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Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday Spotlight: J. Hali Steele


I love romance novels…

Most all of them. They have to end Happily Ever After. For me, that's what makes it a romance. Two (or 3) people meeting, getting to know each other, and finally, living together forever.

I grew up reading Harlequin's romance books. Every month my package arrived and I ate them up. Heck, in fifteen days I was done. Then I'd spend the last half of the month waiting for my new books to arrive. So, I started looking for others to read in between. I found Taylor Caldwell, John Steinbeck (who my mother had already introduced me to--and I loved his stories). And there was Ayn Rand. WOW! To this day I can still remember how I felt when I read Atlas Shrugged. Her books weren't even considered romance. They were her social comments on the world around her. I read recently some people considered them Science Fiction. This came as a shock to me--I'd never read a Science Fiction novel in my life!

Anyway, I met John Galt and that was the beginning of the end. No hero I'd ever read about could add up to him. But I kept searching, and soon I found men like him.

They were all hiding in Paranormal Romances. I'd hit the jackpot. Anne Rice with her vampires and witches; and later, Christine Feehan fascinated me with stories about vampires, mages and more. Recently, Kerrelyn Sparks and Lynsay Sands--their humor, mixed with bite, is simply delicious. Like the Harlequins of old, I gobble them up the moment they hit the shelves.

If reading a book gives me insight into an author, I've learned a little about everyone I've read. I've enjoyed what they have to say. I've laughed with them, cried with them, and most of all, I've loved the time I spent with them and the characters they've created for my pleasure.

In reading any of my work, I hope you find a hero like John Galt and all the others I've discovered, and loved, along the way.

Enjoy your day and hopefully you'll stop back tomorrow.

Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Author Interview: Cherie Amour

Whipped Cream is pleased to have Cherie Amour, whose latest book Memories Forgotten, a medieval historical erotic romance, has just been released by Amira Press.

Here's a little bit about Memories Forgotten:

He wanted to fall deeper into sleep, into the darkness, but a siren's voice draws him out of unconsciousness. Her beauty enamors him. He longs to touch her, kiss her, make love to her.

When Geva meets a mysterious man in the woods, the sexual attraction's intense. She is frightened yet enchanted by him. Soon they find it difficult to keep their hands off one another.

But two obstacles keep them apart. One's an abhorrent mystery of his past. The other's their social standings. He's a wealthy nobleman; she's a poor serf's daughter. They were never meant to be together. Society forbids it. Will their love conquer all or will it be extinguished before it's fully ignited?

I asked Cherie to tell me what she saw as the difference between pornography, erotica, and erotic romance.

"Erotic romance to me is a romance story where the sex scenes are explored and described in more detail for the reader, but it still involves love and a happily ever after," she said. "Erotica is about the sex. Love may or may not be a factor in the story. The characters in erotic romances and erotica stories are well developed.

"Pornography is illicit and degrading where no romance is involved and characters are two dimensional and have no sense of love or any type of intimate, endearing feelings whatsoever."

For Cherie, stories need to reflect in some way how people actually fall in love in the real world, how lust plays a hand in the evolution of this love. To write about the lust without lacing it with love crosses the border between erotic romance and pornography. Unfortunately, she feels many people in the public see erotic romance and pornography as one and the same. Thankfully, when she approached her husband with the idea of switching from romance to erotic romance he was very supportive.

"His love is my inspiration for my writing," she told me. "He’s read some of it, but he’s not a big reader."

Cherie started out writing romance novels and decided to expand to erotic romance.

"In my eyes, it is the stronger romance genre," she said. "Far deeper and more complex aspects of romance are dealt with in it."

If Cherie could entertain a character from fiction, she told me she would choose Sebastian from her novella “Duel of Souls.”

"Not only is he tall, dark, and gorgeous, and can morph and multiply into anyone, but he is super smart and devious. I’d love to chat with him while playing a game of chess. Being his brain is always on hyper drive, he’d most probably be playing ten moves ahead in his mind, even before I’ve played my first," she said with a smile.

On a personal note, I asked Cherie, "If you could be anyone you wanted, who would it be?"

"Cleopatra. To be able to live in her dynasty and experience all she did and how she changed history would be amazing."

And, if she had to pierce a body part, she would choose her navel. Cherie doesn't believe it's the piercing itself that's so sexy.

"It’s the glittery gold, jewelry, or other type of ornament we use on the piercing," she explained. "That’s what makes it sexy and so alluring."

Something else she finds sexy and alluring is her favorite food—chocolate in all forms. Specifically, she shared what she finds best for eating off another person.

"Melted, sticky, yummy chocolate. The chest, neck, and lips and tongue. Most definitely lips and tongue, so both parties can indulge in the savoring at the same time."

However, she cannot bring herself to eat snails, escargot. Her comment about them—"Ewwww."

She can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi. To her, Pepsi has a sweeter taste, and she prefers Coke.

"Have you ever known anyone who can tie a cherry stem with their tongue?" I wondered.

"No, but then again I’ve never asked," she replied. "Hmm, curiosity is getting the better of me. Perhaps I should start asking people if they can." She smiled. "Something tells me I’d be surprised at their responses."

When she isn't writing, she likes to cook, paint, and listen to music—because they all help inspire her in her writing. As a matter of fact, she always listens to music while she's writing.

"I find it helps me concentrate and it’s relaxing," she told me. "Without music, I’d most probably get writer’s block."

Finally, I asked Cherie what advice she would give to authors who wanted to write erotic romance.

"Write from your heart," she said. "Let loose your emotions and your imagination."

You can keep up with Cherie on her blog, http://authorcherieamour.wordpress.com

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Spotlight: Anne Kane

Christmas Magic

Christmas is only a month away! It's my favorite Holiday Season. Where I live, way up here in the frozen North, a white Christmas is guaranteed.

When the kids were still at home, we used to traipse into the bush each year and cut down the perfect tree. We knew exactly where to find it because we'd been looking for it since early summer. Every time we went to find a stray cow, or take the dogs for a walk in the bush, we'd be watching the trees, assessing how full they were, how good their shape was, if they were the perfect height.

We tied the tree to a toboggan and we took turns pulling it through the snow back to the house. When we got there, we dragged it into the basement and let the snow and ice melt off it for a few days before we took it upstairs to a place of honor in the living room. Then we'd all troop into the kitchen and have a nice mug of hot chocolate.

We didn't have a lot of money, but we would paint pinecones and make decorations out of a dough mixture, cut with cookie cutters. The kids and I would color them and put our names and the year on the back. Then we'd hang them on the tree. When the kids had gone to bed, the hubby and I would rearrange them, because most of the decorations were on the lower branches that the kids could reach.

The kids have grown up now, and have children of their own. My tree is an artificial one that I use year after year, but I still love those decorations and each year I get out the box and remember what fun we had. The grandchildren come to visit, and we make dough ornaments and color them, and put their names and the year on the back.

The magic of Christmas is very special, and I'm looking forward to a visit from St. Nick this year. After all, I've been a very good girl!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thursday Spotlight: Anne Kane

The Plausibility Factor

Dragons. Imperial Were-Panthers. Stargazers. Sex Demons and shifters of every description. Reality is greatly over-rated.

I love to visit the imaginary worlds that exist only in my mind. Writing fantasy and science fiction requires a great deal of attention to detail. Even though nothing I write actually exists, I have to make the premise plausible. People have to be able to believe that the worlds I create could exist, and that's why writing these stories is so much fun.

When I started the Imperial Were-Panther series, I knew that I wanted to create a line of cat shifters. I used panthers because I love the sleek, dangerous look of them and thought they'd make wonderful heroes. Then, I needed a reason for them to exist, a job if you will. Since they were going to be heroes, they needed a heroic job. After a great deal of thought, I made them guardians of the Imperial Throne, who had given up their privileged position and decimated their own species in a valiant effort to save humanity. I had a lot of fun writing those books, and there are several more on my to-do list.

The Stargazers weren't entirely a figment of my imagination. The ancient legends of witches who could feel the earth's ley lines, harnessing the power of the Earth for their own purposes inspired this series. The twist is that the Stargazers can see the lines of power between the heavenly bodies. That was the big picture, but I needed to add all the little details, such as how they physically managed to do that, and the side effects of their talent. There needed to be pros and cons to being a Stargazer, as there is with everything in life.

I've written other stories featuring creatures that you aren't likely to meet in your day-to-day travels, and each one had its own unique challenges. It's the little things that make science fiction and fantasy plausible to the readers and more fun for the writers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday Spotlight: Anne Kane

Publishers and how to find them

There are so many publishers out there. Big press and small press. Print publishers and e-publishers. Even before I started my first story, I researched which publishers just to see what it was that they were interested in. I wanted to target my submissions to a receptive audience...

Different publishing houses all have their own submission guidelines, as well as types of stories they are looking for, or are willing to accept. The sheer volume of publishers threatened to overwhelm me, so I took a couple of my favorite authors, and looked to see who their publishers were. Then, when I participated in an online writing course, someone mentioned Piers Anthony's website. He has an amazingly detailed list of publishers with explanations and recommendations for each. Definitely a must see if you plan to start submitting.

In the end, I entered my first novella in a writing contest - The Red Sage Publishing Alpha Male Contest. It won first place, and they offered me a contract to publish it in Secrets - Volume 30. Since they publish several of my favorite authors, I was thrilled. After I managed to overcome the shock, I accepted quickly before they had a chance to change their mind.

The next story I wrote was a short sci-fi erotic romance, and I submitted it to Changeling Press, both because they actively acquired this type of story, and because I loved their books. Imagine my surprise when they accepted it! I'd already decided it sucked, and was planning ways to revise it. LOL.

I have to be honest; I didn't look a lot farther. Changeling has accepted every manuscript I've written since, and until I decide to branch out into full-length novels, I see no reason to change publishers. They are incredibly author-friendly and helpful.

My next search is going to be for an agent. Anybody got any suggestions?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday Spotlight: Anne Kane

How I became an erotic romance writer

Writing erotic romance is not something I planned to do, or even aspired to for most of my life. Both as a child, and an adult, I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction, with some mystery thrown in from time to time. Every once in a while, I'd read a contemporary story or a biography. Still, fantasy and sci-fi were definitely my favorites. Then I discovered paranormal romance. Christine Feehan's Ghostwalker series. Angela Knight's Mageverse. Kelley Armstrong's Bitten. A whole new world opened up for me and before I knew it, I was hooked. I devoured book after book, and at some point, I thought hey, I want to try writing this kind of story.

Now people seem to think writing erotic romance is easy. Just sex, right? Wrong! Nothing is more boring than a technical description of how the human genitals fit together. In order to write erotic romance that people want to read, you need to have passion and action, adventure and danger. There needs to be a plot that would stand up even if all the sex were taken out. Sure there's sex. It stands to reason that two people who fall madly in love are going to consummate that love. The sex scenes are a natural part of the plot line.

I was very fortunate in being accepted by the first publisher I sent a story to. Changeling Press took the second story I'd written (the first was sold to a print publisher) Stranded on Earth and encouraged me to submit more manuscripts. Since I'd much rather write stories than Query Letters and Synopsis, I took the easy way out and haven't submitted to any other publishing houses since. I'm happy there, writing what I love and getting paid for it!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday Spotlight: Anne Kane

Writing Habits

Ever wonder what a writer looks like when they're writing? I always pictured a slightly manic person, hunched over their keyboard and typing furiously while muttering weird phrases that no one could understand.

I can't speak for other authors, but I'm about as far from that as you can get. I do have an office, with a desk and a chair and lots of shelves and file cabinets, but that's not where I write. When my muse is co-operating, I can be found sitting on my big overstuffed sofa, feet up on the footstool in front of it. My laptop is open on my lap, and the cat is perched on the back of my neck, purring away. The dog is stretched out beside me and occasionally nudges my arm to reminding me I'm allowed to pet her.

I guess I'm lucky because I live alone, except for my menagerie. Even though I'm sitting right out in the open, in the middle of the house, no one interrupts me by turning on the television or running through the room screaming. I'm not motivated to jump up and answer the phone just because it's ringing, and I don't live in town, so wandering salesmen are few and far between. I can spend hours in decadent comfort while pounding out the day's word count.

I console myself with the fact that at least I'm generally not still in my pajamas, like some people I've heard of. That's less because of good habits and more because I need to take the dog for a long run in the morning or she won't let me sit still and write. I like to refer to her as my little exercise program.

So there you have it, the writing habits of an erotic romance author.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Author Interview: Victoria Blisse

Whipped Cream is pleased to have Victoria Blisse with us from Manchester, England. She's a Manchester United fan as well as being a writer of erotic romance.

I asked her, "What writers do you think write excellent erotic fiction?"

"Is it arrogant to say me?" she replied. "Yeah, I thought so. Alessia Brio and Will Belegon write fantastic erotica together and apart; I have always been a fan of Elliot Mabeuse and have recently discovered what an awesome author Portia Da Costa is."

Victoria told me that, when she's writing, if the story is something that interests and arouses her, then she knows it's good. "I use this rule of thumb because it’s how I’ve always written," she explained, "even back when I was an amateur and it has proven time and again to be a good indication of if the story will be popular with readers and/or picked up by a publisher.

"I think strong characters and an interesting plot are integral to any good story and especially so in erotica. Sex scene after sex scene simply does not make an erotic book; it has to have more complexity than that."

She said she believes people think erotica is easy to write—that it is just authors' fantasies put down on paper.

"It is a lot more than that. Okay, many stories may have a basis in the authors fantasies but a lot of work then goes into developing the characters and the stories around those.

"Like with Scentsual. The story is based in Scarborough, one of my favourite places and contains some of my favourite BDSM kinks but I had to develop the characters and the plot so it was not just me writing out my fantasies.

"There also seems to be this idea around that erotica is just there to help get a person off and whereas that is obviously part of it, it is not the be all and end all of an erotic story. There is much more to a good erotic story than that just like in any other genre of writing in fact."
Her favorite erotic book is not, strictly speaking, one book, but the Black Lace Wicked Words series of books.

"I love to read short stories when it comes to erotic fiction and the Wicked Words stories always seem to hit the mark, so to speak!" she said.

Although she loves to write, she reluctantly does research, claiming "I suck at the research side of things and it’s why you never see historical erotica form me even though I like the idea of giving it a try." She's always enjoyed historical romances, but she doesn't know where to start when researching for it. Her research tends to be limited to quick online searches for specific facts or real life experience.

"It’s awesome when you can call having sex your ‘research’ and a great reason to break from writing," she admitted. "After all, it’s only going to make my story stronger in the long run if I research it more thoroughly."

One reason Victoria writes erotic romance as opposed to erotica or porn is because she's a self-admitted sucker for a happily ever after, or at least a happily for now ending.

"I love to have a love story with my sex scenes," she told me. "I found parts of Masquerading Hearts hard to write because they were sex scenes between two people without a love connection but even Masquerading Hearts, a book about revenge, ends up being a love story."

When Victoria was a teen, she wrote a lot of poetry. As a matter of fact, she still does and some of it can be found in Phaze in Verse. She would also write little romance stories containing the latest object of her affection.

One day, though, she had an erotic dream that wouldn't go away until she wrote it down on paper. Her husband encouraged her to submit it to a free online story site (literotica).

"Once I started getting feedback on my work I became addicted to it," she said. "Then after a few years I saw a call for submissions posted by a fellow author and decided to submit one of my stories for that. It was accepted by Phaze and I haven’t looked back since. I feel almost embarrassed by how easy I found it to be published, I feel like I missed out on half of the experience from not getting a pile of rejections first but I am very happy to have found my way into e-books and into print and now I do feel like I can call myself an author as I write primarily to send new stories to my publishers."

When she is forced to write non-erotic romance, she finds it very difficult not to write sex. "My mind just seems to be wired that way," she told me. "I do love kisses though and when you're writing romance you really have to give kisses a special oomph. But, I just want to write out the sexy bits. I think they tell you so much about the characters and their relationship that you can’t express as easily any way else."

"What does your family think of your writing?" I asked. "Do they read it?"

"My family knows that I write, they know what I write but that’s it and really I’m quite thankful for that. I don’t want my mum reading my erotica thanks. It’s weird enough that my mother-in-law and her sister have copies of Curvaceous. I just hope they are getting dusty lying on bookshelves somewhere!"

On a personal note, Victoria shared with me that she doesn't have anything pierced except her ears...and that's only because earrings are so pretty. She believes that part of the sexual appeal of body piercing is the pain, submitting to that pain, and the mark that it leaves.

A non-painful erotic pleasure is eating chocolate off somebody's body part. "Of course, chocolate is suitable to eat anytime, anywhere, and off any body part," she admitted. "Squishy fruits work well too like peaches in the summer. Chasing the sweet juices around the nooks and crannies of a man’s body is always fun. And I am always happy to be the platter, too!"

Victoria said it was almost impossible to pick just one favorite food, however. "I love a good stew made with beef and chunky vegetables. I adore parsnips, to the point I choose a roasted parsnip over a bar of chocolate, and I love pavlova. Not just because of the crunchy meringue contrasting with the rich cream and the tart raspberries but because of the memories it holds. I baked a pavlova for my husband on the day he proposed to me. So I don’t think I could ever pick one out and out favourite but if you forced me into doing so, I’d probably go with pavlova. "

On the other hand, she can't bring herself to eat hot custard. She can just about stand it when it’s cold in a trifle, but hot? "I hate it. The flavour, the texture and the heat just do not appeal to me at all," she said. "And it’s not a food but I cannot drink tea, which is funny for an English Lady I know, but there you go!"

"What is your favorite letter?" I asked.

"One that isn’t a bill?" she said. "Oh, did you not mean that kind of letter? Okay, well then I think I love all the letters equally, without them I wouldn’t be able to write my erotica or read all my favourite books."

When Victoria's not writing, she would love to say that she would be cooking because she enjoys it, but she told me, "It would probably be editing or cleaning the damn house. I swear extra people live in this house and muck it up when I’m not looking. Three people cannot make the amount of mess I have to clean up, surely!"

I asked her about her strangest habit and Victoria said, "I think my habits are equally strange, but maybe we could call them quirks instead?"

One of her "quirks" is that she straightens pictures when they are hung on a slant—even if she's not in her own home. She also dunks chips (fries) in mayonnaise, but doesn't everyone do that? Also, she writes millions of lists when planning to go on holiday and she enjoys the packing almost as much as the vacation itself.

You can keep up with Victoria on her website, http://www.victoriablisse.co.uk

Don't Look Away by Wendi Zwaduk

Payton curled her toes and rolled her tongue around her dry mouth. If she moved too much, the drawing would be ruined. To take her mind off the urge to stretch, she gazed at the artist behind the easel. Mahogany hanks of hair draped over the creases on his forehead. His brows bunched in concentration. A smear of pink chalk marred his whisker-dusted cheek.

Crossing his long arms, Drake stepped away from the drawing. The sinewy muscle of his bare chest bunched. Flat nipples puckered in the cool air. She longed to caress every steely inch of the man, from his square jaw to his muscle corded legs. Restless, she shifted a fraction of an inch and forced her gaze to the stereo in the corner. Would he notice?

Payton held her breath. Desire pooled low in her belly as she awaited his response. Many women begged to pose nude for his world-renown drawings. Somehow, he bestowed the honor to her.

“Don’t look away.” His baritone voice rolled over her senses, sending heat to her core. “Refocus on me so I can finish, little one.”

Licking her bottom lip, she slid her gaze back to the easel. The faint hint of a smile kinked the corner of his mouth before a frown marred his rugged face.

“I can’t get this right.” Drake puffed out a long breath and hooked his thumbs in his belt loops. “Are you tired? You may move.”

Payton wrapped the crisp white sheet around her body, bunching it with one hand between her breasts. Her heart thundered in her chest. Drake complained about his drawings, but never that the image looked wrong. Waving his fingers, he gestured to her. “Come tell me what you think.”

With silent footsteps, she crept to the easel and gasped. The image on the paperboard matched her draped pose on the white chaise bench. Straw colored ringlets cascaded over her creamy bare shoulders. Rose tipped her full breasts. He captured the gentle swell of her belly while giving her a slender appearance.

Shivering both at the image and the slippery fabric toying with her nipples, she pulled the sheet tighter between her breasts. “It’s beautiful.”

“It’s flat... lifeless.” Tension clouded his voice as he sighed. “What do you see? How does this work make you feel?”

Long moments passed before she found the words. “Passion and distance. The artist wants to draw the viewer in, to see the woman in the same awe-inspired light.” When Drake opened his mouth to interrupt, she placed her index finger over his lips. “And yet there’s a distance to this piece. He wants to be close to her, to touch her body with his hands as he has with his tools. I feel the silent invitation in her eyes. She wants to be touched and loved.”

Warm hands caressed her shoulders. Hot breath tickled her ear, sending shimmers of desire rocketing through her system. “And the distance?”

“He’s afraid to get too close; that the image won’t match reality and he’ll come away disillusioned.” A whimper rose in her throat. Did she give away too much of her inner truth? Biting the inside of her cheek, she finished her description. “But she knows his needs and wishes to fulfill them.”

His thick erection pressed against her bottom, stopped by the barrier of cotton and denim. “Does she feel his desire? Does she know how he yearns for her?”

Although his hands remained on her shoulders, the tingles concentrated in her breasts and between her thighs. According to his rules, he refused to sleep with his models. Would she be different? Not if she didn’t take the first step and not if she never revealed her true feelings. The sheet slipped to the floor as she turned to face him. “Then he should cross the distance and take a chance.”

Drake scooped her nude body into his muscle-corded arms. Calloused fingers grasped her ass as he pulled her close and wrapped her legs around his thin waist. His lips hovered a whisper from hers. “I want you, little one.” Heat from his body radiated to hers, eliciting a groan. “You test my resolve in so many delicious ways. I want to lose myself in you.”

Warm breath skated over her skin. “Then take me.”

With long strides, he crossed the room to the chaise lounge and placed her on the supple leather surface. Her hands trembled as she unbuttoned his jeans. A sigh slipped from his lips as she freed his cock from the denim obstruction. “Yes, little one.”

Payton arched up to plant wet kisses on his puckered nipples. A shimmer of need raced through her. Enough foreplay, she wanted all of him—now. Hooking her fingers into his waistband, she dragged the jeans down his thighs and rubbed his cock along her pussy lips. She shivered. “Love me.”

Drake nudged into her tight channel. His thrusts, slow to start, gained speed with each of her screams. The muscles of his arms bulged and flexed as he pumped into her body. “Damn, you feel good. I won’t last.”

She groaned and dug her nails into his shoulders. “Come with me.”

With her verbal cue, he threw his head back. A feral cry echoed through the room. Fanning kisses all over her face, Drake collapsed next to her. His labored breath tingled on her skin. “Thank God I only sell my landscapes.”

She gulped air to calm her rapid heartbeat. Despite the closeness of his body, a chill ran through her veins. Landscapes? If he drew trees and buildings, would he need her as a model? After the mind-blowing sex, would he need her at all?

He crooked his fingers under her chin, bringing her gaze to his. Heat swam in the chocolate depths of his eyes. “Stop thinking, little one.”

“But your work... it’s all—”

He silenced her with a kiss. “I refuse to share your beauty when I can indulge in it all on my own.” Breath escaped her in a gasp. Drake nuzzled her cheek. “Your body enchants me and your smile warms my soul. Until you showed me your true desires, I refused to love another. You’re my only model and my only love.”

A fever washed over her. She wound her fingers in the thick curls at the nape of his neck. “Make love to me again.” Passion flashed in his eyes. “I insist.”

About the author: About the author: Thanks for enjoying this work by Wendi Zwaduk. By day she’s a SAHM of one son, two dogs, and two cats, but at night she lets her inner muse run wild and writes tales of love won, lost, and won again. If she’s not at her computer, she can be found at her local dirt tracks cheering for the Late Model cars or haunting the local library in search of new authors. Her first novel comes out in early 2010 from the Wild Rose Press. Check out her blog http://www.wendizwaduk.blogspot.com and website www.wendizwaduk.com

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Spotlight: Leona Grey

The Right Way to Be Selfish

Well it's not really being selfish, I just said that to get your attention, but many people think of it as selfish. I really wanted to talk about keeping something for yourself. There are times in everyone's life when work and family takes over for a while and there's barely time to get your bearings. Those were meant to be temporary. The real problem comes in when that mentality endures of always needing to take care of everyone else first. It's good to care about other people but not if it's always at your own expense.

We've got to keep something that is just for us, if only for sanity's sake. If we don't, we'll eventually run out of things to give. And where does that leave us? Tired, very tired, with loads of people expecting things that we no longer have the power to give. My point is there is no shame in taking care of yourself. Even our loved ones will take advantage of us at times, not on purpose but simply because they know they can depend on us. So, if you don't see to your own needs, who will?

And it doesn't matter what it is you keep for yourself. It may be an obsession with books (raising my hand shyly,) a love of bath products, shopping for clothes, whatever it is that makes you feel good and is just for you. Remember you can love others, as many as you like, without losing yourself. Sorry if I sound like a self-help book here. This is just something I believe in strongly and I hope it reaches someone.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday Spotlight: Leona Grey

The Importance of Realizing Your Own Beauty

As a woman who likes to both read and write Rubenesque or BBW romance and erotica I am very aware of the importance of realizing all forms of beauty. Often I will see the hero in the story having to convince the plus-size heroine that she is beautiful and that makes me sad. Though I realize low self-esteem is a widespread issue (and not just for plus-sizes, I'm talking to every woman out there who picks her body apart daily for whatever reasons,) I wish that every person could look in the mirror and see beauty.

If you could look at yourself, really look at yourself, without comparing your body to the latest Hollywood starlet's, what would you see? A kind face, sharp eyes, nice skin? Try it sometime. If no one had ever told you that women were supposed to have flat stomachs, large breasts, long legs, and little body fat what would you be seeing in the mirror? Answer: Yourself without judgment. I'm not saying it's easy to realize your own beauty and appreciate your body and who you are. I'm saying it's necessary. It's hard to be happy when you're always down on yourself. Not to mention that it leaves you vulnerable to people that would use that against you. There are loads of them out there. Watch any daytime talk show and you'll see men controlling women by telling them 'you're so ugly, fat, (insert your own negative adjective,) that no one else could love you but me.'

Now, we all know the guy is lying but she doesn't. And haven't we all let someone control us in that way to a smaller extent? Those are more extreme cases but think about how often we have allowed a snide remark from someone else to make us doubt our self-worth. It's the same thing. Now, I'm not saying we should all be cocky. I just want people to see the beautiful, kind, intelligent creatures that writers see when we create heroines and heroes. Don't wait for someone else to make you feel beautiful. You already are. You just need to see it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday Spotlight: Leona Grey

Why I Write Erotica Instead of Romance

That's simple. Sexual liberation.

Men have enjoyed it for years, women not so much. I happen to disagree with the assumption that men are the only ones really interested in sex. It's simply not true. Women just want their sex with emotion. For many, including myself, the two can't be separated. I still want the hearts and chocolates part of the romance; I just want to rip the hero's shirt off afterwards.

I imagine many women shy away from erotica in favor of romance because it's still somewhere in the back of their minds that good girls don't think about things like that. Well, I do and I'm not ashamed of it. I do think we're slowing overcoming this programming, though. Maybe in the next twenty years it will become a nonissue. For now I hope reading 'dirty books' like I write will help someone out there see that their sexuality is not a bad thing, that they have a right to want certain things.

Besides, erotic stories are a safe way to explore new fantasies. Having a hard time telling your significant other you want to try something kinky? Say 'honey I read about such and such in this book and it sounded really hot.' Read a passage to him and see what he thinks.

And there are some things that are better as fantasies. Maybe sadomasochism is too out there for you but reading about it is a big turnon. There are erotic stories out there for just about every fantasy, now. Why not let your imagination run wild? There's no harm in a fantasy, right?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday Spotlight: Leona Grey

Vampires versus Werewolves

As a fan of paranormal romance I like to read about both vampires and werewolves but I have to say I lean toward the more animalistic werewolves. It seems anyone who is a fan of paranormal fiction prefers one to the other. I often wonder why that is. Perhaps because we feel more like one or the other? Showing one face to the world like the werewolf while hiding a wild craving for freedom. Or watching quietly from the shadows waiting for the perfect time to make your move, like the vampire. Maybe it's the other way around. Maybe we're drawn to the one that's least like us. We need a little wildness in our life so we gravitate to the werewolves. Or our lives are too crazy and we're drawn to the power and patience of vampires.

Or maybe it's the fact that vampires need us to live that makes them sexy and the fact that werewolves don't need us at all does the same for them. Werewolves, while vicious, are still family-oriented, often traveling in packs while vampires are usually (excuse the pun) lone wolf types. They don't deal well with others and desire solitude. It would be difficult to find two more opposite types of creatures and yet we love them both. They have a dark allure that both attracts and frightens. Perhaps it's simply that they're the ultimate bad boys, and we all love bad boys. Who knows? If you would like to share your opinion I'd love to hear from you. Email me at leonagrey@yahoo.com or sign my guestbook at www.leonagrey.com/guestbook.html

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Spotlight: Leona Grey

Why I Write

It started as a simple love of reading . I love how books can call up images in my head, like I'm not only watching a movie but a fly on the wall in the movie. Then I started wanting more from my books. I wanted to be the characters for a little while - some of them were so interesting -- and so I was. That satisfied me until I started feeling the need to change the characters. I would rewrite whole story endings in my head, taking days at a time until I felt it was right. But who was I to change a story like that? I certainly wasn't a writer. Or was I?

I decided to try it and start small, a few poems. Some were kind of good, some were really bad. Nope, I wasn't a writer. I could barely write a good poem. Yet still I couldn't help but make changes in my head to any story I was reading. 'No, she wouldn't have said that. She's too proud.' Things along those lines. It was becoming frustrating. I couldn't just sit and enjoy a book sometimes because I was (unconsciously) trying to write one in my head. Characters began to pile up in there, interjecting their random thoughts into my everyday conversation.

Now before you call the men in the white coats on me, I knew by this time that these were characters of my own creation in my head. I just didn't know if they were good enough. I was a scaredy cat for a long while before I decided I had to do something about it. Eventually I realized though that I had to get my thoughts down in print. Even if they weren't good enough I had to try. And here I am now with three published ebooks and myriad story ideas or 'plot bunnies' happily scampering around in my brain every day. And I'm happy. I hope if you happen to read one of my stories that comes through.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Baby by Jenna Byrnes

“Happy Birthday, baby.”

Gina looked at her boyfriend as he sat on the bed next to her. She glanced down into the package she’d just opened. Fur-lined handcuffs. “Thanks, Todd, but I’m, uh, not sure I understand. You gave me gifts earlier. The eBook reader I wanted and a lovely red sweater.”

He grinned, his clear blue eyes twinkling. “Did you think I’d give you these in front of your mother? I wouldn’t want her to have a heart attack.”

Gina smiled. “No, I just didn’t expect this.”

Todd brushed the shoulder-length brown hair from her neck and placed a tender kiss there. “Didn’t you, really? You’ve been dropping subtle hints about trying some new stuff.”

“Maybe.” She fingered the cuffs, a tingle of excitement going from her nipples straight to her core. “I was just fantasizing. I never thought—”

He unbuttoned her blouse and dragged it off her shoulders. “Why not? We trust each other completely, right?” Todd nibbled the hollow of her neck.

Gina shivered. “Of course.” She’d been with Todd forever and trusted him without question.

“Then, relax.” He unfastened her bra and tossed it on the chair next to the bed. Cupping her ample breasts, he squeezed gently.

Arousal flooded her senses and her pussy at the same time. Gina unbuttoned her jeans and wiggled out of them and her panties.

“That’s my girl.” Todd pinched her nipples then scooted off the bed. “Lie back. Give me your hands.” He reached for her wrists and cuffed her, dragging both hands up to the headboard. “Too tight?”

Gina stretched. “No.” It felt…exciting.

His gaze traveled from the cuffs lower, inspecting every inch of her body. “Perfect. And all mine—to do whatever I please, for however long I want.”

His words elicited another shiver. She’d never seen a hungrier expression on his face. And she’d never felt more exposed, more vulnerable. Her pussy tingled, dampening her thighs with sticky moisture.

Todd stood beside her and undressed slowly. He slipped out of his button down shirt, exposing his firm, lightly furred chest. His normally flat nipples were puckered and erect.

He’s as turned on as I am. Gina continued to watch as his pace quickened. He kicked out of his jeans and briefs. A full, thick erection sprang free, confirming exactly how aroused he was.

She licked her lips. “I’ll take some of that.”

Todd moved closer, his prick mere inches from her face. “Oh, yeah?” He wiggled his hips so the cock head brushed her lips. “Let’s just see how much you can take.”

Eager but constrained by the cuffs, Gina pressed forward to accept as much of his girth into her mouth as possible. Salty pre-cum coated her tongue as he sank deeper.

He rocked his hips in encouragement, a small groan escaping as his breath grew raspy.

Mouth full, Gina savored every inch and when the bulbous head hit the back of her throat, she sucked with abandon.

Todd groaned louder and thrust in and out a few times. He finally stepped away, reaching down to run one hand over her face. His thumb brushed her lips and he smiled. “That was nice. I’d rather not stop, but I have other plans for you right now.”

“Oh yeah?” Her flesh tingled. She’d never felt more ready.

He climbed on the foot of the bed and pried her thighs apart. Warm breath was followed by soft, wet kisses which began at her feet and moved up. He took his time, teasing every bit of exposed skin. By the time he reached her pussy Gina was wild with desire. “Please!”

He chuckled, the sound muffled by his mouth against her thigh. “Please, what, baby?”

Gina could barely think, but knew what she wanted. “More.”

“Coming right up.” He parted her nether lips and blew a puff of air across the sensitive skin. “So beautiful.”

Gina gasped as his tongue darted in. It slid through her folds and stabbed her pussy a few times before focusing on her pulsing clit. Short, rapid licks had anticipation at a fever pitch as her first orgasm beckoned. She tugged at her hands, but the cuffs held. The bondage added another dimension to the incredible sensations, and she held her breath. So close.

He dove forward, face buried in her pussy, groaning with pleasure.

Unable to hold out any longer, Gina came, drenching his face with sticky nectar. She quivered and shook with a climax so intense, she thought she might float away. She couldn’t focus or think about anything except the waves of pleasure washing over her.

Finally, she edged back to reality enough to tap her knees against him. “That was fantastic.”

He crawled over her and wasted no time donning a condom. Within moments, his cock nudged against her opening. “It looked amazing. You’re beautiful when you come. I can’t wait any longer, babe. I need you, now.” He sank into her slick pussy and sighed.

Still cuffed, Gina could only arch her back with approval. Their joining, at that moment, was exactly what she wanted, needed. “Yes...”

Todd thrust deep then pulled back and stopped. “I love you.”

She wrapped her legs around his hips, drawing him in tight. “I love you, too. Now fuck me.”

He chuckled and drove his hard shaft into her. His weight bore down; his body pummeled hers with fiery, passionate strokes. “Fuck, yeah. I’m coming.”

Todd erupted, streams of warm cum filling her. His passion and heat sent her over the edge, inwardly spiraling as sweet shudders overtook her. Muscles contracting, she moaned at the fabulous sensations of another blissful orgasm.

With a contented sigh, Todd collapsed on her. He reached up and released her hands from the cuffs. “Happy Birthday, baby. And many more.”

Gina wrapped her arms around her lover and smiled. “Many, many more,” she agreed, and they kissed.

About the author: Jenna Byrnes thinks everyone deserves a happy ending, and loves to provide as many of those as possible to her gay, lesbian and hetero characters. Her favorite quote, from a pro-gay billboard, is “Be careful who you hate. It may be someone you love.” Please visit her website for more information: www.jennabyrnes.com

Author Interview: Morgan Ashbury

Whipped Cream is pleased to have Morgan Ashbury whose latest work Cowboy Cravings was released last month by Siren Publishing.

Morgan's been writing since she was eight and, once she became an adult, began writing romance. She decided to try erotic romance because there seemed to be an opening market and she wanted very much to be published. She did stress that she writes erotic romance, not erotica and not pornography.

"A romance is a love story, and every title I have published with Siren is a love story with not just a 'happy-for-now' ending but a 'happy-ever-after' ending. These love stories are character-driven stories that would still be really good love stories if you took the graphic sex out of them," she explained. "Erotica is a story that uses sex as the main vehicle to bring about change in the characters; the characters in every story are on a journey, of sorts; and undergo changes, of sorts; but in erotica, it’s the journey itself and not the destination that is important, and there is no happy ending guarantee. If you take the graphic sex out of erotica, you don’t have a whole lot left. Pornography is writing with no character development, no plot, and no purpose except to provide stimulation as a means to assist the reader becoming aroused."

Characters, whether talking about erotic romance or non-erotic romance, are what make any story good for Morgan. "When I have characters that I can believe in and love," Morgan said, "then the reader will, too. And once I know the characters, then writing the love scenes for them is easier. Good sex scenes are ones where the voices of the characters are transferred from their dialogue to their love-making."

Morgan shared that the biggest misconception she personally runs into as an author of erotic romance is that she must be having sex all time, that she has experienced all the sex scenes that she writes about, and that she must be aroused as she is writing.

"Sadly, the truth is—none of the above. I am a writer. I write erotic romance. Romance, because I love the ideal of the happy ending and of people rising to their noble best. Erotic, because love making in its uncensored from is more realistic. The reader can experience the entire story, with nothing left off."

She uses the Internet a lot in her research, to supply information on such varied things as cattle branding, horseback riding, and geography.

"Anything I need to know of a factual nature that I cannot find on line, I can usually find someone to ask," she told me. "I have sent e-mails to specialists and have received great responses. I have a friend who is a cop who has taught me how to handle and fire certain guns. Now, if you were wondering how I research the more intimate aspects of my stories: I have been married for thirty-seven years. Enough said."

"Is there a boundary between porn and erotic romance that you personally would never cross?" I asked.

"Between erotic romance and porn there’s more than a boundary, there’s a desert," she said. "That being said, I would never write a story where the hero or heroine were committing adultery. I would never include an incestuous relationship in any story. I would never write a story where any character was being forced to perform sex acts against their will, and I for sure would never write a story that featured minors engaging in sex of any kind. There are probably a lot of other things I would never write about, too, but having never indulged in viewing or reading porn, I don’t know what they might be."

Morgan's husband is her biggest fan and is very proud of her. He reads everything she writes. She has a grown daughter who has read some of her stories, but admits that she skips the love scenes. "She cannot shake in her head that her mommy wrote it," Morgan said. Her nephew and his wife have also read her work. "The rest of my family just blushes, although my brother has bought every one of my books."

On a personal note, Morgan admitted to being pretty happy for the most part just being herself; however, if she could be anyone she wanted to be, she'd choose to be one of her own characters—Hannah from the Magic and Love series.

"What food do you consider best for eating off another's tummy?" I asked. "What about other body parts?"

"Blueberries. You have to chase them with your tongue which can lead to an interesting interlude. I would never eat any other body part off someone’s tummy. That would be rude."

Blueberries are also her favorite food, but she cannot stand to eat raw oysters. "Just the thought of something sliding on its own slime down my throat is enough to give me the shivers."

She can absolutely tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi, loving one and loathing the other, but she refused to come public with which was which.

"Have you ever known anyone who can tie a cherry stem with their tongue?"

"I was going to say no to this, but my daughter was reading over my shoulder and commented that my niece can," Morgan said. "What I would like to know is this: when did the market arise for knotted cherry stems?"

Her strangest habit, which causes all of her grandchildren to cringe, is singing silly made-up-on-the-spot songs while she's working in the kitchen. Which is one of the activities she does when she's not writing. She told me that she seems to be only so many activities it appears she's capable of. If she's not writing, she'll be reading, eating, cooking, cleaning, or sleeping.

She has taken on a new habit in her second half-century, though. She's started keeping her toenails painted, which she finds to be a hoot.

If someone were to play her in a movie, it would be Meryl Streep. "She's my age and is the best actress in the world," she explains, "which she would have to be to even attempt getting into my head."

Finally, I asked Morgan, "If you could give a new writer one piece of advice, what would it be?"

"Very simple: keep writing, working on your craft and don’t quit. If you keep writing and working on your craft you will get better and better. If you don’t quit, you will eventually succeed."

You can keep up with Morgan on her blog, http://www.morganashbury.com

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Spotlight: Tory Richards

Excerpt

Today I thought I’d post a never before posted excerpt of Wicked Desire, my 2nd torrid romance with Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

~~~~~~~




“I want to see the sheriff.”

“I’ll take it from here, Paul.” Matt heard Maggie gasp but he ignored her. Paul swung around with a look of relief in his eyes.

Matt tried not to smile. He’d never seen the happy-go-lucky Paul look so out of sorts before. “Why don’t you hit the road now and check out the trouble spots? I’ll handle,” Matt made a show of looking down at the report in his hands, “Mrs. Myers.”

“Good luck, Sheriff.” Paul couldn’t leave the cell quick enough.

Matt pinned his gaze on the surprised Maggie. He slowly began to shake his head, sighing deeply. Arrested on various charges, and giving his deputy a hard time.

“I didn’t know you were the sheriff here,” she said quietly, breaking the silence stretching between them.

Matt could understand that. He didn’t wear a uniform like his deputies, preferring khakis and a matching shirt when he was working. He liked the element of surprise it afforded him. “This is all a mistake.”

Didn’t they all say that? Someone had made a mistake all right but at the moment Matt wasn’t sure. He glanced down at the report in his hands, skimming over Don’s comments. Without identification and under the circumstances it appeared he’d followed the book. His gaze returned to Maggie, moving over her slowly. Matt knew what he had to do. He might not like it but he still had a job to do and this was serious business. He couldn’t let his feelings rule his actions and until he got to the bottom of this mess Maggie was a prisoner. That meant she had to be treated like one.

“Which one?”

She looked at him with confusion, wetting her lips. “Which one what?”

He arched an eyebrow. “Which one are you innocent of?” He stepped further into the cell.

“Well, someone apparently stole my license tag. You know my car isn’t stolen.” She backed up when he stepped closer to her. A shaky smile formed on her luscious mouth yet it was clear in her eyes she was a little more than nervous.

“What about the speeding and running a stop sign?” Damn she was sexy. And from where he stood Matt caught the subtle fragrance of her perfume. He purposely hardened his gaze, and his determination to keep things impersonal. He wanted Maggie to understand this was a grave situation and their relationship wouldn’t enter into it. “I think those are legit,” she replied reluctantly, dropping her lids.

“You think?” Matt crossed his arms and halted before Maggie, once he saw she’d backed up against the cot with nowhere to go. Where was the sass he was usually faced with?

“Well, I cleaned out my purse and car the other day and forgot to put them back. No reason to throw me in jail though,” she added in her defense. She was trapped against the bed; the only place to go was up. “Am I in big trouble?”

For a change Matt had the upper hand where she was concerned. She wasn’t in trouble; she was trouble. “You’re in jail, honey, what do you think?” Damn! He’d called her honey. He had to watch himself.

“But I told you…”

“Save your breath, Maggie. If I had a nickel for every prisoner who said they were innocent…”

“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” Annoyance laced her words.

For the first time Matt felt a slight smile move over his expression. The fire in Maggie’s eyes challenged him. Making him think about her, the woman and not the prisoner, making him forget about his duty. That didn’t sit well with Matt. He prided himself on his work ethics. That was why he was going to force down his attraction for Maggie and do what he should have done the minute he’d heard her giving Paul a hard time. He reached for her, grasped her arms and whipped her around before forcing her away from the cot and against the cold, stone wall.

She gasped at his sudden action. “Matt…you’re not going to frisk me, are you?” There was total disbelief in her tone, and a little humor.

That’s precisely what he was going to do. It was his job, or at least he tried to convince himself of that. Only Matt knew it wasn’t exactly necessary. He realized he was willing to use any excuse to put his hands on Maggie. And he wanted to make her squirm for a change, like she’d been doing to him ever since he met her. It wasn’t very professional. So much for not letting their relationship enter into it.

“It’s my duty,” he reminded her, struggling to ignore the flowery fragrance of her soft hair. But how was he supposed to do that when his nose was practically buried in it? He knew the routine. He forced her arms high above her head and flattened her palms against the wall, spreading her legs by nudging them apart at her ankles until she was spread eagle. His mouth went dry when it placed her buttocks in close proximity to a part of his anatomy that was showing signs of wanting her as more time went by. It was all Matt could do not to take her by the hips and …

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday Spotlight: Tory Richards

Animals in Romance

You probably think that when I say animals in romance I’m talking about werewolves. I wish! Werewolf stories are hot. But I have yet to venture down that road. No, when I say animals in romance, I’m talking about your typical household pets.

I’m an animal lover. I have three furry felines of my own. And each one is as different as the next. They have their own little personalities and quirks. And they’re entertaining. Because of that, you’re going to find an animal of some kind in a lot of my books. And not just in the background, either.

They can bring a lot of character to a plot.

In Cupid’s Arrow, it was a dog that brought Emma and Mike together for the first time. In my first book with Whiskey Creek Press, Cupid’s Arrow didn’t have a very big role in the story but the concept certainly gave me something to think about, and the possibilities were endless. It was like a light bulb going off. :-)

I came to realize that animals can play an important role in stories. After all, we have them in real life, too. And with the right script they can be just as entertaining as the hero and heroine. You can use them to your advantage and their presence, under the right circumstances, is a great page filler.

Annie had a mynah bird named Harold in All the Right Moves. He added a lot of humor to the story and was a source of annoyance to the hero. Come to think of it he annoyed Annie, too, when in the mornings the first thing out of his beak was “You need a man”! I mean, can you imagine waking up in the bed of a handsome stud, to hear your pet bird saying something like that?

When the contract was over with the first publisher and I received the book rights back, I added over 20,000 words of new content including a whole new last chapter. It’s being considered for print publication with a new publisher. Keep your fingers crossed! I’d love to see this book go into print.

One of my little felines, Rufus, made his debut in It’s All in the Jeans. If it hadn’t been for him getting stuck up a tree Logan and Libby might never have met. Some, ah, interesting discoveries were made while they were rescuing Rufus from that tree.

A white wolf was our hero’s cabin companion in Someone to Love Me, a story that takes place in the Alaskan wilderness, and a mischievous dog named Dammit came between Mike and Maggie in Wicked Desire.

As an animal lover it’s cool reading romances that have pets in them.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday Spotlight: Tory Richards

How I Handle a Bad Review

What? What do you mean a bad review? Not my book! No way! No one would dare! I'm a good writer. I wouldn't be published if I wasn't. Ah...would I? Of course not!

Well, I have news for you. At one time or another you're going to get a bad review. But that doesn't necessarily mean you wrote a bad book. It might, but I tend to look at it differently. The reviewer simply didn't like my story. That's okay. Not every reviewer who reads my book is going to love it. I know that's a hard pill to swallow but come on, get real, that's life. People are different.

My dad ranted and raved about how wonderful this one book was, The Five People You Meet in Heave. He couldn't praise it enough and bugged me to read it until I broke down and did. Ohmygod Louise, I had to force myself to finish it. The whole time I kept asking myself, what did my dad see in it that made it so good to him?

Does it matter? Not really. He liked that book and if he'd been a reviewer he would have given it five, count them, five stars. Me on the other hand? Two stars and that would have been generous. I just didn't like the book. But that doesn't mean it was a bad book. I liked the movie even less.

That's how I look at reviews. I've been lucky. I'm not going to say I haven't received any bad reviews. I couldn't believe that a popular magazine gave Cupid's Arrow a bad review. After all, I'd received so many good reviews for it that they had to be wrong. They said the gist of the story was to get the two main characters into bed. Well, duh! Isn't that what romances are all about? Boy meets girl, boy and girl are attracted to each other, boy and girl make love. I wonder what their definition of a romance is.


Cupid's Arrow was on the publisher's best seller list for two consecutive months. It's one of my favorite books, more like a sweet romance that's packed with humor and steamy moments between the two main characters. Almost immediately after reading what the magazine reviewer had to say about the book I calmed down and shrugged my shoulders. To me it simply meant that one person didn't like it. Then I reminded myself of all the other good, no great reviews I'd received for it.

So when the day comes and you get that bad review I hope you remember this post and that it helps you in some small way. A bad review is just one person who didn’t like your story.

To piggy back on that, you’re not immune to rejections either. I don’t think there’s an author out there who hasn’t received at least one.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday Spotlight: Tory Richards

The Ultimate Hero

He survived a bullet. He survived a sinking ship. He survived a plane running out of gas. Sound like something we'd have one of our fantasy heroes experience to impress the ladies? Maybe add a little excitement and mystery to their characters? I don't know about your heroes but I like mine to be rugged and exciting. Have a few battle scars.

Believe it or not, my hubby survived all those things. Is he a hero? Of course! He's my hero. Looking at him now, the years have caught up to him and done its damage. Age has taken most of his blond hair, given him a few extra pounds, but it hasn't dimmed the life in his pretty green eyes. His smile still warms my heart.

Speaking of heroes, I thought it might be cool to introduce you to some of the hot, sexy alpha males you’ll read about in my books, ladies. As I said, I like them big and rugged, yet the kind of man who’ll do whatever it takes to protect his woman and win her over.

In Wicked Desire you’ll meet small town sheriff Mat Dillon. After losing his wife, he’s determined to protect his heart from that kind of emotional hurt again. But he soon finds out he can’t ignore the charms of one troublesome female out to prove to him that love deserves a second chance.

Maggie and Mat’s story…print and ebook at: Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

The hero in It's All in the Jeans survived a fire that killed his two best friends. To add insult to injury he’s dumped by the woman he loved and thought loved him. While recuperating he moves in with his grandfather, who lives in a retirement community. Who would have guessed that visiting his grandfather's neighbor was a red headed beauty that makes him forget everything but his hunger to possess her?

Logan and Libby's story…print and ebook at: Whiskey Creek Press Torrid

What reviewers are saying -

FIVE ANGELS FROM FALLEN ANGEL REVIEWS! Tory Richards can write a hot story!

Four Cherries from Whipped Cream...Logan is just my kind of hero. Strong, determined, built and sexy. Libby is a spunky, feisty heroine.

Romance at Heart Magazine - It's All In The Jeans is a funny, sexy, and fun read filled with excitement, love and even a bit of danger.

The Romance Studio says... It's All In The Jeans is a cute, sweet, erotic story with a host of wonderful and charming characters. Logan's scars from his injuries are not only skin deep, but the tantalizing Libby destroys his control. She's compassionate, sassy, and her caring of her grandmother is heartwarming. She's a woman that knows what she wants and isn't afraid to grab it. The passion between these two is volatile and explosive. This is a superb, truly romantic story.

Like mercenaries and sexy kidnappers? You’ll find them in my romances, too. Who doesn’t like a good story that includes handcuffs?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday Spotlight: Tory Richards

About Me

I guess I should start out by introducing myself. My pen name is Tory Richards, and I write torrid, borderline erotic romances. I live in a small town in Florida, that I jokingly call the retirement capitol of the world. When you go to the local Wal-Mart here, at least 90% of the customers are over sixty. Snowbirds who come down in the winter time to escape the snow and cold up north.

I have nothing against senior citizens. Heck, I’m married to a man old enough to be my dad. And I’ll be a senior in a few short years. I like where I live because it’s quiet and non-threatening. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there’s crime, but it’s not a place where you hear sirens at all hours.

I work a full time day job, and write during the weekends and sometimes evenings. I’ve been writing all my life but have only been published for a few years. I look at writing as therapy and was a closet writer for years. Then my daughter and niece found out about my hobby, read some of my stuff, and encouraged me to submit to a publisher.

Man, what a turning point in my life! By the time I was fifty I’d reached my goal and had my first book contract, for Cupid's Arrow, with Whiskey Creek Press. So you see, it’s never too late to pursue your dreams. Since then I’ve had 7 more books published and I’m looking to submit number 8 to a publisher soon. I’ve also written my first short romance.

Some time I’d like to try my hand at a vampire or werewolf romance. Years ago I’d written a historical but it needs a ton of work before I could ever consider submitting it to any publisher. I’ve never written a sequel or series either, something else that could be in my future. Writing the end at the end of a story doesn’t necessarily mean it’s done…the story I mean.

My favorite part of writing? The editing. Believe it or not.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Playing in the Mud by Jude Mason

Opening the door, Alan's scowl turned into a smile. "Hey, it's great to see you."

"Hi, Alan, I hear you needed a hand." She eyed him up and down, giving him the impression she had more in mind than the plants. A new neighbor, Beth had been flirting with him for months.

At thirty-six, she was ten years his junior. Nearly as tall as him, she was slender with the most mouth-watering little tits he'd ever seen. A plain Jane, the baggy jeans and tank top just didn't do much for her appearance, but her smile made him tingle. The wind chose that moment to take a wisp of her long, light brown hair and flip a softly curled end across her cheek. It was just long enough to brush her lips, and that's where his eyes stopped. Lush, moist, a dusty rose color; he found himself wanting to reach out and brush the hair back.

"Yeah," He forced his gaze up to her eyes. Brown eyes, a sudden pang of loss hit. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He hated being alone. Damn.

"The orchids, the hybrids I just got, I need a hand to replant them." Alan stepped out. Pulling the door closed, he eased past her. "Come on to the greenhouse, we'll talk." Side by side, they walked around the small, stucco house to where his pride and passion waited. The greenhouse was nearly as big as the house.

They reached the door to his sanctuary. Taking her by the arm, he guided her ahead of himself and said, "Well, Beth, what do you think?"

He felt it—her shiver, a stumble, when she stepped inside. Orchids, rows of them. Baskets and boxes, filled to overflowing with the luscious plants he nurtured and urged to grow and blossom, their heady fragrance enfolded them both. He kept his hand on her arm, just in case he told himself, but he knew that was a lie.

"Oh my!" she exhaled. She simply peered around, blinking, shaking her head, taking it all in.

"Gorgeous, aren't they?" Alan broke the silence.

Beth chuckled. "Yes, gorgeous, amazing." She faced him, her cheeks flushed, her eyes held a sparkle he hadn't noticed when he'd looked into them before. Even her lips seemed more kissable.

Kissable? A sudden twitch in his shorts made him shiver, even in the sweltering heat. Yes, kissable. "Most of these new ones are from Thailand. They need repotting."

"And then you'll show them?" She walked down the aisle, bending to smell a bloom, or carefully touch a waxy petal.

He followed her, each step adding to the excitement growing inside him. "Yes, I show them this weekend, and that's why I need help. There are too many orchids and not enough me to tend them all."

She smiled back at him, and winked. "There's enough of you, I'd say. I've thought so for a long time now."

It was his turn to gape. A bead of sweat trickled down his back, another down his ribs. His shirt clung to him. His shorts were suddenly too tight. He took a couple of steps forward, closer to her. The earthy smell of loam, fertilizer, and woman, rose to meet him. The palms of his hands itched. "You think so, do you?"

She straightened, faced him, and lowered her eyes slowly, stopping for a moment at his middle, then raising them to look into his. "Yes, just enough."

His hands rose, unbidden, and came to rest on her hips. "You always liked to work with your hands."

Eyes smoldering, lips trembling, she whispered, "Yes."

"Turn around and fill that pot." He spun her, and with the flat of his hand on the small of her back, he pressed her forward. His hard-on nudged her ass. On the bench in front of her was a pot, beside it a bag of potting soil. "Do it."

She took a handful of moist, rich soil from the bag. But instead of putting it into the pot, she reached beneath herself, back between her spread thighs.

His surprise became a gasp of pleasure when her hand found his crotch. Not only found, but lavished it with such a luxurious caress, it took his breath. His heart hammered against his ribs, threatening to burst from his chest.

She fumbled with his zipper, jerking it, finally gaining entrance and access to his recalcitrant prick. His cock fairly leaped into her mud-caked hand, hard and eager for whatever she had in mind.

Pots and plants forgotten, he leaned forward and dipped a hand into the bag of soil. With a palm full, he slid it down her stomach and into her jeans. Dexterously, he eased it deeper, smoothing the soil over her hot, damp flesh, until he reached her sodden pussy. Her clit rose hard against his fingers, as his cock pulsed in her hand. His hips churned, his buttocks clenched. A thumb, coated in muck, dragged across his glans. Pre-come mixed with soil, creating a fertile, slick lube. His knees trembled, weakened, then tensed.

The sudden onslaught of pleasure sent his mind reeling. His senses were overwhelmed. Sweet pungent smelling orchids mixed with the earthy scent of Beth's excitement. Her swampy juices coated his fingers. His mouth watered for her taste. Pushing a loam-slick finger into her, he marveled at her slick perfection. Their hips rotated, harmoniously churned in the sweet dank air.

An arm around her middle, he pulled her tight. His heart beat wildly. "Come for me," he breathed desperately into her hair. "Come with me." His groan echoed the spasm tearing through him. His come spattered against the pot. Hers filled his hand, mixing with the loam. Her hips gyrated, spastic trembling overtook her for heartbeats longer.

"Shall we get busy?" she whispered her voice a guttural rasp. Her hand cupped his tightened sac, anointing the puckered flesh with sperm-slick soil.

Still breathless, Alan kissed her sweat-slick hair. She's perfect, he thought.

About the author: Multi-published Canadian author, Jude Mason, writes in a variety of genre, stretching the boundaries at every opportunity. She has work in print with Cleis Press, Phaze and Total E-Bound to name a few. Jude also has dozens of e-books available and a few short stories in audio. http://www.my-haven2001.com

Author Interview: Jamaica Layne

Whipped Cream is pleased to have Jamaica Layne, whose latest book The Mercenary Bride was recently released from Ravenous Romance.

I asked Jamaica how she distinguished between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography.

"I'm actually a person that generally does not view porn negatively," she said, "and I think what constitutes erotica versus porn is mostly a matter of personal taste. In porn, there is almost no story or character development, and it's just all about the sex. In erotica, the focus is on the sex—not necessarily on romance—but there is a focus on character development and plot. Multiple partners are acceptable, and a romantic relationship does not have to develop.

"In erotic romance, the sexual relationship and plot remains focused between two people who are in love, the struggles they go through to get and stay together, and the story has a happy ending."

All of Jamaica's erotic novels are intensely plot-driven and include soap-opera-like plot twists.

"I like to keep my readers turning the pages, so I tend to have lots of 'cliffhangers' and other potboiler tactics," she explained. "Plus, this style of writing keeps me motivated, because even I want to know what happens next!"

Many of Jamaica's books have unusual settings inspired by her own life experiences. Market for Love is set in the Chicago financial industry where Jamaica started her career as a writer/editor, editing stock research publications for a major investment bank. Her Vital Signs series is set in a small-town hospital, which she has experience with from her former career as a health policy writer. She also grew up mostly in small towns. Knight Moves was inspired in part by her family who are medieval/Renaissance Faire devotees.

Jamaica began her fiction writing career trying to write straight science fiction and fantasy, as well as a little romance.

"I kept finding all these strong sexual overtones in my work," she told me. "Those overtones didn't work well in those genres, either, so my work wasn't selling. Then a rejecting editor sent me an email suggesting I focus on writing stories where sex was the main attraction (pun intended) since she felt that's where my writing was the strongest. I did, and presto---I started landing deals. Sometimes you discover what you're best at entirely by accident."

On a personal note, if Jamaica could be anyone she wanted, she would choose to be Marlene Dietrich. "She was so ahead of her time," she explained. "So sexy and so smart." However, she would want Drew Barrymore to play her if a movie were to be made of her life. "She looks sort of like me, and she's also got a very colorful romantic history."

She can't eat mashed potatoes, but she's not really sure why since she likes all other potato dishes. "Must be the texture," she concluded. She finds Pepsi to be much sweeter than Coke and she knew a girl in college who could tie a cherry stem with her tongue. "She always had lots of dates!" she confided.

Jamaica's husband is Asian, and a common practice in that culture is to not wear shoes inside. Jamaica told me that going barefoot in the house is her strangest habit. And, she has a one-year-old son, so she doesn't have a lot of free time when she's not writing, but when she does in addition to taking care of him she enjoys reading and watching television.

Some of the authors she enjoys reading include contemporary authors like Zane, Emma Holly, Dahlia Schweitzer, and Alison Tyler. She also loves "classical" erotic authors, such as Catherine Millet, Anais Nin, and D. H. Lawrence.

Her favorite erotic book, though, is 3 by Julie Hilden. "It's an erotic thriller about a couple that gets into anonymous threesomes for a thrill," she shared, "but it ultimately results in stalking, jealousy, and murder."

I asked Jamaica what research books she would recommend for writers who wanted to write erotica and what advice she had for them.

"By far the best research you can do as a writer is to read other writers. Read all the erotica books you can get your hands on. Learn from the pros. And use their work as an example to follow, while still finding your own voice. Read everything you can get your hands on, write every single day, and be very, very patient."

She feels that the biggest misconceptions about erotica is that only dirty old men read erotic books and that they are only sold in "adult" bookstores. "Quality erotica is sold in regular bookstores like Barnes & Noble," she said, "and the readership is mostly highly-educated women."

Even though she, herself, doesn't have a problem with pornography, there are lines between erotic romance and porn that she personally will not cross. "I will not write anything that is inherently degrading or causes harm," she said. "No golden showers or feces, either. No bloodsports, and definitely no rape or pedophilia. (And no reputable erotica publisher I know of will publish that sort of thing, either.)"

You can keep up with Jamaica on her blog, http://jamaicalayne.blogspot.com

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Spotlight: Beverly Rae


Paranormal and the Impressionable Mind

My mother used to say, “Oh, that Beverly. I don’t know what’s wrong with her. She just can’t get enough of all the weird stuff”. What was the “weird stuff” she spoke of? To my mother, that would be anything sci-fi or paranormal. Any supernatural being or animal. Or, as my father would say, anything “out of whack”.

It’s true. I grew up loving everything preternatural, paranormal, ghostly, vampy, or dealing with the darker side of life. But that didn’t mean I was strange, does it? That I’m still strange? I would guess not. From the wealth of television shows from The Vampire Diaries to Fringe, I think the paranormal is now mainstream. I can watch a show every night, sometimes several on all the different channels. Surely, there’s nothing wrong with that. Or is there?

The only paranormal shows I remember when I was growing up─you know, back television had (gasp!) only three channels─were The Twilight Zone and Bewitched. I remembering scouring the library for any book that would make me jump in the night. (Enter Stephen King) And the fascination continues. Today, I will read any and all books dealing with shifters, banshees and other creatures that will go bump in the night.

But why did I start writing paranormal books? Part of me wants to believe that I could sense the growing popularity even in my early years. But I know differently. I know I started writing the “weird stuff” because I couldn’t find enough of it to watch or read. So now I wonder about the future of new paranormal authors. With so many supernatural shows to watch, the burgeoning of paranormal fiction lines such as Harry Potter and Twilight, not to mention the movies galore, will the young minds of today be so filled that they’ll have no need to pen their own stories? Now that’s frightening!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thursday Spotlight: Beverly Rae

Yes, Ladies, I do Those Kinds of Parties

You know what I’m talking about. I do those sex toy parties. The ones where the consultant whips out the bedroom accessories and, well, the whips.

Until about a month ago, I’d never been to one of those parties. (Thanks a bunch, friends. Why did you leave me out?) But when my husband had to go to Canada for three weeks for work, I got bored and decided to find another stream of income. Oh, but not just any job would do it for me. Sure, I love writing and will never quit, but writing as a profession is a very lonely job. I only have my characters and my four dogs to talk to all day.

So off job hunting I went. Naturally, I had decided to get a job in the worst economy ever. Naturally, my teaching certification had expired. Not to mention that I’d gotten a bit older (albeit a little wiser) than I had been since I last worked outside the home. But all that didn’t matter because I was determined to find something that would be fun, freeing and lucrative.

Enter the Internet. After cruising various employment sites as well as Craig’s List, I came upon a home-based business selling romance enhancement products. Hmm, I said. Sounds like an interesting proposition as well as an outlet that would compliment my books, too. So I contacted the local representative and ended up getting both my mind and my innocence blown away. Oh, and I have to admit, my ignorance fell by the wayside, too.

You see, the company I chose isn’t one of those party companies. In fact, the philosophy behind the company is to empower women and educate them on their own bodies and sexuality. Many women have misplaced ideas and are just plain wrong (me included) about what’s going on with their bodies, during sex and with their partners. I quickly found out that, like the erotica books I write, the romance enhancement product parties have gotten a bad rap. What is natural between partners is beautiful and should be enjoyed whether you’re reading about it or experiencing the fun. And if you learn a little something along the way, even better!

So there you have it. I have found my extra avenue for fun and financial gain and, along the way, learned a lot about myself and relationships. I’m having a great time educating women and giving new life to their relationships. So, if you want to refer to one of my parties as that kind of party, then go ahead. But I dare you. Let me show you the difference.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday Spotlight: Beverly Rae


Running on Empty

Someone recently asked me what the phrase “running on empty” meant. I gave them the usual answer. Running on empty means your car has very little gas left, hopefully, just enough to make it to the next gas station. The car is thought to be out of gas and miraculously still moving from fumes alone. That’s the answer most people would’ve expected. However, there are other ways to be running on empty.

I’ll give you some examples.

Susan, a mom of five children is asked (by phone) to babysit for her friend’s unruly toddler. Cringing, she puts a smile on her face and answers, “Sure!” Although she can barely stand up, she greets the neighbor at the door and welcomes the snotty-nosed, sour-pussed little tyke into her already loud brood. Instead of letting her exhaustion overtake her and going postal on her friend, she waves her off, takes a steadying breath, turns to face the squabbling children and draws strength from within. Susan is running on empty.

John, a husband, father and manager for a local supermarket chain, finishes up his ten hour shift, climbs into his twenty-year-old car and lets out a sigh. Maybe, just maybe, if he hits all the lights just right and doesn’t stop the car, he can make it home before the car breaks down – again. He pulls out of the parking lot, makes the first three lights in perfect synchronization and only has one more light to go. Suddenly he remembers that his wife asked him to bring home a gallon of milk. With a groan and the knowledge that he’ll have to ask someone to jump his car, he pulls into the next convenience store parking lot. John is running on empty.

I made it through yet another night of insomnia. Fortunately, that usually means I have extra time to write. Unfortunately, however, not everything I write while dead tired is worthy of keeping in the book. Any book. So, instead of going to sleep – finally! – I rev up the engine on the fumes of my non-existent internal “gas” and trudge through the following day, revising, writing, and plotting. I am running on empty.

I wish I had turned to the person who’d asked me the question and asked one of my own. “Now that you know what running on empty means, answer me this. Why the heck do we do it?”

Do you know? If so, email me at info@beverlyrae.com.