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Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Rie McGaha

Rie On Raising Kids

I have twelve children who are all grown and on their own. As I look back on raising them I wonder how I did it. Of course, I was much younger then and didn’t really give it much thought at the time, but now that they’re on their own, I’m amazed I survived them. There were times when I wasn’t so sure I would. There were times when I believed since I brought them into the world I had the right to take them out. And there were times when I really wanted to.

We went through all the normal illnesses, up all night with colic, ear infections, the flu, chicken pox, and every other sickness any parent and child goes through. There were scraped knees, black eyes, bloody noses, and pulled hair. They fought over clothes, girlfriends, boyfriends, and who mom loved the most. They stayed out past curfew, snuck out their bedroom windows, smoked pot, cut school, and got drunk. They played basketball, baseball, volleyball, and went to school dances. In 1992, one of them died leaving me to console, explain, hold on, hold up, go on, move forward and keep the whole mess afloat. They failed math, were on the honor roll, got suspended, and graduated. They ran away from home, had babies in high school, got speeding tickets, went to college, joined the military, and got married. They got divorced, moved on, announced they were lesbian, bi-sexual, did drugs, got arrested, were on probation, became successful, settled down, were responsible, irresponsible, grew up, dropped in, dropped out and in the end they turned out to be awesome men and women.

How did I do it? I look back and have no answer to that question. The only thing I know for sure is that I loved them with all my heart and soul. They were the reason I got up in the mornings, the reason I lived each day and through all the heartaches and heartbreaks, they were the greatest bunch of kids a mom could ask for. I look back and think how lucky I was to be their mom and how much I loved the children they were. But now I look at them with their own families and the grandchildren, who are just as wild as my bunch, and I think how lucky I still am; and I am so in love with the men and women they’ve become.

Rie McGaha is the author of several books ranging from erotic romance to paranormal, fantasy, historical, and and suspense. She also produces book trailers, works as a freelance editor, is a review editor, and promotes other authors on her blogs Sizzling Releases, An Author's Tale, and Author Offerings. She is the mother of 12 and her 26th grandchild is due in October. She rescues abused animals, nurses them back to health and tries to find new homes for them. In her spare time she likes to garden and shoot weapons.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday Spotlight: Rie McGaha

It’s A Dog’s Life

Harley Davidson is almost five years old. He’s a French bulldog I’ve had since he was four months old. Harley was born to a breeder, but had an umbilical hernia and had to have surgery that also included neutering, so he could never be used for breeding. He was born with a second set of teeth that kind of looks like the teeth on a shark. Normally a five hundred dollar dog, the people who bought him paid half price. Harley’s other problem is he’s very aggressive, and the people who owned him had no idea how to train him or handle his little attitude problem. They gave him to me for a week of training after a vet told them to put him down. I had no problems with him, but after he returned to his owners he reverted back to his old behavior and they called and asked if I wanted him permanently. I did.

I had never had a small dog before. I wanted a Bull Mastiff, and had always had Labs, Shepherds, or Rotts. Now I had this twenty-three pound Frenchie with the attitude of a junkyard Doberman. And I wouldn’t trade him for anything, or any amount of money.

Harley is my buddy. He sleeps with me, goes everywhere with me, and stays by my side at all times. He is the most loyal, faithful companion I’ve ever had. He still has an attitude problem, however I have discovered that most of his attitude is for show. For me. He will try to go through a window to attack someone walking by, and then turn to me with (and I swear) a grin on his face to get my approval.

Dogs of all breeds only want our attention and approval. They want us to show them our love and affection. Faithfulness and loyalty is their nature and they ask little more than food, water, and the occasional scratch behind the ears in return. Yet there are more and more animals being abused and mistreated and abandoned than ever before. More and more animals are placed in dog pounds only to be put down because no one adopts them. While there are no-kill shelters, these facilities can only care for a certain number of animals because of budgets.

The answer of course is to spay and neuter animals before they have the chance to breed. Most states have veterinarian organizations that issue certificates for low or no-cost altering. There are also many private organizations who also provide low or no-cost spay and neutering. Your local vet may have the phone numbers, or the local shelter may have them.

The other part to this problem is donating to your local no-kill shelter. Donations are tax deductible and help save animal’s lives. Donating dog food, treats and other needs, as well as time, also helps shelters to cut costs so they can use funding for more pens to accept more animals.

And of course, if you want a new pet, adopt a dog or cat from a shelter. Adult dogs are wonderful and adapt very well to family life. If you really want a puppy, examine your reason why. After all, puppies only stay puppies for a short while and then they’re dogs. And if you want to help without adopting, volunteer at a shelter to walk dogs and spend time with them. Donate to the shelter or to the spay/neuter program in your area.

It’s a dog’s life that no dog should have to live.

Rie McGaha is the author of several books ranging from erotic romance to paranormal, fantasy, historical, and and suspense. She also produces book trailers, works as a freelance editor, is a review editor, and promotes other authors on her blogs Sizzling Releases, An Author's Tale, and Author Offerings. She is the mother of 12 and her 26th grandchild is due in October. She rescues abused animals, nurses them back to health and tries to find new homes for them. In her spare time she likes to garden and shoot weapons.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday Spotlight: Rie McGaha

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Life in the country is much different than life in the city. I was raised in the Trinity Alps of northern California, but as all children do, I longed to live the exciting life of a city dweller and when I was old enough, I did exactly that. The lights, the traffic, the sirens, the pollution; it was heaven. I didn’t even need a car because there were buses that would take me anywhere I wanted to go. And of course, I wanted to go to the mall.

I had only been in a mall once before, and that was when I was about twelve. My parents took us to Portland, Oregon, to the mall and my brother, sister, and I had never seen such sights. There was an ice skating rink, and being just before the Christmas holidays, the mall was decorated with lights and displays like nothing we had ever seen. I remember running around in circles, squealing with delight and screaming for mama and daddy to come look. My parents were horribly embarrassed but I didn’t know it at the time. I just knew there was a whole new world I’d never known existed.

So when I lived in the city I spent a lot of time in the malls, especially during the holiday seasons and I still felt that little flutter of excitement just like I had all those years ago at Lloyd Center Mall. But as I grew older and had children, I found the city less and less to my liking. Times they were a-changin’ as the song says, and by the time my oldest child reached high school, there were armed guards on the school grounds, video cameras in the halls, and fences with locked gates all the way around the campus. The problem was I had to work in order to support my family and that meant compromise, so we moved back to the area where I had lived as a child, but to a nearby small town where I could also work and the schools hadn’t yet experienced the violence city schools had. But that day wasn’t far off, and there was yet another choice to be made. Fortunately, my work in the prison system had allowed me to receive a certification for assessing offenders and I was able to work out of my house and home school my children at the same time.

Eventually, as all children do, mine grew up, moved on and moved out. So now I had one more choice to make: Where did I really want to live? I longed for the quiet, the solitude, the peacefulness of the mountains, so we bought ten acres in a wilderness area, built a house and moved. No sirens, no traffic, no people, and thankfully, no mall. Funny how life experience can bring us back to the very place we began, no matter how far we think we’ve strayed. Home is where the heart is and my heart has always been in the mountains. I’m wonderfully happy now that my home and heart are both in the same place.

Rie McGaha is the author of several books ranging from erotic romance to paranormal, fantasy, historical, and and suspense. She also produces book trailers, works as a freelance editor, is a review editor, and promotes other authors on her blogs Sizzling Releases, An Author's Tale, and Author Offerings. She is the mother of 12 and her 26th grandchild is due in October. She rescues abused animals, nurses them back to health and tries to find new homes for them. In her spare time she likes to garden and shoot weapons.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday Spotlight: Rie McGaha

As Old As I Feel

In Wal-Mart the other day while checking out I glanced around at the other checkout lanes and noticed something peculiar. Apparently, the world has become middle aged. I never did like the term middle aged, it sounds akin to The Middle Ages, The Dark Ages, or The Dinosaur Age. I may be somewhere north of the middle age mark, but I am no dinosaur.

Who invents these terms anyway? I have never been consulted, nor asked if I approve of the terms relating to people my age. To my grandchildren I expect to be thought of as “old”, after all when I was their age I thought anyone over thirty was old. But for the rest of the world, I resent being thought of as an old person. I am perhaps well seasoned, experienced, knowledgeable, well practiced, qualified, capable, and competent, but I am not old!

If I happen to forget something, I have selective memory. If I don’t pay attention to what you are saying, I have selective hearing. If I can’t read anything without glasses, it’s because the print is much smaller than it used to be. If my bones creak when I get out of bed, or walk, or move at all, it’s because I played hard in my youth. If my waistline is a tad larger than it used to be, it’s only because I no longer feel it necessary to compete for the attention being svelte used to bring me. If dressing up for dinner means putting on my shoes and going to Denney’s, it’s only because I’m wise enough to know a penny saved is a penny earned. If I am in bed by nine o’clock it’s only because I realize the health benefits of a good night’s sleep.

There is a big difference between growing older and getting old. I for one choose to grow older gracefully, while fighting being old with every breath in my body. And as my younger brother told me once, “You’re still pretty for an old girl. You know you’re an old girl now, right?”

Rie McGaha is the author of several books ranging from erotic romance to paranormal, fantasy, historical, and and suspense. She also produces book trailers, works as a freelance editor, is a review editor, and promotes other authors on her blogs Sizzling Releases, An Author's Tale, and Author Offerings. She is the mother of 12 and her 26th grandchild is due in October. She rescues abused animals, nurses them back to health and tries to find new homes for them. In her spare time she likes to garden and shoot weapons.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Spotlight: Rie McGaha

A Hair-brained Idea

At the age of twenty-five my hair began to gray. I was shocked to say the least and immediately began to pluck, however, the more I plucked the faster the gray came in and before I ever reached forty, I had a long gray streak on the right side. That wasn’t so bad and I actually received compliments and people often asked how I did got it that way. By the time I was forty, I had more grays than the natural color and I began to dye my hair. Over the many years since then, I have died my hair more times than I can count and have experimented with many colors ranging from black to red to purple and blue. I have naturally curly hair and over the years of dying my hair lost its curls. It also became brittle and unable to hold color. And now in my somewhere way over forty age, I have given up on trying to keep the gray away and frankly, the upkeep is more trouble than it’s worth.

I went to the salon to have some of the broken, brittle, damaged ends trimmed off and asked the stylist what I could do to restore my hair and my curls. She told me that once the damage was done, there was no way to really undo it except by shearing it completely off and letting new hair grow out. She also said she and her colleagues had often talked about doing the same to their own hair and wearing wigs, but no one had mustered the courage to go for it. I laughed because I didn’t think I could shave my head either. I had worn my hair long all of my life and since the damage had been done from the numerous coloring, the locks had gotten shorter and shorter.

Recently, I accompanied my truck driver husband on a six-week trip. He is partial to redheads, (a mama issue I won’t go into here), and he has often asked me to dye my hair red and I have. So on the trip, he again asked for a redhead and I dyed my hair. Instead of red, I got bright orange. It was hideous. After a few days, I bought a reddish-brown dye and dyed my hair again. This time the hair from the scalp down about five inches was a beautiful shade of red, the last four or five inches was chocolate brown. For the first time on the trip I was happy to be in the northeast where the temperatures were in the teens and coats and hoods were necessary.

Staring in the mirror at the mess that was now my hair, I almost cried. I told my husband I may as well shave it off and he immediately began to hide the clippers. Over the next couple of weeks the brown began to fade somewhat but I still had the damaged ends and didn’t like what I saw any time I had to look in the mirror. When we got home last week I looked at my hair again and since my spouse was outside, I picked up the scissors and chopped off the longest parts, then got the clippers and off came the rest.

Needless to say my hubby wasn’t ecstatic about what he saw and my son’s chin hit his chest, right before he took a picture with his phone and sent it to his siblings. Every now and then, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror I take a second look because I’m still not used to seeing my bald head. On the other hand I’ve found out a couple of things. Hair holds in a lot of heat. My head is nicely rounded. And in a strange way being bald has given me a kind of freedom I’ve never known before. Plus, I’m saving a butt-load of money on shampoo, conditioner and a multitude of other hair products, and I’ve cut my shower time in half.

I will be glad when my hair grows out again in all its natural gray glory and I doubt I will ever shave it off again, but the experience has been a positive one. While not for everyone, I can say that for me, I’m glad to have pulled off such a hair-brained idea.

Rie McGaha is the author of several books ranging from erotic romance to paranormal, fantasy, historical, and and suspense. She also produces book trailers, works as a freelance editor, is a review editor, and promotes other authors on her blogs Sizzling Releases, An Author's Tale, and Author Offerings. She is the mother of 12 and her 26th grandchild is due in October. She rescues abused animals, nurses them back to health and tries to find new homes for them. In her spare time she likes to garden and shoot weapons.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hold Me by Essemoh Teepee

He saw her immediately he walked into the foyer. She was watching the street door; he had come in through the bar.

They had been corresponding for over a year; talking on the phone, using Skype and exchanging intimate images. He knew her face well and her body held few secrets for him. He enjoyed the luxury of looking at her while she was unaware of him. He saw beyond what was in front of him, observing her truth through the filter of knowing.

Then she saw him and her smile was wonderful to see. He threaded his way through the press of people around the reception desk, to stand in the space around her.

“Hello,” she said, looking up at him from her chair, still grinning broadly.

He smiled back, hesitating for a moment and then sat down opposite her, saying, "How are you?”

He watched her face for any sign of disappointment at his presence.

“I’m good. How was the flight?” Her smile was undimmed.

“The flying was fine; it is airports that suck.” He watched her mouth as he deliberately used her colloquialism. She smiled even more broadly; appreciating his innuendo. “You look very happy,” he added.

“I wasn’t sure that you would show up,” she said, her smile slipping a little.

“How could I not? We spent long enough planning this.”

He could smell her now that they were close; her perfume was so much more than the sample she had mailed him. Her warm skin and pheromones had worked their transformational magic, altering the chemical complex of the fragrance.

“I've been here before remember?”

She sounded matter of fact; he could not detect any bitterness. He drank in the velvet texture of her skin; large brown eyes and midnight cornrow hair that he found so exotic.

“Many never get this far and the few that have; well, most didn’t follow through.” She almost whispered this last.

He wanted to explore that skin with his fingers, taste her intimately with his tongue. Instead he asked, “Would you like a drink?”

He had wanted to say something entirely different; to tell her to come with him now, to follow him to the room they had booked in the hotel. He wanted to say, “I need to fuck you.”

“I’d rather go up. We can be more private,” she said, looking around at the people moving through the lobby. “I've gotten the key.”

His stomach tightened and he felt his cock stiffening, pushing at his pants.

“Shall we?” he said, standing and moving aside to allow her to precede him to the bank of elevators. Watching as she reached out and called the car, he imagined those long fingers curling around his stiffness. He felt the restriction of his pants more acutely.

“The room is good,” she said, “I've stayed in it before.”

He wanted to ask her about those other times; the times when her partners had not bowed out at the last minute. She had told him there had been a woman as well as a man, but he had not asked her for details, now he wished he had.

They stared into the elevator mirror as the numbers changed. He looked into the deep cleavage of her breasts, bound by her russet dress. He caught her eyes as the doors opened and she smiled, making him want her.

“Like what you see?” she laughed softly over her shoulder at him as he waited for her to leave the car first.

“Very much,” he said. “You have been very generous with your images, but it is good to really see you.”

She laughed again, shimmying and said. “I know you like my Girls.”

He followed her lead to the room and then reached to take the key card from her fingers. He was taking charge now.

Inside she patiently waited beside the bed as he checked out the spacious room, the generous bathroom and walk in shower.

“The bed is very comfortable.” There was an invitation in her voice he could hardly fail to notice. He walked towards her, very conscious of the erection now straining at his pants.

“Suck me, Blue” he said, using her pet name. He knew it made her squirm with pleasure. She had told him it made her wet every time he said it.

“Yes, Sir.” She sighed, a look of satisfaction on her face as she turned and reached out to unzip his pants.

He watched her full lips part, holding his breath as she took his cockhead between them. He exhaled in a rush, matching the involuntary thrust of his pelvis, forcing her to take all of him to the back of her throat. Her whimpering was bliss, sounds he had heard from her before but now they were connected to the hot, slippery feel of her mouth engulfing him.

He held her head and she cupped his balls as he fucked her throat. His release was explosive, pent up until now from the long travelling. He gripped her hair with one hand, not wanting her to withdraw.

“Swallow it all.” His tone was firm, a second hand around her throat to feel her obedience. When she was done he stepped back and watched her.

Her face glowed with an inner brightness. With a languorous finger she swept some droplets of semen from her chin into her mouth, tongue licking her fingers with relish.

“Thank you, Sir,” she whispered.

He bent to kiss her on the mouth. He could taste himself there, on her tongue as his swirled around her mouth. Her moans were familiar but now excitingly fresh once more. She was a supplicant, accepting his control that released her from constraint.

He broke the kiss and said, “Bed.”

It might have been a question apart from the commanding tone.

“Yes, Sir,” she whimpered and raised her arms to him. Her surrender had felt incomplete to him, until now. They were together at last. Together forever.

He bent and slid his hands beneath her legs and around her shoulders, lifting her from the powered wheelchair and onto the waiting bed.


About the Author: Essemoh Teepee is the alter ego of a fifty-something CEO based in the UK. Writing erotica since 2005 he has a steadily growing following for his deeply sensual writing and audio work. Creator of the Directed Erotic Visualisation audio technique in 2007, he is responsible for very many thousands of female orgasms around the planet.

Both writing and downloadable audios can be found at his web site www.smotp.com The home of Directed Erotic Visualisation Discuss Erotic Suggestion and Guided Meditation at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sensual_hypnosis/

The BDSM Romance 'Nicolette' by Essemoh Teepee is now available from Smashwords.com. Click here to buy https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/8367

Author Interview: Beth D. Carter

Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Beth D. Carter whose Black Leather Pants was recently released in print from Siren Publishing.

Beth shelved Black Leather Pants for four years after she wrote it because she felt like it missed something.

"I read my first erotic romance by Maya Banks, and I discovered what it lacked!" she told me.

Other erotic writers that Beth enjoy include Amber Carlton and Tymber Dalton ("I love their styles," she told me) and Opal Carew, who she says has some great stories.

In erotic romance, Beth believes the story is just as important as the hot and steamy sex.

"Any writer who makes a fantastic plot and characters makes excellent erotic fiction," she told me.

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

"Obviously that it’s porn," she said. "I can’t tell you how many times I get that eye roll when I say what I write. Also, when I’m told that writing either straight romance or erotica romance is not true works of art and therefore doesn’t matter. That’s burns me up every time."

There are certain things Beth would never write about, certain boundaries she would never cross.

"Bestiality," she said, hastening to add with a laugh, "of course, not talking about werewolves! There are certain taboos I would never write about because for me they aren't sexy or romantic at all."

"Have you ever written 'straight' romance," I asked, "and, if so, which do you find more challenging?"

"The first novel I ever wrote was 'straight' romance. I find it more difficult to find euphemisms for a penis than writing erotica!" she told me.

On a personal note, I asked Beth who she would be if she could be anyone she wanted.

"I’m pretty happy being me. But I would like some different takes on things…I would love to be a little less hard-headed, have a little more patience. Be a little more thin and have a little more money. But hey, don’t we all?"

She finds whipped cream the best thing to eat off another's tummy because it's not as sticky as honey nor as gooey as chocolate sauce. Her favorite food is sushi and, she added, "seaweed, believe it or not." However, she doesn’t like eating anything "too exotic. Like deep fried bugs," she said. "There's a restaurant in Los Angeles that serves bugs and no way, no how! Or chilled monkey brains, like in Indiana Jones."

Her strangest habit is eating sandwiches upside down. "I eat them bottom side first," she explained. "I've always done it because I don't like the tops of sliced bread, so I eat up to them."

"What is your most embarrassing moment?" I wondered.

"I actually have quite a few of those! When I was about fourteen I went on a date, but it was chaperoned by my mom. On top of that, he was a 'popular' boy so all his friends were at the theater, of course. I went to buy popcorn and just as I made it back I tripped and the popcorn went everywhere! Ug, how awfully for a gawky teenage girl, huh? That still haunts me."

Beth is a very busy woman. She also has a three-year-old son she is raising and she works full time at a hospital. When she's not writing, she also reads, tries to exercise, watches her favorite TV shows, and stays up to date on correspondence.

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

"I guess Andie McDowell because I get told all the time she and I look a lot alike. I don’t see it, she’s way beautiful!"

Finally, I asked Beth what advice she would give to authors who wanted to write erotica.

"You can't be afraid who’s going to read it. Yes, your dad might be on that list, or your grandmother. But you can’t hold back from anything."

You can keep up with Beth on her website, http://www.bethdcarter.com

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Wendi Zwaduk

Seven on One

I just couldn’t let this week go by without writing about something that is erotic. Well, okay, it’s been in the back of my mind—trust me, you really don’t want a tour of my mind. You’d get lost.

So what was I thinking about?

Seven on one.

Why am I thinking about this? Simple. The more I read erotica, the more I wonder what it would be like to be that one woman who has three or four men who fawn all over her. I don’t mean a harem. I mean a committed relationship where the guys want nothing more than to live their lives and keep her happy.

Will this ever happen to me? Nah. I’m happy with my life as it is and I know that Dh—even if he’s only one man—is enough. I don’t know that I could keep up with four, much less seven guys.

But it still kicks around in the back of my mind. What is it about this woman that draws these guys to her? How does she keep them all happy? And what if all involved can’t play? And what if she’s got a pile of laundry to get done... do they do it or does she take care of the chores and then they do it. You thought I meant the guys do laundry... if you meet one of those... give him my number... I’ve got piles of dirty jeans that have his name on them.

My good friend, who is reading over my shoulder, just asked, “Why are you wondering this? Isn’t the whole point of erotica to be sexy and tug at our fantasies?”

To an extent, she’s right. I wonder strange things all the time. And she’s right that many times the point of an erotic story, sadly, is just to be sexy.

Yet, I think she’s off by a country mile. Call me snobby or partial, but I like a story with sexy connotations that also has a storyline. Yes, I want to see why they are trying to get into the seven on one relationship besides just to get some.

That’s my opinion, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to know the romance behind it.

So I’ll go back to my wondering and my reading… and maybe someday the actual writing of that story. What would it be like to be her...?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday Spotlight: Wendi Zwaduk

Death of the Modern Bookstore

The other day, I got a coupon in my email offering 40% off a paperback book. Heck yeah! I’ll take a percentage off any day. Yes, I was extremely thrilled. I love to book shop.

So I get to the bookstore and, low and behold, the store was boarded over with signboards for the mall.

What can I say? I was crushed. Crushed.

To celebrate my first contract, I went to that particular bookstore and bought a copy of a book by a friend of mine. And here I stand outside of the bookstore wondering where I’m going to go to get books.

I know I could go online and get lots of books. I could invest in a handful of eBooks. Trust me, I love eBooks as much as paper books. But, there is just something fantastic about holding a paper book in hand and being able to smell the ink. Sounds strange? Maybe, but I don’t care.

There is something magical to me about heading to the library. I never know what I’ll find on the shelves. Just by looking at an intriguing cover, I figure I could be looking at my newest favorite author. The same thing happens when I have a coupon and go to the bookstore. I never know what book I plan to get when I walk in, but I know when I walk out that it’s time well spent.

Imagine my distress finding that my local bookstore was closed. I could always go to my local second-hand bookstore, which I love to haunt, or I could drive a few extra miles to go to the mega bookstore. Both are sound ideas, but there was still something nicer about going into town to the smaller store to shop for books.

Someone told me that people don’t want to read books. It’s too laborious or too boring, takes too long.

Really?

I was told they wanted eBooks, which is great since I wrote a couple, or they want something quick they can load into those pesky handheld gadgets. I get this, yet I don’t. Why? EBooks are great. You can read something, pause it without a physical bookmark, go back and reread, or you can just save and savor it.

I understand people are busy and they want convenience, but at the risk of obliterating a form of art? Books teach us things. Books open windows to worlds we have yet to discover. So why get rid of them for the sake of a microchip or a file on a computer? I realize not everyone likes to hold the written word in hand. Not me.

I like the crisp scent of a fresh book with tight binding where no one has come along before to bend the pages and the wonder the story beholds. There is a certain beauty in the smooth, unfettered pages just waiting to display the story.

I guess what it comes down to is this: I’m sad that when the times get tough, things that would make our lives better are the things that get cut first. You don’t need to spend a ton to explore a whole new world. All you need is 7.99 plus tax.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday Spotlight: Wendi Zwaduk

Farting Around

Psst! Hey! Yeah, you. Come here. What do you mean, “Where?” Right here!

OH, sorry, I’m hiding in the realm of the invisible. I have a good reason.

Yes, I’m being silly, but it’s nothing new. If you’re like me, you’re a busy person. Sometimes just finding a second to breathe is impossible. So what do I do? Besides admitting I’m farting around because I can, I tend to play invisible.

So am I really being bad? Probably not. I have what some call a divided attention span. I start one thing and then as I’m working I see other things that need done. Like, the dryer beeps, or the dogs need the bowl refilled, or dinner needs done. Usually, whatever I’m seeing that needs completed, I think, “gee I should work on that”.

What happens next?

You guessed it.

I forget the first thing I’m working on and then end up taking on the new task. Would you believe it, then a new task pops up. So, I hide invisible and hope that maybe, just maybe, I can get things I want to get done completed.

Does that happen? Not always, but it’s fun to think it can.

Crud, the dryer just beeped. I should take care of that. But I want to work on my next work-in-progress. Hmmm...

So what am I going to do now?

Ssh! Keep your voice down.

I’m going to stay here in the middle of invisible and keep farting around. How else am I going to work on all those dirty little stories brewing in my head?

Talk to you later… if you can see me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday Spotlight: Wendi Zwaduk

The Truth According to HEA

Now, I have to admit the term HEA flies pretty free and easy around the romance community. Everyone seems to think the characters need to have a perfect Happily Ever After or they will shrivel up and die, or something. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good sappy romance, if the guy is a hunk and the girl is determined and relatable and don’t take away my HEA.

But then I’m also a stickler for realism. I mean, I know the hero won’t just fart at the wrong time, or let out a huge belch right before a kiss, but come on. Men do this. I read a story where the author thought it was scandalous that the hero snored. Really?

I didn’t know handsome men came with an anti-snoring device, kinda like an anti-theft device.

This isn’t a perfect world. Farts happen.

Okay, I need to qualify that. I don’t want to read about a guy passing gas because it suits some sophomoric need. Nope. But geez, if the guy has a beer, and heroes do that all the time, or the heroine has a diet soda, burps are going to happen. Or there is the ever popular, I’m stuck in an elevator with an incredibly hot guy—and oh, gads, I had baked beans for lunch. Crud.

That’s the kinda real life I’m talking about. Things I can relate to.

And yes, I was on a date with Dh before I married him and we were in the middle of this nice dinner and you guessed it, the diet soda got the better of me. Did he bolt? Did he freak? No and no. Thankfully I kept it contained, because I realized where I was, but it proved to me that he loved me no matter how gross or unpredictable I happened to be. I have to say, it made me love him more.

That’s how I want to see romance heroes and the happily ever after. Women fart, women burp. Do I want to read about a gas-fest? Not particularly. But I want to know that the characters are flawed, that they are prone to the same foibles I am.

Or another thing that strikes me in these HEA’s is the babies never have issues. I don’t mean birth defects, I mean, the baby never spits up on the guy’s crisp white shirt, or has an accident on the changing table. Trust me, my youngling was a champion at leaving his mark. Do I want this to be a comic thing where the baby is always piddling on someone? No. But I want to know that the heroine isn’t always Super Woman and doesn’t always have a lid on what’s happening around her. It makes me respect her more when she says, “Gee, I think I’m in over my head.”

So what’s the point of my raving? Just because the story has an HEA doesn’t mean every little thing has to be wine and roses forever. If there’s a bit of realism mixed in with the erotica, then I’m happy. So when I write a story, I try to mix a healthy dose of what could happen to me in with the hot down and dirty sex, because, like I said, farts happen.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Spotlight: Wendi Zwaduk

Singing Off Key

Why would I write about something so innocuous as singing off key? Honestly, I was stumped on what to write about and feeling a tad overwhelmed when the idea came to me.

I know, I know, overwhelmed... who isn’t?

So I happened to be in my truck, singing along with the radio—at the top of my lungs, since I was alone. While sitting at the stoplight, I took the opportunity to spy on my fellow drivers. Either they were hands-free on the phone, talking to the voices in their head, or singing along to whatever tunes they had going as well. I saw heads thrown back, eyes closed as they either belted out a tune… or screamed in agony, it was hard to tell for sure.

This made me laugh out loud because we all tend to think that, being in the car, we have no audience. We can sing and be campy and have a grand old time because no one else is watching. We can dance and shake our groove thing and just enjoy the music, content in the fact that no one is paying us any mind.

But really? The truth is, you never know who could be watching.

As I wondered what the other people were listening to, it made me think about writing. When I get the idea, the last thing on my mind is whether or not the story will sell. Yes, I want it to, but honestly, I just want to tell the story. I want the characters trying so hard to get out of my head to do just that. I may be the only person who appreciates the story I have to tell (kinda like my singing voice), but I keep at it. Why? Because the story is there and therefore needs to be told and get out there.

So no matter how bad the initial story might be, (just like the fracturing of lyrics) I keep going. I know I’ll never make it on that show with the harsh judges, cuz I can’t even carry a tune in a bucket, but sometimes sending a story in is like going up on stage in front of a panel of harsh judges. You never really know if you’ll pass muster, heck you may leave the auditorium in tears. But like the contestants on that show, I’ll keep trying and hoping to make it big...er... well, enough that other people can appreciate and enjoy my writing.

And with that in mind, I’m back to singing at the top of my lungs to the steering wheel.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Author Interview: Christy Poff

Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Christy Poff, whose latest book A Matter of Deception is available from Whiskey Creek Press.

"How do you personally distinguish between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography?" I asked Christy.

"This is an interesting question," she said. "Erotica and erotic romance go hand-in-hand depending on how the story goes and the way everything is incorporated into the writing. In the Internet Bonds series, my characters have very erotic relationships which ultimately lean toward BDSM. They are very romantic couples but when in private, their true tendencies appear. As to the line between these two and pornography, I feel it’s a gray area. Years ago, Madonna released a book which many labeled as pornographic because of the content. I took a look at the book and didn’t see anything that, in my mind, could be considered porn—risqué, maybe but not porn. I believe the line is drawn by each person—what I consider fine, someone else would not. There are definite differences but aside from what is defined, it still remains a gray area and there is no black and white answer."

She encourages authors who want to write erotica to go for it. It's important for authors to set their own personal limits about what they feel comfortable writing about. Also, they should make sure that what they write is, in actuality, physically possible.

Most of her research is done online.

"When an idea strikes, it’s easy to research it then and there instead of waiting for a trip to the library," she explained, adding, "which in my town is a waste for most things unfortunately."

She has written straight romance, but finds it more challenging to write erotica.

"I think it's more challenging because of the continuity issues and I like to have each set of characters have their own personalities," she told me. "I don’t want an entire series of every character engaging in the same fetishes, practices, etc. It would then make it boring which I don’t want. I’ve had Masters and Mistresses, guys who are questioning whether it’s okay to be dominated, women who are strong in public but in private need to be controlled and I’ve even written one about a sex doctor who questioned her profession since she’d never been in situations other than “vanilla” (Internet Bonds #5: Doctor Heal Thyself)."

Her family is used to her writing erotica, but they don't read it. She has had them help with research into things like ice hockey, etc.

"My husband didn’t accept it for the longest time because he saw it not benefiting him but now, he’s pretty cool with it since I’ve actually seen some success with this part of my life," she said. "What he didn’t understand for the longest time was my need to see something through from beginning to end. That sense of completion is something I needed. The rest is literally icing on the cake."

On a personal note, if Christy could be anyone, she would choose to be Doctor Who.

"I've watched the series for years and it’s always amazed me how he time travels and meets up with other civilizations," she told me. "After all, why are we the only civilized planet in all the universes?"

She had thought about getting a belly piercing, but unfortunately had a hernia operation. The closeness of the scar to where she would be pierced made her decide against it.

"What about body piercing is sexy?" I wondered.

"If you’ve got a great body and don’t go overboard, it can be very arousing. A tug here, a tug there…"

Her favorite food is York Peppermint Patties, but she can't stand asparagus. Pepsi is also on the side of dislikes because of the aftertaste. Along with her likes and dislikes can be added painted toenails. "I like the look," she explained, "but don't find the time to sit there waiting for it to dry."

One of Christy's favorite things to research is the Civil War and, when she's not writing, can often be found tramping a Civil War battlefield.

"When my daughter went to college, I spent a few days each October at Gettysburg," she shared with me. "I found it a great place to lose myself for a while."

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

"I get asked this often and I say the same thing. If you want to write, then do it. I made the mistake of letting a theme editor from the local community college tell me I couldn’t write. Because I believed her, it took a good twenty-five years before I actually got my first book to paper. In that time, I met a woman who wrote children’s books who had the same thing happen to her. She had won several awards by the time we met and, with me, the rest is history so to speak." She added, "Thanks for the chance to talk with you. I loved the questions because they are so different from others I’ve answered. It’s been a pleasure."

You can keep up with Christy on her blog: http://cpoff.bravejournal.com

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Arianna Skye

Ten Things Not Many People Know About Me

For those who are morbidly curious, here are ten things you might not know about me. I didn’t realize how hard this would be because I’m usually someone who tends to stick their foot in their mouth.


1. I am addicted to insulated coffee mugs. I have at least six of them, with the collection slowly growing. You know, the kind you buy from Starbucks or Biggby? FYI: Biggby Coffee is the bee’s knees! Really. Come to Michigan and give it a try.

2. I love Karaoke. There’s just something about singing Like a Virgin with your best friend while doing a tango with Jose Cuervo. Oh, and I used to have my very own Karaoke machine. Fortunately for those around me, it broke.

3. I had gastric bypass surgery in 2003. I lost almost two hundred pounds.

4. I used to have an imaginary friend named Pico. However, while walking across the street one day to get his mail, Pico was hit by a car. Poor Pico. I sure miss him.

5. I can stick out my tongue and touch my nose. Literally. I thank my mother and father for blessing me with a super huge tongue. I sometimes wonder if I am Gene Simmons’s love child. *stops to wonder* Nah.

6. When I was a kid, I used to pretend I was a DJ and record myself announcing things on my own made up radio station. One day, I used my cousin’s Fisher Price Microphone and actually had a guy call in to request a song. Back then we thought it was cool, but now that I think about it… it’s kind of creepy.

7. Once I accidentally dyed my hair black. Instead of grabbing my medium blonde, I grabbed my mom’s dark brown. I panicked and washed it out, ending up with black hair with blonde splotches.

8. My favorite drink is something I call “Liquid Crack.” It’s Diet Mountain Dew mixed with Crystal Light. The raspberry lemonade mix is my favorite.

9. I am partially double jointed. I can make my finger go out of joint at will. I’ll probably had arthritis from Hades when I’m older.

10. I have the uncanny ability to memorize zip codes of all sorts of cities around Michigan and area codes across the country. I also have my credit card and library card memorized as well. Now if I could only remember where I put those keys…

So do you all have any strange hobbies, skills or juicy secrets? Feel free to share them!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday Spotlight: Arianna Skye

The Taxman Cometh!

If there’s one thing I dread, it’s doing taxes. All that number crunching , budget balancing and accounting stuff always scares me. I’m not a math person—Never have been. I’ve commented before that when I first heard the word Algebra, I thought it was a bra made out of algae. However, when I enrolled for my first Algebra class in high school, I found out it was much, much worse. If it weren’t for arithmetic, I probably would have ended up with a bigger scholarship. Damn the math!

I used to be diligent with my tax returns. As soon as I got the W-2 from my employer, I would log into the tax preparing website (a blessing for those of us arithmophobes). I plug in the numbers and in a matter of a few minutes, I’d have my return filed. Now it’s a little more difficult. I have deductions to calculate and receipts to tally. Here’s where I mention that I am a chronic receipt tosser. If I don’t do something with them right away, they’ll end up in the county landfill.

Now, I’ve found the perfect solution. A soon as I get home, I put the receipt or invoice in a gallon zip-loc bag. When I have time, I go in and sort the receipts. Personal receipts in one pile, writing related in the other . I then stick them in two folders labeled appropriately and keep them stored. This makes tax time a little easier to handle.

How do you handle those dreaded taxes?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday Spotlight: Arianna Skye

My New and Improved Writing Schedule!

Not only am I a writer, but I’m also a full time tech support representative. I work Monday through Thursday ten hours a day. Even on Friday, my day off, I am extremely busy meeting with my critique group, so trying to find time to write can be very daunting. I found myself making excuses. I’m too tired. I just sat at a computer for ten hours. Well, self, guess what? That’s what you have pen and paper for!

Now, I look at it this way. There are 24 hours in a day. 18 hours of that is spent working and sleeping. That leaves 6 hours open. Subtract a couple hours for normal household and familial duties and you still have 3 or 4 hours available. Don’t forget the weekend. There’s no work, so there’s even more extra time for your writing pleasure. I also have a DVR, so the “I’m going to miss my favorite show” excuse doesn’t hold much weight either. Gotta love technology, huh?

I don’t have to be to work until 9:30 am, so I have plenty of morning time to crank out some words. I’m single and have no kids, so that’s some extra time I have at my disposal. You can tailor your own schedule to fit your needs.

Here’s what I came up for myself:

6:00 AM-6:30 AM Wake up / shower / brush teeth

6:30 AM -7:00AM – Eat / Fuel up

7:00 AM - 8:30 AM – Write

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM – Leave for work

9:30 AM - 2:15 PM Work

2:15 PM - 2:45 PM – Lunch (Also writing)

2:45 PM - 8:00 PM – Work

8:00 PM -8:45 PM – Leave for home

8:45 PM - 9:45 PM – Internet/email catch up

9:45 PM -11:00 PM – Whatever I want to do :-)
11:00 PM - 6:00 AM – Sleep

See how easy it can be? This is a new regimen for me, so I’m still experimenting. But that’s what’s cool with experiments. You can make adjustments to maximize your results. So we really have no excuses, right?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday Spotlight: Arianna Skye

Arianna’s Top 5 things a romance must have (besides romance, because that’s a given).

5. Interesting and believable characters. Characters with complicated and complex pasts really pique my interest. I am a total sucker for the tortured hero too! It’s great seeing the man break out of their shell and face their fears.

It’s also important that the hero and heroine act in character. There’s nothing more jarring than a character doing something completely out of character without any rhyme or reason. Another character issue that seriously irks me is the hero or heroine doing something so incredibly dumb that I don’t care whether they live or die.

4. A well developed and plotted world. The best books in my honest opinion are the ones where the author did his/her research or designed an engaging and interesting world. Some people say that contemporaries don’t need world building, but that’s a bunch of baloney. The world of a doctor is going to be totally different than the world a Chef is used to. Just like the world of a stay at home mom is going to different from the Wall Street day trader.

Historicals, even if set in a steampunk or fantasy world should have period appropriate dialogue and situations. There is only so much artistic license one can take. But it’s steampunk! No one is going to care about the historical details, right? WRONG! I’m a pretty lenient reader. I will let a few incorrect details slip. Other readers are not so forgiving. If you’re writing a historical piece, even if it’s set in an alternate fantasy world, you need to do your research.

3. Engaging and believable dialogue. Strong and snappy dialogue really work for me as a reader. Long passages of dialogue, especially if it servers no purpose, really bore me. Add an extra yawn if it’s stilted. The best way I’ve found to make sure the dialogue reads naturally is to read it out loud to myself. Try it. You’ll be surprised what you hear.

2. Strong Sexual Tension. The best books are the one where the sparks between the hero and heroine practically leap off the page. What kind of story would there be if the hero and the heroine instantly fall in love and have no conflict? Might as well start the book with “THE END” instead of “CHAPTER ONE”.

1. A Happily Ever After! I passionately dislike love stories that end in tragedy or the hero and heroine never stay together. If an author does this, I will throw the book against the wall, stomp on it and toss it in a fire. (By golly, I hope I’m not reading it on my Nook)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Spotlight: Arianna Skye

How Arianna Got Her Voice Back…

It’s no secret that I am a lover of technology—A geek if you will. Way back in the day, I used to spend A LOT of time in chat rooms. One night, about ten years ago, I was on the computer during a thunderstorm. I live dangerously, huh? I noticed that most the people in the room had the name of mythological beasts or deities—including me. I chose the Greek goddess of harvest, Demeter. The overly creative brain of me started firing off “what if” questions. What if the woman was on her computer chatting during an electrical storm. What if she was accidentally sucked into her computer and sent to ancient Greece. What if she was supposed to stop an evil god from destroying the harvests? I laughed that idea off and returned to my nightly chatter.

Back in 2006, I re-discovered my love for writing via Fanlit, a contest sponsored by Avon. Because of the Avon Fanlit competition, I learned tons of things I never knew about writing—

POV, head-hopping, and passive voice to name a few. During this competition, I also discovered something about myself. I was pretty darn funny. And not only did I think I was funny, other people thought I was funny too. But what good was being funny when the book I was trying to write was a very serious historical regency romance? I’m not saying a historical romance can’t be humorous, but the type of snarky humor I have an affinity for doesn’t translate well in the regency time. Regardless, I continued to plug away at my historical. I got about halfway into it before my brain started to yawn. Mr. Muse, the lovely guy that he is (when he’s doing his job), gave me a firm kick in the butt. He kindly reminded me of my days as Demeter. After further brainstorming, it hit me. My heroine wasn’t a Greek goddess. She was Celtic. Heck, she wasn’t even a goddess. She was a—BINGO—an earthbound faerie princess. And that’s how Rhiannon was born. And, much to my delight, she was a sarcastic, witty woman who made me laugh. What a relief! I’d finally found my voice. Thank the gods!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Spring Of Easter by Elyzabeth M. VaLey

Brendan sat up with a gasp. His heart raced, his hands shook and drops of cold sweat rolled down his bare back. He shut his eyes for a moment, trying to hold on to the remnants of his dream. It didn’t work. He passed a hand through his damp hair. He needed some fresh air.

He leaned back against the cottage’s doorway, enjoying the sounds of the woodland creatures at night. The moon emerged from behind a cloud, its light bathing his naked body. Over six feet tall, he had the appearance of a demigod. With firm, well-delineated muscles, his body resembled that of a warrior. In contrast, his long blond hair and green eyes made him look like an angel.

Brendan relaxed. The cool air seemed to wrap around him, soothing his nerves and refreshing his body. He couldn’t remember how long he had been having that same dream. In it, he would be on the verge of making love to a beautiful woman. Suddenly, he would convert into a white rabbit. The conversion always startled him into awakening. However, it didn’t scare him. What made him restless was the painful yearning he felt for the woman.

He shook his head. It didn’t matter. He could never recapture the dream once he woke up. He began to turn around to re-enter his home, when movement at a nearby tree caught his eye. A white rabbit stood barely a few feet away from him. Brendan gaped. Its eyes were blue and full of intelligence. The animal cocked its head to one side, beckoning him. It skipped away and Brendan followed.

The rabbit hurried forward into its den. Brendan threw himself after it, attempting to seize it. Before he was aware of what was happening, he began to fall.

***

The scent of the forest after a refreshing spring rain assaulted his senses. Brendan opened his eyes. He lay atop a bed covered in colorful pine-green sheets. Surprised, he leaned back on his elbows. His jaw dropped.

The woman of his dreams stood at the foot of the bed. Her hair fell in long soft waves over her naked body, creating the illusion of a curtain that barely let him spy bits and pieces of her curvaceous anatomy. As he caught tantalizing glimpses of light curly hair peeking from between shapely thighs and lush breasts with puckered rosy tips, his cock began to rise.

“Welcome, Brendan. I have been waiting for you, my love.” The woman smiled, oblivious to his physical reaction. Brendan peered into her face, searching her intense blue eyes for answers.

“Maia,” he whispered.

“Yes, love, you remember.” She crawled towards him and with long graceful fingers cupped his balls, before closing her hand around his stiff member.

“Do you remember this too?” she asked, bending over to pull his hard shaft into her warm mouth. Brendan fell back against the bed, reveling in the feel of Maia’s velvety mouth aptly licking and sucking him.

Unable to take anymore, Brendan gently lifted her head. He looked into her eyes for an instant before kissing her with fervor. He hugged her to him, enjoying the feel of her silken skin against his hot body. His hands seemed to have a life of their own as they cupped her ass and slid between her legs and into the crevice of her wet folds. Maia mewled and he dipped another finger inside her molten center.

His excitement escalated as she panted into his ear. He needed her. She was wet and craving for him, just like he craved to be inside her.

He turned her over in his embrace, pushing her back against the covers. He nibbled on her lips for a moment before beginning a trail of hungry kisses down her neck and towards her milky white breasts. He groaned in response to Maia’s moans as he took first one nipple and then the other into his mouth and suckled with gusto.

“I need you, Maia.”

“And I you, love.”

Unable to hold back any longer, Brendan thrust into her. Her gasp encouraged him and he pulled out slowly, enticing her to gasp for him again.

Abruptly, an image entered his mind: the answer to a prayer. It was the gift of one god to another. Maia was Spring, a symbol of fertility and love. Her gift and her prayer: a man. Brendan.

He looked at Maia, comprehending.

“You are my wish,” she whispered.

“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” he replied, plunging inside her again.

Maia moaned with passionate abandon. Her nails raked his back, her body arched to meet his. Brendan felt himself lose control. He pushed harder, faster. Maia screamed and pleasure flowed from her body to his as her vaginal walls contracted in spasms.

Another vision assaulted his senses: They sat together, laughing. Maia kissed him and chanted a few words. He turned into a rabbit. Maia giggled and accommodated on her arm the basket filled with colorful eggs. Together they stepped outside to bless the world around them with abundance.

Brendan grunted. Maia entwined her legs around him, pushing him deeper inside her as he found orgasmic release. He collapsed atop her.

She was spring and he was her messenger. His mission: to pick out those that had been good and deserved a blessing from the goddess. For it, he would take the shape of an innocent rabbit, a cute furry animal prolific in breeding.

“No, my love,” Maia whispered.

Brendan met her gaze. She smiled, and her eyes were filled with passion, happiness and love.

“You are not merely a messenger; you are my love, my gift, what keeps me alive.”

Brendan pulled her into his embrace, kissing her gently. She was right and he knew it. They were so much more. They were the essence of spring united at last.


About the Author: Usually shy and quiet, with either a book or notebook nearby, at first sight you might think that Elyzabeth is nothing more than a hard working student. However, at closer inspection, you might discover that behind her serene demeanor she might be concocting an elaborate fantasy of love and desire. http://www.inadreambeyond.blogspot.com

Author Interview: Kelli Wilkins

Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Kelli Wilkins, whose latest book Trust With Hearts will be released April 25 from Amber Quill Press . Kelli is a versatile author, writing not only erotic romance but horror and non-fiction as well. She never actually intended to write romance of any kind, much less erotic romances. She began writing horror short stories and scaring the people in her writing class.

"One day an idea for a story popped into my head and I asked my writing teacher about it. She said, 'That’s a romance!' I asked her how to get rid of it and she told me to write it down. After that, another romance idea came to me, and I wrote that one down, too. Before I knew it, I was writing short romance as well as full-length novels."

Switching genres allows her to explore different plots, writing styles and characters.

"I think it’s good to change things up every once in a while, it keeps the writing fresh," she told me. "Of course, I combined my love of romance and horror into a paranormal romance, Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover."

She wasn't 100% sure what constituted erotica, erotic romance, and porn when she first started writing. She told me that everyone she talked to had a different opinion about it, so she devised her own definitions. I asked her to share them with us.

"I consider ‘erotica’ to be stories that explore a character’s erotic adventures or exploits and contain explicit details – but romance isn’t at the core of the story. An example would be Anne Rice’s “Beauty” books. The reader follows Beauty and the other characters through their sexual adventures, but they’re not involved in romantic relationships.

"I define ‘erotic romance’ as a sexually-charged story that has romance (either M/F or same-sex) as the main focus. To me, an erotic romance needs to have an interesting plot and character development that keeps readers wondering 'What happens next? Will the couple get together? How will the story end?'

"Erotic romance has more (and more detailed!) love scenes than a ‘traditional’ romance. And there are many different ‘heat’ levels to erotic romance. Some are tamer and only hint at what’s going on between the sheets – or as in my book, The Sexy Stranger, the story builds sexual tension as the characters tease and flirt with each other. Some erotic romances (such as The Pauper Prince) include more explicit details and let readers peek in on the sexual activities of the romantic couple, while others (A Midsummer Night’s Delights) are scorching hot and include toys, multiple partners and other sexual acts that might be considered 'taboo' to some readers.

"And porn? I think porn is basically people having sex. Usually there’s no character development, story conflict, or background details. The quickie definition I sometimes use is 'The pizza guy shows up, finds half-naked horny women waiting to pounce on him, they screw, he leaves.' It’s a one-time encounter that doesn’t aim to make readers care about who the characters are – the sole purpose is to show people screwing and… well, we all know the rest."

Kelli generally looks for a unique plot and interesting characters to support that plot in her own fiction.

"When it comes down to the basics, a reader won’t sit through any story (no matter what genre) that isn’t attention-grabbing or that doesn’t have appealing, believable characters," she explained. "Readers like to get to know the characters and identify with them as they have their adventures. Without a solid base, the story will fall flat, regardless of how exciting the love scenes are."

Once she has the story down, she turns the characters loose and lets them have fun.

"When I write love scenes I sort of stand back and let the characters do what comes natural. I generally know how far the scene will go ahead of time, but I let the characters take over and enjoy themselves. Later, when I edit/revise the story, I go back and cut anything that doesn’t work with the scene. I think love scenes have to flow naturally from the plot and the characters. I avoid just plopping them in there for the sake of spicing up a story."

I asked her about the biggest public misconception about erotica.

"I can name several, but I can’t pick just one!" she protested. "Some of the biggest public misconceptions about erotica are: that the stories are mindless scenes of people having sex; that there’s no 'real' plot or characterization; and that they’re 'easy' to write. Other misconceptions are that the authors of erotic romances are basing the love scenes in the books on their own private lives, and that we ‘act out’ the love scenes in our books. Not true! The stories are fiction, not confessionals. And writing good romance is just as difficult and as labor-intensive as writing horror, sci fi, or mystery."

The amount of research she does depends on the story she's writing, she told me. For her historical/fantasy romances like A Most Unusual Princess, The Dark Lord, The Pauper Prince, Dalton's Temptation, and A Midsummer Night's Delights, she did very little research because she was able to world-build and create the settings, backgrounds, costumes, etc.

On the other hand, for her paranormal romance Beauty and the Bigfoot she did a lot of research.

"I went to the library and took out several Bigfoot books. I also watched a few Bigfoot shows on TV. Because I was writing about a Bigfoot expert/fanatic, (Charlie), I had to know everything about Bigfoot that Charlie did (if not more)," she explained. "A lot of the tiny details in the story are authentic – based on the research I did and the actual reported Bigfoot sightings. Knowing these details made it easier to understand the characters and write the story."

Kelli told me that she doesn't like to write something she wouldn't want to read or that would turn her off, so there are a few subjects she wouldn't include in her stories: sexual acts involving bodily functions or grown people wearing diapers and pretending to be babies, among them. "Aside from that," she said, "I have no problem writing about characters taking on multiple partners and/or same sex partners, or even participating in naughty games – as long as it suits the characters and the story. My book, A Midsummer Night’s Delights came close to the erotic romance/porn boundary for me. There’s a chapter that gets pretty intense and the characters go wild having a sexual free-for-all."

"Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to share my wisdom with your readers," she told me. "It’s always fun to answer questions and talk about my stories and the writing process. Everyone’s invited to visit my website to read other interviews, book excerpts, reviews, and more!" http://www.KelliWilkins.com

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Lyncee Shillard

What is….believable?

Creating a believable world for your romance is key, but often the most difficult. While I've never stopped reading a book because the hero has a beard and I'm not a fan of facial hair, I have when the world he is in is too far out there. This isn't saying I don't read paranormals; actually I do and I have written two that will be released this year. What I am saying is, if you're going to have a werewolf, then have a world that supports him. Just like with my female pirate, I couldn't force her into a historical setting without it being a disaster so I created a world she would fit in.

So what makes a world believable? Details. As with every element of writing, details are key. If a writer has a werewolf living in Chicago then the author needs to set it up so I can believe it. I'm not necessarily saying tell me about the stoplight on the corner of Jackson and Carver. How does he roam the street in his wolf form? The streets of Chicago are never deserted so don't go there. I'm willing to give an author a wide path, I mean, I'm accepting the fact there's a werewolf but it has to have solid elements to the world. And a deserted street in Chicago isn't it.

World building isn't just for paranormal or sci-fi romance authors. Every romance needs to happen somewhere and by including a believable world, the reader becomes more invested. While Treasure Hunt takes place in an entirely 'made-up' world, The Gamble takes place on a horse ranch. I included details of the ranch, but also of landscape so the reader knew they were in California.

What have been some your favorite settings? How did the author use it to enhance the romance?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thursday Spotlight: Lyncee Shillard

What is…sexy?

Johnny Deep vs Matthew McConaughey

Jennifer Garner vs Reese Witherspoon

When I critique and come across the word handsome as a beginning description I comment, "Your hero looks like Danny Devito?" And in most cases he doesn't. Handsome, sexy, beautiful, and cute are all generic terms that bring different images to our mind - and no, Danny Devito isn't my definition of handsome. Now, after the character has been described it's fine to use one of these adjectives but before that the reader craves an image.

One comment I receive over and over when questioning the 'handsome' hero - what if my reader doesn't think the character I describe is sexy? I'm not sure if this is a valid thought. Personally, I've never read a description of a hero or heroine and thought, gee he/she is ugly there is no way I can read this book!

But, I have become frustrated when an author has refused to give me a good idea of what a character looks like. Not just the hero or heroine, but important secondary characters. Now unless the mailman is going to play a major part in some scene or throughout the book, I don't need a full description of him, otherwise tell me.

The same with a setting-- don't just tell me the heroine had spent the afternoon making the bedroom an ideal oasis for their first love making. Show me it through descriptions, let me feel the romance, smell the fragrances, and tingle with the same eagerness as the heroine. As I said earlier this week, an author can create a romantic setting just about anywhere so….do it!

Another aspect of sexy that I believe many authors overlook are gestures. The simple kind. Not boxes of candy, or vases of flowers, but doing the dishes or waiting at the bus stop in the rain with an umbrella to walk her home. I mean what woman wouldn't think a guy standing in a downpour waiting to walk her home wasn't sexy?

As with all things I've talked about this week, sexy is as the author makes it. But what are some of the things that contributed to the sexiest scenes you've read? A setting? The hero or heroine? A gesture?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday Spotlight: Lyncee Shillard

What is….a heroine?

A lady in distress? A top-level spy? A woman running from a dark secret? Or the girl next door?

Where a hero needs to fit the plot, a heroine will determine the romance book's storyline. The standard rule of thumb is if multiple point-of-views are use, sixty percent is from the heroine's. So it stands to reason the person doing the most talking will have the most influence on the story.

Often an author will have a heroine in mind and then create a story for her. In Treasure Hunt, I wanted to write about a female pirate. I thought about writing a historical, but decided the restrictions of the time period wouldn't work for my heroine so I created an entire world for her.

The heroine will also determine what type of hero she needs (a good author listens to her heroine and doesn't force a hero on her if that isn't who she's going to love). The heroine will also determine what type of romance setting will work. If she has major allergies, a love scene in a meadow probably isn't going to work. Nonstop sneezing isn't sexy.

So every book needs a real kick-ass heroine, right? Well…sort of. I disagree with the idea every heroine needs to be wonder woman on steroids. I do think, however, she needs to well-defined. By that, I mean she needs to be fully developed, her only weakness can't be her desire for the hero.

Some readers will have certain types of heroine, the spy, the homemaker, or business executive - they prefer, but as with the hero, don't force the story. The best plots are those that allow the characters to develop, grow, and fall in love.

What makes a great heroine for you and why?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday Spotlight: Lyncee Shillard

What is….a hero?

This is, hands down, one of the most discussed topics in the romance - writing world. Should he be dark? Or tormented? Or if he's sensitive will he be viewed as a wimp? What if I make him a strong brooding type, will he be viewed as heartless?

As a writer we're faced with all these questions and so many more. Now a lot will be determined on plot and the effect the author is going for. Some will demand a stronger, less emotional type where some heroines will need a sensitive guy. But nothing can kill a romance book faster than a misplaced hero. Regardless of the great setting and incredibly romantic props, an unsuited hero will make the scene fall flat.

With the latest 'fad' offering shelf after shelf of the dark hero, a writer can often feel pressured into creating a dark hero of her own. A great romance includes a hero who belongs to the plot. He enhances it and makes it real.

Think about the romances that have warmed your toes on a cold winter night. The hero and the plot fit perfectly. Some of mine have included the most surprising hero. Not just the tough guy who now finds himself a dad but an average guy, living an average life, who all of a sudden is forced to climb the hero ladder. He's the one who can make my heart skip a beat….but what makes you swoon? It is probably something else all together. And there is the hurdle facing the romance writer. Creating a hero that will appeal to many readers.

Who have been some of your favorite romance heroes and why?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday Spotlight: Lyncee Shillard

What is……romantic?

Flowers?

Or candy?

Or candlelight?

Or a bubble bath?

Some would say all of the above while others would have their own ideas. In writing romance, there are several unique definitions that a writer must deal with. So - what is….romantic?

Often, the same scene can have a double meaning. For example….

The shrill buzz of the doorbell shattered the silence. Darla glanced at her watch as she sat her book down. Twenty after nine. Who could it be? She stood and walked to the front room. The low rumble of distant thunder echoed in the night air as she opened the door. Michael stood in the pale yellow porch light.

“I thought you were still stuck in Colorado.” Darla's pulse raced as she tripped over the words. “They said all flights were still ground.”

He held out his hand, offering a rectangular box with a green silk bow decorating the top. “It's your birthday. I couldn't miss it. So I rented a car and drove. Here, your favorite chocolates.”

“Oh, Michael,” she stepped outside and into his embrace.

OR - same scene and props but totally different outcome -

The shrill buzz of the doorbell shattered the silence. Darla glanced at her watch as she sat her book down. Twenty after nine. Who could it be? She stood and walked to the front room. The low rumble of distant thunder echoed in the night air as she opened the door. Michael stood in the pale yellow porch light.

Darla's heart skipped a beat, panic surging through her. “What are you doing here?”

He held out his hand, offering a rectangular box with a green silk bow decorating the top. “It's your birthday. I couldn't miss it. Here, your favorite chocolates.”

“No, Michael,” she stepped inside and tried to shut the door, but his fingers stopped it.

While these examples are very basic, they show how the same thing - a box of candy - can mean two entirely different things.

As a romance writer, I realize it's more than a simple prop that makes romance. It's the characters and the setting. I've read great romantic scenes set in places I'd never have thought of as a romantic place yet through skilled writing they were.

What are some of the more 'off-beat' romantic settings you've read?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

New Dat by G. G. Royale

Carla glanced down at her ticket. Her stomach fluttered as she looked at the black and gold graphics, the fleur-de-lis: her first Saints game. How fortunate to be in New Orleans and to be able to splurge on Ticket Exchange! With a content sigh, she climbed the last few stairs to her row.

“Excuse me,” Carla said as she scooted past the people already sitting. Everyone seemed nice, standing for her to pass and offering her wide smiles. She arrived at her seat and glanced at the occupant next to her. As she did, their gazes locked.

“So you’re my angel,” the man said. He stood and offered his hand to her; she took it tentatively. His easy grin and blue eyes drew her in; he reminded her Paul Newman. A very yummy, very ripped Paul Newman. Carla noticed the ropy muscles in his forearms as he shook her hand.

"I’m Carla,” she said.

“Lance,” he said. “Sit down.” He waved at the seat, and Carla sat. “I usually end up with some out-of-towner sitting next to me. Are you cheering for the other team?”

Carla shook her head and explained. She’d come down from Jackson, Mississippi, but she’d just become a Saints fan after years of not caring about football.

“A New Dat,” Lance told her. Carla laughed. Fans of the Saints called themselves “The Who Dat Nation” and new members became “New Dats.”

Carla learned that Lance had held season tickets for ten years. For the first four, his wife had come with him. She got sick, and he tried to sell them and save money by not renewing, but she’d made him promise, from her deathbed, that he would always get these same two seats; they made him happy.

For two seasons, he’d left that seat empty. When the pain subsided, he started selling the ticket, getting used to someone sitting there. He figured once he’d done that, maybe he could move on and find someone to be next to in life too.

The game began, and the roar of the crowd was like a jet engine, if not worse. They couldn’t talk, and at halftime, Lance went for food and drinks.

At the end of the game -- a solid trouncing by the Saints -- Carla turned to Lance, surprising even herself. “Would you like to get dinner with me? My hotel’s only a few blocks away.”

He agreed. While they ate, they talked, and Carla felt that rising in her stomach that that happened when she clicked on multiple levels with someone. It happened rarely.

After, he followed her to her room. She stripped of his Jeremy Shockey jersey and dropped it on the floor, then undid the fly of his jeans and pushed them down his lean hips. He’d told her he worked as a brick layer, and the taut muscles on his body certainly supported this.

She stepped back and stripped off her own Saints T-shirt and pants, hoping Lance liked what he saw as much as she had. She took care of herself, and she watched in delight as his gaze slid down her body and a look of appreciation crossed his face.

Together, they tumbled into the bed, pushing the bedspread to the floor, tossing about pillows. Carla found herself pinned beneath Lance’s naked form. She felt his rigid cock pressed against her thigh. His lips descended to meet hers. Her entire body flushed with heat as they kissed, his tongue slipping past her lips to tag against her own. She opened for him and felt herself flood with moisture for him. She couldn’t remember the last time she had felt this way about a man. She pushed him away only a moment, to search his face and reassure herself. She felt no doubt or apprehension.

Lance said, “I haven’t been with a woman since my wife died.”

“It’s okay.”

Carla didn’t want to stop to ponder the why or how of this meeting. Some were already calling this Saints’ season destiny; maybe this was destiny too. She pulled him back down and kissed him hard, pressing her tender breasts up toward him, wanting to feel every part of him against her.

His lips traveled down her neck to her breasts. He sucked and lapped at one peak, then the other. “I want inside you,” he told her, and Carla wanted nothing more, the consequences be damned.

He spread her legs with his knees, pulled her hips up with strong fingers on her ass, and drove into her. Carla gasped at the feeling. He filled her completely. She wanted it again and again. His cock fit her so perfectly that she couldn’t believe it had taken this long to find it.

She watched his face as he slid in and out of her. The pace had her on edge in no time. Ragged pants came through his gritted teeth. Carla could tell he was close. She lifted her fingers to her breasts and pinched her nipples. Ecstasy shot through her, and she came, her head arching back on the pillow.

Lance cried out his own release, tensing against her, gripping her ass tightly as he held her there.

Afterward, they ordered crawfish etouffee and hot fudge sundaes from room service and lay tangled together on the huge bed, watching ESPN.

The next morning, at the hotel room door, they kissed. “Are you sure you can’t stay longer?” Lance asked. “I’d love to spend the day with you.”

Carla shook her head. “I have an afternoon meeting in Jackson, but will you do me a favor?”

Lance flashed her a huge smile, and Carla felt her heart melt. “Anything.”

“Save that next home-game ticket for me?”

“Baby -- from what I’m feeling right now -- every ticket is yours for as long as you want it.”

Carla leaned forward and kissed him again. “I’ll see you in two weeks then.”

Lance headed down the hall to the elevator, and Carla closed the door. As she entered the shower, she realized she’d be putting a lot of miles on her car this football season. Geaux Saints!

About the Author: G.G. Royale has written erotica for over ten years. Recently, she earned her MFA in creative writing. Her work appears on Web pages and in anthologies, and her first novella, The Lovely Kittengirls of Mew Orleans, released with Loose Id February 16, 2010. Two more books have been contracted.

Author Interview: Barbara J. Hancock

Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Barbara J. Hancock, author of Captured which was released in December by Loose ID.

Barbara's writing career started with fanfic.

"Totally self-indulgent stuff involving Mulder and Scully and Spike and Angel and Buffy and Willow...and me," she told me. "I was always in my early works. Then again, teenagers are notoriously self-centered. I graduated from fanfic into my own worlds and I've never looked back. When I found paranormal romance, I found my heart. These are the stories I dream about. These are the stories that come to me in the shower(or the hot tub) or at the grocery store."

At first, writing was something she did while her babies were napping or when nothing was on television.

"As the babies grew and television became one bad reality show after another, I wrote more," she explained. "The big leap, of course, was submitting what I had written. Scary, that."

She said that she is still kind of in awe of herself for sending that first manuscript out ten years ago.

"I am very fortunate in that I always received encouraging feedback," she said. "It's hard enough to make it past rejection without having to make it past harsh rejection. I give a standing O to everyone who gets up and dusts themselves off to try, try again!"

Silhouette Nocturne rejected one of her full manuscripts, but that rejection led her to write the Nocturne Bites "Wilderness," which was her first successful submission.

No matter what level of heat Barbara is writing, she always starts with characters she cares about.

"That makes a good story," she explained. "A good erotic story develops when the characters I've created need each other...right.down.to.the.bone. My characters' physical needs in an erotic story are tied so closely to their emotional needs that you can't separate one from the other. Do you remember your first crush, your first love? How you needed to eat, drink and breathe that other person or you would die? There's nothing more erotic than that."

She believes the biggest misconception about erotica is that there's something embarrassing about writing or reading it.

"Sex is natural and fun. Of course, it's also often forbidden and secretive, but that only adds spice to the mix."

The "no holds barred" element of paranormal erotica is something she really appreciates. Even though she's never, to her knowledge, had sex with a psychic, werewolf, or vampire, she realizes that an overactive imagination can take writers where research isn't possible.

Barbara told me she writes "heat with heart."

"Sometimes the heat level is red hot. Sometimes it's a slow burn. But it's always there," she told me. "In fact, it was an editor's comments consistently praising the sensuality and tension in my submissions that made me take a look at erotic romance. It seems like a natural fit for me because I love the intensity and the strong focus on characters' needs and desires."

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

She laughed. "This is such a great question! Of course, some of my family reads my books. My husband. My sister. And, yes, even my mother...although I'll be honest and admit that I censor what she's allowed to take a look at! She's an old school Gone with the Wind gal and there's only so much her heart can handle. But I'm proud of my characters and I'm proud of my books. Well, to be honest, there are a few dusty notebooks that contain my first scribbling that I wouldn't even put my goldfish's name on, but I digress.... I'm proud to say, 'I wrote that'. If it makes anyone blush, so be it. If it makes them blush, then buy...huzzah! Whatever my characters' need to reach their happily ever after that is consensual...and doesn't involve goldfish...I'm okay with...more than okay with actually."
<> She does have one "embarrassing sex scene" to share with us.

"It was the first one I ever wrote. I was at a slumber party and a bunch of us decided to write a romance novel. There were lots of heaving bosoms and throbbing members if I recall correctly. Of course, none of us had ever seen a member, throbbing or otherwise and none of us had breasts, but that was beside the point. We were exploring sexuality in a safe way with lots of laughter and popcorn. It was embarrassing but in a good way. There are empowering moments in life that you have to push through embarrassment to get to!"

"If you could entertain a character from a book," I asked, "who would it be and what would the evening be like?"

"I'm gonna have to get my naughty on here and admit that I would love to get my hands on a stalwart upstanding man like Atticus Finch and totally help him lose his inhibitions. That poor man needs a vacation from single fatherhood and fighting for what's right. I'm thinking Atticus Finch in a hot tub with Chocolatinis, baby! Or Mr. Darcy. He's got that ultra-upstanding vibe going on as well. What am I saying? Or? Forget 'or,' make that 'And'! Atticus Finch and Mr. Darcy. Lord, I just shot my concentration for the day."

On a personal note, Barbara told me that while she was pretty happy being herself, there are a lot of people she would like to try on for size for an hour or a day.

"I'm a writer," she said. "I'm always imagining myself in other people's shoes. Of course, if a fairy came along and offered to poof away twenty pounds and a half a dozen wrinkles, I wouldn't say no! (And if that Fairy just happened to look like Johnny Depp I might say, 'Yes! Yes! Yes!')," she admitted.

If she had to pierce a body part, she would choose an eyebrow or nose. Her reason?

"I would only want to go through the pain if it was going to be seen all day, every day. For me, piercing is sexy because it's unconventional, bold and daring. It's not all that bold if it's hidden beneath your clothes."

Her favorite food? Gracier Mint ice cream. She assured me, "That stuff is the nectar of the gods." However, you won't catch her having sushi before dessert. "I don't do cooked fish," she insisted. "No way I'm gonna eat the slimy bastards raw!"

You can keep up with Barbara on her website, http://www.barbarajhancock.com