Concierge (Black Raven #3) by Stella Barcelona-Review, Interview & Giveaway

Concierge (Black Raven #3) by Stella Barcelona-Review, Interview & Giveaway

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CONCIERGE
Black Raven #3
by Stella Barcelona
Release Date: September 27, 2017
Genre: adult ,contemporary, suspense

Concierge

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N /

About the book:

The Concierge delivers anything…for a price.
A provider in the underworld of human trafficking, the Concierge fills deviant orders of an exclusive clientele with inventory collected from people who live on the streets. As client requests are delivered, a personal obsession with New Orleans artist Andi Hutchenson festers…until the predator’s quest is possession..

Andi Hutchenson lives in a world of fear-fueled shadows. Two and a half years ago, Andi was kidnapped, tortured, and left for dead. Since then, crippling fear has ruled her life. Round the clock security enables her to leave her French Quarter home to paint the world around her, but Andi’s past is about to collide with her lonely present.

Gabe Hernandez believes his client is safe…but she isn’t. Protecting Andi is a given, but Black Raven Agent Gabe Hernandez is captivated by her and wants to entice her back to the land of the living. Yet with each tug on the lifeline he offers, Gabe is pulled deeper into Andi’s world, where the dividing line between imagined horrors and real-life demons is whisper thin.

••••••••

Review:

Concierge begins with Andi Hutchenson believing that she’s seen a young woman kidnapped in broad daylight in the French Quarter, not far from her home. The Black Raven agents assigned to her detail saw nothing. Which causes Andi more stress because she doesn’t know if the agents are lacking or if she’s having hallucinations. Due to the fact that Andi is best friends with one of Black Raven’s founding partners, who still feels somewhat responsible for what happened to Andi, she is a high priority client. When she fires yet another agent, they send in Gabe Hernandez.

Agent Hernandez is known for his quick wit and his charm, but even more for his almost empathic abilities. Once he makes the scene, it doesn’t take too long for him to ascertain that there is more to Andi than meets the eye. She has basically shut herself off from society, the same society that she once enjoyed, almost to the extreme. But what makes her stand out for Gabe, other than being a beyond gifted artist, is the way she sees herself….broken. That is NOT what he sees. He sees a beautiful, determined woman who is doing her best to navigate through what’s happened to her and try and make herself whole again. He makes it his mission to get her see to herself the way he does: unstoppable.

Andi tries to resist Gabe’s charm. She’s never even known another agent’s name. He invades her space, almost daring her to fire him, which she wants to do, but for some reason can’t. She eventually starts to feel something she hasn’t felt for two and a half years….safe. Just as Gabe starts to convince her that he’s the real deal, and so is she, evil rears its ugly head and upsets the calm they’ve been striving for. As Gabe and almost the entire Black Raven team race against the clock to save Andi, all he can do is pray that she’s still alive.

Wow……….just wow.

Concierge is an intense story from beginning to end. Your heart breaks for Andi and what she’s endured. It will also beat with pride as she is determined to make it out the other side of what happened to her. Yes, there are times that she doesn’t think she’ll be able to do it. Yes, there are times that she second guesses all aspects of her life that led up to her being kidnapped and tortured. Gabe is just what she needed. Of course, he’s charming and all of that, but it’s his empathic side that allows him to see Andi in a way that she doesn’t even see herself. All she has to do is believe in herself and in his steadfast support. Easier said than done when you’ve been through what she’s been through.

I have to say that there are a couple of parts of this book that are very dark. One particular scene in the beginning almost had me putting the book down, but I will say that I’m glad I didn’t. The Concierge (character) is a twisted, perverse being and Barcelona held nothing back in her portrayal of that character. Thankfully, there are only a few scenes where we are subjected to the Concierge’s whims. With all of that said, this book is by far my favorite in the series, and that’s saying a lot. Intense really isn’t a good enough word to describe it, but that’s what I’m going with. There is also not a problem reading this as a standalone. If you’re a fan of fast paced thrillers with phenomenal leads, sizzling romance and awesome secondary characters, you will never go wrong with one of Barcelona’s stories. I cannot wait for the next installment. Well done, Stella Barcelona! Very, very well done!!! (p.s. Stella Barcelona, please tell me Ragno’s story is coming soon!!!!)

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
Deceived
Shadows
Jigsaw
Concierge

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M.

Interview

TRC: Hi Stella and welcome back to The Reading Café.

stella barcelonaStella: Thank you so much for inviting me. It’s great to be here.

TRC: Congratulations on the release of CONCIERGE, the third book in your BLACK RAVEN series.

Stella: Thank you!

TRC: We would like to start with some background information for anyone who doesn’t know Stella Barcelona. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Follow Stella: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

Stella: I write romantic thrillers. When I’m not writing, I’m a lawyer. I work for a court in New Orleans, Louisiana. I’ve lived in and around New Orleans my entire life. During one very special time in my past, I lived in an apartment in the heart of the French Quarter, in Jackson Square. I’m also a dog lover, and I have two adorable papillons, who appear occasionally on my website and my Facebook page.

TRC: What has been happening in your life since last we spoke?

Stella: I’ve been busy writing! As you know, Deceived was published in 2014. Since then, I released Shadows and Jigsaw, and most recently I released Concierge.

I’ve also revamped my website, stellabarcelona.com. I write blogs from time to time, some book related, some not. I’ve included book club discussion questions on my website for each of my novels; the discussion questions give insight regarding themes that intrigued me as I wrote each novel. I also have an “Ask Stella” blog, where people ask questions that I answer on my site. I love to hear from readers, so please visit my website and say hello!

ConciergeTRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of CONCIERGE and THE BLACK RAVEN series?

Stella: “Black Raven” is shorthand for a continuing character in my novels, the security agency Black Raven Private Security Contractors. Each story that I write in the Black Raven series involves a high-stakes job for one or more agents.

In Concierge, A Black Raven Novel, after spending time in far away places in Shadows and Jigsaw, the action returns to New Orleans, Louisiana. The story involves a private security detail provided by Black Raven for an artist, where the job quickly goes awry in unexpected ways.

Concierge is set in and around a neighborhood where I once lived—the French Quarter. In the story, I provide a local’s glimpse of the chaos that ensues in the days leading to Fat Tuesday. It’s a thriller, where the action takes place along Royal Street, Frenchmen Street, Esplanade Avenue, and beyond.

Twists and turns will take the reader along French Quarter streets, into a world where peril ensnares vulnerable people who make the streets their home. In particular, a young musician who goes by the name “Pic” plays an important role in Concierge. Pic, a runaway who lives on the streets, was inspired by people I encountered while living in the Pontalba Apartments, in Jackson Square.

TRC: What kind of research/plotting do you do, and how long do you spend researching /plotting before beginning a book?

Stella: Although I spend significant pre-writing time conceptualizing each story, the time that I spend researching and plotting varies with each book.

In the pre-writing time, I usually develop the parameters of the Black Raven job that will drive the story. From there, I research thematic elements. My research results tend to drive some of the plot points. I add character development into the mix, and then I research the setting.

I develop points for chapters and scenes and lay everything out on a plot board, following, somewhat loosely, the method of plotting by color I learned from fellow author, and friend, Cherry Adair. I tend to rearrange everything for a while and obsess even more about various plot points and characterization. When I’m really, really tired of plotting, I start writing.

TRC: How do you select the names for your characters?

Stella: Names are difficult! I’m somewhat random with name selection in the beginning, then have to change the names midway through the story. For example, when writing Jigsaw I realized I had several characters with names that started with an “M.” It was confusing, so I had to come up with new names. It wasn’t fun, because I had been working on the story for months. It was hard to think of the characters with their new names.

TRC: How did publishing your first book change your writing process?

Stella: If anything, it made me more determined to be a productive author. My goal was never to simply write one book and then stop. My goal has always been to be a storyteller. Since stories always play in my mind, I have more than one story to tell. Finding readers for Deceived, my first novel, and each subsequent novel, has made the entire process a worthwhile, rewarding endeavor.

TRC: What was your hardest scene –ever-to write?

Stella: There are a few that come to mind, BUT, the hardest, by far, was one particular bridge scene in Jigsaw. I’m trying not to give too much away- but the scene takes place in Paris, on the Pont Neuf. The hero, Zeus Hernandez, has to think and act fast to stop an explosion. The scene is short, but it took me forever to write. To this day, I can’t explain why it was so difficult for me.

TRC: There is a fine line between romance, erotic, and erotica in many of today’s popular contemporary fiction. Many authors are re-issuing their previously erotic story lines with ‘cleaner’ versions without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text. What do you believe has precipitated this move or change in direction?

Stella: Though my novels have a sensual element, I don’t consider myself an erotica author. I can’t really speculate on the reasons why erotica authors may be re-issuing their books with ‘cleaner’ versions. It sounds interesting, though, and it makes me wonder whether the reverse would work as well. Should authors of non-erotic fiction re-issue their books with more erotic scenes set within?

TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?

Stella: I believe covers are extremely important, but truly, I think the quality of the story told within is even more important than the cover. Nevertheless, because of the importance of having covers that capture the imagination of readers, I tend to be extremely selective regarding cover elements. Recently, I wrote a blog about the cover of Concierge on my website. The blog, entitled “Musings…On the Cover of Concierge,” gives a bit of insight as to the depth of my obsession with covers.

TRC: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, does the style of music influence the storyline direction? Characters?

Stella: Yes! I love to listen to music as I write. The louder it is, the better! It’s difficult to explain why music facilitates my writing, but I think the beat translates to story pacing. Fast paced songs remind me to incorporate action, while slower, more emotional songs remind me to reveal what my characters are feeling.

TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception people have about authors?

Stella: One misconception is that authors always feel inspired to write. In reality, at least for me, getting from the beginning to the end of a reader-worthy story is hard work that requires extreme diligence and self-discipline.

Also, I’m not sure the creative process will ever become easy, even though writing is something I love to do. I equate the difficulty that comes with producing a novel with the sort of difficulty I experienced in my third and final year of law school. The classes in that third year weren’t magically easier just because I had been through two years of law school. To perform in that third year at the level I hoped to achieve, I still had to work hard. The same goes with writing.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Stella: I’m writing my next Black Raven novel, entitled “Insertion.” It’s set in Alaska … and … Stay tuned! It will be released in 2018.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Stella: Yes – I love to hear from readers, so please reach out and say hi, either on Facebook or through my website.

TRC: Thank you Stella for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on your new release.

Stella: You’re welcome, and thank you!

Giveaway

Stella is graciously offering a $25 Amazon gift card + a hand-blown glass fleur de lis paperweight + an autographed copy of Concierge. to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Please LIKE and Follow Stella Barcelona on Facebook

4. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

5. Please LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

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7. Please follow The Reading Cafe on Tumblr

8. Giveaway open to USA only

9.. Giveaway runs from October 13-18, 2017

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Heart of Honor (Knights of Honor #5) by Alexa Aston-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

HEART OF HONOR (Knights of Honor #5) by Alexa Aston-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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HEART OF HONOR
Knights of Honor #5
by Alexa Aston
Release Date: August 21, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, medieval romance

Heart of Honor

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.au / Amazon.uk /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date August 21, 2017

1375 A.D. – When Sir Christopher “Kit” Emory’s beloved mother falls ill, he decides to seek the help of someone he met briefly at the royal court years ago—Lady Alys de Montfort, a renowned healer despite her young age. While traveling to her home at Kinwick Castle, Kit is accosted by a band of highwayman, who beat and rob him, leaving him to die. Fortunately, an escort party comes across him and Lady Alys insists they take the stranger home so she can use her skill in the healing arts to save his life.

The man awakens and has no memory of his identity, but Alys believes he might be Kit Emory, a young man she’d met once when she was a young girl. Kit comforted her when the queen died and Alys never forgot his kindness to her. Alys does what she can to jog Kit’s memory, even as she struggles with her growing attraction to him, knowing Kit was betrothed and must now be wed. Kit also finds his desire deepening for Alys, but he doesn’t know his own name, much less if he has a wife or family. Until he recalls who he is, he refuses to commit his heart to Alys.

Once Kit regains his memory and realizes he is free to pursue Alys, their road to love is anything but smooth.

Join Kit and Alys as they overcome events that continue to tear them apart and threaten the love they have for one another.

Each book in the Knights of Honor series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.

••••••••••••••

REVIEW: Heart of Honor is a medieval romance and book five of the Knights of Honor series by Alexa Aston.

This is the story of Christopher Emory and Alys de Montfort. If you are fortunate enough to have read the other books in this series, you will recognize Alys as the daughter of Lord Geoffrey and Lady Merryn. This wonderful story is every bit as talentedly written as the others.

Alys is in court and serving the ailing Queen Phillipa when she meets Kit (aka Christopher). He has been sent by the king to ask Alys to attend to the king’s headache. She also was requested by the queen to bring the king to see the queen. They have a momentous first meeting and the king attends the queen on her deathbed. This is also where she learns Kit (the only man to attract her attentions) is betrothed to another.

Six years later, Alys is home at Kinwick castle and learning more from her beloved mother. Her father and others have just returned from fighting the French. Kit has also returned from the war to find his beloved mother ill, his unbeloved wife dead. With his mother very ill, he remembers the lovely girl (the only one he’s ever been really attracted to) comes to mind as a wonderful healer and the wife he really wants to have. He immediately sets out to retrieve the Lady Alys for both reasons.

On his way to Kinwick, he is beset by robbers. The Montfort’s are escorting their sons back to their fostering home and find the unconscious man, stripped naked and left for dead. Alys doesn’t recognize him but sends for a cart and they take him to Kinwick for healing.

This is what begins this marvelously romantic and adventurous story. The twists are heart rending and the love scenes are heart thumping. The story is fast paced and full of familiar and wonderful characters. The two main characters are wonderfully developed and capture you heart.

If you’re a fan of this series, this story does not disappoint. If you have not read this series, Good Lord why not? These are tales of knights of honor and adventure, love at its finest. Do yourself a favor and put these in your collection or your TBR. You’ll be happy, I promise.

Click HERE for Georgianna’s review of book 3 CODE OF HONOR

Copy supplied for review.

Reviewed by Georgianna S

Guest Post

The Code of a Medieval Knight

I’m in the middle of writing my Knights of Honor English medieval romance series, so I’ve been doing tons of research about knights—their training, their oath of knighthood ceremony, and what they are responsible for once they’ve become a knight of the realm.

Various sources report about the vows every knight took. French literary historian Leon Gautier published La Chevalerie in 1883, where he tried to summarize many of the vows knights took into what he termed the Ten Commandments of Chivalry. They included:
• Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches and thou shalt observe all its directions
• Thou shalt defend the Church.
• Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
• Thou shalt love the country in which thou wast born.
• Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
• Thou shalt make war against the infidel without cessation and without mercy.
• Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
• Thou shalt never lie, and shalt remain faithful to thy pledged word.
• Thou shalt be generous, and give largesse to everyone.
• Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil
In The Song of Roland (La Chanson de Roland), an epic poem based upon 778’s Battle of Roncevaux, Charlemagne’s knights adhered to this code of honor:
• To fear God and maintain His Church
• To serve the liege lord in valour and faith
• To protect the weak and defenceless
• To give succour to widows and orphans
• To refrain from the wanton giving of offence
• To live by honour and for glory
• To despise pecuniary reward
• To fight for the welfare of all
• To obey those placed in authority
• To guard the honour of fellow knights
• To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit
• To keep faith
• At all times to speak the truth
• To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun
• To respect the honour of women
• Never refuse a challenge from an equal
• Never turn the back upon a foe
Taking all of these vows into account, I began crafting my different heroes and their stories. In my first Knights of Honor tale, Word of Honor, I combined a few of these ideas and had my hero Geoffrey de Montfort remain true to the word he had pledged to another and living a life of honor by keeping a sacred promise—even though it almost costs him the woman he loves, his wife, Merryn.

In Book 2, Marked by Honor, my knight Raynor Le Roux must protect weak and defenseless (or is she?) heroine Beatrice Bordel. He also must persevere to the end and remain true to his commitment to deliver Beatrice to her betrothed, although his heart breaks in doing so, for he has fallen in love with this lady.

Book 3, Code of Honor, has knight Michael Devereux valiantly serving his liege lord, Geoffrey de Montfort—and falling in love with Geoffrey’s niece—as well as keeping his faith in God and restoring his mother to her rightful, honorable position.

Journey to Honor, Book 4, features Kenric Fairfax, a fierce knight who believes he hasn’t lived up to his knightly code and hacks off his hard-won spurs, which reveals to the world he’s fallen short of his duties. With the help—and love—of heroine Avelyn Le Cler, Kenric redeems his honor and once more is seen wearing his spurs.

In my latest release, Book 5’s Heart of Honor, hero Kit Emory doesn’t even know if he’s a knight! Kit was attacked on the road and suffered a head injury, causing amnesia so severe that he doesn’t even know his own name. Heroine Alys de Montfort helps in the recovery of his memory, and Kit rises to the challenge, showing his valor and resourcefulness.

As I continue writing this series, I will weave in as many of these knightly tenets as I can!

One random commenter will win an electronic copy of Heart of Honor.

Stay in touch with me through my social media sites:

Website: https://alexaaston.com
Blog: http://www.embracingromance.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlexaAston
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoralexaaston
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15846438.Alexa_Aston
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/alexaaston
Newsletter: http://madmimi.com/signups/422152/join

(A special thanks again to The Reading Café for having me as their guest today. They have been supportive of my Lauren Linwood books and now my Alexa Aston books, as well.)

giveaway

Alexa Aston offering an ecopy of HEART OF HONOR to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

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8. Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY

9. Giveaway runs from September 2-6, 2017

 

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The Flirtation (The Submissive #10) by Tara Sue Me-Rview, Guest Post & Giveaway

THE FLIRTATION (The Submissive #10) by Tara Sue Me- Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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THE FLIRTATION
The Submissive #10
by Tara Sue Me
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, BDSM, romance

The Flirtation

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date August 8, 2017

Lynne has not wanted for anything since she began working as Nathaniel and Abby’s nanny–until the night they invite her to a group BDSM meeting. The abrupt breakup she had with her last Dom made her turn her back on the lifestyle, but now she’s ready to dive back in. When she starts chatting on online BDSM message boards, she’s shocked to discover Simon, her former Dom, is a frequent poster–and even more shocked at herself when she creates a secret identity and strikes up a conversation.

After messaging with a mysterious submissive online, Simon forms an immediate connection. Lynne and Simon’s D/s relationship grows in intensity, but can their relationship survive after the truth is exposed, and Lynne’s identity is laid bare?

•••••••••••••••

REVIEW: THE FLIRTATION is the tenth installment in Tara Sue Me’s contemporary, adult THE SUBMISSIVE erotic, BDSM romance series. This is Dominant and sadist Simon Neal, and masochist, nanny and college student Lynne Ryder’s story line. THE FLIRTATION can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story lines is revealed where necessary. Several characters from previous installments, including Nathaniel and Abby West, cross over for cohesion and familiarity.

NOTE: If you have issues with S & M (Sadism and Masochism) including whipping, flogging, spanking and punishment, this story line may not be for you.

Told from dual third person points of view (Simon and Lynne) THE FLIRTATION is a second chance romance story line that focuses on the rekindling relationship between Dominant and sadist Simon Neal, and the woman he claims as his own-masochist, and nanny Lynne Ryder. Months earlier Lynne Ryder was the submissive to Simon Neal but when Simon abruptly cut off their relationship Lynne found her life spiraling out of control including the loss of her job, a broken heart, and leaving the lifestyle she was growing to love. Working for Nathaniel and Abby West as their live-in nanny Lynne took stock of her life and with the decision to return to school to become a primary school teacher, our heroine found herself living in the West’s Manhattan penthouse, preparing for a future at Columbia University. But curiosity got the best of Lynne Ryder, as she began an internet search of the man who broke her heart-Simon Neal-masochist and Manhattan Dominant-and the man with whom Lynne had fallen in love. What ensues is an online relationship of lies between Lynne and Simon-a relationship that will fall apart when Simon discovers the truth about the woman he believes is someone else.

THE FLIRTATION is a story of second chances but Simon and Lynne will fall victim to an act of vengeance, jealousy and betrayal. Not only will Simon and Lynne be targeted but so will Simon’s New York BDSM club-a club that prides itself in privacy and anonymity. With so many unresolved issues between them Lynne’s lies add fire to an already volatile situation.

The relationship between Simon and Lynne is one of second chances but Lynne’s lies and online fake persona push Simon when the truth is revealed. The numerous $ex scenes are intimate; the S & M scenes are erotic and intense but may not be suitable for all readers.

There are a large number of secondary and supporting characters including Nathaniel and Abby (The Submissive Series), Dominants Cole Johnson and Luke DeVaan, as well as submissive Anna Beth.

THE FLIRTATION is a sexually graphic story line. The premise is interesting but the secondary conflict, the threats against our story line couple, seemed unnecessary and overdone. In my opinion it was a futile attempt to bring suspense into an otherwise predictable story line. The characters are colorful and energetic; the romance is erotic and intense. I received an ARC copy for review and the story line ended at 70%. The remaining 30% was a bonus novella-THE CLAIMING-originally released in September 2016.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

guest post

When I finished writing THE TRAINING, I had no plans to write anything else with Nathaniel and Abby. Their story had been told. After all, not only did I leave them happily engaged, but the Epilogue gave a sneak peek into their life after children.

But as soon as THE TRAINING was published,I started to hear from readers about how they wanted to see the wedding and the honeymoon. There wasn’t enough story to write an entire novel, so I decided to do a novella, THE CHALET.

And I still got requests for more.

So I thought about it and realized if I continued AND expanded, I not only got the opportunity to explore the relationships of different couples, but also to get glimpses of Nathaniel and Abby. In writing what would become THE ENTICEMENT, I realized that Nathaniel and Abby still had a lot of story left in their journey. After all, life doesn’t end with the Happily-Ever-After. That’s when it begins.

Because, you see, the wedding is never the end of the story, but the gateway into an entirely different one. There is so much that happens AFTER the couple gets together, AFTER the honeymoon, and yes, AFTER the kids are born. And it’s raw and real. It’s sexy and intimate. And it’s terrible and beautiful and so much more intense because OMG, you’re in this deal FOR LIFE.

The risk, of course, is throwing drama into the story for the sake of drama and I’ve never been a fan of that. There needs to be drama, but it has to develop naturally from the character’s growth and (big one here) it has to make sense. Any reader who has been with me since THE SUBMISSIVE will know immediately if I have Nathaniel or Abby act out of character and the story won’t be believable to them.

And that, that heartache and happiness, that joyous triumph, that emotional and physical connection with your soulmate is something worth writing about.

Just like everything else in life, writing a set of characters through several books is a balancing act. Treat it delicately and the story will flow. Throw everything but the kitchen sink at it and you’ll only have a hot mess.

I’m not a plotter and that works well for my writing style. I love not knowing what’s going to happen next in a book. I think I’m able to enjoy it because in romance you’re guaranteed a happily-ever-after. That gives me a certain level of comfort and I hope it does the same for my readers. They can go along with me because they know no matter what I put the the main character through, everything’s going to turn out okay.

The thing I have to remember as an author, though, is I can throw the twists in, but they 1) have to make sense and 2) there needs to be trail of breadcrumbs. I don’t think the reader has to see the breadcrumbs on the first read, but they have to be there. When they go back and reread the second time, that’s when they think, “Ohhh, now I see.”

The other thing that is imperative listening and trusting your author voice, which is more than your story voice, but also the one in your head that talks to you while you write.

If you’re a writer, you know all about That Scene. It’s the one where you stare at your laptop for hours at end. The one you try every trick you know and still only net 500 words, if that many. For me, it’s been up to two weeks of author hell, knowing something was wrong, that ended with me deciding I didn’t care what words I put on paper, I just wanted words.

And when I went back over them, that’s all they were, words. But the scene was finished so I wrapped up the chapter, sent it to my crit partner, and wiped my hands of it. Now as a writer, you need a crit partner who will be brutally honest with you. And that’s what mine was. She confirmed what I knew: the scene was merely there. There was no emotion, no intensity, nothing.

I took a deep breath and went back to the scene, determined to make it work. The first thing I did was start over completely. I didn’t want to use any of the previous words. I wanted a clean start. And so, even though part of me feared I was going to spend another two weeks struggling, I went to work.

I decided to change POV from the hero to the heroine. Just to see how it went. Maybe she’d be chattier while I was writing. I started typing and hours later the scene was finished. What had taken two weeks in the wrong POV was completed in hours in the right one.

Lastly, you can’t talk about writing romance and not talk about sex (well, you can, but you shouldn’t.) Let’s face it, we all know how sex works. And yes, writing it well is a must for erotic romance. However, you could craft the most perfect, mind-blowing, finely crafted sex scene, but if I’m not emotionally engaged with the couple, it’s going to fall flat.

If you were to ask me what makes one erotic romance better than another, it wouldn’t be how well the sex is written, the number of sex scenes, or even how creative the couple was during sex. What makes an erotic romance stand out for me is everything surrounding the sex. That’s what connects me with the characters.

It’s that connection with the characters that makes the physical scenes so intensely satisfying. It’s much easier to write insert part A into part B, but when you do that, it becomes exactly what it sounds like – cardboard. And cardboard may have its place, but erotic romance isn’t one of them.

Good erotic romance, the really good erotic romance, has the power to transcend itself beyond the sex into a work of fiction that literally makes your heart race and your knees turn to jelly.

And isn’t that why we all read romance?

~~Tara Sue Me~~

About the Author

FOLLOW: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Tara-Sue-Me-

Tara Sue Me is the New York Times bestselling author of the Submissive series, including The Enticement, The Training, The Dominant, and The Submissive. She lives in the southeastern United States with her family, two dogs, and a cat.

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The Reading Cafe and Tara Sue Me’s publisher are offering a paper copy of THE FLIRTATION to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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SEAL Wolf Undercover (Heart of the Wolf 22) by Terry Spear-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER (Heart of the Wolf #22) by Terry Spear-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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SEAL Wolf Undercover
Heart of the Wolf #22
by Terry Spear
Genre: adult, contemporary, paranormal, romance
Release Date: August 1, 2017

SEAL Wolf Undercover

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Chapters Indigo / Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound

About the book: Release Date August 1, 2017

Never be so foolish as to fall for the enemy…
Special wolf agent Jillian Matthews has joined the jaguar-run United Shifter Force to track down a deadly criminal. She’s even willing to work with PI Vaughn Greystroke―until the hot, growly SEAL wolf makes the mistake of getting in her way. Naturally, she shoots him. Who could blame her?

Vaughn Greystroke has always worked alone. But when a string of attempted murders puts him in the crosshairs, teaming up with the Shifter Force begins to sound like a good idea. Even if he has to work with alluring―and potentially treacherous―Jillian Matthews. Vaughn is a trained SEAL, after all. He can surely keep his distance from Jillian…no matter how much she’s getting under his skin.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER is the twenty-second installment in Terry Spear’s contemporary, adult HEART OF THE WOLF paranormal, romance series. This is PI and former SEAL Vaughn Greystroke, and Special wolf agent Jillian Matthews’ story line. SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story lines is revealed where necessary. SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER crosses over with the HEART OF THE JAGUAR series, as the author continues to build the USF-United Shifter Force headed by the jaguar team of Demetria, Everett and Howard first introduced in A Very Jaguar Christmas .

Told from dual third person perspectives (Vaughn and Jillian) SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER follows the search for a potential killer. Vaugn Greystroke’s Colorodo pack mate and friend Douglas Wendish was attacked and left for dead while on vacation in the backwoods of Oregon, and the first person to stumble upon the scene is Special wolf agent Jillian Matthews, who shoots first and asks questions later including shooting our hero Vaughn Greystroke. But Vaughn struggles with the possibility that Jillian’s brother Miles is a suspect and the fact that Miles refuses to come forward places Vaughn in an awkward position as he quickly comes to realize that Jillian is his mate. Enter jaguar shifters Demetria, Everett and Howard, who along with Jillian and Vaughn, set out to hunt for the shifter responsible. What ensues is the fast-building relationship between Jillian and Vaughn, and the realization that Douglas Wendish kept secret his reasons for his most recent vacation

SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER is a detailed story with mystery, intrigue, family, friendship, romance and love. There are moments of humor and fun, action and danger, sexy times and a happily ever after. The relationship between Jillian and Vaughn begins as a case of mistaken identity as Vaughn targets Miles, and Jillian targets the shifter threatening her brother. The $ex scenes are intimate and seductive. The sexual energy was low key as the story line focused on the search for the truth and the hunt for a potential killer. Jillian’s brother Miles struggles for meaning in his life but what he finds are lies and betrayal.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including both wolf and jaguar shifters. The requisite evil has many faces but not all necessarily with the same end-game in mind.

SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER is a lighthearted, spirited and energetic look at the supernatural. The premise is engaging; the characters are colorful and passionate; the romance is intimate and fated. SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER is a satisfying and delightful addition to Terry Spear’s HEART OF THE WOLF paranormal series.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

guest post

How do you develop your hero and heroine? Do the ideas come to you fully formed, or do you figure them out as you write?

Creating characters is fun, but I don’t make lists of their likes or dislikes. Or faults and strengths. I think that’s what makes them so interesting to me.

While I’m writing about my hero and heroine, they come to life in the situations they have to deal with. Conflict helps to show what they’re made of and everyone will handle a different scenario in their own unique way based on their life experiences. But I don’t know what they are, oftentimes, until I’m writing the story. It really depends on the story too.

When I was writing about Sarandon Silver in The Bounty Hunter Gets Her Wolf, the heroine is brand new to the scene, but he isn’t. He’s been in several Silver Town stories, and so he has a rich history of trouble with the pack, mostly concerning his father, the former sheriff of Silver Town. That means I have to use previous stories, his life history, to ensure he’s true to his character from the past.

With SEAL Wolf Undercover, SEAL wolf Vaughn Greymere has been in one other story as a secondary character. But I was also tying him in with the jaguars, who have been in other stories, and a brand new gray wolf, Jillian…to the scene. I wanted to open up the story where the two wolves see each other and admire each other, but don’t really meet. I wanted Vaughn to show the kind of stuff he’s made of. At a jaguar dance club, he believes a dancer on one of the high platforms that breaks away, is about to fall to her death, and being a SEAL, and an alpha wolf, and a hero type, he rushes to rescue her. This makes a great impression on Jillian, though she doesn’t know he’s a SEAL or a wolf. Or that jaguar shifters existed at that time.

They’re all thrown in together later—the jaguars and wolves—to search for whoever has injured wolves and jaguars. Only he believes Jillian’s brother is the suspect and she shoots Vaughn to protect her brother.
And that’s how it all begins when he actually meets her. He’s hot, naked, wounded, and she can’t help the way her pheromones are telling her this guy is the one she needs in her life, when he’s out to get her brother! And Vaughn’s sure she’s protecting her brother when he’s the one they need to be taking down. Though, despite her shooting Vaughn, he can’t help but want to keep her in his sights. And more.

Every hero and every heroine has their own past, their weaknesses and strengths, their dreams and goals, their likes and dislikes and all of these things help to mold them into the characters they are today. But I only learn this as they go through all their trials. In the beginning, all I know is they have to be in a situation that changes their life in some way and how the hero and heroine meet. This will also have something to do with who they are—their jobs, their goals, their dreams. And from there, the story and their characters unfold.

~~Terry~~

About the author

Terry Spear Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

Love, love, love romance, the paranormal, hunky Highlanders with their delicious brogue and hot kilts, so Terry Spear writes about those hunky Highlanders both in medieval times and as wolves in contemporary times. Jaguar shifters too! And young adult urban fantasy. And romantic suspense. She grew up reading mystery, adventure, mythologies from around the world, ghost stories, the paranormal, fell in love with Dracula and Wolfman, and felt they needed loving too. Everyone should have someone to love. Which means her stories always have a HEA. USA Today Bestseller residing in Central Texas from Sacramento, California who creates award-winning teddy bears too!

Giveaway

Terry Spear’s publisher is graciously offering a paper copy of SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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Days of Desire (Pirate’s Prize #2) by Tina Donahue-Review & Guest Post

Days of Desire (Pirate’s Prize #2) by Tina Donahue-Review and Guest Post

Days of Desire

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 4, 2017

In a pirate’s lair, nothing is as it seems . . .

Shipwrecked! When Royce Hastings is found washed up on the shore of a verdant tropical island, he tells the natives he is a merchant headed for Mozambique. The truth, however, is far more mercenary. Noble by birth, the once favored Royce has lost his fortune and family; now he is a hired henchman on the trail of an elusive pirate. His “shipwreck” was a fake. He’ll stop at nothing to infiltrate the island and capture his prey. His mother and sisters’ lives depend on it.

The last thing Royce expects is to be captured himself. But the lovely young woman who tends to his wounds in the tropics quickly takes hold of his heart. Simone is the island’s healer, and her skilled ministrations not only awaken his soul but disturb his conscience. His path has been predetermined; his identity must remain concealed at all costs. Yet the passion he feels in Simone’s sultry, loving arms cannot be denied. With his loyalties torn, Royce must make an agonizing, unthinkable choice.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: 4 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Days of Desire by Tina Donahue is a loving, action packed, with a little suspense kind of historical romance which takes you out of proper dukes and ladies and gives you good ole fashion pirates. Love me some pirates! LOL The second book of her “Pirates Prize” series, it takes place on a stunning tropical island where you will meet some absolutely incredible islanders with our main characters. I didn’t read the first book so I cannot comment on whether this could be a stand alone, but I will be picking it up in the near future.

Royce Hastings is our lead guy, and he is some stuck between a rock and a hard place. He is a noble by birth, but daddy dearest has lost the family fortune and Royce is paying the price. His mother and sister are being held hostage by a real SOB and Royce is being tasked via blackmail to capture a notorious pirate living on an island with his wife. If he cannot deliver, he can kiss his own family goodbye. Royce then arranges his own “shipwreck” on this island so he can infiltrate, assume a different identity and get the job done. Except .. nothing is ever as easy as all that!

Simone is the island’s healer and the woman who helps bring Royce back to health. Simone is kind hearted and she really appeals to Royce. Before he knows it, Royce is head over heels in love and now standing at a crossroads. Not only has he fallen in love with Simone, but he has befriended Tristan (AKA notorious pirate) and Diane (his wife) and finds a comfortable place amongst the islanders. How could he possibly betray these people and deliver the worst kind of ugly to them. But he has to, his family will be much worse off is he doesn’t.

This book is a quick read, but full of story. There was a good flow to it, the characters well developed in the short amount of pages offered. I would of loved to be stranded on this island that Tina writes so lovingly about. She really made it endearing. My only complaint would be the length. I WANTED MORE! LOL I am all about the slow burning build and that is near impossible when a story is on the shorter side .. but again, there is much awesome on the pages that were written!

Definitely a summer beach read. If you are looking for a quick historical romance fix then you will find it here!

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T.

Guest Post beige

It’s All In the Details…

Romance is about challenges: those faced by the heroine and hero in their bumpy journey through lust to friendship and finally love; creating likeable characters, along with daunting yet realistic villains; choosing a setting and time period that will appeal to most readers; and in the case of historical romance, making certain that details from way-back-when aren’t only accurate but interesting.

As an avid reader of historical romance, I know what I don’t like and that’s a history lesson. Pages and pages of details that bring the plot and love story to a screeching halt. I can only speak for myself, but I skim those parts until I get back to the meat of the story. And that presents another challenge – exactly how much detail should an author provide?

I’ve found that making the setting and time period an integral part of the story, another character, if you will, allows those long-ago times to come alive.

For instance, in Days of Desire, book two in my Pirate’s Prize series, the action takes place on a secluded island in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar. After researching the area, I knew such a lovely and wild place would be ideal for my romance. Who doesn’t want to fall in love with a brave, hot hero beneath a velvety black sky studded with stars and a tropical breeze ruffling his shoulder-length hair? With that settled, I had to determine how folks lived in such a primitive setting during the early seventeen hundreds and how they kept healthy.

To ensure the medicinal part was interesting, I made my heroine Simone a healer. She’s an island woman skilled with plants, potions, and poultices. One of the interesting things I learned is that periwinkle stops bleeding. When Royce, my hero, washes up on shore, shipwrecked and injured, Simone tends to his injuries. While weaving in historical detail about healing, I created a bond between Simone and Royce…the beginning of their romance.

Since Royce is on the island for less-than-honorable purposes, that created conflict for him in terms of whether he should desire Simone. More importantly, whether he can go through with betraying her and the others on the isle. To up the ante, I gave him little choice. However, at that point, I had to have him remain in contact with the merchant who sent him on this mission. As Mozambique (where the merchant resides) and the island are separated by the Mozambique Channel and several hundred miles, I faced a dilemma. In a contemporary romance, I’d simply have Royce use his smartphone. Obviously, that wouldn’t work here, but carrier pigeons would.

While researching them, I discovered that carrier pigeons were used in Baghdad as early as 1150 and that they can fly between 600 to 700 miles per day and journeys of 1000 miles are routine. Wow. That worked perfectly for my plot. I also learned that carrier pigeons can do round-trip flights, which dovetailed with what I had in mind.

As I wrote Days of Desire, I appreciated the hardships people faced in 1717 and how they overcame obstacles with intelligence and sheer will. Life wasn’t easy then, but it wasn’t as primitive as I had believed. Research taught me that Islamic medicine was well-advanced long before modern times and that pigeons can be as effective for communicating as sending a text (albeit slower).

Penning a romance is never easy. Historical details make it more challenging, but well worth it in the end.

~~~Tina~~~

About The Author beige

Tina DonahueFollow: Goodreads / Blog / Twitter / The Reading Cafe /

I’m an award-winning, Amazon and international bestselling novelist in erotic, historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised my work. Three of my erotic romances (Freeing the Beast, Come and Get Your Love, and Wicked Takeover) are Readers’ Choice Award winners. Three more (Adored, Lush Velvet Nights, and Deep, Dark, Delicious) were finalists in the EPIC competition. Readers’ Choice Award (Freeing the Beast, Come and Get Your Love, and Wicked Takeover). The French review site, Blue Moon reviews, chose Sensual Stranger as their Book of the Year (erotic category). The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for Lush Velvet Nights, and two of my titles (The Yearning and Deep, Dark, Delicious) received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. Take Me Away and Adored both won second place in the NEC RWA contest (different years). I’m featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before writing full-time, I was the editor of an award–winning Midwestern newspaper and worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company.

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Killing June (Saved by Sin #1) by May B. Bridges-Review and Guest Post

Killing June (Saved by Sin #1) by May B. Bridges-Review and Guest Post

Killing June

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 4, 2017

SEDUCED BY PAIN
At night I’m June, dominating with the whip, even as I crave the hot, searing blow of the cane, myself. I loathe this side of who I am, but I can’t deny it or escape it. And as my clients cry out for me, begging for mercy, I can’t help but want June dead.

By day, I’m Alex Ryan, the good, successful Southern woman everyone thinks I am. I’ve compartmentalized my life to make it bearable, and to get what I want most: revenge. I can have a future with June dead, as soon as I confront the man that terrorized my past.

SAVED BY SIN
Cade Brannon is the local gun for hire, part of the seedy underworld of Dallas, but he may also be my savior. I want his help and he wants me. But Cade refuses to play by my rules and is forcing his way into every one of those compartments that I want to lock away. Now the parts of my life I’ve fought so hard to keep separate are bleeding together and it’s tearing me apart.

I just want to go back to being Alex Ryan. But at what cost am I willing to kill June?

••••••••••••••

REVIEW

5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Dark, deep, roller coaster emotion riding, naughty, angst filling … just a few words to describe this book. I LOVED IT! 🙂 This is the kind of book that sits with you long after you finish the last sentence. Gave me shivers. I will say, if you are not a fan of the dark romance, BDSM genre then skip this read. It could also be triggers for some who have personal issues with this kind of story. If you are okay with it all, then by all means jump in, full on, you will be taken for one amazing ride!

Killing June by May B. Bridges is the first book of her “Saved By Sin” series. How appropriate is “Saved By Sin”! Brilliant really. As I mentioned above, it’s a dark romance with BDSM elements, hot and very steamy, descriptive with a good dash of suspense. Not for a light afternoon over tea kind of read, but for a glass of red wine and a dark chocolate eclair. DECADENT!

Alexandria “Alex” is also known as “June” by a few chosen people. By day, she is Alex. A well put together lady who seems to have it all together. By night she is June, a highly complex, dark, tortured soul who indulges in BDSM lifestyle that she is NOT happy with. Events in her life have placed her on this unwanted path that she detests so much, but secretly craves. These events have been responsible for her being deceived and manipulated and now she wants answers and revenge.

Cade is the perfect man for Alex AND June. He is what June craves but what Alex needs. He is a healthy balance. He is dominant, self assured, caring, protective and loving but can bark and bite when the circumstance arises. Once he discovers Alex/Junes secrets, he is all in to heal and win this woman who fulfills all he needs in his own life. Alex/June want to fight him off however, but Cade is having none of it.

These two are very much a give and take couple, and May got the balance absolutely spot on. I loved the twists and turns, the suspense of the story and I found my heart racing a time or two when I really had no clue where we were going. BDSM can be a very tough genre to write as in truth, BDSM is not just physical. There is such an overwhelming emotional side to a BDSM relationship and convincing the reader that a couple will make it can be a hard task to accomplish. May you accomplished this perfectly. I am an emotional reader, and you pulled my heart strings as I flipped through the pages. I feel like a blabbering fool going on about it and not getting my words right here, but that is proof that you did your job as an awesome author in this genre. THANK YOU!

I never give storyline away on my reviews, you will have to take the ride alone. Just know you are in for an intense story, some incredible steamy scenes, a couple you can’t help but love, and a suspense where by the end you’ll be thinking “Oh freaking YES!”

So looking forward to more from this author! LOVED!

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T.

Guest Post

Some Like it Hot! Navigating Romance.

I remember the first time I read a sex scene in a book. Wow, I was seriously unprepared. Being used to YA fantasy and a softer kind of romance, I wasn’t expecting it, at all. I was sure the scene would fade to black any moment. There I was, sitting at my daughter’s gymnastics practice, hordes of other parents around, and all of a sudden, I’m reading about penetration and hard coc… ‘Oh Jesus, did she just stay that?’ I snapped the book shut, face turning red, certain every other parent in the room somehow knew I was reading a dirty book in the presence of their precious children. The book was quickly shoved in my bag, not to make a reappearance at gymnastics. It was a surprise, to say the least. And though I enjoyed my first erotic romance read thoroughly, I’d have appreciated knowing what I was in for when I chose that as my casual daytime reader.

Romance, erotic romance, erotica, it can get confusing. So how is one to know what they’re in for when they pick up a romance book? And is the book you’re picking up a romance at all? Let’s see if we can’t sort it out.

Romance is a broad genre. That’s probably why it has so many sub-genres. If you’re searching Amazon for a romance book, you’ll have over 25 categories to browse. If Barnes and Noble is more your style, you can search over 40 romance categories. That’s a whole lot of books! And seeing that some of those categories are as opposite as night and day, romance runs the gamut of topics, themes, and plot lines.

So if there are so many sub-genres, so many ways to write these books, what makes them all romance? To be a romance, a book needs two things: A central love story, and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending—Also known as a happily ever after or happy for now. No, I didn’t come up with those from my own writerly genius. I stole them from Romance Writers of America. Pretty basic, right? Once you have a story with a conflict and climax that focuses on developing a romantic relationship, and a happy ending, pretty much anything goes. It’s all of the other elements and subplots that define your sub-genre.

The jump from romance to erotic romance is an easy one. It’s romance because we have our two central elements in place. It’s erotic because we’ve taken the sex from PG 13 to NC-17. The sex almost never fades to black, and authors tend to be less coy in their descriptions of the body.

Erotic romance is almost as wide of a descriptions as romance itself. These novels can be anything from cowboy romance, historical, supernatural, contemporary, to suspense. Erotic romance spans the full range of romance sub-genres, with spiritual romance possibly being the only exception. Many book sellers don’t even list erotic romance as a romance sub-genre at all. That very well could be because there are erotic novels in every sub-genre romance.

If you like your romance with a lot of heat, I’m sure you can find one that lights your fire. If you’re an easy blusher, you might want to think that through before bring these books with you to the kid’s practices. Public or private, erotic romance are some of my favorite reads

You might think erotica is simply the next progression. Isn’t it just erotic romance on another level? Or even simply another word for erotic romance? Actually, no. The two have some big differences and aren’t technically interchangeable. In fact, an erotica story may not even be a romance at all. It doesn’t have to deal with love or relationships, and might not have a happy ending. To put it plainly, these are stories about sex. They focus on the act of sex, and not always as a byproduct of a romantic relationship.

When I was younger porn came in movies, not clips. I know, that makes me ancient. The point is, these movies always had a plot line. A group of girls would be home, bored, and hungry. They’d start talking about all of the sex acts they hadn’t tried while waiting for the pizza they ordered. The pizza guy would show up, one thing would lead to another, and suddenly you have an orgy. The plot line was never important. It was the catalyst to get these people in a room together so sex could be the focus. Without sex you really had no story. Erotica can be similar in many ways. If you pull out the sex acts, you usually don’t have enough content left for a book.

In theory, you could write an erotica about almost anything. As I’m writing this, I’m watching my boyfriend play the new Friday the 13th video game. It’s gruesome and not my thing at all, but we could turn it into an erotic novel. If Jason had graphic, hot sex with the camp counselors before killing them, and we focused the story more on his sex drive and a bit less on the hacking and slashing, we’d have an erotic horror novel. Not one I’d be reading, but a novel that fit the bill, nonetheless.

Erotica novels can be fun and exciting reads. Many of my favorite erotica writers find a way to inject a bit of humor. And what is better than a book with hot sex and a good laugh? But know that when you are searching for an erotica title, all bets are off and you could end up with anything from something resembling a romance, to bored girls and a pizza guy, to Jason in a hockey mask getting busy before hacking off some heads. Anything is possible as long as sex is the star.

It’s possible that the misconception that erotica and erotica romance are one in the same comes from book sellers. As we mentioned above, a lot of them don’t list erotic romance as a genre. That leaves authors and publishers with a few options to let readers know that their book is erotic in nature. An obvious one is to list it under erotica. So before you jump up and down, yelling that you’ve found some of your favorite erotic romances listed as erotica, yep, I know.

Truth is, if it’s a book you love, a book that sweeps you away from reality for a few hours, then it doesn’t matter how a seller labels it. Trying to sort through it all is only to help you find the book of your dreams a little bit faster. For all of their differences and similarities, the greatest thing romance, erotic romance, and erotica have in common is how diverse they are. With books from one end of the spectrum to the other, whether you want something sweet and light, a love story that’s dark and steamy, or a book about a good roll in the sheets, one of these three genres are sure to have what you need.

Happy reading!

May B. Bridges

@MaybBridges

http://www.maybbooks.com

About the author

May Bridges

I write dark, gritty contemporary romance.  I am a Southerner in the Northwest by way of Colorado. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for updates, bookish and writing thoughts, and general life shenanigans.

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Saving Mercy (Fatal Truth #1) by Abbie Roads-Review,Guest Post & Giveaway

SAVING MERCY (Fatal Truth #1) by Abbie Roads-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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SAVING MERCY
Fatal Truth #1
by Abbie Roads
Genre: adult, contemporary, psychological, thriller, romantic suspense
Release Date: April 4, 2017

Saving Mercy

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / BAM / ibooks

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 4, 2017

First in a chilling new paranormal romantic suspense series from award-winning author Abbie Roads

He’s found her at last
Cain Killion knows himself to be a damaged man, his only saving grace the extrasensory connection to blood that he uses to catch murderers. His latest case takes a macabre turn when he discovers a familiar and haunting symbol linking the crime to his own horrific past-and only one woman could know what it means.

Only to lose her to a nightmare
Mercy Ledger is brave, resilient, beautiful-and in terrible danger. The moment he sees Mercy, Cain knows he’s the one who can save her. He also knows he’s beyond redemption. But the lines between good and evil blur and the only thing clear to Cain and Mercy is that they belong together. Love is the antidote for blood-but is their bond strong enough to overcome the evil that stalks them?

•••••••••

REVIEW: SAVING MERCY is the first instalment in Abbie Roads’s contemporary, adult FATAL TRUTH paranormal, romantic suspense series. This is FBI profiler Cain Killion, and Mercy Ledger’s story line.

NOTE: SAVING MERCY contains scenes of graphic violence, blood shed and murder, and may not be appropriate for all readers.

Told from several third person points of view including Cain and Mercy SAVING MERCY focuses on Cain Killion, the son of a serial killer, and Mercy Ledger-one of Cain’s father’s victims -a woman who survived but finds herself victimized over and over again. Twenty years earlier Mercy’s entire family was brutally slaughtered by Adam Killion and in the ensuing years, Mercy has struggled to find her place in society until the day she found herself locked in a mental institution against her will. Enter Cain Killion, Adam Killion’s son, and the man who will fall in love with one of his father’s victims. What ensues are Cain’s attempts to save Mercy from a potential copy –cat killer; a stalker who uses Mercy for his own perverted pleasure; and the fall out from a killer’s need for power and control.

Cain Killion has the ability to ‘read’ blood-a killer’s thought and ideas whenever he touches the blood of one of the victims. His psychic abilities leave our hero in a world of hurt and pain, and not without some difficult side effects he’d rather not endure but as an FBI profiler Cain’s ‘powers’ can be used as a positive when on the hunt for the criminally responsible, making amends for his father’s past. His connection to Mercy Ledger comes on the twentieth anniversary of her family’s murders, and a string of killings linking directly back to Mercy and Cain find our couple on the run, not knowing whom to trust or where next to turn. The overwhelming darkness and demons continue to ride Cain Killion-a man whose own father destroyed everything he touched. Mercy is not without some psychic abilities of her own, and together they will form a powerful team but not before Mercy is targeted by someone from her past.

SAVING MERCY is an intense, tragic and alarming look at one man’s ability to destroy everything in his path. There are moments of passion and romance, atrocious violence and abhorrent acts, betrayal, redemption and vindication. The premise is suspenseful and disturbing; the characters are broken, destructive and tormented; the romance is fated, profound and heartbreaking. SAVING MERCY is a dark, deadly, fiery and tense story; a well written psychological thriller about a tortured hero, and the woman with whom he will fall in love.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Guest Post=Black and Red

Developing the hero/heroine with Abbie Roads

I’m a write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants author. That means I don’t plot out my books and I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen from one scene to the next. I’ve tried plotting and planning and the thing I’ve discovered… If I know what’s going to happen, then I don’t want to write it. I get a weird writer’s high from all the unexpected things that happen on the page.

And I’m the same way with developing my heroes and heroines. I’ve sat down and filled out complicated character development forms. I’ve spent weeks exploring every single facet of a character and you know what happened when I tried to write that character? I couldn’t write him. I couldn’t force that character to be the things I said he was going to be.

I wish I could plot a story. I wish I could plan out my characters. But it’s just not how my process works.

Here’s how I develop my characters:

I write. And write. And write. I keep writing until I feel that spark that interests me. Then I delete all the crap I wrote before. I follow that spark and let it guide me. It doesn’t always lead me in a good direction, so I delete a lot.

The first one hundred pages of my books are always the hardest for me. It takes me a long time to find my characters in writing and re-writing—usually six to eight months to get those pages right. The rest of the book comes easier after that. Thank God.

A weird thing I’ve noticed about my heroes and heroines is that they all tend to be introverted and crave to live isolated lives. Maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but those are purely Abbie Roads traits. I’m a super-deep introvert, but I can become extroverted sounding when I’m excited about something—it just exhausts me. I yearn to live in isolation from other people. I want my home to be in a place where I can walk outside naked and there’s no one around for miles to see. Not that I’m a nudist or anything. It’s just the idea of being able to do that that appeals to me! Lol.

QUESTION

I have a question for the readers: What kinds of heroes/heroines do you like best? Are they a reflection of your own personality?

Giveaway-redandblack_zps8ff4dc4b

Fatal Dreams giveaway

Abbie’s publisher is graciously offering a two-book bundle of Race the Darkness and Hunt the Dawn (Fatal Dreams 1 & 2) to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Please follow Abbie Roads on Facebook.

4. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

5. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Please FOLLOW us on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

7. Please follow The Reading Cafe on Tumblr

8. Giveaway is open to USA only

9. Giveaway runs from April 10-14, 2017

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Code of Honor (Knights of Honor #3) by Alexa Aston-Review & Guest Post

Code of Honor (Knights of Honor #3) by Alexa Aston-Review & Guest Post

Code of Honor

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon. uk /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March 27,2 017

365 A.D. – After the Earl of Sandbourne banishes his supposedly unfaithful wife to a convent, his young son Michael swears never to set foot on the family’s estate until after his father’s death. Michael will then claim his title as the new earl and restore his beloved mother to a place of honor.

Fifteen years pass, and the now-knighted Sir Michael Devereux serves Lord Geoffrey de Montfort at Kinwick Castle. He accompanies the nobleman and his family to a wedding, where Michael unknowingly falls in love with the bride before he even knows her identity.

Lady Elysande Le Cler is angry that her usually indulgent father went against her wishes and betrothed her to a stranger prior to his death. Now as her wedding day approaches, dread fills her—until she meets a dashing stranger who helps her deliver a foal. Elysande loses her heart to this knight, frustrated that they can never be together.

Join Michael and Elysande as they find fate has other plans in store for them.

••••••••••

REVIEW: Code of Honor is book three in the fabulous Knights of Honor series. This romantic highland story is the tale of Michael Devereux and Lady Elysande. There are appearances of familiar characters of the de Montforts (Geoffrey and Merryn) from previous books.

This is a very well written story about highland knights and the time period is 1365 A.D. Many issues are brought to the surface that women had at that time (being property with no rights…). Marriage was mostly arranged and not a matter of love or choice for the female and sometimes not for the male either.

This wonderfully romantic story is, however, a tale of true love winning over all odds. Sir Michael meets and falls in love with Elysande (name unknown to him at the time) as he helps her birth a foal in the stable at his liege lord’s sister’s estate. Complications arise when he finds she’s the bride-to-be that they’ve come to see married. And there the story begins and takes off with many twists and turns. Just when you think love wins…it turns again. I spent several hair pulling moments thinking…”what now!”

Alexa Aston is the pen name of one of my favorite authors, whose stories are well and truly woven with adventure, history and romance. She has never written one that has disappointed me and this story is no exception to that. If you have followed this marvelous series, you’ll enjoy this romantic adventure as it winds its way into your imagination and heart.
Grab a copy and sit back for a wonderful time!

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Georgianna

guest post

I wake up some days and have to think who I am. Most people don’t have that problem. They are who they are.

But I’m three people . . .

This all began when I started my writing journey. I sold Music For My Soul, a medieval romance, to Soul Mate Publishing October 2012. Immediately, my publisher told me I needed to create an author website, Facebook page, and begin tweeting. My last name is difficult to pronounce. I already had a FB page–and didn’t want to confuse my family and friends. So I decided I would go with a pen name. I could keep the Real Me and the Writer Me somewhat separated. Different emails would keep the personal and business sides organized. I was ready to select a new name!

I chose Lauren Linwood. I liked how it looked on the page. I love alliteration. And when I Googled the name, the only thing coming up was Linwood, NJ. This was opposed to the first name I came up with—already a NY jazz singer—and the second name I tried out—a porn star! After several attempts at selecting a pen name, I because Lauren—Identity #1.

Fast forward a few years. I recently signed on with Dragonblade Publishing, founded by the Queen of Medieval Romance, Kathryn Le Veque. Kathryn loved my writing but said I was all over the map, having writing four western historicals, three medieval romances, and two romantic suspense novels as Lauren. Kathryn emphasized branding and sticking with a single sub-genre of romance for at least ten novels in order to gain a reader base before I branched out. She also felt since Lauren had written in three different types of romance that I needed a new pen name for my Dragonblade books and a fresh start.

Thus, I became Alexa Aston—who will stick with writing historicals—while Lauren will keep with contemporary romance. I began again, creating for Alexa her own author website, personal and business FB pages, and opened a new Twitter account and email address. As Alexa, I’m the author of the Knights of Honor series. The series will run ten books long, but each one can be read as a standalone.

I’m ecstatic to be with a quality press such as Dragonblade Publishing, and I am having the time of my life writing my first romance series. I hope you will give the Knights of Honor a whirl. You can start Book 1, Word of Honor, for only 99 cents. It’s an Amazon exclusive, so if you’re in KU, you can begin reading the series for free! Word of Honor introduces Geoffrey and Merryn de Montfort, my anchor couple. They will appear in the remaining nine books, sometimes in a small role and at other times a larger one.

In the meantime, read Georgie’s review of Code of Honor—Book 3. Michael Devereux and Elysande Le Cler meet under unusual circumstances. Happy reading!

 

About the Author Black and Orange

Alexa Aston’s is the author of The Knights of Honor, a medieval romance series that takes place in 14th century England and centers on the de Montfort family. Each romance focuses on the code of chivalry that bound knights of this era.

A native Texan, Alexa lives with her husband in a Dallas suburb, where she eats her fair share of dark chocolate and plots out stories while she walks every morning. She enjoys reading, watching movies, and can’t get enough of Fixer Upper or Game of Thrones. Alexa also writes romantic suspense novels as Lauren Linwood.

Contact Info:

Website: https://alexaaston.wordpress.com/

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoralexaaston/

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlexaAston

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