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Bibi Rizer: Why a Book is Seldom Just a Book
Sunday, April 5th, 2015

I hear a lot of complaints from bloggers and reviewers about “cliffhanger endings” and books that don’t work as a standalone. I sympathize, of course. Myself, I’m in a constant state of briny froth about what might happen next on the TV show Vikings. But the other hand, as an author, I know all too well why some books just never end.  Let me tell you a little story to illustrate:

Like a lot of indie authors, I also publish books through traditional publishers. For me, I focus traditional publishing on my YA books. So I published two books from a series a few years ago and I had a third book sort of mapped out in my head. I knew what kind of trouble I was going to get my rather troublesome heroine into, but I hadn’t quite worked out how I would get her out of trouble – that would work itself out in the first draft.

I called my editor at the publisher just wanting to run a few things past her and she gave me the bad news that they didn’t think they would go ahead with a third book in the series. “Marketing, money, sales, format but we’d love to see what else you have…blah blah blah”. All I heard was the plaintive weeping of my heroine. I literally thought “What am I going to tell her?” I had gotten her into a mess and now I would never get her out of it. It was like she was trapped. Days went past where I existed with a kind of constant sense of doom, worrying about her as though she was my own child.

It was weeks before I could even write anything else. I wanted to continue her story. When you spend two books with a character as their author they become part of you. My heroine is only seventeen when the second book ends. What‘s to become of her? Will she get through high school without getting suspended again? Will her relationship succeed? Will she ever make that trip to New York she’s been so looking forward to? If I don’t write her story I might never know. Only in writing things about the characters I love can I fix their destinies. Without my intervention, anything could happen – good things or awful things.

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Even when I write books that are neatly tied up at the end with a satisfying and believable happily ever after I find the world I’ve created continues churning along. In Electrify Me, which ended with an HEA for the two leads, there was a small character called Levi. As I read my final draft I thought “He seems a little tightly wound up. Maybe he needs a holiday”. That holiday became Objectify Me. In Objectify Me Levi’s best friend Buck obviously has a slightly worrying drug habit. Buck is going to get himself clean in Purify Me, the next novella in the Fireworks Series. Will it ever end? Maybe not.

Small characters may seem inconsequential to readers, but to authors they often have complete backstories as well as just as many hopes and dreams as the main characters. Unless I kill them off (which is often a temptation) their problems become my problems. And sometimes they get their own whole book. Furthermore despite our best efforts in tying up every loose end even for our main characters, sometimes “happily ever after” is actually “happily until something horrible happens and then we start all over”.

So when you’re getting frustrated about a book that ends on a cliffhanger or a series that never seems to end, spare a thought for the author. If you want to know what happens next to a beloved character all you have to do is buy the book and read it; we have to write the darn thing.

Read my Blog: http://bibirizer.com/
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Lexi Post: Unexpected Eden (Contest)
Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Thanks for having be back, Delilah! I love visiting your blog to talk about the inspiration for my latest story. This one is the second in my Eden series titled Unexpected Eden.

I write erotic romance inspired by the classics. I know, sounds strange, but it so works. Believe it or not, the Eden series started when I read an Emily Dickinson poem. Yup. Instead of the typical death, nature, or religious subject matter, the poem “Wild Nights. Wild Nights!” was very passionate and that caught my attention because she was known as a recluse and a spinster. What fascinated me was a reference to Eden in a nontraditional way and so I created the planet Eden. There are some basics for every reader to know about Eden.

On Eden only males are born.

No one wears clothes as that would be an insult.

It’s a minimum of two men to every woman.

And each Edenist is born with an ability related to his Kindred which is obvious by his birthmark.

Unexpected Eden was actually inspired by a Dickinson poem titled “Come slowly Eden.” This is another passionate poem that focuses on a bee and a flower but in a rather sexual context. So in my story, the flower is Serena, a pyrotechnic expert who works on sci-fi movies, and the bees are a couple of Edenists, Jahl and Khaos. Though the men would like to go slowly when it comes to convincing Serena to stay and be their beloved, they only have a week, so slow can’t be in their plan. However, Serena is a pretty confident woman with strong ties to her family, so staying on Eden for a vacation is fine but more than that is a problem.

Will there be more to the series? Oh yeah. Dickinson wrote over 2,000 poems, so I’m guessing there’s a good dozen that reveal this inner passion that is so at odds with what we know about the poet. I may just have to explore every one of those particular poems through Eden!

Always, Lexi

For a chance to win the first book in the series, Cruise into Eden, enter the rafflecopter below.

Unexpected Eden Blurb (Coming April 24 – up for pre-order):

Serena Upton wonders if she’s been transported into one of the science fiction movies she works on with her pyrotechnics skill. It certainly seems so when she’s rescued by three hot, naked men from another planet. She’s whisked away to Loraleaf, their home in the jungle of Eden, with the expectation that she will become their beloved. As they cater to her in every way, she begins to understand what it means to be their chosen one.

Jahl and Khaos risked everything, even the brother of their heart, to bring Serena home, but grief and self-doubt, etched in stone by their own families, seems insurmountable. Their only hope is that she can fill the void in their lives. They succeed in sweeping her up in their erotic passion, but they are unable to capture her heart.

Though Serena cares for Jahl and Khaos, she’s convinced she’s not the answer to their damaged souls. It’s better that she return to her family on Earth before she cares too much. That is, if she doesn’t already.

Pre-order Link

Unexpected Eden Excerpt:

Jahl stood there, his face and body hard but his heart a scarred mess. She wanted to comfort him, tell him he was worth so much more, but his pain was so old. What made her think she could make a difference. “I don’t know what to say.”

“There’s nothing to say. It’s history. You are the future.”

“Me, why me?” She backed up another step, Jahl’s gaze too focused on her.

He moved covering the space between them in two strides. His hands grasped her shoulders, but not roughly. “Because you are our chosen one. We want you for our beloved.” Read the rest of this entry »

Elle  James: Lions, Witches & Wolves–Oh, my! (Contest)
Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

POSSESSING THE WITCH is my Harlequin Nocturne releasing April 1st! What a great book to release on April Fool’s Day. The second in my Dark Lord Series following THE WITCH’S INITIATION.

This story is another twist on Beauty and the Beast. Did you watch the television show Beauty and the Beast back in the late 80’s with Ron Pearlman and Linda Hamilton? I loved it! It was dark, edgy and full of romantic tension. I’ve given a different take on this story with the Chicago underground tunnels that were built back in the early 1900’s to deliver goods to merchants in the downtown area. It was not all they’d hoped it would be and soon the tunnels fell into disrepair and were shut off to the public.

 Or were they?

In my world, the misfits and mutants found their way into the tunnels and made them home. My hero, Gryph Leone, is a shifter, raised in below Chicago. Given the best education by his adopted father, he learned to make a very good living despite his location.

Selene Chattox is one of five sisters who live in Chicago and help fight paranormal crime because they are gifted witches. Dive into their world and take a walk along the dangerous tunnels beneath the city of Chicago. You never know who or what you will find!

****For a chance to win a $5 Gift card***

Join my newsletter and come post a comment here letting me know you did and tell me about your favorite paranormal show, series or movie.

ejPossessingtheWitch

Possessing the Witch
Amazon | Nook | Kobo
IBooks

A spirit witch and a recluse unite to save their city 

Gryph Leone keeps a low profile because he considers himself a freak of nature. But when his powerful senses detect a woman in distress, his lion takes over. Before he knows it, he’s in a losing battle with a wolf shifter. And then a beautiful woman with bewitching eyes and her own secrets finds him.

Selene Chattox didn’t know what—or who—she’d find when she followed her premonition to the river’s edge. When she discovers Gryph, the spirit witch brings the injured stranger home, determined to resist the intense desire he evokes in her. But as he heals, they know fate has brought them together as they track a ruthless killer through the tunnels of Chicago. And as their passion ignites, so does the danger…

About the Author:

ejElleJames (2)New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author ELLE JAMES also writing as MYLA JACKSON is a former IT professional and retired Army and Air Force Reservist. She writes romantic suspense, mysteries and paranormal romance that keeps her readers on the edges of their seats to the very end of every book. When she’s not at her computer, she’s traveling to exotic and wonderful places, snow-skiing, boating, or riding her four-wheeler, dreaming up new stories.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Page

J. J. Lore: Embrace the Outliers
Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

There are a lot of unseen pressures on a writer. We have to pick the right characters, come up with a great plot, find our ‘voice’, put words on the page, and get to ‘the end’. Once we’ve done that, there’s the whole process of polishing, submitting, and waiting for approval or rejection. If you’re lucky, you sign a contract and have the awesome pleasure of ripping your story apart to please editors. Don’t get me started on the delight that is promotion, or the vast, unexplored sea of self-publishing.

When I embarked upon this work, it wasn’t with some great plan in mind. I had ideas, wrote them down, and with great trepidation let someone else read it. As I delved deeper into the erotic romance genre, I despaired. I didn’t have any vampires or shifters, no BDSM, no motorcycle gangs or heroic SEALs. Heck, I didn’t even use bad language! Those were the things on the market so that’s what people wanted, right? Therefore, if I didn’t write that, there weren’t going to be any readers for my stories. Why bother?

After some metaphorical and literal hand-wringing, I squared my shoulders, cracked my knuckles, and got back to it. Writers write, and that’s what I am. Everything else is secondary. As I worked, I came to realize that there is room for my sorts of tales. My heroes are confident and considerate and my heroines are humble and hard working. They go through experiences that bring them to a place of trust and respect. I can’t think of characters who deserve sexual fulfillment and a happy ending more than they do! My audience might be smaller, but once I find them, I know I can give them an entertaining read. What I’ve come away with is the realization that there’s room for everyone; all sorts of heroes, all kinds of adventures, every sort of kink.

 

lrruled (3)

While on a clandestine visit to Earth, Prince Edem of Alpha and his bondmate Mallet by chance meet a humble cook who intrigues them. The impulsive prince feels a brief fling with an exotic human female sounds like the perfect way to conclude their travels, while his more pragmatic bondmate urges caution.

Despite all the reasons to avoid her, the Alphans seek her out, intrigued by her prickly pride and defiant disposition. For her part, Corrine is intimidated by these imposing and mysterious alien men, but finds herself overwhelmed by their determined courtship.

Edem and Mallet convince themselves their deepening feelings for Corrine do not have to include bonding, since such a commitment is forbidden by the King and subjects of Alpha, determined to keep the bloodline pure. But when danger threatens, the three are forced to choose between having the galaxy at their feet or losing each other forever.

Buy Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Ruled-Planet-Alpha-J-J-Lore-ebook/dp/B00U8389HK/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-ruled-1758583-340.html
http://www.evernightpublishing.com/ruled-by-j-j-lore/
http://www.bookstrand.com/ruled-mmf

About J. J. Lore

J. J. Lore needs three things; strong, black coffee, time to write, and…well…you can guess the third. When she isn’t inventing fantastical tales filled with passionate people, she’s shaking sriracha on whatever she’s eating or reading about the Justinian plague. For updates on her bestselling erotic romance releases, visit her at http://mllesnarratif.com/j-j-lore/ or follow on Twitter @JJLore1

Ruled excerpt:

They made her shake. She’d thought it was first with anger, then fear, but as Mal eased his mouth against hers while Edem circled his fingers down her back, she knew she was shaking with lust. How had she gotten here? She’d been so insulted by the gift she’d rushed to them thoughtlessly and had somehow admitted to them she was frightened of sex, but now was barely able to keep on her feet for the heat blooming in her pussy.

Someone’s hands were pulling at the hem of her shirt, and she drew away from Mal to glance down and discover Edem had insinuated his fingertips underneath the material and was now rubbing along her bare waist. Her skin tingled. Mal reached for her buttons and had the front of her shirt open before she realized what was happening. When the cool air reached her nearly exposed breasts, she automatically reached to bring the edges back together, her breath rushing in and out with a mix of desire and caution.

“Let us see and touch. Just here,” Edem said softly as he caressed her lower back. Mal stared at her, his eyes darkening as he gave a slight nod. It was stupid to even consider it, but she seemed to be doing lots of stupid things lately. This could be the test. She could say no and hope they would stop. Would they let her control this? She didn’t want to say no yet, though. She sucked in a breath and urged her stiff fingers to cooperate as she released her grip on the shirt. She was wearing a bra, so she could say no when then tried to remove that final layer and expose her. Read the rest of this entry »

Brent Archer: A Thousand Words…At least!
Monday, March 30th, 2015

baRMS Aquitania First Class Lounge

When most of us glance at a picture, we see the main subject we’re looking at: a person we know, ourselves, the new house our friend just bought, the bride and groom at our cousin’s wedding. Most of the time we don’t really examine the full photo. All those details in the background hidden in plain sight. As I’ve embarked on my writing career, I’ve come to see pictures as worlds of their own, crammed full of inspiration. Each piece of the photo can be a story in itself.

My short story, Aboard the Aquitania, is set on the HMS Aquitania in the Roaring Twenties as part of a steamy anthology called Flappers, Jazz, and Valentino. In doing research for the story, I found old pictures of the luxury liner on the internet, and one of the pictures really stuck with me. It is the shot of the main dining room. While my main characters Penny, Mikey, and Johnny sat at one of the tables with their smart tuxedos and black bow ties, the other tables held heartbreak, consternation, joy, you name it. Did Lillian Gish enjoy dinner at that very table on the prior crossing? Did Charlie Chaplin stand on the balcony overlooking the room with his signature cane? Did a waiter get fired for spilling soup on a New York socialite at the second to last table on the left?

The background of a picture can be a fascinating place to look for inspiration. As I examined this photo for details to describe, I thought about the stewards who came in to tidy the room before it opened to the passengers. Maybe one took a drag off a cigarette as he straightened a tablecloth while another of his fellow crew watched from behind a pillar longing to touch him. The artwork on the ceiling had to be painted with scaffolding and a lot of precision. Perhaps the artist had a lover waiting in one of the cabins while he worked. This photo alone holds far more than a thousand words worth of stories, each a potential short story or novel.

So next time you look at a picture, peruse the background. Who is sitting at the back table in the distance smiling happily at the couple in the foreground? Who is the lady on the bench shading her eyes from the sun behind your cousin catching his Frisbee at the park? Find the story lurking behind the main subject and see how many words it’s worth.

****

You can read about Johnny, Mikey, and Penny’s adventure Aboard the Aquitania here in House of Erotica’s Flappers, Jazz, and Valentino edited by Jillian Boyd.

Excerpt:

The three friends strolled along the promenade, and descended the stairs two decks. Entering the First Class Foyer, Johnny noted several couples milling in the spacious room around pillars holding up the artfully painted ceiling.

Mikey looked around. “Terrif.”

Penny nodded. “Indeed.”

Johnny led them though the throng, and opened the door to the Louis XVI Restaurant. Round-backed wooden chairs surrounded small, round tables. Greek pillars supported an upper level balcony overlooking the dining room. The ceilings sported glittering chandeliers and a large, ornate painting over the center of the room.

“Good evening, gentlemen. A table?”

Johnny turned his attention to the maître d’. The middle-aged gentleman standing before them gestured to a table by a window.

“Thank you, yes.”

He pulled out the chair for Johnny. “Your waiter will be with you shortly.”

“Cheers.” Mikey pulled out his own chair while the waiter pushed the chair under Johnny as he sat. He walked away with a backward glance and a smile.

Mikey chuckled. “He’s a bit of a vamp, isn’t he?”

Penny laughed. “Sure enough.”

Johnny cocked his head. “What do you mean?”

The other two men at the table exchanged glances.

“Is nobody home? He’s keen on you.”

Johnny took the menu. “No he’s not.” He studied it, ignoring the taunts of his friends.

A young dark-haired man in a white shirt, bowtie, and black slacks approached them. “May I get you something from the bar?”

Johnny admired his kissable lips and slender form. “Rum and coke.”

Mikey put down his menu. “Screwdriver.”

“Nothing for me.”

Johnny and Mikey turned to Penny. “You what?”

“I’ll have something after dinner.”

Johnny rolled his eyes. “Our friend will have a Highball.”

The waiter nodded and left them. Johnny turned to Penny.

“No drink? What’s eating you?”

“Nothing. I just want a clear head for later.”

Mikey’s eyes narrowed. “Why?”

A faint smiled formed on Penny’s lips. “Mind your own beeswax.”

 

babrent archerBrent Archer began writing in 2011 at the nudging of his cousins. His first story sold, and he was hooked! Stay tuned for the May 8th release of his first novel, The Bastard’s Key, the first installment of his Golden Scepter series.

Visit his website to keep up on upcoming releases, and follow him on Twitter: @brentarcherwrit.

 

What are your passions?
Sunday, March 29th, 2015

1-pearYou already know I have a new sexy shorty out (The Long Road Home) and a new Vampire book coming tomorrow (Sm{B}itten), so I won’t belabor the point that you should be reading or anticipating reading—besides, I’ll be sending out a newsletter tomorrow, talking both of them up!! :)

Instead, I’d love for you to share your passions. You can talk about them or send me a picture to post here. I’ll check throughout the day for new entries!

My new passion (besides jewelry making and altered art dominoes) is painting. I’m not very good at it. But I don’t care. I get a very warm feeling in my gut when I finish something new. And it’s sooooo portable! I have a mini-watercolor set, a small watercolor notebook—both of which I can cram into a purse, my Blackwing pencils, and off I go—just add water! And when I paint something ugly—like that pear to the right—I do my Zentangle scribbles all over it.

So, you’re turn: What are your passions?

art

 

From Angel Shaw

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A. Catherine Noon: Lionfish! (Contest)
Thursday, March 26th, 2015

acn2015-03 Delilah Guest Post - Image 1 

Thank you to Delilah Devlin for hosting me again today; I’m excited to be back.  I figured I’d share something a little different and share our upcoming release, Emerald Keep, available April 8th from Torquere Press.

So first, the little different:  the picture above is a lovely boy I found at the Milwaukee Discovery World.  They have a neat facility, including an enormous model of the Great Lakes and its weather, but what I truly loved was the aquarium.  They have the usual tanks and displays, but they’ve also got an enormous pool you can walk over!

I am tickled that my snap of the giant lionfish, Pterois.  He’s a carnivore, folks, that means he’s a terror in the tank.  He didn’t randomly eat anybody while we were there, but he prowled around the tank like he was on a mission.  I don’t have a camera that’s well-suited to taking tank pictures, but I was able to catch this.

Quick tip – turn off your flash when taking indoor pictures where there’s glass or Lucite between you and your subject.  Otherwise, the light of the flash will bloom in the picture and overwhelm your image.

What about you, Dear Reader? 

What’s your favorite photographic tip, or your favorite aquarium?

Now, for Emerald Keep.  Rachel and I are excited to share that Book 2 in the Persis Chronicles is available April 8th.  What’s more, we’re holding a contest!  We’ll be giving away a handknit scarf, a hand-crocheted scarf, and some handmade calligraphy bookmarks.  We hope you’ll stop by; the official Rafflecopter opens April 1st but if you comment here at Chez Delilah, I’ll make sure you’re included in the drawing – just be sure to leave your email address for me (write the word “AT” instead of the @ symbol).

acn2015-04 Blog Tour Stops for Emerald Keep

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A. Cathering Noon
**New** SEALED BY FIRE is an All Romance eBooks Bestseller!

The Chicagoland Shifters series:
Book 1 BURNING BRIGHT
Book 2 TIGER TIGER, an All Romance eBooks Bestseller!
**Coming Soon!** Watch for Book 3, CAT’S CRADLE, out Summer 2015!

The Persis Chronicles:
Book 1 EMERALD FIRE
**Coming Soon!** Watch for Book 2, EMERALD KEEP, out April 2015!