Yeeeeah, this picture has absolutely nothing to do with my post today. It just made me happy which is exactly how I’m feeling.

I just recently finished editing my novella “Bound in Ecstasy” for re-release.

Don’t groan. I LOVE editing. It’s been awhile since I looked at this manuscript and hung out with the characters. This is my chance to get reaquainted with some old friends. An opportunity to destroy any cliches that may have snuck into my prose, remove any unnecessary adjectives and adverbs and be sure every page, every paragraph shines.

Okay, I’m not that good, but you get the idea. I want to make this story the best I can at this moment in my career and the editing is a big part of getting to that point.

Now, in the spirit of full disclosure I should tell you that I’ve never gotten any really hard edits. There was one book where I forgot to mention a character’s motivation which meant a quick scene and a couple of sentences with the backstory and the problem was solved. (Thank you to that editor who caught that glaring error.) Other than that my edits are mostly poor word choices and overused descriptions. That being said, it’s probably one of the biggest reasons I don’t mind going through manuscript edits.

Now the nitty gritty of how I do it.
1) I skim through all my editor’s comments to see if there are any glaring problems (um, like a missing motivation)

2) Then I choose a random scene and read through it carefully to find …

spelling errors
No matter how many times you read your story from beginning to end there’s always the chance you’ll overlook simple errors. Between you, your editor and the final proofer, one can only hope they are all corrected. But we’ve all read a book with spelling errors. It happens.

showing not telling
This one is easy to overlook, but look at these sentences.

Nina is cold.
That’s a telling sentence. It doesn’t do anything to engage the reader. Sometimes this is okay. Nothing drives me crazier than when I have to read for the fourth time that a character lifted his shoulders … when he shrugged can work just as well. Okay, it’s a balance and one of those tightropes authors have to navigate which is why I look so closely for it.

vs this sentence …
Nina burrowed deeper in the thin sleeping bag, but nothing seemed to slow the rattle of her teeth and the shivering that quaked her tired muscles.

That paints quite a picture for the reader. It drops them right into Nina’s terrible ordeal, which is exactly where you want them.

overused words (it never fails that I fall in love with one word. I once used lascivious 15 times in a story … um, yeah a little overuse there Nina?)

make sure my paragraphs are backloaded
This is a great one and often hard to spot. Backloading means to put the most important piece of information or the sentence with the most impact at the END of your paragraph.

Here’s an example. Look at these two paragraphs:
Tonight he ached to dominate only one submissive in the overflowing club and it wasn’t the one delivering the drinks. The blonde beauty dropped to her knees beside Ethan. Naked, save for the black leather circling her neck, wrist and ankles and the silver and gem studded chains hanging stylishly from her nipple and clitoral clips, the woman was a breathtaking vision in her docility.

A nice paragraph, but it ends with a description of the waitress. but this version from Bound in Ecstasy 

A submissive on staff delivered beverages to their table and knelt obediently on the floor beside Ethan. Naked, save for the black leather circling her neck, wrist and ankles and the silver and gem studded chains hanging stylishly from her nipple and clitoral clips, the woman was a breathtaking vision in her docility. Normally the sight would have piqued the Dom clamoring inside Jonathon, but tonight there was only one submissive he ached to dominate.

…. ends with an emotional impact for the reader. The intention is to propel the reader into the next paragraph and the next page.

end the chapter on a hook
The best books are the ones where you “think” you’re going to read to the end of the chapter, but when you get there you HAVE to turn the page. A great hook is the easiest way to get your reader to turn the page.
Here’s the end of one of the chapters (unedited from “Maid for Master” … of course)

Satisfied she’d shirred up her courage, Claire grabbed her room key from her dresser, stuck a bright yellow tropical flower from the vase on the nightstand behind her ear and threw open the door, barreling headlong into a nearly naked submissive holding an envelope and a leather collar.

I can only hope the reader has to turn the page and see what she does with that.

3) Punctuation – I’ve learned a lot from my editors over the years, but commas and semi-colons just don’t know where they belong in my manuscripts. *g* And don’t even get me started on ellipses (…) and em dashes (–) because I’m the QUEEN of overuse in that arena!

Reread the ENTIRE story
This is the very last step before I release any book. I read the story one scene at a time … COMPLETELY OUT OF ORDER! That’s right, I choose random scenes from random chapters and focus only on that scene. It’s amazing how many missing or misspelled words I find because I’m reading the words that are actually on the page and not what I “think” I see. I often see overused words (especially in my intimate scenes) this way.

And that about covers it. Everyone has their own methods of going through edits. I’m always looking for pointers. I’m not sure if readers are interested in the process, but I do think sometimes it explains how typos or inconsistencies can happen.


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So what do you think of editing?

Welcome to Six Sentence Sunday. For the next three months I’m going to try to keep your summer sizzling with some steamier sentences from my books. This week I’m pulling something from my sexy dystopian story, Healer’s Garden. (Which is being offered at a MEGA discount. Just sayin…)

In her haze of mounting desire, Jahara forced her eyes to open. Brenimyn knelt on the bed next to her, his mouth curving into a smile as his teeth nipped at her bottom lip, urging her to open again for him. His hot gaze raked over her face and she wanted to drown in the icy depths of his eyes. “Relax, Jahara. We offer only pleasure, all of which will bring you wondrous ecstasy. Trust me.”

*sigh* I LOVE Bren. This book is also available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

As always, I love to hear from you. Thank you to everyone who takes time to leave a comment. And you can click HERE to check out other authors participating in Six Sentence Sunday this week!

Welcome to Six Sentence Sunday. This week’s six sentences come from my BDSM novella Invitation to Ecstasy.

“Tell me who broke your heart.”

Hot pain seared across her chest as Derek deftly attached jeweled clamps to her nipples, the chain between them dangling to tickle her belly.

His mouth was on her neck, his teeth sinking deep. The sensations toppled one over the other, keeping her off balance, not allowing her time to contemplate the fear.

“Give the pain to me. Trust me to help you heal.”

Click HERE to check out other authors participating in SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY. And thanks so much for all of you who leave comments each week. I really appreciate it.

PhotobucketI love writing in my hero’s point of view. I’ve had reviewers say my female characters aren’t fully fleshed out, but more often then not, readers and reviewers love my guys.

I sometimes think much of my brain is wired like a guy. I’m visual when it comes to sexual stimulus. Not unheard of, but unusual for a woman. I love math and science. (just kidding) And I’m all about solving problems. Though unlike a guy I can multi-task and I am a good listener. LOL!

I’ve often wondered if I was a guy in another life and it’s just kind of translated over to this one. But that’s a blog for another time.

My point here is that there has been a lot of talk recently about Ellora Cave’s new line of erotica that they will be launching soon. The stories will definitely have less emphasis on the romantic relationship and much more emphasis on action, adventure and sex. I’m sure EC isn’t looking for its authors to write pornography. Not sex scene after sex scene with little rhyme or reason to the purpose of them. There will still need to be a story.

But I suspect they’re not necessarily looking for the emotional connection between characters that most women want when they’re reading erotic romance. I don’t think they’ll want the dialogue during the sexual encounters. And the descriptions of sensations should be detailed and explicit providing the visual cues without the visual.

I’m thinking of writing a story for this line. But I’m not sure how it will be received by heterosexual men. I know I can write the suspense and action, it’s just that I’m not sure if I can pull myself away from the romance aspect enough to create a story men will enjoy. I mean, I’m not even sure what I would do with the lovers if they didn’t end up at least with a “happy-for-now” ending. Hmmm, that’s interesting. How do men want the stories to end? With a detective that’s just a free wanderer? Or with a pretty steady girlfriend?

And then there’s the question of whether or not men will even buy sexy books written by women.

What do you think? Would your significant other buy an erotic story that’s not really porn, but a super sexy action novel? Because you know me, I’m always curious about stuff like that.

There was a steep learning curve when I decided to write erotic romance stories. My first ideas were off-shoots of the few pornographic movies I’d seen. And as I know now … movies based on a man’s fantasy. And romance books are written primarily for women. So wouldn’t it follow that the sexual journey should encompass a female fantasy? Well DUR! Of course it should. *headdesk*

So what are the top female fantasies?
Private Pole-Dancer
Being Dominated
Sex with a Stranger
Threesome with two Men
Watching another couple
Forced Fantasies
Being Watched
Public Nudity and/or Sex in Public

Some women will argue that these are not healthy fantasies. The one that seems to cause the most controversy is the forced sex fantasy. Please keep in mind … this is NOT rape. It’s being in a safe situation with someone you care about acting out a fantasy of having to submit. I see it very much like a dominant fantasy. Ya know, sometimes it’s just nice to let go and be told what to do. That can be an incredible turn-on. We all understand, being raped is not.

Erotic romance incorporates these fantasies with a love story. It’s about women being empowered to find their sexual independence and find their soul mate all at the same time. I love writing erotic romance. Discovering characters who find themselves embroiled in sexy relationships heading toward their happy-ever-after ending is such a thrill.

What about you … Do you agree with this list of female fantasies? Have any you would add to the list? I’m only asking for research purposes. You never know when one might show up in one of my books. 😉

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.

Welcome Anh Leod! Her naughty Christmas a Go-Go is a brand new “Merry Kinkmas” story available from Ellora’s Cave.

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 @ (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.”

“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.

I’d like to welcome author SAPPHIRE PHELAN to The Block today.

Welcome Sapphire. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about you and how you got into writing
I’ve been writing since I was eight, maybe even younger. I wanted to make up stories (mainly animal and scifi ones) like I read. I wrote poetry when I was in high school besides short stories and one day discovered this poetry magazine when I was 17. I submitted three poems to them, “The Horse,” “The Leopard,” and “Sands of Time.” All three were accepted and I got a contract and was paid. That was my first paid publication.

But it took until 2005 when I wrote my first erotic fantasy romance. It was about a knight cursed to become a dragon at night and the young woman who broke the curse and become his love. It was a twist on the virgin offered to a dragon.

Oh, I love dragons. Your newest release involves shifters as well. Could you tell us a little bit about it? 
DARK LEOPARD MAGIC is the second book in the Beast Magic universe. It is erotic male/male interracial novella with wereleopards as the two heroes.

Dev Tollen is a tortured soul who also happens to be gay and a wereleopard. He has never had the Dreaming until one day it happens and he sees his destined mate. Montsho first appeared in the first novella as a secondary character, BEAST MAGIC, as friend to Ramses, the werelion leader. He never thought a male wereleopard would be his mate, as he never thought himself as gay.

And there’s a mystery involved in the storyline besides being a paranormal romance.

Blurb for the book:
Dev Tollen is a man with a dark past and an even darker soul. More than that, he’s a gay wereleopard. He has never had the Dreaming and never met his true mate. But one night the Dreaming does come and reveals his lover, an African man named Montsho, also an alpha black wereleopard. Montsho will fight their love and their destiny. Dev will do all he can to win his beloved’s heart and keep him by his side always.

Then the ghost of a human begs Dev to solve his wereleopard lover’s murder. Both men will find that their new-found love tested and their lives in danger. Their idyllic time in paradise is about to be torn asunder when they discover who the murderer is.

Oh, two alpha males, they sound great. How did you come up with them? 
Out of my head, like all of my characters. I knew about Montsho and knew from the first book that he had to be the central figure in the second one. But I couldn’t figure out who should be his mate. Not until it hit me why he never found his destined mate. And when I started writing DARK LEOPARD MAGIC, Dev Tollen came to life and in first person. That Dark leopard didn’t mean because of Montsho’s black wereleopard form, but because of Dev having a dark past and even darker soul. I realized as I went into the book that I also had to have some chapters from Montsho’s viewpoint.

Sometimes those dark characters should come with a warning. If you came with a warning label what would it read? 
Beware: Author creating universes of hot sex and supernatural beings and aliens. She’s always trying to save the day, so take care of explosions, evil creatures, and hell breaking loose!

LOL! With a warning like that it should probably be posted over your desk. Could you describe your writing space for us? 
I write in a room that the office shares with my sewing room. LOL I do costuming so this was the costuming room first. I have piles of reference books and collectibles fighting for space. Everything helps me write. I always have something to look at to give me ideas. I like this mainly for my writing area, though I have taken my laptop and written while sitting on the couch in the living room when my husband needs to get to his PC (his and my laptop sit side-by-side), when I go to conventions I write up in my room and even during a writer’s workshop at my table! But I prefer my office the best.

I’m a little envious that you can write most anywhere. So tell us a little about your writing process are you a plotter or a pantser?
I think I am more a pantser—the stories just came to me. When I do a novel or large novella, I do write down the characters, descriptions and more so I can always reference back when one returns. I never could do outlines, even in school. I write the article, then do the outline. The teachers gibe me As, never knowing I never did it the way they asked us to.

I either have a cup of coffee with cream or bottle of diet Lipton green tea within reach. No music. I admit listening to a song on the radio one day while driving the car that inspired my paranormal romance, ‘His Girl” that’s included in Just Another Paranormal Halloween anthology, but I don‘t listen to any while writing.

So what happened to the first novel you wrote? 
I wrote this novel, Howling in the Night when I was in seventh grade. It was by long hand and since I was a kid, I doubted it was even 40,000 words, never mind what they want today. LOL it was a gothic romance with horror mixed in—paranormal romance before it was thought of.

I know this is completely off topic, but do these pants make my butt look big? 
No, I don’t think so. And after all, black is slimming as they say.

Mwah, just the answer I was hoping for. There is just something about sitting down to edit in leather pants … oh, sorry, I digress. How do you get through the editing process?
I try to write my book completely before starting to edit it. I try to do it twice to three times when I edit a book or story. I also take chapters or a story to my writer’s groups I am with and my critique buddies. They help me immensely. Once I feel it’s ready to submit, that’s when I do it.

Thank goodness for crit partners. Who or what do you attribute your success to? 
All those writers I’ve read short stories and novels and nonfiction books of. Like Shirley Jackson (her The Haunting of Hill House is still a big fave ghost story), Ray Bradbury (this man knows how to write and keep you reading), Anne McCaffrey, etc… I also attribute my success to my friends and family who have backed me, to my editors who made sure my stories are the best they could be, and most of all, to my readers, who buy and read my crazy worlds. Thank you all.

Rapid Fire Questions …
Vampire or shifter? Shifter, natch’!
* Coffee or Tea? I like both
* Cats or Dogs? I like both, though all we own right now are two cats. It’s hard to be a cat herder
* Shopping or Massage? Mmmm. . .massage
* Happy Ever After or Happy for Now? It’s depends on the story. Both work for me
* Boxers or Briefs? How about commando?
* Sugar or Salt? Sugar
* Wine or Beer? Wine
*Quiet night with your honey or a party with friends?  I like both, but a quiet night with my hubby beats it all
* Flowers or Candy? Flowers if in a pot and I can plant outside. Candy—yeah, I like this. Me though, I prefers books and eBooks

Well it looks like the cabana boys are heading this way. Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers before we dive into that pitcher of margaritas? 
Keep reading. And do contact me, letting me know how you liked my heroes, heroines, and worlds they play in. I always love to hear from my readers. I try to write the stories of my heart and I am glad you have embraced them well.

Sapphire Phelan is an author of erotic and sweet paranormal, fantasy, and science fiction romance, along with a couple of erotic horror stories. She also writes as Pamela K. Kinney, for horror, fantasy, science fiction, and nonfiction ghost books. She lives in Virginia with her husband and two cats, Ripley and Bast. She admits she can always be found at her desk and on her computer, writing. And yes, the house and husband sometimes suffers for it! Most days you can find Sapphire at her website or her blog. And follow her on twitter and facebook.

**CONTEST ALERT** Sapphire will be giving away a download of DARK LEOPARD MAGIC. So leave a comment with your name and email so she can check back and draw a winner from ALL the blogs on her tour on NOV 29.