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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Party Time!! AUTHORS Promo Op! @SensuousPromos


Sensuous Promos is turning 2! 
We’re having a celebration to kick off our 3rd year in operation!

We have been growing by leaps and bounds over the past couple of years and want to throw a fantastic event for all of the talent authors who have helped take Sensuous Promos to where they are today! 

During the month of September we will be having a month long book bash! There will be daily prizes as well as one Grand Prize given away at the end of the event. 

Prizes being awarded by Sensuous Promos are:

Grand Prize: Kindle eReader

1st Prize: $30 Amazon Gift Card

2nd Prize: $10 Amazon Gift Card

3rd Prize: $5 Amazon Gift Card

There will be other daily prizes given which include gift cards, book giveaways and tons more!

WHEN: 

September 1 to 30, 2014

WHERE: 

Sensuous Promos brand new Party Site 
(the link to this new site will be unveiled the final week of August)


PARTICIPATION RULES:

Rule # 1: If you would like to have a spot on the party schedule you must provide a prize of some kind to the readers. 

Rule #2: You must also promote your time slot for the party to help drive traffic your way. 

Rule #3: Be courteous, be kind and most of all HAVE FUN!!


ADVERTISING OPTIONS

A LA CARTE

Purchase a book cover slot (with direct purchase linkage) on the party site located on the left or right sidebar. $10

Book cover slider ad (this will be a sidebar cover ad with up to 6 of your book covers) Don’t have enough book covers to fill all 6 slots? Authors can go in on this package together! $20

Slider banner placement (will be at the top of the party site – above the daily posts – for the entire event) $20

If you’d like to purchase any of the A la carte services, please send your payment via paypal to sensuouspromos@yahoo.com with the name of the service you’re purchasing in the payment description box. 

TOO BUSY? CAN’T MAKE IT TO THE PARTY?

That’s okay! Let Sensuous Promos reach readers on your behalf!

Purchase a Party Package for $40 which includes: 

1 book cover (with direct purchase linkage) on the party site located on the left or right sidebar. This book cover will remain there for the entire month. 

3 separate social media posts advertising your appearance on our party site. 1 post the day before your book’s appearance and two posts the day of.

1 book spotlight post (with blurb and expert) which also outlines your prize. You will be asked to provide us the information ahead of time. We will select the winner and notify you so you can send out the prize(s).

1 month of social media advertisement for 1 book. This social media package cannot be banked for future use

If you’d like to purchase the Party Package, please send your payment via paypal to sensuouspromos@yahoo.com with “Party Package” in the payment description box. 

PUBLISHER PACKAGE

Purchase the Publisher Package for $80

1 full day dedicated to your publishing house on the party site. Prizes for the readers is mandatory

10 separate social media posts advertising your appearance on the party site. 5 post the day before your appearance and 5 posts the day of.

1 month of social media advertisement Up to 5 books 

Book cover slider ad this will be a sidebar cover ad with up to 6 of your book covers 

If you’d like to purchase the Publisher Package, please send your payment via paypal to sensuouspromos@yahoo.com with “Publisher Package” in the payment description box. 

MAXIMUM EXPOSURE PACKAGE

Purchase the Maximum Exposure Package for $60 

1 large sized banner placed immediately below the header banner of the party site. This banner will remain there for the entire month. 

1 month of social media advertisement Up to 5 books 

Book cover slider ad this will be a sidebar cover ad with up to 6 of your book covers

IMPORTANT: If you are interested in purchasing the Maximum Exposure package please email CJ sensuouspromos@yahoo.com to check for availability before sending in your payment as limited spots are available. 

If you receive confirmation that spots are available and one is being held for you (holds will only remain in place for 24 hours) please send your payment via paypal to sensuouspromos@yahoo.com with “Maximum Exposure Package” in the payment description box.

For any clarifications or to voice any questions you may have, please contact CJ at sensuouspromos@yahoo.com with “Party Question” in the subject line. Due to the anticipated high volume of email, please allow me 48hrs to get back with you.

Please feel free to forward this message to your friends, colleagues and any other industry professionals you can think of. And don’t forget about those readers too! 

Thanks! We look forward to having tons of fun with you! 

CJ


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I’m not an erotic romance author... #RomFantasy

I’m not an erotic romance author...

Yes, you did read that correctly. It felt good to write it. Ironic as it may be to many people, it’s true, and I’ve only recently realized it was okay to actually state it publicly. I fell into writing erotic romance and erotica because of a contest, and a desperate need to move into the world of being professionally published after moving radically away from fan fiction. Most people know that story, so I won’t rehash it. (It’s been talked about in many interviews, and here on my blog.)

A few days ago, I stumbled across a blogwritten by the incomparable Jaid Black–she who founded the powerhouse that changed smaller publishing forever, Ellora’s Cave. In the days since reading her blog post, in which she states clearly she’s tired writing about sex, I’ve noticed a number of other authors associated with the genre have also come forward and repeated the sentiment. It’s generally followed by the statement that they are going more mainstream, so romance–yes, less raunch and roll–hell yes! Some people, and yes I am one of them, have been saying for the past couple of years that the market will swing back to more traditional books in time. You can only write so much sex before you get numb to it and it becomes tedious and a chore. The human body can only DO so many things, and I’ve read stuff that made my eyes bleed–because it’s not humanly possible to do some of this–not and survive intact, let alone beg for more. (Just a word to the wise here: Shit like this does not prove how creative you are, it proves how desperate you are to shock readers…in my experience most readers don’t like those kinds of make you cringe shocks.)

I fell into the erotica stream by accident. It was, I admit, the only avenue open to me at the time I wanted very much to get a professional publishing contract in my hands. I sometimes enjoyed writing the sexy stories, and probably still will when the story whispers to me that it’s time for everyone to get down to business, but as a rule, I’m pretty much out of the market. I was never very good at it anyway because after the first couple of years, it became such a chore. I’d often have manuscripts that were mostly written, except for the sex scenes needed to sell them… many of those books are still in the files, and still unfinished.

I grew up on Harlequin Romances. I love them to this day. They’ve grown more risqué and are blatantly sexual and sensual nowadays. What they are not, though, is filled with language that would make a sailor blush–no offense meant to sailors, of course. The characters who populate mainstream romance are passionate, sexy, driven–but they’re also emotionally engaged on levels that many erotic romances miss the mark with because the sex is getting in the way. The mechanics of sex become just that, mechanical, without your characters being emotionally engaged in what they’re doing. Moving body parts get boring, fast. I’ve had many readers write to me and tell me they love my stories but skip over the sex scenes. (Ironic, given how agonizing they have sometimes been for me to write.)

For most of the past 12-18 months I have been frozen creatively. I open files of stories I have outlined and partially written, I tinker, and then I delete. I hated everything I was writing, and hating myself for not being able to write. For the first time in my entire writing career of thirty or so years, I have missed deadlines, and misread guidelines, and promised at least three books that are still not finished. This does not sit well with me, as I pride myself on my ability to be professional and responsible. I still couldn’t finish those stories, in one of them, I wrote 10K words that flowed onto the page and were vivid and alive–I hit the first sex scene, stalled, and have never been able to get back to writing it.

Depression is a whispering demon when this happens to many writers, and it’s plagued me like the disease it is. I’ve learned to stop beating up on myself for my perceived short-comings and lack of talent. One of the biggest revelations is that I can write, and write well, IF it’s something that keeps me excited about the writing. It’s a difficult thing to write story after story, promote and interview and blog all over, knowing in your heart that you hate what you’re selling. I gave myself permission to write what I want to write again, with the help of an amazing editor and friends who have seen the torment I’ve put myself through over all this. So, for the first time in over a year, I’m writing. I did spend much of the year in hell relearning my craft, though, so even while I didn’t write, I didn’t leave it all behind. I’ve read, and read, and learned how to build a better story. Now, it’s time to put the learning to work.

I’ve created my first series, it’s in outline status at the moment, but I’m so excited about it. (I even had a professional design team create a logo for the series, which you can see here.) I’m finally moving ahead with revisions on my first mainstream sensualromance, and it’s making me giddy I’m so pleased with it now. I’ve detailed my first romance with an older couple asthe hero and heroine, and it promises to be wonderful! There are no less than seven novels pending as my creativity comes back online and confidence strengthens. If/when the story tells me it’s time to get down and dirty, I’m sure it’ll happen, but now I’m not forcing myself to make it happen. I don’t foresee a return to behind closed doors romance. I also don’t foresee the demise of erotic romances. What I do see coming is a less sex-hungry readership as the balance returns very slowly to the industry. There IS room for everyone, but for some of us, the agony of having to write sex to sell just might be coming to an end.




Sunday, August 17, 2014

Old West sexy... Taste the Champagne and Chocolate #RomFantasy


I freely admit that I will never understand the Amazon rankings, the way they bounce better than a rubber ball, but this one has leapt over 700,000 in the rankings over the past week, and has received some wonderful new reviews, so if you have a taste for sexy and cowboy types, I think you'll find a little magic if you indulge in a wickedly seductive taste of CHAMPAGNE AND CHOCOLATE:


From different worlds, drawn by desire, passion is about to change their lives forever....

Austin Standish is a man of refined tastes. Intelligent and educated, Austin enjoys all of the best life has to offer. A gambler, a gunslinger, and a man who has plans to taste the sweetest prize at The Palace Casino and Saloon - the lovely owner, Chantille L'Amour, the most sought after jewel on the Barbary Coast.

Running a high-class brothel and casino isn't exactly the life she was born to but Chantille is determined to overcome the ruin her family was left in once the Civil War ended. But, she has chosen a difficult path... one that demands much and leaves her lonely. She's noticed the handsome man who comes into her world from time to time, and when she chooses to give in to desire, the passion evoked by Austin's touch may change her life forever....







Sunday, August 10, 2014

Whee!!! An awesome sale at ARe Romance eBooks!! #RomFantasy

All righty!! ARe All Romance eBooks is having a special on at least some of my book titles. So, without further ado, let’s look at what you can get at discounted prices, because there are some smokin’ hot tales, and some dark and dangerous ones to indulge in. Check these out:

Published by: Liquid Silver Books
Eligible Price: $3.99  $1.99

Ex-intelligence operative Martin Fowler is a man with a dangerous past, filled with casual liaisons and complex betrayals. In his mentor’s daughter, Martin’s found happiness and trust for perhaps the first time in his life. But, that peace is about to be tested when an old enemy kidnaps Martin’s lover and a mutual friend, and to stay alive they must engage is a betrayal of their own.

Published by: Liquid Silver Books
Eligible Price: $3.99  $1.99

THE GATES OF INFINITY lead to a different world where passion and deception may yet destroy two universes about to collide. Will time continue to turn upon itself, or will the mirror of our world open the gate and return stranded pirates and their sorcerous consorts to familiar shores?

Published by: Liquid Silver Books
Submit  Buy Now  Add to wish list
Eligible Price: $4.99  $2.99

Spanning almost two centuries Descent Into Darkness is the erotic love story of an ancient vampire and the mortal woman who is his obsession.

Alexander DeLenoir is an ancient creature of the night, born in a betrayal that has left him without conscience or morality. He’s witnessed history that is now myth. Throughout his long life, Alexander has seldom sought companionship, and never has he looked for love. He has kept two of his immortal children with him, through whatever means necessary, and is not intending to expand his family.

Arriving at a small Massachusetts town after killing the sailors on their ship, the vampire trio meets the mysterious and lonely wife of the innkeeper, and Alexander is entranced by her beauty and her indomitable spirit. In Amberlaine Calvert, he senses a nature as dark and depraved as his own seeking freedom. Despite the protests of his companions, Alexander takes her and in adoration of him finds an obsessive kind of happiness.

When the town slowly awakens to the evil among them, a bloody slaughter ensues, and Amberlaine is forced to see the madness that will define her life with Alexander. Yet, in spite of her fear, she is obsessively devoted to the powerful vampire, and the darker things she feels lurking within her are about to be unleashed by a hunger even greater than her passion—the thirst for revenge against those who dare to threaten their existence…


Published by: New Dawning Bookfair
ARe Best Seller
Eligible Price: $2.99  $1.99

Cindi Lancourte is the illegitimate daughter of a powerful businessman and a lovely woman who worked for him. Acknowledged when his wife died, she was quickly relegated to the role of servant by his new wife and step-daughters, but an invitation to a Masquerade gives this Cinderella a new shot at happiness with a handsome Prince Charming.

Published by: Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc.
Eligible Price: $0.99  $0.74 (after rebate)

Alone with her journal, Bella examines her feelings and passion for Quinn Lockharte, a man who charged into her life in a storming fury and changed it forever. Quinn's duty to his family has him engaged to his childhood sweetheart, and though the promise is an old one, Quinn feels bound by it.

Published by: New Dawning Bookfair
ARe Best Seller
Eligible Price: $3.99  $1.99

In modern Toronto, two vampires stalk the night, their hunting a game that is seductive and deadly. In a darkly compelling Goth Club, they find the prey they seek for their pleasures, and the night runs crimson with blood and unquenchable thirsts....
   
Published by: Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc.
Eligible Price: $1.99  $1.49 (after rebate)

Protected federal witness Carlos D’Alejandro and Special Agent Jade Lazlow–Whinton have had a relationship of convenience over the years. Jade’s retired, but when her estranged husband needs her, he uses her attachment to the enigmatic Carlos to lure her back into the field. When she recovers from near-fatal wounds and discovers the deceit, she goes to the one man who will never lie to her. Carlos.

The idyllic Pacific island paradise D’Alejandro calls home is the stuff of fantasy, but it isn’t long before reality knocks on the door and shatters their peace. The news is grim. People they loved have been killed, and these two unlikely lovers are forced to face a truth neither of them has been willing to examine too closely—that their passion is more than intense attraction.

Published by: Liquid Silver Books
Eligible Price: $3.99  $1.99

When Kristy signed on to be John Smythe's executive assistant, she never imagined falling in love with the coldly handsome and ruthless CEO. Yet, that's precisely what happened. In Smythe's hands, the company prospered, even if his partner didn't. Wheeler Enterprises is in the middle of a fraud investigation when Douglas Wheeler dies, and his only daughter is all that stands between Smythe and complete control of the Wheeler company.

When Detective Peter King comes into the picture, and accuses Smythe of more than corporate dirty-dealing, Kristy's life is suddenly a lot more complicated than she wants it to be...

Published by: New Dawning Bookfair
ARe Best Seller
Eligible Price: $4.99  $3.99

Three stories, one kind of hero, pirates anyone? Includes the short stories Angel-Fire, Storm-Singer, and The Phantom’s Lair… Historical adventure, and the darker mystery of an ageless vampire who keeps a witch at his side, his protector and his lover through eternity...

Angel-Fire: A short intro to the world of Captain Jack Stanton, an honourable man with a tarnished reputation. Stranded in Nassau, caught up in a pleasant interlude with a barmaid, Jack has a vision that will lead him to his past and his future, if he can survive to get back Tortuga to discover what it all means…

Storm-Singer: The Isle of Nyx has become the dread of all sailors who must dare the waters surrounding the mythical island. Local legends say a vampire prince resides in the ancient castle that can be seen from the harbor of the island. At his side is a powerful sorceress whose song can control and summon storms.

In a desperate attempt to end the eternal threat looming over them, the people of the Aurora Islands sacrifice their greatest treasure, the princess Sarita, entrusting her with the task of seducing and destroying the dark prince who has been plundering their wealth and their people for centuries?

The Phantom’s Lair: Upon her arrival in the pirate port of Tortuga where her father is acting as Governor, Katheryn Hollinsworth is determined to choose her own path, and follow her heart wherever it may take her. On the streets of Puerta de la Plata, she encounters the mythical buccaneer known as The Phantom, and very quickly loses her heart to the handsome rogue.

Jack Stanton is a man who has never fully come to terms with his past, and in the Governor's pretty daughter he finds a most unlikely champion. But when his past threatens her life, and any chance of a respectable future, The Phantom must face the demons of his past, and accept the dictates of his own reawakened heart...
    
Published by: Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc.
Eligible Price: $2.99  $2.24 (after rebate)

A haunted and abandoned hotel on Halloween is the setting for a very private party between two lovers, one of them a world-class, sophisticated intelligence operative who’s trying to teach his young and innocent lady that curiosity can sometimes take you places you’d be better not to go. Amid elaborate trappings meant to scare and entice, Rick’s seduction takes some unexpected but wickedly wonderful twists. But, Rick also has a lesson to learn, when his past collides with his present, and almost destroys everything he cherishes most.
    
Published by: New Dawning Bookfair
ARe Best Seller
Eligible Price: $3.99  $1.99

When work brings Deluna Jordan face to face with a man who knows her better than she knows herself, she soon discovers he shares everything with his boss, including lovers…and a thirst for blood…and she is about to become the lucky recipient of all their desires…

Published by: New Dawning Bookfair
ARe Best Seller

Eligible Price: $2.99  $1.99

Shipwrecked in the middle of the ocean, two men vie for the affection and favors of the lone surviving woman, Giselle Jordan. Stranded with the two men she loves, how long will it be before passion take them into the dangerous realm that is the uncharted territory of the heart?




Thursday, August 07, 2014

Bella Signorina: Inspired by music… #RomFantasy

You just know it's going to be a good day when someone you admire reads a story you've written, and sends you a "review" like this - thank you again, Tina!!

"I just finished reading Bella Signorina - beautifully written. OMG, you have an amazing voice, woman. I loved the dialogue between Bianca and Stefano. It was so adult, so filled with wisdom. At times, it reminded me of those classic black-and-white movies you see on AMC. No car chases, bombs exploding, constant sex, just character development. Bianca and Stefano are amazingly real. They have true psychological weight." ~ Tina Donahue, "Heat With Heart"

Inspired by music…
(A look at where the story was born)

Back in 2006 a young Italian singer by the name of Patrizio Buanne had come onto the international music scene. He was an old style singer, with a powerful and seductive voice, rich in emotion and range. He was in his mid-twenties then, and had just recorded his second album, a collection called Forever Begins Tonight. It was on this CD that a particular song caught my imagination, with the story it told and the romanticism of the tale. Bella Bella Signorina was one of the most popular songs on this CD, and remains a fan favourite. For me, the more I listened to the song, the more certain I was that I wanted to write a story. I met Patrizio after concert in April of 2007, and by then the story had come into being in my mind. I asked for, and was given permission to use a few lines from the lyrics of the song as the framework for the story I wanted.

Later in the summer, I wrote the first draft of Bella Signorina and after getting the properly signed release from the copyright holder, it was submitted to a publisher. The decision was made the “tone down” the sensuality of the story and make it a sweetheart story, so any sexual overtone were removed, leaving the romantic fantasy to play out like a song. The book held the #1 best-seller spot for over six months, but went largely unnoticed, despite good reviews. I revised the story after the contract expired, and it was released again. This time it was largely unnoticed.

So, when I finally located the file of the original story and had the chance to read this story the way it was originally written, I thought this time it could be released as it was meant to be. Eirelander was willing to give the sexy, sensual version a home at last.

Amazon  •  Barnes & Noble  •  Amazon AUDIO  •  iTunes  •  Audible   


Set in Rome, Bella Signorina is a sweet, romantic story of two people who meet in a trendy caffè, and through the magic of dance and music discover they have many things in common. Bianca comes to Caffè Rosati every week, and for many weeks she's been watching a special man, a handsome, charming stranger who dances, flirts, and leaves alone each week. Bianca is a woman who enjoys her freedom, and has been hurt before, so she's not anxious to fall in love again. Something about the enigmatic Stefano has captivated her heart, though, and she is drawn to him in spite of herself. When she finally gathers her courage to approach him, and ask him to dance, little does she know that her entire world is about to change.

Stefano Esposito is a man who's past relationships have not left him much in the way of ideals about women. Many have claimed to love him, none have understood him. Stefano is a rare breed in today's world of fast-paced life and love. He is a gentleman, a man who many consider a little out of step with the times. For Stefano, falling in love is the completion of a soul, not the consummation of a sexual itch. He wants the woman in his life to respect, understand, and adore him, as he will her. When he meets Bianca, he wonders if he's finally found the one he's waited a lifetime for? She understands his internal conflicts, his desires, and his dreams, after only hours together.
When their attraction to each other flares too quickly and too intently, Stefano pulls back. Confused and uncertain, Bianca flees his beautiful home and business, and goes back to her busy life. But, once the dance has begun, is there a way to go back to what you knew before, or is it just a matter of time before the music lures you back to your dreams and, perhaps, makes them reality?

Exclusive excerpt:

Stefano kept a close eye on the pretty dancer even as he walked to the small caffè. She was lovely, and he’d seen her many times, always enchanted by her presence, but never inclined to find out if the outward beauty was all there was to her. If she was another vain and brainless girl, he didn’t want his illusion shattered. The romanticism of the thought made him smile. He wasn’t as jaded as he pretended to be if he was still protecting his heart with illusions.

Less than fifteen minutes after he’d left her, he rejoined her and handed her a steaming cup of coffee.

“It’s so different here at night,” Bianca noted, her eyes scanning the area. In a matter of hours, thousands of people would begin their daily movements, passing over the steps, not noticing anything but the need to be wherever they were headed. “There’s peace here now.”

“Is that why you dance, to find peace?”

She sipped her coffee and considered an answer. When it came, it surprised him.

“The music is freedom, and the motion is passion. Sometimes the only passion that matters.”

“All passion matters, bella,” he commented. “It’s what gives us life.”

“Or burns it out of us.”

He turned on the steps, faced her fully. Then he touched her chin and made her look at him.

“Who abused your love so fully that you can believe that?”

“People destroy each other for love,” she replied after a lengthy pause.

Stefano shook his head. “Love is the only gift there is worth having, Signorina. It’s what men live and die for.”

“Who are you, Signor?”

He was startled again, twice in less than five minutes.

“Would you like to walk?”

She laughed in the growing darkness, and Stefano felt it ripple the length of his spine, as though cool, flawless silk had glided over him.

“Where are we to go, Stefano?”

“I think you’ll like the place,” he observed, with a hint of irony texturing the subtle undertone of his voice.

She eyed him for a few timeless moments, then nodded and rose.

He smiled when she offered her hand, and he curled his fingers around hers in a loose, but firm grip.

“So, is there a wife hidden somewhere?”

He laughed. “No. What about you? A husband who will come looking for me before dawn?”

She shook her head and sipped her coffee. “How does a man with so much passion not have the woman of his dreams in his arms every night?”

“I could ask you the same question,” he pointed out. “Why are you alone?”

Her laughter washed over him again and she stopped walking to look up at him. “No one I’ve met has inspired the things I need to feel.” She shrugged. "I've been too honest with too many, and it scares them away."

For a moment he said nothing, weighing her surprising confession. “What do you need?”

“To be respected for who I am, what makes me unique.” She tilted her head to one side and held his level gaze. “I need to be given all the things I’m expected to provide, and that seems to be something quite beyond many men. Real men, who understand the value of a smart woman, also see that her beauty is in her wisdom, and her spirit.”

“And her ability to be all things without effort, because she is all things naturally,” he concluded, genuinely pleased at the startled flicker of surprise his words lit in her eyes. “We’re here,” he announced, indicating the building they’d reached.

She looked up, and her smile was radiant in the soft glow of the nearby streetlight. “La Galleria d'arte di Idillio,” she murmured. “I love this place.”

“It’s mine,” he told her as he dug out the key that would unlock the doors to the small gallery.

“Yours?”

There was enough real shock in her voice to make him stop as he held the door for her to go inside. “Why does that surprise you so much?”

“I’ve come here a number of times, and I’ve never seen you,” she replied, once he’d locked the doors and turned on the lights.

“I’ve never seen you,” he noted. “Except at the caffè.”

“I’ve always felt this place was a tribute to love, and romance.”

“It is. My father began the collection for my mother.”

“Your father was a romantic?”

“My father was a gentleman, in the truest sense of that word,” Stefano said with a familiar sense of loneliness and pride combined. “He lived la dolce vita,” he smiled, “with the passion of a man who loved all life had to offer him, good and bad.”

“He’s gone?”

A curt nod was all he could offer without revealing how deeply the loss still affected him. He set his coffee on the reception desk, hung his jacket on a rack then did the same with Bianca’s things. Then he took her arm and led her to a small area that had been his work for the past year.

“This is my latest addition to the collection.”

Bianca wandered the area, studying the beautiful collection of photographs. Each one was in a different area of Italy, and the women smiling and lovely, but each one as unique as her surroundings.

“What do you see?”

“Beauty. Romance.” Bianca stared at the photographs for a few moments longer, considering them with serious thought, then turned to face him. “In every photograph, they are not looking at you, but at the camera. They’re seeing the opportunity, but not your reason for wanting them.”

Something fluttered against Stefano’s chest from the inside, an excitement he hadn’t felt in a very long time. He let his gaze drift, cataloguing the woman in front of him. Standing next to him the top her head was at his chin. She had long, waving hair, dark brown with a distinct tint that caught the glow from the lights and turned her thick mane into a mass of warm, burnished auburn. She had eyes that resembled Chinese jade, and a wide, full mouth that curved upward, as though a secret hid behind her smile. She was curvaceous and feminine, effortlessly graceful, and with minimal makeup, appeared very much without artifice of any kind.

“What is my reason for wanting them?” He forced his tone to calm and curious, sincerely interested in her reply, but also caught in the spell she was exerting. Part of his mind was still watching her, measuring the emotion and internal workings of her mind as she analyzed his photographs with real interest. Her teal-colored dress was simple in design, flared skirt unevenly cut at the hem, swirling around her shapely legs as she walked, pausing often to peer intently at the images on the walls. The upper half of the dress clung to luscious contours, and the silver crucifix, her only jewelry, drew his eyes to the shadow between her breasts. He wanted very much to touch her, and instead stuffed his hands into his pockets and went to join her as she stopped at one of the last photos, then looked at him over her shoulder.

“She loved you.”

“So she said.”

“You didn’t love her?”

“Not the way she thought I should.”

“You wanted love from every woman here, yet not one of them saw who you really are,” she observed softly, sadness evident in her tone.

His eyebrow rose. “Who do you think I am, bella?”

“How honest do you think I should be?”

“I admire honesty, Signorina,” he told her. “I respect the courage it takes to offer it to anyone.”

“But do you respect it if the object of discussion is you?”

“Now you’re beginning to worry me,” he teased with a smile. He was fascinated by her intelligence and her insight. She looked past his appearance and his presence to probe his secrets, and whatever she was seeing made her even more alluring to him...            
            
Want to know more? The dance is only beginning for Bianca and Stefano, drop by Eirelander Publishing and indulge the fantasy more…

Amazon  •  Barnes & Noble  •  Amazon AUDIO  •  iTunes  •  Audible   
  


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Public property or borrowed space? #RomFantasy

I was contemplating a blog today, and wondering what I wanted to talk about, then I popped onto Pinterest to upload a photo to one of my boards. Needless to say, it took about thirty seconds to remind me why I frequently bitch about people’s inability to read when they use public sites. Some folks appear to think public means they can do what they want, with impunity. Not so. Terms of Service–it’s time to read those things, at least in part, so you understand what is and isn’t acceptable on PUBLIC sites. There was a time when I would never have made that statement, because it would have gotten me in shit with a lot of people. Truth is, though, terms of service on sites like Pinterest and Facebook, and all the others we take for granted, are there for everyone’s protection.

I discovered today that I have a small group of younger followers on Pinterest, most of them between 16-18 years old. Since I did take the time to read the ToS for Pinterest, and it just seems prudent to be circumspect anyway, my boards are pretty much non-sexual zones. The raciest photos I have are a couple of my friend John Quinlan’s rear view, and some artful photographs of model Raul Popa that were shot by Maurizio Montani. Today, because of various connections, I was treated to the vision of some girl with a guy’s head between her legs having a go at her hoohah… Another one of several males performing various sexual acts on each other, and assorted blindfolded and gagged women on their knees with some man’s crotch in their faces. Is crap like this supposed to be sexy? Is this the kind of thing you want your young daughters seeing if they use a public site like Pinterest? Those ToS you conveniently ignored state quite clearly that this sort of shit violates the site’s operating rules.

Facebook is a prude, too. I’ve had my run ins and slaps on the wrist for offending someone’s sense of propriety with a photo I’ve posted. An author I know was given a slap on the wrist by Google+ and we still don’t know what that was about. The common outcries over the bans and the warnings are hysterical–everyone is outraged, calling the reporting parties “haters” and in language worthy of the drunkest lout you’d ever encounter. Yes ladies, you sound so classy with your snarling foul words. I’ve resorted to them myself, but came to the conclusion that I wanted to be regarded with a little more class, so refrain from exercising that particular “freedom” unless truly incensed.

In reality, I accept that there are a ton of trolls looking for shit to report, but there are just as many people with real grounds for their annoyance. Despite what you think, YOUR page on Facebook is not really yours–it belongs to Facebook, doesn’t it?–they have allowed you the privilege of an internet presence on their site. Pinterest allows you to share your interests with the public at large, but expects a little commons sense and “decency” to apply in what you choose to share. Cry censorship if you like, the fact remains, there is a general rule of expectation that intelligent human beings will realize that perhaps not everyone sees photos of people having sex as art. More often than not, the mass population will call that pornography, won’t they? Yet many cry foul, and their friends jump on the bandwagon, until it becomes a huge deal over nothing.

We live in an age when the internet connects the planet, and everyone has a voice. Some of those photos you think are so hot and sexy–they could have you arrested for indecency in some countries, couldn’t they? I’m not making a judgement about how right or wrong that is, just pointing out the reality. There are MANY people to consider when you make a public presence, and just as many when you make a public spectacle of your annoyance. (Learned the hard way, so not throwing stones, I’ve had my moments!)

Cyber-stalking is a reality, identity theft is a reality. Yet, people get incensed when a site like Facebook shuts down a fake profile because the owner can’t prove they’re real. This is especially true of groups of role players. It’s a crap shoot how long those profiles will stand, and what needs addressing is this notion that the users have the RIGHT to create and run fake profiles. Where does it say that in the rules Facebook gets you to sign off on when you create an account? Hell, I had to produce my passport for them last year to prove I am a real person, and after a little digging and some questions asked, the irony is I was reported by a profile that was an author’s character, not a “real” person.

ALL publicly used sites are owned by corporations, not the individuals who use them. WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, all of these and more. You may own the rights to the personal data you share, but you do NOT own the pages you create, those are the property of the site you choose to use as your platform. That’s the simple version of ToS. Legally, there are undoubtedly a hundred ways to interpret or dodge who owns what. That’s not the point, really. In the end the point is even more basic–use your social sites responsibly and no one will bother you, push the envelope and you’ll get a warning if you offend someone. Imagine you can do what you want, and you’ll find yourself looking for a new way to meet up with friends online. In this age of entitlement, think beyond your own personal sense of what is or isn’t acceptable, and behave with some decorum. Do that, and you won’t find your pages locked, deleted, or warnings arriving in your inbox.

The internet is the playground of millions of people every single minute of the day. Most on social sites don’t really make it their life’s work to see how far they can push the limits of “mass minded decency” but there are those who define that with a lot more risqué than most. Stop taking it personally if you’re shutdown, and take a closer look at why. It’s not really rocket science to know what goes beyond acceptable, so behave like an adult, not a horny teenager giggling over photos. There’s a time and a place for everything, and public pin boards, or Facebook pages are really not the place for naked lovers in the midst of sex.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Invitation by @choffmanbooks @pumpupyourbook

About the Book:

Madison Spencer is a serious medical student, focused only on work and hiding her beauty and her once-passionate spirit behind a quiet plain-Jane facade. Since she was drugged, stripped, assaulted and photographed by a vengeful ex, she has stayed away from men and kept her heart and body safe.

But when heart-stoppingly gorgeous Dr. Liam Mason walks into her world, she knows she's in trouble. After finding out about her devastating past, Liam offers to bring her back to life with physical passion. Madison thinks she should be repelled, but she's intrigued and can't turn him away. Together they explore days and nights of pleasure, and slowly develop into something more than bedmates.

Deep inside they each wonder if they've found their perfect match. But with Liam's fear of being dragged down by commitment, and Madison's fear of being hurt by another man threatening to destroy the world they’ve built together, will they each be strong enough and brave enough to risk their hearts to have it all?

Purchase your copy:

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Title: Invitation
Author: Christina Hoffman
Pages: 187
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Madison Spencer is a serious medical student, focused only on work and hiding her beauty and her once-passionate spirit behind a quiet plain-Jane facade. Since she was drugged, stripped, assaulted and photographed by a vengeful ex, she has stayed away from men and kept her heart and body safe.

But when heart-stoppingly gorgeous Dr. Liam Mason walks into her world, she knows she's in trouble. After finding out about her devastating past, Liam offers to bring her back to life with physical passion. Madison thinks she should be repelled, but she's intrigued and can't turn him away. Together they explore days and nights of pleasure, and slowly develop into something more than bedmates.

Deep inside they each wonder if they've found their perfect match. But with Liam's fear of being dragged down by commitment, and Madison's fear of being hurt by another man threatening to destroy the world they’ve built together, will they each be strong enough and brave enough to risk their hearts to have it all?

First Chapter:

I can't even blame it on the booze. There wasn't any, or at least there wasn't any for me. I was with Chloe, my bodyguard. Okay, actually she was my friend, but a really overprotective friend who knew all about what I’d been through and wanted to make sure it never happened again. So, no alcohol.

But, what she and I hadn't counted on was him being there. There I was, minding my own business, putting in my time at the Med School Social, more than ready to head home for some studying, then Chinese food and a movie. And suddenly, him.

I was inhaling when I caught sight of him, but my breath just stopped. It felt like being punched in the chest. I kept telling myself, look away, look away! But it was impossible. I was paralyzed. His beautiful face and magnificent body were magnets, and my eyes were locked on them.

I hadn't felt this kind of physical attraction since, well, ever. I had never felt like that. I had stayed away from men for two years. I was pretty much terrified of them, to tell the truth. But there he was. Unavoidable and irresistible.

I saw him in profile. Oh, that hair. Thick, almost curly, falling into his eyes. The kind of hair you need to gently push off of his face right before you kiss him. Or, the kind of hair you grab really hard right before you're about to...

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. The point I'm trying to make is that my mind very clearly recognized all the dangers ahead and was saying, “Turn around, go, get out of here! Before it's too late.” But then he turned around to look right at me. It was already too late.

We held each other's gaze a second longer than politeness required. Something inside me went click, and for the first time in almost two years, I felt young and alive, and really, really turned on. Every part of me suddenly woke up, and all the best parts started to tingle. I was breathing harder. My lips parted slightly, already begging to be kissed.

It was a little overwhelming. I was out of practice. No, actually, I had never had the kind of practice you would need to stay controlled in a situation like that. I think maybe you can have a soul mate for your mind, and also one for your body. And my body was saying “Get me over there right now!”

But I was still too afraid. I smiled a little and turned away.

I had to stay for a while, to look sociable, so I went over to the food table and stared at the snacks, which were already stale. Nothing looked very good, and my throat was too tight to eat anyway.

I was starting to formulate a plan for escaping without the other students or the teachers noticing when I felt the air move behind me, the softest caress against my bare shoulders. Then, a hand on my back, an electric shock to my body, wildly pleasurable. I gasped and spun around. Right into the arms of...

“I'm Liam.”

Liam. Right into the arms of Liam. Oh, he was even more beautiful up close. My hand rose all on its own to push that wonderful floppy hair from his face. I stopped suddenly, embarrassed, but he caught my wrist, and held my palm gently to his face. We looked at each other and knew.

“Wanna get out of here?” he asked, and of course, foolish, foolish woman that I am, I said, “Yes.”

I saw him my first day at the new hospital. I'm a medical student and had just finished the lecture part of things where we sit around learning about chemical reactions and body parts. That was over, at last, and we were moving on to seeing real live patients in the hospital.

The orientation was step one in getting us ready for our new roles. We each got a short lab coat and a tour of the locker rooms. We received our ID tag photos.

I'm not sure why I first noticed Liam.

Since the bad thing happened, I keep my head down and make eye contact with pretty much nobody. I wear my hair in a tight bun at the nape of my neck and my clothes are dull and loose. On that particular day, I was trying very hard to concentrate. I was excited to be starting work in the hospital, but I was mostly terrified. There was so much to take in and remember. My head was reeling after only two hours. The last thing on my mind was men. So, who knows why I took that second look as he walked by our group.

Well, actually I do know why. He was gorgeous. Ridiculously gorgeous. Dark wavy hair, just slightly overgrown so he looked like a happy surfer who'd tumbled out of bed. Smiling eyes. Sparkling, mischievous, movie star eyes. A little bit of stubble, likely because he had been on call all night. The rest of him looked pretty much immaculate. He wore light wool pants and a sky blue shirt. No tie, but the white lab coat made him look professional enough.

I was dedicated to maintaining my nun-like lifestyle, but, seriously, it was impossible not to look at him. Even Chloe noticed him. She looked at him, then at me. She shook her head lightly and whispered, “No”. I laughed a little because she sounded like a mom telling a toddler that she couldn't have any candy. Well, that was pretty much what was happening, so I guess Chloe nailed that.

She was absolutely right. I didn't want any trouble. Certainly not that awful, frightening feeling of falling in love. No time-consuming romance. And certainly not all the time I had lost trying to recover from the trauma of what had happened before. Even a plain old tiny heartbreak could set me back, and put me way off course in my career.

No, I didn't have the time or energy for any distractions. Nothing. Just work and school.

So I ignored the stunning resident with the black hair, and tried to focus on the tall blond giving us the orientation spiel. This was much easier because I felt no attraction to him at all. He was really handsome, too. But something about him seemed mean. Or maybe arrogant. It's hard to remember what I thought of him that first time, because the memory is so clouded with all that came after. I'll just say he was a tall, slim blond who should have caught my eye, but didn’t.

About the Author:

Christina Hoffman was born in London, England. She moved with her family throughout Canada and the US, and has finally put down her suitcase, for now, in San Francisco.

She believes that everyone has the right to feel both smart and sexy. We don't have to be one or the other! She writes stories about characters who live in the real world and who, somehow, still believe in love.

She's starting a mini-revolution. She writes sexy stories, but hasn't lost the romance from her Romances. Enough with whips -- back to lips!

She hopes you enjoy her stories and see yourself in her characters. After all, they are based on smart and sexy people, just like you.

Christina’s latest book is the contemporary romance, Invitation.

Visit her website at www.christinahoffman.com.
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AUTHOR INTERVIEW:

How did you choose the story you wrote?

That question has two answers. First, the short one. The story chose me. The theme of sex and love being something that can be, not just a lot of fun, but actually healing and vital to a person’s sense of self and well-being, just appeared.

The long version is that, while I had had this idea that I felt strongly about, I was pretty discouraged by the stories that are out there right now. Simply because they are so different from mine. I feel like the Pollyanna of sexy fiction. My sex scenes just seemed so simple and, I don’t know, “clean”? I knew it was going to be a real challenge to make the sex and intimacy intense and loving, as well as hot AND sweet.

How did you choose the title?

I was trying to find a word to convey that Madison was being offered a chance to try again, that if she was willing, she could have help bringing herself back to life. It’s a part of life that had been ruined for her, and she was being invited back in. I also liked it, because it’s my first romance book, and I’m inviting in new people to read it and hopefully really enjoy it.

How did you decide on a cover? Did you design it yourself or use a professional? However you created a cover, will you be doing it that way in the future?

The cover was a bit of an ordeal. The problems may be unique to what I call the Contemporary Romance 18+, but maybe anyone mixing genres up a bit has trouble finding a cover that can represent their story. My story is in a “Sexy” category, but my approach is that great sex can also be intensely loving. Everything I saw that was really sexy seemed dark and almost sinister. Captivating, sure, but not at all related to my story or what I was hoping to say. Anything “softer” had me worried that I was misrepresenting the book as a straight-up gentle love story and — BAM — some poor reader was going to be indignant when the clothes came off!!

I knew it had to look professional so I found a pretty expensive designer. The covers on the website were amazing. But when I got my cover drafts back from them, they were really bad. Very basic and cheap-looking, and none of my thoughts or ideas had even been looked at. In the end I was fortunate, because they gave me my money back and I was able start over.

For take 2, I found a pre made cover on another designer’s website that was almost what I had in mind. Then she and I went back and forth a few times making it really work for this story. She was fabulous and put up with me admirably.

Can you summarize your book in 140 characters or less (tweet size!)

Terrible past. Intelligent, brave lonely woman. Gorgeous, sexy man with secret sweet side. Wonderful partner + great sex = coming back to life.

What did you learn while writing your book? What surprised you?

In terms of the writing of the story, the villain character Owen, was surprising. I had envisioned him as a typically sleazy arrogant guy, but he turns out to be a pretty nasty piece of work. The darkness of that episode seemed to come out of nowhere, but once it was written, it felt really right for the journey Madison is on.

How much literary license do you use in your stories? Do you use fictional locations?

I used Seattle because I know the city, and I know the climate (!) The dreariness of those bone-chilling damp winters worked well for where Madison was at in her life. I made up the hospital and the University campus, because it didn’t need to be one particular place in order to tell the story. I took parts of different places to suit my story.

What is your favorite time of the year and why? Did you incorporate that into your story?

I am a summer baby and always will be. I am like one of those flowers that turns during the day to stet face the sun! It is not summer in the book, though there are a couple of scenes depicting summer. I love the way bodies feel warm, languid and relaxed in the sun. If there is a sequel, it will take place in the summer, and I’ll really enjoy writing around that.

What do you feel is the best personal quality you bring to your writing?

I don’t know yet. For me, the world of writing seems new and, at this point, I’m sort of going against some conventions that say emphasize this, say that, act like this, give them that. I tried to have a bit of a sexy persona going on at first, but I couldn’t pull it off. Even though this is new territory, I think most of my real self has ended up coming out. So, whether that will prove to be a good quality or not is yet to be seen.

What type of movies do you like? Who is your favourite actor?

The kind of movie I like depends on my mood. I’m a drama person a lot of the time, maybe a bit too serious for my own good. I love comedies, and there is truly nothing better than a beautiful, sincere romance (which it may be the hardest thing to pull off).

My favorite actor was Philip Seymour Hoffman. He was a true artist and a beautiful person. I’m not sure he can be replaced. I’m probably going to be putting him as my “favourite actor” for a long, long, time.

Dorothy Thompson
Owner & Founding Mother at PUMP UP YOUR BOOK


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