Imaginarium 2014!

imaginarium logoSo where ya gonna be September 19-21, 2014, kittens?  Me, I’ll be in Louisville, Kentucky, at the first ever Imaginarium, a convention created specifically for creators and fans of speculative fiction in all its many forms.  Imagine the most awesome literary track ever created at a fandom con – that, that’s what it is.  Want specifics?  Here’s a link to a page all about the programming:  http://www.entertheimaginarium.com/writers-track/

The guest of honor is author Rose Pressey.  There’ll be more writers, artists, screenwriters, editors, publishers, game designers, comics gurus, bloggers, filmmakers, and other assorted “Imaginators” than you can shake a Spear of Destiny at, including me, Alexandra Christian, Stephen Zimmer, Tally Johnson, S.H. Roddey, Crymsyn Hart, James Tuck, John F. Allen, Selah Janel, Marcia Colette, and all the Hee Haw gang (as Lexxx would say).  Come play with us, y’all.  It will be a great time.

When One Demon Lover Just Isn’t Enough – Behind the Red Door by Alexandra Christian

BehindTheRedDoor_72dpi

Just in time for lazing on the beach (or hiding your Kindle from the kiddies at the beach house), my baby sister, Alexandra Christian, is releasing all three novellas in her Behind the Red Door series from Mocha Memoirs Press in one hot and handy volume.  But here, I’ll let her tell you all about it:

Welcome to The Oubliette.

Cali Barrows has had it with love.  After wasting three years with the man she thought was the love of her life, she finds out that he’s been sleeping with his boss.  Broken-hearted and bored, Cali’s life had become a string of TV dinners and tawdry romance novels. She wondered where her life was going until she followed the mysterious stranger through the red door and enters a world that few would everknow existed.

The Oubliette is a safe haven for all those creatures that go bump in the night.  They cater to a very particular clientele and only those who seek it out may find the red door leading into a dark paradise of otherworldly delights.  Together with her vampire hosts, André and Leo, Cali becomes a matchmaker for the undead and unwittingly gets herself into all sorts of mischief, all the while slipping into a decadent world where every sensual desire is fulfilled.

One reviewer on Amazon wrote about “Three to Tango”:  “Two vampires, one human: many possibilities. I adored this story. It was shorter than I would like, to be honest. Just enough heat to spice things up without ruining the story.”

Get yer own here:

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Alexandra%20Christian&search-alias=books#/ref=sr_nr_p_n_feature_browse-b_2?rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3AAlexandra+Christian%2Cp_n_feature_browse-bin%3A618073011&bbn=283155&ie=UTF8&qid=1349328622&rnid=618072011

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/strange-bedfellows-alexandra-christian/1113051106?ean=2940015623277

All Romance eBooks:  http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=Alexandra+Christian

Bookstrand:  http://www.bookstrand.com/alexandra-christian

Smashwords:  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/234701

The Horror and the Hotness – Hellsong by Alexandra Christian

hellsong_msrI always thought horror romance was what I put my poor boyfriend through in college but turns out, no, it’s much, much better.  Check out Hellsong, the brand new horror romance from Alexandra Christian, just out in e-book from Ellora’s Cave.

Theo is a child of the storm, found wandering after the hurricane that devastated New Orleans, with no memory of her past. She’s made a quiet, contented existence for herself. But all that changes when two very different but equally compelling men come into her life.

Dantalion and Saraqael both want her body, and her soul. But there’s a much greater prize at stake. If she chooses right, she’ll find Heaven in the arms of an angel. If she chooses wrong, all Hell will be let loose on Earth.

A Romantica® horror erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave 

I’ve loved this one since I read the first draft in manuscript.  I bought a copy for my Kindle last night and decided to just skim through it to see if anything had changed, got completely hooked, and ended up going to sleep well after midnight.  (And having the most interesting dreams . . . )

Buy yours here:

Ellora’s Cave:  http://www.ellorascave.com/hellsong.html#

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Hellsong-Alexandra-Christian-ebook/dp/B00J2XAC2C/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1395160055&sr=1-3&keywords=Hellsong

Happy reading, kittens!

A nifty holiday gift from Purple Sword Publications

purple sword samplerPrefer to taste before you buy?  Purple Sword Publications knows you do, you naughty minx, and they’ve put out a sampler o’ sexy reads just for you.  Excerpts from all their best paranormal and fantasy erotica and romance from 2013, all in a pretty purple package, all for free.  (Including a few hot bites from my own Purple Sword book, Strange as Angels (https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-strangeasangels-1297349-340.html)

Get your (free -did I mention it’s totally FREE?) sampler here:

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-purpleswordsampler2013-1374862-166.html

If one is good . . . .

HolidayGiveaway . . . then five must be better, right?  Specifically five naughty romance writers banded together to make your season bright.  Me, Alexandra Christian, Crymsyn Hart, Selah Janel, and Siobhan Kinkade have gotten the Christmas spirit and put together a happy little holiday gift box to give away to one of our darling readers.  From December 2 to December 21, enter to win a USB Flash Drive full of sexy read-y goodness:

Under the Mistletoe by Siobhan Kinkade

Marked by Siobhan Kinkade

Jingle Balls by Crymsyn Hart

Hairy and Hung by Crymsyn Hart 

Masquerade by Alexandra Christian

Second Skin by Alexandra Christian

In the Red by Selah Janel

And of course my own Tender Bites.  Light or dark, beastie hot or vampire cool, there’s something here for every holiday craving.  Plus, knowing us, I suspect there’ll be a couple of surprises tucked in the corners, just to be festive.  Second prize will be a $10 digital Amazon gift certificate, and third prize will be a $5 digital Amazon gift certificate.

Check out the full details and enter to win here at the widget on Crymsyn Hart’s blog.  And feel free to ask me anything in the comments below.  xoxoxo Lucy 

The Books That Taught Me How to Write Sex

One of the most fun compliments I get from readers is, “Your sex scenes are so hot!”  Or “romantic,” or “steamy,” or whatever.  I’m sure Shakespeare used to love hearing the same thing, and I understand Jonathan Franzen freakin’ LIVES for it. 

Seriously, I love hearing that a love scene that I wrote worked for a reader.  I know that’s one of the big reasons I love reading romance.  Friends of ours dearly love teasing Max and me about the “research” I must be doing at home, and I happily admit that being in a happy, healthy relationship with the hub-unit helps a lot when getting inspired to write the big hoopty sex for my characters.  But strangely enough, in the moment, I don’t really think that much about how to translate the experience into fictionalized text. 

Thankfully, I’ve been training to write about sex a lot longer than I’ve been having it, by reading romance. 

My first sneaky forays into steamy literature were stolen from my mom and my aunts – paperbacks left unattended at the beach house or next to the bathtub or on the bottom shelf of the coffee table in my grandmother’s living room.  About the time I was entering puberty and wondering when my own bodice might invite a little ripping, all the women in the family, like most female readers in the world, went crazy for the hot romances of people like Rosemary Rogers and Kathleen Woodiwiss.  My cousin and best friend and I managed to get our sweaty little hands on all of these sagas of boy meets girl, boy rapes girl but she likes it, boy loses girl to hideous villain, boy kills everybody in his way to rescue girl, boy and girl get married, and I devoured them with swoony delight.  But I never really wanted to keep and reread one forever until I found Woodiwiss’ The Wolf and the Dove

Notice, please, the dark knight on the cover.  My two favorite “real” books at that time were The Once and Future King by T.H. White and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.  So you can imagine my delight at finding a sex-soaked, no-holds-barred story about a spirited brat being tamed with orgasms by a conquering Norman with a big black horse and a bad attitude.  The sexual politics are just appalling; I read it now and cringe.  But I won’t even try to deny that the subject matter and the way it was written had a profound influence on my reading and my writing right up to today. 

By my mid-teens, I knew that I wanted to be a writer and that I wanted to major in English literature in college.  I had gone to the Governor’s School for the Arts; I had learned to pretend to like John Fowles.  I still read romance, but I couldn’t throw myself into it as wholeheartedly as I had before.  I was old enough to know a rape when I read one, no matter how prettily the victim swooned.  And the books had started to repeat themselves, at least for me – it had started to feel like the same story over and over again with different costumes.  The only romance writer I read consistently during that period was Bertrice Small, and quite frankly, I read her like porn.  If you want a neat encapsulation of what the bodice ripper became near the end of its heydey, I direct you to The Kadin.   

Like most of Small’s novels, The Kadin concerns a lovely young Englishwoman who at some point is kidnapped and sold into slavery in a foreign land where she becomes absolute ruler of all she surveys just by being so freakin’ awesome in the sack.  It wasn’t a new book when I read it, and it hasn’t aged particularly well for me since – the sex scenes that seemed so detailed and shocking the first time I read them seem rushed and almost quaint to me now.  Basically in a Small book, lovers do an awful lot of crazy stuff, but they don’t do any of it for very long.  But I have to admit, there’s an awful lot of purely mechanical stuff that I might never have picked up if I hadn’t picked up Bertrice Small.  I think my husband at least owes her a nice note.  And one great thing about her heroines – they weren’t prissy.  They weren’t ashamed – in fact, the over-arching plotline of each book is a woman learning to own her sexuality.  Granted, she does it while being kept a captive slave, but hey, the BDSM community would probably tell me “well, duh.” 

But I found another book in paperback at about that same time that I found just as sexy and whole bunch more empowering – Fanny by Erica Jong. 

Jong was already famous for her first blockbuster, Fear of Flying, a contemporary novel that defined the “zipless fuck” and a woman’s right to have one.  (Yes, kittens, it’s true – feminism actually used to be considered sexy.)  Fanny is actually an expansion of her MFA thesis, a historical novel written in the style of its period but from the point of view of a female protagonist – a girl’s own Tom Jones.  I had never read Tom Jones (or Fear of Flying, for that matter), and I hadn’t much liked Moll Flanders or Fanny Hill.  But I fell completely in love with this book, not as an exercise in literary style or a feminist tract but as a romance.  The central love story between Fanny, the hot girl who longs more than anything to write, and Lancelot Jones, the bisexual highwayman who loves her, is insane, hilarious, completely over the top – and hit home with me in a way none of my mom’s romances ever had.  A whole lot of people loathe this book, but I still absolutely love it and highly recommend it.  The freedom of it, the confidence of the heroine, the way sex and sexual connection mean everything in the story without ever turning it sappy – all of these things influenced me hugely as a writer and hopefully come through in the romances I write.

In college, my pleasure reading habits wandered away from romance and more into gothic horror–I would blame my college boyfriend, but heaven knows, he’s suffered enough.   Anne Rice became my new favorite contemporary author.  But I found myself poring through all those sad, sad tales of fangy boys in love with one another wishing for a girl vamp who was even half as sexy – Claudia the perpetual five-year-old just didn’t do it for me as a relatable heroine.  (My all-time favorite Rice novel so far is still The Witching Hour, which is quite sexy but hardly a romance.)  In due course, I discovered the Sleeping Beauty Trilogy, and I did love it, and the style and bravery of it did inspire me a lot and make me braver when I started writing my own erotic scenes.  But as with Bertrice Small’s books, the relationships felt like nothing more important than a framework to connect the sex scenes – nothing in the world wrong with that, but it’s not what I write. 

But because I liked the Beauty books so much, a friend recommended another “Anne Rampling” novel – Belinda. 

By today’s standards, Belinda is a sicko book.  The heroine is a sixteen-year-old girl; the hero is an admitted pedophile.  If I found out any girl that age I knew was having this kind of relationship with a man in his thirties, I’d call the cops, I don’t care how much they said they loved one another or how beautiful his paintings of her were.  But for all its queasy perversion, Belinda is a romance.  It’s not Lolita, a character study of a broken psyche and the baby slut who exploits it.  It’s not porn; the love relationship is everything, and the sex, hot and weird as it is, is fully an expression of that love.  Rice applied all her considerable gifts as a stylist and storyteller to making the reader fall in love with these people, and for me at least, it totally worked.  I got caught up in it against my better judgment the same way I had once lost myself in The Wolf and the  Dove.  It moved me; it turned me on; it made me feel better about my own instincts as a writer.  I knew I wanted to write romance, in spite of everything my professors could do to shame me out of it.  Books like Fanny and Belinda showed me that romance didn’t have to follow a set pattern, didn’t have to always be pretty, didn’t have to be sappy or sentimental.  I could write my own special kind of romance, and I could make them as hot as I wanted. 

Two unpublished novels, one collaboration, six full-length historical paranormals, and one collection of sexy vampire short stories later, I still believe it.  Since I stopped fighting my instinct for romance, I’ve found so many other writers who have found their own ways to break the mold within the genre – I defy anybody to find a writer who understands the dynamics between real men and women in love better than Julie Garwood, whether she’s writing my beloved medievals or her newer contemporary books, and her sex scenes have always been hotter than hell.  Indie publishing is overflowing these days with swoon-worthy romances for every taste and proclivity–even now, you don’t have to love regencies to read romance.  If you want to make a living, it helps if you write them, but that’s a whole other blog post . . . .

The point is, if you want to write good sex, having it is great, but reading it is better.  I’m still constantly on the lookout for a good romantic smut book (paging Alexandra Christian), but these are where I started. 

 

Sanguine Kiss by Alexandra Christian – read it!

Today I’m turning over the crunchety, chocolatey blogness to somebody else – romantic erotica goddess Alexandra Christian.  Lex’s latest e-book, Sanguine Kiss, comes out today (September 12), and I trapped her in a small room and made her talk to me about it and her writing life in general. 

LB:  In 50 words or less, what’s your book about?

Sanguine Kiss is about a woman, Gillian, who is ditched by her lover in a most unsavory way.  Feeling rejected and replaced, she walks out on a bridge with the intention of jumping.  Before she can do it, she’s confronted by the sexy and arrogant Seth.  He offers her a better way of escaping the bonds of her mortal life.  He’s a vampire, bored with eternity and longing for a companion.  Gillian is all too keen on accepting his gift, but first she has some unfinished business.

 LB:  Is this your first vampire story?  What inspired you to write about vampires right now?

This is my first vampire story to be published.  I’ve always been a fan of the genre, both in literature and film.  Vampires are the ultimate sexy anti-hero, but in recent years, like many vampire enthusiasts, I’d become disillusioned with the whole genre.  Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, and other books that are basically “My Big Fat Vampire Wedding” have been essentially de-fanging vampires by not letting them be the brutal predators they are.  It’s disappointing because you’re cutting off your hero’s testicles before the story even begins.  I became determined some years back to write a romance that had a ferocious vampire who likes blood and sex, yet still has a moral compass and isn’t afraid to rip your throat out.  Vampires should be scary, and there are several times in Sanguine Kiss where Seth is not only sexy but damned scary.

 LB:  Do you have a favorite vamp from literature or popculture? 

There are so many, it’s hard to choose.  Anyone who has ever met me is very much in touch with my love of the cheezy ’80s movie The Lost Boys.  The character of David in that movie is the epitome of the sexy vampire.  He likes girls, he’s fuckin’ scary, and he’s a killer.  He also has this joy about being immortal.  He doesn’t sit around whining about how miserable he is.

LB:  So why are we going to fall madly in lust with your vampire hero?

Seth is, at first glance, the ultimate romance novel hero.  He’s muscular, long dark hair and these incredible piercing eyes.  He commits his first heroic act by page five, but quickly dispenses with the boy scout routine.  He’s beautiful, arrogant, rich beyond our wildest dreams, and has this hyper-intelligence that is at first unnerving.  He has this inherent dominance that lets Gillian know he’s an Alpha from the first time they speak, but it isn’t something that he has to assert.  It’s simply a fact that we just accept. 

LB:  What’s your writing ritual?  What’s your favorite place and/or way to write?

I try to write every day, though sometimes it doesn’t work out.  My usual place is sitting on the couch with my dog, Murphy, sleeping at my side.  I have to have music in my ears, and I ALWAYS have a playlist to go along with each story.  In fact, any of my readers that subscribe to Spotify can listen to my “Dark Sexy” playlist, and they’ll be listening to the Sanguine Kiss playlist.  My favorite place to write, though, would be a coffeeshop with my writing buddies.  We have a weekly group that goes to our local Starbucks faithfully every Thursday night.  Those nights are usually my most productive times.  I don’t know if it has something to do with the pressure of knowing I have to be out by 10 pm or the unconscious competition with my peers or maybe just the double shot of espresso in the White Chocolate Mocha.

 LB:  What are you writing right now? 

I have several projects in the works right now.  I have another vampire story coming out this month with Mocha Memoirs Press that’s actually the beginning of a series about a nightclub that’s kind of like a singles’ bar for the paranormal.  I’m working on another series that involves different fetishes. I hope to be able to announce more about that one later this month.  I’ve also got two novels in their early stages:  a pirate adventure with mermaids and a voodoo retelling of the obscure French fairy tale, “The White Cat.”  I’m also collaborating  on a steampunk novel with the amazing Lucy Blue.  I’m really excited about that one!  At any rate, I’m a busy girl these days. 

LB:  It all sounds amazing – very best of luck with all of it.  And yeah, you have my sympathy about that co-writer of yours . . . .  

So there you go, kittens – new vampy delectable!  I can’t wait to read it.