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!

 

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The book I wish I’d read in college

So I graduated from college a rather long time ago, but time is relative, and I still remember well how I looked, felt, and reacted back then. Without giving away too much of my not-so-sordid history, suffice it to say that in college I was on a mission to get a good education in every way: academically, of course, but also socially in doing everything (and everyone) I wanted to do. Like most college girls, this involved a lot of romantic and sexual disappointments. (Let’s just say that, in my opinion, men are like red wine, not white; you want to enjoy them aged.) Anyway, those many years ago I decided to treat myself after each of the oh-so-common breakups. And my treat was romance novels.

Now, when I read a romance novel, I’m looking for romance, of course. But mostly I’m in the market for sex. At the time, I didn’t know about erotica, or how to find it – oh, poor innocent! – so I was pretty much stuck with the paperback shelf at Barnes & Noble. (Yes, as I said, this was quite some time ago.) Due to the nature of college relationships, I ended up reading quite a few romance novels. But the vast majority of them left me unsatisfied. My complaints:

  1. Not enough sex. Pretty straightforward.
  2. Most of the time, it involved a virginal girl who is gradually subdued by a much more experienced man. Not a bad thing at all, except when it happens again, and again, and again, to the point of the predictable.

Being an even more ardent feminist in college than I am now (and I am still), this infuriated me. Why, I thought, are there no romance novel where the more experienced woman shows the man a thing or two? Why does the virginal girl always get to have all the fun? And why aren’t there more sex scenes?! (In response to that frustration, I started writing erotica. And I still do, so don’t ever let anybody tell you that I don’t use any of what I learned in college! Worth every penny.)

All this to say, after my disappointments with romantic literature as a young woman, I began to write my own. I wanted a story that had the elements of a romance novel, but with a strong and sexually experience heroine, and a story line that, while developing a romance, mostly revolves around sex. I was also something of a fantasy geek at the time, which helped me build a fantastic setting: a historical fantasy universe where the mythical Amazons of ancient Greece did, in fact, exist. The society they built would naturally be centered on women, but how would they reproduce? How would they manage things? How would they defend their lifestyle? And what about love? All these questions were the basis of An Amazon’s Equal.

I wrote it, began to hate it, abandoned it, came back to it years later, finished it, started to like it again, re-read and changed it, and finally decided it was good. You know, the usual writer’s process. But I struggled to find a place for it. It’s not strictly erotica, being a full-length novel. It’s not the typical romance novel, either (Harlequin wouldn’t touch this with a ten-foot pole!). Also, as it was born of the feelings and desires of my college years, it is not the kind of book that would necessarily attract an older audience. So, what is it? I pondered and put the book on ice while I did some more research. Then, by chance, I stumbled across it: New Adult!

New Adult is a fairly new genre focusing on protagonists between the ages of 18-25-ish. The events and situations are meant to appeal to readers in this age bracket, as well; think about yourself in college, and what kinds of books attracted you then. (I’m imaging myself at the 24-hour cafe, drinking far too many chai tea lattes while voraciously finishing the latest book…) Another way to think about it is as Young Adult, but now of legal drinking age. Yes, New Adult Romance is a thing, and this, I discovered to my delight, is where my book belongs.

Another long story to explain my decisions and, I hope, my writing choices for this novel. Although I’m all grown up now (more or less), it’s fun to relive those college days. If you’re in the mood for a sexy stroll down memory lane – or if you’re still in college and in the mood for a fantasy romance that promises lots more than ye olde grocery store bookshelf – I invite you to check it out.

Girls with swords and the guys who love them: good at any age!

An Amazon’s Equal

NEW amazon cover jpg 2

New Adult AND Erotica? Well, I tried it anyway!

So for those of you who don’t already know, I recently released my first full-length novel, An Amazon’s Equal. As is always the case with novels, I spent a long time putting it all together, writing it, editing it, rereading and reediting it, and all the while I was thinking to myself: What IS this?!

My heroine, Pyrena, is a young Amazon warrior confronting her society’s view of men and love, in the face of her growing feelings for the handsome and gentle Greek boy she captured. The theme is really that of a young person struggling against injustice and discovering her place in the world. Also, sex – of course, since that’s what I like to write about! All that said, it’s not really a traditional fantasy romance novel (definitely NOT a virginal heroine here!), but nor is it strictly erotica. I found myself in a pickle when trying to decide what to call it.

That’s when I learned about New Adult. The working definition for this type of literature is still developing (though I think the folks at NA Alley got it pretty good here!), but essentially it is literature dealing with the themes that young people confront when they are just taking their first big steps into adult life. Generally this is around ages 18 through 26, though that too can vary. In any case, as soon as I heard about NA, I knew that’s what I had written. In fact, I began work on An Amazon’s Equal when I was a very “new adult” myself! Almost ten years after I began it, way back in my freshman dorm room in college, it’s finally published, and finally in the category it belongs: New Adult Erotica.

What do you think? Did I succeed? Is erotica even a genre that belongs in NA? I don’t know, but I sure tried it!

Curious? You can buy An Amazon’s Equal on Amazon, in print of Kindle edition. I would love to know what you readers think of my attempt at a New Adult novel. At the very least, I can guarantee plenty of fun erotic bits!