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Summer is in Full Swing!!!

In the great state of Texas here in the United States summer is in full swing. We've moved into the last few days of June and will be going full force into July.
I have been arguing that when it has been 100 degrees outside everyday for weeks that it is summer and I don't care what the calender says, but still people don't agree.
Which brings me to my problem...
I'm knee deep into my current WIP... two hot Alpha males in the middle of a snowball tackles the other making him eat a mouthful of the cold white stuff...when it happens...
they are now rolling around in the sand, on the beach where they were suppose to be playing volleyball and get distracted!
Distracted, thats one word for it. Well thats what keps happening. Instead of snuggling up on the couch in front of a fire I find myself wanting to put them on the back deck of a vacation house drinking a cold beer.
See what's happening here? It too damn hot to write about snow. You would have thought I had already learned my lesson.
My next and upcoming release on July 13th is Summers' Girl and I wrote it in the middle of winter. There is a scene in the book where Jake is skinney dipping in the lake behind Hannah's house.
I had to write that scene three times before it was done. Because I could see Hannah and Jake sharing hot cider or something but stripping down and playing in the water... not so easy.
Not sure if I'm the only one that had this problem but there you go! I am so tempted to move on to one of my other books. I steam ahead and try to get through but who knew it would be so... hard?
Crissy Smith
~Author of the Were Chronicles~


The Ever Elusive Happily Ever After...

I'll start of by stating, this wasn't going to be my original post. You see, I'm new to TEB. In fact, I'm new to publishing in general. My debut novel isn't due out till November, so excuse the smudges of green on the page. But like any crazed newbie, I wanted to jump right in and get my hands dirty. I just wasn't sure what to talk about. I mean, you can only promo so much, and no one wants to hear about a book that isn't out for five more months. Then a friend suggested I spend some of the time telling you about myself... kind of a courting of sorts. And my intentions were to do so, until an incident last night prompted me to shift gears slightly.

But I'll start off with quick introduction. My name is Kris Norris, and if you go searching through the author profiles, you won't bring up much more than a picture and a bio. I've currently got four novels due out between November and January, with a couple more hopefuls at the mercy of my editors :D In the coming months I'll tell you a bit more about myself, most likely through tales of my life before writing centred my focus. I've had a few interesting jobs. Did you know I spent some time in the military? Something I usually only chat about after that initial rush of alcoholic bliss. Or that I'm a commercial helicopter pilot? That I'm obsessive about running with my dog, I'm addicted to Diet Coke and that I can't stand people who drive 20 km under the posted speed limit? Or that... okay I'm stopping, promise, but all of these things tell you a lot about who I am, and why I write the kind of characters I do. But for today, I'd like to chat about the all encompassing, if not ever elusive, "Happily Ever After."

I've been thinking about why we love reading romances, erotic ones at that. Is it just a way to escape reality? Is it for the hot, hunky men we all wish hid in our beds, waiting for us to pounce whenever the feeling strikes us? Is it just for the sex? I suppose these are some of the reasons we flip pages, whether in our hands or on our computers. But for me, I think the ultimate factor is knowing that, no matter what trials the characters face, there'll be a happy, satisfying ending. Confetti tossing, bird singing, praise the Lord kind of celebration we've all come to love. After all, Happily Ever Afters are one of the prime defining attributes of a romance novel. But why, when we're willing to dispel all other aspects of rational thought, do we still insist, if not desire, this seemingly impossible feat beyond every thing else?

Here's where my personal experience plays in.

The other night a good friend had a rather unpleasant encounter with her soon to be ex. I won't go into details, but I'm sure you can picture it... bitter feelings, heated words, a case of beer, the hollow reflection of the squad car lights... Anyway, it seems her life was as far away from Happily Ever After as one could get. And she's not alone. I'm sure we all have friends and family swimming against the chaos, doing their best to claw their way back to some semblance of happiness. Heck, many of them don't even get their fair share of Happy for Now moments. So I wondered, am I simply sprouting blatant propaganda when I leave my characters in emotional bliss? Is the concept of Happily Ever After actually the last in a long line of urban legends yet to be dismissed on an episode of Myth Busters?

It took some time, and a whole lot of soul searching, to realize, the answer was — NO. Because Happily Ever After isn't a place you go to. It's not a magical land where you wave your wand and all of life's turmoils vanish like the mist with the morning sun. Happily Ever After is a state of mind. One we all have, but sometimes forget. It's the way you sigh at a beautiful sunrise... the gleam in your child's eye when they tell you you're the greatest mom ever, and actually mean it!... it's stopping to hold the door open and seeing appreciation in that person's eyes, or calling your parents just to chat. It's all the little things we do each and every day and rarely notice. But since we seldom delve into these more mundane matters in our books, we make it seem like a grand illusion our characters visit once their story ends and not the day to day moments that make up a life. It's almost as if they're Dorothy in OZ, clicking their heals together chanting, "I will be happy," three times.

Alas, real life isn't quite so simple. And while I love having a book "take me away", I think the best part is the warm fuzzy feeling at the end you carry around with you. The one that makes you smile when the milk lands on the floor or the dog eats your new leather shoes. I've come to realize Happily Ever After is just another way of saying, they're making the most of every moment.

So go ahead. Get lost in a great book. Smile at the first kiss, squirm during the love scenes and sigh when the hero whisks the heroine away in that magical final chapter. Take that feeling with you and remember these words... my favourite from a not so well known movie...

In the end, it's not whether they lived Happily Ever After that matters... but the fact that they lived.

Here's to making your own Happily Ever After.

And know, for me, it's keeping a few simple rules:

It's five o'clock somewhere

Chocolate and tape fix almost every thing, and

Let the crazy out slow.

Cheers to all,

Kris Norris

Romancing life... one adventure at a time.


One Year On

On the 30th of June 2008, my first book was accepted by TEB. I've had a wonderful year since then. I've had seventeen titles accepted in total. Nine have already been released.

I've learnt a lot in the last year - every story I've worked on has taught me something different.

Unfortunately, twelve months hasn't been enough to teach me how to make blogger cooperate with both lots of pictures and text at the same time. Which is a pity, because TEB does fantastic cover art!

So, even if blogger is beating me, what have I learnt?

I've come to terms with the fact that if I cry when I write the first draft I will almost inevitably cry every time I try to edit that bit of the story. I still cry when I read one bit of The Gift. On the positive side, blurry vision does wonders for my ability to touch type :)

I've learnt never to say I'm never going to write something. Threesomes being the perfect example. Over the last year I've gone from not being the slightest fan to plotting out a whole series of them. And I've learnt that while the debate about if MMF is better than MFM is very interesting, my favourite will always be MMM.

I've repeatedly proved to myself that I'm incapable of writing anything much shorter than 15k. If written 6 short stories in an attempt to list a free short on the TEB site. I now have 4 novellas and the first two chapters of a full length novel, which is nice, but not what I had in mind.

I've remembered how much I love writing werewolves and vampires. And I've discovered that, yes, I will make up an entirely new set of rules and rituals each time I start a new story with them.

I've learnt to deal with the fact that there are readers who will buy a book marked BDSM and then be surprised and offended when the characters are kinky. And I've learnt that there are other readers who really do believe there is a one true way to kink and any character who doesn't kink according to their exact preference is doing it wrong. And I've learnt to deal with the fact that both types of reader will give my books bad reviews and there isn't the least thing I can do about it.

I've found out that there really is nothing that can compare with the feeling you get when a book is accepted, cover art comes through or a reviewer likes your book.

I've got used to being out of sync with the real world, with writing Christmas stories in the middle of summer and heatwave stories when it's snowing out side.

I've learnt to accept the fact that character will do whatever the hell they want. All I can do is write it down and hope for the best.

I've met a lot of great writers and found out that all the writers I've met through TEB are fantastic and supportive and very kind to new writers on the block. And I've discovered how wonderfully easy a wonderful editor can make everything.

Over the last year, I've learnt a lot. And I've learnt that I still have a lot more to learn to!

It has been a crazy, fun, manic, brilliant year for me. I'm really looking forward to finding out what the next year has in store for me.

What about you? What's your year been like?

Kim Dare.
Kink, love and a happy ending. Do you Dare?


The Power of Focus

I've been learning a lot about the power of focus as we're trying to get things done.

We live in a world of multi-tasking, and I'm guilty, guilty, guilty!

At the gym, I jump on the exercise bike, plug in my headset to the television monitor, scroll through until the Travel Channel shows up, start pedaling, then dial in the workout I want, sit back and open a magazine, well, I sit back after I check my BlackBerry to make sure I haven't missed a text, call, or email in the walk from the locker room. (If I have, I respond!)

When I get home, I power up the computer even as I open the refrigerator to look for something to cook for dinner.

I was grateful when cell phones became readily available, that way I was able to extend my work day another half hour while I drove home.

One drawback I've found...I'm not always as engaged as I could be in what I'm doing.

Yesterday, I shut off the phone and concentrated on a project for an hour. And something amazing happened...I finished the project. I had allotted four hours to the job, but I accomplished it in 60 focused minutes. Without distractions, I was able to finish a job in a quarter of the time it usually takes.

I will probably not stop multi-tasking anytime soon. But I've learned a powerful lesson about the power of single-minded focus.

So that leads me to my question for you...what could you accomplish in a focused, laser-like hour? (I bet you may even astound yourself!)

Hugs, Sierra (who only answered one text message while writing this!)


Wanton Wishes

What would you wish for?

My little boys often ask me that when we toss coins into the magical wishing well. My usual response is World Peace...knowing it will never happen. I'm almost afraid to wish for something that is attainable as I don't like flirting with disappointment. I'm one of those 'expect the worst' type people. I enjoy being happy when the worst case scenerio doesn't happen.

I've been thinking lately though about goals and wishes. They are related. Someone sent me a quote one day: Goals are wishes with a plan. As a writer, I know what my "dream" is (NY Times Bestseller list, books signings with over 1000 fans attending, you get the picture). How much of that is within my control? Probably not much. All I can really do is write the best book I can write and hope for the best. So, this year, I'm devoting quite a lot of my reading to books to improve my craft (my favorite so far has been Don't Murder Your Mystery, by Chris Roerden). Up next is Josh Lanyon's Writer M/M Fiction for Kinks and Cash. I can hardly wait to crack the cover on that one.

Hopefully, my recent release from Total E-bound, Wanton Wishes, is just what you are wishing for.

Centuries of granting wishes to underprivileged kids comes to a screeching halt after faerie godmother Zuzanna annoys the crown prince of the faeries one last time. His punishment - to exile her and strip her of her powers. However, Zuzanna has other plans. Instead of giving up her wand, she flees the kingdom to a cold spot where no one would think of looking for her – Chicago, Illinois.

There she meets single father Phillip Denton. He needs a nanny and fast. His son, Jamie, isn't a bad kid; the tyke’s just got a mischievous streak as wide as Lake Michigan. When Phillip hires Zuzanna, he figures he’s getting lucky in more ways than one. She’s cute, sexy and even likes snakes. Oh, and not to mention, she’s great in bed, as well.

Despite her best intentions to live life as a mortal, Zuzanna didn't count on traffic congestion, housework, or most of all, her attraction to Phillip, to deter her from the path of abstinence. From magic, that is. She also didn’t plan on getting caught...or falling in love.

I think when I toss that coin into the fountain from now on, I'm going to wish for "And they lived happily ever after." The perfect ending.

What about you?

What would you wish for?


The Girls are back in Cattle Valley!

Cattle Valley is a wonderful little gay-friendly town in Wyoming, created by the talented Carol Lynne. She's written a very successful line of books about the handsome, hunky men in the town. Last fall, I released Cattle Valley: Truth or Dare, the first lesbian book in the series, and was very pleased with the response. Carol's faithful readers supported my book even though lesbian titles weren't their cup of tea. But I'd incorporated some of Carol's men into my book, and everyone wanted to know just what that crazy Nate was up to. *G*

The second female title is now available. Cattle Valley: Fool's Gold, was released yesterday at TEB. And the really exciting news is that both titles are set to be released in one print book, coming July 13. It's going to be called About the Girls. I'm very pleased about that.

Here's a look at the newest title, Fool's Gold:

Adeline Murphy believes the Apple Valley Inn is the only thing waiting for her in Cattle Valley, and it's up to Melissa Danes to change her way of thinking.

Adeline Murphy heads to Cattle Valley, Wyoming looking for a fresh start. She's invested every dime she has and purchased the local bed and breakfast. Arriving in town with a cranky girlfriend in tow, Addie's devastated to discover the inn has been vandalised. With the property uninhabitable, she has no source of income and a mounting stack of bills.

Melissa Danes' quiet Cattle Valley existence is shaken by the arrival of the beautiful Addie and her surly tagalong, Chloe. She's captivated by Addie, but stays away thinking Addie and Chloe are in a committed relationship. When she discovers differently, all bets are off.

Mel discovers Addie has several barriers to cross, including repairing the damaged inn and her even more wounded self-esteem. When Mel looks at Addie she sees more than Fool's Gold, but she needs to find a way for Addie to see it too.

Note: This novel is a stand alone title which includes characters created by Carol Lynne in the Cattle Valley Series. Visit the Cattle Valley website for more information on this bestselling series!

Erotic Horizon Reviews says:

"FOOL'S GOLD was a new genre for me, I have never read a F/F books and if there was one author I was going to trust to hold my hand and lead me through this, it was going to be Jenna Byrnes.

The book itself is a stand along book, however to understand how important the supporting cast are to the general infrastructure of Cattle Valley – you need to read the Cattle Valley series.

Bottom line- I must admit i liked it, not only for the fact that I made it pass the smut. I liked the opposite attract theme that would eventually gel the main protags together – I liked the fact that despite a compact size story Ms. Byrnes gave us a rounded picture of the characters we met, she didn’t force the book with overly emotional language or even funny moment to fill gaps. She gave us a visit into the live of two women who met at a time when they were not only of importance to each others life, but without even realising it – needed each other at that phase of their lives."

Read an excerpt or buy the book here!

Jenna Byrnes
Page Scorching Erotic Romance
Jenna on Fire:


The Double E Question...

What makes erotic erotic?

Yeah, that does look funny. No, it's not a typo. This is a genuine question. Erotic, as defined by Webster's New World College Dictionary, is from the Greek, erotikos, an adjective meaning 'of or arousing sexual feelings of desires; having to do with sexual love'.

I read and write erotic romance, romance that centers around a sexual relationship between two (or more) people. There are varying degrees of erotic levels that you might find in a book. There's the 'in your face' sex sex sex. The building tension, a passing glance, a brush of a hand, the slight whisper of skin on skin contact, and then a culmination of the big bang and some sighs. There's also the placid but lovely romance between protagonists, one wham bam 'Oh My' moment, and the end.

I like version two, where two characters snipe at each other yet are still drawn, fighting their attraction. Or a crush between hero and heroine that blossoms into sexual and emotional love. I simply cannot get into a book where the heroine and her heroes go at it from page one and don't stop for another hundred pages.

There are writers who write extremely well, yet their characters don't seem real to me. We all suspend disbelief when even picking up a romance. How many men can go at it without a break in between? And how many women have multiple orgasms from their first time with a new partner? I'm willing to believe in the fantasy. But when Sally rides Billy all day long without a break and without any emotional connection, the story loses me. No matter how engaging the physical act is drawn, I can't buy into it. That lack of emotion turns me off.

Now I'm all for a hot and heavy sex scene. But there has to be something more behind it. Even if the main characters are strangers, there's something motivating them. Something more than just a burning need to f*ck. I don't mind dirty talk, multiple partners, same sex partners, or kink. But if they're eventually not feeling the 'love', neither am I.

And THAT, in a nutshell, is what differentiates erotic romance from porn. That deeper connection between people having sex. LOVE.

:) Marie
Look for Lurin's Surrender, coming to TEB in July


The Joys of Summer

Here where I live, summer begins today, June 21st, at 1:45 a.m. and I'd like to present my little salute to summer and the great activities the warm weather brings. Being a fair-skinned redhead, I don't spend a lot of time lounging in the sun, but there's still a lot to be seen from a nice shady spot. I've also included a few activities that would definitely draw me out and into the sunshine. See what you think.

Beach volleyball: I could enjoy watching this from under my beach umbrella, cold drink in hand.

Horseback riding: A gallop across the dunes followed by a rubdown, for the horse I mean.

Life guarding: I know the water's shallow, but I'll keep an eye on him, for safety's sake, from under my broad-brimmed hat.

Picnic: Nothing like a picnic under the trees on a lovely, sunny day.

Sunscreen duty: I'll be close by in case he needs more sunscreen. Wouldn't want him to get burned.

Hydration: Most important to drink lots of fluids when in the sun. He only has to call and I'll be there with cold drink in hand.

Proper diet: Make sure you're getting enough fruit.

And now for the activities I'll venture into the sun for.

Going for a nature walk.

Learning how to surf.

Attending the Highland Games. Anywhere.

Backpacking with a friend.

Rock climbing.

Bird watching.


This sport, no matter what it is.

Hope you like my little salute to the joys, and the boys, of summer.

Kaenar Langford
Tales to seduce and entice...

Check out All Tied Up, my newest book from Total-e-Bound. Here's the blurb and a nice enticing excerpt.

Tag: As a government agent, Naymeen Renaud’s mission is to belay Aiden Blackshott’s role in treasonous activities. So how does she end up in the wealthy businessman’s playroom, tethered for his pleasure?

Cover Blurb – Captain Naymeen Renaud’s current assignment for the United League of Veluvian Planets is to thwart any contact between forces hostile to the League, and wealthy industrialist Aiden C. Blackshott. But she soon finds herself straddling a line between duty and lust. She loves it when Aiden captures and pleasures her in his sex playroom. But she suspects her new lover has ties to her former partner, now a rogue agent, she has sworn to bring in.

Aiden also has a mission, one which threatens to fall apart when Naymeen appears the very evening he will play his final role in his assignment. When he allows her to kidnap him to keep her from upsetting carefully laid plans, she whisks him to her star cruiser and ties him to her bed so she can return the favour. She wants to believe in him, but in the end, is he betraying her just as her comrade did?


“This is quite an amazing piece of furniture,” he observed.

“It’s a copy of a four poster from Old Earth. I saw it on Centarsha, soon after my adventure with you, and bought it the moment I laid eyes on it. It has some very interesting features that aren’t obvious at first glance, but when I purchased it, I had you in mind.”

“And when do I get to see these features?”

Naymeen rolled to her back and reached over to the bedside table. “Well, you won’t actually see them.” She held up a scarf, letting it flow from one outstretched finger. When Aiden grinned, she knew it rekindled fond memories.

“You’ve turned into a very naughty woman.”

“I know.”

“You’re going to blindfold me, so I have to rely on my other senses?”

Naymeen nodded.

He quickly got up and knelt beside her, turning so she could tie on the scarf. She made sure it was secure.

“I want you on your back, but let me get rid of these pillows, first.” Throwing them to the floor, she looked at her gorgeous captive. “Okay. You can lie down, now.”

She loved the eagerness with which he complied, stretching out with his head on the sheets and his arms relaxed, one on his belly and the other on his thigh. It was a given he wouldn’t stay composed for long. Not if she had her way—and she fully intended to have her way—with him.

“Are you comfortable?”


Naymeen also planned to remedy that very soon.

She climbed on top of him and straddled his sculpted abdomen.

“I like this feature already,” he joked.

Naymeen swatted his shoulder. “I haven’t done anything, yet.”

“Oh, yes you have. I can feel your juicy centre spread out on my belly. It’s so hot and luscious. Remember, I’m supposed to be using my other senses.”

Leaning over to the right, Naymeen grabbed a chain fixed to the bedpost. A padded cuff swung from the end of it.

“Gimme your arm.”

Aiden complied, and she pushed it behind his head and attached the cuff. There was a very satisfactory snick as it closed around his wrist.

“Other one, please.”

He hesitated. “What are you going to do?”

She loved the tremor of lust in his voice.

“I’m going to tie you up, tie you down and give us both pleasure. Should I keep going?”

He held up his hand, allowing her to reach over and fasten the other cuff. With his acquiescence, he was telling her he wanted exactly what she wanted. The way the chains were attached, low on the post, meant his arms lay flat on the bed, not raised in the air. Settling onto his belly again, she rubbed his chest, making smooth, soothing circles with her hands. She ran them up the sides of his torso and beyond, as far as she could reach. He shivered as her fingers slid over the sensitive underside of his arms. Then back down again.

“Your nipples are so tight. I think you like my hands on you.”

Aiden gritted his teeth. “You know I do.”

“What if I put my mouth on you?”

Naymeen didn’t wait for his response. Instead, she planted tiny kisses on his belly, forcing him to cry out as she nipped a path up the golden flesh, seeking one of his sensitive nubs. It was only the tip of her tongue flicking back and forth, but she felt his body contract in pleasure, lifting her with it.

Naymeen remembered how he had tortured her with lips and tongue while she had the blindfold in place. It had been as if her whole being had been focussed on the smell of his body, the touch of his hands, the whisper of his lips or the taste of his skin. She wondered if he had the same feeling, the heightened awareness of his other senses.

Aiden groaned as she placed her hand over his heart to feel the rapid pulse. He cried out as she marked him with a love bite. Her captive pulled against the chains that held him, arching his body beneath her.

She had her answer.

Check it out at Total-e-Bound.

Thanks for reading and see you next month,



My First Time

Well hello there. I've worried about what to write about and I guess it's going to come down to my current thoughts. Reviews. I've been lucky since I started writing in 2007. They've been 95% favorable. That's pretty good. But I've recently gotten a scathing one and I gotta be honest, it hurt like hell. I know all the things they say about reviews for anything, writing, acting, music, etc. It's only one person's opinion and they're like buses, there'll be another one in a few minutest. But, it's personal, you know? When someone takes something that I slaved over and trashes it, and puts it out there for others to read, and possibly think that this is the right opinion, whew!

So, how about you all? Had bad ones? Hurt? I now you've had great ones. I've read them and agree with them. This is a great group of authors and I'm privileged to be among you. Stories about reviews?

Know the ones I really like? The ones from readers. I know the ones from the review places are the ones that most people go by and they are so very essential. But, oh my, it's the fan who writes that I've made a difference in their life or that they laughed or cried or it just made them happy. That's what feeds my soul. (And keeps me going.)

I have a new Lust Bite coming out at TEB next month called Bought and Paid For. And I am totally thrilled to have Love, Jamie coming out in print. That makes me really happy. I'll have to check and see about a sequel. Do they go over well at TEB? Is it something people like? Course, my mind goes to Carol and I think, oh yeah, lots of them. So, maybe I answered my own question.

I've not done this I said, so I don't know if I'm supposed to stay around tomorrow or not. I'm writitng this ahead of time. I have to work tomorrow for a friend. It's a garden tour thing and I've taken all the pictures for it. I'm a photographer and this is something I do every year. It's nice as it's for charity and...I get to tramp around in the best gardens in town and get gorgeous shots of their flowers. I'm allergic to fresh flowers, so I get my beauty fix this way. It works out well for all.

I will check in and answer any questions or comments that come in, I promise...just can't promise exactly when I'll get that answer. Maybe the next day when I'm recovering from all the work tomorrow.

So, what about reviews? Do you ignore them all? Are you as anal as I am and keep all of them, or as many as I can find? Do you still get a thrill when a really good one comes up? Does it bother you when a not so good one comes along? Do you worry about who's reading them and what they are thinking of you? Or can you let it roll off, like the proverbial duck, and go on? I'm interested.

Thanks for letting me stop in and I promise to answer comments. Now I'm going to try to save this and have it pop up tomorrow as it is supposed to! I'll put a picture on from this year's tour. See you all.


***love is love***


Sorry I'm late...

Good morning - at least it's morning here in Florida. I apologize for posting late. I've had a cold and was doing long overdue cleaning when it hit me. What day is this? Oh! My day at the Hot Spot. Immediately I turned on my computer and went to the blog so I could make my post. Then I sat here for several minutes with my hands poised over the keyboard, searching my mind furiously for something to write that would amuse and entertain.

And I realized I had nothing to say that I thought would be interesting for people. I could post a review of one of my books, but then, there are already reviews on my website and on my author page. I could post pictures of guys, but there are lots of those too. Should I rant about e-book piracy? It's an issue that really really pisses me off and I wish I could go onto those sites and yell at all those e-book stealers, telling them how they're making it harder and harder for authors to earn a living. And they really don't care. Plus, all we authors are upset about this and doing what we can to get our books off those sites.

So I guess I'm just writing random thoughts. Life is what it is from moment to moment rather than what the ideas in my head or my feelings at any given moment tell me it is. Practically, I've finished edits on two pieces, finished writing a work that had been over two years in progress because really, my heart just demanded that I write the White Tigers series first, and I'm glad for that. All that's going on now is I'm vacuuming, dusting, watching one of my cats eat a lizard she caught and brought to us as a gift so we would be proud of her, and then another one of the cats missed the litter box, lol, so I have to clean it up and then I'll probably have some breakfast. I'm also reading a book called Crooked Cucumber: The Life and Zen Teachings of Shunryu Suzuki, who is one of my heroes and I've been drawing out reading this book since last August because I don't want it to end.

I wish I had something exciting to tell you but I don't. I had ideas that once I was a published author, somehow things get exciting. Sometimes they do. Having titles go into print and receiving my copies in the mail is a wonderful feeling. Getting a good review or receiving a note from a reader telling me how much she loves the White Tigers is incredibly gratifying. And then I need to do the food shopping or put in a wash. Maybe next time I'll have something that fits my idea of interesting to share and I'm about to post this and wondering, gee what will people think of this strange random expression of my thoughts? In any case, if you've read this far, I guess it's been interesting enough and I do appreciate it. Take care, Sedonia


15 years ago...

Where were you 15 years ago?

Until a few days ago I wasn’t even thinking of 15 years ago but then my sister reminded me of something I didn't realize. This month is the 15th year anniversary for my high school class. Wow I can't believe it’s been that long.

Now that I’ve thought of it. I remember the month of June, 15 years ago was one of triumph, angst and fear. I was stoked to be leaving what I perceived as childhood (high school) and on my way to take the first steps to becoming an adult (college). I already had my acceptance to college and was looking forward to it. Then the angst came in. Would I be okay? I was leaving my home in the Caribbean and going to New York. A whole new place with new people. A major cultural shock. Most of my family was still back home. That of course led to the fear. Was I crazy for going? What if I failed? Also my dad was ill and in the hospital and I didn’t want to leave him. All of these feelings were calmed with a few words from my parents. My dad supported me leaving and my mom said she knew I could do it.

Now as I sit here 15 years later both my parents are gone. My dad died a week after I embarked on my journey away from the nest into the world. My mom was with me longer and passed just a few short years ago. My dad didn’t get to see the adult I became but I know he is smiling down on me from above. My mom was here with me through my many triumphs, failures and pains. They both helped shape me to be who I am today.

A lot has happened in 15 years. In high school before I graduated we made our predictions of where we would be in years to come. We had a talent show our senior year that depicted where we thought we would be. Some of my predictions came true. And a lot of them I never expected happened too. It all shaped me to be who I am today.

My thoughts of 15 years ago made me realize I've lost touch with my classmates. A few days ago I found our class website and plan on reconnecting with my old schoolmates. See where they are today. What they are doing and relive the old times.

My sister and I share an anniversary - it is her 25th this year. She mentioned that a lot of her classmates came and it was good to see them and catch up. With the anniversaries there are lots of activities to celebrate it. Both my sister and my class do some activities together. My sister has been regaling me with tales of what they have been doing. So far between my class and my sis there has been:

Old Skool Jamz
Representing the alumni class by attending this years Graduation ceremony
Movie Nights
7 day cruise
Community Service Project
Basketball Challenge (playing against our rival high school)
Celebration Banquet
Beach Bash

And the list goes on and on. Sis is having fun. I'm sad I can't attend.

It’s amazing how it has been 15 years. Wow. I am still in shock it’s been that long. I made myself a promise I will reconnect with my classmates and make plans to attend the next milestone anniversary which would be the 20th anniversary.

How about you all? Have you attended any of your high school or college anniversaries activities and what was it like?

Taige Crenshaw
…increasing the sizzle factor

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Learning to Write Romance

Unlike many of my colleagues at Total-E-Bound, I did not grow up reading romance novels. I got my teenage thrills from Ian Fleming's James Bond books, passed around during study hall with the "good parts" underlined. My models for romantic literature were Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. Later I graduated to Pauline Réage, Anne Rice, and Anaïs Nin.

I began my publishing career writing literary erotica, fiction that explored the complexities of desire and the psychological and emotional effects of sexual experience. When I first started publishing in the erotic romance genre, I found that I had a lot to learn.

Claire, TEB's fearless leader, send me email about six months before the launch of Total-E-Bound, inviting me to submit some of my work to the new company. She then proceeded to reject everything that I sent her! Finally she accepted Raw Silk and Incognito, two out-of-print novels previously published as erotica. Despite their original labels, both novels did focus on a primary relationship between two characters and had endings that suggested long term commitment. Although the books included quite a lot of sexual activity that didn't involve the main couple, I guess they managed to squeak under the wire in terms of being classified as romance!

Since then, I've published seven titles with TEB, specifically targeted to the romance market. I've also read lots of work by my romance author colleagues. Gradually, I'm becoming more adept at adjusting the style and content of my writing to meet the expectations and preferences of romance readers. This has not necessarily been an easy transition for me, especially since I've also continued to write in my original genre.

I thought that I might summarize some of the lessons I've gleaned during my two year trial by fire in the world of romance. I hope that those of you who are reading this blog post will correct me if some of my conclusions are incorrect!

1. Romance readers want to know what the characters look like. When writing erotica, I frequently have no more than a general notion of my characters' gender, age, race and body type. My focus is on their emotional reactions to one another. This might be triggered by specific physical features, but rarely do I spend much time painting word pictures of my characters' appearance.

In writing romance, I need to visualize my characters in much greater detail, in order to describe them to my readers. From comments that I've encountered, it seems that romance readers want this level of detail, in order to build their own images of the hero and heroine. Romance covers play a role in shaping readers' visions. As a romance author I need to be able to tell the cover artist about the protagonists' hair color, age, build, complexion, clothing, and more, to make sure that he or she will get it right.

For my current project, Necessary Madness, I've taken the step of locating pictures on the Internet that match my ideas on the how the characters look. When I'm trying to describe Kyle or Rob, I just pull out their photos. This seems to be working, but it feels very strange, a huge departure from my natural writing habits.

2. Romance readers crave an unambiguously happy ending. I don't tend to write much "dark erotica", but quite a few of my erotic stories have ironic, inconclusive or bittersweet conclusions. A common pattern is for the character to find that although her lover has gone or is unattainable, she has been positively changed by the experience of sexual connection. This sort of ending is verbotten in the world of romance. I struggle to write HEA stories, because the a priori assumption of Happily Ever After makes it incredibly difficult to build real suspense. Predictability kills the appeal of fiction, at least for me.

3. Romance readers like a linear plot arc, without too many flashbacks or temporal complexities. Actually, I don't know if this is strictly true. Most of the romance I've read tends to follow this rule, but it's possible that readers would be comfortable dealing with more complex narrative structures. Many of my erotica stories start in the present, then shift to the past before moving onward. Would this work in romance? I don't know.

4. Romance readers tend to view sex scenes that do not involve the main characters as gratuitous. Raw Silk and Incognito both include many sex scenes outside the primary relationship. In the case of Incognito, the novel's premise is that Miranda, the heroine, is only comfortable having sex with strangers because of past betrayals. (This changes over the course of the book, as she meets and gets to know the hero, Mark.) I've gotten the impression that some readers, at least, are uncomfortable with this sort of thing. Reviewers of my M/M Christmas story, Tomorrow's Gifts, said that they didn't like the BDSM scenes between Michael and Thorne, ghost of the future, because the two men were not in love. This was the whole point of the story, but it apparently bothered these readers.

5. Romance readers prefer fantasy to realism. Most of what I've written, both erotica and erotic romance, is contemporary. Even when I've included paranormal elements, my characters have been firmly anchored in the everyday. I have to work hard to make my work realistic enough to be believable, but not so realistic that it turns my readers off. Comments and feedback from my readers makes it clear that most people read romance to escape from the problems, the uncertainties, the banality of the real world. My natural inclination is to include some of those discordant elements in my writing, in the interests of realism. I have to choose details judiciously to support verisimilitude without dissolving the fantasy.

I think that I'm improving. I haven't gotten the thumbs down from Claire in quite a while (LOL). As a writer, I welcome the opportunity to expand my horizons and sharpen my skills. Writing romance has also made me more aware of the subtle differences that distinguish the genre from erotica. Every now and again I give in to the overwhelming urge to write something that's dark and nasty and doesn't end happily. That's actually a lot easier for me than creating a sizzling, heart-stopping romance that will satisfy the discriminating readers at TEB.


It started with a kiss.

I am often asked what I enjoy writing about the most and you know, that is a very difficult question to answer. It is something that may well vary from story to story but when I think about it there is something that I enjoy writing about more than anything else.

It's something that fills me with glee when I realise it is time to write it, it's something that is always challenge but always a pleasure and fills me with great satisfaction and what is it?

The first kiss.

Now, between you and me, I'm working on a story right now for the Over The Moon anthology. Shhh, don't tell anyone okay, it's between just you and me. Anyhow, this story is something completely new to me, I've never dealt with a werewolf before but I have to say he is behaving very well and I am enjoying writing him.

My favourite part of the story I have written so far has to be the first kiss. It's a kiss that happens in the midst of chaos and really takes both characters by surprise. But as I am still working on that story, you'll have to wait to see that first kiss in print.

However, here are a selection of first kisses from my other Total-E-Bound releases.

Janet and Guy's first kiss from Travel Delight:

“The view is amazing.” Guy’s voice broke into her thoughts and she looked from the window towards him. He was looking at her, not the view out of the window, and as their gazes met and melded, Janet stopped thinking and just reacted. She pressed her lips to his.

They were hot and hard, but they gave way like soft butter as the pressure from her lips built. His hand cupped her face, gently holding her in place, subtly taking charge. Their lips parted for a moment, and she drew a breath, a moment of panic hitting as her sensible side exerted itself. She had just kissed a stranger and passionately at that. But before she could pull from his touch or further think out things, his lips recaptured hers, and his tongue begged entrance to her mouth.

She surrendered once more, her mind disengaged, her lust aroused. His hand that still warmly cupped her cheek slipped to cup her head and tangle her hair in his fingers. Her hands moving from shocked compliance in her lap to active duty running up and down his chest. She traced his hard contours and openly moaned into his mouth.

Jack and Emma's First kiss in Spiced Vanilla:

He pushed me until my bum was level with the table. His legs rested between my thighs, his arms around my waist, and he lifted me onto the table, with no outward sign of exertion. I wanted to run my hands up and down his shoulder muscles. They bulged so magnificently, I guessed that baking built good upper body strength. It must have done for him to lift me with so little effort.

It was strange how his next action seemed so much more intimate, so much more sexual than anything that had gone before. As he rested between my thighs, he cupped my cheeks with his strong, slightly sticky hands and leant in for a long, hard and demanding kiss.

It pulled my desire through me and I found it all to be displayed there, where our lips touched and met. He could feel how turned on I was. I smelled my own heavy, sexual musk and I was sure he could too, how desperate I was for this, for him, and I did not feel embarrassed. I felt empowered as he forced his tongue between my lips and I pressed my pelvis up, longing to feel his fingers, his tongue or his cock thrust inside me there.

And one more 'cos I like to spoil you!
Tim and Jane's first kiss in Secret Surprise.

It was cold and damp out but lovely and cosy inside. I pulled off my coat and left it on the back of my chair. When Tim returned, he sat down next to me and took my hand in his again, joining us below the table.

“It’ll be over in a minute,” he said and gently squeezed my fingers.

“Oh right, how much do I owe you?”

“A kiss.” He smiled, cheekily.

“Wow, no wonder this café is popular!” I quipped, but my pink cheeks gave away how surprised and nervous I felt. “Now, what kind of kiss?” I stalled for time, it seemed ridiculous that I felt so worried about a little lip-to-lip action when he’d seen me fingering myself to orgasm. Somehow though, a kiss seemed far more intimate.

“A slow, sweet, gentle kiss,” he whispered against my ear.

“Oh, well, yes, that seems reasonable.” I turned to look at him and found his face turned to me. His soft lips were less than an inch from mine. I took a deep calming breath then pushed my head forward just as much as it took to press my smile against his.

His lips gave sensually, and sparks of passion flew around my body. My lips heated to the point that, like fingers grabbing something hot, I had to move them, to give myself relief.

I palpitated my lips against his and his moved in rhythm with them. His hand tightened around mine and his tongue touched the back of my bottom lip, making me open wider to accept more.

A loud but polite cough pulled us apart.

I bit my lip and looked down as Tim moved his hand from mine to take hold of the plates and teacups.

“Enjoy your breakfast.” The middle aged lady smiled warmly and I muttered a “thank you.” I did not look up from the plate in front of me.

“You have the most wonderful lips,” Tim whispered then took a sip from his mug, “Two sets of wonderful lips, in fact. I can’t wait to kiss the others.”

I looked up at him, my eyes wide with shock. I couldn’t believe he was talking like that in this place, in public.

I love that first spark of lust that blossoms in the first kiss, I love the combination of nerves and hesitation and pure joy as their lips meet. I love the first kiss.

My own first kiss happened in a garden late at night pressed up against a tree trunk. He was taller than me and I felt overwhelmed by his body and the kiss took me by surprise at first. I wasn't sure I got what all the fuss was about but after trying it another time or three, I found the attraction.

Do you remember your first kiss?


The Art of the Sex Scene

So, I just finished a draft of the second book in my Downing Brothers Series...whoo hoo! But as I typed the final letters on the page, I found myself feeling exhausted. For once I wasn't suffering from writer's block or writer's exhaustion. This time I found myself weary of the sex scene.
I know. Many of you may be shaking your heads. Weary of the SEX SCENE? Never!
Although some may be raising their eyebrows, I imagine some of you may be nodding with me. As an erotic romance writer, the sex scene is just as essential to the story as the characters and the plot, but sometimes I grow weary of reading and writing engorged lengths (grin) and slick folds (blushing). I love crafting erotic stories, and love watching passion and love develop on the pages between the characters, but right now I'm just trying to figure out how to spice it up. Like any good sex life, how do I keep the magic alive :-)
I wonder if other writers find themselves in the same predicament every now and then. How do you keep the art of the sex scene fresh? And to the reader, what makes a scintillating, titillating, hot sex scene that is as unforgettable as the characters?


Life and growth and the whole darn thing

I began the day not sure of what I'd talk about here, but that changed as soon as I actually sat down and opened the page up. I wonder how often that happens with others? Never mind, what I'm really here for is to discuss how often life seems to through up barriers in front of us to keep us from doing what we love.

Age has it's own issues and perhaps I'll just dive in there. When you're young, and by that I mean in your twenties or thirties, there's family. Kids to care for, hockey games, baseball, cub scouts, ballet lessons, tuba lessons, swimming, library, chess... the bazillion things our children do to keep fit and be entertained, to grow and develop into the adults we want them to be. We get to drive them, help them with homework, support them when they need it. It's part of being a parent. That puts limits on our writing time, but in so many ways we're glad to do it. We all desperately want our children to grow up and be successful, happy adults.

During this stage of our lives, we tuck our writing time into either early morning or late at night when the children are sleeping. Our spouses may or may not be supportive, but the drive we feel is relentless. We are writers and it's such a part of us, it'd be like cutting off an arm if we didn't write.

By the time we're in our forties, the kids are teenagers and we're less enthused, but still strive to help them become all they can be. And at the teenage years, it seems more important than ever. Their independence is in full swing. They've learned to drive and have boyfriends or girlfriends, have traveled on their own in many cases, to places poor mom and dad might never have seen. Worry about them is at a gut wrenching high, especially if your kids are a little more adventurous or rebellious. Drugs, HIV, all the things we hear about and are terrified of, that's what they have to deal with on a daily basis.

Yup, and writing again takes a back seat. The late night sneaking away to write hits all manner of obstacles, but surprisingly, early mornings are still very good. LOL We juggle, we sneak, we hide and pray no one will need a ride, or money, or help, or... any number of things that distract from our quiet time.

By the time we've hit our fifties, our children have mostly gone and we think, Yes! Now it's my time. The time I dreamed of having to create and put together those tales of sexy hunks and dazzling damsels. And, for awhile it happens just like that. The house is quiet most of the time. You and your spouse can be as flexible with meals and chores as you wish. It's wonderful.

Then the grand kids arrive. And, health issues show their ugly heads. WTH!! Just when you're sure life is going to be brilliant forever, it all comes tumbling down on you. You've lived long enough to have oodles of memories for stories. You've been to a few places, you've experienced tons of things. So, now it's time for your memory to fade on you. Or your eye sight to go wonky. And the grand kids, those adorable little beasties you just can't say no to, well they invade.

But, you still write. No matter what, that story, that novel, that epic, need to get out and you find time. 3 in the morning often finds dedicated authors tapping away at keys while grand babe sleeps near by.

It's pretty much heaven, you know. Having your own offspring around as adults. Responsible people who somehow turned out well and parented their own rugrats for training. There are stories there too.

Yup, this month my post has been a bit of a ramble, but it felt nice to go through the life changes with you all. Now, how about an excerpt from my lates with Total E-Bound?

Night Games

by Jude Mason

Erotic Rating: Total-e-burning
Genre: Contemporary/ Vampires/ Gay/ Ménage à trois
Cover art by: Natalie Winters
Book Length: Novel
ISBN#: 978-1-907010-29-3


Johan is gay and has been interested in only one man for centuries, so why does this mortal woman pull at him so?

When a hooker on the stroll is kidnapped under his very nose, Johan's interest is piqued, so he follows. Joined by his lover, Petre, the two vampires find themselves in the midst of a mystery.

Once rescued, the lovely Miranda becomes a playmate for the two lusty men, but again, she vanishes.

Who is the luscious blonde woman, and who could possibly be so interested in a whore? And why do these mysterious someones want her dead?

* * *

Night Games
From Chapter One

Hidden in the shadows of the doorway, Johan stood silently, watching. The scene in the square in front of him reminded him of one of those fifties noir movies he tried very hard to miss. Tall, sultry blonde woman, spiked heels clattering on the rain slick pavement and her long legs looking at least twice as long as they had any right to be, sashaying back and forth along that one little stretch of sidewalk. Her little black skirt was short and when she walked, her pink panties played peek-a-boo.

Cars slowed, some stopped, but not as many as her looks suggested should linger. Her tits alone were worth a second, even a third look, if you were into tits—which Johan was when he wanted woman flesh. That didn’t happen often, but she caught his eye, made his cock twitch. The little white blouse she almost wore covered about a quarter of what it needed to. Her sleek, white belly gleamed in the streetlights, or headlights, when a car cruised by.

Maybe it was her lips that grabbed him. Plump and red, with a bee-stung look. That’s what they used to call those kind of lips, he recalled. Even from the distance, he could see that her eyes were pale blue and the lashes couldn’t be real. No one had lashes that thick. Her scent was thick, rich, filled with blood and the luxurious smell of a woman in heat. Perhaps it was that smell that attracted him.

Johan leaned back against the wall, sliding his full length leather coat back and exposed the growing bulge in the tight matching slacks. The only colour he’d worn that evening was the deep purple silk shirt. Petre loved it on him and had asked him to wear it.

Petre, his lover, his mate, how he adored the slender, golden man. Thinking about him brought a smile, and another stirring in his crotch. My, but he was horny.

Movement. A car—one of those low, expensive jobs with the tinted windows and too much horsepower—pulled up to the curb and stopped a few feet from his girl.

Nose in the air, she insolently flipped that luscious long hair over her shoulder and turned away. He thought he caught a frown wrinkle her brow, but he wasn’t sure. For a moment, she looked like she might walk away. But she must have thought better of it. Maybe rent was due or the fridge was empty—something made her turn herself around.

With a fake smile plastered on her face, she sidled on over to the passenger’s side door and bent forward.

Johan would have given anything to be standing behind her at that moment. Bad planning, he chastised himself.

A few words exchanged and the would-be client pulled away with a chirp of his tires. Johns, he thought. The guy must have thought he could have her for the price of a ride in his big fancy—car.

Chuckling, Johan listened for prey, and heard nothing. Quiet nights were tough on the grocery list.

He ran his tongue around the inside of his mouth, licked the sharp incisors.

From the alley across the street and to his left stumbled the wretched remains of a woman he’d seen over the years, once vital, but age and hard wear had taken their toll. Her sunken eyes peered vacantly up and down the empty street. Threadbare clothing hung off emaciated shoulders, thankfully covering her from chin to toe. Turning to her left, the ancient relic plodded away, seeking refuge in whatever empty barrow she could find.

Johan had seen her before on his nightly excursions, often feeding on the refuse of someone else’s trash. She’d live a while longer, her drug habit ensuring her own private pleasures. He couldn’t imagine himself hungry enough to harvest her.

A squeal of tires from his lady’s side of the street pulled his attention that way. Another car, less flashy, more nondescript, pulled to a stop beside her. Two men—one enormous and obese, soft looking, the other, a runt by comparison—leapt out of the back doors and were on her in a flash.

“No,” she snarled when the two men grabbed her, one to an arm. She kicked and jerked her arms, writhing in their grasp. “Le’ me go, you bastards!”

“Cool it, babe. You ain’t going anywhere but where we want,” growled one of the goons. Using one hand to hold her, he moved the other over the woman freely, and his grin was horrible to see.

Johan took a step into the street, contemplating a rescue. It’d been years since he’d bowed to that temptation. Before he made up his mind, the girl was tossed into the back seat and both men had joined her. Her shriek was the last thing he heard before the car sped away.

Too late, he raced for the vehicle.

* * *

I hope you enjoyed my ramble and the excerpt. Thanks so much for stopping by and I'll see you again next month.