feels fantastic to walk in the thong — the beads roll and glide, turning me on with every step. My underwear is pretty much taking care of the foreplay element.

6:30 – Getting out of the car, I realize that things have gotten stuck up in my undercarriage. Uncomfortable stuck. It takes a discreet pull and wriggle to pull the beaded string out of where it shouldn’t have been!

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Perhaps larger pearls are the way to go?

6:50 – We sit down in the restaurant booth, and I can feel those beads wedged up in there again. I readjust when the waiter turns around after taking drink orders. Damn, those beads can pinch! (Luckily my husband is a typical man, and is completely oblivious to my underwear interventions.)

 

7:00-7:50 – So long as I don’t move, everything feels okay. No longer exciting, but not painful either, except for the occasional poke when I shift in my seat. (The food was delicious, by the way.)

8:00 – Walking back to the car, I can hardly stand it. The string is driving me nuts! Beads are all up in my business, and it hurts! (Yeah, not in a good way.) I have to stop and pull the lace down, in an attempt to get the string loose. My husband finally notices. He thinks it’s hilarious.

8:20 – We get home and the first thing I do is run upstairs and get out of that damn thong. It pinches my skin in several places, where the beads rolled close to one another and trapped my between. It looks so innocent, now that it’s off! I toss it aside, disgusted.

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I wonder if a double strand of pearls would be better, or worse…

9:00 – Having recovered, I wonder if perhaps I wasn’t too harsh in my assessment. It did feel good at the beginning, right? And the package suggested it could be worn during sex…

 

9:10 – I slip it back on. Once again, my clit ignites upon contact with the beads. Foreplay re-initiated! Feeling sexy again, I saunter down to get my husband.

9:20 – The pearl thong feels great when he has his hand over it, stroking and rubbing. At this point, I’m a believer again. The hard, smooth texture of the beads is a delicious contrast to my husband’s warm skin. However, I’m not sure I’m brave enough to keep it on the whole time…

So we don’t. Once we get down to business, that thong is back on the floor where it belongs!

 

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Next time, I might go for the best of both worlds: a sexy thong, with just enough beading to excite, but not enough to agonize! 

In summary: For me, the pearl thong was great for foreplay and adding a little excitement, but NOT for wearing out on the town! I’ve rarely been to wretchedly uncomfortable. In retrospect, I should have ditched it in the ladies’ room before the appetizer course. However, was it fun to wear? Sure! And it looked great. I say add one to your lingerie collection, but don’t plan to wear it for more than half an hour at a time! (And if your man is anything like mine, most items of clothing don’t stay on that long, anyway.)

 

 

 

Excitica: more self-publishing options for erotica authors

So with the recent demise of our smutty old friend, All Romance eBooks, indie erotica authors  were left somewhat bereft of self-publishing options. Besides mega-business Amazon and upstart Smashwords, which offer so much content erotica can get lost in the crowd. Plus they censor your best nude covers. Well mourn no more! Excitica is here to pick up the pieces.

The What: An online bookstore selling only romance and, especially, erotica.

The How: It’s fairly easy to set up a publisher account, either for yourself or multiple authors sharing the same publisher.

  • You’ll need to do some legwork on your own, in terms of file preparation and conversion. (The free e-book program, Calibre, is great for this.) They take Epub, Mobi, and PDF documents.
  • You also need a complete cover, 1000 pixels height maximum. (Covers can be more explicit! Hooray! Booties and (most of) boobies are welcome. No gentleman’s bits, however, as far as I can see… alas.)
  • Everything else is up to you, the publisher, to input: blurb, categories, etc. (Lots of sub-categories are listed, which is nice. Shop around, though, or you may miss one that applies to your book!) You also set the price, anything from $0.00 on up.

The What-ElseExcitica is a place for all your dirtiest stories!

  • Here is a brief list of some popular tags: Anal, Menage, BSDM, Brother, Creampie, Daddy, Gangbang, Dubcon (dubious consent, in case you didn’t know), Horror, Incest, Rape, Schoolgirl, Sister, Taboo

And there’s plenty more! Anyway, the good news is, if you write anything like that (and hey, don’t we all, sometimes?) then you’ll be among your people. There’s also a romance section, but from a brief glance at the homepage, it’s clear that Excitica is centered on erotica.

The Sales?: Honestly, not great so far for me. Perhaps their readership is limited. Maybe my stuff isn’t dirty enough, or my artsy covers don’t appeal among the sea of naked torsos. However, in the month since I’ve been signed up, I’ve had several downloads of my free stories, and one purchase. So hey, that’s a start!

If you’re an indie erotica author looking to get out there, get more visibility, and sell more books, you might take a look at Excitica.

My Secret Favorite…

I know authors aren’t supposed to have favorite stories. Each new book should be better than the last, and therefore should surpass earlier works, in both quality and the writer’s fondness.

However, I’ve always had trouble living by the rules, and I’m breaking one today by saying that, of all the Ancients stories, The Girl With The Golden Eye (free on Amazon Jan.29-Feb.1) remains my favorite. Why, I cannot say exactly. Something about Khorshid’s character, her loneliness, her resilience, the inner hidden workings of her heart, draw me in. Of all of them, she resonates most in my soul — as does Ardeshir, the man who, finally, comes to find her.

Perhaps it has to do with where I was in life when I began writing it. I read the article about an ancient woman with a golden eye way back in college. I was probably 19 or so. The story bloomed in my mind — still as a budding writer, of course, not yet confident enough to put my work out into the world — and I just sat down, and wrote it. Naturally, it was crap. Which is why, ten years later, I took the time to revise it and bring it into its own. The time and care that demanded made me intimate with the setting and characters. They came from within me, perhaps more than the others. When I read it again, I am reminded of all I’ve done so far in my life, and the many possibilities that remain.

So please enjoy the last of the free “Ancients” stories: The Girl With The Golden Eye.

Read all about my inspiration here: A mystery from the grave

History as Fantasy

Historical fiction is always an exercise in fantastical thinking. However much research is done, artifacts unearthed, or primary sources studied, the past remains ever mysterious. When reading about people in the distant past — or present, if their culture is vastly different from your own — it’s important to let yourself be carried away by their reality, instead of attempting to compare it with yours.

This was the challenge I put to myself when writing my short story about the origins of foot binding in ancient China. (How The Lotus Blossoms — free on Amazon Jan. 26 – 29!) Sure, I can imagine how life might have been for a young woman with deformed feet, in the time before medical care. I can ponder how it might have felt to be torn from her family, sold away in the face of famine. I can channel her triumph and desperation, as she pours herself into one night of passionate seduction.

But can I ever truly understand her? No. At some level, Yao Niang’s character remains a mystery. Even though I created her, there are some things she never shared with me. And maybe that’s appropriate; like the past, we can only ever know so much. The rest is mere wonder, and imagination.

Grab your copy of How The Lotus Blossoms free today!

And Read the original article: Three-inch Golden Lotus: the erotic history and legend of bound feet in ancient China

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Seducing the Seductor

I’m back in the saddle after winning a bout against a monster cold virus (cough cough); it’s been going around. And I’ll celebrate my renewed good health with another free story giveaway! This one is Biblically flavored: Sheba’s Lovely Maidens.

At another point in my life, where I was also sick with some nasty bug, and didn’t have anything else to do, I went ahead and cracked open the complete (Protestant) Bible I got in the fourth grade. Promptly I went to Genesis, chapter 1, verse 1, and didn’t stop until the last page of Revelations. (Yes, I read the whole thing in one go — like I said, I had a long convalescence! And no TV.)

Anyway, all the really fun and crazy stories are — no surprise — in the Old Testament. It’s full of war, betrayal, rape, seduction, lies, incest, miracles, sex, foreign invaders, sacrifice (human and otherwise), prostitution, masturbation; basically, everything interesting. If you can get through the long lists of who begat who, you can find plenty to tantalize your imagination. However, even in the midst of this excitement, one chapter continues to astound me: the Song of Songs.

What’s a love song doing in the Bible? It’s beautiful poetry, but erotic too; there is lengthy description of the beloved’s body, not to mention what our lovers intend to do with one another. I have no idea how the book made it through the Council of Nicea. But there it is — and it’s wonderful. My favorite part of the whole Bible.

As an author, I couldn’t help but take that scene, and run with it. Why not throw the Queen of Sheba’s epic visit to King Solomon into the mix, as well? The result: your free story of the week, Sheba’s Lovely Maidens. Enjoy!

Read the original blog post: Untold Stories of the Bible: the Queen of Sheba