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Judging a its cover

Judging a book by its cover?

Now be honest…have you ever bought a book because of the cover? How about not bought one because of the cover?

I will give you my answer. Yes, on both fronts.

Yes, I have bought a book because when I look at the cover I was pulled in. Whether it’s been the characters or setting I wanted to see if the book lived up to my imagination.

Sometimes it’s been worth it and sometimes not.

On the other hand, I have also let the cover of a book turned me off of a certain story. This happens more when I am undecided with whether or not I want to try the book. Usually the story blurb will not be strong enough to pull me in and the cover will be the final decision on if it stays on my to be maybe bought, to be bought pile, or if I go ahead and chance it and purchase the book.

This happened recently to me. The information the story offered didn’t do anything for me. I could live with or without it. But when I kept seeing the cover at different sites (Great promoting) and I was intrigued. I really liked the background and the characters and thought oh why not!

And ended up thrilled that I had given my time and money to purchase the book. And I realized myself that had it not been for the cover artist work I may have never have made the purchase.

And that would have been terrible.

So I thought about my own books… the releases that I have had and how they might have brought in readers by just the cover.

One of the reasons I had been a fan of Total-E-Bound before I was published is the way they run their website. The information is easy to get to and you can find what you want. And the books… are some of the best!

I am not a fan of animated characters for covers. While I have a few it is more because the author is an established author that is on my auto-buy list. I like to see flesh and blood, real emotions, and a setting that goes with the books.

Total-E-Bound had very talented artists that ‘get’ what the author wants and has the ability to showcase books in the best light.

I don’t know about other authors but even between my own books I have my favorite covers.

I was lucky enough to have the very talented Natalie Winters design books for my Were Chronicle series. Each book has matched the characters that I had imagined as I spent hours and hours over the keyboard telling their story. I couldn’t have been more pleased.

Natalie also did the cover for my vampire book Eternal. Which was smack on the nose for what I had pictured.

Luckily I have also had the pleasure of having other artists give their talents to some of my books. My very first release… Savage Love back in 2008 cover was done by April Martinez. This cover was the start of something I couldn’t even imagine. It was the first one I loved and will always have that special place in my heart.

At last but certainly not least I was gifted with the wonderful insight of Lyn Taylor. Lyn was the artist for my Lust Bites books and the first of The Corporate Wolves series.

A book doesn’t end when the author pushed the send button and the submission goes out. That is just the first step. Then it’s contracts, edits, more edits, art, final edits (Lol), promotion, and release.

It is a complex string of people working to make one story the best it can be.

So here is a thought. Without some of the artist’s we have here at Total-E-Bound we might not have picked up that one or couple of fans. Their talent and insight probably helped grabbed someone out there and they bought our book… BECAUSE OF THE COVER…

So here is my Thanks to Natalie, April, Lyn, and all the wonderful people who work so hard to put their best into each story. We couldn’t do it without you!

Crissy Smith

Romance on the ‘WILD’ side…


Have you heard?

I've always been a huge fan of audio books, but I never thought I'd actually hear someone reading any of my stories that way.

I now have three in total!

Here's a bit about them:

Charlotte is more than happy to offer her master her body, her blood and her submission. But her mind is her own, if he really is listening in on her thoughts, he has to stop – Right now!

As soon as Zachariah feeds from Charlotte's blood, he begins to hear her thoughts whispering into his mind. A rare blood bond forms between them and Zachariah is thrilled. He's sure the bond and his new insights into Charlotte's mind will solve all their problems.

Charlotte was ready for her master's bite to hurt – she was looking forward to it. She thought she was ready for anything else too, but she wasn't ready to let her master into her mind. The bond isn't the solution to anything. The bond is the problem.

Zachariah has to solve a whole new set of problems if he's going to prove he's the master Charlotte's always wanted, and Charlotte has to learn to do something she's never done before – trust a master with her mind.

Caught between two dominant men until they learn to settle their differences, all Jasmine can do is submit – and enjoy.

Thrown in between the future alpha of all the werewolf packs and the next head of all the vampire clans – the entirely human Jasmine Neal is charged with the task of helping the two younger men to forget their differences and set aside their hatred for each other.

Offering Stafford and Hayden her submission is easy. Offering them her body brings her nothing but pleasure. But she's only been sent to submit to them for one night. When the council of elders return to discover if their scheme to settle the men's differences is successful, she knows that the joy she finds with the two men will be over.

Jasmine didn't expect to find one potential master that night, let alone be caught between two. But, that only makes it harder when she has no choice but to lose them both.

Reader Advisory: The two male characters in this story are entirely straight but there is some intimate non-sexual interaction between them.

Can Andrew really spend twelve hours saying no to everything Stephen offers him? It’s not going to be easy, when all he wants to say is - Yes!

Andrew likes sex. If someone he’s attracted to wants to have sex with him, he’s not going to say no to them. That’s not a character flaw, it’s just common sense.

Stephen seems to think otherwise. He’s sure Andrew is incapable of saying no to a cheap thrill. But, at the same time, he’s more than happy to provide Andrew with the prefect opportunity to prove him wrong.

Andrew has no doubt that he can say no to everything the younger man offers him for the next twelve hours, and that’s all he needs to do to win their bet. He’s also quite looking forward to cutting the would-be dominant down to size in the process. Because, while he may be easy when it comes to vanilla encounters, Andrew has high standards when it comes to dominants.

There’s no way an inexperienced nineteen year old is going to receive his submission. Andrew will obviously find it easy to say no to that. Won’t he…?

Do you like audio books too? Just click on the covers to go to the book page and listen to an excerpt.

Take care,

Kim Dare.
Kink, Love and a Happy Ending. Do you Dare?


Own Your Own Power

You know why I love the heroines in the books we write? Do you know why I download e-book after e-book and read it?

Okay, so, yeah, part of it is about those strong, masculine heroes I fantasize about. But mostly it’s because of our heroines.

Our heroines are strong and resourceful. Sure, especially if they’re complex, they have moments of doubt. They may cry or stomp a foot, but ultimately, they deal with challenges and issues resourcefully. They’re multidimensional. They meet life head on and they don’t shrink from conflict or challenges. In a ménage, they may even be strong enough to stand their ground in the face of two male egos.

What I like best about our heroines is that they ultimately claim their own power. And because they do that, they’re inspiration for me.

A beautiful friend of mine recently got a short, short skirt. She was self-conscious and she shouldn’t have been. My advice to her…? Whatever you wear, own it.

As women, as writers, I encourage us to claim our power more often, at work, in relationships, in financial dealings, in asking for what we want.

I had an interesting experience a few years ago. I went on a solitary writing retreat to the gorgeous, historic Taos, NM. I was very brave, packing up my car, renting a casita, and heading out of state.

I arrived late, after dark, tired and hungry. I found the remote location in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, located the (female!) owner of the casita, admired the teepee she had erected for her ceremonies and marveled at the vast, sage-laden land to the west.

After getting my key and settling in, I got into my car and headed into Taos to find a grocery store. I walked up and down the aisles. I knew what foods I would select for my daughter if she were there. I knew what kind of soda my son would want. I knew what things to pick up for my (then) husband. But I had no idea what to buy myself for a ten day sojourn into creativity.

I walked the length of each aisle. And I walked out of the store a few minutes later with nothing in my hands.

I got back to the casita, still tired, still hungry.

I wasn't done yet, though. I still had another big decision ahead of me. What side of the bed did I want to sleep on? Or did I want to sleep in the middle?

The good news is, the next morning I was hungrier than I’d been the night before. And I was desperate for coffee. I went back to the store with a plan and list. No harm, no foul, but I marveled at myself. I was a grownup with a family, and I had no idea what I wanted to eat.

After that, I vowed I would know myself better. I’d spend as much time discovering what I liked as what others liked. It meant spending more solitary time. It meant journaling. It meant trying new things. I learned I liked beer. And chocolate. And fish. And I learned I really didn’t like hamburgers and I definitely didn’t like macaroni and cheese. I learned that I could go out for dinner and order dessert first. I learned I liked to lift weights and play racquetball rather than knit and go shopping.

I learned that I liked to do some adventurous things alone. I bought a backpack and hiked the wilderness by myself. (I told someone where I was going and where my car would be parked and when I would be back.) I hiked a 14,000 foot mountain alone. I spent a solitary (and mostly silent) week alone at a ranch in the middle of 800 acres near Riverton, Wyoming. (Since there was no phone or cell service at the ranch house, I had to take a gun. There’s no way to call for help if man or beast comes trundling along. This meant, oh, yeah, I had to learn to shoot. Turns out, I like that, too!)

I had to learn to build a fire for warmth, deal with a rat in the kitchen, and promise not to shoot the bull snake that lives beneath the ranch house, after all, that’s what keeps the rodent population down. Before that trip, I considered I was “roughing it” if I didn’t have twenty-four hour room service!

Through it all, I claimed my own power. Do I always ask for what I want? Hell no. Do I always stand my ground? Uh. No. Do I dither and deliberate? Oh, yes. But I don’t willingly give away my power anymore. I can shop for myself for ten days without batting an eyelash. I don’t take anyone else clothes shopping with me because I can decide what looks good on me.

How have I managed all this…?

I’ve read your books. And your heroines have inspired me.

Keep up the good work!


A Summer Quickie

In a cushy chair at Starbucks emptying my insanely full inbox, and I've only been offline for two days! Off on yet another summer vacay, this time half a week at my friends' lake house, then off to different friends' mountain cabin...both sans internet. I drove 30 miles to hop on, and realized it was my turn to post on HTHS! Summer insanity... So I'm (hopefully understandably!) going to keep it short and sweet today before getting back to the beach!

My first Seasoned Women ebook is now out at TEB, Sex On Summer Sabbatical:

Who knew it would so hard to get a twenty-something man to have sex?

Forced by her employer to take a three month sabbatical, workaholic Tori Warren makes a checklist of things to accomplish which will make the time off worthwhile.

Get into the best shape of her life. Have the most fun of her life. Oh, and have the best sex of her life.

Sexy young Adam comes into her life at just the right time. A physical trainer with a loving-life personality, he should work nicely in helping her meet all three goals. He’d be especially perfect for the best sex. Now if he would only just cooperate...


Maximum Exposure by Jude Mason and Jenna Byrnes

A secret pleasure denied could be the end for long time lovers Rob and Max, or will mistrust do it first?

Rob Jenkins is worried. The relationship he's been in for six years has become a little stale and not very intimate. He loves Max more than anything, but the man's sexual fetish of 'doing things' in public never interested him.

While Max is away at a two-week business conference, Rob concludes that in order to save their relationship, he needs to make some choices. He surprises Max with a weekend visit and the offer to play a 'game'. Will the sexy scenarios be enough, or will they merely expose the flaws in their relationship?

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of male/male intimacy and exhibitionism.

Publisher's Note: This story has been previously released as part of the Friction anthology by Total-E-Bound

"I can't say enough about the style Byrnes and Mason bring to each and every book they do together." ~ Erotic Horizon Reviews

More information or purchase here

Jenna Byrnes
Page Scorching Erotic Romance

Jenna on Fire blog:

Hot Highlights monthly newsletter:


The Series

There's something to be said about writing a successful series. If the first book does well, readers will want to continue to read about other characters and plot lines introduced in the first book. But will there be one big story arc, or will each book be read as a stand-alone?

I've read books where I was totally confused, then realized I'd come into a series midway. And because I was so frustrated trying to follow it, I didn't go back and buy the other books. I've also read series stories where the hero and heroine are in each book, and for me, that wasn't satisfying, because in some of those there's no happy ending. (I'm talking romance here, not urban fantasy, in which this seems to be the norm.) I'd have to read the next book to see that. So when I set out to write a series romance, it's about a central theme with a different set of protagonists in each story. Personal taste, mind you.

However, the book's ability to be read as a stand-alone seems to be the big question when it comes to successful series romance. As an author, you want the story to flow from book to book. But the new reader who didn't read book one has to be able to understand book three. Somehow, you have to give enough of the background so that new readers will understand while old readers won't be bogged down in a rehash of the story.

You also have to be consistent. Even the most minute recurring character has to have the same color eyes throughout the series. It can get harrowing keeping track unless you have a good system.

My latest series with TEB is the Storm Lords. Each book is about one of four identical brothers from a far off land. So in each book, I had to describe what their land was like, the villains they face, and what exactly a Storm Lord is without bogging down the story. It was a pain, but it's also a fun challenge to get it right. The real excitement was with character growth in the series. All the brothers make appearances in every book, but the focus is of course on the romance between one particular brother and the woman he falls in love with. Yet each brother gets to grow as he encounters obstacles and overcomes them.

There are a ton of great series at TEB, and I'm always happy to share news about books I like. Here are a just a few of the many I'd recommend, and in no particular order:

Cattle Valley by Carol Lynne
Untamed Hearts by Jenna Byrnes and Jude Mason
Were Chronicles by Crissy Smith
Circle of Three by Brynn Paulin

And of course, a few of my own:
Life in the Vrail
Storm Lords

Enjoy your Sunday!



Church Street Fetish Fair 2010

Well, the hot, sultry weather of August can mean only one thing-it’s time for Toronto’s annual Church Street Fetish Fair. Every year I get an opportunity to meet people I wouldn’t otherwise meet and find all kinds of material for stories.

With three or four blocks open only to foot traffic, you could walk the street checking out the vendors, workshops and anything else that caught your eye. Thank you so much to John Gilks and Rod Brito for allowing me to use their wonderful photos and to Erica Furness and Dante Inferno for letting me post their fire play and bed of nails photos.

Here are a couple of photos of people in the bouncy castle twister sponsored by Steamworks. That looked like a lot of fun.



There were lots of lovely men to look at. I like to save the photos as a reference when I need inspiration for a new book.



The dunk tank was perfect for the muggy, summer day.


I love a man in a kilt. Especially on a hot day.


There were three stages going all day to provide a staggering array of entertainment and demonstrations to tantalize your brain.

The performers are always amazing.







I’m always drawn to the Fetish Stage and here’s the lineup of some of the things that were there- flogging, fire play, piercing, hot wax and bed of nails. My dear friend Lady Viktoria presented a workshop titled Sumptuous Body Lix which was a flogging demonstration.

Here are some shots of Erica Furness and Dante Inferno with fire play and the bed of nails.

This is Erica.


Here’s the fire play and bed of nails.



These shots show some of the many ‘demonstrations’ you could watch.



Bootblacks were busy plying their trade.


So all the fun is over for another year, but there are lots of other events happening in Toronto. I’ll keep you posted on what they are. Stay tuned to see what’s next on the calendar.

Check out Indulge Me, my latest book from Total-e-Bound, available in ebook, audio and print as part of the anthology Naughty Nooners.

Stay naughty,


Kaenar Langford
Tales to seduce and entice…


A Voice Crush

So yeah I am a huge TV fan and I’m about to share a crush with you {insert blush here}

It started when I was younger and I loved to watch Knight Rider. Nope although David Hasselhoff was okay. My crush was on Kitt. I love me some Kitt. I liked the voice. Now is that so wrong that I had a crush on a car. Come on it’s fine to have a crush on a car. Those sexy lines of the shiny black Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.

They even had a Knight Rider movie and a brief series. I was again so crushing on the new Kitt. {grin} In the series I liked how they had David Hasselhoff come to see his son. Yeah his son and sort of pass on the reins. But my one peeve when the show was on is why didn’t they let the old Kitt come to see the new Kitt huh. Come on I would have loved to see my crush before I pass on the crush to the new Kitt.

I have a thing for voices. A voice creates so many reactions. Don’t get me started on Goliath from the Gargoyles cartoon series. Or Optimus Prime from transformers the cartoon and the movies. I can go on and on.

Come on you know it was coming. Who were some of your voice crushes and why? And gimmie the details.

Taige Crenshaw
…increasing the sizzle factor

Chat Group:
Free Reads Site:


Fire in the Blood - Finally Out!

By Lisabet Sarai

Yesterday TEB released my new vampire ménage. I've published several short stories involving blood-drinkers, but Fire in the Blood was my first attempt at a novella length tale of the undead.

It's not really a typical vampire romance. The vampire, Etienne de Rémorcy, is a former slave from the time of colonial Jamaica, turned by his evil mistress. For more than a century he has haunted the ruins of her plantation Fin d'Espoir, shunning humans and vowing never again to taste mortal blood. When a fierce storm and a runaway horse bring the lovely tourist Madeleine to his lair, he struggles against temptation, but ultimately takes both her blood and her body as she begs. Before long he has also seduced (or perhaps been seduced by) Maddy's lover Troy. Truly moral despite his status as a monster, Etienne tries to separate himself from the mortal couple but the bonds that have grown among the three of them are too powerful.

Here's an excerpt from one of the ménage scenes, to whet your appetite!

A gust of wind nearly knocked Troy to the ground. When he looked again, the black man was on the deck, towering above Maddy. He seized Troy’s lover, drawing her into a kiss so ferocious Troy thought that he’d devour her.

Maddy!” Troy yelled. “Wait! Please…” The woman he loved ignored him completely, returning the stranger’s kiss with equal passion. As Troy watched, helpless yet fascinated, the giant hoisted Maddy in his arms, then placed her, prone, on one of the chaises.

Help. He needed help. Frantically, Troy scanned the line of bungalows perched on the edge of the beach. All were dark. His cries had not roused anyone. And even if he did get some attention, what could anyone do? Etienne was stronger than any three normal guys. Besides, it was all too clear that Maddy welcomed him into her arms. Into her body.

Troy watched in disbelief as the giant tore the satin away from Maddy’s form as if it were paper. Who was this man? How did he know Maddy? Misery filled his soul, yet he was aroused too. His cock strained against his shorts as the black man straddled Maddy’s hips. His lover looked tiny and vulnerable with that huge dark form looming over her. The sight made Troy’s balls ache.

The black man reached for Maddy’s breasts. She moaned, then yelped in surprise and delight. Troy remembered their coupling earlier in the day. “Harder,” she’d urged, over and over, as he gouged at her nipples. Maddy screamed, a wild animal cry that rang across the beach and sent chills up Troy’s spine. She tried to grab the black man’s shoulders but he forced her arms above her head.

Troy couldn’t bear it. At the same time, he could not look away. He circled to the side of the deck, losing sight of the couple for the moment. Step by stealthy step, he climbed from the beach to the deck, until he could see them once again.

Maddy writhed under the black man, who was fucking her hard and fast. With one enormous hand, he gripped both her wrists, pressing them against the cushions. He raked his other hand across her breast, leaving trails of red. God, he was slicing her open with his nails, and she seemed to love it!

Troy’s horror and lust grew together. He stepped closer to the chaise. The couple paid no attention to him. They ground their bodies together and moaned in synchrony. Troy pushed his shorts down to his ankles, letting his own cock spring free. He stroked himself in time with Etienne’s thrusts. He watched Maddy’s face. Her mouth opened wide whenever the man’s cock sank into her pussy and went slack when he pulled out. She kept her eyes glued to the black man’s face, peering at him as though she was reading his thoughts.

Troy imagined that he was the one filling her, that the sweat-slick hand around his shaft was Maddy’s tight, wet pussy. The giant groaned and stroked faster. Troy did likewise. It didn’t matter whether they saw him, or what they thought. He knew that they were beyond caring. Well, so was he.

Suddenly, the stranger leaned across Maddy’s body and began licking her chest—licking the wounds he had carved in her breast. Maddy went crazy, thrashing underneath him. “Etienne! Oh yes!” she cried as the man fastened his thick lips on her flesh. The stranger growled—a hoarse, inhuman sound that made Troy’s skin crawl and his cock swell.

Maddy was coming—Troy knew the signs, the look on her face, her strangled cries—and he was coming too. He couldn’t help himself. His cum arced out from his cock and sprayed the couple. The thick dollops of fluid were a shocking white on the man’s ink-coloured back.

Etienne raised his woolly head from Maddy’s breast and turned to Troy. “Do you want some, boy?” he thundered. His eyes shot bolts of dark fire. His ripe mouth glistened, wet with Maddy’s blood. Animal teeth jutted from his lips, bright and terrible.

Troy froze. Who—what—was he? He remembered their conversation on the beach. Darkness. Violence. Madness. He recalled the feel of Etienne’s teeth piercing his groin. His mind reeled. At the same time, under Etienne’s gaze, his cock was hard again, as though he’d gone a week without relief instead of having just climaxed.

Come here,” the giant ordered. “Taste your lover. Drink her lifeblood. Make her yours.”

No…I can’t…” Troy stuttered, knowing he should refuse. No sane man would drink his lover’s blood. He wanted to do it, though. He wanted to feel Maddy writhing under him, wanted to give her the same ecstasy she had achieved with this other man. His cock throbbed, urging him on.

Fire in the Blood is available now! You can buy it here. Still undecided? You can watch the trailer here, and read another excerpt on my website.


Favorite Author

I have a big time author crush. BIG time author crush. My hubby has even caught me petting this author's name on her book covers. HUGE author crush. I've read nearly every book she's written, all 48 or so books. I've scoured used bookstores to get my hands on her entire Tall, Dark and Dangerous series published by Silhouette Intimate Moments. I've even got a copy of her very first book Future Perfect published by Kismet in 1993. Currently I'm rereading her 15 book Troubleshooters series from start to finish and loving every minute of being reunited with the hot US Navy Seals of Team Sixteen.

Has anyone guessed this author yet? Do you love her too?

The best part of this fall will be the conference I attend in October when I will get to meet my author crush face to face. I hope I don't gush too much and embarrass myself too terribly when I shake hands with the incredible Suzanne Brockmann.

Yeah, and we share the same first name! One other thing we shared this week is love from a fan.

I received the nicest email this week from a fan who wrote that she enjoyed my Gifts of Desire series so much that she's read the series twice. She said that the second time was even better, and she's looking forward to my latest book in the Threefold Anthology coming out September 6.

I've been walking on a cloud all week. I get to meet my favorite Suz, and a fan is loving this Suz.



A sneak peak of Jude's monthly newsletter

Every month on the 15th, I put out a newsletter that I'm pretty proud of. I thought I'd share part of this month's with you all.Let's hope the format sticks and the page isn't too wide.Cross your fingers for me. I hope you enjoy.

Author Jude Mason's
August 2010 Edition

I hope you've had a spectacular month. Mine has been busy, which is good, and productive, which is very good. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and I'll tell you all about it.

What's in this issue:

What Jude's been up to
Coming soon
New Releases
Contest Information
Where to find Jude
Website updates
Hot excerpt
What Jude's up to:

It's been a fantastic month! *Very big grin here* I'm writing again, almost smoothly after months of struggling to get anything done. Having said that, I can tell you all I've finally, only 2 months late, sent in the first in my (hopefully) new series called Daybreak 2525. I won't know until the end of August if Doc is accepted or not, but I do know Claire was looking forward to the genre of series I had planned. So, cross your fingers everyone!

It just feels sooo darned good to sit down and not feel an empty terror when I look at a blank page. Whether the book is accepted or not, I know I can either create something else, or do whatever fixes needed to make it a good fit for that publishing house.

Now I'm onto the next one. Actually, Jenna Byrnes and I are onto our next one in the Kindred Spirits Series, tentatively called Dylan's Dilemma. As is our usual practice, I begin the book and Jenna does the ending, so the first bit is done. Jenna now has it in her capable hands and I'm looking at the next in my 2525 series. I'm also thinking it's been much too long since I wrote a femdom story so want to dive into something in that genre soon. I tell you, it's like I've been sleeping and have just woke up with a brilliant idea or two, or three. Speaking of numbers, I hear Jenna has a half dozen ideas flashing around inside her head. The poor dear!

On to personal bits. I've just gotten back from seeing my specialist and things are really looking up. I've lost some weight, and am totally thrilled about that, and it seems that along with the meds I've been taking, have done the trick. The swollen optic nerve is not as swollen, so I may be on my way back to whatever normal is. I really do feel so much better. I think I was so used to feeling unwell that I just accepted it as how I was going to be. I'm grateful that's not the case.

Animals: All are doing well and I've got a doe who's come close enough for me to hand feed. She appeared one afternoon looking like she'd been hit by a car. She had bumps and gouges, some fur missing off her back, a rather large sore on her leg and a terrified look in her eyes. The others picked on her. That's the way of nature. She was injured, they need the extra food to make it through the winter.

Anyway, I tried to keep an eye on her to see if she really was badly hurt. She didn't limp or favor any particular leg or have difficulty eating, she just needed a little extra help. I took to sitting out with her when she came. That was enough to keep the others away for just a little while so she could eat. I progressed to making sure she had a bit of apple. And of course, that progressed to coaxing her in to take it from my hand. A few days later, she brought her fawn. I was nearly in tears. What a wonderful surprise. She's still the low man on the totem pole, but I make sure she gets enough, her and her fawn. She'll make it over the winter for sure. I'll do my best to see to that. She's still missing some fur, a patch on her back so I'll be able to identify her when her coat turns.

And that's it. If you'd like to see the rest, you've got a couple of choices. You can join my yahoo group and chat a little as well as receive this and more every month. Or, you can sign up to my mailing list. Both links are below. 

*Jude Mason - Readers needed: Come, explore with me...if you dare*
          Yahoo group  /  Mailing list


Taking a Moment... Or a Few

I can't believe most of summer is behind us. The past weeks have been crazy--with work and trying to fit writing in. I'm sorry to say my time with my family has suffered because of it. Oh, I think for the most part, it's been fine. The kids have been busy with summer camps and sports, but I know the family time we usually try to fit in... Well, it just wasn't happening.

Yesterday, my "baby" turned eight. He is a sports fanatic like his daddy, so for his special day, he wanted to go to a baseball game. Those who know me know sporting events, for me, are on the same list as camping. Not among my favorite things. I was working through the day and kept thinking I should just bow out and not go to the game. After all, I had too much to do, and couldn't spare the few hours...

Turns out I can't resist the cute kid with the big brown eyes looking at me so sweetly. So I went. I grumbled--in my head; on the outside I had a smile plastered on my face. This was his day, after all.

We got to the ball field, found out seats, got some snacks and settled in for the game. Then something happened. I let go of all the to-do lists in my head and started to watch. Oh, I didn't watch the game so much. I watched my son watching the game, absorbing it all with the hugest grin on his face. The excitement that glowed when a player hit a home run. His little body jumping up and down as he cheered. I was captivated by the sheer enjoyment that radiated from him.

We left the game in the 7th inning. Poor boy was tired out, and we still had to do cake and ice cream at home. He chattered the whole way home about the game and how awesome it was. Later, after everyone was in bed, and pulled work up on my computer, I started thinking about how much I'd have gotten done, if I'd stayed home and had the whole house to myself--quiet and calm. Then I realized I wouldn't change a thing. No, I wasn't converted into a sports fan, but damn, I'm a fan of my kids, my family. And I will always have the memories of how much he loved what we did on his birthday. The work is still here, will always be here. LOL But all too soon, I'll have this whole house to myself (and the hubby hehe) and I'll be wishing I had more time with my kids.

Amazing how taking a moment, or a few, away from everything--the to-do lists and all that--can bring everything that is important back into focus.

Happy August all! I hope you enjoy the month...and take a few moments to enjoy those you love and care for. :)


Real Women...Irresistible Men...Endless Possibilities.


Changing Styles

(You're getting a rerun, but I can't remember WHERE this first appeared LOL!)

Have you ever started to write and before you knew it you’d stopped and begun to analyze your style? Or found that somewhere in the first few drafts that your voice has changed? Or even the place your writing comes from?

I have. Let me give you an example to illustrate my point.

Back in 2008 I cranked out a 100k novel for Loose ID as I heard they were making noise that they wanted to see work from me. Being a fan of Treva Harte, I figured I’d give them something hard, dark and angry. Like most of the stories I write, this one had plenty of bondage, kinky sex, domination and a hot wolf hero paired with a submissive female faery in a new world. The World I’d created of the Unseelie Kingdom was harsh, cold and very cyberpunk, I was also trying to emulate my mentor at the time since she’d just finished sold and published a steam punk romance. The music I listened to was harsh, dark, brutal in a lot of cases. Bands like Nile, (technical Death Metal) Combichrist (agro-tek electronica) and Arch Enemy were in heavy rotation on the song list. In short, if it was heavy and hard, it was probably on the playlist and I wasn’t talking about anything pop sounding or pussified.

I finished the novel and let it sit due to deadlines on other projects such as the story I started for Total E-bound. In the same fashion, I wrote a story aimed at one of my very close friends with the intention of making it also a BDSM story and crafting a character who was a bad-ass Domme. This novel was “supposed” to be harsh and include plenty of bondage and whip fun. Also it would have a theme for Total E-bound’s Ghost of Christmas Future series. Oh and it would also be a brutal story.

In the month between these two stories, I had a few personal breakthroughs courtesy of another dear and beloved friend that made me feel…more at peace with a lot of my personal issues.

So what became of the Total E-bound project was NOT angry, brutal and dark. The kink was mental, the issues were real and the beta readers who loved the first story I mentioned also loved the second one and said that I wrote from a lighter place that showcased my deep love for said person.

I freaked. I went back to try to edit in some kink, thinking there HAD to be some places where I could throw in darker themes but I write so tightly that when I finish a story, it’s done. I then realized my problem.

I could no longer write from that deep, dark place of anger and aggression because I no longer felt that way. Had I let all of those emotions loose in the first story? Or had personal events changed my style to help me grow?

I don’t actually know but thought this could make for an interesting blog post for Lisabet Sarai, an author I’ve admired for years. It was a scary thing for me to realize that I could NO LONGER write from that place. Sure I could (and have written) come from that dark place again to craft stories that raise the hair on your neck, but my inspiration was different and so was the end result. The stories have more punch and emotion, and in romance, isn’t that what we want?

Sascha Illyvich
Romance Writer –
Fetishist –
Erotic Expert –
Radio Host -
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New Hair.

I sat in his chair, placing myself totally under his control. The roping of muscle in his hands and arms belies the gentleness of his touch. He tilts my head back and thread his fingers through my hair. He tugs enough for me to know he's serious about what he's doing, but never hard enough to hurt me. His fingers massage my scalp placing me in an almost trance-like state. He tips back the chair and warm water covers my scalp. He works his magic. I relax into him, trusting him implicitly. He knows me and my desire. I have complete confidence in him. Finished, he squeezes my long hair while catching my eye in his mirror. He smiles and I see the kindness in his eyes.
"You trust me?" he whispers.
"Of course," I answer.
He takes out his scissors and my eyes widen for a moment before I close them. Silently he goes about his business, transforming me into something new, something fresh.
"There. What do you think, Beautiful?" he asks.
I open my eyes and stare first at the mirror and then the floor.
"Oh my," I respond.
Quinten is not only my hairdresser, but an artist. Somehow, he has just transformed my fuzzy, frizzy mess of hair into lovely, curling, shining locks.

Here's a picture of me on a pirate ship - yep - a pirate ship. The hair's a bit windblown, but still lovely.

Thank you Quinten. You are my hero.

Interested? Quinten works out of Hair Excursions in Edwardsville, Illinois.

Soundtrack to a sexy summer...

...and a Sultry Solstice.

What's a sexy summer without the throbbing beat of music in the air? And where better place to discover new and revisit old musical passions than at a summer festival?

I had so much fun writing about Céilidh, my own very own fictional music festival, that I've put together a playlist for The Festival Spirit -- my recommendations of what to listen to while you read! You can find it together with cover art here (no wellies or tents required!).

I'd love for you to share the soundtrack to your sexy summer. What are you listening to on these long hot nights when you're reading the latest TEB releases or, even better, having erotic adventures of your own?

"Joyful people everywhere, from young children chasing each other to
partying teenagers in band t-shirts to the older, bearded set
of festival-goers who’d been coming to Céilidh for years. Lots of
bare skin, the tropical smell of coconut lotion a comic counterpoint
to the plastic cups of Guinness in every bloke’s hand."
"Everything faded to a background blur
of sound and colour, reality smudging 
deliciously as her eyelids lowered and her feet moved.
The rhythm bound her, capturing her 
completely, until there was no thought,
no nothing but the drum of her heart in her chest and 
the sudden slide of dance-warmed skin against her back."
 "'I strained to hear even the smallest sounds from them in their tent.
I knew they’d be trying to be quiet—so if I heard a noise from them,
it would be one that they just couldn’t stop themselves from making.
Maybe a hiss of her breath when his teeth grazed her nipple.
Maybe a moaning laugh from him if she licked him,' Mira 
touched her tongue to that same place, 'here.'" 

Follow Rachel at &

(Photo credits: Rachel Randall & Bonferroni Correction. Captions: The Festival Spirit by Rachel Randall. All rights reserved.)


Womens' rights in King John's reign

Writing historicals is always a challenge. Not just giving the facts, but doing justice to the times without getting caught up in anachronisms is my biggest endeavor. The reason I love the period of King John's England is for the very reason that women's rights--let that read widows' rights-- were of utmost interest to John's subjects.
Widows, made so at young ages by disease and accident to their spouses, often held large tracts of land and hence, too, earned the monies destined for the households' coffers. So were these youthful women made wealthy. So, too, were they prizes to be handed over by legal ties of matrimony by the king to men whom he wished to please or reward.
John all too often used the women in his realm to his own ends. Demanding they marry as he chose, he could and did imprison one and perhaps more for failure to do his will. In one case, he did indeed (as I recount in FOR HER HONOUR) imprison his own cousin for her failure to wed whom he chose--and then too castrated her lover for his disobedience.
The Magna Carta, long known as a prime document and marker in the progress toward English freedoms, reflects the outrage of John's nobles over his misuse of his power over widows.
My Swords of Passion series, of which FOR HER HONOUR is the second, shows John's willfulness...and waywardness.
The Carta is justifiably his comeuppance!
Do come for a preview to my new website,


It's Not The 1960's Anymore

I love Sandra Dee-Bobby Darin movies. Call me old-fashioned or just plain geeky.

Recently I signed up for Netflix and so we just rented "If A Man Answers", a Sandra Dee-Bobby Darin romance which was one of my favorites when I was young.

At first tonight, the movie got off to a slow, boring start. But when Sandra and Bobby met, the chemistry ignited and I was hooked.

However, I was disappointed when Bobby kicked close the bedroom door everytime the romance started to flame. I wanted to get higher on their love, not suddenly catapult forward into some innocuous, unromantic scene.

The 1960's was a long time ago. It was another lifetime and it feels like another world. I'm not the same person. While I wound up enjoying the movie for the comedy in the second half, I wanted a lot more heat.

Colleen, the heroine in my recently released time-travel romance "Whirlwind Romance" learns similar things. In the 1970's she hadn't let her boyfriend past her bedroom door. Now that she's a 2010 woman who gets hurled back to that time in her life, she sees, and feels, things much differenly.

When Colleen gets sucked into a hurricane and awakes in 1978 she gets a second chance to be with the only man she’s ever loved.

Colleen’s life didn’t turn out like she planned. At fifty plus she’s divorced, childless and her career’s nowhere. If that isn’t bad enough, a hurricane destroys her home and sucks her into it.

When she awakes she’s either dead or crazy. It can’t be 1978 and she can’t be young again but all indications point to that.

She really can’t have a second chance with the only man she’s ever loved...or can she?

Colleen Perry’s window exploded, propelling shards of glass across her bedroom. Her heart stopped, and her breath caught in her throat.

She screamed, yanked her covers over her head and squeezed her eyes tightly shut as she tried to hide from the storm. Wind moaned through the walls of her house. Ear splintering crashes ripped through her like bullets. Then water deluged her through the blanket.

“What’s going on?” She peeked over her bedspread, then wished she hadn’t when an angry sky stared back. Where the hell was her roof? Was this the hurricane that was supposed to hit Texas?

Hadn’t anyone told the damned thing this was the east coast of Florida?

The house quaked. More windows exploded. The dresser mirror swayed. The wind lifted her hair and tugged her blanket out of her grip.

Crazy with terror, she scrambled beneath her bed seconds before the mirror toppled onto the mattress where she’d lain. Shivering from fright and cold, she clung tight to the bed legs. Cries ripped from her throat but were lost in the wind’s relentless roar.

A movie of her life sped through her mind; her twin sister Kathleen, Gary her ex, old friends, her school days…

“If I survive, I’m moving up north!” She’d had it with Florida and unpredictable storms. With weathermen who swore South Florida was safe but didn’t know their heads from their asses.

Nothing remained. Her house was kindling. Her twin was long gone. The love of her life was but a distant memory. She should have learned her lesson and moved after Hurricane Wilma.

With an ear-shattering bellow, tunnel-like winds sucked the remainder of the roof into the sky. The bed shuddered and followed. Then she, too, was sucked into the vortex. She couldn’t breathe. Her heart thundered in her ears. Screams made her throat raw but all she could hear was the wind. Mercilessly, the storm slammed her to the ground and she was shrouded in darkness.

* * * *

Abba’s Dancing Queen yanked Colleen from her nightmare. She resented relinquishing her pillow. Blind from sleep, she patted the dresser, searching for the alarm clock. When her fingers touched it, she moaned, “Five more minutes.” Then she hit the snooze button and cocooned herself in her comforter.

But the nightmare returned filled with hurricane-spawned tornadoes that devoured buildings and trees. Splintered wood stabbed her. Concrete slabs crushed her. In terror anew, she bolted up in her bed. Then the room’s serene but strange décor filtered into her slumberous brain. Her brow furrowed, and she did a double take.

This wasn’t her room, at least not in 2010.

Eight-track tapes littered the dresser. A rabbit-ear antenna sprouted from the TV. A bright yellow phone on the nightstand sported a rotary dial.

She read the tapes and her jaw dropped. Captain & Tenille. Bee Gees. Linda Ronstadt. Rod Stewart. Queen. Billy Joel. Barry Manilow. Elton John.

Before she could figure out what this meant, Rhonda popped into her room. Her college roommate’s eyes danced, and her long hair was feathered like one of Charlie’s Angels. She looked to be twenty-something, not the fifty-something she should be. Rhonda shouldn’t be in her room at all. She hadn’t seen the woman in almost thirty years, not since she’d stolen Gary.

Rhonda sauntered over and shook her shoulder. “Sleeping Beauty, you’d better get up. Don’t you have early class today?”

Colleen blinked at the ghost. She rubbed her eyes with the heel of her hand but the vision remained. Nothing was making sense.

On a gulp she asked, “What class?”

Whirlwind Relationship is available at Total-E-Bound.


Look what happens when you let your imagination run away with you

You come up with a story like Swingtime, a fun romp about...gasp! sex. I challenged myself to push my own boundaries, to get even more outrageous, to drink a lot of wine and give way to my fantasies. Swingtim is the result. And yay! Look what Joyfully Reviewed had to say about it:

"Swingtime is pure sexual fun at its best! Desiree Holt sweeps her audience away into a no-holds-barred erotic adventure that manages to be sweet as well as red-hot. What charmed me about Swingtime were the characters themselves. From Lanie to Cody to his swinger friends, everyone is just plain likeable. It’s their likability, combined with playfulness, good humor, safety precautions, and trust, that makes their get-togethers work. And what parties they are! I’m surprised my iPod didn’t melt while I listened to Swingtime. The sexual play ranges from twosomes to threesomes (including bisexual ménages) and more and each encounter is something fresh and new.
Swingtime isn’t all sex, however. Cody and Lanie’s romance is the heart of Swingtime and both of them have to take a risk and reveal their hearts and desires to one another in order to make their relationship work. I adored them both, which made me cheer for them to get their happily ever after together. It’s the romance that keeps me coming back to Swingtime over and over again.
I experienced Cody and Lanie’s world in audio book format. While the narrator was a bit more dramatic than I’d have liked, her reading did not harm my enjoyment of the story. Ms. Holt has packed such a full, exciting tale into Swingtime that I recommend enjoying it in whatever format you can find. I absolutely loved Swingtime. It’s wildly erotic entertainment with heart and it’s sure to leave you with a smile on your face.

Joyfully Recommended!

Here's just a tiny little taste for you:
Lanie Burrell knows all about erotic adventures…on paper. Yet, even for an erotic romance reviewer, the sex life of Lanie’s neighbor, Cody Hawkins, is shocking. She knew Cody wanted privacy; that’s why she’s his only neighbor in their private cul-de-sac. But the swinger parties Cody hosts make Lanie uncomfortable – or do they? Torn between arousal and denial, Lanie will have to gather all her courage when Cody makes a most tempting offer.
Cody has desired his sexy little neighbor for so long, but fears she’ll never accept and want to participate in his swinger lifestyle. When he spies one of the books Lanie’s reading for review, Cody feels hope for the first time. He invites Lanie to one of his parties, but makes one thing clear: he wants more than just sex from her. Will Lanie accept all that Cody has to offer?

You'll find the book at,,

And come visit me at





I often talk about inspiration- in blog posts, on twitter, to no-one while sat on the loo (don't lie. You know you do it too. Everyone talks to themselves while sat on the toilet! I'm not sure if everyone talks to themselves while in the shower, but that's a story about my insanity for another time). But inspiration was particularly important when writing my latest TEB release, Tigerlily:

I'm not sure why there are varying degrees of inspiration. All I know is that there totally is. And the less inspiration (or as I usually call it: a bunch of stuff that forces me to write) I have when embarking on a new piece of work, the harder it is to write. Sometimes I think that the work still turns out pretty okay, but the fact remains: I need stuff to grease the wheels.

For Tigerlily, it was a number of things:

1. The movie Labyrinth. Anything I write that has fantasy elements, especially when those elements are about someone coming from another world, or someone going to another world, is inspired by the movie Labyrinth. The look of it, the feel of it, the fact that it accepted that many, many young girls did not want to grow up and be housewives or have boring jobs, but instead wanted to live in a fantasy world forever...yeah, I can relate to all of those things. And a big part of Tigerlily is about a) the otherness of another world, b) someone coming to get you from that world and c) fantasy as a coping mechanism for things that suck in this world.

2. Zachary Quinto. Who has helped me write many, many things in a passionate fervour. In this case, he made a perfect hero template. Mainly because he looks otherworldly and yet all earthy at the same time, he's vibrant and bursting with hairiness and all of these things seem wildly important for writing about a man who...well. You'll have to read Tigerlily to find out!

3. Burning fields. For some reason, I associate the solstice with capering around bonfires and burning straw men and stuff like that.

4. Hot magical sexing. This may sound like a strange thing to be inspired be, but I tell you: anything to do with magical sexing, sexing voodoo, sex fact anything that prompts people to have wild crazy sex and let go of their usual inhibitions...yeah. That greases the wheels all right.

And those four things were enough to make me write it in a massive blurt. I can write without the massive blurt, but oh, it's always good to have it.

What's your latest thing that makes you do a massive blurt?


In May I opened my Perfect Love Series with "The Perfect Union". On Monday Ethan Harrison-good friend of Rick, Conor, and Calleigh-will finally complete his search for "His Perfect Partner". I can't wait for everyone to get to know this hard working and fun loving man. Ethan loves to keep everyone on their toes so watch out for his quick wit, but he's fearlessly loyal and loves with all his heart. Those lucky enough to call him their friend will find their lives enriched. Come with me back to Boston to find out what true love can conquer.


The search to find the one man destined to complete his life has sent Ethan to places high and low. What will it take to find his perfect partner?

Ethan Harrison has wonderful friends and a rewarding career, but he feels something is still missing. He’s yet to find the man that makes his fantasies reality and soul find peace.

All that changes when a complicated case of economic espionage comes across his desk, and Special Agent Ryan Ashton walks through his office door. Life however is no fantasy and Ethan and Ryan’s journey is much more complicated than a storybook.

Will the two men be able to hold on to their love or will a defendant bent on revenge have the final judgement?

Ethan stood as his next appointment was shown though the door. His breath locked in his chest and his heart stuttered as the most stunning specimen of the male species entered his office. All those silly clichés he’d ever heard about meeting the partner of your dreams were true. Time froze, giving him ample opportunity to rake his eyes over the wet-dream-inspiring vision before him.

Dark hair swept back from the high forehead of a lean face. Chiselled cheekbones and a straight nose led down to a pair of perfectly kissable lips. A strong neck disappeared into the collar of the white dress shirt. Broad shoulders filled the jacket which was expertly tailored to the strong frame. Lean hips topped long legs. Ethan’s eyes slowly travelled back up the perfect body and locked on a pair of piercing light coloured eyes. They were a before unseen combination of blue and grey. And they were focused right on him.

He mentally slapped his face and told himself to get back in the game. Hoping the beginnings of the hard-on that thickened in his slacks wasn’t too obvious with his suit coat on, he held out his hand.

“Ethan Harrison. It’s nice to meet you.”

“Special Agent Ryan Ashton.”

A large hand engulfed his, and he swore sparks shot out where their skin connected. The strength evident in the grip was tempered by the slightly callused fingertip brushing across his wrist. Large veins descended from long fingers and roped across the back of the wide expanse. Heat infused Ethan’s palm, and a slight shiver rippled though his body.

He realised he still held Ryan’s hand as he stared into those mesmerising eyes, and he dropped his hold. Taking several steps back, he sat behind his desk to hide the evidence of his arousal. He gestured to the seat on the other side.

“Please sit. Make yourself comfortable. Can I get you anything to drink?”

Ryan set down his briefcase and sat in the indicated seat. He leant back and crossed one ankle over his knee. “No thank you.”

“Special Agent Ashton, I understand you’re here to hand over case information regarding the investigation of Luke Yeung and Amerisystems.”

“Please call me Ryan.” He picked up his briefcase. After removing a file, he placed it on the desk and leant forward to slide it across. “You should have everything we’ve compiled up to this point in here.”

Ethan picked the thick folder and set it to his left. He would review the materials later, but right now, he wanted to continue his conversation with the man before him. “Why don’t you brief me on the basics while you’re here?”

Ryan’s relaxed posture in the chair contradicted the burn of his gaze as their eyes locked. “Our division has spent the last year compiling evidence of economic espionage against Mr. Yeung. We have documented proof of him selling the designs for Amerisystems’ prototype for a new environmental monitoring device. There has been suspicion of previous leaks, but until now, everything has been circumstantial.”

Ethan stood and walked around his large mahogany desk to the chair next to Ryan. He wanted to be closer to the alluring man. He sat and mimicked the other man’s posture. “What exactly does this device do?”

Ryan angled his body to better face Ethan. Their feet nearly touched. “It’s designed to collect data on temperature, light and soil moisture for crop lands and transfer it wirelessly to a remote computer using a short message service. This would allow farmers to analyse the conditions of their fields and make adjustments for a better yield with the current crop. In the long term, it would allow them to review the data from previous years to anticipate the condition of their fields for a new planting season.”

Ethan was so caught up in watching those sensuous lips move that he nearly missed his cue in the conversation, “Impressive, who’s he selling it to and why?”

Ryan shifted in his chair and licked his lips.

“Well, in this economy, we certainly can’t afford for that to happen. Have you been the lead investigator?”

That little movement a moment ago had forced Ryan’s jacket to separate, and Ethan caught the briefest glimpse of a thickening bulge in his lap. He was ecstatic that he wasn’t the only one feeling the attraction between them.

“Yes, I have a team working with me, but I’m the point man on this one.”

“Excellent. Then if I have questions or need further information, you’re the one I want to speak with. Will you leave me your contact information?”

Ryan reached into his jacket pocket and removed a business card. He flipped it over, scribbled on the back then handed it to Ethan. “Here’s my card. It has my office information as well as my email address.”

Their hands brushed as the card was handed off. Ethan felt that jolt once again and let their fingers linger for a moment before sitting back in his seat. He flipped the card over and saw a series of digits. He looked over and raised one eyebrow. “And this number?”

“My personal cell phone. Just in case you need to reach me after business hours.”

He smiled. He would love to connect with Ryan after business hours. Speak to, kiss, touch, fuck, be fucked…he wasn’t picky.

He glanced at his desk clock and noticed his next appointment was due in a few minutes. The half hour with Ryan had flown by. He stood and indicated for Ryan to precede him, making sure to get a peek of Ryan’s ass as he walked by. Silently, he cursed that it was covered by the suit coat.

Ethan halted the man’s progress by placing his hand on his broad shoulder and turned him around so they faced each other a foot from his office door. His hand slid down Ryan’s arm a few inches, and his fingers gave a little squeeze on the hard muscle.

“It was very nice to meet you, Ryan. I’ll be sure to contact you if I have any questions.”

Ryan smiled and stepped closer to Ethan so their bodies were separated by the smallest of space. He tilted forward so his lips were right next to the furl of Ethan’s ear. “You do that.”

Ethan closed his eyes and inhaled the woodsy scent of Ryan’s aftershave. The combination of Ryan’s strong body nearly pressing against him and the low voice rumbling in his ear caused his cock to harden even further. He clenched his hands to prevent himself from grabbing onto the lapels of Ryan’s suit coat and closing the distance between them completely. When he opened his eyes Ryan had moved back and those unique blue-grey eyes held the promise of good things to come.