17 February 2012

Why Erotica Romance?

First let me say a huge THANK YOU to all who left me comments on my Valentine Blog Hop.  I hope all of ya like your books...and for PaParanormal, please leave me your email address so I can send you a book!

Now, I've posted this once so some of you have read it, but I am blogging this again because I recently had a bad taste in my mouth from someone who had the audacity to say I'm not a real author and that I'm not educated because of what I write.  So...here goes....


I’ve had it all.  The raised eyebrows, the nose in the air, the disdain very present in the eyes.  Even the rolled eyes. Everything that screams disapproval.  All because I say I write erotica romance.  People can’t seem to get past the ‘erotica’ part of that statement and focus on the part that I’m published.  I write stories that are turned into professionally edited manuscripts with wonderful cover art, ISBN’d, copywritten, and marketed.  I work very hard to create characters that are real, flawed, and redeemed through love, all in the space of at minimum twenty thousand words.  My largest body of work so far has been about 157,000 words, which is 642 pages and represents two years of my time. 

And that book will probably never see the light of day in a readers hands.

Now, for anyone who has sat down to write down a story, carried it through days, weeks or even years to fulfillment, submitted to many (dozens) of publishing houses, received many (dozens) of rejections, revised under advice, changed or deleted characters or dialogue you love, resubmitted, to finally get one person who will give your work a chance…then lets talk.  Writing is a very solitary life because when submerged in my worlds I live in my imagination.  I hear the voices of my characters.  I dream the scenarios of their lives. 

And I do all of this working full time in the day, being a full time mother to a very active little boy, take care of a household and maintain relationships with friends.  I sacrifice sleep, personal time and normal stuff that most people do (don’t ask me who the Kardashians are…no clue).

But I can’t NOT write.  I might explode if I’m not at my laptop trying to find a synonym for the words ‘gazed into his eyes’.  And why erotica romance?  Because I’m good at writing it.  The sex is graphic because the love is intense.  My stories are not about people who court each other, go to church on Sunday, and sleep in separate beds.  My stories are about people with problems…about a woman who was raped at fifteen, a man who was inappropriately touched as a child, a woman who has survived alone in a wasteland for years, a woman afraid of loving after her husband cheated.  These characters are raw.  Their emotions are encased in ice.  These people are helpless, hopeless…until love finds them.  So sex between these people and their partners isn’t going to have ephuanisms like ‘manhood’ and ‘joined together in bliss’. 

What I write isn’t for everyone.  I know that.  Everyone has different tastes and opinions.  There are people out there who think the word ‘cock’ is vulgar.  Really, I get it.  But I am a writer.  I am a published author.  And I don’t deserve the eye roll.  None of us who write erotica romance do.  To my fellow sister writers, I say give me more.  Give me more sex.  Give me more erotica. 

Give me more. 

10 February 2012

The Vanilla Romance

First of all HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!  This is the holiday of romantics and since romance is my business I love when February 14th roles. around.  I want to let hose of you following my "Most Romantic List" know that my countdown will continue on the 15th.  Only 5 books left to reveal!

For this blog hop I wanted to write about romance so I thought I'd write about something that has been on my mind-how romance has evolved from predominately "white" perspectives.  So please leave a comment at the end with your contact information because each comment will be entered to win a free PDF version of any of my ebooks, winner's choice.

Thank you!!!
The first romance I ever read was Web of Silk by Yvonne Whittle, a Harlequin Presents set amidst the lush background of South Africa.  Morgan, the heroine, was a titan haired beauty and her hero was an American blond Adonis.  I devourered my mother’s collection of Harlequins the summer before I started fifth grade, not only enraptured by the romance and love but also by foreign locals I was transported to through my imagination.

Growing up in rural Missouri, in a town of about eight thousand people that had not one African-American, it never entered my mind that all the romance books out there only featured white couples.  A decade later, when the 1990’s rolled around, I found myself living in Baltimore working at John’s Hopkins Hospital and taking the bus to work.  My Harlequins, at this point, had graduated to sweeping Zebra Historicals.  One morning I happen to see an African-American woman reading a Zebra novel, with a white couple brazenly displayed on the cover and it made me start to wonder why there weren't love stories featuring a black couple.

Now, this wasn’t a negative thought by any means.  When I went back to the bookstore I started looking at all the covers…and all were, well, vanilla.  I couldn’t help but see a wide gap that even romance novels wouldn’t breach through mainstream bookselling and I thought that was pretty sad.

The internet was just emerging by this point but used mainly for emailing friends because the information highway was a pain the ass since dial-up it took half a night to download anything.  So I didn’t know the name of Elsie B. Washington, widely regarded as the first woman to publish an African American love story in mainstream romance.  Nor did I know of Harlequin publishing the first collection of African American romance novels featuring Donna Hill, Brenda Jackson, and Mildred Riley. 

And then the Nineties gave way to a new century; the internet took off and people started realizing how small the world actually was and how beautiful other cultures are.  Fast forward to the explosion of ebook publishing.  Finally, love is able to dominate.  Interracial couples are in demand and suddenly love is no longer vanilla. I’m so very happy about that.  I have had the delight of reading the most amazing stories, not just about interracial couples but even interspecies couples, ménage stories, and gay romance.  My first male/male romance novella will be released in May, a story that flowed out of my mind through my fingers in two weeks! 

I am so happy and thankful that I live in a time when love can be love, in any flavor.  Thank you for visiting my blog and remember to leave your name and contact info before heading off to the next blog at:

09 February 2012

The Most Romantic Book...#6

Number Six is another time travel book, this one a romp through the Roaring Twenties with Judith O’Brien’s Rhapsody in Time.  The author managed to capture the innocence of the time, right before the Great Depression, beautifully through describing New York City’s nightclub and burgeoning Broadway scene.

Liz McShane lives in 1990s NYC, working for a vintage magazine and crushing on all things from the Twenties era.  She goes on a very bad date and has to take the subway home late at night.  She gets mugged, knocked unconscious and when she wakes up she’s transported to the day Lindbergh landed in Paris in 1927.

Dazed, she wanders around, seeing the changes going back seventy years has done to the city.  The fashion, the politeness, a world vastly different than her own.  She finds a speakeasy, of sorts, and settles in, listening to the piano music and ordering a drink from a man who looks just like Edward G. Robinson, but that’s because he is.  She starts thinking about her job, how she was working on a piece about a famous pianist named Alec Arronson who had died in a 1935 plane crash, and when she turns to look at the man playing the piano it’s Alec!

But she was unprepared for her attraction to him.  They are drawn together like two magnets.  The romance is so breathtaking that you just want to keep on reading, to have the book go on forever.  Alec hears Liz playing some music one day and thinks it’s her own composition, so he gets her hired on the Broadway show he’s writing.  The world Ms. O’Brien has woven is rich with history, of music, of minute details you never knew about. 

Of course, there is drama and danger. Alec is really an Irishman whose cousin runs the Irish Mob in NYC, a very dangerous man.  Alec has tried to outrun his past, but his past has caught up with him, and Liz is placed right in the middle of danger.

This is one of the best written time travel novels, ever! (in my opinion).  The flow never lets up, there is not one single dull moment in the book as we go on Liz’a journey as she finds love in 1927 and has to reconcile giving up the Twentieth Century, plus surviving attacks from a deranged Irish Mob Boss! 

Run, don’t walk, to Amazon.com and buy this book!

08 February 2012

The Most Romantic Book...#7

Back in the ‘80s, Bantam Books had a line called Loveswept, and within that division was a saga called The Delaney Dynasty Series.  So successful was that series that they came out with a second series called The Delaneys, The Untamed Years II, and I’ve picked Velvet Lightning by Kay Hooper as #7 on my Most Romantic Book List.

I have to admit, I didn’t read the other books.  In fact, I only read this one because my grandmother had read it and marked “wonderful” on the front page.  She’s dead now, but I love looking at her signature; it makes my heart hurt just a little.

This book does have the political interweaving of the other books in the series, but I focused only on the love story between Catherine and Marcus.  The setting is the island of Port Elizabeth, and Catherine has moved her father there over four years ago because of his ailing health.  Desperate to hide his growing insanity and preserve some semblance of a normal life for him, she whisked him to the island for the widely regarded doctor who has retired there. 

She meets Captain Marcus Tyrone, a man who used to be a privateer during the Civil War and now has his own unbelievable secret that he has to keep hidden.  The two start a love affair that lasts two years, a love affair that Catherine accepts because she thinks she can never marry and have children because of the insanity of her father.  She doesn’t want to pass that onto her own children.

But things change when Marcus starts falling in love with Catherine.  He wants to settle down, marry her, and star his own family…and when he makes his intentions known she decides to end it.  Only Marcus refuses to let her go, and when Catherine’s father discovers their affair, his warped mind transposes Catherine with her mother, thinks his wife is cheating on him, and takes matters into his own hands.

Catherine’s desperation is the reason why this book is amazing.  Well, that and Marcus’s refusal to let her go.  This woman has existed on fear for so long that it’s hard for her to think of anything other than the moment, which is why she likes the schedule of a sea captain.  He comes and goes so frequently that she doesn’t have to worry about the long term commitment. 

She loves Marcus so much and doesn’t want to subject him to a wife who might one day go insane, and yet Marcus stands by her side.  Of course, insanity doesn’t really run in the family and the book sheds fear of a different kind from the knowledge of STDs, so the happily ever after is there, of course, but it’s an emotional rollercoaster ride along the way.

For a minor book within a large series, this one really packs a punch. 

07 February 2012

The Most Romantic Book...#8

The next book I pick as Most Romantic #8 (on my Bookshelf, that is) is from fellow Loose Id author, Jet Mykles titled Heaven Sent, and includes two books called Heaven and Purgatory.  I actually have the paperback of these wonderful stories and I’m happy to rave about them.

Heaven starts out introducing the band Heaven Sent.  The famous band is scheduled to perform at a hotel called the Weiss Strande Hotel, and this lets the lead singer, Johnny Heaven, met the manger, Tyler Purcell.  Tyler has always considered himself straight, but when he meets Johnny and encounters the man’s sheer dynamic force, all bets are off. 

The second story, Purgatory, is the love story of Heaven Sent’s bass player, Lucas Sloane.  Years ago one of his closest friends made a pass at him, one he spurned out of confusion and fear.  Now, Reese is back and this time Lucas won’t let him go, even though Reese insists he wants a conventional, ordinary life.

There is another book in this series telling the loves stories of the other two band members, but my favorite is Johnny’s story.  I just love how sexy and wild he is, at the same time how captivated by Tyler he is at the first introduction.  Jet Mykles has written even more in the series and even started a new band, and I’ve bought and read each of them…several times!

The men are sexy, seductive, and all chose males to be their partners and lovers.  This was actually the first m/m romance story I read and fortunately, I picked a wonderful series to get hooked on.  Jet is one author I admire very much and look upon her work with inspiration as I move forward in my own writing career.  She writes with depth, wit, humor and love.

06 February 2012

The Most Romantic Book...#9

Back in the early ‘90s Silhouette decided to cash in on the paranormal phenomena and started their own line called Silhouette Shadows.  This series ran for three years (1993-1996) and produced 66 titles.  I read a lot of them, was a huge fan of “From the Dark Side of Love” (their slogan), but there was only one book that stood our amongst them all.  And that book lands at #9 on my list: Flashback by Terri Herrington.

The story is about a woman named Sarah who sees this old man staring at her.  When she goes to confront him, he panics, runs into the street and gets hit by a car.  Tragically, he dies.  Stunned and curious as to why he was following her, she starts investigating who he was. 

His name was Marcus Stephens, and forty years ago he had lived in Sarah’s house- and he had loved a woman who looked exactly like her.  With the use of his camera from the 1950’s, Sarah hurtles over the time barrier and into his arms. 

Each time Sarah goes to see him, it takes a toll on her body.  But she dares to go back because she loves him.  And the one person who has the power to bring her back into her own time is her twin sister.  So Sarah hatches a desperate plan, one where she makes her sister believe she committed suicide so she will never call her again.  So all she had to do to be with Marcus forever is stay alive.

This is one of those books that you can’t put down.  It’s tragic and heartbreaking but at the same time it’s so romantic it eats you up alive.  Marcus is a doctor who is shell shocked from the Korean War, and goes home to recuperate and is not quite sure what to make of Sarah when she shows up.

Their love is just beautiful.  It’s not a heavy sex sort of book, even though there is a little of that; instead the author wrote a very pure, true love book.  When you finish it and close the cover all you want to do is go back in time and re-read it all over again as if it were the first time.  Very apt for a time-travel book, eh?

04 February 2012

The Most Romantic Book...#10

For my next romantic book (on my bookshelves, that is) I have picked the love story of Jace Wayland and Clary Fray.  This is the first book in my series of Most Romantic Books that happens to be YA.  Set within the pages of The Mortal Instruments series, City of Bones comes in at #10.

Actually their love is explored and tested over three books: City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass.  The author, Cassandra Clare, has just added on three more books to series.  But the first book really allows the reader to sink his/her teeth into the story and especially the love between Jace and Clary.

When Clary headed into a night club in NYC one evening, she witnesses a murder…only the murder is that of a demon by demon slayers called Shadowhunters.  The Shadowhunters are three teenagers named Jace, Alec and Isabelle.  Within twenty-four hours, her world turns upside down when a demon attacks her house and her mother disappears.  She turns to the Shadowhunters, half human half angel, for help and learns she is more a part of their world than she ever suspected.

From the word go, this book is packed with action, paranormal creatures, and of course, Clary and Jace.  The author does an amazing job of portraying a world existing parallel with ours while keeping the paranormal genre fresh and new.  We learn that sometimes being an “angel blood” isn’t all that’s holy and that demons can have feelings too.  We’re introduced to a plethora of supporting characters that steal our heart as well.

And when the final ax is given on Clary and Jace’s love and turns their romance into something forbidden, well, it makes you want to reach into the book and strangle Cassandra Clare for writing such a great love story…only to snatch it from you.  It’ll take you three books to resolve it but it’s worth the ride. 

**A side note here is that this book is being turned into a movie staring Lily Collins as Clary and Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace.  If it ever gets off the ground, I hope they stick true with the book!

The Most Romantic Book...#11

Number 11 is a book by I read back in the 80’s and took over twenty years to find.  It’s titled A Perilous Affair and it is a Candlelight Supreme written by Linda Randall Wisdom.  When I started searching for it, I couldn’t remember the name, only the plot.  I found a list of all the Candlelight Supreme’s and one by one I looked up each one until I discovered mine…at number 173!

So what is this elusive book about?  It’s about an agent named Alicia who falls in love with her partner, Reid.  Reid and Alicia plan to retire and marry, but their boss isn’t willing to let his two best agents go, so he sends her into an impossible situation where her cover is blown and she lands in a dark dungeon at the mercy of some sadistic dictator’s hands.  When she is rescued, she is so badly damaged that the boss tells Reid that Alicia died.  The truth is that she is a witness to the dictator’s cruelty, and so she has to “die”.

She is reborn as Mari Chandler and is sent off to the USA as store owner in North Carolina.  And for three years Reid has believed the one true love of his life is dead.

They both want to put their past love behind them so they both end up at the same resort in Mexico where Reid proposed to Alicia, and low and behold, they wind up falling in love again!

To read this book now, in 2012, it’s totally unrealistic in parts.  They went to all this trouble to bury her identity and when the bad guy Dictator shows up they let her “handle” it on her own.   They talk about East Germany and Yugoslavia, and no uses a cell phone!

But the realism of this book isn’t what I’m writing about.  What makes this book so romantic is the heartbreak meltdown that Reid has when he’s told Alicia died.  His pain and sorrow is felt through the whole book.  It tugs on my heartstrings each time I pick it up to read. 

It is now sold through Amazon Digital Services for Kindle and has a new cover, so it would be interesting to read the outdated and antiquated “spy” world from 1987 with a 2012 cover…because I must say, it is a hot cover!  But I’ll stick with my paperback with the old cover.  It’s kind of like a fine wine.

03 February 2012

The Most Romantic Book...#12

Coming in at number twelve is a book by Francine Rivers titled Redeeming Love.  Okay, this book is phenomenal!  I read it when it came out twenty years ago and to this day it has stuck in my brain.  I was even talking to a friend when out of the blue she mentioned this book…and this friend doesn’t read romance!

The plot of the book is a retelling of the biblical story Gomer and Hosea.  Set in the California gold country in the year 1850, it is a time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep.  Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside. Then she meets Michael Hosea.

Of course, a story based on something biblical has to center around God, and though I don’t preach any religion, this book makes my Most Romantic List because of the power it portrays.

So, Michael Hosea obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation until, despite her resistance her frozen heart begins to thaw. But with her unexpected softening come overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she can no longer deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael Hosea does…the One who will never let her go.  (meaning God)

This story is fantastic!  You will cry, there’s not a doubt in my mind, because Angel is so damaged, so bitter, that her redemption takes your heart and squeezes every bit of emotion from it.  I think this was the book that made me want to write angst, to make characters so flawed only love can save them.  And as I wrote A Silver Lining, a bit of Redeeming Love was in the back of my mind.

Francine Rivers is a Christian romance writer and her books center around her beliefs.  I’ve not read any of her other work but Redeeming Love has sold over one million copies.  I remember giving this book to my grandmother, Julia, and she kept my copy, but even though it’s not physically on my bookshelf it holds a special place in my heart.

02 February 2012

Most Romantic Book....#13!

Coming in at number thirteen is Kristin Hannah’s Once in Every Life.  This is the story of a woman who is born deaf.  Tess Gregory is a brilliant research scientist who longs for a husband and family to call her own.  Sadly, Tess is struck by a bus and is killed.

But this is a romance!  Where does the happily ever after come into play? 

It just so happens, as she’s floating around in the cosmo’s, God has decided that Tess has been dealt an unfair hand and gives her another opportunity to find love.  She is given a remote control and shown images of men and lives.  She flips through the glimpses of lives until she sees Jack Rafferty, and something compelling in his haunted gaze touches her. 

She hits the button.

And so she wakes up as Amarylis Rafferty, wife and mother of three, and surprise…she can hear!  It doesn’t take her long to realize that Amarylis wasn’t the model mother of the year, and so she has to learn not only about Pioneer living but how to help a family not quite all together.

Her husband, Jack, has PTSD from the Civil War.  One of her daughter’s suffers from dyslexia and is teased and taunted from a school environment that doesn’t understand.  There’s so much heartache in this book that it brings on the waterworks pretty much from the word go.  But the heartache is worth the marvelous ending, as Tess/Amarylis takes on a town to support and defend Jack. 

This is a marvelous book, one that has endured on my bookshelf since 1992, the year it was first published.  At a time when time travel books were just hitting their stride, this was one that stood out.  It was masterfully written with wonderful characters.  I highly recommend picking this book up to read, but make sure you have tissue handy!

01 February 2012

My List of Romantic Books #14

 I decided to honor the month of February with a list of the most romantic books I know.  Granted, I’ve not read every book out there, and I know everyone has a different opinion, but in the next fourteen days I’ll give my top fourteen picks. 

So who made number fourteen on my list?   Well, I’m going to have to say the author because I’ve clumped some of her books together.  It’s Carole Mortimer!  When I started reading romance back the ‘80’s, my mother had a whole bookshelf of Harlequin Presents.  My favorites were the stories where the men acted all tough and foreboding, but when push came to shove, the heroes of Carole’s books couldn’t survive one more day without his heroine. 

On my top Carole Mortimer list are the following books:

Freedom to Love (HP#473), a young girl gets lost and winds up in the wrong trailer exploring the rugged outback of the Canadian wilderness.  Now if only the hero would believe it was an accident!

Forbidden Surrender (HP#547), the heroine is mistaken for someone else by a dark and handsome man.  Turns out she has an identical twin she never knew of who is engaged to the man she’s come to love!

Golden Fever (HP #579), set aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, an actress has to over come the long lost love of her past since he’ll be directing her in a new movie!

A Lost Love (HP#740), to escape a domineering and controlling husband, a woman fakes her own death and has plastic surgery, only to end up falling in love all over again with the same man!

A Past Revenge (HP#780), seven years after she had been seduced, the heroine meets the hero again, and sparks fly.  But he doesn’t remember her, and he has no idea of the child he fathered, the little girl who only lived a little while.

After the Loving (HP#1019), the heroine thinks its time to end the affair she was having with the hero, but the hero doesn’t want to let her go, especially not after finding out she’s pregnant!

Yes, the intrigue!  Yes, the unbelievable plots and twists within the pages.  But these stories always made my heart pound when true love was finally confessed.  Even thirty years later, these books are still a foundation for my own writing.  They sit proudly on my bookshelf.