Friday, August 18, 2017

Defeating Writers Block: Love to Read by Suz deMello (#iamwriting #writersblock #MFRWAuthor)

In another installment of what to do when you're blocked, another option is to seek inspiration. Or, rather, do what you did when you were an author in training. 

I didn't know I was an author in training as a child and as a teen, when I read obsessively. I clearly remember the first book I really loved--I believe I was about three years old. I don't remember the title, but it was about a train, all the things the train carried, and the people on the train. 


I went from there to read just about everything I could lay my hands on. When I was a teen I was a little bit more organized. I had a science fiction phase in which I read sci-fi from A to Z, literally from Asimov to Zelazny. Then I read
every British murder-mystery I could, starting with Holmes of course, moving through Sayers and Christie. Then I started to read Regency Romance. Going to college interrupted my unplanned unconscious reading schedule. But I still read novels almost exclusively with the exception of British histories, mostly by Thomas Costain.


I didn't realize what I was doing at the time, but the obsessive reading of pop fiction educated me in the basics of writing pop fiction. I unconsciously learned everything from the overarching notion of story down through plot characterization conflict and even proper sentence structure. 




I make the point in my book About Writing, as follows:



Writing a book starts long before you open your new journal, or begin a new document on your computer and type “Chapter One.” You need to have read a lot of books, and I don’t mean craft works like this manual. Read, but not just anything.

Aspiring writers are often told, “read in your genre.” But Faulkner said, “Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.”

I don’t completely agree with the above advice. Mine is: Read well-written books.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/628973
What books are they? Try using the internet to search for lists of the best books ever written in English, or whatever language in which you’re planning to write. Do not read translated books. While many are great, you want to read excellent books by those who have mastered all aspects of writing. Book translators possess extremely refined skills, and writing an original work from start to “the end” is not often among them.

Be selective. While reading works such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in the original middle English may be interesting and educational, you want to read books that are written in the version of English we use, so as to accustom your ear and your mind to modern, grammatically correct language.

The purpose of extensive reading is not to entertain but to enlighten. Pay attention to what you’re reading. Read books that call to you more than once, to figure out why they’re compelling. Look at the big picture aspects first: character and conflict, plot and story. During the next reading you can analyze narrower mechanical concerns such as word choice and sentence structure. Ask yourself, “How does this writer use these tools to elicit a particular reaction from the reader?”

Third reading: start looking for subtleties such as symbolism, subtext, and theme. How does the writer express these? What images does the author employ? What words does she choose? How long or short are sentences, paragraphs, chapters? Why?

It’s not the purpose of this treatise to teach everything there is to know about every aspect of fiction writing. It’s not possible. But reading programs your brain in particular ways. I emphasize reading modern works, works that use the same sentence structure, grammar, and vocabulary common in contemporary fiction. Read to increase your knowledge of, and command over, your tools: words, sentences, paragraphs, scenes. Read great books over and over again. Learn an appreciation for the English language and good writing, even down to correct apostrophe placement and comma usage.

Reading well-written books will imprint strong storytelling, correct grammar, and good sentence structure upon your mind, and it’s a lot easier to learn by reading than by taking classes. A lifetime of good reading can create a good writer. You’ll become a more able author, especially if you’re writing as well as reading, such as keeping a journal or making notes. It doesn’t really matter what you’re writing at this phase. If you’re writing fiction, great. If not, that’s okay too.

All of this is to encourage becoming thoroughly fluent in the English language. If you aren’t, the sad truth is that you needn’t try to write anything more complex than a shopping list or a thank-you note. Readers know what good writing is and isn’t, and they can be as unforgiving about sloppiness as the plastic surgeon’s patient.


Law school interrupted my reading. I did not realize how much I missed it until
after I had graduated and I found that something in my life was missing. My eye fell upon a copy of Ursula Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea, one of my favorites, and I realized that I had not read a novel in 3 years. 


Because I'm blocked, I'm back to reading. I used to read books that I loved, and rewatch TV and movies that I adored, but now I don't do that very often. A book has to be amazing for me to reread it, and the same is true of films. I like new things. I like novelty, and I like to learn something new when I can.

And so I've returned to my roots, and am again reading fanatically. And enjoying every word.


Right now I'm reading all of Nora Roberts' The Obsession. What are you reading?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Memorable Rejections Received Over the Years by Marianne Stephens

Here's a questionable rejection from a very high profile, RWA-recognized, well-known agent.

I sent the requested three chapters. I received a rejection thanking me for giving her the opportunity to read my complete manuscript. I wrote back and noted I'd only sent three chapters and wondered if we were talking about the same submission. She wrote back...and I quote..."Once a letter has been mailed, we do not offer any additional feedback on a submission."

I have no idea if my chapters were what she was rejecting or someone else's full manuscript.

My second questionable rejection is from an agent no longer recognized by RWA.

I sent a requested full manuscript. She called and spent 30 minutes asking questions about the book and other books I had written or was in the process of writing. She said she was almost through reading it and it looked fine. She wanted to finish it and make sure I'd followed through with the story to the end. This was a Monday. She said she'd get back to me by Friday or the following Monday.

A month later she called and proceeded to tell me all the things that were wrong with the book to include plot, too much character-driven material, etc. She suggested I read 4 books on writing and redo the story before I'd be allowed to resubmit to her. I chose not to contact her again.

Another rejection:

I'd written a category romance following the guidelines and sent in a query. My rejection stated that they really weren't looking for books with children in them for this particular line...and mine was about a woman running a daycare facility. Nowhere in the guidelines did it state they didn't want kids in the story or else I'd never have submitted.

I now publish with self-publishing groups.

Anyone else have memorable rejections to share?

Marianne Stephens
http://www.mariannestephens.net
http://romancebooks4us.com
photo: Flickr: Caro Wallis photostream



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tell Me A Story



A group of male/male romance authors was given this picture and asked to tell a story about it.
Here's what I wrote.

“I don’t even understand why you invited me to come to the conference with you this weekend. You haven’t spent ten seconds in the same room as me all day.” Jayden crossed his bare arms over his naked chest and glowered at Vincent, not even excited to be wearing the brand new teeny-tiny Speedo swimwear he’d raced out to buy when he heard the conference center had a swimming pool and hot tub.
“You knew I was here for work. The company is paying me to attend so they expect me to participate in the various workshops and forums.”
Jay ground his teeth together to stop him from screaming at Vince. It took every ounce of control he had to keep his voice sufficiently low that the people in the next room wouldn’t hear every word he said. “There’s no workshop or forum on now. Your program states ‘Free Time. Please avail yourselves of our facilities.’ The swimming pool is a facility and you know I said I was looking forward to using it.”
Jay bit his lip. He’d had such high hopes about this weekend away. Vince held a senior management position with TekiSolutionz, and he often worked late nights and all through the weekend. They had so little time together that when Vince had asked him to come to this conference he hadn’t begrudged a cent of the money it’d cost him to buy several new shirts, neckties, and even new shoes so he’d look appropriately attired to be a senior manager’s partner.
But this free time was precious. He’d had such high hopes of the moments they’d spend in each other’s others arms in the few brief breaks in the program. It would be the pay off for him sitting silent and bored beside Vince for hours and hours during the formal presentations and speeches tomorrow night.
Vince shook his head. “Jay, I never promised to spend the free time with you. I’ve gotten permission to use Breakout Room Three with one of the sound system engineers and a video tech to practice my presentation for tomorrow night. They’re going to record me so I can watch the tape and see what I need to improve. You know how important it is to me to impress our major clients and stakeholders tomorrow.”
“Of course I know. You’ve been talking about it nonstop for weeks. But what about me? When will you be able to squeeze me into your life?”
“You’re already in my life. You know I love you. I invited you here in public as my partner.”
“Yes, but we’ve hardly seen each other. When are we actually going to exchange a sentence with each other?”
“We could do that now if you’d stop pouting and acting like I’m standing you up.”
Just then Vince’s cell phone beeped.
“Gotta run. That’s the sound tech ready for me. I’ll see you for dinner tonight. It’s formal remember. At seven, in the ballroom.”
Jay nodded, but Vince wasn’t even looking. He was already halfway out the door on his way to his next appointment. Jay dropped back onto the bed. That’s the way it was far too often. Vince rushing from an important meeting to an even more important meeting. Him coming home from his very ordinary job to cook dinner for them both even though he knew that half the time Vince wouldn’t come home to eat it and the rest of the time it wouldn’t taste nice anyway because it’d gone cold and been reheated hours later.
Was that going to be all his life held from now on? Snatches of Vince’s time when his work didn’t come first? Himself just a space filler for when Vince’s career was up-to-date? Vince said he loved him, but was that enough to live on?

* * * *

Vince had trouble putting Jay’s sad face out of his mind so he could concentrate on his work. It was even harder trying to forget the bright pink and black swimwear he’d been wearing. It didn’t leave much to the imagination and Vince would enjoy freeing Jay’s mighty fine cock from the tiny piece of fabric and tasting him.
But not now. Tomorrow night was vital for his career. Only four of the senior managers would be giving a presentation at the formal dinner and he was one of them. He absolutely had to give such an honor every ounce of his effort and attention. No way could he risk stumbling over his words or not producing a smooth, engrossing speech. This rehearsal was very important to him. Only by watching a video of himself would he genuinely know if he’d gotten his timing or actions wrong or if his words didn’t come out how he wanted them to.
But he hated that Jay was sad. Vince knew he’d been ignoring Jay lately. Well, not ignoring him precisely. No one could ever ignore such a delicious hunk of premium manhood. But maybe taking him for granted somewhat. He did need to change up his game and come home on time more often. Or at least text Jay with the time he actually would be home. It was rude to expect dinner to be cooked for him and then not turn up. He did need to act better toward Jay.
He mentally ran through his speech, and then stood on the stage and gave the presentation as if he were in the ballroom. The sound crew clapped him at the end, but he wasn’t sure if they were being polite, or if they’d liked his speech. However when they replayed the video, he had come across well. Now he just had to worry that he wouldn’t fuck-up on the night. Wasn’t there some saying or other that the worse the dress rehearsal went, the better the performance usually was? Oh shit, maybe this hadn’t been such a brilliant idea after all.
“Thank you all for helping me out,” Vince said to the sound crew.
“No problem. We still have over an hour before we need to start setting up for the dinner tonight.”
“Really? I thought it’d take longer.”
“You were as smooth as silk. You’ve got time to get a coffee or whatever before preparing for tonight’s program.”
“Thanks. I might do that.”
But instead of going downstairs to the coffee shop, he went up to the rooftop swimming pool. He half expected to find Jay lying on a sun bed sipping some exotic drink, or maybe surrounded by men lusting after him in that tiny sexy pink piece of fabric.
Instead, Jay had evidently been swimming. He was in the middle of the pool stretching. Damn, he looked delicious. The yummiest hunk of man on planet Earth. Without stopping to think Vince raced down the steps and into the swimming pool, and marched across to Jay, pulling him into his arms and kissing him.
“I love you, Jay. I promise to spend more time with you.”
Jay jumped up, wrapping his legs around Vince’s waist. “I love you, too, Vince, but that suit isn’t going to like being in chlorinated water. Why didn’t you change into your board shorts first?”
“I didn’t want to waste a single minute when I could be with you. I promise to be better about letting you know when I’m free, and spending every spare second of my life with you.”
“Every spare second, hmm? How can a man resist such a wonderful offer?”
Vince tightened his grip on Jay as Jay kissed him back with so much promise if he hadn’t been waist deep in water they’d have been arrested for what might happen next.

Berengaria Brown

Blog: http://berengariasblog.blogspot.com/
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Berengaria-Brown/e/B00541R3YQ/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/berengaria.brown?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BerengariaBrown

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Join in the Crazy Alien Games

by Katherine Kingston

My science fiction novella Checkmate is now available from most ebook outlets and I invite you to come along on a wild ride around far-off worlds, through the obligatory spaceport cantina, to a place where decorating bridges is a high art form and onto a planet whose inhabitants enjoy reality show games with a bit more realism than most of us would find comfortable.

Devonne and Raje, my space-going pirate heroes, are forced to participate in a series of said games when they’re accused of a crime against one of the alien residents of the planet and the only alternative is a forced labor camp.

A quick sample of the ‘games’ they are required to play for the amusement of their captors:

Negotiating a maze that holds more obstacles than just tricky turns and confusing corridors.
Public sex with each other.
Fighting a herd of treckles, small, but vicious creatures.
Demonstrating BDSM sex with each other.
Fighting a corbret, a large, ugly, bad-tempered creature. With teeth. Big, sharp teeth.
Group sex with a different couple.
Fighting that same other couple to the death. Uh, no.


It’s a fast-paced, action-packed story and you’re welcome to join the experience!

Amazon   B&N   iTunes   Kobo    Others

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Naughty Reunions: Return to #Romance is #free on #Instafreebie!

The Naughty Literati are now on Instafreebie! And we're starting off by giving away our Autumn 2015 anthology Naughty Reunions: Return to Romance -- for free!

Just go to our Naughty Reunions page on Instafreebie and sign up to subscribe to our newsletter, Naughty News. Instafreebie will send you your choice of an epub or mobi file.

Naughty Reunions has nine stories including BBW, Contemporary, F/F, M/M, New Adult, Paranormal, Regency, Shapeshifter, Speculative Fiction, and Stepbrother Romance from bestselling authors writing as The Naughty Literati!

Silent Sky by Regina Kammer
Homeward Bound by Alexa Silver
Lady Esther’s Lesbian Lover by Berengaria Brown
Renovating the Relationship by Katherine Kingston
Part 2: The WyndMaster’s Homecoming by Charlotte Boyett-Compo
Back in Your Arms by Marianne Stephens
My Cups Runneth Over by Francesca Hawley
Ocean Dreams by Suz deMello
Hybrid Mates 5: Take Me Home by Nicole Austin

Subscribing to Naughty News keeps you up to date with new releases, giveaways, author spotlights, exclusive excerpts, and contests! And now you'll get a free copy of Naughty Reunions: Return to Romance!


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sexy pirates and the feisty women they love - DAYS OF DESIRE - #TinaDonahueBooks #PiratesPrize #KensingtonBooks


Although I love an alpha hero as much as the next romance fan, I also like my guys to have a heart - at least when it comes to the women they love. They can be commanding, but also need to be cherishing.

When I set out to write my Pirate's Prize series, I wanted to create a pirate hero who was forced into a life of crime and didn't make that his goal. He wants more. That story unfolded as First Comes Desire and has led to book 2 in the series Days of Desire.

Join me on a lush, tropical isle where passion rules while danger lurks.

Meet the women and men who fight for their destinies
during balmy days and impassioned nights.

Days of Desire
Erotic Historical - Available Now
Book 2 Pirate's Prize



Blurb:

In a pirate’s lair, nothing is as it seems . . .

Shipwrecked! When Royce Hastings is found washed up on the shore of a verdant tropical island, he tells the natives he is a merchant headed for Mozambique. The truth, however, is far more mercenary. Noble by birth, the once favored Royce has lost his fortune and family; now he is a hired henchman on the trail of an elusive pirate. His “shipwreck” was a fake. He’ll stop at nothing to infiltrate the island and capture his prey. His mother and sisters’ lives depend on it.

The last thing Royce expects is to be captured himself. But the lovely young woman who tends to his wounds in the tropics quickly takes hold of his heart. Simone is the island’s healer, and her skilled ministrations not only awaken his soul but disturb his conscience. His path has been predetermined; his identity must remain concealed at all costs. Yet the passion he feels in Simone’s sultry, loving arms cannot be denied. With his loyalties torn, Royce must make an agonizing, unthinkable choice. . . .


Excerpt:

He squeezed past the door into the shadowed space. Simone’s fragrance surrounded him, the musky undertones muddying his brain.

She sat on the floor in the corner, grains, seeds, and berries to her side, spread out for the pigeons. They poked their heads through the metal slats in their cage and ate like gluttons. Chickens strutted freely, pecking their food.

Simone stood. The hens scattered. “Are you all right?”

Exhausted and aroused. “Fine.”

“You’re bleeding again.”

“Not much. You shouldn’t be doing this.”

Her chin trembled. “What? Speaking to you? Asking questions? You want me to be silent and unseen?”

He longed to be in her arms, comforted and warmed. Anchored to all the good he’d never really known. Her words proved true. This island had wonderful people. The best life had to offer. Nothing he deserved. “You’re a healer, not someone who tends chickens and birds. Peter should be doing this. Is he a lazy boy?”

She lowered her face, hiding her smile. “A surly one. He thinks he knows everything. Too many times, Diana has promised to thrash him.”

“Good for her. A proper man needs manners. Let me help you.” Eager to reach her, he strode recklessly.

A hen flapped its wings, going right and left to escape his crutch, its squawk ear-piercing. The other chickens scattered, many getting in his way. He twisted to keep from falling.

“Take care.” Simone slipped her arm around his waist, her precious breast pressed to his side.

Surrendering to loneliness and enchantment, he leaned in, his face to her hair. The English countryside couldn’t compete with her blessed scent. Nature had met its equal in her. He nuzzled her glossy tresses. No matter how wrong and irrational his desire, for some reason he’d found home at her side.

Pity he’d managed that too late.

He should have moved away but hadn’t the will.

She guided him to a bed nearly as large as the one in his chamber. This lavish room, like his, boasted a marble floor and whitewashed walls. A lovely place for a new life to take its first breath.

She laid his crutch to the side. “Sit before you fall.” Gently, she pushed him on the silk-covered mattress.


He made a show of falling down.

Her laughter pealed through the room.

Royce feigned insult. “Are you making light of me?”

“Oui.”

His laugh produced happy tears. “Have you no pity for a poor cripple?”

“I have never seen a stronger man.” She held her hands behind her, breasts thrust out, and swayed her hips slowly.

Aphrodite in the flesh. “Is that what you think of me?”

“What I know. You survived a storm that nearly tore our isle from the earth and flung it into the sky. You are no mere man. You are close to a god.”

He was a liar when honor demanded he do nothing to ruin anything here. He was a besotted fool when duty required he see to his family. His mother and sisters had no power to liberate themselves. Without his help, Katie, especially, would know nothing except a life spent in hard labor, cowering at harsh words, dreading the next beating or something equally horrible.

Simone cupped his face. “What is it? Is the pain bad again?”

The worse a man could face. Having to choose between angels: the one in here now with him, or those in his family who he’d been trying to save.



Website  –  FB  – FB Fanpage  – Twitter  –  Amazon Author Page

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Finding a Message in Your Books by @KathyKulig

As an author, do you write a message or have a specific theme in your books? As a reader do you look for messages, possibly hidden ones, within the books you read? And if you do discover a message, what ones are your favorite?

All these ideas came to mind after reading a blog post where an author asked: Do you have messages in your books? If so, how do your readers respond?

I think authors tend to write a similar theme in most every book they write, even if they write in different genres.

Here are a few themes:

  • without trust, true love won’t survive
  • good triumphs over evil
  • money can’t buy happiness
  • home is where the heart is
  • let go of the past to grow and move forward
  • money can’t buy love
  • the strength of family can overcome hardship
  • don’t be afraid to reach for your dreams
  • there’s no place like home
  • let go of fear and take a chance of love
  • with courage love finds a way


After writing several books, I realized that last one (with courage love finds a way) seems to be my message in my books. Most of mine have the hero and heroine struggling, sometimes for the lives, over an outside person or situation. This is common in many romance novels, and I think it’s what draws readers to this genre.

In my stories, there’s an element of danger or devastating disappointment if the hero or heroine doesn’t succeed through the obstacle. My books may touch on some of these other themes too, but courage appears to be the strongest element, besides the romantic element, that resonates with me. That’s why I like to write adventure-type stories.

So what types of themes do you like to read? Or do you like to write?
Another side thought that came to mind while reading that author's blog post was a question a young couple asked of me while I was on vacation recently. Dh and I were in Punta Cana and chatting with a nice young couple who had just got married. They were on their honeymoon!

We told them we had gotten married in the islands too(St. Lucia), but that was almost 16 years ago, and we were very happy. The groom asked me what our secret was to a happy marriage. What a great question for a young married couple to ask us older folks.


I said, have a good sense of humor even during tough times, do fun things together, and don’t sweat the little sh*t. They seemed to like that. Do you have any marriage advice for this young couple???



HIS LOST MATE, a sexy paranormal romance, is an example of 'with courage love will find a way' theme.

Googleplay: http://bit.ly/21bvxOZ

BLURB: While on an excavation in the jungle, archaeology student Lauren Halpern uncovers an ancient mystery far beyond the average artifacts. Ancient evil, tragic love and danger surround her and the project leader Deven Chandler. Lauren senses the supernatural connection between them holds the key to the dark secrets and explains the heated passion they're trying to resist. But Deven, the scientist that he is, simply won't believe her esoteric beliefs or warnings.

Once they tumble into a sizzling affair the real trouble begins. From the ancient ruins, a ghost of a Mayan shaman lures them deeper to into the jungle where lies the deadliest evil of all. When danger arrives, can Deven learn to trust her and risk everything to save her?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Power of Music

I graduated from high school in 1974. (You do the math.) Throughout school, I listened to The Beatles, The Monkees, Paul Revere and The Raiders, Bread, Bobby Sherman. (I had such a crush on Bobby Sherman!) Yep, I was a pop music junkie. While most of my friends had their radios tuned to country music (it was Texas, after all), I bebopped around my bedroom to The Partridge Family.

I've always loved music. Any job became easier if I could listen to my favorite songs. When I started writing, music naturally went along with it. The type of music depends on what I'm writing. Sometimes I want to bebop along with those great '70s tunes. Sometimes a movie soundtrack will put me in the exact mood I need. Classical, rock, pop, soft instrumental. It all depends on the scene and the characters.

Imagine a funky bubblegum song playing instead of the "da dum da dum" you expect when Jaws is in the water. Doesn't work at all, does it? It's the same with writing. The music has to be right or the mood is broken.

I write erotic romance. I have to concentrate when I write a love scene for I want it to be right. I want the reader to *feel* everything my characters feel...every sigh, every kiss, every whisk of fingertips over bare skin. Listening to songs with lyrics distracts me during those crucial scenes, so I turn to New Age instrumentals. The strings, harps, and flutes all go along with the sexy mood I'm trying to convey.

Does music play an important part in your life? Tell me about it.

Lynn

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Get A Review Copy of Naughty Getaways

Last chance to sign up for the NAUGHTY GETAWAYS review tour! Eleven Sultry romance Stories by The Naughty Literati, perfect for your summer reading pleasure.


Including Contemporary, Fantasy, Historical, Magic, New Adult, Older Woman/Younger Man, Paranormal, Rubenesque, Sci-Fi, Stepbrother Romance & Threesome 

Terracotta Warriors ~ Berengaria Brown
Branden loves Sloan but he’s bisexual and craves a woman too. Will adding Naomi to the mix be a disaster or the solution they all need? *This is an enlarged and re-edited version of a formerly published story.

Dirty Diana ~ Francesca Hawley 
It’s Amateur Night at Gunnar Thorson’s strip club and Diana Rav intends to rock his world. She’s lush and sensual with generous curves she’s not afraid to move. Not anymore. She’s learned to love her body and is out to win Gunnar back with a sexy lap dance. 

An Unexpected Discovery ~ Regina Kammer 
A Parthian princess searching for the lost throne of her kingdom engages the services of a palace eunuch and discovers a treasure far more precious. 

Sinfully Hot ~ Tina Donahue 
A hotter-than-sin reaper. A badass demon. Hell doesn’t get steamier than this. 

Ice Queen ~ Nicole Austin 
In school, he was the bad boy this good girl couldn’t have. At work, he’s the boss, I’m his intern. Oh, and his dad just married my mom. It’s so wrong. We shouldn’t be doing this, but I love it. 

Peter’s Story ~ Suz deMello 
Peter Fortune, Earl Darlingside, awakened beside a corpse. Accused of homicide, he must change his dissolute ways or face life in prison. Barrister Roxanne Fox, called Foxy Roxy, is charged with his defense. Will desire derail Peter’s case? 

NY TIMES & USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR 
Tattoo Witch ~ Kathy Kulig 
At a seaside resort, Sam and Anita meet a mysterious owner of a tattoo shop, a witch whose magical tattoos grant scorching, kinky sex beyond their wildest fantasies—but there’s a catch. Each successive tattoo comes with a curse. 

FEATURING: 
USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR 
Dolphin Paradise ~ Kate Richards 
Dr. Karen Barrow has no intention of falling into the bed of the most notorious ladies’ man at Oleander College, but a week alone with him may be her undoing. After all, who will know what they do on Dolphin Paradise before the campers arrive for the summer? 

Tropical Heat ~ Alice Gaines A proper English miss, a rake, and a tropical island. Imagine what could happen. 

INCLUDING TWO BONUS NOVELLAS
Royal Alphas: One Night With The Alpha King ~ Belle Scarlett 
When Senator Anya Fortune snubs His Royal Majesty’s wedding offer, Shade wonders what an Alpha King has to do to get the woman to notice him… Claim the one, hot night he’s given by law to change her mind, naturally. Let the game of hearts begin. Winner take all. *This previously published title has been revised and reedited* 

Summer Lovin’ ~ Nicole Austin 
Cougar on the prowl, Larissa Cross is ready for a summer full of hot younger man lovin’. Rawr! Tattooed and pierced fireman JD Harmon is tempting prey but he intends to tame the wicked cougar and stake a claim on her heart. *This previously published title has been revised and reedited* 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Joy of Writer's Block by Suz deMello

The joy of writer's block??? WHAT?!?!?

The joy of writer's block is that it gives a person the opportunity to exercise her creativity in different ways. A couple months ago, I blogged about what I do when I’m blocked, which is practically all the time these days. Below is one of my approaches:

Paradoxically: stop trying. Yes, I actually mean stop writing. Instead, do something else that exercises your creativity. My favorite is refinishing old furniture. I recently moved back into my condo, where a tenant’s been living while I cared for my elderly mother. She’s with my brother now, so I can resume my life, and I love being back in my home. But there were a lot of built-ins in my mom's house, including a huge dresser, where about a third of my clothes had been residing. And I gave my now ex-boyfriend the storage I’d been using—which itself had been a rescue-and-refinish item. So I get to do the same thing all over again. Yay!

I love the process of finding the right piece, deciding what colors to paint it, discovering the perfect drawer pulls. But you have to have the temperament for this. You have to love wandering around thrift shops and hardware stores. I happen to, so I’m good.

On a lark, a friend and I stopped by a Goodwill furniture store on Memorial Day, and spotted a solid maple dresser for only $90:



I instantly knew that I had spotted a great deal, so I bought it. And at checkout, I discovered that the deal was even better than I’d thought—Memorial Day was half-off day at Goodwill! So YES! I got this treasure for only $45!

I called a Lyft and got it home, where (as you can see) I put it on my lawn. Why, you ask?

Most paint should be used in places with excellent ventilation. I also knew I’d be sanding, and didn’t want to breathe in the dust. Plus, I’m clumsy and guaranteed to get paint all over the place despite how careful I might be. So the lawn is perfect. So the grass gets paint on it—so what? It grows out and gets cut.

Stage one: taking out drawers, sanding and applying the first coat.




I chose a chalk paint on the advice of a gal at my local hardware store, who seemed well versed in the Shabby Chic school of furniture refinishing, and that’s a look I love. So I tried it.






After sanding, I got a beautiful distressed look (above). However, that paint was not going to stay on and look beautiful. It flaked off when scratched with a fingernail. So I opted for a more conventional look—used primer and an acrylic based paint, topped by a spray varnish.

In the middle of the process, it unexpectedly rained:




But I was undeterred. Because of the rain and generally odd weather (anyone doubt global climate change? I don’t. It’s not supposed to rain so much in June in SacTown, and this year it rained a lot.) I moved everything undercover:





As you can see, I chose white with the drawer fronts in pale grey. I decided upon this color scheme for a few reasons—my default color for almost everything is white. I like my home to be light and bright. As for the grey, that was about the drawer pulls. This dresser has a bizarre number of drawer pulls—twenty. No, you didn’t misread that. There are twenty drawer pulls on a dresser with nine drawers. On top of that they are in two different sizes.

The ones that came with the dresser were hideous faux early American. Clearly intolerable. When I went to a hardware store to choose new pulls, only one type came in two sizes, the cup style ones I chose. They came in brushed silver, so I chose grey drawer fronts in hope that they would sort of blend together and the finished piece wouldn’t look so busy.

I also decided against the distressed look...after I had painted the thing with multiple coats of primer and paint, and then sprayed it with polyurethane finish, it was really hard to sand through all that to get the beat-up look. So I opted for letting it be.

And here it is, in place in my bedroom:




What do you think?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Annual CHRISTMAS IN JULY Contest at Romance Books '4' Us! by Marianne Stephens



HO-HO-HO! Romance Books '4' Us announces our BIG, annual "CHRISTMAS IN JULY" contest! Visit our website at http://www.romancebooks4us.com for details. 

Authors and prizes are listed. Gift cards, ebooks, audio books, print books, and other assorted items are listed. TWO winners will each receive a $25 GC for Amazon or B&N, and FIVE other winners will split the remaining 30+ prizes.
 
Have you been Naughty or Nice? Enter the RB4U contest and see what Santa decides! Contest ends 23 July so enter NOW!

RB4U has lots of authors and their books for your to see...check each author's page!

 Marianne Stephens
http://www.mariannestephens.net
http://www.romancebooks4us.com
 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Attempting to write longer stories



The Naughty Literati are planning a project for next year with longer stories in it, around 30,000 words or a little more. Most of my books are short. I get bored quickly and like a lot of action, so of the more than 100 books I’ve written 70% of them would be 25,000 words or fewer. And most of the longer ones got that way by accident. The characters kept running off on tangents instead of solving the problem and riding away into the sunset together.

Characters do that sometimes. Refuse to listen to the writer, I mean. There was this ghost… but that’s another story.

One classic case of my inability to write longer books was a Regency romance I began that was meant to climax at the Coronation of King George IV. I spent weeks researching that coronation—the clothing, the event itself, the people who were there and more. The coronation was a really big deal, costing twenty times as much as George’s father’s coronation, the equivalent of around 26 million dollars in today’s terms. All for a one-hour-long ceremony. I even planned to mention that George’s wife, Caroline of Brunswick, was banned by George himself from attending the event.

But hey, the characters refused to cooperate. My hero, the Reverend Barnabas Ridley was in such a hurry to marry the heroine, Georgina Arnott, that the book was finished in barely 20,000 words instead of my planned 45,000.



It was also finished well before the coronation, so I wrote the story of Barnabas’ sister, Theodora. But once again the main characters seized hold of the storyline and raced off with it.



Undaunted, I began the story of the stunningly beautiful Miss Sapphira Arnott, but the Earl of Mitcham appeared out of nowhere and took control of that. I never did write about the coronation.

So wish me luck with this new project. The plan is for one longer book to go in the boxed set. Not a series of three shorter ones that won’t be right for the group.

The Regency books mentioned above are the Virgins No More series, https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B00YX5ANK0/kindle/ref=sr_bookseries_null_B00YX5ANK0

And the ghost?
Oh, he took over an entire series of books, the “Forever Yours” series.


https://www.amazon.com/Forever-Yours-Intensity-Complexity-Publishing/dp/1610342526/
or available separately as ebooks:
“Intensity”: https://www.amazon.com/Intensity-Siren-Publishing-Menage-Amour-ebook/dp/B003LSTKLI
“Complexity”: https://www.amazon.com/Complexity-Siren-Publishing-Menage-Amour-ebook/dp/B00440E0H6/
“Eternity”: https://www.amazon.com/Eternity-sequel-Intensity-Complexity-Publishing-ebook/dp/B004FV54L0/

Berengaria Brown

Thursday, July 6, 2017

From the Past to the Future

by Katherine Kingston

I’ve just finished releasing the Passions series of Medieval historical stories. I love the period and it’s been great revisiting it as I got these books ready for their re-release. But now it’s time to move onto something different. Something really different.

I’m jumping from the past to the future for my next re-release. This novella was so much fun to write! It was an assignment from my publisher at the time to write a novella to be included in an anthology of stories about space pirates. I set my imagination free to roam the universe and brainstorm the most out-there story I could come up with.

I think it worked. The story, Checkmate, has a hero and heroine who are both space pirates, though for very different reasons. They meet and fall in love, then are parted when a significant secret comes to light. But when they cross paths with the Sangari, they get trapped into competing as a team in a series of bizarre “games” that include various sorts of gladiatorial type of combat scenarios, but also some other contests that include odd sexual tests among other things.

A quick taste of one of the contests:

************

“I’ll worry about today’s problem today. I hate to ask, but…have they assigned me something to wear?”

The two men looked at each other. “I fear so.”

She sighed. “Just hand it over. I’ll do what I have to.”

He handed her a pile of fluffy, gauzy stuff that would obviously cover nothing. “You put this over it,” he added, passing something of a heavier material.

Devonne shook out the lighter fabric to find harem pants, tied together with ribbons at hips and ankles, and a tunic top also fastened with ribbons at shoulders and sides. It was all in shades of pale pink and green. “Yech. Somebody’s got really terrible taste. And pink is not my color at all. I hope it doesn’t put Raje off.”

The lawyers looked at each with a shade of relief lightening each face. They really had been worried about her reaction. Then his attorney grinned. “I don’t think you need to worry about that.”

“Well I hope not. He’s got the tougher job today. I can hardly wait to see how they’ve outfitted him.”

“It’s…interesting,” Whetlock said. “I think he may be more embarrassed about it than you are.”

************

Want to know what Raje is wearing?

Checkmate releases on August 1 and is now available for pre-order.

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0735WJ4Q4
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/checkmate-katherine-kingston/1020150183
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1252141121
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/checkmate-71

Blurb: Devonne and Raje are space pirates who were once also lovers, until the revelation of secrets in his past drove them apart. But when they’re kidnapped and forced to compete in a drastic and devastating series of contests, they need to find a way to work together, or they’ll each end up with a one-way ticket to a slave labor camp.

Monday, July 3, 2017

American Revolution Erotic Romance for July 4th!

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day, where Americans celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, severing ties with Great Britain and starting the American Revolution.

So of course I've written some American Revolution erotic romance!

The General’s Wife: An American Revolutionary Tale

An English Lady and a handsome American Patriot in a battle for her heart – will she submit to the enemy?

Seduced Into Marriage
Lady Clara Hastings is forced to leave her beloved England by her wicked husband, the infamous British general Lord Jeremy Strathmore. They arrive upon the shores of the uncivilized American colonies amidst the outbreak of that young nation's struggle for independence.

Kidnapped And Held For Ransom
Among Strathmore's enemies is a man Clara secretly desires. As his captive, she learns of her husband's debauched and sadistic past, and discovers her own passions and proclivities.

A Quest For Freedom
In the clutches of Patriot fighters, Clara’s beliefs are challenged, her values are threatened, and she is caught up in a battle for her heart in the arms of a handsome American revolutionary.

Epic Passion During the American Revolution
The General's Wife: An American Revolutionary Tale is a high-heat historical romance set in New York of 1777. This coming of age action and adventure romance follows a young woman’s adventure as she discovers new desires in rebel arms. Each man she encounters enlightens her to the varieties of love, including that of a man for another man, a man for both men and women, and the excitement of mingling pain with pleasure.

Amazon * Barnes & Noble/Nook Press * Google Play * iBooks * Inktera * Kobo


Winter Interlude: An American Revolutionary Novelette

On a cold winter’s night in 1778, two patriot soldiers recall their first sensual encounter and ponder their future together with the women they love.

Winter Interlude: An American Revolutionary Novelette is a prequel and interquel companion piece to The General’s Wife: An American Revolutionary Tale. This story delves into the relationship between Captain Samuel Taylor and Lieutenant Patrick Hamilton. Much of the action of Winter Interlude takes place in the gap between Chapter Twenty-Three and Chapter Twenty-Four of The General’s Wife.

Winter Interlude: An American Revolutionary Novelette appears in Naughty Chances: Take A Chance on Romance produced by The Naughty Literati.

Amazon * Barnes & Noble/Nook Press * Google Play * Kobo


About the Author

Regina Kammer is a librarian, an art historian, and an award-nominated, best-selling, multi-published writer of erotica and historical erotic romance. Her short stories and novels make history sexier, whether the era is Roman, Byzantine, Viking, American Revolution, or Victorian. She’s even sexed up contemporary settings, Steampunk, and Greco-Roman mythology. She has been published by Cleis Press, Go Deeper Press, Ellora’s Cave, House of Erotica, Story Ink, The Naughty Literati, and her own imprint, Viridium Press. She began writing historical fiction with romantic elements during National Novel Writing Month 2006, switching to erotica when all her characters suddenly demanded to have sex.

Keep up with Regina on her website
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