Hey, Anh why don’t you tell us a little bit about you and how you got into writing
I don’t remember BEFORE, but I wrote my first story at age seven and never looked back. It was probably a school assignment. I continued to focus on writing and got my degree in Creative Writing, but became a computer programmer and let the muse die for a few years. I wrote my first romance in 1995 and made my first fiction sale in 2004, a mystery story I had written in 1999. These things take time!
7 years old? You started early. Why don’t you tell us about your books
I write under two names, Anh Leod for erotic romance and Heather Hiestand for everything else. Anh Leod gets most of the action (pun intended), and had three releases in 2010, but I do have an HH release next year. Nearly all of my Anh material is at Ellora’s Cave, with one story at The Wild Rose Press. I’ve been published by several small presses and mostly have written paranormal erotic romance, but I’m all over the board. No consistency here!
LOL! Yeah, it’s hard to stick to one genre. But could you tell us what inspired your latest release?
I had just come back from London. It was 1985 and I had bought the most gorgeous pair of white boots. I wore them shopping to Nordstroms and a shoe salesman knelt before me reverently to fondle them. I was a teenager and it was quite a shock, but the experience has been brewing ever since. Now it is Christmas a Go-Go, my December 21st Ellora’s Cave release!
That’s a great story. So tell us a little more about yourself. If we asked your friends to name 3 personality traits about you, what do you think they would say?
I asked a friend this just now, and she responded “Tenacious, pessimistic, surprising”-so there you go. Although I would say realistic.
I like the surprising part. So surprise us and tell us about your writing space,
These days I write on a laptop in a battered blue easy chair in my living room, since my office has become a storage unit for all the stuff I don’t want my toddler touching. I can barely move in it and the computer in there is dead. Sob! No more trips to Starbucks either, but the tot makes up for my lifestyle losses in entertainment value. He will become the model for an evil genius in one of my books at some point.
Wow! You are busy. So in between all the toddler wrangling what’s your writing process like?
I am a plotter. I don’t listen to music – trying to keep the house quiet while the tot naps, which is when I’m writing. I’m usually drinking tea at that time of day.
What happened to the first novel you ever wrote?
A friend dared me to write a romance novel and we ended up writing one together in 1995. It was used to teach English in a school in Africa, but was never published. Probably a good thing, since we didn’t understand point of view very well.
Christmas is this weekend, do you think if I give Mr. Nina these ties he’ll be happy?
I think you had better give Mr. Nina a massage. No doubt he spends many an hour hunched over in his chair, reading your novels. Don’t forget the happy finish! He’ll need it after reading all that sensual detail.
I think your suggestion fits nicely with what I intended to do with the ties. >wink< Ah hem, so back to writing. Tell us about how you deal with the editing process.
Cry. Whine. Call or email writer friends. Eventually do a thorough reading of the revisions and usually realize editor is rather intelligent and edits are worth doing. Then do them as quickly as humanly possible and get them out of my life!
Editors are wonderful that way. So what do you attribute your success to?
Butt in chair, hands on keyboard. Nothing else really matters in the end. Without words on the page, you can’t have any success. I think having great critique partners helped my motivation, to give me someone to answer to, not to mention all the useful feedback.
Okay, rapid fire …
* Vampire or shifter? Vampire!
* Coffee or Tea? both!
* Santa or Elves? Santa!
* Cats or Dogs? Neither!
* Shopping or Massage? Massage!
* Happy Ever After or Happy for Now? Happy Ever After!
* Tree or Menorah? Tree!
* Boxers or Briefs? Boxers!
* Sugar or Salt? Sugar!
* Wine or Beer? Neither!
* Giving or Receiving? (Ah hem … gifts! Really, I meant gifts!) Giving!
*Quiet night with your honey or a party with friends? Quiet night!
* Flowers or Candy? Candy, baby!
Here’s the BLURB for Christmas a Go-Go
Lexie has a serious love for go-go boots and an heiress-sized fortune to build her collection. She has everything but a man who shares her fetish. When her new custom-made Christmas go-go boots capture the eye of Adrian, she wonders if she has finally found the one.
Adrian has always been turned on by a woman wearing sexy boots, and he’s immediately smitten with the lovely Lexie. Sparks fly and he leads her away to the VIP dressing room for a sultry tryst.
They both want more, and Lexie plans to have it. She wants Adrian at home, in front of her boot wall—naked, touching her body, touching her boots—while they have the best sex of their lives.
To celebrate the December 21st release of Christmas a Go-Go, as well as the releases of all the wonderful holiday guests at my blog, I’m throwing a contest! Comment here, or visit me and my guests at my BLOG, or email me at anh @ anhleod.com (remove spaces before sending). There will be two prizes for the winner. A story from the Anh Leod backlist (tell us which one you want) and a story from a guest blogger’s backlist (tell us which one you want). See further details at my blog.
Thanks so much for stopping over Anh. We’ll be hanging here trimming the Christmas tree with the cabana boys. Don’t forget to leave a comment be entered in the contest.
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.”
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.
a dance as old as time (and other versions)
satin heat over steel
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?
Welcome Adele …
Hi Nina. Thanks for having me. Readers often ask where authors get their story ideas. My new release REV ME TWICE is the stand-alone sequel to my novel REV ME UP, which was sparked by a real-life incident. I witnessed a hunk on a Harley lose control of his bike and nearly crash while he watched a beautiful woman walk along a sidewalk. I wondered what would have happened if the woman flashed him while he watched her, and a book was born.
REV ME TWICE is the natural extension of the first book due to reader demand for secondary characters Tomas and Crystal’s story. These lovers were the gritty pair in REV ME UP who lived life on the wild side. REV ME TWICE has given them license to go as far as they like. I’m happy with the way the book turned out and hope you are too.
REV ME TWICE Summary:
Crystal is a bad, bad girl in the most delicious ways. She tries to be good and is tempted to commit to her Navy MP boyfriend, Tomas, but has no experience with an exclusive relationship or healthy family structure. She likes her life as a cable TV stripping weather girl and sex party host, and resists conforming to the traditional lifestyle Tomas craves. Without her weekly ménages and wild orgies, can she become the partner Tomas wants?
When Crystal receives death threats, a media frenzy erupts. During a break-in, the threatening letters are stolen, erasing evidence that thwarts an arrest. Tomas sports Crystal away on his Harley to protect her, but a deadly crash changes everything. Faced with the choice between self-interest and self-sacrifice, Crystal must decide if she will embrace a new life with Tomas or walk away.
EXCERPT from Chapter One:
When the light turned green, Tomas Alvarez revved his black and chrome Harley-Davidson CVO with red flame graphics, engaged the clutch and hit the shifter with the sole of his right leather boot. The front end of the bike lifted off the asphalt and leaped forward like a bull from a rodeo gate.
His engine roared, rubber smoked beneath his feet and his laughter rumbled with the exhaust system as he left the pussy in the pimped up GTO in his dust. The driver in the restored classic car had been hot-dogging him for miles and it was time to shake him loose. He chuckled and savored his tiny victory.
Tomas revved again and then held the grips tight, flexing his arm and shoulder muscles with the movements. Glare from the late afternoon sun glinted off his black-as-night shades. As he picked up speed, he relished the hot wind gusts slicing over his skin. Warm grit flecked his face. The smells of clean air and fresh tar wrapped around him like his favorite cologne.
Crystal Miller swatted his stomach with one hand while she tightened her hold around his waist with the other. She screamed over the engine noise, “Did you have to do that? Don’t forget I’m back here, you moron!” Both hands wrapped tighter around his abs and then fisted his t-shirt like a woman wringing laundry.
Tomas only laughed and sped up. “He deserved it and I know you liked it.” Crystal was as hooked on speed and danger as he was. More so, despite his officer training. The brush of Crystal’s breasts against his back when her nipples hardened during acceleration proved his point. When she rested her cheek on his shoulder, he knew she’d closed her eyes to intensify the thrill. Her breathing quickened and she flattened her palms on his stomach as the Harley roared down the highway toward the Washington Monument.
She could yell at him all she wanted, this chick loved to fly.
BUY THE BOOK
If you’d like to learn more about Adele please visit her website, friend her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. She’ll be hanging out today responding to comments and enjoying a margarita and perhaps a massage from the cabana boys. Feel free to ask her anything. Like her characters, Adele is an open book. LOL! Okay, not quite that open, but you get the idea. 😉
What’s in a name? Everything I say. I can’t start on a book until I have figured out the perfect name for my characters. Never mind that I know very little about the story or about where I’m going save for a very vague map of where I’ll end up.
I have to have names.
I’ve been getting a lot of feedback about my science fiction story “A Touch of Lilly”. People love the story. What they’re not enjoying are the odd descriptions of aliens and names of planets and such. Interesting. It never occurred to me that I could drive people crazy by reading weird names.
Kind of silly that I didn’t think of that since I’m one of those readers that actually “says” every word I read in my head. I have a hard time enjoying a story if I can’t decipher the pronounciation of every character. But here’s the thing I think that makes wrirting different. I created the characters/places/aliens. They’re logical in my head. Silly I know. But there it is.
Here are some of the aliens and names in “A Touch of Lilly” …
That’s most of them. I’m sure there are more. What do you think? Difficult to pronounce? Would they drive you crazy as you stumble through them in a romance?
What’s really interesting is that I pride myself on finding new and inventive words when I’m creating a new world. My intention is not to create a stumbling block–just the opposite in fact. I just want to create a something new and different that the readers can fall in love with. But now I’m wondering if I’ve gone a bit far. What do you think? Have you put down a book because you couldn’t get past the names the author chose?
Lilly wanted to laugh at the ridiculous interpretation the translator had made of the Ickbata’s come-on line clicking and popping in her ear. In her relaxed state, her energy had filled the air. Just as well, she could use a little distraction and the televid certainly wasn’t providing it.
She smiled over at the Ickbata’s hopeful expression as he slithered onto the stool beside her. They weren’t bad little aliens if one didn’t mind the smell of leather. “Kal auct ral tsk, pa?” Buy me a drink, stranger? It was a question she could ask in the twelve most common languages.
“Several. If that’s your wish,” the Ickbata clicked, moving closer. One of his scaly appendages snaked along her thigh-high boot. “If your body was sexy, press me against it?” It was the contact males craved when they were near her. The energy was power and power meant control.
Lazily, Lilly trailed a finger down his arm. The flesh rippled and she watched with satisfaction as the Ickbata’s jade eyes glazed in a sexual fog.
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 I thought I’d repost a Thursday Thirteen that ran last year with 13 of my favorite lines from my erotic suspense novel, “Bonded by Need” available ftrom Ellora’s Cave.
1. The moon had risen. Its orange hue now washed to an alabaster glow that danced in shimmering facets along the rolling water.
2. Anger rippled over his lips curled back in a snarl.
3. He held both her hand and her gaze captive a beat longer than courtesy dictated and something deep within her stirred.
4. And now the woman tormenting his libido was head first in a small rock outcropping, her full, luscious ass wiggling as she backed out of yet another empty den.
5. The moon rose steadily over the tree line across the lake, its ruddy glow shimmering across the water’s surface like a throbbing artery of blood.
6. “We kissed.” Jayda could barely push the words past the guilt burning her throat. It had been innocent, but at the moment it felt like so much more.
7. “My heart belongs to you. My wolf believes you are his mate. The choice for me to stay will be yours, Jayda. But I warn you not to leave me waiting too long.”
8. His mouth brushed hers, a whisper of a touch that heated his blood and drew a quiet moan from her.
9. Now, striding down the hall of the emergency room, the heavy odor of disinfectant and jealousy clogging his lungs, Cole slowed his steps and tamped down the wolf looking to shred the cougar mauling his woman.
10. Loving two men seemed wrong. Obviously her heart hadn’t gotten that particular memo because that’s exactly what was happening.
11. He marched around her as if inspecting to be sure her shift had been complete. His strong body brushed against Jayda-a shoulder running along her side, the flick of his tail along her jaw, the unexpected nip of his teeth on her haunches-that made her jump and her womb clench. In any form the man made her hot.
12. Cole understood how deeply he’d come to love her, but until this moment, when he believed he might lose her to another, did he realize how much her heart had intertwined with his.
13. Her words sliced his heart as surely as if she’d taken a knife to his chest. He had no doubt if he looked down blood would be spreading across his t-shirt.
And since I’m working on the second book in the Shifting Bonds series, currently titled Bonded by Pride and it’s going to be Aaron’s book here’s a little bonus with one of my favorite lines of Aaron’s …
Aaron stood, counted bills off the wad of money from his pocket and dropped them on the table. “Seems to me someone with Jayda’s special talents may need more than Cole alone can give her.” He shrugged. “But what do I know? I’m just a detective.”
Yay! Bonded Souls is the prequel in the “Shifting Bonds” series. It was original released as Blue Moon Rising from Liquid Silver books and was part of an anthology. But I’ve made some tweaks to the story and added some hawt monkey sex and now it gets to take the stage solo from Ellora’s Cave …
Could a woman’s past decide a man’s future?
After discovering her boyfriend is married, veterinarian Jayda Kynslan decides to give up on men. She has every intention of planting her feet firmly on the path of celibacy—right after one more night of shameless sex with a stranger. A vacation in Montana would certainly ease the pain of betrayal and offer her anonymity.
Police chief and wolf shifter council leader, Cole Takoda, needs a break from investigating the murders of shifters plaguing his town. When a beautiful stranger seduces him at the local tavern it’s more than a tryst…it’s uncontrollable desire. And Cole can’t stand it. To top it off, their quickie becomes a revelation of shifter secrets and unfulfilled prophecies.
The discovery of a dead man in the forest behind Jayda’s rented cabin thrusts her into a foreign world of animal shifters and murder and the man she thought was only a casual diversion seems to be the only one willing to hear her side of the story. Jayda’s just not sure if Cole’s going to take her to jail—or his bed.
And here’s an excerpt for your enjoyment:
Thirty minutes later, after she’d shared nearly all the activities of the last twenty hours of her life, leaving out the details of her shower and the sexy dreams, Jayda fell back against the couch. Reliving the scene in the forest had really shaken her up.
“You’re sure that’s it?” Cole asked.
Jayda couldn’t keep the confusion from contorting her face. “What else would there be?”
“You don’t remember seeing the kid at the Bull?”
“I already told you I didn’t.” She’d gone over the details of her visit to the tavern-twice. Jayda had no idea what Cole was searching for. “There were lots of people at the tavern, Cole. I’m not going to remember one stranger from another.”
His features softened as he tucked away his professionalism with his notepad. “I believe you, Jayda.”
“I was beginning to wonder.”
“Word’s going to get out that we were together last night and I didn’t want to be accused of showing any favoritism toward a witness.” He leaned forward and brushed his knuckles over the back of her hand still wrapped around the coffee mug like a life preserver. “You got more of that? I think we could both use something to ward off this chill.”
“In the kitchen.”
“I’ll get it.” He stood and offered to take the cup from her, but she waved him off. Somehow having Cole in her kitchen, pouring himself a mug of coffee, would feel too much like a morning-after scenario and she just couldn’t deal with that.
On autopilot, Jayda stood, walked around the couch and down the tiny hall to the kitchen nook. The ticking of Lady’s nails on the wood floor was the only sound filling the awkward silence. The police officer following her certainly didn’t seem to be the same passionate man who had held her last night, and she really needed that man right now. Being in a strange town and apparently the sole connection to a murder was taking its toll. A little compassion would certainly go a long way.
The smell of burned coffee assaulted her nose. “It’s old. Let me make some more.” With shaky hands, she reached for the pot, the decanter bumping several times against the machine.
“Don’t.” Cole came up behind her, his hand covering hers, solid and warm. He guided the coffeepot back into place and snapped off the machine. The hard planes of his chest pressed solidly against her back. With a sigh, Jayda’s head fell back as she leaned against him, seeking comfort she so desperately needed. There was no one else to share this horror with. Not here. Not back in Blackfish Springs where she’d given up all her friends for a man who loved someone else. Cole was all she had, and as temporary as their connection might be, Jayda would take all he had to offer.
He turned her to face him and she looked up into the compassion filling his eyes.
She touched the bruise on his cheek.
“Gift from the kids’ brawling last night. I forgot to duck.” Cole took her hand and kissed her fingertips. “It’s going to be all right,” he said.
“Is it?” she asked softly. “Is a person ever the same after finding a human being slaughtered?” The tears she’d held at bay all afternoon finally released.
Cole sandwiched her face in his hands and wiped the tears with his thumbs. When he bent close, she closed her eyes, anticipating the softness of his lips on hers. He didn’t disappoint. The heat of his mouth seared through her, and she opened to him, inviting his tongue to delve in to taste and explore. He tasted of fresh mountain air, hot male lust and something uniquely his. And before she could assimilate their connection, it was there again, flowing over her with the power of a tidal wave, the feeling of being swaddled by the quintessence of Cole. It wasn’t just the heat of his arms around her or the solid wall of him pressing against her from breastbone to knee, but the complete meshing of her life force with his.
But that thought was insane.
She wanted him only because he was here and familiar. Lust and need had simply been forged in the heat of adversity, making her believe it was something more pulling her toward him. This was about the sex and feeling blood searing hot through her veins and the touch of another human being. Not about intimate connections or bonds. What Cole felt for her didn’t matter. Right here, right now, she simply needed him.
He pulled from her mouth, his gaze raking her face. “This is wrong to want you so badly, but I can’t help myself. Tell me to stop now and I will.” His needy pants feathered across her lips. “I’ll die a slow, agonizing death but I’ll stop.”
So I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Not exactly sure why, but I’ve given up trying to figure out why my brain goes where it goes.
Anyway, the question is … Can an author write any genre without upsetting readers?
To clarify, what I’m wondering is … Can a man write romance women will love? Can a woman pen an action story that will have men talking? Do readers buy books based on the author’s gender? What about ethnicity?
I don’t know the answer. I’m just wondering.
Part of this came about because of some statements Nicholas Sparks made about his books and romance. Now don’t hang me up by my thumbs, but I enjoy his books. (Though I was quite unhappy about his comments regarding his “unique” storylines and how different they are from romance. That prompted this post, which he totally deserved.) Anyway … I like the way he writes and from the success of his stories, so do millions of people world wide.
But he’s a man. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve heard women (mostly writers) comment that a man can’t write romance. I beg to differ. My dear friend, Roscoe James writes the most amazing erotic romance I’ve read. His characters come alive. Their love stories resonate with emotion. His sex scenes are poignant and beautifully written. I laugh. I cry. I fall in love all over again even as his characters find their “happy-ever-afters”. There are many men writing romance and doing it well. Many, fearing the skepticism, skirt around the raised eyebrows by using pen names. I can’t say I blame them.
I know many women who write wonderful m/m erotic romance. One even … who’s gay! Yet their romances are best sellers and have won awards. Now granted, this may fall into a slightly different category as these women are writing romance for other women and not gay men. Still, I understand several female writers have a gay male audience. They’re not being told they can’t write m/m love stories.
And what about the caucasian author who wants to write the story of an African American heroine or vice versa? Will readers immediately turn from these books because the author can’t write that type of story?
Here’s my take on it. At the heart of writing is an author who’s a true actor. We “put on” the hats of our characters and play the role. Essentially, we crawl into their skin and listen to their thoughts. If we don’t, the reader won’t identify with that character and the story will fall flat. When I write from the hero’s perspective I have to think like a man, move like a man, talk like a man. Readers would be very unhappy if my male characters acted like women. Or my villians were boyscouts. Listen, I’ve never murdered anyone, but one of my favorite stories (still unpublished) involves a serial killer who does some really nasty crap. And as much as Mr. Nina would like to act out every scene in my erotic novels, let me just share with you … it hasn’t happened yet.
No one stopped Dustin Hoffman from playing “Tootsie” or Robin Williams from not only “Mrs. Doubtfire” but what about the robot he played that lived hundreds of years? Amazing stuff. I believe writers do the same thing. So why can’t authors cross all lines? Religious? Ethnic? Gender?
But that’s just the way I see things. I’m curious as to how you feel about it. Have you ever refused to pick up a book because you felt something about the author would prevent them from writing a story in that genre? If you found out your favorite romance author was the opposite sex or different skin color or … whatever … would you stop buying their books?
Okay, so now that I’ve finished the first round of edits on “Bonded Souls” and I have a beautiful cover (thanks to the amazing Syneca) it’s time for the book trailer. Because you know how much I enjoy making them …