Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ever wonder how a story is born? Or several best-sellers? SALE! #RomFantasy

I thought I’d tell you something about each of the books that is currently on sale at ARe Romance eBooks. Some of these titles are my all-time best-sellers, and each one has a background story. So, instead of book blurbs, I thought I’d share the history or inspiration behind each of these titles. You can find blurbs and excerpts anywhere, right? A few of these titles may vanish soon, as well, so if you’re curious and would like to read them, a sale is a great time to do it!! When you order from ARe, you have all formats available, and they can send direct to your Kindle, just like Amazon.

So, let’s get start, and I cheated and downloaded all the links and info in alphabetical order:

Price: $4.99 SALE: $2.99

This was my first paranormal novel, and it encompassed my love for Historicals and the allure of vampires. It seems a natural marriage, beings who can ostensibly live forever, they’d be walking through history. In this one, the first part of the book is set in the 1700s, and slowly moves into the modern era. There are three vampires at the core of the book, which was inspired by a little Canadian series called Forever Knight. The oldest of the trio is an ancient, who was created before Christ–the other two are his companions and more or less daughter and son. He loved one woman, and lost her, this is the core of the historical section. In modern times, he rediscovers her reincarnation.

ARe Best Seller
Price: $2.99 SALE: $1.99

This one came about when one of my publishers decided to do a line of fairy-tales for adults. I’d done one before, and really loved it. That anthology never happened because the promised stories were never delivered. So, first one is no longer in print, though it’s due for a comeback in a whole new version very soon. I’ve always loved the whole Cinderella thing, so it was a natural choice. In this one, I had a lot of fun figuring out who’d take what roles in the telling. It’s been generally well received, so I’m happy, and it quickly became the #1 best-seller on the publisher’s site. It might still be, I haven’t looked lately.

Price: $0.99 SALE: $0.74 (after rebate)

Hide and Secret began with a different title and was intended to be just a short, sexy essay sent from a woman to her lover. I shared it with a friend who pushed me to expand it by several thousand words so it could be submitted to her editor at Ellora’s Cave. We worked on it for a few days, then she approached her editor. I submitted it the following week, and a couple of weeks later it was accepted. What I found interesting is the editor said this little story contained some of the hottest sex she’d ever read, and I’m notoriously bad at the erotic scenes in my books because I don’t like writing those scenes. Guess I got it right, because it’s been my best-seller for Ellora’s Cave. Originally it was intended to be stand alone, then I outlined a prequel and a sequel for it, making it the centrepiece of the Secrets Trilogy. The other two have never been released, and I have no idea if they ever will be. Quinn and Bella are a great couple, though their relationship was anything but typical.

Are Best Seller
Price: $3.99 SALE: $1.99

Hunters’ Game, as some people know, began on a dare to me. Over ten years ago, on a trip to Toronto, author Nancy Baker joined me and a few other friends on a Goth Club adventure. I’d never stepped foot in a club like the ones we visited that night. I soaked up the atmosphere, and watched the crowd, it was fascinating. That’s when the challenge was issued, what kind of story could I create from all this. I wrote a short story the next day that became the basis for Hunters' Game. It was first released until the simple title, The Hunt, but this version is longer, hotter, and a great deal more intense.

Price: $1.99 SALE: $1.49 (after rebate)

This one began life as a piece of fan fiction based on a single character who was a guest star in one of my favourite shows at the time. I was fascinated with the idea of a protected federal witness who was a former drug lord, and added the twist of an undercover agent who was more than a little bit friendly when using Carlos as a contact point for information. The first release of this was a title called “Any Other Way” and it got great reviews. Years later, after it had been out of circulation for a while, I submitted a new version of it to Ellora’s Cave, and my editor liked it. We worked in more detail and fleshed out the idea to it’s present form. The change of title followed to fit the them better.

Price: $3.99 SALE: $1.99

When it was first released back in 2004, this novella was nominated for an Eppie Award. Again, this concept grew from an award winning piece of fan fiction, then it took on a life of its own. It’s one of the more complicated stories I’ve released, and it’s the only one I’ve included a voyeurism scene in–that was a bit different to write. Ultimately, there are really two stories being played out, and in some weird twist, the less likeable of the two “heroes” is the one who gets his girl. The other one…well, now’s your chance to find out–at half price!

ARe Best Seller
Price: $4.99 SALE: $3.99

Here again, a combination of fan fiction, and original. Angel-Fire was a brief fiction based on Pirates of the Caribbean the year it came out. A couple of years later, I created a unique pirate of my own, and his story evolved Angel-Fire a little further, and then continued in The Phantom’s Lair. I could probably write a dozen stories with Captain Jack Stanton. Storm-Singer was originally published in Margaret Cater’s Tales from the Crypt magazine, and again, was re-edited for this release. This one has an unusual pair at its core, a shape-shifting witch, and a vampire Prince who is legendary, and has a few unexpected tricks he employs on the locals who fear him. The collection was released as “Rogues” with Solstice Publishing, but after I asked for rights to be returned, the three stories underwent extensive editing, and was renamed simply Pirates! I think they’re better stories now, and they quickly became a best-seller at ARe Romance. Who doesn’t love a sexy pirate, after all?? Yo ho ho!! 

Price: $2.99 SALE: $2.24 (after rebate)

This is a story that was meant to capture my love of things spooky from Halloween. An abandoned hotel that most fear is haunted, a curious young woman, and a highly erotic plot by her older lover make for a night of surprises. Unfortunately, being a top-flight operative in the world of spies and espionage leaves a man with a lot of enemies, and the past is never far away…

ARe Best Seller
Price: $3.99 SALE: $1.99

New Dawning International posted a call for ménage stories, and I’d written only one before this, something they published, as well. To amuse myself, I created two vampires who are both old friends and deadly rivals. Rahve Falcon owns a fashion business, and Cord Vincente is his general manager and coordinator. Enter Deluna Jordan, a photographer known in fashion circles, catches Cord’s eye and they begin a relationship that is soon noticed by Rahve. The two men are adversaries when it comes to women, and have often shared their passions. Deluna intrigues Rahve, and it isn’t long before he moves in a takes her attention from Cord. The confrontation that is inevitable is both highly erotic and lethal…

ARe Best Seller
Price: $2.99 SALE: $1.99

This was my first attempt to write ménage, and I have to admit, while it was a hell of a lot of fun, it’s not a genre I feel overly drawn to. The premise was simple, and it was to be written in six pieces, as columns for an online ezine. Much to my surprise, it was hugely popular once the first installment was published. The next pieces of the story actually turned into a truly seductive and erotic adventure for the occupants of the yacht that capsizes and leaves then stranded. Two couples, all friends. When Iris dies from her injuries, that leaves two men and the sexy Giselle alive on an island in the middle of nowhere. One man is her husband, the other her best friend…and soon she has two ardent lovers who want to share every fantasy she’s ever had. But once passion has been sated, nothing will ever be the same for them.

Price: $3.99 SALE: $1.99

Older man, younger woman. Back to the world of espionage. For a lot of people who have followed my writing as it’s progressed, odds are you first saw my fan fiction, and a lot of that was intelligence and operations. The whole genre is one that I love. This story returns to those roots. The Domino Effect is a dark story in many regards, and tests the strength of the hero, Martin Fowler, in a multitude of ways. Dani is the only child of Marty’s mentor, and she’s fifteen or so years younger than Marty. When one of his enemies grabs her to use as leverage against Marty, his vengeance is guaranteed to be deadly.

Price: $3.99 SALE: $1.99

I was asked to write something original for a fantasy world and it was a whole lot of fun to combine a love of pirates and fantasy world building. I created a parallel world to ours, it’s called Thaer (There) and then built a structure in which the worlds connect. There are time loops, gates of magick, and a sexy pirate captain–all waiting for the sorceress who may free them from their exile here. Magick tossed them through the gate and left them stranded, but when their hope arrives, with no memory of her alternate life or her magical abilities, Dayne takes a chance on the eroticism of their passion to restore both to her before it’s too late for them. Thaer is a world that mirrors our own, but in many ways it is both the past and future of Earth. Magic and sorcery are commonplace, and beneath the vast sands of Cairos and the waters of Venicia lie secrets that may hold the key to travel between worlds and time itself...

I hope you’ve enjoyed this inside look at where the stories originated, and that you might want to explore a little further. This sale is offering some of my best titles, and I hope you’ll take advantage and discover worlds that interest you, and heroes to die for… Sweet or smouldering hot sexy, there’s a hero for every woman in this set of exotic tales.

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!


September 1 to 30, 2014


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


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!!



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 with the name of the service you’re purchasing in the payment description box. 


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 with “Party Package” in the payment description box. 


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 with “Publisher Package” in the payment description box. 


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 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 with “Maximum Exposure Package” in the payment description box.

For any clarifications or to voice any questions you may have, please contact CJ at 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! 


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.


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