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Friday, August 31, 2012



Long and Short Reviews welcomes Amy Armstrong, whose latest book Pride and Prejudice, one of the Clandestine Classics from Total-E-Bound is now available. Amy will give one commenter on today's interview a copy of Pride and Prejudice.

"Pride and Prejudice, and indeed all the Clandestine Classics titles have been getting a lot of press recently, and not all of it positive. One of the most frustrating comments I’ve seen is that I just slotted in a couple of sex scenes. This is completely untrue," she assured me. "In order for Elizabeth and Darcy to embark on a sexual relationship, I had to develop the romance in the story so that when they do get together, those scenes fit seamlessly into the existing plot. Yes there are some very steamy scenes in the book, but readers will also find that the sexual tension, and thoughts and feelings of Elizabeth and Darcy have also been developed."

She would love to be able to spend the day with Jane Austen to be able to get her take on the whole Clandestine Classics situation.

"As an author, I’d be incredibly flattered to learn that two hundred years from now my books were so popular that authors were reworking the stories in some way," she told me. "But how would she feel? It would be fascinating to be able to talk to her about what it was like to be a woman in the sixteenth and early seventeenth century. I’d love to know if she - as a writer, felt constricted by convention and what she would do differently if she were alive today. She was an incredible woman that pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable for women in her day and I’d like to think she’d continue to do so now."

Amy's been writing since she asked her parents for a typewriter for Christmas when she was eleven.

"I’d shut myself away in my bedroom for hours making up stories and it’s a passion that has never diminished," she told me. "I first tried my hand at writing romance at the age of nineteen, but it was only a couple of years ago that I decided to seriously pursue becoming published and achieving my dream of writing for a living."

Amy has nine books published, but eight of those are M/M romance published under her pen name of Lavinia Lewis. She has three more under that name that are contracted and due to come out in the next few months. She also has three M/F erotic romance novels that are very close to completion.

"Which is your favorite?" I asked.

"I wouldn’t say I have a favourite, but several are important to me for different reasons. Luke’s Surprise was my first ever published so that book will always be special. My favourite character is Lucas ― one of the leads in Mobsters and Miracles and Pride and Prejudice is also special because it was the most challenging to write."

When Amy's not writing, one of her passions is traveling. When she was younger, she did a lot of backpacking and she's not been able to get the travel bug out of her system.

"Of course, the great thing about being an author is that it doesn’t matter where I am in the world, I can still write," she said.

"Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book," I said. "Where would you most likely want to go?"

"There are several countries I’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t made it to yet. Any South American country would do just nicely. I’d love to go to a carnival in Rio, visit the Angel Falls in Venezuela or follow the Inca trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. India is another country that just calls out to me. But, if my publisher would be kind enough to buy me a Winnebago, I’d happily drive through every state in America. Well, okay forty-eight states. Alaska is way too cold for my liking and I’ve already visited Hawaii, though if they’re feeling generous and want to throw in a luxury cruise, I’d happily go back."

Amy told me that she thinks one reason she enjoys traveling so much is because it's always too cold in her native Britain and rains far too much.

"There’s nothing quite like the feeling of stepping of a plane and having the heat hit you. Bliss!" she said.

"Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?" I wondered. "If so, what do you do about it?"

"My answer to this question would have to be yes and no. Clear as mud? Let me try to explain. I’m never short on story ideas and in fact I have about fifty works in progress at various stages of completion. I do try to concentrate on one or two stories at a time, but as I’m a total pantser, I sometimes reach a point in a story where I have no idea what is going to happen next. And yes, I have been known to stare at my laptop screen in frustration, annoyed that the next part of the story doesn’t magically appear in my mind in flashing neon signs. But I’ve learned that when that happens, the best thing for me to do is to work on something else. Let the original story tick over for a day or two and then go back to it. A little time and distance seems to work wonders on the creative juices. Always have a back up (or several) so that if you do get stuck, you are not wasting your time writing nothing."

Finally, I asked, "What advice would you give a new writer just starting out? "

"My advice would be to study the craft tirelessly. And by that I mean everything from reading books on writing, attending creative writing classes either in person or online and reading books in general, particularly in the genre you are interested in writing yourself. Most writers are also voracious readers. But the important thing when reading I think is to study each sentence closely. Pay attention to how they are constructed, to word choice and punctuation. Maybe find an online critique group that gives you feedback on what you’ve written. But the most important advice I can give is just to write. That might sound obvious, but writing is a skill and is something that can be learned and improved upon. The more you write, the better you will become. "

About the Author:
Amy Armstrong is a Brit that loves chocolate, prosecco, and sunshine. She lives and breathes paranormal romance and urban fantasy, but is also a fan of the classics and pretty much anything else she can get her hands on, including but not limited to thrillers, horror, dark fantasy and young adult fiction. Amy writes stories filled with heart, heat and passion. She loves stories of strong woman, but believes heroes come in all different shapes and sizes. She is happiest when writing or soaking up the sun with a pina colada in one hand and her kindle in the other. Her family and friends are an important part of her life and she loves meeting new people with similar interests. She is a full time writer and loves to hear from readers. She writes M/M romance under the name Lavinia Lewis.

Find Amy online at

When the highly eligible and overtly handsome Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy first arrives in Hertfordshire, Elizabeth Bennet is instantly captivated, but his proud and arrogant manner is at odds with the heated glances he throws her way. Electrifying sexual tension soon leads to an unexpected kiss and Elizabeth’s world is turned upside down.

Misconceptions ensue and judgments abound but the attraction between the young couple endures. Can Elizabeth overlook social convention and give in to her desires for Darcy or will their Pride and Prejudice tear them apart?

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Long and Short Reviews welcomes Rico Lamoureux, whose book in Six Degrees of SeXparation is due out shortly.

He will also be releasing his autobiography, Power of the Pen, in October. He also recently finished a powerful drama that involves the crossing paths of a young suppressed Afghan woman and a Ninja, entitled Bleeding Perseverance that will be out later this year, and he's currently writing an interesting story that explores the balance between madness and brilliance called Starving For Genius.

Rico has been writing since he picked up a pen and started writing when he was 11.

"In seventh grade, I won a school writing contest and got published in the school paper. It was my first real validation that I indeed have a talent for storytelling. Twenty-seven years later, I still feel the magic every time I put pen to paper!" he said. "Occasionally I'll put fingertips to a keyboard, but nothing takes the place of doing it the old-fashioned way."

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

"Pornography is just about the "Wham, Bam, Thank You, Ma’am." No substance at all. In erotica, sex drives the plot forward, as in my book Sex Degrees Of SeXparation. With erotic romance, story and character are the driving forces, as with my drama, Bleeding Perseverance."

I asked him who his favorite erotic author was.

"I hardly ever read erotica and/or erotic romance. Personally, I prefer to not read in the genre I write because I feel in order to stay unique in my writing I shouldn’t fill my brain with other authors' styles of writing, but instead come at it with my own individual voice. I read just about every other genre out there, but in order to stay in alignment with my own personal truth I avoid reading from my own genre."

Writing from his own personal truth is something Rico feels very strongly about, telling me that you can't go wrong that way.

"This doesn’t mean you have to go out and experience every little thing your characters are experiencing," he explained. "It means only you have lived your life, and therefore only you have this unique perspective that can tell stories like no other. So that first element is the most important. To recognize that your individuality is your greatest asset. The other essential element is to be honest with yourself. You’ll know when you’ve produced your best work."

I asked Rico to tell us about his writing space.

"I'm currently on the other side of the world in Manila and find it very difficult to write in such harsh heat," he said. "My writing desk is the most expensive thing I currently won. It's my sanctuary, which currently has a half dozen paperbacks atop it, alongside a few erotic Sailor Moon figurines and my desk lamp."

For the past six or so years, Rico's sleeping schedule centers around his writing.

"Every two to three weeks I’ll go from a day schedule to a night schedule, depending on the time of day my creative juices feel like flowing. So whether I’m waking up at six in the morning or six in the evening, after I eat I have to get straight to the writing. Anything stops me from doing so and my whole day is usually shot! My brain and pen demand to be numero uno before anything else," he said with a laugh.

"What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?" I wondered.

"As a teen I went totally blind in my left eye. Eleven years later, in 2001, my condition spread to my right eye, leaving me near legally blind. But my driven nature doesn’t know how to slow down!"

Finally, I asked him, "What are you passionate about these days? Building a strong foundation for the child my wife and I plan to have in the near future. We both come from nothing, and promised that we would be patient until we could provide the kind of life for our child that neither of us ever had. Thanks to the kindness of my readers, that dream is on the brink of coming true!"

About the Author: Ten years ago Rico Lamoureux left behind everything he ever knew and headed for the other side of the world in the name of love. Never could he have imagined what lay ahead.

Faced with overwhelming obstacles under Third World conditions, he refused to return home without his soul mate and therefore remains among the harsh environment he describes as “the complete opposite from the Land of Opportunity.”

With so many years having passed, Rico’s unwavering American spirit has kept him going strong, now using his passion for storytelling to pave the way towards a better future.

“I’m writing my way back home one pen stroke at a time.”

Find Rico online at

The unleashing of a sexual beast, a sexplorer's discovery of a lifetime, and the cherishing of a pristine innocent. Add this to an erogenous tale of curiosity in "The Pink French" and the quenching of a lustful thirst in "Business Class" and you've got five salacious short stories linked by six passionate characters in Six Degrees of SeXparation.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012



Long and Short Reviews welcomes Marie Sexton, whose latest book Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea , is part of the Clandestine Classics collection from Total-E-Bound. She will give away a download of it to one random commenter on today's interview.

Marie told me that she believes that Jules Verne had it in his head all along that Pierre was in love with Ned in the original Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, so it was set up perfectly for this new series.

"If you read the original, you’ll see what I mean. Pierre gushes about Ned all the time - how he’s so strong and rugged, with his mighty harpoon and his piercing gaze," she said. "All I did was open the bedroom door."

Marie started writing in the summer of 2009 and had her first book published in January 2010. She's since written about thirteen books; her favorites among them tend to change.

"I love the A to Z series because Angelo is so much a part of my heart. I love Between Sinners and Saints for very personal reasons. I also love the Oestend series, because I think it’s unique. That series is by far my most ambitious work," she explained.

She has also just stared a story called Release that she is very excited about.

"It’s a cyberpunk about a whore and a slave. It’s very dark. Very kinky. Almost disturbing," she told me. "It’s unlike anything I’ve ever written."

"What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?" I wondered.

"Oh, this is such a hard question, but so fun!" she exclaimed. "First (going way back), John D. Fitzgerald. I think his Great Brain books are what taught me to love a quirky, sometimes unreliable, first person narrator.

"Alan Dean Foster. I can’t pinpoint exactly how, but I can say that I spent my early teen years reading everything by him I could get my hands on.

"JK Rowling, who reinforced for me the idea that a huge, sweeping tale can be told from a single point of view. (She strays a tiny bit, but not very damn much!)

"And Sarah Monette, because every single thing I do, I hold up next to Melusine and The Virtu (and I always come up short)."

Marie was born in Evanston, Wyoming, and spent the first eleven years of her life there.

"There’s a line in one of my favorite movies that goes something like this: 'Every writer has a conflicted relationship with the town he grew up in.' That’s definitely true for me," she said. "It’s sort of a gross little truck stop town, lots of drug traffic (I think?) and more adult arcades per capita than anyplace else I’ve ever seen, but it somehow still represents innocence to me. It’s a strange juxtaposition."

In high school, Marie told me she mostly hung out with the burnouts and the rejects.

"I was in the advanced classes in most subjects, so I had a lot of friends who were brainy, but I wouldn’t classify them as nerds. We were the drifters, I think. We were the folks who weren’t cool enough to fit in with the preps, who didn’t go to any graduation parties because we had jobs, and who ditched the school pep rallies to smoke in the parking lot."

"What was the scariest moment of your life?" I asked.

"The moment I realized I’d have to reveal to my Mormon family that I was writing gay romance. Actually, they took it very well. All except for my mother, that is. She burst into tears."

I asked Marie about the best fan letter she'd ever received.

"I had one amazing letter from a young man who had just read Promises and was trying to decide if he could come out to his mother or not. I’ve also received some truly touching letters about Between Sinners and Saints. Many of them are from Mormons or people who were raised Mormon, and a decent number were from Christians of other denominations, but all of them have thanked me for being fair to the religious side of the story and for not taking the easy way out and making religion = bad. There are plenty of books in my genre that turn religion into the antagonist, but that wasn’t where I wanted to go. Levi’s family are wonderful people. They’re real, compassionate people who love each other very much. They just happen to have this point of contention over Levi’s sexual orientation."

"Could you ever co-author a book with someone?" I wondered. "If so, who would you choose, and what would you write?"

"Funny you should ask!" She laughed. "Actually, I have two books coming out soon that were co-written with my good friend Heidi Cullinan. They’re both contemporaries. First, there’s Second Hand, which I started and she finished. This is part of the Tucker Springs series, which also includes LA Witt. We also have a book called Family Man, which we started a year and a half ago and finally finished. We don’t know yet who will publish it, but with any luck, it will be available in early 2013. Also, my good friend Ethan Stone has been trying to talk me into writing a book with him. Right now, we both have other projects going, but it’s something we’re both keeping in mind."

"When you aren't writing, what do you like to do?" I asked.

"I save puppies and feed the homeless." She paused for a long second. "Okay. Not really. Mostly, I chase my 8-year old and sit on my ass."

Finally, I asked her, "What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?"

"Writing is like parenting - read every single book you can find on the subject, and then throw them all away. Take what works and forget the rest. There are a lot of people out there who claim to know The Way, but the only real right way is the way that ends in a finished book."

About the Author:
Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.

You can get all of her announcements and updates on your phone with her free app for iPhone or Android.

Professor Pierre Aronnax, world-renowned Naturalist, is part of an elite team of men commissioned to investigate a series of attacks on international shipping. Are the attacks the work of some ancient sea monster, or is this “monster” actually a manmade vessel? No one is certain, but either way, Pierre’s assignment is the same: find it and destroy it.

The hunt soon becomes tedious, and Pierre is distracted by Ned Land, a sexy and temperamental harpooner who has his sites set on the Professor. The two begin a passionate affair, but an encounter with the creature they seek changes everything.

Professor Aronnax, Ned Land, and their friend Conseil find themselves held hostage aboard The Nautilus, a secret submarine helmed by the mysterious Captain Nemo. For Pierre, life on The Nautilus is ideal. He spends his days studying the sea’s wonders, and his nights with Ned, discovering a passion he’s never known. But how long can it last? Captain Nemo is reckless, and Ned is determined to escape. Caught between two charismatic men and the opportunity of a lifetime, Pierre will have to choose: leave The Nautilus, or lose the man he loves forever?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Win during our 5th Anniversary Party!

We're celebrating our 5th Anniversary with a huge party -- where you can win $100 Amazon GC, $50 Amazon GC, and hundreds of smaller prizes:  books, $5 Amazon GCs and more!

Thursday, August 23, 2012



Long and Short Reviews welcomes Michael Mandrake, one of the three pseudonyms of Sharita Lira, whose latest novella, Vertigo, is available from Sizzler Editions. Michael will give one commenter on today's interview a download of Under the Gun.

I asked Sharita to tell us about her pseudonyms.

"I have three of them and I enjoy them all. BL has been with me the longest. Comes from my days as a goth girl. Michael I created about 2 years ago when I thought I needed a male name to write m/m romance and Rawiya means storyteller. It’s perfect since she’s long-winded and likes to bring out more romance in her characters than the other two."

Between the three muses, Sharita has thirteen sole author books. Her favorite so far is a book her fem pseudo, Rawiya, wrote called Smooth Like Latte.

"It’s an interracial romance like Under the Gun but I love the two men in it because they’re very emotional," she said.

Michael actually started writing short erotica in his late teens, then moved on to fanfiction. He received good comments from the writers list he belonged to and from his peers and that moved him to continue writing. He's been writing professionally for almost two years.

For No Boundaries Press, Under the Gun is a series, so Michael will be starting the next book in that series shortly.

"Camdyn and Malik are getting quite antsy," he told me.

One of the hardest parts of writing for this author is showing versus telling. He considers it one of the most important elements of good writing and admitted that it's something he still struggles with. He also agonizes of the endings of his books and often wonders if he finished the story too quickly.

The muses write at the kitchen table.

"We don’t have a lot of space in my home. I’d love to have a corner somewhere to myself with some quiet, hopefully sooner than later," Sharita said.

A bit of both plotter and pantser, Michael does a character arc and a short bio, but doesn't do an extensive outline, preferring instead to let the story flow freely.

One thing Sharita would do differently on her journey to being published is she would have a beta reader from the beginning.

"The books did okay but I have noticed how much better I’ve gotten by having someone to read the book before it goes to the publisher."

Sharita told me she'll always prefer print, because she loves the feel of a book, but she can't argue with being able to hold several books on her Kindle Fire. In fact, her Kindle Fire is one of the five modern conveniences she would want to have with her if she were stranded on a desert island. The others are her mp3, a shower, toilet, and refrigerator.

"Do I have a home?" she asked, laughing. "Surely hope so!"

One of her favorite characters is Nathan from My Lieutenant written by her BLMorticia pseudonym. "He's snarky, a smart ass, and very handsome," she explained.

"What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?" I asked.

"Stay with it and don’t get discouraged. Listen to your editors, fellow authors, and betas." About the Author: Michael Mandrake is the author of several novellas including his latest, Vertigo from Sizzler Editions. His next books, True Meaning 2: The Complete Portrait and Under the Gun the Series from No Boundaries Press are due out in 2012. He also blogs at Wicked Muse Society for kicks. To find out more please visit

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Camdyn Hardy is a former cop who has his own private investigator business. Due to a misunderstanding from a client, he gets into an argument with his lover Tay. Right after, they breakup Camdyn is left alone to think about his future as a PI and his love life.

Malik Day was recently discharged under the DADT policy and is looking to get his life on track The main reason he joined was because he dreamed of being a ranking officer. Now that it’s been taken away, he desires to start his life anew and find someone to share it with.

After two weeks the men meet at a shooting range and find out they have a lot in common. Once they engage in a one on one match, they proceed to a bar to have drinks and get to know one another better. They both discover their affinity for guns as well as Camdyn’s need for a new partner at Camdyn & Associates. Malik is intrigued but afraid to ask him and decides to wait till they are closer. Camdyn is excited about this prospect as well but waits for Malik to say the word. Finally, in an erotic encounter, true feelings are revealed.

In subsequent books, the story continues where the twosome begin their work and love relationship. Together they’ll take on cases investigating cheating husbands or wives, companies with defector employees all the while trying to maintain their newfound commitment to one another as well as having a little fun in the process.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012



Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kharisma Rhayne, whose newest book Knowing Thyne is available. One lucky commenter will win a download of Knowing Thyne, a ménage, and one will win a copy of Bound by Temptation, a m/m romance.

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

"I think everyone has their own taste when it comes to this and there’s such a fine line between porn and erotica that it’s almost a 'why bother' with me. I don’t even argue it out anymore. One person’s porn is another person’s erotica and no matter what you call mine, I’m just happy you read it. For me, my shorts are erotica. There’s not a lot of romantic build up. They’re about the encounter itself. My longer reads are erotic romance (to me anyway) as they have the explicit sex but the characters are in love or working their way to it…so there’s caring, protection and more to what the two people having sex share." For it to be a good erotic story for Kharisma, especially on the longer works, it needs to have substantial characters—she needs to be able to pull all the sex out of her longer works and still feel like she has a good read.

"If I can’t do that…I’ll work on it until I can," she told me.

Kharisma has been writing since she was in junior high (not that she's willing to share those writings with anyone). She read Hamlet and thought she could write it better. She read Jane Eyre and thought she could write it better. During junior high and high school, she rewrote some of the classics.

"I love the classics," she assured me. "I've actually attained permission to do sequels to several well-known books (none mentioned here), but they will take years to write to compare with the original authors and tons of research."

As she got older, she would see movies and television shows and thought she could write them better.

"Translated to: I could get the exact ending I wanted. So, I picked up some paper and started writing again. I had never planned to try to publish any of it, but one thing lead to another."

"Do you ever suffer from writer's block?" I asked.

"Yes. I’ve read over and over again that there is no such thing. But, I would swear there is. Sometimes I really struggle. So far my secret has been to make sure I have multiple manuscripts going at once. If I hit a road block on one, I shrug it off and select another to continue writing on."

One of the projects she's working on is the sequel to her ménage Knowing Thyne. The title for the new books is Having Thyne.

"It was a surprise as Having Thyne was only supposed to be one short read and I was done with ménage. I’m also working on my Native American Romance Trilogy, two different Highlander series and a Viking Series (all are erotic romance). I have more than that…but I won’t keep everyone reading. They’re all 'teased' on my blog."

She told me she doesn't consider herself a writer---that may come after she's sold a million copies of something. She doesn't have fans; she has friends who enjoy her stories, and she tries to chat and get to know them.

"I’m not sure I’ll ever change. I write because I enjoy it. I love sharing a story. But I’m still just me," she said.

She admitted that her writing space is a disaster.

"It’s always cluttered and I’m always losing brilliant ideas—well, they were to me," she told me with a smile. "I do have a collection of dry erase boards as well and if anyone ever came along with a spray bottle…I’d have to bury them in my backyard. My boards are everything. I keep track of ideas, plots, characters, what they look like (don’t you hate it when someone starts out with green eyes and then ends up with blue?). I always have an iced coffee or Pepsi within arm’s reach as well as my cell phone, an external drive and several USB drives."

The hardest part of writing for her is her family—she's a mom 24/7 and feels guilty if she has a deadline. She also needs complete silence to write, so often she finds herself writing at 2 AM when nobody needs her.

"What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your books?" I wondered.

"I don’t seem to run out of ideas. I thought that I’d have a few ideas and then just burn out. Just sort of fade out of writing and publishing. However, the issue really has turned into likely never living long enough to write all the books that I have ideas for."

She is very much a pantser—so much so that she told me, "It's not even funny. I never have a clue. Something will come to me…like…'Oh, how about a serial killer' – then I’m just writing. I have no idea what I want this killer to be like, no idea what kind of life they’ll have, who will they kill, what will the pattern be…I just write and somehow, eventually…it just all manages to be typed. I tried making outlines and it was awful. I mean – AWFUL. I stared at the paper…I drew a picture…I stared at the paper. Before I knew it…I’d killed 3 hours and have some silly three dimensional drawing of a box and not a word of anything about writing. I gave up. We are what we are. I just sit and type and go where it leads me."

Finally, I asked, "What research books do you recommend for authors starting out in writing erotica?" "I suggest hands on practice as much as possible. And I’m not trying to be silly. Honest. It’s the best way to be able to describe how your characters are feeling. Find out exact thoughts from your partner too. Not only does it make your book better, but you’ll find it does a lot for your relationship too. It’s a win/win." About the Author:
Ten years ago, Kharisma traded in snow, ice and tornadoes for sun, heat, sand and mountains. She now lives in beautiful Arizona with her husband, 4 kids & 5 rescue dogs. Her love for nature and animals is well known and she gets to indulge it in her new home with wolves, coyotes, snakes, and various other creatures as her nearest neighbors. Living in the middle of nowhere is something she wouldn’t change for the world.

Dabbling in writing through Junior High and High School, Kharisma officially got her start writing LGBT, BDSM and erotica. Never one to slow down, she started writing several additional genres including crime, medical, historical and paranormal. Her latest adventure is a dark horror.

When you pick up one of her books, she wants you to walk away turned on and inspired! Come take a stroll into Kharisma’s worlds of ecstasy, love, adventure and fear.

Find Kharisma online at


It's Thyne & Adison's 5th wedding anniversary.

Adison has always known that Thyne had an interest in men. She could tell by the way he looked at them. Rather than be offended when he finally told her three years into their marriage, she found it arousing. Now, on their little getaway for their 5th anniversary, Adison wants to make things memorable for her husband. She wants to continue their great sex life and also wants to watch him with another man--hoping that maybe, in the end, he'll let her join in with them.

Monday, August 20, 2012



Long and Short Reviews welcomes Rachel Leigh whose latest book Hot Summer Sands has just been released. Rachel is giving one lucky commenter a download of any of her books.

I asked Rachel if she used a pseudonym.

"Yes – It is my real first name but the ‘Leigh’ came from my husband’s middle name of ‘Lee’. I wanted to use his first name but it just didn’t seem to fit. The ‘Rachel’ had to stay so I didn’t ignore people who called out to me at conferences or writers’ groups," she said with a laugh.

Rachel also writes under another name so at any one time she has a book under submission, one being edited, and one being promoted. She loves being busy and having different things to work on. She told me that she's fortunate enough to be at home full time, so she works while the kids are at school. Her work day starts at 9 AM and she works through lunch until 2:30 when it's time to pick up the kids. Her black Lab gets a walk sometime in there. Once the kids come home, she concentrates on the house and family.

She seldom works at a desk, finding it hard to concentrate.

"I like to be relaxed and comfortable and have access to a window for a lot of thought-induced staring," she said. "More often than not I write either with my laptop on the sofa or in the conservatory. My black Labrador will be right beside me snoring and fidgeting."

Her conservatory is known as "Mom's room." It's bright and airy, decorated with cream sofas and teal cushions and rug. Dried flowers, ornaments, and candles add extra color, while big coffee table books and magazines give it a relaxing atmosphere. It is also her favorite place to read.

Rachel always wanted to be a writer, even though she didn't know in what capacity.

"When I started reading Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven series, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. From there I read Sweet Dreams books and on it went until today where I read anything and everything. At about eleven I thought I wanted to be a journalist but real life took over and it wasn’t until my youngest daughter was at school that I got serious about my career."

Rachel is currently working on her fourth novella which is set in England in the glamourous, scandalous world of British show jumping. Things heat up between a sexy, ambitious journalist and the target of her next story—the mysterious son of an infamous show jumping family.

She is also playing with the idea of writing a historical erotic romance series next.

"So far I have only written contemporary stories but the idea of a group of sisters in Victorian England or maybe the ‘upstairs/downstairs’ goings on in an upper class country estate/manor house in Georgian Bath…Yep, I definitely have some ideas percolating in the ol’ brain."

And, that's how she develops her stories--she will have the germ of an idea or maybe a line of dialogue from a hero or heroine with no of idea of who they are.

"I tend to write the first draft completely on instinct and then go back and see what I have to work with on draft two," she told me. "More often than not, the story is not half as bad as I expected and there is often structure and character growth I didn’t even realized had evolved. Writing gets easier the more you practice – promise!"

"Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?" I asked. "If so, what do you do about it?"

"No, I don’t believe in writer’s block – of course, every author gets stuck. In most cases, with every story there comes a point that a writer thinks ‘what next?’ but you don’t allow yourself to stop. My advice is to write straight through it. That’s what second, third and fourth drafts are there for. A blank page can’t be edited!"

Rachel admitted that titles are her nemesis—she's terrible at them.

"Just once I would love a title to jump out at me but they never do. So far, each of my working titles have been quickly discarded and my wonderful editor has found the perfect fit instead," she said with a laugh.

"What is your favorite food?" I asked.

"I love the richness of Italian foods – anything from lasagna to pollo pesto to ravioli, all washed down with Italian white wine. Would you believe I’ve never been to Italy?? If I like Italian food in the UK, lord only knows how good it is there! Hubby and I are planning a city break to Rome in June 2013 – can’t wait."

Rachel thinks that, for erotic romance, ebooks works better.

"Even in this day and age of internet, Ipads and smartphones, people are still conscious of reading erotic fiction in public. Ebooks take away the embarrassment and give readers the freedom to enjoy stories on the train, bus or plane. Three cheers for ebooks!"

"What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?" I wondered.

"That I’m a stay-at-home mum and for the most part spend my time alone, indoors. I’m a nervous, introvert person…until I have a glass of wine or two and then my friends will say I’m the life and soul of the party." She winked. "Yes, the hangovers are a killer!"

Rachel told me that she can't get enough of US crime dramas—she loves Bones, Rizzoli & Isles, and Castle. She also enjoys British historical dramas such as Downton Abbeyand Larkrise to Candleford.

"In fact, I watch far too much TV when I should be writing," she admitted.

"What is a talent you wish you had, but don't?" I asked.

"To keep a clean house – from my perspective that is a talent!" She laughed. "I have no idea how some of my friends do it. I walk into their houses and it’s like I’ve stepped into a show home. I just do not enjoy household chores enough to make them a priority. My house is tidish but by no means ‘shines’ – I suppose you could pretty much guess a writer lives there."

Finally, I asked, "What advice would you give an author who wants to write erotica?"

"A great research book to start is with Shoshanna Evers' How To Write Hot Sex – this is a collection of ‘best advice’ snippets from published erotic romance authors with examples of some great scenes for an aspiring writer to study," she told me. "Write with a clear thought in mind that your mother/grandmother/neighbor is never going to read it. Your internal editor will hold you back if you think of your story being discussed over Sunday lunch. Everyone enjoys sex, it’s nothing to be afraid of – it’s a romantic and wonderfully intimate thing. Write it with love!"

About the Author:
Rachel Leigh lives in the UK and is married to her own sexy hero. With three erotic romance novellas published and numerous short stories in UK national magazines, Rachel loves her job. Her next novella is about two Brits getting feisty and competitive amidst the show jumping arena in the beautiful area of the Cotswolds, England. There will be fireworks!

When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, watching American TV dramas. running around after her two daughters….or playing with her husband.

Find Rachel online at
Twitter: rachelwriter

Chef Michelle Hutton flees her controlling mother in the UK for the sun and freedom of Greece, longing for a new beginning and maybe just a bit of Zante’s local heat. Sexy, pro-bono lawyer Sam Clarke might just be the one to teach her to let go. He's sexy, capable, and totally in control. And too damn hard to resist.

Sam Clarke and his best friend had once been the baddest boys to hit the local party scene— sex, booze, and more sex—until his friend is killed. Sam turned his back on the blatant sexuality of the island years ago, but can’t resist Michelle’s desire to bask in the sun and explore the need that grows between them.

Friday, August 10, 2012



Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Trained for Seduction. Long and Short Reviews welcomes Mia Downing whose latest release Trained for Seduction has just been released.

The hero, Chase Sanders, is a smart, sexy guy who is not turned on by the fact that the heroine, Kate Wells, is a blonde bombshell. However, he is attracted to her 170 I.Q.—so he spends the book finding ways to make her talk his version of dirty to him—chemical names for explosive chemicals, lists of obscure gun facts, and more.

"It made him so different and unique that I had a blast finding things to turn him on and it’s erotic romance, so she has a lot of smart things to say," Mia told me with a laugh.

I asked her if Mia was her real name.

"Mia Downing is a pen name, and my editor gave it to me. I was fresh out of ideas, and she said, 'I think Mia Downing would be perfect for you.' And since she names everything else I do (like my books, because my titles really suck pickles) I took it."

Mia started writing in fourth grade because she hated the way Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH ended.

"I wanted a sequel because I didn’t like the fact that those rats who could talk were off in a valley, and we didn’t know which rats lived, and why couldn’t the mice visit? So they visited, and it was awesome. I wrote 50 pages of story in pencil in a notebook. It was probably horrible, but I was hooked then," she explained.

In creative writing in college, she wrote stories that "made people argue like a bad Jerry Springer show," she told me.

"They didn’t like that my chain-smoking heroine sat with a gun and contemplated her sorry life while waited to murder her drug-dealing, cheating, flea-bag husband. Why didn’t she get help, why was murder her only solution? I actually left to have a cigarette in the cafeteria (it was cool to do so then) and I came back and they were STILL fighting. I think I got an A, but more importantly, I learned that good writing will make people have strong feelings, both good and bad.

"I got into erotic romance because I liked the money, and the idea that it was just words, written for money, and I wouldn’t care about the characters or subject matter. How stupid was I? I love my smutty characters, and I think they actually have more levels of depth than other characters I’ve written because there’s no ceiling on what they can feel or how they need to show it. I also like the money," she admitted with a grin.

"What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?" I wondered.

"Good dialogue. I want the snappy back and forth between characters that entertains and enlightens, but serves to move the story forward. I also want depth, and conversations that will take place in anyone’s life if they were in the same shoes. The last part I like is dialogue that sounds like the character. There’s nothing worse than a book where everyone sounds alike, or a series that has heroes that all sound alike. It’s important they be different."

Mia has an interested way to make sure all her characters do sound different. She writes all her scenes in dialogue, with no tags (he said, she said). Then she puts the scene away for a while. Then she goes back and sees if she can tell which character is speaking. She will add in tags when the conversation isn't clear and, also, add in the thoughts needed to be heard by the character with the most at stake.

"James Frey has great exercises in his how to write books that help authors develop great dialogue. I think it helped me!" she said.

Mia has recently finished a male/male erotic romance that she's excited about.

"I never intended to write m/m, said I would never do it, thought it was out of my comfort zone, and then my editor asked me to write her something to fill a spot. I dragged my feet but then saw it as a challenge, sort of like the tough guy on the playground saying you’re chicken. I don’t back down from a challenge I can win, so I jumped. It doesn’t have a title at the moment, so you’ll have to check in with the blog and see what it will be christened," she said. "The story is about Jordan, who has inherited half of an island paradise and a business partner, Ryan, both guys around thirty. Jordan wants to sell, Ryan can’t afford to buy his share and fears developers will ruin everything that is good about his island. In the midst of it all, the two are mourning the loss of a mutual friend and loved one, and he’s the one who brought them together. This story is very hot but very conflicted and hopefully deep. My test reader cried. We’ll see if my editor cries, too. That’s always a good gauge of writing. If your stoic editor cries at the sad stuff and squirms in a good way when the characters get busy, then you are doing something right. I wrote this story during an interesting time, since I had just lost my real job during the sale of the business, so I needed a huge challenge. I kept chanting, write faster, and got through the stress. Interestingly enough, I started the week before I found out I was losing my job, and finished my last day of work. So it’s full of sadness and conflict, because I was sad and conflicted in a different way."

I asked her, "How do you come up with the titles to your books?"

"Lots of tequila, a dart board and those magnets with words on them that you can string together and make poems. None of these are used together. Well, the tequila is used with everything. Tossing darts at choices seems to be a good solution, sober or not. The magnets don’t seem to stick to the dart board, so I put those on the fridge and play with them when I get lemons for the tequila shots." She then admitted, "Actually, in all truthfulness, my esteemed editor names them all. Exceeding Boundaries was something else two times before we hit that name. Spy Games: Trained for Seduction was hard to name, and it had a different name, too. Finally, I got really smart and just stopped trying to title my books and started to send them in with the character’s name on the file. Jake’s book, Spy Games: Lethal Limits, was submitted as Jake. The new m/m is going by Jordan at this point. I did name Spy Games: Endgame, and I haven’t convinced my editor to let me keep the title yet. I want this title something fierce, enough to fly to her house and clean it, and not the ‘sweep the dirt under the rug’ version of clean, either. I don’t like to clean, and I think her house is as messy as mine, because she’s always working. But I’d go forth and clean. Endgame has to do with Charlotte waiting for final mission, a suicide mission where she will take down the bad men that took everything from her. Endgame is a stage in chess where you are setting the pieces for the final run to checkmate. Charlotte wants her endgame pieces to move fast and furious until she meets her hero, Aaron. Then she can’t seem to get the pieces to slow down!"

Finally, I asked, "What advice would you give an author who wants to write erotica?"

"Read the genre, but then write what you’re comfortable with. For example, there are many stories that are rated as wonderful that I just don’t relate with, like infidelity. I just don’t find cheating on your lover to be with the hero/heroine of a book to be acceptable. Therefore, writing to that market wouldn’t work for me. By reading the genre, I know what people expect, what level of heat I’m comfortable with, and what subject material interests me the most."

About the Author: Mia Downing started creating heroes at age four, but her heroes then rode ponies to rescue the princess, and only kissed her on the cheek. Today, Mia's heroes still rescue princesses, but the price of their toys and the expertise of their seduction leads to a lot more than a peck on the cheek. When Mia isn't busy creating new stories for her readers she fills in as an underwear model for a prestigious lingerie company. She also lives in CT with her family, and enjoys horses and knitting.

Emma Walters didn't choose to be a spy, but when her crazy father was caught selling bombs to the wrong people, she was given a choice--become a spy or rot in jail. Her exciting new life as agent Kate Wells becomes more so when she discovers her new boss is the agent--undercover and investigating her father at the time--who took her to third base. Emma is already in half in love with the dark and dangerous Chase Sanders. Kate wants nothing more than for him to finish what he started, but he's the devil incarnate. And one doesn't make deals or fall in love with the devil.

If someone had told Chase he'd fall in love with a certain virgin when he was on his last mission, he would have shot them dead, sniper style. She was nothing more than collateral damage, damn it. But watching the sexy new spy morph into a bombshell killing machine is too much to bear. So when the powers that be command him to train her in the art of seduction for her first--and possibly last--mission, he's scared witless. Making love to Kate means preparing her for sex with another man.

Somehow, Chase has to find a way to get Kate in--and out--of her mission without dying. And without falling in love.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Newbie reached amazon bestseller lists. You can too!
JoAnne Kenrick

When I wrote Sweet Irish Kiss, I had no idea I had a bestseller on my hands. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I was taking a gamble at adding rich Irish brogues and cockney accents to help readers grasp the feel for the characters, their heritage, and the setting of the stories in Bell's Irish Pub. I loved the sound of the new 1NS Decadent Publishing series which was brand new when I wrote Sweet Irish Kiss, and I wanted to contribute a very Irish story (you can blame Colin Farrell for that, I do..all the time!). Now, the series is well established and enjoying great success.

I believed in my story, and my 'smooth as Irish cream' hero and owner of Bell's Irish Pub in Soho, London, and enlisted the help of Sizzling Book Tours to help me get the word out with a blog tour.

I enjoyed better sales than my first two books, and hit a few genre bestselller lists on All Romance and Bookstrand. Exciting as that was, it didn't equate to a WOW royalty check.

But reviewers and readers were LOVING it. The story garnered some fantastic review blurbs. Panty buncher was, and I think always will be, a favorite! But word was in. Super hot and loved the Irish brogue. YEAY! This was a major author milestone for me.


I had to pick up those sales. I knew I had a wonderful story, and it just saddened me that people who might enjoy it just weren't finding it in the sea of ebooks.

St Patrick's Day was coming, and I presented an idea to my publisher. A free promotion for the holiday. I'm uber lucky to be with a publisher who listens when their authors have 'out of the box' ideas. Not only did they listen to me, but they agreed.

And so it happened. Myself and my publisher would take a loss while we ran a free promotional period. I know. This is a tool many authors use all the time to boost their sales. But as a new author, I couldn't really count on that being the case for me as well. At the very least, though, it would help get my name out there for future books, right?

I couldn't count on the Amazon buzz alone. Which 'newbie author with a smaller publisher' can?

So..what did I do that may or may not have had an affect on the huge jump in sales? That may or may not work for everyone.

Here's the EASY TO DO list broken down in easy to read format and quick reference.

1. Paid advertising at All Romance. Their WildFire newsletter gets exposure and it's just $25 for each book cover. Search for other 'cheap but widespread' advertising options. Many book blogs have great promotional tools for you.

2. Hire (yes HIRE) someone to run a book blog blitz for you. By hiring someone else, not only are you freeing up your own time to write more (they say best way to push up sales is to release more books!) but you also tap into a fresh set of blogs and readers rather than using your own and perhaps over used resources.

3. Utilize Romance Reviews FREE promo service. Save up those headline credits you get by placing their banner on your blog and shoot one out every couple of days to promote your discount, freebie, or holiday related book.

4. Facebook reader groups -- not just to pimp but to chatter with readers. Talk...a lot! Be misses (or mister) jibber-jabber with those readers. Get to know them. Let them get to know you.

5. Talking of Facebook, when you are pimping you need more than links! PICTURES are more likely to be shared with more of your friends/followers. So make up some bright posters promoting your book/promotion. Flashing words are even better. They don't need to be all fancy-schamncy. Plain is better. Bright big wording and colorful clipart. You'll be surprised at how easy yet effective that promo tip can be. TIP: Photobucket has a wicked photo editor so no software is required to get an eye-catching online poster.

6. Got a book trailer or bookish videos? If the answer is no, then you've just left out thousands of book vloggers and readers. YouTube has a huge book community. Go get some book videos of your own and comment on other peoples bookish videos..often. Not engaging in YouTube land when you have book videos of your own is like having a twitter account and not using it in my opinion.

7. Twitter. Don't just spout promo shout-outs. Let your followers get to know you. But when you are doing shout-outs, include hashtags such as booktrailer bookworm freebiekindle cheapkindlebook, tagitdaily, or your book genre like paranormalromance or pararom etc... Then go reading other posts hashtagged book related. Get chatting with fellow bookworms. That may not get you direct sales, but it will grow your twitter follower number and perhaps result in sales down the road.

8. Yahoo reader groups. They are hounded with promo posts. It gets super crazy in those email loops. But if you rustle up a SHARP and QUICK signature for the book you are pushing or a backlisteer, and add a direct link to your Amazon buy page, you'll be surprised what just responding to some of those millions of promo posts can do for your own sales.

9. 'People who bought this also bought' section; go buy your book and grab some of the books showing up on your book page as others folks have bought as well as yours. Build the connections and watch your book being recommended on other book pages more and more often.

10. Amazon tags matter. Choose them wisely and get your bookish, reader, and author friends to tag your books. The more ticks a tag has, the more it helps your book show up in book searches. For example; IRISH ROMANCE. Sweet Irish Kiss was number 30 last I looked. That means I'm on the second page when someone searches for an Irish Romance. It wouldn't be there if not for all the awesome people who helped put it there. You need your book showing up in those book 'term' searches also. And that is a highly effective way to push your book up to the top of those searches.

11. HUGE blog hops. I took part in a few. Romance at Random does some from time to time, which always bring in great traffic to my contribution to it. And the Blog Hop Spot is great, too.

FREE is a powerful word. If you've got a free promotion, you can promote it to the max with little effort. For those pushing a new release with no price reduction, that one liner is your only chance at sounding enticing. SELL THAT BABY!!! Your baby. My latest promo discovery is Author Newsletters. It's a direct way to reach readers directly interested in hearing about YOUR book release news. Tiny Letter and MailChimp are FREE newsletter services and are super easy to use. And my biggest most important tip is... Using Facebook or Goodreads event feature for a book release date and sending it to everyone on your follower/friend list is a HUGE thumbs down and will get you unfriended, blocked, and added to don't-read lists everywhere. Why? Because it's spamming. People hate that. Just like they hate being added to author's newsletters without their permission.

What's your favorite promo tip?

After those simple steps..SWEET IRISH KISS hit several bestseller lists at All Romance, BookStrand, and Amazon...and stayed there long after the free period was over.

I've since read several 'how to reach amazon bestseller status' ebooks and learned nothing new that isn't already in my to-do promo list. And, word of advice, I haven't read one of those yet that aren't pages and pages of self-promo for the author. That alone is the only promo tip you can get from those books -- write your own promo tip book! If you find a free one I suggest you click download and read it, because they are great way to boost your 'get up and go' and 'it's possible' attitude. But I doubt you'll learn anything new. That's just my opinion.

But... enough promo talk from me. I'm only new and I haven't been around to learn any hidden tricks of the trade. All I know is to attack it from every angle you know off. Don't leave any corner unturned! How can you fail if you do that? And of course, keep writing.

Talking of which.... Irish Kisses BOOK TWO, SHAMROCKED, is releasing July 2012. Yup. A story simply meant as a stand alone had so much response from readers that it got it's own sub-series. And at the request of Sweet Irish Kiss fans, they're getting more of Devlin and his toybox antics.

Book three and four are also underway as we speak.

About the Author:
Ex-Ghost Tour Guide turned smutty author. JoAnne grew up in a small sea-side town on the coast of North Wales and lived in a house that backs onto a graveyard. Perhaps that is why she is fascinated with all things dark and macabre. Having worked as a Ghost Tour Guide with Britain's most renowned exorcist, and published various articles on paranormal subjects, it's no surprise to her or her family that she now writes fictional tales about ghosts, zombies and vampires; basically anything that goes bump in the dark.

She now lives in North Carolina with her husband, two kids and two puddy cats. When they aren't demanding her attention, or jumping on her head, she strums away on the keys of her little laptop, creating worlds and adventures she could only ever dream of. Come across the pond and faraway....with Joanne Kenrick!

Devlin Kinney is focused on his Irish Rock band, Shamrocked. Between that and tending bar at Bell’s Irish Pub, he’s rushed off his feet. Still, he’s envious of Shaun who found his perfect woman through Madame Eve’s exclusive agency, 1Night Stand. Pushed for time, he follows his friend’s lead and hopes to be matched with a woman ballsy enough to share in his fetish for things that go buzzzz. At the event of the year for soap stars, Elizabeth Grant meets Devlin and mistakes him for her soon-to-be The EastEnd co-star. Before she has a chance to confess she’s not his 1Night Stand as he seems to think, the silver-tongued smooth dancer proves irresistible. He seems perfect…for one night of pleasure. She’s ready to play the role of her life!

Will his Irish charm and toys be enough to hold onto his leading lady, or will his heart be shamrocked into next week?
Buy the book at:
eBook signings here!