Thursday, 30 January 2014

Friends With Benefits - With Anne Lange



I always find it fascinating to know how stories originated. Was it a lightbulb moment? A dream? A flash of inspiration in the shower? Well, not in Anne Lange's case. Today she talks about the origins of her latest sizzling erotic romance, Friends With Benefits - the first in The Vault Series:




 My Definition of Friends with Benefits 

Friends with Benefits is a rewrite of the very first story I ever wrote. Initially, I didn’t tell anybody what I was doing. I was bored at work, and had some down time in between projects, so I started playing around with a story idea. It grew to probably a short novella length. Then I shared part of it with a close friend and eventually my husband. Both loved the idea and thought it was hot. The benefit of having great friends, and a supportive spouse as your best friend, is that they’ll accept your whims gracefully and (hopefully) give you honest feedback—because they love you. Little did they know that I was quite serious about pursuing this writing thing.

Then I took some workshops. And some more workshops. And yet some more workshops. And then I realized just how much work was needed to make the story even remotely marketable. But I didn’t have any second thoughts about finishing it. I just knew it would take time. And along the way, I had their support and encouragement.

During the revision, the story took on a whole new life, and went in a whole new direction. Then I had to change the title to reflect the whole new story. You see, at first, this story was simply about two people experimenting. It involved a few fantasies, but nothing outrageous—just some fun times in the bedroom, or the pool, or the hot tub. In fact, the whole ménage thing was actually just a dream.

Everyone has their own secrets, their own fantasies, but not all of us are comfortable confessing to them, I know I’m not. As I reworked the story, I used that, and some of those secrets were revealed. It wasn’t just about fun and games anymore. It was about three people and what they each wanted most in a relationship. What they felt they needed to be whole. What they most desired when they had the guts to be completely honest with themselves and with those they loved. And as long as it was managed in a safe and controlled environment, with consenting adults, why couldn’t a few fantasies become reality?

My definition of Friends with Benefits isn’t just about having sex with somebody you consider a friend. It isn’t about simply inviting your neighbor over for dinner and seeing where things go from there. It’s about the risk you take in sharing something or someone with another person. It’s very personal. It’s about putting that someone or something into the hands of another and trusting nobody will get hurt. It’s about telling everyone one around you to go to hell, because if you lived to make them happy, you might just miss out on something wonderful. I might have missed out on publishing this story, and meeting all these wonderful people I’ve met over the last few years during my writing journey.

Having good friends comes with certain benefits. And I don’t mean the ménage type.  Friends are important. We all need them. But the benefits? Friends have your back. You can trust your friends. They encourage you. They share the good and the bad with you. They laugh and they cry with you. And, they do all that simply because they love you.
 

Thank you for being my guest today, Anne. 

 Now read on, but be warned, you'll need a cold shower later. What follows sizzles hotter than a July barbecue! First, a taster, courtesy of the blurb:

Can sexual exploration lead to three times the bliss?

Tyler had no idea his wife Angela’s desires so closely matched his own. But when some unguarded pillow talk reveals her fantasy of two men at once, Tyler jumps at the chance to make her happy. Enlisting the help of his best friend Connor, who’d shared some threesome adventures with him in the past, Tyler secretly hopes exploring Angela’s fantasies will lead to his own personal desire—a permanent threesome with the two people he loves most in the world.

Connor can’t believe it when his best friend asks him to seduce his wife. Then he meets Angela, and all the women in his past fade away. With
Tyler’s blessing, Connor sets out to melt Angela’s reserve, and when Tyler joins the party, the three of them set the sheets on fire.

Angela is floored when her husband suggests they explore some of her fantasies—things she’d only read about but never in a million years thought she’d actually do. Sandwiched between Tyler and Connor, she’s never felt so treasured, so protected, so loved. But the reality proves much more complicated than the fantasy. She loves her husband, but she finds herself falling for his best friend too. That’s not normal, is it? What will people think?


OK. Are you ready for a snippet of the story? It's a hot one, so don't say you weren't warned!


The conversation dwindled as the food disappeared. Finished, and not sure what to do next, Angela stood and picked up the empty plates, putting them on the tray. Connor moved to help, but she put out her hand, laying it atop his wrist. “You stay here. This will only take me a couple of minutes. You can pour me another glass of wine while I’m gone.”

A few minutes later she stood rinsing the dishes and placing them in the dishwasher, scolding herself for dashing away. She was in the process of cleaning the last plate, when she heard the door slide open behind her, the hum of the air conditioner disrupted by the chirping of crickets and soft footsteps. She began to turn, ready to tell Connor she truly didn’t need help, but she found herself pinned to the counter between two strong, solid arms. His chest was snug against her back. She felt his warm breath at her ear and the hard ridge of his arousal tucked into the crease of her behind.

He nuzzled her neck. Taking care, she settled the plate she’d been holding into the sink and took a deep breath, opening her mouth to speak. This time her voice came out an octave or two lower than normal. “I thought you were going to wait outside.”

“You were taking too long, so I figured I’d come in and see if I could help. Good thing, because it looks like you need some…assistance.”

He edged closer, forcing her to bend toward the countertop. He rubbed his palms up and down the length of her arms. Her eyes drifted closed, and she straightened, leaning her head back against his shoulder before realizing what she was doing.

His nuzzling switched to wet kisses along her shoulder. He licked her neck as his hands moved up to cup her breasts, weighing them in his hands. His thumbs passed over her nipples, which reacted to the spark of his touch, perking right up. He groaned in her ear and pinched the hard tips between his fingers before gently tugging them through the fabric of her clothing.

She wiggled her ass, arching her back so her rear pressed tight to his groin. With his right hand, he started a downward trek from her breast to her waist, and then moved to the top of her sex. He flattened his palm against her tummy, his touch firm, before moving lower still, fingers stretching to reach the spot she desired him most.

Holding her breath, she waited for him to go that little bit further. His fingers pulsed against her. Even beneath her shorts her flesh felt singed. Their harsh panting was the only sound in the small room. Anticipation hung in the air like steam in a sauna.

Her courage rising, Angela inched her hand down his arm until she covered his hand with her own. She nudged his forearm, urging him to continue. Once he knew he had her permission, he resumed his journey while he turned his head, burying his nose behind her ear.

With one hand on her breast and the other rubbing between her legs, she started to feel overwhelmed with sensation. Angela turned in the cage of his arms. His eyes dark with passion, the ridges of his cheekbones flushed, he closed the distance and claimed her mouth in a demanding dance. She flattened her palms on his chest and curled her fingers into his pectorals. Connor moaned.

Before she knew it they stood naked in her kitchen. She couldn’t say how it happened or who initiated it. But, all of a sudden, Angela found herself sitting on the counter with Connor wedged between her legs. His hands grasped her head, holding it immobile while he kissed her, his invasion so thorough that time seemed to stand still. His tongue touched every corner of her mouth; it ran along her teeth, dipping to duel with hers. They sparred until he grabbed hold and sucked her tongue into his mouth, the pressure so exquisite she felt its pull all the way down to her toes.

Needing air, Angela broke away. Connor pulled back and nipped her bottom lip before leaning down to grasp her right nipple between his teeth. He tugged and sucked at her breasts as ravenously as he had kissed her mouth. He moved back and forth, lavishing the same treatment on both breasts, fondling one while he suckled the other, licking and using gentle pressure with his teeth to bite the tips. Pleasure, charged like electricity, zinged between her chest and her womb.

Angela’s breasts swelled in his hands. With every surge of arousal more wetness pooled between her thighs.

Her head thrown back in utter bliss, Angela felt each tender tug low in her belly as if there were a string connecting her nipples to her clit. She opened her eyes and looked straight out the back window into the starlit night.

Good heavens. Anybody could walk up to the patio door and see what they were doing. Her hands tunneled into his hair, holding him to her chest. She couldn’t bear for him to continue; she couldn’t let him stop.

Whew! Told you it was hot, didn’t I? Here's the stunning trailer:


You can buy Friends with Benefits here:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | All Romance Ebooks | Kobo | Amazon.uk | Amazon.ca |



Anne Lange grew up with a love for reading. Books are her passion, shoes are an addiction. If you take a close look, she’s got either a book, her Kindle or her Kobo tucked into her bag or a pocket whenever she leaves the house. You know, just in case there’s time to sneak in a chapter or ten. Anne reads many genres of fiction, but prefers to write sexy, edgy romance with a touch of humor, and always a happily ever after.

While embarking on this wild journey of becoming a romance author, Anne juggles a full time job and a family. Not always successfully. She grew up in
Southern Ontario (Canada), but now makes her home in Eastern Ontario where she lives with her wonderfully supportive husband, three normally awesome kids, and Rocky the bearded dragon.

To connect with Anne:
Web Site | Facebook | Twitter @Anne_Lange | | Goodreads | Pinterest | Amazon
Other books by Anne
Worth the Risk

Friday, 24 January 2014

Queen's Quest - Sizzling Hot Paranormal Romance From Bestselling Author, Suz deMello


Today, I'm delighted to showcase Suz deMello's latest release. Published today, Queen's Quest is an erotic paranormal romance set in a different world, in a time far off in the future. I asked well-travelled Suz to tell us more about where she found the inspiration for her stories, which have such varied settings. Here's her response:


One of the questions writers are frequently asked is, “Where do you get your ideas?” I like to tell people that I buy them at Sears—they sell them by the dozen in the basement between the exercise bikes and the barbecues.

                All joking aside, an idea that forms the seed for a book can sprout anywhere, sometimes in unexpected places. For example, I wrote a vampire book set in 1748 Scotland while teaching English in China in 2009. I hadn’t been to Scotland since 1978—sometimes an idea may take a long time to grow into a book.

                Queen’s Quest, which is an erotic paranormal romance novel, had as its seed the concept of a terraformed planet that we Earthlings in the far future stopped from spinning. The planet developed three distinct nations, Lightside, Shadow, and Darkness. All three cultures resemble extinct civilizations that existed here on Earth, even though their inhabitants are not aware of this fact. 

                That I have traveled physically to one of those cultures was helpful. The Shadowlanders, especially the aristocracy, unconsciously take their cues from Europe, especially England, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with a little Regency swagger thrown in. 

                Here’s a description of my heroine, Audryn, Queen of Shadow, at her toilette:

Maia took a fine silk chemise from a clothespress and flung it over my head, deftly avoiding my braided coif of dark-blond hair. The chemise was followed by a corset and gartered stockings fastened at my thighs.


Tonight’s brocade gown was draped over a manikin. Bored with the stiff, wired ruffs fashionable during my parents' reign, I had instituted new styles.Embroidered in burgundy, gold and blue, the dress featured a heart-shaped neckline that bared my arms, shoulders, and décolletage almost to the nipples, below which was a narrow waist and a full skirt with a lavish train. For warmth, I would wear fingerless, elbow-length gloves of golden lace embroidered with burgundy thread.The ensemble was completed by high-heeled slippers with golden buckles. If chilly, I would carry a fur stole.

I have visited the costume exhibition at the famous Victoria and Albert museum in London several times, and never miss a chance to return. Every time I go, I make a point of examining the clothing carefully. Though I enjoy the couture gowns, I’m much more interested in the older garb.

My character, Audryn, is a small woman, and she is aware that her ministers may challenge her rule:
So I had designed garments which emphasized my authority. High-heeled boots and shoes so I stood taller than any of them. Long sweeping skirts, some with hoops and panniers to broaden my slender silhouette. The finest silks and furs, velvet and brocades. Wherever it was moved, the Golden Throne was set on a platform above all.
In this way, the costuming of the character shows her thought process, her conflicts, her concerns and her personality.

The Lightsiders, their realm always blasted by the planet’s sun, take steps to protect themselves from it, and I modeled their culture on that of ancient Egypt…they live in pyramids and wear loose, pale robes. In contrast, the DarkDwellers live always in the chill of eternal midnight, so I borrowed from the Viking and Celtic traditions to describe them. Here’s how my hero, Storne, the Prince of Darkness, appears:

Metal shod feet rang on the slates. I had not noticed when the tall knight had entered, but at some point he had decided to make his presence known. My attention seized, I rose, seeking to pick out the interloper from the crowds.


He wasn’t hard to find, for he stood at least a head higher than anyone else in the room, and I understood the mockery of the Darksiders who called us “puny creatures of Shadow.” He wore a metal suit from head to toe, and I could see nothing of his face, hidden as it was by a helmet crowned with the double horns of the taqqa.


I knew the moment he espied my glance on him, for the speed of his long strides increased. He bulled his way through the crowd, which parted for him like the stormwind rushing around the turrets of my castle.

I consciously grounded myself, feeling the marble floor beneath my high boots, straightening my back. Deep breaths pressed my breasts against my corset, the lace trim scratching my flesh. My heart pounded.


Managing him would not be easy. If I chose him as my mate, who would rule over Shadow?


“I, Storne, Lord of Darkness, have come to claim my queen.” He approached and stepped onto the dais supporting my throne.


I was offended. “Bow,” I said.


Still standing, he reached up and removed his battered helmet. Long dark hair, unkempt from his journey, fell around his armor’s pewter shoulders. Cold gray eyes regarded me from a pale, set face, all planes and angles of bone. Not a stripling, but not wizened and old. Darkness had sent their finest champion, for Storne was a prince in the prime of life.

So you can see how I use information and sights I’ve noted on my travels. Suits of armor; the double-horned helmets worn by Viking warriors; a castle’s stone floor.

Thanks for reading my blog, and many thanks to Antonia for hosting me. I hope you enjoy what you read and will check out the book. It’s available at:

 Janus is a planet which lacks both tilt and spin, and its Shadowlands are the pewter band of dusk dividing the violently hot Lightside of the planet from its Darkside, imprisoned by eternal night. Because of the peculiar conformation of the planet, birthrates are low and indiscriminate mating encouraged.

Audryn, Queen of Shadow has reached that time in her life when she must choose a King to rule with her or fail to bear an heir, casting not only her realm but all of Janus into chaos.

Despite her duty, she is reluctant to share power, even a bit distrustful. Janus’ nobles vie for Audryn’s hand. Although she enjoys trysting with all her suitors, none seize her heart.

Then Storne, the warrior Prince of Darkness, arrives to claim her as his bride.


Will his masterful ways allure or repel the willful Queen?

 

Best-selling, award-winning author Suz deMello, a.k.a Sue Swift, has written over sixteen romance novels in several subgenres, including erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and non-fiction articles on writing. A freelance editor, she’s worked for Total-E-Bound, Liquid Silver Books and Ai Press, where she is currently Managing Editor. She also takes private clients.

Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers' Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist, won a contest or two, attained the finals of the RITA and hit several bestseller lists.

A former trial attorney, her passion is world travel. She’s left the US over a dozen times, including lengthy stints working overseas. She’s now writing a vampire tale and planning her next trip.

Find her books at Sue Swift/Suz deMello


For editing services, email her at suzswift@yahoo.com

Befriend her on Facebook, and visit her group page at Red Hot Authors' Cafe

She tweets her reading picks @ReadThis4fun

Her current blog is
Fearless Fast-Paced Fiction
 

Friday, 17 January 2014

Loving Lady Lazuli - Sensational Historical Fiction from Shehanne Moore



She's back - and as feisty as ever! Following hot on the heels of the wild, aristocratic Lady Fury (The Unraveling of Lady Fury) and the equally untameable Kara McGurkie (His Judas Bride), Shehanne Moore brings us a new, unforgettable heroine...Cassidy Armstrong. To find out more, read on...

Cass of the... D’Armstrongs

‘And where be our family mansions and estates?
‘You haven’t any.’ Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Thomas Hardy


Despite the grand sounding name, my great-grandfather, Thomas Montague Scoville, was born in a workhouse. His parents, Stephen Scoville and Elizabeth Poulter, were paupers from the Hampshire village of Hawley.


Yip, there it is...where I got my new hero, Lord Devorlane Hawley’s name. Where I got the idea for most of my new book, Loving Lady Lazuli from actually, especially when I needed that little ‘filly in’.  My heroine’s background in other words.


Obviously I had to furnish her with a rock solid reason for sticking around in the area when the one man in England who can identify her as London’s premiere jewel thief. just happens to be living next door. No problem if she hadn’t wrecked his life ten years previously.  Given that he wants to see her hang—the penalty for such things --it just wasn’t enough that she simply liked her new house so much she wanted to stay.


That’s where the Scovilles came in. My great-grandfather may have been born in a workhouse when it was one of the worst times in England to be born there and he may have been sweeping chimneys at the age of six. At one point his family were the most landed in three counties.

Thomas Hardy was inspired by the death of Elizabeth Martha Brown to write Tess of the D’Urbervilles. But he apparently spent hours sitting in the ruins of Corfe Castle, once owned by Thomas’s ancestors, thinking of the family who had lived there.

In Hardy’s ‘specially’ created Wessex, he set a scene in a church with an illuminated window. It was a church where the Durbeyfields in better days as the D’Urbervilles, had held the tenure as churchmen. In the real world, Thomas’s ancestors had held that same tenure in that same church.

That a family could fall so far fascinated me—heavens the titles I would like to lay claim to for a start!

So? One good reason for my heroine, Cassidy Armstrong, to stick around in a place she should hotfoot from? Why, because she believes she is from just such a family.

The mystery of how she came to end up with a Fagin style gang of thieves in London at the age of five is one she would give her life to unravel.

Is she and will she...these be the questions!

Antonia thank you, not just for inviting me here today but for all your help and support.



Only one man in England can identify her. Unfortunately he’s living next door. 

Ten years ago sixteen year old Sapphire, the greatest jewel thief England has ever known, ruined Lord Devorlane Hawley’s life. Now she’s dead and buried, all the respectable widow, Cassidy Armstrong, wants is the chance to prove who she really is.

 But not only does her new neighbor believe he knows that exactly, he’s hell-bent on revenge.  All he needs is the actual proof.  So when he asks her to choose between being his mistress, or dangling on the end of a rope, only Sapphire can decide…

What’s left for a woman with nowhere left to go, but to stay exactly where she is?

And hope, that when it comes to neighbors, Devorlane Hawley won’t prove to be the one from hell.

Can't Wait? I know I can't. Here's an extract (thanks Shehanne!):


He turned his head, let his gaze drift through the window, feeling winter light paint his face. The thing was he could let her have the papers for nothing. He would have, had she not gone to Lord Koorecroft. The one thing, despite everything else, he refused to let go of.

But it wasn’t just that, or the length she advanced beneath his skin. He had demons to conquer regarding her, a whole hell of them. “Then, when you do find out who you are, I want you out of the area never to come back.”

“Never?”

The swish of velvet said this took her by surprise. It would be nothing compared to how what was coming next would. That was a surprise even he felt ripples of bemusement about. Slightly angry ones, although there was method in his madness.

“But—but what if I don’t? What if I search and there’s nothing?”

“If you don’t like my offer, the door is there.” He turned to face her. “You will leave now. But if you do accept my offer, you will adhere to my terms for the duration of your search.”

“And what terms are these?”

No, when the fascination was so unwelcome as to move him to pity for her, to extend to him taking that spade from her, there was only one way to exorcise it. After all, a night was all he ever wanted a woman for. She would be no exception.

“That you will become my mistress.”

Loving Lady Lazuli is available from these online booksellers (among others):

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com.au
Amazon.ca
Barnes and Noble 
Kobo 
ARe 

You can connect with Shehanne here:

Pinterest

Twitter

Website

Shehanne Moore

Furious Unravelings

Facebook

Kilting The Book

Monday, 13 January 2014

Puss in Books

What is it about cats?

I recently had cause to check on the collective noun for a group of cats and found to my astonishment, TEN different variations (dogs had to be content with three). There's just something about them that - depending on your view - fascinates, attracts, repulses or compels. If you've noticed, people are rarely ambivalent about cats. We either love them or hate them. As you know, I am firmly in the 'love them' category. In fact, they see me coming and immediately raise their collective eyebrows and go, 'here comes another sucker'.
The collective nouns, in some cases, reflect the strong reactions we have to them. While for dogs, the offerings were the fairly mundane 'pack', 'kennel' and 'litter' (of puppies), some of the choices for cats were much more emotive: 'glaring', 'nuisance', 'destruction' (of wild cats), 'clutter', for example, sat alongside the tamer 'clowder', 'litter' (of kittens), and 'pounce'.

When it comes to literature, we find cats helping their nice - but inclined to be a bit slow on the uptake - humans to solve crimes, in a string of highly entertaining series (well, they are if you're an ailurophile!).

For my money, first and foremost of these was 'The Cat Who...' series by the late and much missed Lilian Jackson Braun. The two Siamese - Yum Yum and  Koko - possess an almost psychic ability to suss out whodunnit and make their human, veteran journalist Jim Qwilleran, look almost as clever as Hercule Poirot. As with Midsomer Murders, you do begin to wonder why on earth anyone would want to live in the murderous township of Moose County, but that's not important right now. The cats are gorgeous, clever, intuitive and actually do behave like cats. Even if Yum Yum does possess rather more manual dexterity than any cat I have ever met. Mind you, I do know how inventive Siamese can be...

Then, along came Joanne Fluke with her delicious stories set in small town Minnesota and her sleuth, Hannah Swensen, who bakes such mouthwatering cookies, she had to open a shop to fulfil demand. In between inventing tasty new recipes (which she shares with her readers), she solves murder after murder in yet another town it would be well to avoid if you value your life. In her case, the cat in question is an enormous ginger specimen called Moishe, who I will forgive for his slightly less than feline habit of trusting his human enough to fling himself into her arms.

Other examples include The Cat In The Stacks series by Miranda James, Ali Brandon's Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series, The Magical Cats Mystery books by Sofie Kelly and a whole host more, frequently set in bookshops and libraries. In addion, cat sleuths are anthropomorphised in Anne H. Petzer's Feline Intelligence, Czech Republic stories, set in Prague.

When they're not solving crimes, cats can be found in timeless classics such as Paul Gallico's enchanting Jennie, and telling their own rags to riches tales (tails?) in Susan Fromberg Schaeffer's The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat.

And they have inspired horror writers from Edgar Allan Poe to Stephen King

They have also been at the heart of some of the most hilarious real life stories I have ever read. If you haven't caught up with any of Deric Longden's tales of living with his cats, you've missed a treat. Fortunately, you can remedy this, as they are still all in print (I think!)

So, love 'em or hate'em, you simply can't ignore them - and don't forget, when two or more kittens are gathered together, you've got yourself a kindle!