I’d like to welcome my guest today, Tina Donahue, who’s newest release The Yearning will be available next week, FEBRUARY 1. from Samhain Publishing. Take it away Tina:

Commanding and Cherishing…
The two C-words that best describe an Alpha hero in my mind. He’s no pushover, that’s for sure. He knows who he wants and goes after her, though not in an in-your-face kind of way. He’s impassioned yet tender. Protective. The kind of guy we all want.

In The Yearning, my first erotic paranormal set to release February 1, Jasmine needs a man who not only slakes her passion, but can save her life. Enter Mike, ex-law enforcement, who has the will, the power, the brains and the brawn to see that Jasmine survives. It’s not an easy journey for either of them, but it is filled with passion and romance.

To break this curse, they’ll have to turn the heat up. Way up.

Jasmine Dante prowls Key West’s nightlife, fighting a losing battle against a jealous rival’s curse that forces her to seek carnal pleasure, no matter the danger. Weakened from lack of sleep, driven by insatiable lust, she spots a man who stirs her desperate craving, and begins yet another dance of seduction.

Except the dark stranger who returns her direct stare is no ordinary lover. Inside his powerful body lies a raw sexuality that just might be enough to break her curse. There’s only one way to find out: imprison him in her bed and feed on his passion.

Former U.S. Marshal Mike Stearn is many things, but he’s no woman’s sex slave. The deadly telekinetic power he ruthlessly suppresses comes alive again at Jasmine’s touch. Beneath her bold, potent sensuality he senses vulnerability and desperation. He may be in handcuffs, but she’s the one who’s enslaved.

As Mike resurrects his power to free himself so he can find the curse’s source and defeat it, Jasmine revels in his masterful rule. Her ravenous yearning evolves into rapture as she surrenders to his hunger, her darkest needs—and the emotional connection that lies beyond. Unless the curse takes her life first…

Warning: Tons of steamy sex, smoldering passion and a to-die-for love story with a hot Alpha hero who finds himself imprisoned by one sultry and desperate babe.

Desire compelled Jasmine forward even as a thread of panic stole up her spine. Had Violet and Lily seen them leave the floor? If not, how long would it be before they noticed? Where was he taking her?

His earlier comment nagged. He didn’t have anything planned for the next couple of days or nights.

Jasmine forced down a swallow. She’d asked about work to learn if he’d be missed immediately. Too easily, he told her he would not. Her sisters would be pleased if she lured him to their house tonight. If not, where would she end up?

Dizzy with ambivalence, she allowed him to lead her past the restrooms and a small, cluttered office. He paused at the opened back door where two club employees enjoyed a smoke and shared laughter. The young men cast them a look, then exchanged knowing glances. Sly smiles plumped their youthful cheeks as they discarded their cigarettes and moved past, returning to their jobs.

Mike brought her outside. Late-summer air, humid and heavy with the ocean’s tang, enveloped her. The dimly lit alley stretched the length of this establishment and the other businesses. Her heart jumped at the metallic clack of the door closing. She heard traffic whooshing by on the next street. Faint music pumped from the club. Laughter floated on the gentle breeze, coming from an unknown place, since she and Mike were the only ones around. She asked, “Why are we back here?”

His mouth captured hers. Her apprehension fell away, turning into stark need. She tried to slip her arm over his shoulder. He stopped her, taking her wrist and tearing his mouth free. “Not here.”

Her heels clicked on the asphalt as he led her to the adjacent building, set back from the club and closed for the night. He stopped next to a door stenciled with fading white letters stating: Delivery Only. If the same young men or others came outside for a smoke, they wouldn’t see her or him.

Without warning, images of Travis sped through her mind. Him ordering her to undress in the secluded apartment above his shop. Her wrists and ankles lashed to his bed. His frightening smile.

Jasmine’s heart crashed into her chest. She looked at Mike, her emotions torn between worry and craving.

“I won’t hurt you,” he said, reading her fear. Holding her face gently, he studied her, his dark eyes concerned. “Have you been raped?”

It never got that far. Her sisters arrived and—she shook her head, not wanting to think about it. “No.”

“But someone hurt you.”

Her mind saw the belt in Travis’s hand. She recalled its whistle as it hit the air. “He tried. I got away.”

“A boyfriend?”

She lied. “Yes.” Her voice sounded strange, strangled as she next offered the truth. “He seemed fine at first. I didn’t know he was doing meth and that he’d injured another woman. He got crazy and—” She couldn’t continue.

Mike’s thumbs skimmed her jawline, stoking her pulse, making her limp and restless for more.

“Why did you choose me tonight?” he asked.

Her smile wobbled, feeling weird. “Like I said before, I liked the way you handled that young woman. You were the perfect gentleman.”

“That may be, but I wasn’t the only one showing restraint. The bouncer was a regular sweetheart.”

Her smile widened. “I’m sure he’s a nice guy and really I don’t want to sound unkind, but he’s not you. Haven’t you seen yourself in a mirror recently?” She could scarcely hold back her wonder. “You’re freaking awesome.”

He barked a laugh. “Bullshit.”

“You are.” She touched his bottom lip with her fingers, breathless at its silkiness. Her words rushed out. “I spotted you the moment I reached the dance floor. It pissed me off when the redhead got to you first. The server told me there were a dozen other women interested in you. Could be she was lying. It might have been more. That’s why I sent you the beer. It was the only way I knew to get you to notice me.”

His eyes rounded in amazement. “You wouldn’t be putting me on now, would you?”

She reached for her purse. “I have a mirror. You really should look at your—”

“Fuck that.” He lowered his head and captured her mouth.

Throughout The Yearning, there’s an emotional connection beneath their passion, a love neither of them can resist. 🙂

**Giveaway** CLOSED

To celebrate the upcoming release of The Yearning, I’m offering a contest today. One lucky commenter will have her choice of one of my following books**:
1. Lush Velvet Nights – ebook
2. Adored – ebook
3. Deep, Dark, Delicious – ebook
4. In His Arms – ebook
5. Bad Boys with Red Roses – trade paperback
6. Take My Breath Away – trade paperback
** Winner chosen at random on SUNDAY, JANUARY 30. Winner in continental US has her choice of one of the six. Winner outside continental US has her choice of one of the ebooks

*** WINNER ***

Congratulations to VENUS who’s won a book from Tina!

Tina is a multi-published author who enjoys receiving email Tina AT TinaDonahue DOT com. You can also see all her newest releases at her website or follow her latest happenings at her blog, twitter or facebook.

I’d like to welcome guest blogger LISABET SARAI. I’m not sure when/how we met, but I consider her one of my dearest friends. I’m so pleased to have her visiting the Block today …

I’m really delighted to join Nina here at Around the Writer’s Block. This is one of my favorite spots in the blogosphere. Nina always manages to stimulate a lively discussion; with some luck, maybe I can do the same.

I was hoping that my title might grab your attention. You’re probably expecting a juicy story about the first time I fell in love. Given that I was only in the third grade, there’s a limit to how racy even I could make that tale! In any case, that’s not exactly what I want to talk about today.  By “first love”, I mean BDSM – the genre of the first novel I published (Raw Silk), the genre which calls me back again and again, even when I flirt (in a literary sense) with vampires or clairvoyants or steam punk or hot gay guys getting it on.

Writing most genres is hard work for me. In contrast, creating a D/s story feels almost effortless. It’s no mystery why this is true. BDSM pushes my personal buttons. When I write D/s, I’m summoning up the emotions from deep in my own psyche. My power exchange scenes usually come across as genuine, because they’re fueled by real passion. I can write convincingly about the mingled fear and anticipation a sub feels when she’s bound and blindfolded, awaiting her master’s will, because I’ve experienced those emotions myself – not just in my fantasies, but in reality.

I met G when I was in my mid-twenties, in graduate school. I don’t think that I’m exaggerating when I say that our relationship changed my life. Lisabet Sarai the author would probably not exist if he hadn’t been so successful in awakening my submissive tendencies. He tutored me in the alchemy of trust,  the magic of surrender.  I loved him deeply, and I know he cared about me (more than I realized at the time). For two years he spanked me, bound me, beat me, attached clothespins to my nipples and dripped hot wax on my thighs – all with my eager consent. Most important, he cherished me. He encouraged me to feel that our kinky desires were not shameful but special, a delicious shared secret that set us apart.

Although we were different in many ways, I was (and still am) convinced that at the height of a scene, we shared a psychic connection. He used to tease me about reading my mind. I believe that at times he did –  or else our fantasies were so completely complementary that it felt that way.  When we were together, we entered an altered state of consciousness. I’ve read about “sub space” but I’m not sure that was what I experienced. Sub-space sounds very physical – endorphins and all that. At its best, being with G had a mystical quality that completely transcended the body.

As a result of this relationship, I tend to take BDSM rather seriously. I look at it as a ritual – almost a sacrament. Casual BDSM games, “play parties” and S & M clubs where one goes to be whipped by strangers – these notions don’t really appeal to me at all. BDSM doesn’t touch me unless it includes that sense of devotion. The Dom and the sub both need to commit themselves to their shared journey.

Some readers find it difficult to believe that BDSM can be romantic. They expect pain and abuse; they don’t understand that trust and responsibility are at the heart of a healthy power exchange relationship. As for me, I find it hard to write about D/s without also writing about love.

I can appreciate the fantasy of a dominant stranger who seems to see into your soul, who knows what you want before you’re ready or able to articulate your own desires.  This is the basic premise of Raw Silk, my first novel. Being known and accepted as a submissive, valued for one’s obedience and willingness to serve, is tremendously arousing. The dominant stranger fantasy short-circuits the real world process of negotiation, in which the Dom and sub jointly explore turn-ons and limits. But the appeal of that fantasy still depends (for me) on the sub being able to completely trust her master. For me, that intoxicating trust is the source of much of the heat.

My relationship with G turned sexual (and kinky) rather suddenly, but in fact we’d known each other for more than a year. I’m sure that he was dropping hints and watching my reactions, even though our first time together felt wild and unexpected. The relationship was serious enough that even now, thirty plus years later, we’re still close, though we live half a world away from one another.

Raw Silk is partly dedicated to G: “my Master, mentor and muse”. I think he was surprised when all the emotions he kindled began spilling out onto my pages – and getting published!  Since that book, I’ve written dozens of other stories and novels with BDSM content. My single author story collection, , is exclusively D/s.Rough Caress

Last November my novella “The Understudy” was published as part of the BDSM anthology Master Me. I loved writing that story. I found it relatively easy, compared to the usual agonizing birth pangs of my tales. I was going back to my roots, reliving the excitement of my own initiation into the dark pleasures of D/s. Returning to my first love.

A dozen years ago LISABET SARAI experienced a serendipitous fusion of her love of writing and her fascination with sex. Since then she has published two single author short story collections and six erotic novels, including the BDSM classic Raw Silk. Dozens of her shorter works have been released as ebooks and in print anthologies. She has also edited several acclaimed anthologies and is currently responsible for the altruistic erotica series COMING TOGETHER PRESENTS.

Lisabet holds more degrees than anyone needs from prestigious universities who would no doubt be embarrassed by her chosen genre. She loves to travel and currently lives in Southeast Asia with her highly tolerant husband and two well-traveled felines. For more information on Lisabet and her writing visit Lisabet Sarai’s Fantasy Factory or her blog Beyond Romance.

Lisabet’s most recent release is Almost Home, a M/M/F holiday romance featuring a mistletoe kiss, a warm fireplace, a hot tub, and lots of snow!

***  WINNER  ***
Thank you to all of you for your comments
Lisabet has chosen a winner


Congratulations! You’ve won a copy of “Rough Caress”

Well an interesting thing happened during my New Year’s celebration this year. (Yes, it’s true I had a birthday and no, I’m not going to tell you how many candles were on the cake. 😉 ) There were lots of munchies and a glass of champagne or two or three or a bottle, and more than a few games of cards, but I’m not talking about any of that. I was surprised when somewhere around 4 am (yep, I was still up then) one of my extended family members started talking about my books.

Now, I’ll admit, it gets a little foggy as to how the conversation actually began. I remember feeling pretty smug that the attention was on me and my writing. But pride quickly turned to surprise. I can tell you, I had no idea the whole discussion would wind down a very precarious path. Well, not for me or Mr. Nina, but for a couple of people still hanging around the cribbage board.

You see, I was asked how I managed to reconcile what I write with the Big Guy Upstairs. Whoa. What??? (Hear the needle scrape across the record.) I’ve been asked a lot of things about writing erotica, but this was the first time someone wondered how I could write porn and exploit women and not feel like I’d thrown all my morals out the window.

Now, I LOVE a good debate. (Mr. NIna calls them arguments, but I prefer the term “heated discussion”. And I’m very good at them.) You see, I grew up in a family where not only were we encouraged to express an opposing opinion we were expected to debate our feelings on it. So I mentally rubbed my hands together and jumped into the fray with both feet. Both my writing and my faith are part of me. I don’t feel a need to defend either one. But educating? Ah, that’s where I went with this. It was the whole EROTIC ROMANCE vs. PORN discussion we smut peddlers seem to fall into every now and again. (Like every time my mother-in-law visits, but this isn’t about her … really.)

So I patiently explained why I write romance with the door open and not Hustler Forum letters. But then it got into the multiple partner situation and how wrong it is to encourage infidelity. Well no, it just so happens every one of my stories ends with a “Happy Ever After” and a commitment from all parties. Relationships are consensual regardless of the number of partners. And it’s about the fantasy of the story. Even Mr. Nina jumped into the discussion at this point. (I think mostly because he reaps the rewards of a long day of me writing erotic romance stories … if you follow me. 😉 ) Interestingly this person (who is my age) could not see any of it. He held fast to the notion that it was all porn and fantasies only lead to affairs. Huh. Not my experience, but okay.

After an hour or so we weren’t circling anything but the same points … so of course there was no resolution. I wasn’t going to feel guilty and he wasn’t going to change his mind. Though I am hoping he has a better understanding of how I feel about my writing and my stories. I figure a little education never hurt anyone even if it happens close to sunrise after more than a few beers. Nothing like a little alcohol to help someone truly express how embarassed they are by what I write. LOL!

So now I throw it out to you. Have you ever had to defend your reading/writing habits? Is there a moral disconnect between erotic romance and your faith? Cuz you know me … I’m dying of curiousity here.

Thanks so much for letting me guest blog today!

Readers often ask me how I come up with ideas for my books, so I thought I’d give you a little behind-the-scenes peek at how I came up with my new release, a paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave called DEAD SEXY.

Before I say anything else though, isn’t that cover too hot for words?! When the art department sent it to me, I probably gazed at it for a good ten minutes in mouth-drooling appreciation before I could email them back telling the artist it not only rocked, but totally fit the book. The hero is “Dead Sexy,” after all!

Okay, back to the story and how I came up with it. First, to set the stage, I need to share a little something with you about myself. Well, about my hubby and me, actually. We love zombie movies, from the George Romero gems to Shaun of the Dead and everything in between, including “Walking Dead,” the new series on AMC. You just can’t go wrong with a movie full of walking dead people, can you? Well, if you’ve ever seen a zombie movie (or even you haven’t), then you know the creatures aren’t the heroes of the film. I mean, how can they be, right? They’re all dead and decayed and downright unattractive, not to mention pretty damn scary. Which was why you can imagine my surprise when my hubby suggested I write an erotic romance about a zombie hero. I was like, you’re kidding, right? What woman in her right mind would fall in love with a dead guy? No way could that possibly work, or so I thought.

Turns out, my hubby wasn’t kidding. In fact, he started working up ideas for the story.

“The hero didn’t have to be a zombie all the time,” he told me. “Think outside the box – take a little literary license!”

Okay, I thought. I suppose I could be open minded.

My hubby told me that in his out-of-the-box world, the hunky hero got cursed by an evil Voodoo priestess and only turns into a zombie sometimes.

“I’m listening,” I said.

“And when he does go zombie, he doesn’t have to be like the kind in the movies,” my hubby added. “Well, he has to look like one, you know all dead and stuff, but he doesn’t have to be a mindless creature or attack humans or eat anything gross.”

So, brains are completely out, thank goodness!

“Think Jensen Ackles or Jared Padelecki, with a really, really, really dark tan – (yes, my hubby knows I’ve got a thing for the Supernatural hunks!) – well, maybe more gray and black than tan, but you get the idea.”

I thought about that for a minute. “So, the hero’s dead, but he’s still sexy, is that what you’re saying?”

“Exactly,” he said, giving me a grin as my eyes lit up with understanding.

By that point, my hubby had pretty much sold me on the idea. Of course, I knew if I ran with it, I was going to have to sell it to a publisher, and I knew that could be tough since the hero is a zombie. But I ran with it anyway and ended up with a full-length novel. And it came out pretty damn good, if I do say so myself! I still had to find a publisher for it, though.

About this same time, It just so happens that several of my other books were in the process of being picked up by Ellora’s Cave and I thought what the heck? Why not pitch it to my editor there and see what she thinks? So I did, and she told me to send it to her. She was interested to see how I handled the whole zombie-thing. Well, long story, short, she liked it. A lot! My zombie romance with it’s dead-sexy hero had a home! I was thrilled and my hubby walked around for a week with a smug, “I-told-you-so” look on his face.

I’ve been getting the word out there about DEAD SEXY ever since I signed the contract for it and I’m thrilled with the interest from readers who can’t wait to get their hands on it! I can’t wait for them to read it, too!

Now that I’ve revealed the story behind the story, I thought I’d share the blurb and an excerpt just to whet your appetite for more!

Romance author Simone Kent thinks she might just have found the most perfect guy in all of New York City – in bed and out. But Drake Parrish is about as far from perfect as any man can get. Eight years ago, he was cursed by an evil Voodoo priestess to live part of his life as a zombie. Since then, he has lived like a recluse on New York’s Upper East Side, afraid to go out for fear he’ll suddenly turn into one of the walking dead.

The sex is the hottest either of them has ever experienced and Simone discovers just how naughty she can be with Drake, while he finds himself feeling things for her that he hasn’t felt in a very long time. When the Voodoo priestess learns of their relationship, however, she comes after him again. She is determined to make sure he won’t have a future with Simone, even if that means killing both him and the woman he loves.

As she led him up the steps to the second floor, Drake found himself wondering if she would ask him in. And wondering what he’d say if she did. When they came to a stop outside the door to her apartment, Simone turned to give him a smile.

“I had a great time tonight.”

“Me, too.”

She caught her bottom lip between her perfect white teeth and chewed on it thoughtfully as if unsure what she wanted to say next. It was probably an unconscious gesture, something she did whenever she was thinking, but to him, it was sexy as hell and all he could think about was kissing her.

Surely, one kiss couldn’t hurt. He desperately wanted to. He hadn’t kissed a woman in so long. It would be nice to see if he still remembered how.

Before he could stop himself, Drake tilted Simone’s face up to his and pressed his mouth to hers.

She tasted just as sweet and delicious as he thought she would. Her lips were soft and pliant under his as she kissed him back, her tongue eagerly seeking his out.

Drake groaned and slid his hand into her hair, deepening the kiss. Simone sighed into his mouth, running her hands up the front of his shirt to grasp his shoulders. The feel of her touch was like a tonic to his deprived soul and he let out another groan, deeper this time.

He ran his free hand up her side and around to her breast, cupping it through the soft material of her dress. He couldn’t stop himself and apparently, Simone didn’t want him to. She moaned and arched against him. He could feel the heat of her pussy through their clothes as she pressed up against his hard cock. Damn, she felt good.

Drake drew her bottom lip into his mouth and gently suckled on it before slowly kissing his way along the delicate curve of her jaw. Simone clutched his shoulders and tilted her head back. He eagerly trailed a path of hot kisses down her neck, then back up, his mouth finding hers again. Simone looped her arms around his neck, pulling him in even closer as their tongues met.

Down the hall, a door slammed, reminding him where they were.

Drake dragged his mouth away from hers, his breathing ragged as he tried to regain control. He had to get it together because he was about five seconds away from doing something really stupid. Like taking her to bed. “I should go.”

Her lips curved into a sexy, flirtatious smile. “Or you could stay.”

God, how he wanted to. But as much as he’d love to spend the rest of the night exploring every inch of her body, he couldn’t take the chance he might go zombie on her right in the middle of sex. Talk about coitus interruptus, And it had already been almost four days since he last turned, which meant he was already pushing his luck.

“You don’t know how much I want to,” he groaned. “But I can’t.”

Simone looked up at him with those big, blue eyes. “Why not?”

“Because I…” He hesitated, trying to come up with something that would sound believable. “I have a column due in the morning and I haven’t even started on it yet.” She knew all about deadlines, so she would understand that. Besides, he did have a column to write, it just wasn’t due until next week. “Rain check?”

She looked disappointed, but she smiled anyway. “Absolutely. How does coming over for dinner tomorrow night sound?”

It would be crazy to agree when he could be so close to having an episode, but he couldn’t say no. Not when she asked in that soft, sultry voice. “Sounds great.”

“Good. Be here at seven.”

“Seven it is.”

She pulled him down for another long, slow kiss on the mouth. “Don’t be late.”

His mouth twitched. “I won’t.” He bent his head to kiss her again, then groaned. “If I don’t go now, I’ll be here all night.”

Simone laughed. “Would that be such a bad thing?”

“Not to me, but my editor at Money Issues might not be too understanding when he doesn’t find my column sitting in his inbox tomorrow.”

She sighed. “Deadlines can be a real pain in the butt sometimes. Okay, go home and write your column. I’ll cuddle up with a bowl of ice cream instead.”

He chuckled. “Sounds better than taking a cold shower, which is what I’m going to be doing when I get home.” He closed his mouth over hers once more. “See you tomorrow night, beautiful.”

Resisting the urge to pull her into his arms again, Drake turned and walked down the hallway toward the stairwell. At the top of the steps, he glanced over his shoulder to see Simone standing where he’d left her, a sexy curve to her lips.

It took every ounce of strength he possessed not to go back and pin her against the door for one more long, lingering kiss. God, what he wouldn’t give to spend the night with her. Man, it was going to take more than a cold shower to get her out of his head.

Hope you enjoyed the excerpt and trailer and that you can’t wait to read more! You can BUY DEAD SEXY from Ellora’s Cave.

Writing romance is a balance. We all know that. Writers walk the line between all the elements whether it be suspense, paranormal, inspiration, erotica or history and the main theme of boy meets girl and girl allows him to love her. Really it’s a lot of things we juggle to keep the reader engaged and turning pages.

So recently on author Rachel Barrett’s blog she was talking about something she read that totally pulled her out of a story. After reading her post I agreed that perhaps the author may have stepped away from the character when writing a particular piece of dialogue. (I bleed dialogue onto the page trying to make sure my characters remain true to themselves … I feel for this author.) But truthfully, I’m not sure it would have even stopped me in my tracks. I think we all have our own triggers.

Ya know … those things, especially word choices, that drive us crazy.

Because here’s the thing that I noticed as people commented on her post … we don’t all have the same trigger. What completely squicks some readers out might be a total turn-on for another. Something that could cause a book to fly from one reader’s hands might not even ping the radar of another.

Let me tell you, authors work REALLY hard not to upset readers. We want you to turn the page, not chuck the book against the wall. So obviously what works for one reader may not work for another.

For one of my crit partners it’s belly. I love that word. I think there’s something sensual and intimate about it. But my crit partner–drives them off the short diving board into the deep end of crazy. It sounds childish and completely pulls them out a story. *sigh* So what are we to do? Even if the author totally thinks a character would say or do something there’s ALWAYS going to be a reader that thought there’s no way on God’s green earth that that character would EVER act that way or say that thing. There’s no way to please everyone. (Or silence the critics.)

Here’s a list of some of the things that I’ve heard readers say they don’t like to see …
His stride ate up the distance between them.
deafening silence
a dance as old as time (and other versions)
silken channel
satin heat over steel
tongues tangling
pearled bud

That’s only a small sampling, but see, here’s my thing … there are only so many sensual words for wet body parts. And even when I’m in the head of the hero and he’s thinking what a mind-blowing … er … um … KISS he’s getting from the heroine, the fact is, it’s still lips and tongue and … well, you get the idea.

Do readers cut the author a little slack knowing that a nipple is a nipple? Peaked or otherwise? I know … it’s about the characters. It’s their reactions to each other that keep it all fresh and new. So does that mean we’re forgiven a groaning cliche now and again? or are there just some things that stop you dead and have you picking up the next book in your to be read pile?

I’m cracking my knuckles, sharpening the virtual pencils and pulling out the new legal pads. Yep, I’m ready to start a new project. Both exciting and daunting.

This project is a little easier as it’s a story about characters that already exist. Characters I created and came to know through the process of writing about them already. That makes that tiny piece of the story process easier. But … and here’s the biggie … it means finding out more about them. Delving deeper into their relationship. Pushing them harder. Throwing them into new situations that will test their bonds and ultimately their commitments to one another.

I’ll share with you that’s it’s one of my menage stories that’s begging for another chapter. So far all of my menages have been m/f/m, meaning there is no sexual interaction between the guys. But I know readers are seeking out menages where there is also a relationship between the men. And I’m wondering if my guys want to go there. Do they want to take their brotherly bond to the next level?

I’ve been querying authors. (Because authors are amazing, giving people and always willing to help out.) With very few exceptions their response has been “let your characters lead the way”. And I get that. Truly I do. But anyone who reads this blog on a fairly regular basis knows that my characters rarely, if ever, “talk” to me. They don’t wake me in the night screaming that they aren’t getting page time. Lord knows, I wish they would. I’d be happy to trascribe for them. But that doesn’t happen to be the way it works for me.

Now don’t get me wrong, my characters are very real to me. Just the way the worlds I build become real. But here’s the cold, hard truth. Their mine. They follow my rules. They behave and think and love the way I want them to. For me (Please read that again “For ME”) they become, do, say, react the way I think they should. That doesn’t mean I don’t wrestle with every scene to be sure it fits that character I’m molding, but their reactions to situations and other people in the story are up to me.

If I really want my guys to do more than fall in love with a woman, if I want them to want more from each other, then I will work them towards that end. I will throw them into situations that strain their relationship. Cause conflict if you will. It’s all about believability. It’s about bringing my readers along so that when the big moment happens, when characters, whether male or female, declare their love and devotion to one another everyone–characters and readers–sigh with the satisfaction that all the troubles and hurts and hard work brings the ultimate satisfaction.

Every writer is different. We all approach a new project differently. Our writing processes don’t come from instruction manuals with easy to follow illustrations. A seamless, believable, well written story is hard work. But work that is rewarding beyond even this writer’s description, especially if readers absolutely fall in love with your story.

So here it is … Nina’s insatiable curiousity … do you think two guys who have done nothing more than share women in the past can now take their relationship to the next level and admit thier love for one another? And would you want to see that in a story?

This week is Banned Book Week. There are books, many we consider classics, that have been banned or challenged because their content isn’t appropriate for one reason or another. Sometimes it’s due to the wording including profanity. Other reasons state that the content isn’t appropriate for young minds. The American Library Association has a list of the 100 banned books so I won’t go through them all.

But I it doesn’t surprise me that many people are surprised by the books on the list. Huck Finn, Of Mice and Men, A Wrinkle in Time, and Harry Potter are included on this list. When I was in high school the school board put through a list of banned books that weren’t to be included in the English curriculum. Of course I went right out and read Catcher in the Rye and Go Ask Alice, which was Mr. Gardiner’s intention when he shared the list with us.

How do people think they have the right to tell people what they can and can’t read? It’s beyond me.

I couldn’t believe the timing of “Bannded Books” week. This post totally fits with a little rant I had coming on anyway. You see this weekend I ran into someone who read my print book HEALER’S GARDEN because they knew me. The conversation went something like this ..

“I read your book and the writing was amazing.”
“Thank you.”
“I loved the story.”
“It’s one of my favorites as well.”
“But there is waaaaay to much sex in it.”
“That’s why they call it erotic romance. Emphasis on erotic.”
“Yes, but the descriptions…and the words…and the body parts were just unnecessary.”
“Again…that’s because it’s erotic romance. Readers want the frank language.”
“That’s not true. No one wants to read those types of books.”

And there you have it. If this person had their way ALL publishers of erotic romance would be shut down and the books banned from book stores and even ebook sites. No amount of education about the industry helped this person understand that readers (thank you one and all) not only enjoy these types of stories, but wait impatiently for the next story in a series from their favorite author. This of course cycles back to this post. I write what I write and read what I read with no apologies. It may not be for everyone, but no one has the right to decide what someone else can read.

So I’m wondering, as an author have you run across this? And I suspect there are readers out there who have had to defend their trashy novels to someone. I’d love to hear your stories.

I’d like to welcome debut author DAVID BRIDGER to the Writer’s Block today. David’s novel, Beauty and the Bastard released last month from Liquid Silver Books. He’s agreed to hang out today, party a little and talk about his new book. He has no idea what he’s getting himself into. (Or perhaps he does ;))

Tell us a little bit about you and how you got into writing
I knew from an early age that I would be a writer, but first I needed to scratch my wanderlust itch. The sea called to me. After nearly twenty years and a variety of jobs that included lifeguard, sailor, intelligence gather and investigator, I came home badly injured. It took me several years to regain my mobility. Learning to write helped me stay sane (ish) during that dark and scary time.

Yeah let’s not touch that sanity statement *g* and move right along to the details of your book:
Saul the Bastard is a fallen angel who works as a bounty hunter for powerful urban demon families. Rebecca Drake, a modern day demon princess, is being hunted by dangerous desert demons. When Rebecca’s family hires Saul to protect her, they are both unhappy with the arrangement, but before long sparks fly as they try to resist their strong mutual attraction. For the first time in living memory, Saul has someone to love; someone he is scared of losing; someone the desert demons have marked to be their next sacrifice.

Wow, angels and demons, I’m in love already. How did you come up with this story?
They invaded my mind late one night when I was waiting for sleep to take me. Saul’s opening scene played over and over in my head. It was like watching the first five minutes of a film noir movie on a loop. I was wide awake anyway by that point, so I went looking and found Rebecca.

I fell asleep eventually. At dawn I opened a new file on the computer and started writing their story before the kettle boiled for my first cup of tea.

Interesting the hero came to you first. Well, since we’re on the subject when you’re reading a romance what about the way the hero is portrayed drives you crazy? In other words … do woman get it wrong? 
In general, you all get it right. Well, what did you expect me to say? 🙂

I  get bored when someone writes a cardboard cut-out character, but there’s no gender-based qualification for that.

LOL! You certainly dodged that bullet. I’ll move away from the gender questions and just ask you to describe your writing space. 
I get to know my characters in bed, and like to do my plotting in the bath, but I always write in my study.

Ya know … two erotic authors should never be left alone with statements like that so I’m just going to show my readers a picture of your study and move on …

The study is at the back of the house, which is dug into a steep hillside. It’s quiet in here, except when people stamp around on the roof garden above my head. But I do my yoga up there so I can’t complain about other family members enjoying it too.

The study has been redecorated since I took that photo, and we’ve shuffled the furniture around to give me more leg room. The chesterfield is still on the left wall but the far end of it is now against the window wall. The club chair is immediately inside the door, below the bottom left corner of the photo, and my desk is under the window where the club chair used to be. When I raise my eyes from the monitor, I’m looking up the slope into our back garden.

Since you opened the door into your private world I figure I can ask you most anything. Why romance? I mean … you’re a GUY, everyone knows the majority of romance readers are women. We’re pretty particular about our stories.
I’ve always been a romantic. Show me an ocean-going sailor who says he isn’t a romantic and I’ll show you someone in denial. Show me a man who claims he’s never had a romantic thought or feeling and I’ll show you a bloody liar. But I didn’t choose to write romance. There just came a day when I realized that everything I’d written so far contained a strong element of romance, even if it wasn’t always the main storyline, and that I was good at it. So I simply followed the path.

I want to believe you, but I’m a skeptic. Quick, which do you prefer … a cold brew on the back deck with your lady or a scotch at the local pub with the boys? 
A long cold G&T with ice and lemon, on the roof with my lady, watching the sun sink into the Atlantic.

*sigh* Are you sure you didn’t walk right off the pages of the latest best selling romance? … Oh, sorry, I was making a character sketch of my next hero … Um, where was I? Oh, anything else you want to share with your readers?
Never google “wolfbagging”.

ROFLMBO … most writers have writing advice, but since I didn’t follow yours I’m going to suggest to others to heed David’s advice. And while I try to recover from that let me share with everyone a short excerpt from the second chapter of Beauty and the Bastard (click on publisher’s link up top for an excerpt from chapter one)
Rebecca woke to the luxury of warm nudity on silk sheets. She stretched until her fingers and toes tingled, smiled hello to the sun kissing her eyelids, and felt like purring, right up until the moment she opened her eyes and saw an angry angel glaring at her from the rooftop opposite her bedroom window.

She sat bolt upright in bed and glared right back, ready to tell the freak to fuck off, and laughed aloud when she realized what it was.

It wasn’t glaring into her apartment. She held her hair back from her face and stood at the window to study the statue. Well, probably not. Its thousand-yard stare seemed to aim somewhere above her head. And now that she knew what she was looking at, the wide wing span felt more protective than aggressive. His sculptor had given him great abs and a good weighty dick, too. She’d never met an actual angel. Were they all hung like incubi? Who knew? She tipped a casual salute to her new friend and went hunting for breakfast.

I’d like to thank David for hanging out here today. I’ve hired a few cabana babes for the day to entice him to stay and respond to your questions and comments. So while we sit around talking all things romance and erotica you can find out more about him by visiting his website or his blog. You can also follow him on twitter.

So, I’ve been stalled. I wasn’t really sure why. Besides the paltry words I’m doing for my word goal loop (which is great that I’m writing every day, still …)I’m not getting much done. I’ve fussed and futtered and tried to figure it out. (And perhaps shouldn’t say it out loud) But I’ve come to a conclusion…

I’m tired of sex.

No, not the way you’re thinking. I am happily married after all. And let’s just say all is good there! (Our kids are mostly out of the house! Yay empty nest!) Anyhoodles …

I’m stuck on how to describe my characters doing the horizontal mamba in new and exciting ways. Ya know, so it comes across fresh, hot, and well … a turn on. And this is baaaad! An erotic author shouldn’t hit this wall. Not when the story and character development happens as much in the bedroom as the crime scene.

I didn’t expect to be here. I’ve had to type “hawt sex here” in a couple of places in my manuscript just to move my writing forward. I’m laughing. I never expected to feel this way. I love my characters. I usually love it when they find themselves fumbling for buttons and throwing clothes to the floor. But … I’m just not feeling it.

So I’m throwing it out there. I can’t be the only one who can’t find a new way to describe the lovin’ in my stories. I’m calling all erotica authors out there to share your secrets. Cause right now … I’m plain stuck.


So this week is all about shameless promotion. Here are thirteen reasons I believe you should run right out and buy my latest release, Blind Love.

1. It has LOTS of hot sex in it!

2. This is the first story in a three book erotic suspense series, but each story stands alone, so you’re not left twisting in the wind until the next book comes out this summer. (Though there is a thread that runs through all of them and I certainly hope you’ll want all of them.)

3. The heroine, Julie Tilling is an uptight CPA who discovers her inner vixen and lets her come out to play. (And we all love that naughty girl inside us! *Spank that naughty girl … spank her!* Oh, sorry … lost myself for a moment. Ah hem, where was I? Oh right…)

4. It’s all about three sisters who own a floral shop in a quaint little town in Maine. And who doesn’t love Maine?

5. It starts with a death and ends with another death. (Don’t you love a suspense story that leaves a string of bodies?)

6. Our hero, Damon Corey, also works as sexy shock jock, Demon Jones. He’s hot, he’s naughty … and he’s single. (Did I mention he drives a Harley? Now, that’s power between your thighs!)

7. Julie and Damon dabble on the fringes of internet pornography. (Maine can be a naughty place.)

8. There’s hot sex. (Did I mention that? Oh, well, it bears repeating!)

9. It’s an ebook. Same in-depth story for a low price. AND it saves trees! You can buy it at Liquid Silver Books.

10. There’s a great family and two sisters who will have their own stories.

11. Hot! Hot! Hot! Sex scenes. (oops, I know I mentioned that before, but they do it like bunnies.)

12. I’ll cry uncontrollably if you don’t buy my book. (Not moved by tears? … Bummer it works on my husband every time.)

13. No guide dogs were injured in the writing of Blind Love.