Monday, October 31, 2011

Quick Six PRO with Kiki Howell

This Halloween, I'm delighted to have one of the greats of the paranormal erotic romance genre here at Donuts & Desires. We're talking shop with Quick Six, these days--all about the business of writing.
Quick Six PRO
Interview with Kiki Howell


Q: What's hot on the market these days?


Kiki Howell: From my perspective it would be paranormal and urban fantasies, which are heavy on the suspense and even crime, especially when paired with the erotic genre. Want to get even hotter? Throw in some M/M and M/F/M pairings. But again, I see things from my “world” - the authors and publishers I am around. So, as far as numbers go, I could be totally off here ;)

Q: What's the most time-consuming part of a writer's life?


Kiki Howell: I think the writing and promo come in about even if the work is novel length. Shorter works, an author will spend much more time in promoting the work than they did writing it. Promo is never ending. And why, yes, a new book releases and you promote it heavier than the others for awhile, you are always promoting your backlist.


Q: What should a writer's priority be?


Kiki Howell: To be honest, to be fully involved and motivated in every step of the process whether they like that step or not. You have to give 110 % of yourself from the research to the writing to the contracts and forms to the editing to the promo to playing nice with others if you want to be successful in this business. No, it isn’t easy, but if one part lacks, and the whole becomes scarred, slightly or heavily.

Q: How do you handle a bad review?


Kiki Howell: I try to remind myself of personal opinion, of the books that have left me wanting or that were just excruciating to get through, that many others whether friends or Goodreads or Amazon ratings have said were great. So much of reading is personal opinion, it has to be or there would not be so many genres. The only things that really get to me about a bad review, my personal list that have happened to me: reviewers says they didn’t finish the book - then they don’t really have enough info to form a review per say other than saying they didn’t like it enough to finish it; when the reviewer gets plot points wrong - so they must have skimmed through or actually not finished it – so again they shouldn’t have reviewed it; when they start the review with ‘I don’t like this genre’ – then again they shouldn’t have agreed to review it.


Q: What makes an editor great or...not so great?


Kiki Howell: I have worked with many great editors who have made my work fantastic, beyond what I could do with it. All I ask for is mutual respect when editing. I had an editor once, from a publishing house I am no longer with, who made mean comments all through the manuscript rather than just asking me to change something. For example, this one sticks out to me, rather than just asking me to change a word, the editor said, ‘Are you serious? So you really think a reader of erotica is going to know what this word means?’ Yeah, not sure who should be more offended there. But, a simple find new word, this one doesn’t really work for me, would have sufficed.

Q: Do you have a preference for short stories or longer works?


Kiki Howell: I go back and forth in my reading and my writing. I like to really put myself into a novel, having a good several months to really crank it out, totally immerse myself into the research and the writing. But when I am done with it, I need to write a few shorter works to give my brain a break from the long twisted braids of the longer plot. Then I am back and ready to get into another long one. I tend to do this in cycles too along with my families schedule. Summer when I have everyone home (teacher husband too), that is a time for shorter works! LOL I do the same with reading, devouring a series, then a few shorter ebooks after that. I think it is really about time before satisfaction too.

Kiki Howell is author of A Questionable Hero, a novella

Blurb:
Born of a mortal woman but raised in Hell by the demon that sired him, Abdamas is a Halfling—proof incarnate of the war between good and evil that exists in each of us. Shaebiel is an angel warrior earning her ultimate salvation in Heaven by fighting demons like Abdamas who are in search of human souls on Earth.

In the heat of a raging battle , Abdamas sees Shaebiel and wants her. When the blade of another demon aims for her, Abdamas is injured himself trying to save her. Shaebiel can’t believe a demon has rescued her from certain death and takes her questionable hero home with her to heal him.

As they both fight and surrender to their desires, the conflict around them continues, and there is Heaven and Hell to pay for their actions. Through divine intervention they are offered a gift. But Hell is nowhere near finished with either of them, and the stakes are getting higher and higher.

Can a questionable hero sacrifice enough to redeem himself in the eyes of Heaven so that he may claim the love of an angel?

"Not a stranger to Kiki Howell's work I was once again impressed with her ability to create a tale like no other. My experiences have always been more around magic, spells and witchcraft with her work. But in this one she really goes in a different direction. The result is a passionate, suspenseful and thrilling novella that leaves the reader breathless and wanting more." ~Bri at Romancing the Book

"I recently finished up the wonderful paranormal romance "A Questionable Hero" By Kiki Howell. Once I started reading this love story I had a difficult time getting my nose out of my Nook and back into reality since it was action packed from start to finish with very little breathing room in between the pages! ~Punky’s Book Raves

“A Questionable Hero kept me pulled into the storyline from page one and I read it in one sitting. You realize quickly that the battle between good and evil aren’t black and white, there are shades of gray. If you like a fast hot read, with a touch of paranormal, and good versus evil thrown into the mix, then I would recommend this book.” ~Gracen Miller, Author of Pandora’s Box

Genres: Urban Fantasy (Angels and Demons), Erotic Romance
Adult Content Warnings: Explicit Graphic Language and Violence

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE KINDLE EDITION FROM AMAZON
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE NOOKBOOK FROM BARNES & NOBLE

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Get your FREE copy of Best Bondage Erotica 2012

Rachel Kramer Bussel is great about passing out Amazon review copies of her anthologies. Now you've got a chance to get your hands on Best Bondage Erotica 2012 at no cost. See below (excerpted from Rachel's post) for details:

Erotica fans, want to wish me a happy birthday? Review Best Bondage Erotica 2012, which should be in my hands right around November 10th! I’ll send you a free copy, you promise to review it on Amazon by December 31st (sooner is great though) on pain of evil karma forever, and you get a free book before it’s even for sale in stores. I’ve only got one small shipment coming in so sign up before they’re gone. Email bestbondage2012 at gmail.com with “Amazon” in the subject line and your name and US mailing address in the body by 11/8 (or until they’re all gone). Thanks in advance! Please feel free to let any erotica lovers you know know about this.

Foreword: Use This Book for Your Kink Life Midori
Introduction: Tying Men Up: Dominant Women Storm the Pages Rachel Kramer Bussel (see below)

Melting Ice Shoshanna Evers
A Night at the Opera Elizabeth Coldwell
Darlene’s Dilemma Andrea Dale
Snow White A. R. Shannon
Trophy Boyfriend Lucy Felthouse
The Spider and the Fly Salome Wilde
Tied Down Elise Hepner
The Cupboard Under the Stairs Kay Jaybee
Suffer for Me Teresa Noelle Roberts
Dry Rub Giselle Renarde
Worth Redemption Craig J. Sorensen
Laced Elizabeth Silver
Pawns Billey Thorunn
Cumaná Helen Sedgwick
Good British Steel Lana Fox
Parting Ways Tenille Brown
Knot Alone Kathleen Tudor
The Insurrection Valerie Alexander
The Tipping Point Lolita Lopez
As Long As You Don’t Wake Me Neil Gavriel
The Weight Rachel Kramer Bussel

To read the introduction to this collection, check out Rachel Kramer Bussel's post here

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rick Mercer's Teen Suicide Rant

Without editorializing, here's gay Canadian satirist (and my source for Canadian news and views) Rick Mercer on making it better NOW:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Tale of Karma and Television

This happened over a year ago, when I was sitting in my girlfriend Sweet's living room, typing away on my laptop, happy as a clam.

Sweet came storming into the room and, completely out of the blue, hollered, "At eight o'clock I'm watching Big Brother. If you've got a problem with that, you can just go upstairs. I don't want this to be a whole big argument. If you don't want to watch it, take your laptop and write for the hour."

I looked at her like she had three heads. We hadn't been talking, hadn't even been in the same room, and suddenly she's coming at me like a hurricane? And all because of Big Brother? It was so unlike her. Very, very bizarre.

So I said, "It's your house, watch whatever you want," trying not to sound as defensive as I felt.

Okay, I can be a little critical of Sweet's tastes, especially when it comes to American pop culture and reality TV. Maybe she takes things to heart more than she lets on. Maybe my little jabs had been building up inside of her.

Even if that's the case, her outburst was so weirdly unprovoked that it kind of made me want to laugh. I wanted to ask her, "Why are you getting so worked up over some stupid TV show?"

But I didn't say anything, just closed my computer and watched my Sweet pick up the television remote. She turned the TV on, but there was only a blue screen. She asked me, not accusingly at this point, if I'd changed any settings or if I'd had the TV on when she was at work during the day. I hadn't. She flipped through settings, trying to get a signal, but... nothing.

The cable was out.

Now, I'm sure I'll sound like a horrible person when I say this, but in that moment I felt a tad vindicated. Ha ha, you let TV take control of your emotions, and now you don't get to watch your show. Karma's gonna getcha every time, babe.

I know. I sound mean. And, in fact, I felt mean, thinking that way. There's just something so satisfying, whether it's your karmic debt or somebody else's, in seeing it resolved with such immediacy.

Instead of being a bitch about it, I chose to recognize my girlfriend's disappointment. There was nothing she could do about missing the TV show she wanted to watch (the cable was out for another two days after that). Sweet could have spent that whole night irritable, but she didn't. She brought out her DVD collection and we sorted through movies until we found one we both wanted to watch. Karma resolved, it turned into an unexpectedly cozy evening.

And for Karma unbelievers, this is complete coincidence: You're mean to me, the TV is mean to you. It sounds silly, I know. I know, but I don't care. Keeping Karma at the forefront of my mind encourages me to do good and avoid meanness. I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks that way.

Hugs,
Giselle

Monday, October 24, 2011

Quick Six PRO with Tamara Monteau


Quick Six PRO
Interview with Tamara Monteau

Q: What's the most time-consuming part of a writer's life?

The edits. Even the most skilled writer knows he/she cannot write perfect prose in one pass. It takes a lot of careful reviewing, making changes and re-changes, until you have a marketable piece. I can write a novel in a couple of months, but I review it so many times I memorize most of it before I’m done. And that’s before the pros get their hands on it.

Q: On the topic of ebook piracy, hunter or head in the sand?

Hunter, I suppose, though I wouldn’t begin to know how. Certainly I don’t mind people borrowing books – that’s what we have libraries for. To me, e-book piracy ranks right up there with music and movie piracy. After all, it’s copyrighted material.

Q: How do you handle a bad review?

I try to look at the positive points, if any were made – try to find something to focus on. I try to look for the constructive criticism, and if there isn’t, and it’s a really bad review, I get upset. I suppose most of us would. But that doesn’t diminish my belief in my work, and if one person didn’t like it, I look to the many who have told me just the opposite.


Q: What advice do you give aspiring authors?

First, read. Know your genre. Do your research. Read others’ works in your genre and get a feel for the method, then try to develop your own. Make certain your ideas or plots don’t too closely mirror someone else’s. Then pick up a pen and start going. Share what you’ve written with trusted friends, teachers, or other writing professionals and take to heart the constructive criticism you receive. They can help guide you while you perfect your craft.


Q: If you've ventured into self-publishing, what are the pros and cons?

Well first, you get what you pay for. Self publishing is a great way to expose your work, and get it out to the world without the hassle of contacting traditional houses. It gives you complete autonomy, but it also places all the burden on you. Self-publishing can be very expensive, because you’re basically contracting the publisher to do the work for you, and even editing services run up big bucks. Still, had I not put my first book out through one of those, I would not have taken the initiative to write the rest, and helped me further develop my characters and style. Then, one fine day, as luck would have it, I came across Secret Cravings Publishing’s site and took a chance with my fourth book. Lo and behold, they contracted all four! I guess Lady Karma was on my side that day.

Q: Do you find yourself writing for the market and not for YOU, or self-censoring in any way?

I write more for myself than anyone else. I take great joy in communing with my imaginary friends and hearing their whispers. I get involved with them, often to the exclusion of all else, when the muse kicks in. The act of writing, of putting my thoughts down on paper (more or less) is as necessary to me as the food I must consume. It is a passion, and a deeply satisfying pleasure. I wouldn’t bend to any critic. My stories are what they are. I hope only that others like it as much as I enjoy writing it.

Tamara Monteau is author of:
Twilight Destiny
(Haven's Realm 1)
Tamara Monteau
Erotic Contemporary, Paranormal, Vampires
(3 flames)

Joshua MacAaron led a solitary existence until the night he crossed paths with Catherine Mills. From the first, her innocent joy and strength invaded the most secret parts of his long-quiet heart. He felt inexplicably and irresistibly drawn to her, until at last he resigned himself to the fact that they were destined to meet, even though he knew the decision to involve himself with the young mortal could mean the end of his existence.

Katie led a simple life, ruled by order and practicality. She had no time for romance, had never given it thought, until the night a stranger stepped into her life. Joshua’s old-fashioned, Scottish mannerisms and extraordinary good looks awakened her heart to new and unknown
yearnings. When she discovered that the man she’d learned to love was a vampire, she became torn between fear she couldn’t control and an almost desperate longing.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Fisting Flash for Fisting Day!

Until Jiz Lee and Courtney Trouble declared October 21st unofficial official International Fisting Day, I had no idea the act of fisting was so controversial in porn. I encourage you to read their awesome blog posts on the topic. (Jiz Lee's is here, and Courtney Trouble's here)

In celebration, I want to share with you a lesbian fisting flash. In case you've forgotten, flash fiction is a story that's really, really short. Like this one (only 300 words!):
Slowly, Carefully

Flash Fiction by Giselle Renarde


I consider everything vanilla—up to but excluding fisting.

My two gay cats look on from the bottom of the bed as Kimiko feathers her fingernails through my pubic hair.

The preliminary expedition, a solitary finger, strikes juice to rub against my clit. She strokes me slowly, carefully before pressing two fingers into my slit, tickling my insides.

With three fingers, she fucks me. Not slowly, not carefully, but with all her force, thumb thumping against my clit, pinky brushing my asshole. She bites her lip as she reams me, until a fingernail catches my flesh and I squeal in anguish.

Apologizing, Kimiko rubs my clit with the pad of her thumb. Slowly, carefully, she curls her pinky between three fingers and creeps them inside me. She’s intent on the task, gazing worshipfully into my cunt.

Her thumb slides to her palm as her fingers turn, little by little, slowly and carefully, inside me. They writhe and curl, wet with lube, undulating like sea life. I breathe with Kimiko, opening my body to her, expanding to make room for her knuckles. We focus on each other as she penetrates me, her dark eyes full of adoration.

She’s in me to her wrist before I realize the feat we’ve accomplished. This is a trust exercise. This is love. I am full of Kimiko. She fulfils me, slowly and carefully. Good thing she has small hands.

Coming back out is just like going in, but in reverse. I ease up to release her from my cunt. She turns within me and, slowly, carefully, withdraws.

My two gay cats snuggle in beside us. After Kimiko washes up, I eat her pussy. She comes hard against my lips, and then we all go to sleep.

I consider everything vanilla—up to and including fisting.

--

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sapphic Signs: The Lady Wants More

Another Thursday, another Sapphic Signs book to tell you about! This week it's:

The Lady Wants More
by Adriana Kraft

Janet Baxter keeps her post-divorce life neatly compartmentalized: Secure job, spacious Westchester County home, successful adult children, dependable community volunteer activities. So, why is she drawn to attend her twenty-year college reunion in New York City?

Always a free spirit, Brenda Cassidy is comfortably bisexual and has no plans to settle down. But a fling? The reappearance of svelte, reserved Janet Baxter in Brenda’s life is nothing less than a gift, worthy of every enticement Brenda can conjure up. Can Brenda seduce Janet into an endless night of the lovemaking they enjoyed too briefly as college roommates? What if the lady wants more?

Sample

Brenda spun around to face Janet when they got to the far corner of the dance floor. She knew Janet would prefer to be in the corner rather than on the front edge where bar patrons could easily gawk at them. She, herself, preferred center stage but—she grinned at her partner—tonight she’d cater to Janet’s desires. She just wished she could get a better read on her former roommate’s desires. Did they include her, yet? There was no need to rush things now that they’d reconnected after all these years.

Brenda had already decided that Janet needed, once again, to break out of her shell and get on with her life. Of course she’d often been accused of making quick judgments, if not rash ones. But surely the universe hadn’t crossed their paths just so they could share a drink and swap life stories. While she wasn’t looking for a permanent relationship, whatever that was, she was always on the lookout for a relationship that might offer enough challenge and spice to keep her going for more than a night or two.

Brenda grinned at Janet. She knew for certain this tall dark haired women with gorgeous long legs could provide ample challenge and spice for some time. She held out her hands, interlaced her fingers with Janet’s and listened for the beat to the fast paced hip hop music. At arm’s length they swayed and stepped to the music. They circled each other.

Brenda filled her lungs. Her body throbbed with the music. Her brain clicked into hypersensitive mode—once again, she’d become the huntress. “Are you ready for me?”

Janet grinned and nodded. She dropped her hands, spun around and reached for Brenda again.

Smiling, Brenda blew her partner a kiss. She was pretty sure Janet hadn’t heard her words over the band. Yet clearly Janet also delighted in pulsing to the music. Brenda had never seen her more free than on the dance floor—well, and occasionally in her arms. Their lovemaking always began tentatively, with Janet fighting some sort of war in her mind, heart and body. Brenda grinned and squeezed Janet’s fingers. Once unleashed, Janet had never failed to embrace their lovemaking with a zest that astonished Brenda every time. She’d never been with a lover who surprised her as much as Janet.

The third song shifted from fast to slow. Brenda didn’t hesitate. She nestled her body naturally against Janet’s. Her thighs slipped around Janet’s right knee. Janet gasped, and then perhaps not wanting to make a scene, settled her arms around Brenda’s lower back. Avoiding eye contact, Brenda rested her head on Janet’s shoulder, where she appreciated the rise and fall of Janet’s pert breasts. As usual, Janet’s chin came to rest atop Brenda’s head. They swayed together as if they formed an island on the otherwise crowded dance floor.

Brenda wished she knew what Janet was thinking, if she allowed herself to think at all. Gradually, Brenda’s hands slid down over Janet’s tiny rump. She felt Janet’s thong through the skirt fabric. She was surprised to discover her former lover had chosen such a risqué undergarment. Brenda closed her eyes and nestled closer as Janet’s hands moved to rest on her rump. Although they never traveled lower, Brenda was thrilled to think Janet wasn’t totally uninterested. She wet her lips and peeked again at the rise of Janet’s breasts. She blew warm breath across Janet’s cleavage knowing full well her nipples would harden in response, if they hadn’t already.

You can get your copy of The Lady Wants More from Torquere Press

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Site: True Author Ghost Stories


I was inspired by all the scary books I've read, all the ghostie TV shows I've watched (is anybody else in love with the Rescue Mediums?), but most of all I was inspired by one little paranormal experience and the desire to share it.

So I got other authors on board and created True Author Ghost Stories, a site where the published authors we love share their encounters with the strange, the supernatural, the paranormal.

Here's the introduction I wrote for the site:

A fond hello to all readers, writers, and paranormal enthusiasts!

Thank you for visiting True Author Ghost Stories. My name is Giselle Renarde and I write queer fiction and erotica for a living. Every committed author is, I submit, an avid reader at heart, and I can't remember a time when I didn't enjoy reading a good ghost story. When I was a child, I devoured scary stories. My spine would tingle, my hairs stand on end, and when I got very frightened my eyes would well with tears.

I still love a good ghost story, and the very best of them are the true ones. My goal, in establishing the True Author Ghost Stories website, is to bring you true tales of the paranormal from some of your favourite published authors. Because I write erotic fiction, as do many other contributors to this site, I should warn you that many books advertised here are for adults only.

Welcome, and enjoy the site!
Bright Blessings,
Giselle

My own experience was pretty mild (you can read about it at TAGS), and still it scared the pants off me. (Ok, I wasn't wearing pants at the time, but it would have done!) Keep an eye on True Author Ghost Stories, because there will soon be more tales of the paranormal from authors you love.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Quick Six PRO with BA Tortuga

Here's a quickie of a Quick Six, and well worth the read if you'd like to find out a little more about my fellow Torquere author BA Tortuga:

Quick Six PRO with BA Tortuga

Q: What's hot on the market these days?

A: For me? A little slap and tickle, a little werewolf. ;-)

Q: What's the most time-consuming part of a writer's life?

A: Writing. (I know I'm supposed to say marketing, but I write more than I market).

Q: What should a writer's priority be?

A: My priority is storytelling and being honest to the characters' voices.

Q: How do you handle a bad review?

A: I don't read my reviews, ever. If there's something in a review that is valid and that I can change, my partner tells me and I work on it. Otherwise, I find that obsessing over reviews steals writing time.

Q: What advice do you give aspiring authors?

A: Write. Every day. Whether or not you want to.

Q: Do you find yourself writing for the market and not for YOU, or self-censoring in any way?

A: Well, I do periodically write for a specific call and, oftentimes, I'm writing to fill a hole that another author has left, but mostly I write whoever's loudest. ;-)

***

BA Tortuga is author of:

Hey, Jealousy

Blurb: JW thinks he’s missed his chance at a romantic relationship with his best friend Rory forever, all because of a stupid moment when he was much younger. Rory wants JW desperately, but he knows his buddy just isn’t into the kind of games Rory likes to play, let alone into long-term relationship with a guy. When JW comes home from a long haul on the road, though, and finds Rory in a compromising position, he knows he’s found the way to correct his youthful mistake. Will Rory believe JW’s jealous response?

Buy Link:
http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=3137

***
Rednecks and Romance
Sometimes a fistfight can be foreplay.
www.batortuga.com

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - Food and the Five Body Blade

This Six Sentence Sunday happens to coincide with #BAD11. While I didn't sign up to be a part of Blog Action Day this year, its theme of FOOD got me searching for an excerpt that involves...well, food!

I'm not really sure why this one came to mind. It's from my short story Five Body Blade, when rich bitch Miki and her toy boy Theo are dining at a fancy restaurant. At this point, she's gearing up to tell him she wants to organize a gang bang with Theo and some of his college buddies. (Yeah, you heard me right)

“Do you have five friends?” Miki asked.

Theo devoured an eager spoonful of gumbo, immediately regretting his haste. It burned his palate, but he couldn’t very well spit it out. He’d just have to suffer through. After a sip of water, he answered, “I’ve never counted my friends, but yeah, there are at least five of them. Why?”


Why indeed, sweet innocent Theo. Why indeed...

Five Body Blade is published by loveyoudivine Alterotica and available from Amazon and many other etailers.



Hugs,
Giselle

Friday, October 14, 2011

New Release: Red Satin Chistmas, trans lesbian erotic romance


Who ever said you can't feel Christmassy in October? Sure you can! Just get yourself a candy cane and a copy of Red Satin Christmas, and you're all set.

For those who aren't yet familiar with my Red Satin trilogy, it's a love story between Regan, a butch Cree lesbian, and her long-time friend Maisie, a male-to-female transsexual. So... let's see... I guess that makes Red Satin Christmas an interracial trans lesbian erotic holiday romance. Yes? Yes.

When I sat down to write this, the third book of the series, I wasn't sure I'd be able to fit any sex into it. The plotline came across so strongly in my head, and it was so full of family drama I didn't know how the hell I was going to get these girls into bed.

Well, in fact, Regan and Maisie start the book in bed and they just keep coming back for more. As many who have read my transgender erotic fiction will know, the sex I write tends not to be overblown or exploitative of trans characters. The bedroom scenes, while explicitly erotic, are always honest and true to the characters. They reflect my own experiences with my girlfriend, who is a trans woman.

But enough about me! Let's get right into Red Satin Christmas:

Red Satin 3: Red Satin Christmas

Series: Red Satin , Book 3
By: Giselle Renarde | Other books by Giselle Renarde
Published By: loveyoudivine
Published: Oct 13, 2011
ISBN # 5075_1074
Word Count: 29,395
Heat Index

This is a Christmas of firsts for girlfriends Regan and Maisie. Maisie hasn’t returned to her hometown since beginning her transition from male to female. Her mother and sisters welcome her with open arms, but what about brother Jerry? Is he just going to ignore her forever? And who is this mystery woman he’s brought home for the holidays?

Regan figures she’s just along for the ride, lending her girlfriend support, until Maisie’s mother surprises her with a special dinner guest. Regan hasn’t spoken to her hard-drinking Cree father in years, and he’s the last person in the world she wants to sit across from at Christmas dinner. Can Regan finally trust the man who’s once again claimed to have changed for good?

Together, Regan and Maisie face drama beyond their wildest imaginings. Will their trials during this eventful family Christmas challenge their bond… or vanquish their limitations?
Excerpt:
Chapter 1: Early One Morning…

It was one of those wake-ups where you’re not quite sure where you are at first, and for a couple seconds you don’t even care because it feels so good to be alive. And then everything that happened the night before comes flooding to mind, and the morning takes a sharp turn…

Regan had slept on her side, which put a crimp in her neck, but Maisie was pressed right up against her back, enfolding her in the world’s warmest arms. Even if she’d wanted to, she couldn’t have moved. Regan was right at the edge of Maisie’s little twin mattress.

When the world came into focus, Regan stared straight ahead, at the lower shelves of the bookshelf in her girlfriend’s childhood bedroom. It was most definitely a space decorated for a boy—royal blue walls with a Toronto Maple Leafs border, autographed souvenir baseballs from when the Jays won the World Series in ’92 and again in ‘93—but Regan tried to ignore that fact as much as she tried to ignore the erection lodged firmly between her ass cheeks. Morningwood was something Maisie couldn’t help, and Regan knew her girl would find it humiliating if called attention to. Penises were not Maisie’s favourite thing in the world, and she had especially harsh feelings toward her own. Regan thought Maisie was the most beautiful woman in the world, penis or no penis, but of course she’d respect her girl’s wish to downplay the existence of that appendage.

Maisie shifted, making soft moaning noises in her sleep, her long silky nightgown rippled against Regan’s naked back. God, it felt good to have a woman’s soft fabrics against her skin. Regan never wore stuff like that herself.

The winter sun hadn’t yet risen, and Regan couldn’t see a clock anywhere, but she figured it must be pretty early because she couldn’t hear anyone wandering around in this house full of people. She had a faint need to pee, but just couldn’t bring herself to leave a warm bed and a hot body.

As Maisie carved her own path from sleep to wakefulness, her curvaceous body stretched and writhed. Regan felt the motion against her back like a giant caterpillar. And then that wave halted, and she knew Maisie had swum her way back to consciousness enough to realize her body was betraying her. For a moment, she was stone, and then her soft arms retracted from around Regan’s naked form. When Maisie rolled away after a night in such close proximity, Regan felt it like a stab in the gut.

“Morning, Beautiful,” Regan whispered before she’d even turned to look at Maisie. Self-fulfilling prophecy—even with a few stray specs of stubble growing in, Maisie was the prettiest girl Regan had ever known.

Still, Maisie buried her head beneath a pillow and moaned, “Charmer.”


...You can read the ENTIRE first chapter at loveyoudivine or All Romance ebooks!...

Buy Now from:





New Lesbian Erotica: Weekend At Wilderhope Manor

In my ongoing attempt to draw attention to lesbian fiction, today Donuts & Desires showcases a brand new work by Lucy Felthouse:
When Stephanie and Jenny go to a Murder Mystery Halloween weekend at Wilderhope
Manor, they’re expecting fun and games. But following creaky floorboards, spooky noises
and an alarming encounter in the Manor’s grounds, the girls begin to wonder if there’s more
to Wilderhope Manor than meets the eye. As they find frequent comfort in one another’s
arms – and their bed – will the girls discover what’s causing the bumps in the night, or will
they run scared?

Excerpt:

The car trundled up the long driveway, the crunching of gravel beneath tyres the only sound
as Stephanie and her girlfriend, Jenny, peered out of the windows at their surroundings.

Even at dusk the tree-lined driveway was impressive with perfectly maintained parkland,
spanning for acres on either side of it. As Stephanie steered the Fiesta around a bend in the
track, they both gasped. Their destination, Wilderhope Manor, had come into view and it
was stunning. The Tudor style property was huge, with no less than three frontages visible
from where they were. Chimneys with intricately built patterns jutted into the darkening
sky, with tangles of ivy climbing parts of the manor, giving the place an appearance that was
both beautiful and foreboding.

Presently, the driveway opened out into a gravelled area, which as far as Stephanie could
tell, doubled as a car park for the weekend. Stephanie manoeuvred into a spot between two
vehicles and killed the engine. As she turned to Jenny, she jumped, startled. Her girlfriend
had leaned in close, making a scary face with her hands mimicking claws.

“Are you ready to be scared out of your wits, young lady?” Jenny rasped, wiggling her
eyebrows and fingers theatrically.

Stephanie shoved her playfully, laughing. “Come on, you silly cow. It’s a murder mystery
weekend, not a monster hunt. There will be no ghosts, ghouls or vampires involved.”

Stephanie got out of the car and closed the door. She’d already popped open the boot and
started unloading their bags before Jenny appeared alongside her, pouting petulantly.

“But it’s Halloween tomorrow,” Jenny insisted. “Anything could happen. The veil between
the living and dead will be at its thinnest, and this place is meant to be swarming with
ghosts.”

“If you say so, sweetheart,” she replied, rolling her eyes. She was used to Jenny’s crazy
beliefs by now. “Grab your bags and let’s get inside. It’s cold. You got the tickets?”

Jenny nodded, brandishing her handbag in response. Jenny picked up her overnight bag as
Stephanie slammed the boot lid before locking the car, then followed her toward the grand
entrance to Wilderhope Manor.

***

A little while later, they were installed in their room. They’d each been handed a “Welcome
Pack” by the staff member who had attended to them at Reception, which consisted of their
itinerary and instructions for the weekend.

As they unpacked, she voiced one of the thoughts that had run through her head. “Have
you ever noticed how places never bat an eye at two girls sharing a room, and yet, if it’s two
guys, they automatically assume they’re gay?”

“They’ll soon change their tune when they see your outfit for tonight!” Jenny replied,
grinning cheekily at her. “It screams ‘lesbian’ with every stitch!”

“Whatever do you mean, you saucy wench? Someone with girl parts dressing as a
distinguished gentleman does not a lesbian make.”

“True, but I wonder what it’ll do to you? Perhaps it’ll work in reverse and turn you straight!”

Buy Links:

http://summerhousepublishing.com/index.php?
main_page=product_book_info&cPath=23&products_id=84


http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-weekendatwilderhopemanor-607598-
140.html


http://www.bookstrand.com/weekend-at-wilderhope-manor

*****

Lucy is a graduate of the University of Derby, where she studied Creative Writing. During
her first year, she was dared to write an erotic story - so she did. It went down a storm and
she's never looked back. Lucy has had stories published by Cleis Press, Noble Romance,
Ravenous Romance, Summerhouse Publishing, Sweetmeats Press and Xcite Books. She
is also the editor of Uniform Behaviour and Seducing the Myth. Find out more at http://
www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sapphic Signs: Mirror Image by Cheri Crystal

Okay, I'll admit I've neglected the blog this week. I do apologize. I've been at Sweet's house and when she's off work we have a terrible tendency to spend entire days watching DVDs, eating, and having sex--often all at the same time. (True story!)

Anyhoo, Thursdays I like to showcase the Sapphic Signs lesbian erotic romance collection from Torquere Press, and today we feature...

by Cheri Crystal

Jaylyn Dayley, professional stuntwoman, isn’t afraid of anything. Except commitment. She can tuck and roll, crash and burn, and walk away unscathed, but can she survive the searing heat of her attraction for the lovely Monika Morning during her stint as the actress’ stunt double?

Sample

Everything was set by the time we got back and Monika ran through her lines. I was ready, the set was ready, Josh said the word, and despite feeling like an idiot, the wool suit itched all over, even with the silk shirt tucked into the waistband. Further compounding my duress, my feet were crammed into the pointy-toe heels like a pencil as if my toes were being sharpened. It was mortifying enough being dressed this way, but being ripped a new asshole by the director, especially in front of Monika, was worse. I executed the scene and landed hard but unhurt.

“Cut!” Josh cast me a glaring look. “Everyone, go home, except for Dayley. And Monika, please come over here, too.” It irked me whenever he so much as looked at Monika, but his condescending tone along with leering at her like she was his next treat, had my defenses edgy. Only knowing how easily I could be replaced kept me in check.

“What’s the matter, Josh?” Monika asked sweetly while I tore at a hangnail until it bled.

“You’re perfect, my dear, but I’m at my wit’s end with you, Dayley. You need an attitude adjustment. Let Monika show you how to be a lady. And have the beautician pluck your eyebrows while you’re at it.”

Monika took my hand. Josh grimaced before he turned his back and strode away with clenched fists.

“Let’s find somewhere private. And warm.” She dropped my hand and walked away, expecting me to follow, but I was too busy studying her ass. Her walk was so damn sultry and sexy. I could imitate her in a heartbeat, but I really could not stand by and take Josh’s shit without a fight. Let him do fifty takes. I’d nail the walk when I was damn good and ready. Only my horoscope read: “Gemini, don’t worry about the pros and cons of your plans. You’re under the kind of cosmic protection that means you can get away with almost anything. Take note of that little word ‘almost’!” I took note of the little word ‘almost’ but I didn’t have to like it.

“Hey,” she turned. “You coming or what?”

“Yeah, I’m coming.” Don’t I wish, I thought, and let her lead the way.

“Good, because I’m freezing my arse off.”

I was tempted to show her how well I could warm a woman up, but said instead, “Speaking of arses. What bug you suppose crawled up his?”

“Oh, ignore the old chap.”

“How can I manage that?”

“I tune him out.”

“I can try, but I make no promises. Doesn’t it bother you when he salivates like you’re his next tasty treat?”

“Let him look, but God help him if he touches. I have my limits.”

I wondered what that was supposed to mean as far as I was concerned. I didn’t dare touch her unless invited, I fathomed, preferring to err on the side of caution rather than risk offending her, but if she touched me, well, all bets were off.

Besides, I was known for my irresistible Gemini powers of persuasion, charm and limitless enthusiasm.

“This could work,” she said, leading me to a cordoned off empty set, but stopped when the door was locked. “Wait here just a sec.” She came back with Jimbo, who unlocked the door before throwing me a look dripping with envy. Monika walked in first and when she wasn’t looking, his solidarity punch to my arm spoke volumes. At least I had friends in high places—Jimbo had Josh wrapped around his nicotine-stained finger.

Monika removed her coat, a long silky pea coat that had to be the reason she was chilled to the bone. “Jimbo, do you think you could order us some food?”

“Sure. What’ll it be, Miss?”

“Oh, surprise me, but please, anything but curry. We’ve had it six nights in a row.”

He smiled, the unlit cigar bobbing slightly. “How about sushi?”

“Oh brilliant, I’d like that. Do get us lots of warm sake, and I’ll smother you with kisses.”

He was gone in an instant. I didn’t blame him. Amazingly, Monika could kiss Jimbo from here to eternity, but if Josh even brushed against her my skin crawled. The worst was when he worked on blocking movements demonstrating with his big grubby paws all over her.

Monika spun around on her heel. “You do like sushi, don’t you?”

“I love it, but warm sake on an empty stomach could make me frisky.”

“I’m not worried. Now come on. What is this about your stubborn swagger?”

“What does Josh have against me anyhow?”

“He’s a perfectionist who doesn’t like to leave any scene unfinished. You seem to go off on too many tangents.”

I opened my mouth to protest, but she was so smart and I just love an intelligent woman, so I clamped my mouth shut and listened.

“I adore your vitality and have no idea why Josh wants to squash it. He should bottle it up instead and use it to his advantage. Besides, I find your zest for life attractive—just like you.”

As if I wasn’t already burning to a crisp, my cheeks heated up from the compliment.

“I can’t get over how much we look alike, especially when you’re so fair.”

I squared my shoulders, as if deeply wounded.

She laughed. “Oh, all right, poor choice of words, how about light-skinned?”

“You can go for something tougher sounding than that, Monika,” I teased.

“I don’t know, your skin is just so pink compared to mine.” Her gaze shot me like a ray gun, burning my flesh wherever it struck. “And you get bright red when you blush. A lovely shade of red that spreads from your face to your neck, to your…” She looked down at my breasts and I thought I’d surely die.

You can get Mirror Image from Torquere Press!

Hugs,
Giselle

Monday, October 10, 2011

Quick Six PRO with Angela Benedetti

Thanksgiving Monday (here in the Great White North) means another Quick Six Professional Edition, and today we've got a doozy! Strap on your marketing cap, get ready to giggle, and have a read:

Quick Six PRO
Interview with Angela Benedetti

Q: What's hot on the market these days?

BDSM has been hot for a few years, which is good and bad. Good because those of us who like it have more to read, bad because so much of it is awful. When a genre or subgenre gets popular, everyone and their sister-in-law pops up to write it and cash in, which means you have a lot of people who aren't knowlegeable at all, and might not even like the genre, writing books in it.

I've actually read multiple books labelled BDSM romances where not only did the main characters express disdain for the practice -- like dissing some rival club for having "all that tacky leather and chains stuff" -- but also wrapped up the story with the two main characters deciding that they didn't "need" that BDSM stuff anymore, that they had sweet-sweet *LUV* and so sweet vanilla sex was "enough" for them now, cue walk into sunset. Wow, talk about insulting your audience! In fact, I have no idea whom the target audience is for this kind of book. People who don't like BDSM aren't going to buy it because it's marketed as BDSM, and people who do like BDSM are going to be insulted and angry with the treatment.

And in general, there are a lot of ridiculous and often dangerous rules and practices touted as "standard" in books whose authors apparently did all their research by watching a couple of porn movies. They'd be wall-bangers if I didn't value my laptop. [wry smile]

If you're going to do it, do it right, do your homework, do more homework, and pass the finished product by someone who knows the subject. Which is a good idea for any specialized genre, of course, but when I see something presented in a book with a real-world setting as common and fun that I know could result in a nasty injury or death, I get extra peeved. :/

Q: On the topic of ebook piracy, hunter or head in the sand?

Neither. I certainly know it happens, and quite a lot -- I'm not "head in the sand" as in pretending it doesn't exist -- but I don't spend time hunting for pirates because I know it's ultimately futile. Sure, you can spend hours per day doing Google searches and trolling the torrent sites and sending out DMCA notices, but as fast as they come down from one site they go up on another. Or back up on the original site. Large scale theft sucks rocks, but you can't defeat it and trying is a very poor use of a writer's time.

If I get a Google notification showing that something of mine is up on a torrent site, I'll send my publisher a note and let them handle the take-down. My own time is much better spent writing, or even hanging out on social network sites doing promo. (Which also shouldn't be anywhere near the majority of your writer-time.) The thieves are gonna thieve because they're jerkwads like that. Stressing out over them would raise my blood pressure and have little other effect.

Note that I personally have no problem if a reader buys a copy of one of my books and thinks, "Hey, I'll bet Mary would love this!" and sends Mary a copy with a "Read this, you'll love it!" note. I'm sure my publisher has a different opinion, but mine is that single copies made friend-to-friend, with thoughtful recommendations, are more likely to increase my audience than anything else. It's the wholesale distribution on the torrent sites that I hate, and would stop if I could. I can't, though, so I don't waste time stressing over it.

What I'd love, honestly, would be if there were a Quick-N-EZ built-in way for readers to give away their copy of an e-book. So if someone buys an e-book and reads it, and either doesn't care for it or is the sort of person who never rereads fiction, they could choose the name of one friend from a list of names they've entered into their reader device/program, hit the "GIVE BOOK" button, and the book would be sent to their friends device/program and (after safe receipt of the file is confirmed) deleted off the original device/program. I think that most readers are honest, and would be happy with that, and would legitimately pass around a single copy of a book rather than hacking the system to be able to make a bazillion copies. This is treating an e-book like a paper book, which IMO should be legitimate. Heck, I wouldn't even care if money changed hands between the two readers, because you can sell your paper books so why not your e-books, so long as you aren't making more copies? The people who would hack around the system are already giving away hundreds or thousands of copies via the torrent sites, so there'd be no real increase in piracy there. And the people who are honest and would follow reasonable rules if it were fast and easy and, well, reasonable, would be happy to be able to give away or sell an e-book they don't want anymore. It'd be just like used book stores, library sales, garage sales and flea markets to the paper books; I'd be fine with that so long as the passing around didn't create any new copies.

DRM sucks, by the way. No DRM scheme has ever prevented any piece of electronic media from being pirated, at all, never. Only one cracker has to defeat the DRM system and get the file up onto one torrent site; from there it'll be downloaded and re-posted all over, and you're back to hundreds or thousands of copies being stolen. What DRM does do is inconvenience and upset the reader, and in some cases compromise or completely trash their computer. Call-home systems, where you have to have an internet connection and get a handshake with the distributor's server in order to use your product, turns that product (book, game, program, whatever) that you thought you purchased into a rental; you can only use it so long as the distributor thinks it's cost effective to keep that server up. Once they figure they'll lose more money paying for the server than they will cheesing off the reduced number of customers who still want to use that product, down it comes and too bad for you if you were one of the ones who wanted to replay that game or still uses that piece of software. Rootkit DRM lets hackers into your computer, and some people have had their systems destroyed by it and have had to erase their hard drives and start over. And any DRM that prevents you from making a back-up copy of your media is violating your rights as a consumer; the law says you can make a back-up copy for personal use, but the publishers tend to ignore that particularly pesky law. DRM that prevents you from converting from one e-book file format to another is inconveniencing and annoying the customers to no purpose. DRM costs the publisher money and therefore costs the customer money, it doesn't prevent piracy, and it hurts the honest customer who's handed the publisher money, making it that much more likely they'll figure "Screw it!" and decide to go figure out that torrent thing. DRM has never inconvenienced a single pirate, because none of their copies have DRM on them. It helps no one and hurts the wrong people, and the sooner publishers figure that out, the better.

I don't buy DRMed e-books, at all, ever, period. I wish more readers took a hard line on it; it might make the publishers come to their senses sooner.

Q: What should a writer's priority be?

Writing. Nothing else is more important than writing. Unless you're ridiculously lucky -- which you can never count on,and doing so is bad business -- you'll make more money with five books and no promo than you will with one book and promo-promo-promo. Pick a couple of social networking activities that you enjoy doing and that don't suck up too much of your time, then get back to your writing. Do as little rewriting as possible, get the book or story in the mail, and start on the next one. You'll improve as a writer much faster writing five stories than you will rewriting the same story over five times. Schedule your writing time first; everything else is a distant second.

Q: How do you handle a bad review?

It depends on the review. If it's a casual "This really didn't do it for me," then I just move on. Everyone has an opinion, and no book has ever been universally loved. If it's a more extensive, "This really didn't do it for me because..." with detailed explanations and specific examples from the book, those I read carefully. I don't always agree with the reviewer, but this is the kind of review that's most likely to produce useful information. I can't fix the story that's been published, but I can keep things in mind for my next story. If it's a "This sucks! It's &*%#ing @!Q&$! The so-called 'writer' should go back to flipping burgers, haha!" sort of thing, then the person who wrote it is an idiot and I don't care what idiots think.

Q: What advice do you give aspiring authors?

Write a lot. Write a story, finish it, start another one. Finish that one, and start a third, etc. Send them out if you want, or wait if you want -- maybe get an opinion from someone who's published and who'll be honest with you -- but sending a clunky book to an editor really can't hurt you any. You'll get a rejection -- so what? When you start getting personal rejections rather than form rejections, you know you're improving. Keep writing.

Read a lot. Read extensively in the genre you're writing so you know what the genre IS, what's been done, what works and what doesn't and why, and what's a cliche. Read outside your genre -- including nonfiction -- to get a broader selection of raw material, including character types, plot types, plot devices and gimmicks, styles, tones, etc. Reading extensively gives you more to write about and more ways to write it.

Q: Do you find yourself writing for the market and not for YOU, or self-censoring in any way?
Yes and no. Sometimes I don't when maybe I should've. [wry smile]

My problem is I like to write between genres. M/M Romance is amazingly free in what it lets you do -- frex., you can write a book about an established couple who are happily together at the beginning of the story and never have a relationship crisis (which means it's not technically a genre romance) but if they go out and have adventures, solve a mystery, something like that, you can probably find an M/M publisher that'll buy it, and if it's well written it'll have an audience. You absolutely can not do that on the mainstream het romance side of the business, so M/M lets us be more flexible and gives us a lot more room in which to play. On the other hand, there is an assumption that every M/M book is a romance, or at least is romantIC. You need that couple-in-love in there somewhere. There's also an assumption that a sex scene is meant to be explicitly erotic -- that is, that if there's sex in the story, it's meant to get the reader feeling at least mid-level hot and bothered. 99.9% of the M/M books out there obey these rules, no problem. But I've written a story that's not a romance -- the two guys meet and like each other and have had fun in bed, but by the end we're nowhere near an HEA or even a
HFN; that wasn't the point of the story, which was meant to be more a humor story with sex as a plot device. I've written another story where the plot is essentially a guy in a relationship making a dumb mistake and getting in trouble, and his partner having to figure out what's up so he can pull him out. It's not a romance, although it's romantic. And while there's a sex scene, it's a plot device and necessary to the story but it's not really "hot" for the reader and wasn't meant to be.

Both stories have gotten criticism for not being romantic, or not being hot. And those criticisms are absolutely correct; the first one isn't romantic and the second one isn't hot. One can argue that they shouldn't have been published as M/M, but there's really no place else for them. If it's not a romance then it's not a Romance. If it's not hot then it's not erotica. But because there is explicit sex -- and gay sex at that -- the vast majority of non-erotic mainstream markets (even gay markets) wouldn't want them either. They're just sort of perched there in the middle. One could argue that I shouldn't have written those stories because they don't fit the market. Or that I should've written them differently to fit the market -- to fit some market. But I wrote them the way they wanted to be written and my publisher took them. And some readers do enjoy them -- the non-romantic one was an Editor's Pick of the Month on ARe. It
still frustrates me, though, that the legitimate criticisms are caused by the assumptions we have about what a story by Publisher X should be, or what should or shouldn't be in it, rather than because of problems with the story in isolation. And genre definitions are valuable, letting people find the kinds of books they want. Maybe it's the very freedom of M/M as a genre that's messing me up, making me want that one more chunk of freedom beyond even the generously wide fences of M/M? Not sure what to do about that, short of self-censoring anything that doesn't fit cleanly into an obvious genre market.

Maybe that's a benefit of self-publishing? (Sneaking over to one of the other questions.) If a story isn't published by a publisher with a particular genre-related reputation, readers are more likely to focus on the story individually. And being able to control all the marketing material about a story would let the author make sure the reader knows exactly what she is and isn't getting. One of the most annoying things I find as a reader is buying what I think is an orange, and finding when I bite into it that it's actually a carrot. False expectations can make even the best book feel problematic, just as I'd be mad about that carrot because I wanted and expected an orange right then, even though I do like carrots.

I've read books by other M/M authors that were marketed as romances, but weren't actually romances. They were good books, but were criticized for not being very romantic, or because the reader didn't get the connection between the characters, which... yeah. So it's obviously not just me. Some clarification of what to expect in borderline cases would benefit everyone, writers and readers alike.

==========
Angela Benedetti is author of:
A Hidden Magic

Fey incursions into the mortal world have been on the rise, and Paul MacAllister's trying to figure out what the king of the local Elven enclave Under the Hill is up to and how to stop it. Rory Ellison was caught up in one of those attacks and nearly killed by a gang of goblins. He doesn't believe they were real, though, and is resisting anything Paul might say to the contrary.

Normally Paul would be willing to let Rory go his own way, at least until he's taken care of more immediate business. But Rory has a particularly rare gift, one the Elven king needs to have under his control in order to carry out his plan. Keeping Rory away from the fey who will use him, to death if necessary, means protecting him night and day, whether Rory agrees or not.