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Saturday, January 30, 2010

One Snowy Night by Jennifer Katherine Shepherd

Fiona leaned her forehead against the welcome coolness of the window—the glass banishing, if only for a moment, the heated pain in her head. Whether from the fever or from the strain of being away from her mate for so long, she didn't know—and didn't care. The snow piled outside her hut served to both alleviate the ache in her head and, at the same time, contribute to it…making it even more unlikely Jarrod would be able to return to her this night.

With a sigh, she drew the curtains tight against the darkness outside and padded barefoot across the floor to stir the stew simmering at the back of the fire. A stew she had made hoping beyond hope the snow would hold off long enough for Jarrod to get home from his mission. She curled up on the fur rug beside the flames, gazing deeply into them—emptying her mind so she could receive a sign, any sign, of where her husband's whereabouts.

All she saw were the red and orange tongues as they licked the wood, consuming it. Her head ached too much for the visions to come through. Unwilling to go to the emptiness of her bed, she pulled a spread from the couch over her body and closed her eyes—hoping to at least dream of her husband if she couldn't have him in reality.

Fiona woke stiff and aching—the fireplace containing only cold ashes and the scorched remnants of what was once a stew. How long had she slept? Fiona pushed the hair out of her face and rose from the floor, stretching the knots out of her back as she did so. Sunlight peeked around the edges of the curtain, and she drew them back.

The view from her window, instead of being the piles of white she expected, showed a luscious meadow, verdant and alive with color as wild flowers danced in the slight breeze. Two small children ran among the flowers as Jarrod chased after them. What on earth? She and Jarrod hadn't been blessed with children from their union, though goddess knew they had tried hard enough, making love every day they were together. She shook her head to clear it, and Jarrod—as if he had been summoned by the motion—looked over and waved his hand.

The door slamming open drew Fiona out of her dream. She threw the covers off and rushed over to close the door against the snow and wintery wind pouring in. A lupine howl cut through the storm, echoing in her ears and her heart stuttered. Jarrod was out there…in the storm. Grabbing her woolen shawl off the peg next to the door, she went to find her husband, trying to keep the warm wool around her as the wind whipped it.

"Jarrod!" His answering howl was closer and she stayed where she was, the warmth and light from the open door a beacon.

The black wolf limped to her, changing into his human as he entered the warmth of the cabin. She latched the door and wrapped her shawl around him, leading him to the fire as he shivered in her arms. No words were needed as she undressed and pressed her body against his—the heat from her skin serving to warm him.

After many minutes after his skin was once again warm to the touch, he stirred and nuzzled into her neck. She felt his cock respond to the feel of her body pressing against him, and her fingers reached down to stroked the hard length of him. Her nipples pebbled as he moved down her body and drew first one, then the other into his mouth…suckling as if starved. His tongue rasped over them and she drew in a ragged breath, her desire for him overwhelming her. Her center grew moist with the cream of her arousal and her gut tightened with need.

With a quick move that belied his earlier tired limping, he knelt between her legs and raised her hips to meet his mouth. He stroked the length of her with his tongue before sucking her clit between his lips. She shuddered and grasped the fur of the rug tightly as she bucked convulsively against his ministrations. His tongue plunged into her inner core, lapping audibly at the juices that poured out of her. Her thighs quivered as she raced toward completion, but she needed more.

“Jarrod, please…” her hoarse whisper said everything and he lifted his gaze to hers; dark, feral eyes boring through her.

“You are mine, Fiona.”

“For always.” Her hips sunk back to the floor as his strong grasp on her relaxed and the wildness in his eyes softened to love.

His hands slid up her thighs, her waist and came to rest on either side of her rib cage. He hovered over her for one long moment, and then his cock replaced his tongue in one quick plunge, filling her deeply, touching her womb. A low primal moan issued from his throat and he grasped her hips tightly with his hands. Fiona wrapped her legs around him, pulling him as deep as she could get him, and wishing she could take more. His gaze fastened on hers as he moved in the age-old dance of their lovemaking.

Fiona's pussy clutched around him as her climax built in concert with his nearly frantic pumping and, as his seed emptied into her, her own cry of release echoed through the cabin.

They lay spent—entwined in each other's arms—and she gazed into the fire once again. Two small faces smiled back at her and she pulled Jarrod's hands protectively over her belly and fell into a contented sleep.

About the author: Jennifer Katherine Shepherd, or Jenny Kat to her friends, writes erotic romance for the fanciful in mind. Her stories are seldom set in the everyday world, but in worlds far away. No matter how far away the worlds are, though, romance is romance. Passions ignite when Jenny Kat’s characters get together. When Jenny Kat’s characters aren’t keeping her busy telling their stories, she enjoys skinny-dipping in her pool, sipping exotic drinks brought to her by her Cabana boy, Carlos, and dreaming up new fantasies on far-away worlds. Visit her at http://www.menagerieauthors.com or http://www.menagerieauthors.blogspot.com

Author Interview: Amy Ruttan

Whipped Cream is pleased to have Amy Ruttan with us today.

Amy began writing as a hobby; when she wasn't hanging out with her friends during her teen years—she wrote and daydreamed a lot. She began to think about writing seriously once she became an adult, but worked her way through college, then married and had children.

"It was after the birth of my second child, when he almost died and I thought about going back to a full time job and missing out on my children’s lives. That is when I became really serious about it," she told me. "I entered my first contest, the Central Ohio Fiction Writer’s Ignite the Flame and I finalled. When I finalled in that contest I knew I had a talent, and I began to learn. For my mantra was from Eminem’s song "Lose Yourself": If you had one shot, one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted, would you capture it or let it slip away? My son’s near death experience and all those nights I sat beside his incubator in the NICU made me realize I had to do it for him, for my daughter and myself."

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

"This is a tough question because, quite frankly, there are too many to name. I’m partial to a lot of erotic authors and I am friends with quite a lot of them. Every writer has their own unique voice and take on erotic fiction that I can’t pin one down," she replied, with a grin.

A few of the authors that grace her TBR and Keeper shelf are Zannie Adams, Robin L. Rotham, Red Garnier, Christine d’Abo, Anya Delvay, Karen Erickson, Wylie Kinson, Renee Fields, Shiloh Walker, Jan Springer, Anna J. Evans, Leah Braemel, Shelley Munro, J.K. Coi, Emma Petersen… "Umm, this list can go on and on and on I’m afraid," she said with a laugh.

She laughed again when I asked her for her favorite erotic author—"Not fair! I don't have one favorite; I can't pin one down."

I persisted. "What is your favorite erotic book?" "You do live to torment me, don’t you? Actually, it’s Zannie Adams' HOLD. Very hot book, I love the hero in it."

The biggest misconception Amy gets from people about erotica is that it's porn.

"When it's said to me, usually it's said in a very derogatory way," she explained. "Also a lot of beginner writers decide they are going to write erotica and think it's just all sex. There has to be plot; the characters have to have a GMC."

Amy thinks The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance by Alison Kent is, hands down, the best book for writers who want to write erotica. Other books she recommends are Deb Dixon's Goal Motivation Conflict and Karen Wiesner's First Draft in 30 Days.

"Karen's book is excellent and helps with plotting; just because you're writing erotic romance doesn't mean it's all just sex," she explained. "Plot is very important in a good erotic romance or any romance in fact."

Amy didn't set out to write erotica, though. In fact, it wasn't even a direction she considered. Her first love will always be historical romance. She finds both challenging for different reasons.

"For straight historical romances it’s the long word counts, making sure the story doesn’t drag on and there is sufficient plot. For writing erotic romance it’s trying to justify falling into bed quickly without using the same overused devices such as fated mates," she said.

She always wanted to write romance and always liked the "hot" romances. "I like vivid sex scenes and sexual tension scenes," she explained. "When I stumbled across Ellora’s Cave and started reading erotica it was like manna from heaven. I knew then where my writing fit in."

Her family is extremely supportive of her writing.

"Yes, my mother does read it," she said. "My father tried, but he couldn’t." She laughed and continued, "I give him credit for trying. He’ll read anything else I write. I think the funniest thing was when my mother read my first published work, Masque of Desire, and she asked me what a bunch of words meant and when I explained it to her she asked me where I learned it. Of course I didn’t tell her."

"If you could be anyone you wanted, who would it be?" I asked.

"What a hard question to answer. I like being me, but I guess if I had to pick one person I would love to be Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Darcy is yummy, and I’d like to meet with him with the knowledge Elizabeth learned at the end, so I could just push past his stuffiness in the beginning and jump him."

On a personal note, if Amy had to pierce a body part, she thinks it would be her nose.

"Not a hoop, but just a diamond stud, but that’s for me," she said. "Body piercing kind of squicks me out a bit; maybe a tongue stud on a guy wouldn’t be bad, I can think of lots of bad things with a tongue stud on a guy."

Her favorite food is French fries—"especially from a Chip Truck and Chicken Schwarmas," she said. "I am also partial to pretzel dogs. We don’t get them up here in Canada."

And, she's a very adventurous eater, so she couldn't think of a food she absolutely could not bring herself to eat, with the possible exception of bugs.

"My grandmother would try to squick me out with weird dishes when I was a child, but I would eat it all," she told me. "The only other seafood I am not fond of is mussels and raw oysters. I like clam, cooked, in chowder. One of my favorite documentaries is "Long Way Round" with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, anyways they were travelling through Mongolia and stopped in to have 'tea' with some of the nomadic yak herders. They had some balls, yak, sheep and goat testicles all boiled up in a stew. Charley couldn’t eat it, but Ewan mowed them down, and I think I could too and that makes my DH extremely nervous."

If she's not writing, she can usually be found reading or spending time with her kids. She also enjoys scrapbooking and cross stitching. "Lately, I've been Tweeting on Twitter a lot," she admitted. "It’s a lot of fun."

"If someone were to play you in a movie," I wondered, "what actor would it be and why?"

"I think Emma Thompson. I love her, and I see a kindred spirit in her. A lot of similarities as well, I would be honored if she played me. I am younger than her though, but she’s my closest match. A younger Dame Judi Dench would do well too, only she’s very tiny and I am five foot eleven."

Finally, I asked Amy if she could give a new writer one piece of advice, what would it be?"

"Don’t give up. If it’s your dream keep striving."

You can keep up with Amy on her blog, http://www.amyruttan.com/blog

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Sharie Silva

You don’t have to be a creative personality to have a muse.

Writers and artists often speak of their inspiration coming in the form of a muse. We constantly strive to stroke our muses and make them happy so they’ll give us our ideas. We read books like The Artist’s Way and The Right to Write by Julia Cameron to encourage our muse.

I’ve attended workshops where we explored what our muse looked like so we could use that image positively. I discovered mine is a peacock, which made sense because I have vases of peacock feathers and peacocks everywhere. I guess I already knew but just hadn’t acknowledged it. You know what? Having a muse doesn’t make me special.

I believe all people have a muse. It’s whatever motivates you to do the things you love. Whether it’s sewing, gardening, dancing, cooking or just being a mom, your muse is involved. It’s that God-given talent you have. We teach our kids these days that everyone has a special talent and that’s spot on. Very true. Most people don’t see their talents as valuable either. That’s because, as a talent, it comes easy to you and we tend to think easy things have no value since little effort was involved. There IS effort, you’re just so involved in enjoying the process that you don’t realize it. Just like me, you simply need to acknowledge it.

There’s nothing wrong with taking pride in the things we love. It’s part of who we are. I want to leave you this week with an assignment. Go out and use your talent, enjoy doing it. Email me your experience at shariesilva at gmail dot com and I’ll send you a little reward (don’t forget to include your snail mail addy so I can send it to you).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday Spotlight: Sharie Silva

Today I’ve decided to share an excerpt with you from something I’m writing now. The story needs a lot of work before I can submit it to a publisher but it’s still fun. It’s a novel about one woman’s journey into bondage sex and how BDSM helps her learn about herself. Here you go:

“I’m not laughing but smiling because you have me naked and I have yet to see what you are wearing,” he tried to explain.

Her right hand snaked around from behind him and on down to his crotch. She took his balls in her hand and began to roll them as she might a pair of those Chinese stress balls. He moaned again.

“Louder,” she said as she squeezed them just a little tighter and continued rolling them back and forth in her palm and fingers.

She didn’t have to command him to be louder because it happened just as she said the word. The kneading felt so good, he struggled to keep his knees from buckling.

Again she stopped abruptly and withdrew. He saw movement in his peripheral vision and waited for another crop lash. Instead she stepped around to stand in front of him. Left hand rested on her hip and the right grasped the leather handle of the riding crop to rest it against her bare shoulder.

Maria stood before him wearing liquid black. The latex tightly followed the curves of her hips and stomach like a dangerous road. A deep V ran down between her breasts as though the shiny black cloth could not hold in her ample bosoms in but split apart to show the inner swells of them nicely.

Her shapely legs were covered in a fine fishnet of black and held up by a satin garter belt. The dark tufts of her pubic hair beckoned from the center of her crotch. All he had to do was reach out and…

But he knew better than to do that. Not yet anyway. This is part of the game. The wanting and longing for it. Only when he earned it would he be allowed to touch her in the way he wanted. And the way to earn it is to follow her strict orders.

Oh no, he did not mind at all. The surrendering of himself felt nearly as good as the orgasm to come. No more decisions to make, no more work to be taken care of, no one else needing him for this or that. All he had to do here is what she told him to do and allow himself the pleasure of being pleased. Responsibilities be damned.

“Use me, baby,” he whispered and she laughed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday Spotlight: Sharie Silva

Today I want to talk with you about something completely not sexy: hysterectomies and cancer. Let’s face it, when you don’t feel well, sexy is the furthest thing from your mind. I have experience with both, though admittedly the cancer was in the form of a mole. With a lot of breast cancer among the women in my family, I’m very aware of the potential for me to become afflicted with breast cancer.

I hate when they say you ‘get’ cancer. It’s not like anyone goes shopping to buy it or picks it out of a garden or gets it as a gift. Seems more accurate to say a person becomes afflicted with it, don’t you think? I want to urge each and every one of you to get those breast exams, paps and mammograms. I recently learned that a new cancerous growth can double in size in less than a year. I’d asked several doctors over the years about removing my mole and was told it was nothing. In that last year, it completely changed. That’s reason enough for me to show up for the tests on my birthday. Don’t risk it.

Now on the hysterectomy. The most common reason for them is cancer. However, it is also a viable solution to many other problems. This is where I fell into. I had completely lost energy. I slept in late, took naps in the afternoon and still went to bed early. And it wasn’t enough. Blood tests revealed nothing out of the ordinary.

I’ve always had ordinarily harsh and long menstrual cycles but they worsened and I began clotting. Over the months, very sharp pains came with the passing of the clots. So I asked my doctor. He told me if they were disrupting my life to consider a hysterectomy (or the other alternatives of partials—there are several options). I figured I could tough it out. After all, that’s a scary thing to consider.

A year later, I had it done. My doctor told me afterwards that he expected me to come back in a month. I waited a year. How stupid I was! I literally spent entire afternoons sitting on the john, in pain, during that time and it was a terrible bloody accident in the middle of a rock concert 200 miles from home, that made me decide I wanted to get it over with.

I’ve never regretted it. I have my energy back. No more messy clothes and spending money on pads and tampons. No more pain. My uterus had been the size of a cantaloupe! That’s mind-boggling.

My sister-in-law had one of the alternative partials done to correct a constant peeing problem she developed. Her uterus had dropped, putting pressure on her bladder. It became a source of constant embarrassment for her in her workplace. She, too, says she’s never been happier.

Ladies, you don’t have to put up with this stuff. See your doctor if something’s not right. They can help you decide what is best for you but please, please don’t ignore the problem. You owe it to yourself, to your family.

Be healthy, happy and sexy!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday Spotlight: Sharie Silva

Getting the inspiration on

One of the most common question asked any writer is “Where do you get your inspiration?” The answers vary as widely as the personalities of the authors. Often it’s a tough question for a writer to answer because just about anything can spark that muse into action: a news article, a comment made in the doctor’s office, a picture, a memory, something out the bus window or simply wondering ‘what if?’ It’s not all coming from the same place with different stories either.

It’s a question which makes me laugh as an erotica author. Do I propagate people’s fantasies and tell them I lounge on satin sheets thinking of nothing but sex and more sex? Do I lie and say I party every night with the sexiest of men? Or do I tell them the truth…that I sit here in my ratty but comfy warm-ups, cheap snuggy socks from the dollar store and metal band t-shirt, staring at the blank screen for a while. Nope. It’s not wine, chocolate and yummy hunky guys for me. It’s hot coffee, dieting and sitting here alone that’s my reality. Sure I do have a big, hairy man to love on but he works at his job at the same time I’m here working on mine. We lead busy lives which makes time alone a treat we sometimes have to schedule to make happen.

It occurs to me that my boring life maybe where my inspiration for writing erotica actually comes from. It’s just as much of an escapism for me to create the characters and stories as it is for you who read them. If I lived a life like my heroine’s, I’d probably be writing electronics technical manuals. Heck, I never lived a life like that when I WAS young and thinner. That just makes it all the more intriguing and interesting for me to play around with. I can be someone I find alluring and I can dream about all kinds of men and lifestyles to my heart’s desire. It’s safe, and daring and I love having a little naughtiness in my life.

It’s a little scary on my end also. Not only am I getting into what I’m writing, I’m putting my fantasies out there for the world to see and trusting you will feel the same way about them when you read. Normally I wouldn’t talk this stuff among friends, let alone people I’ve never met. It must be some kind of writer exhibitionism. That’s it, I’m an erotica exhibitionist and my readers are my voyeurs. Now that’s a sexy relationship I can get into. Come on by my website and take a peek in my window. www.shariesilva.com

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday Spotlight: Sharie Silva

Let’s talk Men and Erotica

Why is it that women are ‘supposed’ to like erotica and men are ‘supposed’ to like porn? I know people of both genders who enjoy each. I’ve had lovers who really got off when I asked them to read an erotica to me. Most times we had to break the story into two or three lovemaking sessions because we both were into the story and then each other. Especially when we touch during the hot scenes.

I’m not saying I need reading erotica for a fulfilling love life but it helps set the mood. I think it ‘s due to the emotional impact of erotica and, when you settle in with your lover to read one, you right away are giving one another your gift of time. Reading comes with an unspoken expectation of time spent. That’s one of the reasons people give for not reading—not enough time. Kids always want more time with their parents; lovers more time alone with one another. Emotion and time are powerful elements for intimacy and great sex.

Too often men are not given credit for either their emotional needs or their time and effort. That’s where this silliness about men supposing to like only porn comes from. Sure guys are visual and seeing others naked or in the act of sex is arousing. Many confess to enjoying the attention given to them over a longer period of time.

Just last year, Cosmopolitan Magazine had an article about fifty ways to please your guy “down there”. For his birthday, my fella got one a day for fifty days. Some were as simple as tapping a fingertip lightly on the tip of his ‘willy’. He told me afterwards that he loved doing those whether or not we took it any further. It was all about the anticipation, emotion and time: thinking about it throughout the day, clearing the tv watching schedule to get in bed early, how our hands touching or a smile sent his way no longer went unnoticed, how the innuendos crept into our conversations and a kiss lingered. Oh wait, didn’t I just describe some elements we ladies love in our erotica novels? I do believe I did!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Wedding Party by Giselle Renard

Russell and I have been through a lot together, but there’s one romantic encounter I don’t think we'll ever live down. My cheeks are red just thinking about it!

When my delicious partner and I were just starting out, we couldn't keep our hands off each other. Not that we can now, but back then we would be lip-locked every time the car came to a red light. One sunny afternoon, we were driving along when Russell pulled a gift out of the back seat. He couldn’t wait to give it to me. The Perfumed Garden, a gorgeous sex manual bursting with erotic images and ideas.

I delved straight into the book, despite the fact that we were in the car and in plain view of everyone else on the road. Those glossy photos of golden-skinned guys and bare naked girls gettin’ it on had me wading in a puddle of my own juices before you could say, “horny as hell!”

Of course, it didn’t take too much convincing to get my partner to pull over. The only question was, where? Russell suggested we take a walk around a lovely historical site nearby: an old hotel fallen into disuse, but still boasting beautiful gardens and grounds. Surely we could find an abandoned nook where the ivy was overgrown around lattice-work and the only onlookers were Romanesque statuary.

Well, we were all over each other before we even managed to open the car door. Big deal, we figured. Even the view from the parking lot was green and lush, and anyway, there wasn't a soul in sight. Nobody would ever know Russell leaned in to kiss me hard. Launching his strong hand beneath my Asian-styled skirt, he pressed his whole palm against my mound. That intense pressure of Russell rubbing my clit up and down on top of my cotton thong had me dying for a good fuck.

I struggled, as always, with Russell’s belt buckle until he gave in and undid it for me. The zipper, I could handle on my own. When I reached into his khakis, I found his cock hard as a steel rod and responsive as a lie-detector. I pulled out that rigid meat through the slit in his black cotton jockeys, and my mouth was magnetically drawn down to it. That penis of his exerts quite a force! As I wrapped my glossy lips around his rod, flicking the tip before sucking on his gorgeous shaft, my man released a moan like a wild animal. That throaty sound heightened my arousal, and I just had to feel Russell’s meat piercing my pussy.

Russell let his seat fall back. I climbed on top of him, purring like a jungle cat. Pulling my thong to the side, I set my knees on either side of my man. I sank down onto him, gasping as his cockhead met the needy flesh of my lower lips. When he penetrated me, I could have bitten a hole in his shoulder, I was so turned on.

As I sucked on his neck, plunging my pussy against him in exaggerated thrusts, Russell ran his hands up my thighs, dragging my skirt up and over my waist until my ass was waving through the air like a flag. Grasping my bare butt in his big hands, he pulled my body towards his, increasing the power of my thrusting.

I don’t know if it was more to stimulate my clit or protect his pants from my pussy juice, but Russell slid his expert fingers between our bodies, rubbing and teasing my hot button. That made me thrust even harder against him, even though my thighs were about to run out of steam from the intensity of this workout. That’s when I started to feel a familiar warmth circling like a whirlpool inside my pussy.

A tingling sensation wove its way outwards until my whole abdomen was hopping, skipping and jumping with delight. When I felt a primal scream coming on, I locked my lips with Russell’s. My pleasure cries combined with his orgasmic whimpering as my pussy muscles clamped down hard against his volcanic cock.

Lost in love, we weren't paying all that much attention to our surroundings. After all, when we started out the parking lot was completely deserted. That’s when I noticed the look of terror frozen onto Russell’s face. Glancing out the car window, I suddenly realized there was an entire wedding party standing next to our vehicle. Yes, that's right. Bride, groom, maid of honour, best man, bridesmaids, and on and on, all politely trying to ignore the couple breeding in the car next to their pretty white limo.

Well, I sheepishly hauled my bare ass out of the air while my partner tucked his happy cock away, and let me tell you, we raced out of there as fast as our wheels could take us. Imagine those wedding photos!

About the Author: Eroticist, environmentalist and pastry enthusiast Giselle Renarde is a proud Canadian, committed volunteer, and supporter of the arts. For Giselle, a perfect day involves watching a snowstorm rage outside with a cup of tea in one hand and a chocolate truffle in the other. Ms Renarde lives across from a park with two bilingual cats who sleep on her head. Giselle Renarde is author of Cunning Little Vixens,Tangled Roots, The Birthday Gift, and Kandinsky's Shirt Button (eXcessica), Beneath the Ice and Third Rail (loveyoudivine) and short story contributor to numerous anthologies. For more information on Giselle and her work, visit her website at www.freewebs.com/gisellerenarde or her blog, Donuts & Desires, www.donutsdesires.blogspot.com

Author Interview: Tonya Ramagos

Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Tonya Ramagos, whose latest release Stupendously Yours is now available from Total-E-Bound.

Tonya began writing young adult romances when she was a young adult herself. As she grew and learned, her writing changed. For a while, she moved into cozy mysteries, then sweet romances, and finally began writing erotica romances. That is the genre she writes mostly in now, in various subgenres.

She often jokes about erotica and erotic romance as being "porn with a plot."

"In my opinion, erotica is a plot driven story with equal sex in which the characters have a good time with their partner whether or not they remain together in the end," she said. "Erotic romance is much the same except that the plot revolves around a romance where the characters generally live happily ever after or are at least believed to. Pornography is merely sex for the sake of sex. Rarely is there ever any true plot involved and the only happy ending is the release the characters achieve."

Here's the test she uses to determine if her own work is good: if she can take out the sex and have a strong romance story, then add the sex back in and steam up the computer screen, she knows she has a good erotic story. But the strong plot has to be there first.

There are several authors who write, in Tonya's opinion, excellent erotic fiction: Lora Leigh, Anya Bast, Lara Santiago, Morgan Ashbury, and Ann Jacobs are included in this list.

Since she has written both sweet and erotic romances, I asked her which she found the most challenging.

"I think they are equally challenging," she said. "I would find it tough to write a sweet romance again because I would have to revert to the 'flowery' terms to describe the intimate scenes. However, erotica offers a challenge in keeping the sex fresh and innovative."

"What are the biggest public misconceptions about erotica?" I asked her.

"I think the biggest public misconceptions are that erotica is dirty, that anyone who reads or writes it should be embarrassed or ashamed."

Tonya uses a wide variety of methods for her research: Internet, books, television, interviews. Actually, any resource she can think of that might give her the information she needs. She also told me that her husband is great for research information as well, but maybe not in the way you're imaging. He often reads scenes to fact check for her.

"As a former firefighter, and an avid history and military buff, he's often my biggest source for research information," she explained.

Her entire family is supportive of her writing. She admitted that her mother doesn't care much that she writes erotica, but still brags to everyone that she's an author. Her stepmother reads all of her books.

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

"Actually, I would have to say myself. I enjoy my life and I like who I am as well as the person I have become. Not to mention, I've invested too many years in being me to become someone else at this stage in the game."

She's thought about piercing her eyebrow, but has been told that her eyebrows aren't shaped right for it.

"I don't know what it is about that particular piercing I like. I just do," she said with a smile. "I think it's actually the body that makes the piercing sexy rather than the other way around. A piercing that flat does it for me on one person may not have the same effect on another due to different features."

Since chocolate is Tonya's favorite food—"any kind, any way, any time," she exclaimed—it's not surprising that chocolate also tops the list of food she considers best for eating off another's tummy. Other choices would be whipped cream and/or strawberries.

When asked if she could tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi she wasn't hesitant to tell me, "Coke tastes good. Pepsi sucks!"

Her favorite letter is "S". "There are so many words that start with it," she explained. "For instance: sex, sensual, stiff, stroke, stud, Silver Springs (my heroes series)."

She likes painted toenails, when she remembers.

"I tend to do it in spurts," she said. "Oh, there's another S word! I might go for months where I put fresh polish on my toes every week. Then I may go months with none at all."

Her mother can tie a cherry stem with her tongue. "I tried," she told me, "but…well, we won't go there."

A strange habit she has?

"Talking to myself. I do it CONSTANTLY about everything. Yes, I even answer myself too," she said with a smile.

Finally, I asked what advice she had for a new writer.

"Don't stop writing and read, read, read! So many people say they don't have the time to read these days. I've even heard that from writers. But you cannot keep up with the latest market trends and styles if you aren't reading what's out there. Don't be afraid to attempt something new too. And, above all else, don't give up. Sit down at that computer or pick up that pencil and write!"

And, specifically for writers who want to write erotica, she added, "Don't hold back. Never be embarrassed to let your imagination and fantasies run wild. And, by all means, have fun with it!" You can keep up with Tonya on her blog, http://tonyaramago.blogspot.com

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Giselle Renarde

EXCITING NEWS!! Giselle has learned that her new release Ondine, scheduled for release in print and digital formats on March 29, has been released in audiobook format. Click here check it out!

Saying I Love You

Don’t you just love first “I love you”s? It doesn’t even have to be in real life. I always get tingles when I’m watching a TV show or film, or reading a book, and two characters say “I love you” for the first time. It’s a leap of faith, that first “I love you.” You never quite know how the other person will react. I was so nervous the first time I told my girlfriend I loved her, but the big moment turned out to be just a little moment. Just a peaceful little moment in bed with my Sweet.

It happened the first time Sweet and I spent a night sleeping all spooned up together in the same bed. We lay in the pitch blackness of her bedroom, basking in afterglow. She was the inside spoon. I was on the outside with my arms wrapped around her, kissing her shoulder. For weeks, I’d been moderately distraught, over my neurotic inability to flat out say, “I love you.” I kept thinking it and kept feeling it. I just couldn’t say it.

“You know so much about me,” she said that night, having finally come out to me as transsexual. “In fact, you know more about me than anyone else. I never thought I’d meet someone so accepting. You’ve helped me to feel happy with myself.”

I smiled. “Of course I’m accepting. I want you to feel comfortable telling me all your secrets.”

“There must be some secret you have,” Sweet said. “Is there nothing you’ve been keeping from me?”

“There is,” I told her. Then I started rambling. “But, see, if I say it now it’ll seem like a big deal. It isn’t. I mean, it’s something I tell my friends all the time, but I’m just so afraid it’ll scare you somehow. I’m afraid you’ll think I’m some obsessive fatal-attraction psycho.”

Sweet laughed, facing away from me in the dark. “What are you trying to tell me?”

“It’s just that…” I held my breath. “…I love you.”

“Oh,” Sweet replied. “Well, of course you do. I already knew that. Don’t you have any other secrets?”

“No…”

Bright Blessings,

Giselle Renarde

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday Spotlight: Giselle Renarde

EXCITING NEWS!! Giselle has learned that her new release Ondine, scheduled for release in print and digital formats on March 29, has been released in audiobook format. Click here check it out!

The Straight Trans-lation: Defining Transgender Terms

In talking with friends and family about my relationship with my Sweet, a lovely trans woman, it became clear that many people who are generally accepting of the transgender community have little grasp on the terminology. That’s not a dig. Of course people aren’t going to be aware of definitions if they’re not a part of the community or if they haven’t studied trans issues academically.

With that in mind, I would like to provide a bit of a trans dictionary. The following is adapted from transproud.com and an article by Warren J. Blumenfeld of the Univesity of Massachusetts, combined with my academic and Sweet’s acquired knowledge. This at least provides a baseline, though not every trans person will agree with every definition.

Definitions of Transgender Terminology


Biological Sex (or Chromosomal Sex): An individual’s sex as determined by their chromosomal makeup, which hormones predominate in the individual’s system, and internal and external genitalia. The distinction commonly made is that between male and female, but between 1% and 4% of the population is born intersexed, with biological aspects of both sexes to varying degrees.

Cross-dresser: An individual who sometimes wears clothing considered inappropriate for that person’s biological sex. Cross-dressers generally want to “pass” as their target gender.

Cross-living: A TG person who lives full-time in their preferred gender image, whether in preparation for a sex-change operation or not.

DRAB: DRessed As a Boy

DRAG: DRessed As a Girl

Drag Queen: Generally refers to a gay man who sometimes puts on women’s clothing in a performative capacity, without necessarily attempting to “pass.”

Drag King: Generally refers to a lesbian who sometimes puts on men’s clothing in a performative capacity, without necessarily attempting to “pass.”

FTM: Abbreviation for Female-To-Male cross-dresser or transsexual.

Gender Dysphoria: Medically, refers to extreme discontent with the individual’s biological sex.

Gender Identity: An individual’s innermost concept of self as male, female, intersex, travesti, hijra, two-spirit…and the list goes on. Gender identity is about how we perceive ourselves and what we label ourselves, and it doesn’t have to be consistent with biological sex.

Gender Image: The individual’s gender-presentation out in the world.

Gender Role: Socially/culturally-defined roles and behaviours assigned to individuals based on their gender.

Genderqueer: An umbrella term describing individuals who don’t subscribe to the binary identities of male and female, who fall outside gender definitions, or who see themselves as both male and female.

Hijra: A member of the venerated (at least historically) “third sex” of India. Most hijra are biologically male or intersex, and dress and identify in a way reserved for women in that culture.

In Transition: A transsexual in the process of changing sex. This may include taking hormones, cross-living, and finally surgery. A practical minimum for this process is about two years, but usually it takes longer.

Intersex: An individual born with the full or partial sex organs of both male and female, or with underdeveloped or ambiguous sex organs. This word replaces the politically incorrect “hermaphrodite.”

MTF: Abbreviation for Male-To-Female cross-dresser or transsexuals.

Non-surgical Transsexual: A transsexual who may seek sex reassignment through hormones and/or cross-living, but stops short of surgery. NB: It is considered generally impolite to ask a TS person if he or she is surgical or non.

Pass: To exist convincingly in one’s preferred gender image.

Post-op: Transsexuals who have had sex-change operation(s), and now have the physical anatomy they desire.

Pre-op: Transsexuals who have not yet had their reassignment operation(s), but who are working towards it.

Sex reassignment surgery (SRS): Sex-change operation.

T-friendly: An organization, institution or individual that embraces transgendered peoples and their needs.

Transgender (TG): Frequently used as an umbrella term encompassing all those people who transgress society’s gender norms. A transgender person may feel society is limiting that individual’s personal expression by maintaining two distinct gender constructs. This term often includes transsexuals, cross-dressers, two spirit, etc.

Transphobia: A form of oppression exercised against the trans community. Consists of a fear and hatred of TS/TG people or gender-transgressive element that exist in all people.

Transsexual (TS): A TG individual who wants to or has changed their body to be more in line with their gender identity.

Two-Spirit: A traditional role in Native American and Canadian First Nations societies. This term describes an individual in whom both the feminine and masculine spirit co-exist. A Two-Spirit person generally experiences attractions toward people of all genders.

Bright Blessings,

Giselle Renarde

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wednesday Spotlight: Giselle Renarde

EXCITING NEWS!! Giselle has learned that her new release Ondine, scheduled for release in print and digital formats on March 29, has been released in audiobook format. Click here check it out!

Why I Write Transgender Fiction

I know writers are never supposed to say this, but when it comes to transgender fiction I write my life.

Those who follow my blog are well aware that my wonderful girlfriend Sweet identifies as a male-to-female transsexual. For those who don’t know too much about the transgender community, that means she was born and raised a boy, but always knew in her heart of hearts that she was a girl.

It’s a lot for some to take in. One of my closest friends decided he didn’t want to associate with me as long as I was dating “that guy.” My mother’s still grappling with the idea that a person born with male genitalia could identify as female, but she’s increasingly open to ideas that used to make her uncomfortable. Ultimately, it’s about the individual’s right to self-determination. Human rights must never be denied on the basis of gender expression any more than they would be denied on the basis of gender.

My relationship with Sweet has had a huge impact on my writing. I find myself writing more and more stories involving characters who are transgender or “genderqueer.” Why write transgender romance and erotic fiction? Because a lot of people in the transgender community (my girlfriend included) express distaste for most erotica currently on the market. It’s all about “shemales” and “t-girls” and “ladyboys.” As much as I feel there’s a place in the world for every kind of artistic expression, that stuff doesn’t appeal to me either.

Erotica depicting transgender characters tends not to represent most TG people, their feelings, or their sexual behaviours accurately. Transgender people are not all prostitutes and pervs, as most erotica and society at large would have people believe. Their sexual tastes vary by individual, as in any grouping of people.

It’s important to have access to fiction that represents who we are, the kinds of lives we lead, and the relationships we form. We all want to see some facet of ourselves in the fiction we read. An element of humanity must be present in our characters. That’s one of the big reasons I continue to write romance and erotic fiction depicting transgender characters in an authentic light. Hence, stories such as “Third Rail,” “Kandinsky’s Shirt Button,” “The Travesties,” and “Red Satin,” a heartfelt holiday romance.

Now tell me, when was the last time you read a work of authentic transgender lesbian erotica?

Bright Blessings,

Giselle Renarde

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday Spotlight: Giselle Renarde

EXCITING NEWS!! Giselle has learned that her new release Ondine, scheduled for release in print and digital formats on March 29, has been released in audiobook format. Click here check it out!

Shopping vs. Sex

I’m always hearing these ridiculous news items claiming that women prefer just about everything out there over sex. Chocolate, the internet…the list goes on! I don’t believe them for a second, but these stories just keep rearing their obnoxious heads.

Most recently, the radio news reported more than half of all women would rather shop than have sex. Really? I have trouble buying that one, if you’ll pardon the pun. I mean, who are these women and what kind of dolts are they sleeping with?

Perhaps it’s the stereotypical red-blooded dyke in me, but I must admit that I absolutely hate shopping. Except for groceries. What can I say? I love to eat! But for clothes and shoes and handbags and all that overpriced junk? Please! I’d rather be chained to the headboard for five days straight with my Sweet tracing her nails across my back. Keep me away from those tiresome malls.

I’m sure everybody out there isn’t so extreme in their likes and dislikes, but really? Shopping over sex? Have we learned our lesson of not coveting thy neighbour’s wife so well that we’ve moved on to coveting thy neighbour’s cell phone and flat-screen TV instead?

Most people have far more stuff than their homes can handle (hence, the self-storage industry) and far more belongings that they can reasonably afford (hence, massive credit card debt). Do we really—really?—need to spend every moment of our valuable gettin’ it on time mall-hopping?

Following the holiday season, I’m sure we’re all looking to conserve our hard-earned cash. I have an idea. For those alleged fifty percent of us who would rather shop than knock boots, why not take a different approach? Save your money; have sex instead!

Bright Blessings,

Giselle Renarde

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday Spotlight: Giselle Renarde

EXCITING NEWS!! Giselle has learned that her new release Ondine, scheduled for release in print and digital formats on March 29, has been released in audiobook format. Click here check it out!

Ten Years On

Have you ever noticed how some songs get permanently attached to memories? Often they’re the kind of songs you would otherwise find annoying, but because they're etched to a memory, whether it be a happy or say one, they move into the realm of nostalgia.

"La Vida Loca" by Ricky Martin. Remember that little gem? Would you believe it was released more than ten years ago? How time flies! I remember the first time I heard that song. I was working on a community theatre production of West Side Story, and a gay couple from the cast brought in the newly released single. Before rehearsal started, they popped the CD in the player, cranked up the volume, and got nearly everyone dancing.

Good times. Happy times.

While the coordinated people danced, I sipped my lemonade and chatted with a green-haired lesbian on the crew. She sighed, utterly dismayed that she had to take out her genital piercing and no matter how long and hard she tried, she couldn't get off without it. "Don't you just hate that?"

And then she looked across the room at a pretty girl-next-door in the chorus, dancing to Ricky Martin’s newest hit. "Never fall in love with your best friend," she warned me. She's into superstitions, black cats and voodoo dolls. I feel a premonition…

Ten years on, I've gone and done exactly what the green-haired girl cautioned me against. But she was unlucky. Her best friend was straight and in love with a boy. My best friend, though she isn’t quite ready to identify as a lesbian, is happily in love with me.

Bright Blessings,

Giselle Renarde

Saturday, January 16, 2010

New Year's Eve by Denyse Bridger

Christmas had been awful, lonely and terrifying to the woman who paced a spacious and romantic chalet meant for lovers. He’d had obligations, children and friends who had long been priorities. Claire did understand. At least that’s what she insisted to herself when she wanted to erupt into tears, or fury. Somehow, neither emotion held for long, and she was left with the same empty chill of isolation.

It had been a week since she’d spoken to him for more than a few minutes. He’d called from his ex-wife’s house, and the conversation had been brief. The sounds of happy children and family warmth had reached across the miles to freeze her heart into a block of ice. He’d promised her he’d be at the ski lodge for New Year’s Eve and would call her as soon as possible. She’d arrived a day early, but the expected phone call had never come. It was now late into the evening of the last day of the year.

She strolled over to the Christmas tree, the glittering bursts of cheerful colors blurred as tears flooded her eyes again. She dropped to her knees and fingered the unwrapped presents that waited for his arrival. She hadn’t opened her gifts, they too awaited his presence. She wanted to share this holiday ritual with him, to turn back time and make this night Christmas Eve.

She decided to have the wine herself, and once she was settled comfortably before the blaze, she opened the bottle and poured the bubbling wine into the crystal flute. A few drops spilled onto the creamy, sheer silk of her gown and she watched in detached fascination as her skin grew visible through the opaque material. With an indifferent shrug, she placed the bottle within easy reach and sipped the chilled champagne.

When the clock chimed eleven-thirty, she was beyond caring that she was drunk and alone. Two empty bottles attested her condition, tears flowed freely and unchecked from red-rimmed eyes. The candles had burned down to the holders, and only the fire, replenished periodically, cast heat and light back into the still room. The CD player had long ago gone silent, and she no longer felt able to walk the distance required to start the machine again.

She picked up the last glass of champagne and stared at the bubbly clear liquid. Her hand trembled slightly and she sniffled softly. When she lifted her hand to wipe aside more tears, she ended up dumping the wine over herself. The shock of the cold champagne made her gasp loudly, and she put the glass on the floor beside her then looked down at the ruined gown.

In the soft glow of firelight she saw the spreading wash of wine making the silk transparent. Her breasts were outlined clearly, nipples erect in response to the cold touch of wine. She smiled slightly and tugged at the stringy strap of her gown, then peeled it away from her body. Her skin was flushed with too much wine, and she felt the familiar ache of longing for his touch fill her with pain. She closed her eyes and leaned back against the cushions; her hands rose and caressed the fullness of her breasts, rolled the firm tips of her nipples between her fingers. The sensation was arousing, especially when combined with the image of his mouth closing over the rosy tips, tongue teasing, teeth gently tugging.

“Damn you...”

The whisper was lost in the empty room. Her hands glided slowly over her body as her mind filled with him, the feel of his hands, the hard length of his body next to hers. Her thighs parted and she pulled the gown up around her waist. She hesitated, the pound of her heartbeat a furious, loud timpani in her ears. Past that, she thought she heard another sound, the thud of a step outside the cabin. The door was locked, and in the seconds of silence that followed there was no other murmur.

She groaned softly, and a new flare of pain reminded her that a new year was only minutes away, and the only lover she had to share the night with was her vivid memory of him. Her body shuddered, roused and hungry, and she slid her fingers into the throbbing wetness between her thighs. Her hand pressed tightly against the slick folds, created a steady, rapid rhythm that her hips flowed into. Her free hand fondled her breasts, squeezed aching nipples, then moved to join the other as she fought for release.

She cried out in fear and frustration seconds later when her hands were dragged away from their erotic play. Her eyes flew open and she choked on a gasp as dark eyes, alive with fire, bored into her. She felt the icy air of the night that still clung to him, and his lips were cold when they descended to claim hers. As his tongue entwined with hers, ravaged the heat of her mouth, he was pulling at his clothes.

His mouth moved to her throat and she moaned loudly when the hard length of him suddenly filled her. Her fingers knotted in the material of his t-shirt and her hips thrust upward to meet his savage, urgent rhythm. Her legs wrapped around his and pushed his jeans further down long legs. He rode her harder, his body aroused and selfish with lust. With a low groan he pulled free of her for a moment, long enough to grasp her ankles and place them against his shoulders. He leaned into her, and she opened to him, eagerly accepted the glistening length of his arousal as he buried himself inside her again.

It was over in minutes, a fierce blistering storm of passion that left them choking for breath and trembling violently. A brisk, icy wash of air swirled over them and she arched back to look toward the door. Even with the distortion of the position she could see the heavy wooden panel swung inward.

“You could have closed the door,” she whispered thickly.


About the author: Canadian born and bred, and a lifelong dreamer, I began writing at an early age and can’t recall a time when I wasn’t creating in some artistic form. My life has had several on-going love affairs that shape much of what I write, the American West, Victorian England, cowboys, a passion for pirates, Greek Gods, and Ancient Egypt. The other endless love affair in my life is Italia and all its magic, beauty, and dazzling culture. That passion spills into all aspects of my life. Website: http://www.denysebridger.com Blog: http://fantasy-pages.blogspot.com

Author Interview: Cindy Jacks

Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Cindy Jacks, author of the Point of Distraction series and Wilder Fantasies series.

She's always loved writing stories, even though her first works were a far cry from the erotic romance she writes or the horror she writes under the name of CJ Elliott. Her earliest stories revolved around her teddy bear turning into a prince who then married her pink stuffed elephant and lived happily ever after.

"I spent ten years as a corporate drone clawing my way up the ladder to Director of Quality Management which required lots of miserably tedious technical writing," she told me. "Once I finally decided to close that chapter of my life, I set about the task of figuring out what I wanted to be now that I was supposedly a grown-up. I thought about the dream of my youth to become an author, but shied away from it thinking, 'Who’d want to read what I write?' I did, however, entertain my best friend—who’s far too busy to date much—with erotic tales that revolved around a central character named Ana. All right, all right, at this point, they really were just porn for girls.

"The more I wrote, the more my ex-husband pressured me to send one of the stories in to an e-publisher because he noticed the growing market for women’s erotica. One night, after a couple glasses of liquid courage, I took the best story of the group and submitted it. Lo and behold, the story was accepted and the Point of Distraction series was born."

Cindy originally planned the series as twelve stand-alone short stories, all with the same heroine—Ana Welsh—but without the stories building on each other. Unfortunately, her first publishing house closed and she discovered that many e-publishers didn't take works under a certain word count. So, Cindy conceived the idea to bind the stories together into a collection of four books with three stories to each book following a central plotline: Ana's struggle to heal from crushing heartbreak and find herself again.

"After I’d made that decision, everything else fell into place and the series as we know it today was created," she said.

The experience she gained with both Dark Eden Press and Lyrical Press helped Cindy polish her writing skills. She pushed herself to try different genres, such as non-erotic romance as well as the BDSM series, Wilder Fantasies, with Freya's Bower. The success with these led to further experimentation and, as CJ Elliott, she landed a horror story with Wild Child Publishing called The Wedding Feast.

"I feel my career has really started to blossom this past year and I’m eager to see where this exciting ride takes me," she said. "I’m still on the fence about getting an agent and pursuing print houses. On one hand, that path leads to the traditional definition of success for a writer, but at the same time I ask myself why jump on the tail of dinosaur when you’ve gotten in at the ground floor of the future of the industry?"

Cindy had said her earliest versions of Ana's story were more "porn for girls," so I asked her, "How do you personally distinguish between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography?"

"To me, erotica and erotic romance differ from pornography in the way the sexual situations are handled. In porn, the sexual situations are portrayed for the reader’s gratification only, without respect to people being depicted in the writing. Also the sex scenes don’t have to be germane to the plot…if indeed there is a plot at all. However, in erotica and erotic romance, the characters are treated with respect and the sex fits logically within the framework of a plot.

"As to the difference between erotica and erotic romance, I would say the primary distinction lays in the readers’ expectations and the type of relationship the characters’ desire. In erotic romance, it’s understood that the hero and heroine (or heroes if it’s a m/m piece) will fall in love and live happily ever after. In erotica, the HEA ending isn’t required, and in some situations it isn’t desirable."

It's also important to Cindy that on characters' personal journeys, there doesn’t have to be a life-altering event, but the main characters have to come away from their time together with something more than they had at the beginning of the story.

"In my series—Point of Distraction—every lover the heroine encounters gives her greater insight into herself," Cindy shared. "Eventually she winds up making a major change, but it’s the baby steps she takes along the way that keep the readers coming back for more.

"What’s important to remember is that erotica isn’t all about the sex," she continued. "You can write the hottest sex scene in the world, but if the plot sucks, the book will flop. Focus on writing a good book that happens to have hot sex in it instead of hot sex that happens to be part of a book."

Some of Cindy's favorite writers of erotic fiction Jacquelyn Frank, Larissa Ione, Aubrey Leatherwood, Ericka Scott, and Lisa Troy.

"Each of these authors brings a unique flavor to her books," she explained. "Jacquelyn’s sex scenes are primal and her prose inspired. Larissa keeps you on the edge of your seat with her plotlines and seduces you with her characters. Aubrey has such an eclectic energy in her writing that you can’t help but be charmed by her books. Ericka’s style shines and keeps the heat and spice on high. Lisa’s work never minces word and shows how strong a female author’s voice can be. I draw inspiration from these ladies and many others."

The sensuous quality of food is a common theme in Cindy's work and she's written some hot scenes with chocolate truffles, honey, yogurt and more. It’s no surprise that in real life she also find food very sexy.

"Well, some foods," she qualifies. "Canned tuna, not so sexy. And mayonnaise. My least favorite food is mayonnaise. I cannot stand mayonnaise. Just the sight of it gags me. Don’t even get me started on the smell. My theory is this—mayo is the work of Satan. Now, hear me out before y’all run to fit me for a straight jacket. Mayonnaise can kill you! Or at least make you terribly ill. If unpasteurized eggs are used to make it, you run the risk of contracting salmonella. If you leave a potato salad made with mayo out in the sun too long at the family picnic, it turns into a bowl full of food poisoning. And even if your food handling habits are impeccable, the wicked stuff is still a contributing factor to clogged arteries and obesity. Does mustard do this? No. Catsup? Nope. Salsa? No way, all those veggies are super healthy. Mayo is the only condiment that poses a health risk. I rest my case." She laughed. "Sorry for the rant. Anyway, if I had to pick the best food to eat off my man’s tummy, it’d have to be caramel. I highly recommend the kind of caramel sauce you’d use to make a sundae. You can drizzle it, paint it on your lover, pool it in his/her bellybutton. It’s very versatile and oh-so yummy.

"Though I am partial to caramel, I have to say my favorite food-in-the-bedroom memory involves a package of Skittles. I’ve always struggled with my weight, even as a child, so if start to put on some pounds, I’m quick to adjust my diet to take them off again. Last year, I was on my annual post-holiday fitness kick and I’d lost the eight pounds I’d put on after Christmas. As I brushed my teeth and prepared for bed, my man set up a sweet surprise for me. He made a trail of Skittles from his neck down to his nether regions. I can tell you, I’ve never enjoyed candy as much as I did that night!"

You can keep up with Cindy on her website, http://www.cindyjacks.com

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Melanie Thompson

The Death of a Son
                Reincarnation
                When I was six months pregnant, my son died of brain cancer. He was ten-years-old. I remember sitting beside him in Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.
                We were Hindus. Yes, I know, I’m a religious gypsy. I’ve been a Methodist, a Catholic, a Hindu, a Pentecostal Christian and a Baptist. I remember calling the guru on the phone from the hospital.
                The guru and all the monks loved Nandi. He’d spent a lot of time at the ashram on Kauai winning their hearts. They knew he was sick and dying and they loved him.
                “Where is he, right now?” I asked, even though his body lay on the hospital bed beside me in a coma, breathing noisily, still as death. I wanted to know where his soul was.
                The guru explained his soul hovered above me, trying to get into the baby in my belly. And strange as this may seem, I was comforted.
                Three months later, Nandi had died and I’d moved to Hawaii with my other four children, fleeing the grief. The pain of cleaning out a dead child’s possessions is like no other. I had to move.
                As I lay on my own bed in labor, I looked at my midwife. “Savitri,” I said. “I don’t feel like doing this.”
                I hadn’t felt like doing anything since Nandi died. I was in an emotional vacuum. The thought of going through labor and delivery was overwhelming.
                My six-year-old daughter suddenly ran into my bedroom. “Mommy, Mommy,” she cried. “Nandi is on the ceiling and he has no face.”
                “What does that mean?” I asked Savitri.
                Savitri explained. “Hindus believe souls about to be reborn, hover around the delivering mother, waiting to enter the baby. They appear with no face.”
                Minutes later, I delivered my son. He was born completely encased in the bag of membranes. Doctors would have pierced this, releasing the fluid. Midwives don’t. Savitri cut it open releasing the water, took out my son, cleared his airway and waited for the squall. When he cried loud enough for everyone in the house to hear, she handed him to me.
                As I held him close, much of the pain of the last three months melted away. I put him to my breast and he suckled. For the first time in three months, I smiled.

Friday Spotlight: Lisabet Sarai

Back in North America

From my articles this week you might get the idea that all of my writing is set in exotic foreign locales. It's true that I'm now working on a vampire story set in Jamaica, but I've written lots of tales set in the good old U.S.A.

My second novel INCOGNITO takes place in Boston's historic Beacon Hill district. My third novel RUBY'S RULES begins in London but soon moves to Los Angeles and the action in my fourth, EXPOSURE, happens in Pittsburgh. I've written stories set in San Francisco, New York City, New Orleans, Minneapolis and several cities in Nebraska. My latest release, a M/M paranormal romance entitled NECESSARY MADNESS, is set in the decidedly unexotic city of Worcester, Massachusetts.

One property that sets my work apart, perhaps, is the fact that I almost always have some specific location in mind when I set out to write a story. I've talked to lots of other authors who say that don't spend a lot of time thinking about the setting, but for me it is an essential consideration. As I see it, people--characters--are shaped by their environments. Characters in San Francisco are going to have different experiences and world views than folks from Omaha. Even if I don't describe the setting, I'm always aware of it. It shapes my perceptions of the characters and their moods, desires and passions.

Over the past week I've taken you on a whirlwind tour of some of the places I've enjoyed. For a more in-depth experience, pick up one of my books. Enter one of the worlds I've visited and tried to bring to life for my readers.

It's a lot cheaper than a vacation!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thursday Spotlight: Lisabet Sarai

South American Sojourns

I have far less experience in Central and South America than I do with other parts of the world. Believe me, I am eager to remedy this gap--especially since all my travel in those regions occurred more than twenty years ago.

We spent about ten days in Costa Rica, attending a conference as is our habit and then renting a car and touring the small but diverse country. The highlight of that trip, for me, was piloting our jeep up a long, rocky, rutted track to the mountain-top “cloud forest” of Monte Verde. The isolated community residing at the peak was composed of Quakers who had moved from the U.S. because Costa Rica is the only country in the world that has abolished its army. They supported themselves with tourism and cheese-making. After we spent the night at their bed and breakfast, they escorted us through the forest, a unique ecosystem that is so humid it generates a constant mist that shrouds the peak (hence the name).

Our other southern adventure was a one week trip to Peru. This was the only trip we've ever taken where our lives were seriously endangered. Eager to see the ruins of Machu Picchu, we flew to Cusco (a remarkably well-preserved Spanish colonial town 10,000 feet above sea level) . We rose early the next day to take the narrow gauge train that leads to the foot of the Andean peak housing the ruins. Unfortunately, a combination of rainy season weather and railroad strikes meant that the track was blocked by mudslides in several places. We had to stop and wait for earth moving equipment to clear the way. The normal four hour trip took all day. We did not arrive at Machu Picchu until sunset and had to travel back to Cusco by night.

About eleven P.M., we were nodding in our seats when we heard a terrible roar. The train lurched to a stop. We discovered a huge mound of mud had just landed on the tracks, no more than twenty feet ahead of the train. The track at this point hugged the mountain on one side. On the other, a sheer cliff dropped fifty feet to the raging Urubamba River. The train barely missed being swept off the tracks into the river.

We arrived back in Cusco at dawn, exhausted and shaken. Alas, we had to fly back to Lima within hours. Was it worth nearly dying to see Machu Picchu for half an hour? I'd have to say yes.

I recently released a paranormal romance called SERPENT'S KISS which is set in Guatemala. I've never visited that country, but between my research and analogies to other developing countries I have seen, I hope that I got the setting right. The book is loosely based on Mayan mythology. One consequence of writing this tale is that now I really want to travel to Guatemala and tour the ancient ruins at Tikal.

Maybe next year...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday Spotlight: Lisabet Sarai

European Encounters

My first international trip, and really my only one without K., was a five week sojourn in Spain. My companion was a dear college friend who just happened to speak fluent Spanish and was an expert on Spanish culture and geography. Like I said, I'm a lucky woman! We had an open air ticket and criss-crossed the country, spending time in Madrid, Malaga, Torremolinos, Cadiz, Toledo, Granada, and Barcelona. We even managed a week-long side trip to Morocco.

That holiday was my only backpacker adventure. Neither B. nor I had much money but at that time Spain was very cheap. We slept in pensions for five dollars a night and shared two dollar carafes of vino tinto. We ate tapas in the cafes and chatted up the local guys. (Well, B. did. I spoke a bit of Spanish but realized before long that I must sound like an idiot because I knew only the present tense and so couldn't express any kind of complex idea at all.) We watched free flamenco and marveled at the Moorish filagree of the Alhambra and Gaudi's surrealistic cathedral.

For a long time, when K. and I had a chance to travel, we headed for Asia. Lately, though, we've been expanding our experience with Europe. We spent a wonderful ten days exploring historic, picturesque Provence. The twelfth century abbey of Thoronet provided me with the setting for one of my most popular stories, “Communion”, which has appeared in five different collections.

On a more recent trip, we visited Vienna, Venice and Trieste, then spent a week traveling down the Adriatic coastline of Croatia. The fortified Renaissance city of Dubrovnik has to be one of the most amazing places I've ever visited. Other European trips during the last decade have seen us in Heidelberg(Germany), Lisbon (Portugal), the Greek island of Rhodes, and Amsterdam (the Netherlands). The only one of these places to appear in my writing so far is Amsterdam. My story “Shades of Red”, in my collection ROUGH CARRESS, is set in that city's infamous red light district.

Two very special European locales, for me, are Prague (the Czech Republic) and Instanbul (Turkey). As it happened, we visited both of these cities on the same trip (since we traveled to Turkey via Czech Airlines). Although extremely different, both places offer a thousand years (or more) of history and unique cultures. Surprisingly, I haven't yet written anything set in Turkey. However if you read my vampire story, “Vows” (on my Free Reading page, http://www.lisabetsarai.com/freereads.html), you might get a sense of Prague's mystery.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday Spotlight: Lisabet Sarai

Adventures in Asia

I've done more traveling in Asia than anywhere else in the world. Hong Kong was the first Asian locale that I visited. Back then (in the 1980s), Hong Kong was still controlled by the British. It was a fascinating mixture of proper English and ancient Chinese culture.

Not long after that trip, my husband and I spent two wonderful years working in Bangkok, Thailand. In those days, you couldn't really get further away from the U.S., which was our home base. Telephone calls were prohibitively expensive and postal mail took three to four weeks if it arrived at all. Email, of course, did not exist. Everyone thought that we were crazy to move there, even temporarily. We loved every minute.

Thailand had a huge influence on me. My first novel, RAW SILK, is set in Bangkok. I tried to capture the exoticism, grace and sensuality of the culture and the people. The book includes many scenes drawn from my own experience. (However, the infamous sex scene involving chili peppers is entirely imaginary!) I've also used Thailand as a setting for a number of short stories, including “Butterfly” and “Bangkok Noir” (in my short story collection FIRE) and most recently in “Refuge”, my contribution to the charity anthology COMING TOGETHER: AT LAST.

Thailand is located smack in the center of Asia, so we had opportunities to visit other countries in the region, including China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. (We also did a two week trip to New Zealand, which is not exactly Asia but closer to Thailand than to North America-- “only” a ten hour flight!) After our contract in Bangkok expired and we returned to America, we continued to aim for Asia whenever we could. Since then we've added India, the Philippines, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Japan, Taiwan and Korea to the set of Asian destinations we have explored. You can read stories set in Laos (“Vows”) and ancient Cambodia (“Ruler”) on the Free Reading page of my website.

There are still many Asian countries on my wish list, though. Bhutan and Nepal are at the top (no pun intended). I'd love to see Burma, though I may wait until the political situation there improves. Then there's Papua New Guinea and of course the 9,997 remaining islands of Indonesia. (I've visited Java, Sumatra and Bali, but that's all.)

Nowadays wherever I travel, I'm alert for story ideas. I'm thinking that at some point I might put together a short story collection consisting solely of travel tales.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Spotlight: Lisabet Sarai

Travel Fever

I'm a very lucky lady (and not just because I won this free week-long author spotlight at Whipped Cream in one of Judy's and Marianne's giveaways!) Unlike many people, I've been fortunate enough to fulfill my dreams―in particular, my dreams of international travel. As a child I spent my mid-day naps fantasizing about trains, planes and hotels. In my French classes, I imagined myself standing awed before the majesty of Notre Dame. In my biology classes, I mused about what it would be like to follow Darwin's footsteps to Patagonia. In Ancient History, I dreamed about the Parthenon and the pyramids.

Now, more than three decades after graduating from college, I've visited every continent except Australia and Antarctica. It's true that I still haven't seen Athens, Giza or the Galapagos, but after all, I still (hopefully!) have some traveling time left!

I mostly have my husband to thank for my world-wide peregrinations. On our first date, he took me to a Burmese restaurant and kept me spellbound for more than two hours with tales of his voyages in Asia and Europe. Finally, at the end of the meal, he looked me in the eye and said, “I've been looking a long time for someone to travel with.” I was hooked. (Well, truthfully I wasn't one hundred percent convinced until I saw the photo of K. in Indonesia, wearing nothing but a batik sarong.)

We're not rich members of the leisure class, so our travels have been piecemeal, but it is a rare year that we don't take at least one foreign trip. Often we combine business and holiday, attending an overseas conference or scheduling a meeting with international colleagues and then extending the time with some purely touristic activities.

K.'s and my travel preferences are amazingly compatible. We both enjoy the ocean but we're not beach people, shying away from sand and sunburns. We seek out places steeped in history and culture; modern marvels do not have much appeal. Often we spend most of our travel time just walking around, getting a sense of a place. Food is an important component of the ideal trip for us, too.

Speaking of food, as a holiday present to my readers and friends, I have put together a cookbook called “Recipes from an International Kitchen”, which contains some of my travel-influenced recipes alongside photos of the places that inspired them. You can download a free copy at http://www.lisabetsarai.com/cookbook.html.

For the rest of the week, I'll be taking you on a tour of some of the places I've visited, and also pointing out how I've used my travels to provide background for my stories.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Happy Saturnalia by Lindsay Townsend

With the gifts in his arms, Severus ran up the stairs to their apartment.

"That's it. The shop is closed for the day," he called out as he ran. "Melissa has left us a jug of sweet wine and a dish of roasted chestnuts." He pushed open the door to their living room, stopping as he saw Lydia sitting at her loom.

"What are you doing, still working? It's the eve of Saturnalia!"

His wife answered without lifting her eyes from her swiftly-moving shuttle. "I promised this piece for Glaucus by tomorrow."

Severus strode across the room and put his hand on the heddle bar. "There's no need. I've made and given Glaucus five wooden bowls already. He's delighted and happy to leave the cloth until after the new year."

He put his own parcel on the bench, the jug on the floor, dipped a wooden cup into the jug and offered it to her. "Happy holiday."

She took it and sipped. "Ah, so sweet."

"Good, eh?"

"Very. But Severus, the roast pork and leeks will not be ready for another hour or more yet. I did not know you were closing early. "

He leaned down and kissed her sweet lips, licking the traces of wine off her mouth.

"An hour and more? I know something to pass the time."

She blushed and fingered her long hair in its plait. "What if someone comes to the shop?"

"Then they will have to come back." He took her free hand and drew her to her feet.

Her pretty color deepened. "What if someone hears?"

She always asked.

"The walls are thick. The shutters are closed. Everyone else is celebrating. As we will be." He popped a roasted chestnut into her protesting mouth and wove her tightly into his arms.

The instant he traced his fingers down her spine she sighed. When he heard her swallow the chestnut he dipped his head and kissed her again, his head spinning as she drove her tongue into his mouth.

"No, I am master today," he muttered, patting her rump in warning before she undid him altogether.

Her eyes flew open. "You were master yesterday, and the day before."

He loved her sulky pout. "Do you object, Lady Lydia?"

His blue eyes and his smile made her forget everything else. Before she knew it, he was sitting on her loom bench, drawing her face-down across his lap.

He drew a long pink ribbon from his tunic.

"My first Saturnalia gift." He lifted her robe, caressing her work-stiffened legs, thighs and bottom.

"Hands, please." He tapped the small of her back and, when she raised her arms behind her back, he tied them at the wrists with the ribbon.

"Happy Saturnalia, my sweet." He stroked her helplessly raised ass. "Round as the full moon, and all for me." He flicked the ends of the ribbon between the cleft in her buttocks. "Pinker soon than this little trinket."

She jerked her hands, trying to cover herself, but the soft tie stopped her, braceleting her wrists securely out of range of his sweeping fingers.

"Pretty," he murmured, sliding his hand between her legs, tickling her with soft, tormenting circles that went faster and deeper.

Smack! His other hand lightly slapped her rising bottom. Smack, smack, smack...

His spanking aroused her, as always. Her whole backside was tickling and throbbing and she ground her sex against his muscular thigh, wanting more, wanting him. She felt the ribbon rub against her wrists and flutter between her thighs as she writhed and kicked with each stinging pat.

Slap, slap. He was spanking harder now, and quicker. Slap! Slap!

The cracking sounds crashed like lightning in their living room and her ass was burning. In the street below she heard a party roistering down the alley and her voice mingled with their drunken singing.

"Red wine, red roses..."

"Faster!" She wanted to clutch his calves, lift herself to his spanking. The ribbon between her legs was damp with her juices.

Severus fingered her. "Such a snug, lush place. I shall give it my full attention presently, but here is your second present, carved specially for you."

Lydia moaned as he ran a smooth, wine-slicked wooden dildo up and down her smarting bottom cheeks before he eased it into her aching sex. At once she began to move, trying to skewer herself more deeply. Slap, slap, slap.

The dildo fitted her, the spanking made her throb in her buttocks and breasts, a wild spreading heat. When Severus cupped her breasts, dragging her tunic beneath her engorged nipples, she groaned and again tried to free her tied hands.

"Touch you!" she gasped.

"My pleasure," he said smugly and, winding a brawny arm about her waist, he lifted her off his knee and put her across one of the horizontal bars of her own loom. Her feet dangled with the loom weights, her head dipped to where Severus was standing, now naked, his cock proudly erect.

Lydia engulfed with him her mouth, her lips kissing him, her tongue lapping his musky, salty balls.

Slap! slap! slap! slap!. He was spanking her as she liked it, fast and hard, pumping the dildo in and out of her. Gagged by his wonderful cock, she felt him rigid and jerking within her mouth, her own rapture building with his as she sucked and licked. Her bottom felt hot enough to burst and there was a fiery sweetness flooding in her, rising through her breasts and buttocks.

She tasted his lusty climax, heard his groan, felt his long, yielding shudder. The moment overwhelmed her as her own climax blazed through her body.

Smack, smack, smack. He was slowing now, removing the dildo, caressing her with his fingers instead, extending her orgasm farther. In a blissful daze, Lydia knew he would soon lavish sweet oil on her bottom and cream her parts until they were both ready to go again.

Happy Saturnalia indeed!

About the author: Lindsay lives in Yorkshire, England, where she was born, and started writing stories at an early age. Always a voracious reader, she took a degree in medieval history and worked in a library for a while, then began to write full-time after marriage. Her first unpublished historical found her an agent and the second got a publisher in London interested. They wanted her to write with a modern setting, which she did – several romantic thrillers set in Greece, Italy or on Dartmoor in the English West Country - and enjoyed it, but historicals are really her first love. The books Lindsay is currently writing for Kensington are medievals, but she is also fascinated by the ancient world, especially Rome, Egypt and the Bronze Age. When not writing or researching her books, she enjoys walking, reading, cooking, music, going out with friends and long languid baths with scented candles (and perhaps chocolate). www.lindsaytownsend.com .