Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Serena - Halloween Magic Turning Up The Heat





Marianne closed her eyes and luxuriated in the perfumed water, as it caressed every inch of her body. Soon her secret lover would be here. Soon it would be her fingers stroking her skin, probing deep within her, rousing her to new pinnacles of passion.

Serena. Even the sound of her name swept through her on a tide of ecstasy. On this magical night, all Marianne had craved would be hers. And now she need wait no longer. Framed in the doorway, stood a tall, slender woman with black hair and emerald eyes.

Serena had come for her and Marianne was ready...

The above is the blurb for my short story, Serena, featured in the sizzling anthology, Halloween Heat III. Serena is a woman with a difference and Marianne just can't get enough of her. Halloween is a special time for them - as it is for many a Paranormal Erotic Fiction character.

What is it about Halloween? We all know about witches, pumpkins and Trick or Treat, but what of the sensuous, sexy Halloween? Where does that come from?

 Having dabbled in a little research, I can tell you that the custom of dressing up in costumes for the great night is relatively recent (nothing much reported before 1900 in the UK, for example) and, as for dressing up in skimpy, sexy little numbers, well that's an even more recent development.

So sexy Halloween is a modern invention and naughty, erotic Halloween even more so - very 21st century in fact. It's a chance for the female of the species to vamp it up. Big make-up, slinky, clingy dresses, minimal underwear (if you can get away with it and are not at the mercy of the downward descent of maturity). But if you REALLY want to turn up the heat for your Halloween, why not take a style tip from these genuine Vamps of the 1920s and even earlier:

Theda Bara, the original Vamp, as Cleopatra 1917




Myrna Loy c.1926
Clara Bow 1920s

Louise Brooks 1920s actress and style icon


Have a very Happy Halloween!



Enjoy Halloween Heat III Here


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Shape Shifting - with Andrew Valentine



Today, my guest is Andrew Valentine, author of the erotic vampire book, Bitter Things and its sequel, Bitter Consequence. Here he gives us some background into the whole vampire story:

Shape Shifting: a brief history of vampire mythology



Turn on a TV.  Check out the offerings at the local multiplex.  Peruse the titles of the bestseller lists of books.  It seems everywhere you go, there are vampires among us.  Not only are they undead, but their allure is very much alive.  This may seem new—you may ask yourself, Why the sudden fascination with vampires?  There’s nothing sudden about it however.  Like the immortal creatures they are, stories and myths about them have been with us forever.

Charlain Harris, Laurel K. Hamilton, Anne Rice and even Stephanie Meyers are lauded for modernizing the myth that Bran Stoker popularized in 1897 with Dracula.  But predating them all, Lord Byron and John William Polidori get credit for bringing the vampire into the English language, with the short novel, The Vampyre.  The story of this story is that Byron penned a few pages of the work and then abandoned it.  Polidori snatched it up and completed the work, turning the villain Lord Ruthven into a thinly-veiled characterization of Byron himself.  Byron’s ruination of women socially became actual killings in Polidori’s tale.

But what might have most influenced our Western notions of vampires isn’t a work of fiction or the blood-thirsty dictator Vald Tepes III (aka Vald the Impaler) on whom Bram Stoker based his character, but a hapless Serbian peasant. Born and bred in his small Serbian village Medvegia, Arnold Paole died from a hayride fall in 1726.  After he was buried, however, he was blamed for the spate of human and animal deaths that struck the town. There was an official investigation in 1731.  Authorities exhumed Paole’s body and found the inside of his coffin scored by his fingernails.  Fresh blood colored his lips.  An Austrian military doctor wrote the police report called Visum et Reprtum; it declared Paole a revenant who rose from his grave to Feed. Word spread across Europe, causing the drawing rooms of high society to thrum with disgust and delight.  Thus, the obscure legend of the vampire became well known in most circles in Europe.


But the vampire was in Europe at least a millennium or two before Visum et Reprtum was published. My erotic vampire novel, Bitter Consequence, explores my main character’s Italian heritage and the vampire that changed the course of her family’s line.  In researching her family I learned during the Roman Empire, many of Rome’s citizens—particularly the women—were fascinated by the beliefs of slaves, who were captured from various parts of the globe.  One persistent belief, which the women of Rome soon adopted, was that drinking the blood of fertile women cured infertility.  Men who drank blood of other men would become more potent.  As this practice grew, so did blood borne illness.  The government outlawed the practice, but blood-drinking cults continued to thrive in the shadows.  As the illnesses persisted, the government sent assassins to hunt these blood-drinkers and kill them.  These early Roman vampire-hunters used ornate daggers that were small and shaped, interestingly enough, like a crucifix.  In order to defend themselves, the blood-drinkers began to spread rumors about themselves that made them appear frightening to their would-be assassins.  They told stories that they were able to change form, into fierce animals and devour attackers.  This may have given rise to the ability of vampires to shape-shift, which Stoker popularized in Dracula.


 Pre-dating the Romans were the slaves themselves. The title of my first novel, Bitter Things, comes from a Swahili proverb, “He who eats bitter things gets sweet things, too.”  Not only is that the theme of the book, but I chose it because my original vampire, Xiamora, is African.  The continent has its own many-varied versions of the vampire.  For example, the Pondo, Zulu and Xhosa tribes fear a creature called the impundulu or thekwane, a minion of the witch who summons it to slake its thirst by drinking the blood of her enemies.  

If you’ve seen the latest season of True Blood on HBO, you may have learned that the first vampire was Lilith.  What you may not know is that the script writers were riffing on an actual Biblical story.  According to Hebrew tradition, Lilith pre-dated Eve as Adam’s first wife.  The story was first recorded in the medieval text, Alphabet of Ben Sirah, and it said that before God created Eve, He created Lilith from the same dust as Adam.  This made Lilith think of herself as Adam’s equal and therefore she would not subjugate herself to his will.  God sent angels to subdue the uppity woman but she escaped.  When God created Eve from Adam’s rib, Lilith vowed vengeance against any children they would have, by killing them and drinking their blood.  


The ancient Assyrians and Babylonians of Mesopotamia offered their own blood goddess, who most probably influenced the Lilith myth.  Theirs was a goddess was named Lamastu, which means “she who erases.”  Scholars suggest the name Lilith is a derivative of Lamastu. This creature would creep into residences and drink the blood of whoever was home, but had a special taste for the blood of infants.  She was also responsible for disease and nightmares.  While Lilith was seductive, Lamastu was terrifying, with wings and talons.  She was blamed for sterility and was an ancestor of the belief that demons would visit young men in their sleep and fill them with uncontrollable sexual lusts.  



Although today’s popular culture teams with the undead, there is a rich and varied history of vampires behind us.  Despite what looks like an unsustainable popularity, the twilight of the vampire is not upon us.  Like a Roman blood-drinking cult member, the vampire myth will continue to shift shapes to fit the needs of our culture, and the vampire will be with us eternally.

# # #
Guest blogger Andrew Valentine lives and writes in New York.  He has a masters degree in psychology from the New School, is a founding member of the Paranormal Romance Guild, and is a marketing director in a firm in Manhattan, where his writing is more effective at producing revenue than pulse pounding thrills.  

Visit Andrew online at www.BitterThingsTheBook.com or www.BitterConsequence.com or check out the books on Amazon.com:
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Friday, 12 October 2012

Haunting Nights with C.P. Foster



I am delighted to welcome Paranormal Erotic Romance writer, C.P. Foster, author of the spooky and sensual Night of Seduction, included in the Halloween Heat III anthology just published by Etopia Press.

Antonia:  Welcome C.P.. Firstly, I loved Night of Seduction. I live in a haunted house myself but none of my ghosts has ever done anything remotely resembling yours. I’m quite jealous of Olivia, your main character. She’s a very lucky girl! Is this your first published story?

C.P.:  Thanks! This is my second published story. The first one is Partners, which was also recently released by Etopia.

I think Olivia is lucky, too, but her luck is a little mixed. She finds this fascinating person, but can only be with him one night a year. Night of Seduction is actually the first of a five part series that has just been published as a separate anthology on October 12th. The idea was originally a single story that takes place some years after Night of Seduction, but some of my beta readers wanted to know how Olivia and her ghost first met. In my head, there was a lot more to the story, so I asked Etopia if they’d be interested in a series of shorts that told all of it. I was really excited when they said yes. So, we get to see how Olivia’s relationship with her ghost develops, and how difficult it is to fall in love with someone when you have so little time to be with him.

Antonia:  I’m really pleased about this. When I read Night of Seduction, I felt there was room for much more of Olivia’s story and now we’ll be able to read it. Looking forward to that! Now, I’m interested in finding out about you. Tell us a bit more about yourself

C.P.:  I’ve lived in Seattle most of my life, and I love it here. I’ve been a pagan for over 20 years, and we have a large and diverse pagan community. I’ve also been into BDSM for nearly as long, and Seattle has one of the biggest BDSM communities around. The Center for Sex Positive Culture is an amazing organization founded in Seattle, which promotes acceptance of all forms of sexuality, including BDSM. It’s hard for me to imagine living anywhere else.

I’ve been writing since I was a little girl—my first story was a Nancy Drew fanfic. Mostly, I’ve written for myself until now, though I did post a few fanfic stories (not Nancy Drew!) a while back. Partners was the first thing I’ve submitted in years.

Antonia:  What drew you to writing paranormal erotic fiction?

C.P.:  I’ve always been a big fan of fantasy. I’m not sure why. My favourite books as a kid were things like the Narnia series, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Hobbit. Maybe I just like to live in other worlds where so much more is possible. I guess it’s natural that I’d gravitate toward that sort of thing in my own writing.

Antonia: Yes, I can see that it would. Now, what would you say makes a great main character?

C.P.:  The character needs to be someone you want to hang out with for the length of the story. That doesn’t mean they have to be nice, but that you find them interesting enough to stick around. They need flaws, of course; perfection is boring, not to mention annoying. They have to want something badly enough that they’re willing to overcome obstacles in order to get it. And the reader has to be able to relate to them in some way. Hmm...maybe that’s why some of my favourite characters are so snarky.

Antonia: What is your favourite/least favourite thing about writing?

C.P.:  I love to immerse myself in a fantasy. To be honest, I live in my own head most of the time. My stories almost always start out as some fantasy scenario that’s stuck in my mind, and I like to expand on that scenario, build a whole story around it that gives it depth and makes it even more compelling. I also get into doing research for whatever I’m writing. For instance, I got a real kick out of finding Victorian slang for sex with the Night series.

My least favourite thing is when I don’t feel inspired, but need to write anyway. It can be like pulling teeth.

Antonia:  What/who do you like to read?

C.P.:  Urban fantasy is my favourite genre. I love Jim Butcher’s Dresden series and Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. I also read a lot of mystery and detective novels. I think I’ve read everything Robert B. Parker has written. Right now I’m reading Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books. I’m also re-reading all of the Thieves’ World books.

Antonia:  What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?

C.P.:  Holy cow, how do I choose?!  My life is full of strange. If you’re talking about the paranormal, I did have one really creepy experience. About 20 years ago I moved into a new apartment. In the middle of the night I woke up and was absolutely certain someone was in the room with me. It was pitch dark and I couldn’t see anything. It scared the hell out of me. I calmed myself down as much as I could and talked to whoever it was, saying (very politely!) that this was my home now and I needed them to leave. Eventually the feeling went away. It never happened again.

Antonia: Very creepy! What do you do when you’re not writing?

C.P.:  I’ve been doing a lot of art lately, and I’m also into acting and directing for ritual dramas at pagan festivals. I spend a lot of time with my husband. Whenever I have the opportunity, I love taking long road trips. And, of course, I read.

Antonia:  What are you currently working on and what can we expect to see from you in the near future?

C.P.:  Well, there’s the Five Haunting Nights anthology, just out today, October 12th.


At the moment, I’m working on a short story for a non-profit anthology. It’s about 10% plot and 90% sex, LOL. I’ve also got a really long vampire novel that I finished a few months ago and am shopping around in hopes that someone will pick it up. Then there’s another paranormal romance novel that I started a couple of months ago. I got side-tracked from it when I got the contract for the Night stories, but hope I can get back to it soon.

Antonia: We’ve got a lot to look forward to! Finally, a fun question. Imagine you have won a two week holiday for you and three other people, real of fictitious, living or dead but the catch is they cannot be your actual friends and family. You can go anywhere in the world and have any type of holiday you choose. Who would you take with you and why? Where would you go? What would you do?

C.P.:  That’s a tough one...I’d really like to go to Greece someday and explore all of the old ruins, especially the temples. I’d take Methos from the Highlander TV series because he’s 5,000 years old and could tell me all sorts of things about what it was really like in ancient times. I keep thinking I’d like to give poor Harry Dresden a vacation because he needs the rest, but gods know what kind of trouble he’d get me into. And Tallulah Bankhead. That woman knew how to party, and talk about snarky...she’d be a blast.

Antonia:  I reckon you’ll be having a helluva good time on that holiday! Now, how can we connect with you?

C.P.:  I’ve just started a blog at www.cpfosterauthor.wordpress.com, and plan to post a short-short story there every week. I’m also on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-C-P-Foster-Aphrodites-Writer/287293758037990) and on Twitter (https://twitter.com/CPFoster1). 

Antonia:  Thank you for being my guest today, C.P.. It’s been great getting to know you and good luck with your writing!

C.P.:  Thank you, Antonia! This has been fun!

Halloween Heat III is available from All Romance Books Amazon Barnes and Noble or wherever you normally buy your ebooks
You can buy Partners at Amazon  Barnes and Noble  All Romance Books and other online booksellers


Five Haunting Nights is available from: Amazon  Barnes and Noble and other online booksellers

Friday, 5 October 2012

The (Hallowe'en) Heat Is On!


Marianne waits for her lover, as the night works its magic, and Halloween comes but once a year...


Serena Comes Out!
 
Included in #III of Etopia Press's sizzling six volume anthology - Halloween Heat 


You can buy  Halloween Heat III Here


If you like hot, erotic tales with more than a dash of spice and magic, check out the entire series. Each is themed, so you'll find something to suit your every mood and taste. 


Here are the buy links for the rest of the series:

Halloween Heat I

Halloween Heat II

Halloween Heat IV 

Halloween Heat V 

Halloween Heat VI