What Fueled my Enthusiasm for Sci-Fi and How I Designed my Cyborg Operation by Cara Bristol – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Cara will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What Fueled my Enthusiasm for Sci-Fi and How I Designed my Cyborg Operation
By Cara Bristol

Science fiction (as well as paranormal and fantasy) gives an author freedom to express new and/or unique ideas and to write “out of the box.” When you’re writing about the known world in contemporary or historical fiction, for example, you’re bound by hard facts and you can’t change them—not without reader protest. Sci-fi allows you to create a world in which you can present unusual ideas that are believable and acceptable to readers.

A cyborg is a human being who has been “enhanced” with computer and/or mechanical parts. In sci-fi romance, cyborgs are the ultimate sexy-as-hell alpha males. Most of the cyborgs sci-fi romances I’ve read involve conspiracies in which the cyborgs are created against their will to serve the government. I wanted to offer something unique, so my cyborgs are spies. They’re covert Cyber Operatives whose mission is to defeat terrorism in the galaxy, which was inspired by present day threats. Think of them as a cross between James Bond and the Terminator (the good one from Terminator 2, not the bad one from Terminator 1).
The men were recruited by the secret paramilitary organization, Cyber Operations, to fight for truth, justice, and the Terran way. They’re true heroes. They’re tough as nails, but when they meet their heroines, they fall hard.

There’s a lot of action in Mated with the Cyborg and Stranded with the Cyborg, but the novellas are romances that focus on the love relationship between the hero and heroine. My goal is entertain my readers with a surprising romance that leaves them feeling warm and fuzzy at the end.

Kai Andros’s orders were simple. Get in. Gather the intel on the terrorist organization. Get out.

Then he met her. Mariska. Beautiful. Innocent. Ignorant of her father’s atrocities. And marked for death.

His orders said nothing about saving her. But he did. He went off-mission.

Can a rogue cyborg outrun both Cyber Operations and the terrorists to save the woman he loves?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Some might have cheered Mariska’s impending demise. The organization’s brutality had incited a backlash of negative sentiment against all its members. Many espoused the notion that the only good Lamis-Odg was a dead Lamis-Odg.

Kai couldn’t buy into that. Mariska had been no party to the actions of her father or Lamani. She was vulnerable. Innocent. But not stupid or cowardly. In the month spent observing her, her quiet fortitude and inner strength had impressed him. Even before he’d caught the shocking glimpse of her face, he’d been struck by her beautiful eyes. A rich shade of melted caramel, fringed by dark lashes. Expressive in their attempt not to be. She didn’t trust him.

Her wariness pierced him in a way it shouldn’t. She was a person of interest and her emotions shouldn’t impact his decision-making. And in fact, she was wise to be suspicious. Obido had bugged her quarters and employed spybots to keep tabs on her. While Kai wouldn’t intentionally harm her, he would manipulate her to obtain whatever information he could on Lamis-Odg.

The reign of terror had to be stopped. Direct intervention in Mariska fate jeopardized that goal. Doing nothing was the right thing to do. Sacrifices had to be made for the greater good.

Why did he feel like he was no better than Obido?

When they rounded the corner to the gangway entrance two guards—Lamis-Odg, not androids—snapped to attention, weapons drawn. “Halt!” one of them cried.

“It’s okay; he’s with me,” Mariska said.

While one guard leveled his weapon, the other scanned him. “The android is not authorized to board,” the guard said.

“He’s not boarding; he’s loading my luggage. He’ll disembark after he carries it to my stateroom.”

“Negative. He shall remain here.” The guard motioned. “Leave the cases.”

Kai set the bags down, and the sentry scanned them. “Clear,” he announced. He jerked his head at Mariska. “You may take them now.”

She dragged one toward the craft.

“My duty is to serve the daughter of Obido. Allow me to set the bags inside the door. I shall not enter,” Kai said.

The two guards glanced at each other and shrugged. “All right.”

Under armed watch, he deposited both bags inside the portal. There was nothing else he could do. He sought Mariska’s gaze. Don’t go. “Have a safe flight.”

“Thank you.”

She boarded. Kai stomped down the gangway.

About the Author:Multi-published, Cara Bristol is the author of more than 23 erotic romance titles. She writes science fiction, contemporary, and paranormal erotic romance. No matter what the subgenre, one thing remains constant: her emphasis on character-driven seriously hot erotic stories with sizzling chemistry between the hero and heroine. Cara has lived many places in the United States, but currently lives in Missouri with her husband. She has two grown stepkids. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading and traveling.

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Five Things Every Steamy Supernatural Romance Needs by Christine Rains – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Christine Rains will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

FIVE THINGS EVERY STEAMY SUPERNATURAL ROMANCE NEEDS
By Christine Rains
Mixing the right elements for an erotic paranormal romance is like creating an exotic drink. A little bit of the spicy and something mysterious to entice you take a second sip. A dollop of sweetness and a heaping spoonful of fierce heart. All of it balanced just right. On the rocks, if you want extra chills.

Here are five important elements needed to brew a story in this genre to perfection:

1. Believability on every level. Give us characters that are real. No flawless heroes and heroines. Readers want to see their strengths and weaknesses. And we don’t want them to jump into bed with each other just for the sake of having sex in the story. Give us honest reasons why they can’t resist one another. The characters need to live in a believable world too. Oh yes, something supernatural is happening, but the heroine still has her coffee in the morning and is addicted to late night talk radio.

2. Less physical description, more emotions. It is tempting to write every sensual move by the lovers and every creepy sound, but some of an intimate act and the whereabouts of the ghost can be left to the reader’s imagination. We don’t need every pleasurable twitch and heavy breath described. But what’s going through the protagonist’s mind? How does it make them feel? Internal dialogue and emotional surges reveal a lot about the characters.

3. Use all five senses. This just isn’t for the heated moments. A sweet romantic gesture or the paranormal twist benefit from these descriptions too. Scent and sound are sometimes more powerful triggers than what one sees. Be sure to use the sixth sense if any of your characters have it!

4. Intrigue. Characters with mysterious pasts or unusual sexual quirks. A mystery around the spirit trapped in a gazebo. Hook readers with the extraordinary and draw them through with their curiosity. Play with the what if questions and sprinkle in tantalizing possibilities. Yet be sure the ending is a surprise even more satisfying than the phenomenal sex.

5. Tight tension. Holding all the reins taut in this genre is a difficult task. We have the romance in which the characters need emotional conflict. Whether it be something within or without causing it, their relationship must be a bumpy ride. The sexual tension is a separate entity than the romance itself. Keep up that desire with subtle peeks and dirty fantasies. Each intimate moment must be more passionate than the last. And then we have the supernatural tension. The mystery and fear, the unknown looming over their heads. The stakes get higher with each chapter until everything explodes in one grand climax.

Shake, stir, and wiggle. You’ve got a delicious read.

MediaKig_BookCover_GhostDancer_Bk1Ghost Dancer (The Paramours #1)
When Nina Azure’s talent as a ghost dancer doesn’t persuade a handsome phantom to talk, she entices him with sizzling sexual energy. Ben Moore’s spirit is tied to this world with guilt, but he breaks his self-imposed silence for the beautiful Nina. Lust makes him fully physical and she loses herself to desire. She must help him carry on to the afterlife, but her attraction to him is immensely powerful. She must push aside her own feelings and let him go—and perhaps find romance among the living.

 

 

MediaKit_BookCover_PoltergeistsPLeasure_Bk2Poltergeist’s Pleasure (The Paramours #2):
Claire McKinney has a theory that poltergeists aren’t evil spirits or negative energy. When she locates a powerful vortex at the center of a haunting, she discovers a gorgeous man trapped inside. Zendal cannot escape on his own, but if Claire can create enough sexual energy with him, he will be able to break free. Intense as their passion is, it does not release him from the vortex. Claire finds herself caught not only by the ominous portal, but by Zendal’s carnal zeal as well. Can she extricate them from the trap or will they forever be its prisoners?

 

 

 

MediaKit_BookCover_LovelornSpirits_Bk3Lovelorn Spirits (The Paramours #3):
Vivian Ray does not like working with the suave Miles Walker, but he’s the best medium in the paranormal business. When they are possessed by a pair of passionate ghosts, Vivian and Miles realize they might have feelings for one another. But it’s difficult to separate their own emotions apart from the spirits’, and Vivian doesn’t want to believe she’s in anything more than lust with Miles. There’s something much more dangerous after them, though, and if they can’t help the ghosts work through their past, the investigators could lose their own lives

 

 

 

 

Enjoy an excerpt from The Poltergeist’s Pleasure:

There was one thing that always got a poltergeist’s attention: sex. Not the boring old vanilla kind either. It had to be down and dirty, raunchy and passionate. Like the way newlyweds behaved. And the sort Claire was about to provide.

The Paramours had set up their ghost hunting equipment earlier in the day. A video camera stood at either end of the conservatively decorated house. Its open concept allowed for a complete view of all the activity.

Vivian fiddled with the thermal imaging camera, setting it on the kitchen counter and bending over to slide the cords out of the way. Her cute ass pointed upward and wiggled as she wedged the cords in between the shelves to where they could not be moved.

Claire patted her friend’s behind and let her hand linger. “Those new jeans look good on you. Are we ready to go yet?”

With the electronics in place, Vivian batted at Claire’s hand. She straightened and raised her brows with a silent question.

Yes, they were starting the test already. While Vivian could be cool and methodical about their investigations, Claire preferred to wing it. She loved surprising the spooks to get a reaction—and her friends, too.

About the Author: 

Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She’s married to her best friend and fellow geek, and they have one brilliant son. Christine has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. She’s a member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. (South Central Indiana Fiction Interface). She has one novel and several short stories and novellas published. The Paramours is her second erotic series with Ellora’s Cave. Be on the lookout for more in the near future.

Please visit her website and blog.

You can also find Christine on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

 

BUY LINKS:

Ghost Dancer:  Ellora’s Cave * Amazon * Kobo * Goodreads

Poltergeist’s Pleasure:  Ellora’s Cave * Amazon * Kobo * Goodreads

Lovelorn Spirits:

Ellora’s Cave * Amazon * Kobo * Goodreads

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Intimate Betrayal by Houston Havens – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Houston Havens will be awarding two winners a choice of one of the first three books in the Psychic Menage series to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_IntimateBetrayalKindise Wyatt escapes her Star Rider captor and returns to Earth. With the help of a sexy Old World Mole and his mysterious friend, she’s determined to uncover the whereabouts of her lover. Instead, she finds nothing but betrayal and her captor in pursuit.

On the lam after betraying his evil ruler, ex-Dirt Dweller and drifter Jaden Valenti confirms his name is on a hit list. Finding what he believes will be safety amongst the Airbornes, he recreates himself and hides his past until trouble walks back into his life in
the name of Kindise Wyatt, the woman he was ordered to assassinate and didn’t.

Due to the obsessions of a Fae woman Sori gave up his hardearned royal title and left his homeland of Elfame. Love is the furthest thing from his mind until he is sent in Jaden’s place to pick-up some cargo…human cargo in the form Kindise Wyatt. He feels the Fae magnetism of his soulmate in her. Problem is; she’s in love with someone else.

Will Jaden fulfill his orders to kill Kindise and get his name removed from the list, or will his secret be exposed and betray the friendship he has with Sori? Does Sori help Kindise find her lover, or will a love between them have a chance to flourish before a fatal attraction and a determined captor rip their love asunder? Will Kindise find true love or will betrayals at every turn crush the fight out of her? Can she find her inner strengths to keep fighting and lead The Freedom Fighters to defeat the Dirt Dweller elites, once and for all?

Enjoy an excerpt:

She snapped her head in his direction. “I beg your pardon.”

Amusement raised Jaden’s brow along with his coffee cup. His eyes sparkled over the rim, forcing her breath to catch in her chest.

What in the hell did he mean by that?

Sori covered the smile he was fighting by pretending to scratch his eye, but his amusement was still evident in his tone when he spoke. “What Jaden’s asking is…what’s your hurry?”

“I’ve already imposed quite a bit on your kindness.”

“It’s been one night.”

Choosing to ignore Jaden’s remark, she continued. “I don’t want to take advantage of your hospitality. I’d like to find Lytell soon, it’s been awhile and I missed him very much.”

“Yeah?” The clank of Jaden’s cup crashing down on its saucer once again caused her shoulders to jump. He leaned forward, pushing the bowl of sugar-covered strawberries toward her. “Care for some fruit, while you tell us what you miss most about him?”

She kept her focus on Sori. “Will Jaden be joining us as well?”

His brows pressed together as his glance slid in confusion over to Jaden then jumped back to her. “Ah–”

A sharp snapping of Jaden’s fingers grabbed her attention. When she looked, he smirked. “No, I won’t. But thanks for asking. Nice to know you’ll miss me.”

Kindise tried but failed to stop her mouth from falling open. Incensed by his insinuations in front of Sori.

“Ah, someone want to fill me in?” His glance ricocheted between them.

“There’s nothing to tell.” She got up, spun on her heels and marched from the kitchen muttering. “I’ll be in my room. Let me know when you’re ready to go.”

Jaden held up the bowl of strawberries. “Sure you wouldn’t like some sweetness before you go?”

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_IntimateBetrayalErotic romance author Houston Havens, a former successful model enjoying an adventurous jet-set lifestyle, intrigues her readers with a mix of the past, present, and future, and sexy blends of futuristic science fiction, paranormal fantasy, and western romance, always with love everlasting. A tenacious Irish lass filled with passion and mystery hopes her sultry stories will entertain and fascinate those who dare to take the journey. She’s also a social media junkie with an award winning blog. http://houstonhavens.wordpress.com

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Finding Freedom by Lynn Burke – Spotlight and Giveaway

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO 

 

FINDING FREEDOM & LYNN BURKE!

 

 

Finding Freedom

Found by Fate 2

Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance

Release Date: February 1, 2016

Publisher: Roane Publishing

Keywords: Erotic, Romance, Contemporary, Menage, Novella, Series

 

 

Tessa’s life beneath the strict rules of her parents’ cultish church leaves her longing for independence. Her boring, small-town checkout lane job barely covers the bills, let alone fulfill her wants and desires.

 

Until the weekly visits of god-like Trent and Brody have her dreaming of a Tessa sandwich with both sensual men as her bread.

 

 

Fantasies may be a pastime of the wicked, but when Trent asks her on a date—with both him and Brody—Tessa decides to take a chance, knowing the purity of her soul is at stake. Will these two men be her ticket to freedom – or her one way trip to eternal damnation?

 

 

Excerpt

 

Towel wrapped around me, I peeked out the bathroom door into Trent’s dimly lit bedroom. A T-shirt and shorts lay on his massive, king-sized bed.

 

I tugged the shorts up my damp legs, but couldn’t get them over my bum. More tears pricked as I cursed my too-much body. Trent’s shirt hung to the middle of my thighs. It would have to do.

 

Trent lounged beside the blazing fire pit. The sound of trickling water drew my attention to the right. Brody stood beneath the outdoor shower, his round, bite-able backside flooding my mouth with drool.

 

Tearing my gaze off him, I ambled over toward Trent. He patted the couch beside him, and taking care not to reveal my too-much, naked bottom half, I settled on the cushion and allowed myself another peek at Brody.

 

“Hot, isn’t he?”

 

Trent’s low, murmured words whipped my head around. “What?”

 

“Brody.” He continued to stare at his friend, a smirk on his lips, lust in his eyes. “Just look at that ass.”

 

Unable to help myself, I did as told while trying to wrap my mind around what Trent had said—and the unmistakable desire in his gaze.

 

“What do you think, Tessa?”

 

I swallowed and laced my fingers together in my lap. “I think he’s beautiful.”

 

Trent made a sound of appreciation in his throat as Brody turned, closed his eyes, and tipped his head back, running his hands through his hair.

 

My focus zoned in on his long, flaccid penis. Cock, my whore-mind whispered. I laced my fingers tighter and forced my attention on Trent.

 

He met my gaze and grinned. “Quite the temptation, isn’t he?”

 

“Enough to make me burn in hell,” I admitted with a whisper.

 

 

What people are saying about this title:

 

“This book is hot!!! The passion between these three is off the charts sexy!! I mean what girl wouldn’t want two men lusting after her?? I need more!!” – Alpha Book Club

 

“I loved the interaction between the heroine and her two sexy guys.” – London Saint James

 

“Wish I could be the cheese in this sandwich – 5 stars” – Goodreads Review

 

~~~oOo~~~

 

GIVEAWAY!

 

An ecopy of Finding Freedom and a $10 Roane Publishing gift card!

 

 

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code. No purchase necessary, but you must be 18 or older to enter. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter, and announced on the widget. Winner well be notified by emailed and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Roane Publishing’s marketing department.

The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland by Joe Cosentino – Q&A and Giveaway

Joe Cosentino is visiting with us today to celebrate the release of The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland. Post a comment below about why you love fairytales. The one that we think wins the glass slipper will receive a gift e-book of AN INFATUATION (Joe Cosentino’s hit novella published by Dreamspinner Press) from the author.

Welcome back, Joe Cosentino. You are becoming a regular with us.

I may request my own page on your site soon. Hah.

We’re a review site, but we try to support authors as much as possible. How do you deal with bad reviews?

Thankfully most of my reviews and reader response have been incredibly positive, which help keep me going and even fuel my writing. What a gift it is for a reader to post a positive review on Amazon or Goodreads, relating how something I’ve written has moved them, made them laugh, made them cry, think about something new, or changed their life. I can’t think of anything better. As for the few bad reviews, I don’t read them. As my mother always told me, if you don’t have something nice to say about somebody, don’t say anything. I can’t imagine why anyone would continue reading a book or listening to an audiobook after chapter one if he/she doesn’t like it. Just put it down and move on to something else. Why attack a book someone has poured his/her blood, sweat, and tears into? As the saying goes, just say no.

You are back with us to talk about your new novella of gay fairytales. You’re written romance, comedy, mystery, drama. You haven’t written fantasy before. Why the switch to a new genre?

When I was a kid my older sister read me fairytales in bed every night before sleep. (Now she reads my books!) I was completely enthralled by the beautiful stories of peasants becoming princes and princesses and finding true love. The gorgeous locations, wit, wonder, drama, and happy endings filled my young mind like beans in a counting jar. I wanted to live in those palaces, meet the charming princes, and bring financial equality to those kingdoms. I learned how to read by reading those cherished, worn fairytale books. I still love them!

Is that why you became an actor?

Probably. My sister and I put on shows in our living room for unsuspecting and gullible family members. Since our budget was small, like us, we used blankets for royal capes, wooden spoons as scepters, and serving bowls for golden crowns. We incorporated songs from Broadway musicals too! Later as an adult I wrote musical plays for professional theatre companies (Interborough Repertory Theater, Pegasus Productions, and TSF Productions) that toured to young audiences. Many of them were based on fairytales like Princess and the Pea, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, Aladdin, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

You’ve acted with Holland Taylor in the ABC-TV movie MY MOTHER WAS NEVER A KID, Charles Keating on NBC-TV’s ANOTHER WORLD, Jason Robards in a Commercial Credit Computer commercial, Rosie O’Donnell in an AT&T Industrial, and Bruce Willis and Nathan Lane on stage. Was that like living inside a fairytale?

In a way. Acting is certainly playing make believe, fun, and incredibly fulfilling. I was blessed to work with some amazingly talented people on some pretty terrific projects. I hold those memories in my heart. However, acting is also hard work. As I frequently tell my students at my college, you have to be incredibly disciplined, on time, know your lines and character, creative, pliable, professional, and dedicated. You have to be equally dedicated to write. I generally write for two hours every evening.

What is your favorite fairytale?

Cinderella. It has the perfect elements: larger than life characters, humor, drama, conflict, and a perfect ending.

What led you to put the gay spin on your favorite fairytales?

As I read and reread those fairytales, I was saddened to see no openly gay characters in any of my favorite stories. I asked myself, ‘Why aren’t there any gay people in fairyland? Why couldn’t a peasant boy fall in love with a prince? Wouldn’t a tired, hungry, homeless blond boy seek refuge in a house with three bears? What was Pinocchio’s growing appendage trying to tell him? Did Jack enjoy his time with the Giant more than he let on? Could the Snow Queen be a handsome, frigid prince? What’s the good of fairy dust without any fairies?’ I feel the same way when I see a Disney movie or Broadway show. Where are the openly gay characters?

How did you go about writing this new novella published by Dreamspinner Press?

Dreamspinner Press published my three successful contemporary romance novellas (AN INFATUATION, A SHOOTING STAR, A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS). Actually AN INFATUATION and A SHOOTING STAR are doing so well, Dreamspinner Press is publishing them together as a paperback releasing March 21. When considering what to write next, I decided to take the leap into the world of fantasy, turning my favorite fairytales into rainbows. So I thought back to the stories I loved so much and incorporated many of them into the four humorous, romantic, adventurous, touching, and magically gay tales from Fairyland. It really was fun, like revisiting my childhood!

What are the stories about?

“The Naked Prince” is a different take on the Cinderella story. Cinder, a poor and beautiful young man who designs clothing, makeup, and hair for his stepmother and stepsisters, offers his clothing and slippers to a naked stranger in the woods who turns out to be none other than Prince Charming. Will Cinder and Prince Charming confront their manipulative mothers, bring equality to the kingdom, find themselves, and find one another? In “The Golden Rule,” when he is caught with nimble Jack, eighteen-year-old Gideon Golden is thrown out of his home in Fairyland by his homophobic parents. With nowhere else to go, he breaks into the home of three men living on Bear Mountain. Bo and Butch enjoy having a young roommate, but Ben isn’t convinced. Will Gideon and Ben make vinegar or honey? “Whatever Happened To … ?” takes place on Christmas Eve. A reporter living on Andersen Lane interviews a celebrity for the Queen Newspaper series, “What Ever Happened To … .” Friction ensues between the celebrity with the growing appendage who can’t tell fact from fiction, and the reporter who has a thing for giants. Eventually a romantic spark is lit between the two as Christmas Day arrives, and they realize they have more in common than living in Fairyland. Finally in “Ice Cold,” after losing their families during the great ice storm in the northernmost kingdom of Fairyland, young Gaelen and Kieran pledged their love for one another. When Isidore rides into Frost Village on his elaborate sleigh, Kieran follows the handsome prince to his castle in Arctic Kingdom, where Kieran becomes Isidore’s bewitched slave. This leads Gaelen on an amazing adventure to find his true love and melt his frozen heart.

Tell us more about the main characters.

Cinder is sweet, giving, kind, and totally devoted to his family. He wants nothing more than to see them happy. Due to his selflessness, the spirits of his two deceased dads grant him a wish to go to the king and queen’s ball. Prince Charming is handsome, strong, and of course—charming. Like Cinder he wants to help the poor in his kingdom, but he doesn’t know how to do it. That’s where Cinder comes in. Cinder and Prince Charming are perfect foils and perfect soulmates.

Gideon begins as a selfish teenager. Thanks to Ben (the mature and hunky brother on Bear Mountain), Gideon learns the true meaning of love and family.

Pinocchio and Jack learn in their story to transcend their pasts and love themselves, and each other, again.

Gaelen is a sheltered young man who finds his inner strength to save his love, Kiernan, from the wicked Prince Isidore. Along the way he is tempted by three handsome men in the forest, but his heart always belongs to Kiernan.

What is the moral of the novella?

Everyone is welcome and equal in Fairyland, and everyone deserves love and happiness.

Who is your favorite character in THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND and why?

I love all of them, but my favorite are Cinder’s funny, sweet, devoted dads. I want to play Mortimer in the animated movie. Take note producers!

Which one of your characters was the hardest one to write and why?

“Ice Cold” was a stretch for me since unlike most of my other work it is a fantasy epic. I enjoyed it though and I love all of the colorful characters Gaelen meets on his journey. They are so enticing and sexy.

Which one of your characters did you enjoy writing the most and why?

Gideon sparing with Ben was a blast in “The Golden Rule.” Those two really heated things up.

How did you handle writing the fairytale love scenes?

Lovemaking is a part of life, so it makes sense to include love scenes in novels. The love scenes in this novella are as beautiful and magical as the stories.

What are you writing now?

A new series of novels in a gay beach resort called Cozzi Cove. Though I hide under a beach umbrella due to my fair skin, I love the beach! Nine Star Press is publishing COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK and COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD soon.

You write straight fiction as well?

I have a mystery series, the Jana Lane mysteries, with straight leading characters and gay supporting characters. As a child I loved child stars like Shirley Temple, Hayley Mills, and Patty Duke, seeing their movies over and over. So I created a heroine who was the biggest child star ever until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. In PAPER DOLL (Whiskey Creek Press), Jana at thirty-eight lives with her family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. Her flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in her future. Forced to summon up the lost courage she had as a child, Jana ventures back to Hollywood, which helps her uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves. She also embarks on a romance with the devilishly handsome son of her old producer, Rocco Cavoto. In PORCELAIN DOLL (The Wild Rose Press releasing March 15), Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous co-star, Jason Apollo. In SATIN DOLL (not yet released from The Wild Rose Press), Jana and family head to Washington, DC, where Jana plays a US senator in a new film, and becomes embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. She also embarks on a romance with Chris Bruno, the muscular detective. In CHINA DOLL (not yet released from The Wild Rose Press), Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by her gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off. Through the course of the books, Jana not only solves the mysteries, but also reclaims the courage and fortitude she had as a child. This is an important message for all of us. As one reviewer wrote, she starts out as a wounded bird, and ends as tiger. Since the novels take place in the 1980’s, Jana’s best friends are gay, and Jana is somewhat of a gay activist, the AIDS epidemic is a large part of the novels.

Is it difficult plotting the clues?

It’s an incredible amount of work planning the clues, red herrings, plot twists and turns, and surprise but justifiable ending. I also keep in mind that a good mystery also includes strong characters, romance, comedy, drama, and interesting locations. It’s the most challenging but most fun writing for me!

And you have your gay mystery series too.

Yes, my Nicky and Noah mystery series from Lethe Press is a farcical, gay, cozy, who-dun-it. In DRAMA QUEEN (winner of Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Poll Best MM Mystery, Best Crime, Best Contemporary, and Best Humorous Book of 2015!) theatre college professors are dropping like stage curtains. With the inept local detective more interested in getting into Nicky’s pants than solving the murders, it is up to well-endowed Directing professor, Nicky Abbondanza to use his theatre skills (including playing other people) to solve the case, while he directs a murder mystery onstage. Complicating matters is Nicky’s intense crush on Assistant Professor of Acting, gorgeous Noah Oliver, the prime suspect in the murder (whose tenure application was not supported by the first victim). In DRAMA MUSCLE Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills to find out why musclemen are dropping like weights in the Physical Education department while Nicky directs the Student Bodybuilding Competition. In DRAMA CRUISE (not released yet), Nicky and Noah go on a cruise to Alaska, and discover why college theatre professors are going overboard like lifeboats while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship.

Wow, you are quite prolific. Have you ever thought about going back into acting?

Yes, I’d love to play Mr. Ringwood in AN INFATUATION, Professor Katzer in A SHOOTING STAR, Simon Huckby Jana’s agent in the Jana Lane mystery series, and Martin Anderson the theatre department head in the Nicky and Noah mystery series. Can you make that happen?

I’ll give it a whirl. How can your readers contact you?

I love hearing from readers. They can contact me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.

1_27 Joe The Naked Prince coverCinder, a poor and beautiful young man who designs clothing, makeup, and hair for his stepmother and stepsisters, offers his clothing and slippers to a naked stranger in the woods who turns out to be none other than Prince Charming. Follow Cinder and Prince Charming in this twist on the classic “Cinderella” tale, as they discover their inner strengths and find their very own happily ever after. Enjoy “The Naked Prince” and three other reimagined Tales from Fairyland, each with a unique spin on stories we all know and love, including “The Golden Rule,” where eighteen-year-old Gideon Golden, after being thrown out of his home in Fairyland by his homophobic parents, breaks into the cottage of three burly men on Bear Mountain, “Whatever Happened To…?,” in which friction ensues between a celebrity with a growing appendage and the reporter who has a thing for giants, and “Ice Cold,” where young Gaelen must save his love Kieran after a handsome but evil prince freezes Kieran’s heart and bewitches him into being the prince’s slave.

Enjoy an excerpt:

At that moment the Prince returned Griselda to her mother, and the Prince’s and Cinder’s eyes met. Could it be? Cinder couldn’t believe the well-groomed young man in the exquisite crimson suit, violet cape, and gold crown could be the same young man Cinder had found naked in the meadow. The very same young stranger who had captivated Cinder’s thoughts and emotions ever since.

The Prince was equally skeptical that this aristocratic-looking young man in the handsome powder-blue suit could be the same man who made burlap clothing and whose absence in the Prince’s life was the cause of the Prince’s broken heart.
Both men looked at one another quizzically. Cinder nodded, then the Prince nodded, and they knew they had finally found one another.

With joy in his heart, the Prince held out his hand to Cinder. Eyes beaming with gratitude, Cinder took the Prince’s hand. Though Cinder had no experience with waltzing, the prince guided him so carefully and gracefully around the ballroom that the pair looked as if they were dancing on a cloud. Throughout the dance, they stared into one another’s eyes as if the sight of each other was the sole force that kept their hearts beating.

About the Author:1_27 joe B&N2Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, Charles Keating, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming releases are Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (Nine Star Press) and Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery (Wild Rose Press releasing March 15).

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Buy the book at Amazon, All Romance eBooks, or Barnes and Noble.

Taking the Lead by Cecilia Tan – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the release of Cecilia Tan’s newest release Taking the Lead. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of the book.

1_26 cecilia Tan_Taking The Lead_TPWhen the rich and famous come out to play, nothing is off-limits . . .
Everyone knows Ricki Hamilton as the icy heiress living in a billion-dollar mansion, high up in the Hollywood Hills. But few realize that behind the gilded gates, Ricki is the mistress of LA’s most exclusive private club. A place where no fantasy is forbidden and no one goes unsatisfied-except for Ricki. If she had her way, she’d leave the business behind . . . until she meets the one man with the power to change her mind.

The hottest rock star in the world, Axel Hawke, has the requisite sexy look and bad-boy reputation. Yet even his biggest fans have no clue just how decadently dangerous he can be. From the moment he meets Ricki, he knows there is no other woman who will satisfy him. He can feel the heat hiding beneath her cool demeanor and he’s determined to stoke her flame. Together Ricki and Axel indulge their every desire. The deeper they go, the more she craves. Submitting to Axel opens her eyes, and for the first time Ricki knows exactly what she wants. All she has to do is take it . . .

Enjoy an excerpt:

I knelt on the floor, adrenaline pumping through me like it did when I was on stage or in a spotlight. I’d never liked this feeling when I did theater productions, which was why I wasn’t an aspiring actress like Gwen. I was too afraid of messing up in front of everyone.

But here I had an audience of one. One person whose opinion mattered.

I couldn’t remember where the zipper was.

“Here. I’ll start,” Axel said. He stripped off his own top in one smooth motion and then lay back down as if he were posing for a portrait entitled Royal Pasha in Repose. He gestured again to spur me.

Right. There was a tiny clasp hidden at one hip, and then the zipper ran up one side. I undid the zipper and peeled the gown down like white magnolia petals all around me.

“Pretty,” he said, the tip of his tongue exploring his upper lip.

My nipples tightened as if that tongue were touching them.

“Pretty breasts,” he added, as if he noticed. Of course he noticed. “How sensitive are they?”

“I don’t really have a point of comparison.”

“Show me, then. Run your fingers over them lightly, not the nipple, just the skin.”

My cheeks flushed so suddenly it felt almost like sunburn. I’d never performed for a guy before. My fingers were trembling slightly with excitement as I made light circles with my middle fingers around the outside of my breasts. Was this what he wanted me to do?

“Look down,” he said. “Watch your nipples.”

I saw they were crinkling up and standing out like buttons.

“Keep circling, don’t touch them yet.”

“Yes, sir,” I whispered.

“Mm, ‘sir.’ That has a nice sound to it.” He sat up. “Because of the sweet way you said the word.”

I blushed harder. “Sir” had been a guess on my part. This was getting more and more like an improv scene all the time. “Do you like it when I call you ‘sir’?”

“Yes. But why don’t you call me by my name? But you can only call me by my name when you mean it like that.” He moved behind me then, running his hands over my stomach and purring into my ear. “Only when by saying it you mean ‘man who owns my body and my pleasure.’ Say it.”

“A-Axel,” I stuttered.

One of his hands slid down my abdomen under the gathered waist of the gown. “You don’t sound very sure of that.” A finger slid right over my pubic bone but stopped short of my clit. “Who am I?”

“Axel,” I tried again.

“Who?”

The man who owns my body and my pleasure. I leaned back against him, touching my tongue to the back of my teeth as I sucked in a breath. “Axel,” I breathed.

“That’s it,” he said, and rewarded me with a long stroke over my clit.

I was copiously wet and my clit throbbed under his touch, as if being neglected before had made it all the more desperate for contact.

“Last chance to take your gown off before I ruin it,” he whispered in my ear as his finger switched to circling my clit.

“Don’t stop,” I answered, my belly quivering. “Please don’t stop.”

And don’t miss WILD LICKS, book two in the Secrets of a Rock Star series, on sale August 2, 2016!<

Gwen Hamilton’s family is Hollywood royalty—and they have a family secret. She and her sister are the heirs to a secret BDSM club. Gwen thought it would be difficult adjusting to her surprise inheritance, but soon she finds the environment more liberating and carnal than anything she’s ever experienced. She’s dying to try out the ropes but is struggling to accept the idea of a having a dominant…until she meets sexy guitarist Mal Kennealy. The brooding rock star is everything Gwen thought she didn’t want. But with each seductive command, Gwen starts to realize that being bound to Mal could mean fulfilling her heart’s deepest desires…

Abut the Author:1_26 Cecilia TanCecilia Tan writes about her many passions, from erotic fantasy to baseball. Not only is she an author, but she has also edited over 50 erotic anthologies and founded her own publishing house, Circlet Press. In 2015, Tan was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in erotic romance. She currently resides in Cambridge, MA.

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Wildflowers of Montana by Vanessa Vale – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a $50 Amazon or BN GC to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Nine things most people don’t know about me
1. My middle toe on my right foot doesn’t bend. I broke it at some point and it definitely didn’t heal correctly. When I curl my toes it looks like I’m giving someone the finger (or toe).

2. I like to eat dinner at five. I should be able to transition to old age fairly easily.

3. I have issues with germs. If I could put a holster on my waist that held a pump dispenser of hand sanitizer, I would.

4. I’m very modest. I might write word porn, but I don’t dress like I act in one.

5. If I could meet one person who’s gone now, I’d want to meet my great-grandmother. She was the best multi tasker. Besides sewing clothes (which I can’t do), she could cook for fifteen, lunch and dinner every day, without Stouffer’s or boxes of Uncle Ben’s. She didn’t have a microwave and she had to make the bread from scratch. My mother even said she had to wring the chicken’s neck and clean it if that was on the menu. Somehow, it all came to the table hot and on time and without feathers.

6. I love to crochet. I love to crochet without a pattern. I make them up or decipher the pattern from a picture.

7. I’m an artist (I went to art school and have a degree in coloring inside the lines). I love to oil paint and use charcoal and I’ve been told I’m pretty good at it.

8. I’m not afraid of spiders, but if one of my kids brought a snake in the house, we’d have to move.

9. I have very curly hair. I’m getting gray hairs, which are not curly. So see me now because I’m going to look completely different in ten years.

Follow the eight Lenox sisters through this historical erotic series that’s as big and bold as the Montana Sky.

MediaKit_BookCover_WildflowersOfMontana_rose1Rose Lenox has grown up to be more comfortable on the back of a horse than wearing ribbons and bows like her seven adopted sisters. For years working the land was enough, but lately Rose finds herself wishing for something different. She wants her own ranch and freedom from her overwhelming and unorthodox family. Rose is determined to strike out on her own and forge her own path. Lenox neighbor, Chance Goodman, has watched Rose grow from a spitfire of a girl to a beautiful and fiery woman. For years he’s waited patiently and watched her struggle to find her place in the world. When she leaves the Lenox ranch alone, determined to abandon her former life and to say good-bye to him, he knows the time has come to claim her. Letting her walk away isn’t an option. Chance knows exactly what she needs…and he’s going to give it to her. Follow the eight Lenox sisters through this historical erotic series that’s as big and bold as the Montana Sky. The Wildflowers of Montana begins with Rose and her hot, Alpha cowboy.

*****

MediaKit_BookCover_WildflowersOfMontana_hyacinth1When handsome Jackson Reed comes home from the army, he catches the immediate attention of the seven Lenox daughters. But he only has eyes for one — beautiful Hyacinth Lenox. It’s apparent that she notices him as well, so why is she doing everything she can to avoid him?

Hyacinth can’t stop thinking about the sandy-haired newcomer, but while she longs for happiness with Jackson, she feels unworthy to marry him or anyone else. Guilt from a tragic childhood incident dogs her even into adulthood, leaving her to feel undeserving of Jackson’s love.

But Jackson isn’t a man so easily dissuaded. He’s determined to rid Hyacinth of her pain and make her his wife. Can he heal her past hurt and awaken her to the carnal pleasures he wants just with her? He senses a great capacity for love and passion in this fair Lenox flower. Unlocking it will mean a battle of wills, but love is worth the fight.

Follow the eight Lenox sisters through this historical erotic series that’s as big and bold as the Montana Sky. The Wildflowers of Montana continues with Hyacinth and her sharpshooting hero.

*****
MediaKit_BookCover_WildflowersOfMontana_dahlia
The lure of the big city has called to tempestuous Dahlia Lenox, her entire life. Dahlia is tired of ranch life and all the rules and restrictions placed on women by polite society. She can’t resist breaking the rules, and is very, very good at it. The poker table is her domain, the one place she yields to no one’s rules but her own. She’s staring down the biggest win in her life, a prize that will free her from small town life forever and she can’t wait to claim her bittersweet victory. But nothing is perfect, and leaving town means leaving the only man who ever made her ache to be his, Garrison Lee. He wants everything she can’t give him, including an obedient wife who surrenders to him in bed. Surrender is not in her nature, and as much as it hurts, she will keep all of her secrets and leave the arrogant and sexy Garrison behind.

Garrison Lee is tired of waiting. He’s been patient. He’s been courteous. He’s been a damn gentleman and all that’s gotten him is a polite brush off from Dahlia each of the three times he proposed. When Dahlia risks everything to escape him forever, Garrison is forced to raise the stakes in a single hand of poker…winner take all.

Dahlia is about to discover that Garrison won’t take no for an answer, that her restlessness can be tamed by a man with a firm hand, and that he knows exactly how to channel her wild side into more carnal pursuits. But Dahlia is nothing if not stubborn. Garrison’s seduction is relentless, his hand firm as he tries to convince his passionate new bride that everything she ever wanted is right in front of her…before he loses her forever.

Book 3 in the Wildflowers of Montana Series continues with the tempestuous Dahlia and the man who will tame her.

*****
MediaKit_BookCover_WildflowersOfMontana_daisyDaisy Lenox has always felt invisible next to her beautiful and vivacious sisters. But one man changed all that. The new town doctor, Ethan James, watches her with an intensity that quickly turns her curiosity to obsession. He’s the first man to encourage her bluestocking ways, and the first to offer a stern reprimand when she needs it. Daisy knows his firm commands should offend, but to her shock, they make her feel protected and cared for. Ethan James makes her feel…alive. But Doctor James is keeping secrets, and Daisy is determined to find out the truth at any cost. When Daisy follows the unsuspecting doctor out of town, her obsession causes her to slip ever so close to death. And although the doctor manages to save her life, it comes at a high price for them both…marriage.

Ethan James might be new to the Montana Territory, but he’s very familiar with the world’s evils. A battle hardened Southerner, he’s witnessed enough death and destruction to last a lifetime. He came out West to escape the ghosts of his past and to start a new life, a life in which he will maintain firm control of his medical practice and his honor. He is sworn to heal, and offering much needed medical services to the native tribe is his something he feels he must do. But local prejudice and hatred are hard foes to fight, so he keeps his actions secret…until Daisy Lenox follows him into the wild and nearly gets herself killed.

Ethan isn’t sure she’ll survive, and although he treats her naked flesh with the detached eyes of a healer, the man in him remembers her intelligent eyes, and her soft acceptance of his dominating ways. Once he’s knows that she’ll survive, he is determined to ensure she never takes such a chance with her life again, and gives her a taste of discipline with a bare bottom spanking meant to make her see the error of her ways. But something happens, and Daisy melts under his command, unable to resist his firm hand or his need for control. Her acceptance and trust awaken a need so strong that Ethan knows there is only one thing he can do to protect both her innocent desire to submit and her reputation, marry her.

They take their vows, and now both Daisy and Ethan will push the limits of her need to trust against his need to control. But when Ethan’s secret is revealed, the world’s evil will rise against them and put their fragile new love to the ultimate test. Is a marriage based on dominance and submission enough? Or will pressure from the outside world destroy them both?

Daisy and her dominant doctor continue the bestselling Wildflowers Of Montana series

Also to follow in 2016: Lily, Iris, Poppy & Marigold

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About the Author:#1 Amazon Bestseller in Erotic Western and Historical Erotica

Who doesn’t love the romance of the old West? Vanessa Vale takes the sensual appeal of rugged cowboys a step further with her bestselling books set in the Montana Territory. They are much more than just sexy historical westerns. By introducing sexual taboos into this otherwise traditional romantic setting, Vanessa has won the loyalty of a fan base that never knows quite what to expect with each new series.

“Montana Maidens” was the first to push the envelope with strong BDSM themes. “Montana Men” followed suit with softer themes but lots of deliciously graphic sex. “The Bridgewater Series” showcases ménage relationships because sometimes one hot cowboy isn’t enough. No-holds-barred, graphic descriptions, strong storytelling, engaging characters and breathtaking landscapes all combine to make very naughty reads.

And as a resident of Wild Wild West, Vanessa Vale finds plenty of inspiration for her work, for who doesn’t love a handsome cowboy?

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Rose | Hyacinth | Dahlia | Daisy
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To One Hundred by Melissa Blue – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Melissa Blue will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_ToOneHundredGrady Addison doesn’t sleep with co-eds, much less his students. Eva March has learned her lesson about sleeping with her professor. What started as an online flirtation becomes so much more. Lust and love has entrapped them in a no-win affair. Her secrets can end his career and send her life crashing down again. But they can’t walk away now.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Self-preservation forced her to say, “Good morning, Professor Addison.”

Four words and a wall slammed down on his expressive eyes. He took a step back and shoved his hands into his pockets. The problem was she didn’t feel a twinge of guilt at his reaction. If they were going to play with fire for the next few weeks, the least they could do was behave while in public.

And maybe some part of her was waiting for him to prove the past repeated itself. She’d have a whimsical need to visit him after hours and she’d find him tangled up with another co-ed. Or the Dean would find out what they’d done and feel the need to harshly reprimand her instead of him.

She knew all too well professors had groupies. There was just something sexy about the knowledgeable older man. A professor who looked like Grady probably had a dedicated circle of English majors writing fan fiction where he was their Mr. Darcy or their Awakening.

The guilt didn’t lessen as a cold front wafted from behind her. “Grady—”

“Don’t. Wouldn’t want you to be late for class.”

She shivered at the arctic tone. He was pissed. She couldn’t blame him and couldn’t fault herself. No matter how different this was, too many parts felt familiar. No one could know. The chemistry was explosive. So much was at stake.

About the Author: Melissa Blue’s writing career started on a typewriter one month after her son was born. This would have been an idyllic situation for a writer if it had been 1985, not 2004. Eventually she upgraded to a computer. She’s still typing away on the same computer, making imaginary people fall in love.

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Adored by Tali Spencer – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Tali Spencer will be awarding $30 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_AdoredAdora Leonnte, sister to the Uttoran emperor, endured a year trapped in a nightmarish forced marriage to a Sebboyan prince driven by a sinister prophecy to take her against her will. The war that followed destroyed the small country, but she emerges unbroken…if not unscathed. Safe again in Uttor, she vows to put the horrors she faced behind her and once again become the fearless young woman she was before her abduction.

As fate would have it, her hated kidnapper left her carrying his child, and that is a condition even she cannot wish away. Adora’s enduring hope for romance fades until a blue-eyed, self-possessed foreigner walks back into her life and reawakens feelings promising the erotic delights of which she’s always dreamed.

Vallmer Berringen, the handsome and devout prince of a country allied with conquered Sebboy, has come to Uttor for two reasons: to secure the treaty that will give his country a much needed alliance, and to fulfill his father’s orders to use the occasion to find a suitable bride. Captivated by Adora’s intelligence and courage, Vallmer is torn by the fact she is both pregnant and pagan. Her infamous reputation taints Adora, a woman that a man of his position and faith should never be tempted to woo.

Can he reconcile his vision for his country with his passion for a woman whose spirit sets his blood on fire—but for whom kingdoms have gone to war?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Hero
Vallmer shook his head at the ridiculousness of his situation. He was riding in a creaking carriage with a woman three times—maybe four times—his years and listening to a lecture on whom he should choose as a bride. “I am beyond convinced of the lady’s virtues. Adora is everything you say…and more! Even were I to brave her brother to ask for her hand, she is…pregnant!”

Hersilia waved a dismissive hand. “Oh that. All know who fathered that child. Lorant’s bastard will have no claim on Benarri’s throne. Consider it proof of the pot. The woman is obviously fertile! Wed her, then simply father one or several of your own.”

“By my god’s law, Adora and Lorant were duly wed! Her child is no bastard, but a rightful heir to Sebboy and Uttor, too! To wed her would be to bring a bone of contention into my land! What you suggest would be a greater mistake than if I were to wed an Uttoran temple whore.”

The old woman stiffened. “How dare you—”

“How dare I what? Mention her in tandem with a whore? My people do.” With a sigh, he sank back into the cushions again. “I admire the lady, Duqessa, truly I do. I do not mean to diminish her in any way. But I must have a wife who is…unencumbered by a history with other men.”

About the Author:Tali Spencer fell in love with writing at an early age and never stopped. Thanks to a restless father, she grew up as a bit of a nomad and still loves to travel whenever she can. Her longest stint in one place was Milwaukee where she went to college, enjoyed a series of interesting careers, and raised three surprisingly well-adjusted sons. She later married her true love and put down new roots in Philadelphia, where she lives in an ongoing Italian American family sitcom. At least she’s learned how make good pasta. When not writing, Tali reads everything from sweet goofy romances to medical research, manages her fantasy football team—go Gekkos!—and takes long walks with her loving, if slightly neurotic, poodle.

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Interview and Giveaway: Mia Hopkins

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Mia Hopkins, who has stopped by to celebrate the recent release of Deep Down. Leave a comment or ask the author a question for a chance to win a digital download of the book.

-How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since grade school. Publishing—that’s different story. I sold my first short stories to Clean Sheets in 2006. Then I took a long break and didn’t sell my next piece until 2013. I’ve been writing and publishing steadily since then.

-What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?

I recently read a book called Invisible Ink by Brian McDonald. He has an entire chapter called “Tell the Truth.” Here’s the part that stuck with me: “The worst of us has good in him and the best of us has some bad. That is a truth that many of us want to deny, but as storytellers it is the truth we must illuminate. The truth will always be sadder, happier, funnier, scarier, and more profound than the best lie.”

That is the best piece of writing advice I’ve ever received. Whenever I find myself unsure of how to proceed in a story, I think, “Tell the truth.” How would this character truly react in this situation? Is this resolution truly a product of the previous conflict? No more tricks or convenient outs—telling the truth is key.

As for worst piece of writing advice? I guess I’m not too fond of the saying “write what you know.” It inhibits beginning writers from taking risks.

-If you had to do your journey to getting published all over again, what would you do differently?

Deep Down is my first novel. My novella Cowboy Valentine was published earlier this year. I like to think I’m at the beginning of my journey, so the only advice I’d give younger me in this process is not to take rejection so personally. Finding a publisher is like finding a significant other—when you meet the right one, you’ll know. It’ll feel right. Until then, rejection protects you from spending time with people who just aren’t the right fit for you.

-Who is your favorite author and why?

Oh, man. So many. Christina Lauren and Lorelei James are auto-buys. I like high-heat romance told from multiple points of view. I like characters who start off as tropes but who turn out to be much more.

I have a lifelong love for poetry, which is something I don’t readily admit in public for fear of violent reprisals. I like Gerald Manley Hopkins, Charles Simic, and James Tate, who I was very sad to hear passed away earlier this year.

My favorite author of all time is John Steinbeck. I’m a native Californian, so The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden are canon to me. And I adore Travels with Charley.

-What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

The most frustrating thing is that every element is important—if anything is underdeveloped, the reader can sense it. That said, two elements that are extremely important for me as a reader are dialogue and beautiful language. I like authors who have a good ear for dialogue. This is a signal that I can trust them as storytellers. And I like beautiful language because I adore words—simple words, archaic words, ten-dollar words, made-up words. I like them all, particularly in the hands of an author who can string them together beautifully.

-Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a plotter, but my plot outlines are nice and stretchy. Like yoga pants. I’m a yoga pantser!

-What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I have to come up with a title before I start the book. I feel shiftless when my story doesn’t have a good-sounding title to aspire to.

-Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

I listen to instrumental music while I write. My favorite writing music is the jazz pianist Bill Evans. The Booker T and the MGs station on Pandora is so groovy. When I edit, I listen to country. Like banging, party-anthem bro-country. Cowboy stripper music, basically. It keeps my enthusiasm up.

-Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Physically, my hero Sam Lamont is based on the actor Henry Cavill. Cavill’s eyes are slightly different colors. I decided to emphasize this by making Sam’s eyes totally different colors. One is brown and the other is blue. The condition is called heterochromia. There’s a pitcher for the Washington Nationals named Max Scherzer who has this exact eye condition. It’s really striking.

-What are the biggest public misconceptions about erotic romance?

That all fans of erotic romance have these sad, unfulfilling sex lives. There may be some readers for whom this is true, but how can it be true for all of us? The readers and writers within the genre whom I’ve met have a healthy, happy interest in sex and enjoy reading books on the topic—that’s it.

The misconception really annoys me. For example, the general public doesn’t assume that just because someone enjoys James Bond movies, he or she has a really pathetic everyday life. No, we assume that this person enjoys movies about outrageous villains, explosions and boobies simply because they’re fun. Full stop. Same with erotic romance.

-How do you personally distinguish between pornography, erotica, and erotic romance?

By no means are these technical definitions, but in my head, both erotica and erotic romance are forms of fiction that include descriptions of explicit sex. Erotica does not require a love story or happily-ever-after, but erotic romance does. For me, pornography is visual—film, photography.

-What authors do you think write excellent erotic fiction?

I just started reading Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinner series and it is so good. Jaw-plus-floor good. I adore Lorelei James’ cowboys. I’ve discovered a lot of excellent writers through Rachel Kramer Bussell’s and Delilah Devlin’s anthologies. And the books coming out of Go Deeper Press are amazing—intelligent, transgressive, insanely hot.

-What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing DEEP DOWN?

I really geeked out while researching Deep Down. I learned a lot about the commercial fishing industry in California. For example, sea urchin must be hand-harvested by a diver; it is one of the last wild foods. Sea urchin roe, or uni, goes from the bottom of the ocean off the coast of Santa Barbara to Tsukiji Fish Market in Toyko in less than 24 hours. That just blows my mind.

-What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

I play the accordion! Actually, I don’t know if my readers would be surprised to learn that. I do give off a strong Weird Al vibe.

-Are you working on anything at the present you would like to tell us about?

Right now I’m working on book two in the Kings of California series. It’s called Hollywood Honkytonk, and it stars Jack Lamont, Sam’s little brother. His story takes place ten years after Deep Down. Jack is a Hollywood actor and Riley is his childhood crush, all grown up and new in town. Hollywood Honkytonk will be released by The Wild Rose Press.

-Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

Scotland! The first romance novels I read were Scottish historicals. It’s pretty hard to resist a story about a big sexy Scot in a kilt. I wouldn’t mind writing a contemporary romance set in Scotland. Maybe a nice steamy one set in a Scotch distillery? Perhaps I should tour a couple distilleries to get a feel for the place. For research, of course.

-What are you reading now?

I adore food writing. I’m currently reading Tsukiji by Theodore C. Bester. It’s about the giant fish market in Tokyo, Japan, and I find it fascinating. I’m also reading How to Cook a Wolf by MFK Fisher, who is brilliant and funny. I recently finished a book called Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah. It made me so hungry.

I read a lot during the holidays. Right on the tip-top of my contemporary romance TBR pile are Samanthe Beck’s Compromising Her Position and Jill Sorenson’s Dirty Eleven books. They write high-heat romance. My favorite.

-What do you like to do when you are not writing?

My husband and I take tons of road trips. The last big one we took was through the Pacific Northwest. Also, we are both pretty good home cooks. I cook and bake almost every day. Now that the weather’s colder, I’ve been making tons of pies from scratch and giving them away to friends and co-workers. Production goes up when I am having trouble on a writing project. Procrasti-baking, I call it. The more ornate the dessert, the more anguish I’m feeling about my work!

-What are your favorite TV shows?

I’m always excited about the new season of Downton Abbey. I also watch Gotham. The Great British Baking Show on Netflix was a lot of fun. I watch more movies than T.V., though. Lately I’ve been hitting up my library for Hayao Miyazaki movies like Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away. I just watched The Wind Rises for the first time and bawled inconsolably on the sofa. My dogs were concerned.

-Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

You can find one of my favorite sayings on the inside cover of Deep Down. It’s by G.K. Chesterton: “The only way to love anything is to realize it may be lost.”

-If you could spend a day with anyone from history, dead or alive, who would it be, and what would you do? What would you ask them?

Julia Child! I would want to cook and eat with her. I would ask her to tell me endless stories about her life and I would get drunk on every word she said.

-Tell us about your family.

My husband and I have been together for thirteen years. We live with a grumpy miniature schnauzer and an intelligent but needy terrier mutt. I have a large extended Filipino-American family. My husband has three cousins; I have three dozen. Probably more.

-What makes you happy?

Spending time with good storytellers, on paper or in person.

1_5 Deep Down Cover Sex, drugs, and spicy tuna rolls? Resilient and disciplined, tsunami survivor Eve Ono moves to California from Japan looking for a position as a sushi chef. When she’s suddenly fired from her restaurant job, desperation drives her to find work on a fishing boat despite her fears of the ocean. To make matters worse, she’s stuck in close quarters with her new captain—a man whose raw physicality drives her out of her mind with lust. Free-spirited and roguish, Sam Lamont is a commercial fisherman aboard his own dive boat, the Bravado. When he makes a bad deal with a deadly loan shark who threatens to take his boat, Sam is in danger of losing both his business and his way of life. On top of that, he’s got to train his new deckhand—a beautiful hard-ass who just so happens to be sexy as hell. A female sushi chef with mad knife skills. A deep-sea diver who’s pissed off a Mexican drug cartel. Together, they’re in trouble, and the only way out is down.

About the Author:1_5 Mia Hopkins PhotoMia Hopkins writes lush romances starring fun, sexy characters who love to get down and dirty. She’s a sucker for working class heroes, brainy heroines and wisecracking best friends. When she’s not lost in a story, Mia spends her time cooking, gardening, traveling, volunteering and looking for her keys. In a past life, she was a classroom teacher and still has a pretty good “teacher voice” and “teacher stare.” She lives in the heart of Los Angeles with her roguish husband and two waggish dogs. For more books, freebies and fun stuff, please visit her website.

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