Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Google Alerts

About a year ago two authors suggested I set up google alerts on my writing name so I would be alerted when my name appeared on any websites. Mind you these two authors are BIG time published and don’t have to worry too much about piracy. Their suggestions were for when reviews pop up.
I set up my alerts and when I did I set up for my real name and the name I had while married to my ex. I’d written under both and thought it might be useful. Turns out it was. I learned of an interview I did a few years ago on long distance relationships was finally published in a magazine – how cool.
A few weeks ago I received an alert on my former name that for the sake of anominity I’ll use Jane Doe. Turns out Jane Doe had died. Mind you she was 78 years old and died of natural causes. But for days I received alerts on her obituary, funeral arrangements and such. It was kind of creepy to see my former name listed as decease.
Just this morning I received another alert for Jane Doe. She was brutally murdered and her killer was at large. This struck a cord with me. My ex was very abusive and for a long time I feared he would kill me. Even years after I left him I feared him. So to see this brought back a lot of emotions for me. One was how thrilled I am to be alive and in a healthy happy relationship. I’m also blessed to be in a career I love – writer.
I’ve also learned when my books are up on those pirate sites, usually an hour after they’ve been released. This is frustrating for writers because they’re taking away from our already LOW income. Another alert that came this morning was of my not-so-great review of Submit With Me. To the reviewers credit she said this would not stop her from reading any future books from me because she has enjoyed my books thus far.
Google alerts are great most of the time, but lately it’s freakin’ me out to see that one name associated with death and murder.
Have you ever had any crazy google alerts?
Til next week!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pasties - Just Enough Cover Not to Get Arrested!

Pasties...not the kind you eat (although I'm sure there are edible ones out there and if I search hard enough I could find them!) but the kind women put over their nipples for all kinds of reasons having to do with being more sexy. Exotic dancers will use these to further entice the audience as they bump and grind or pole-dance.

   History: Pasties first appeared in 1930 and included a variety of colors, diameters, and shapes. Tassels were the brainchild of Burlesque performer Carrie Finnell, who probably thought she needed "something extra" to arouse her audience. Tassels are connected to the center of the pasties.

 In my book "Sexy Games" by April Ash, the heroine, Stacy, dons a pair for her role-playing game as a stripper/lap dancer. She diligently practices before the game to make sure she can get the tassels to "swing" and twirl...much to delight of hero, Sloane.

Pasties come in all sizes and some are very creative as these samples will prove!

What do you think? Would they make the wearer feel more "frisky" and playful? Give that added something to heighten sexual urges? Create a more lustful session of lovemaking?

Want to learn how to make your own pasties?

If you make some, would you let me know? I'd love to do another blog about pasties and will show your finished products...and you don't need to wear them!

Photos:,, and

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What do YOU think is "sexy"?

What is your definition of "sexy"?

It is amazing how many different versions of "sexy", "gorgeous", and "hot" are running around out there. Remember when you were just a kid? Maybe wearing braces and saddle oxfords? Maybe wearing coke-bottle eyeglasses with rhinestones on the frames? Do you remember what your ideas of "pretty" and "cute" were back in the oldy and moldy days?

Now consider what your ideas of "Sexy" and "gorgeous" are today. Are they even in the same solar system? NOT! When I was a preteen I thought a guy was "cute" when he was lanky and scrawny and had dimples in his pink little cheeks. I thought that a gal was "pretty" when she wore ten stiff petticoats under her poodle skirt and had a perfectly under-turned, glossy pageboy 'do and was as skinny as a beanpole. Hmmm...

All of us who write romance know that somewhere out there, every heroine has her fated hero. And whether the hero is a huge, musclebound guy with green skin and torn jeans, or is a long, lean, jeans-clad cowpoke wearing a ratty T-shirt and a battered Stetson, there is a female out there just aching and waiting for him to come along.

No two women seem to see the same beauty in the same men. I prefer men with less body hair. Others prefer men who could show a poodle a thing or two. I like long, lean, hard muscle. Others love a man who is just their height and has a nice solid body. I have hissed in my breath at the sight of a man that my daughter looks at and goes, "Huh???"

Thank God we all have different tastes, or we would all be fighting over the same man. And even if he might enjoy it, I don't think we would.

Now, if you have noticed, most of my romances are about women who think they are very plain, ordinary females. And honestly, most of them are. But their heroes don't think like that. I like men who can see the beauty inside a woman's body and sparkling eyes. Men who can sense that beneath those ratty jeans and loose T-shirt there lurks a hot babe.

As I grew up, I realized that the "cutest" guys always seemed to run with the "prettiest" gals. But after a lot of these guys reached emotional maturity, they began to look a bit deeper and a lot closer at that skin-deep beauty, and after a bad experience or two...maybe a scary divorce from Miss Barbie 1969, their tastes in women took a sharp right turn. The same goes for women who marry hot men and later find clay feet in those expensive shoes.

Good looks never replace kind spirits and ethical treatment. It would be marvelous if handsome guys acted handsomely, but alas, all the adulation and chasing-after from women often turn those male heads, and a sweet, normal, not-so-drop-dead-gorgeous gal doesn't stand a chance. It would be fabulous if stunningly beautiful women acted beautifully. Not all beauty is on the outside.

So my heroes look like stunning hunks to my heroines, even if another woman would pass them by and shrug...and my heroines all look gorgeous to my heroes, even if other men have totally missed the point. Why? Because every human being has a soul mate who looks perfect to them, even if the rest of the world can't see that special beauty.

Thank God I grew up. If I were still running around with the exact same concept of "cute" and "pretty", this old world would be a sad, sad place for me, indeed...

Fran Lee

Check out my new release contest..."Woman on Fire" will be released from Ellora's Cave on September 3, 2010!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Special Guest Renee Vincent and "Raeliksen"

It’s my pleasure today to introduce a special guest blogger to Seven Sexy Scribes —the lovely Renee Vincent from Turquoise Morning Press.
Renee has a treat to share and anyone who knows me already knows I love horrible puns so I will just come clean and say Renee’s bathhouse excerpt from her newest book “Raeliksen” is pretty damn steamy… so is the cover see for yourself!
Book One of the
Emerald Isle Trilogy


Mara, the daughter of an Irish clansman, was raised to believe the men of the North are heathens - murderous pagans without a moral bone in their bodies. Despite warnings of the Northmen's raids, and the growing threat of another incursion, Mara is continually drawn to her favorite place - the River Shannon.

Dægan Ræliksen, a wealthy chieftain from Norway's frozen fjords, secretly discovers Mara at the water's edge. He is charmed by her beauty and sensuous grace. As the days pass, his contentment with simply watching her grows thin. He can no longer deny his unabated desire for the young maiden. His search for a wife has ended.

However, Mara and Dægan come face-to-face in a time when Ireland is in turmoil - when every Irishman is being called up to fight against the Nordic foreigners. In these times of upheaval, how can Dægan make peace with Mara's father and acquire the woman he treasures? Furthermore, can Mara move past her fears and find the noble man within the savage?

The door of the bathhouse flung open and the two staggered in from under Dægan’s cloak, locked in each other’s arms. Once inside, Dægan kicked the door closed while still delving into her eager kiss and fumbling to find the cursed lock on the door.
Mara already started feeling the warmth of the wood and stone room soak through her, grateful for the oddity of the Norse’s bathing habits as they had put a stagnant, sweltering atmosphere to good use.
Unable to leave her kiss, Dægan whipped his sodden cloak across the room and removed his boots and kirtle, heavy, too, with rain, dropping them carelessly on the bench behind him. The slapping collapse of his wet garment seemed to slow his wild spontaneity to an attentive act of seduction. The glow of the amber flame, in the corner of the room softened the rigid bones of his face, but it did nothing to ease the callousness of his smile as he circled her.
Her braid, he moved to the side and breathed in carefully the smell of her body, the way the oils from yesterday’s bath harmoniously mixed with the nostalgia of the Erin rain. His breath came soft and hot behind her ear, while his hands snaked tenderly around her throat and down below her chin to undo the two brooches at her chest.
Without her realizing, he had released the jeweled clasp and chain, and let the drenched fine cloak fall heavily to the ground, and then he went to work, undoing the laces of her dress. He was talented with his hands, being able to trace the thin vertical line of her spine that connected her slender neck to her finely widened hips with one, while stripping her from her gown with the other, letting it too, fall to the floor.
He slowly turned her around to face him, not shy in dropping his eyes to her glistening chest. There was another smile on his face, one of kinder birth than before, as he intimately seemed to memorize each curve of her blushing body.
Likewise, Mara let her eyes plummet to his waist, seeing his arousal as visible as a winter moon. But her innocent glance must have become an inseparable stare, for he stepped closer, asking, “Do I frighten you?”
Mara lugged her eyes from his midriff to his face. “Nay, Dægan…”
Her voice trailed as he slowly neared her face, eye to eye, mouth to mouth, until suddenly his lips pressed so gingerly against hers, endearing at first, then greedily as the kiss lengthened. He coiled his arm around her back as his other hand slid over the silken skin of her buttocks, pulling her close enough to nestle his hardened body against the soft of hers.
Dægan fell away from her lips. “May I?”
Mara lifted her brows in wonder. “May you what?”
Without taking his eyes from her, he dragged a bucket of water across the floor with his foot. “May I show you how sufficient a few buckets of water can be?”
Mara hesitated at the thought of him bathing her. It was quite a personal thing to bathe another, more so between lovers, and how difficult it would be to stand there and let it happen. “Dægan…”
He dropped to his knees, sliding his hands down the back of her legs, tarrying around her thighs. “Please?”
A nervous smile crept in slowly. “You make it very hard for me to forbid you of anything.”
Dægan’s reaction to those words nearly sent her heart to slam out of beat as his eyes befit well the scoundrel smile he flashed in response. Before she could even think to change her mind, he dunked the soap into the bucket and lifted her foot to his knee, rubbing her calf and shins with the bubbly lather. After cleaning her entire right leg, he wasted no time in doing the left, and then stood to lather her stomach, breasts and arms, taking great care to be gentle.
And overly thorough.
Nervously, Mara lifted her chin as he crept up her neck and around her shoulders, finding it amazingly difficult to look him in the eye, for having a man actually cleaning and caressing every part of her body without a cause for shame was more than she expected this night. Every sweep and slippery stroke of his hands coerced a desire low in her stomach, an aching that consumed her every thought. She closed her eyes, following the enjoyable play of his hands as he left no part of her untouched.
All too soon, she found him pressed against her soapy body, whisking her near-orgasmic daydream away with one wolfish smile.
“My turn.”
Mara couldn’t breathe, but the lack of oxygen hardly inhibited her mind from inventing an excuse. “Have you not already had your bath this evening?”
“Not by the pleasure of your hands.”
Dægan gathered them, along with the soap, and placed them on his chest. “Come now, love. Touch me.”
Eventually, without his coercion, she stroked her thumbs across his nipples, feeling their unexpected tautness, and then back again, creating the start of satisfaction on his face. Mara simpered as well, liking the freedom to touch him wherever she so dared, and the liberty of enjoying every wicked moment of it.
She circled her hands around his chest, slowly at first, taking in every dip and bulge of his torso from navel to neck, then uninhibitedly around his shoulders and arms. Her curious exploration turned into a sensuous display of greed, and, quite honestly, she adored the feel of him.
His skin was smooth, stretched taut against his bulging muscles, and had it not been for the soap that lathered him, she dared to taste it beneath her tongue.
Uninhibitedly, she caressed the flat of his stomach, feeling him tighten with anticipation as she dipped further below his waist, and gripped his erection. She felt him shudder like he was a newly taken adolescent boy.
Mara fancied the sound of his uncontainable groan. Its low and deep hum pulled at the very tiny threads of her unraveling restraint. She liked the feel of him in her hands, the slippery hardness of his body that seemed to change and thrive with every movement of her fist. She watched his breath catch and his eyes close. He was submissive to her every command and yet wildly savage in his naked form.
Suddenly, he slipped from her clenched hand, dropped to pick up a bucket of clean water, and dumped it on the both of them.
Mara gasped at the sudden shock of cool water running down her back, making fast to scream, but as soon as she was able to catch her breath, another bucket descended upon her, washing the last of the lather from their bodies.
Dægan took her in a swift embrace, finding her mouth again, as it was already open, ready to complain. He claimed her lips, taking whatever sounds she had released in surprise, and then her breasts. He brushed his tongue over a hardened nipple with so much fervor that she, herself, felt the very passion upon which his chained desire aggressively tugged.
She was addicted to his touch, his moods of fire and ice, the unpredictable shift of tenderness and greed. She wanted more. So much more, and was not afraid to tell him. She begged him, and he seemed to nearly come out of his skin with excitement.
Dægan carried her to the bench and sat her on his lap. He slid his hand down her stomach and between her legs, gently spreading his fingers within her warmth. He found her to be suitably ready for him, yet she was not prepared for the unexpected finger that entered her.
* * * * *
Wasn’t that Lovely? I feel clean and fresh as an Irish spring. Thank you Renee!
Click on Raeliksen’s book cover to visit Renee’s website.

Turquoise Morning Press (print and ebook formats):

Under the Weather

Today I'm a little under the weather. I woke up with an upset stomach. I'm a big baby when it comes to being queasy. I'd rather get sick and be over with it, not linger with nausea all day long.

To make matters worse I'm knee deep in final edits for Adrift, which had a release date change: from Nov 9th to Sept 14th. Needless to say I have to get these done and back to my editor.

Add to the fact I'm not doing much writing either. I'm making slow progress getting back in the swing of things.

Sorry this is short, but I'm just craving my bed.

I'm also blogging out one of my obsessions over at A Pinch of Romance. Drop by and tell me about yours.

Til next Tuesday!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Nat'l Punctuation Day (. ! ? ", etc.)

Yeah, well, it was yesterday but that doesn't mean we can't talk about it today! do you celebrate "National Punctuation Day"? By trying to use them correctly in anything you write!

Here are the facts about some forms of punctuation (not all forms of punctuations/facts are listed as it would make this blog WAY too long).

1. Use at the end of a sentence that makes a statement.
2. Use a period with abbreviations.

1. Use at the end of a direct question.

1. Use at the end of an emphatic declaration or command.

1. Use before a list or an explanation that is preceded by a clause that can stand by itself.
2. Use to separate an independent clause from a quotation.
3. Use after a salutation in a business letter.
4. Use when designating the speaker within a play or in court testimony.

1. Use to help sort out a large list.
2. Use to separate closely related independent clauses.

1. Use when creating compound words, particularly modifiers before nouns.
2. Use when writing numbers twenty-one to ninety-nine and fractions.
3. Use when creating compounds.
4. Use when adding certain prefixes to words (lots of rules here).

1. The en dash is used to join compound modifiers made up of elements that are themselves either open compounds (frequently two-word proper nouns) or already hyphenated compounds. Use to mark the space between dates in a chronological range.
2. The em dash is used to set off concluding lists and explanations in a more informal and abrupt manner than the colon. Use the em dash for most purposes.

1. Use to include material that you want to de-emphasize when you're quoting material and you want to omit some words.
2. Use to indicate a pause in the flow of a sentence and is especially useful in quoted speech.

1. Use to create possessive forms, contractions, and some plurals.
2. Use to show where a letter or letters have been left out of a contracted verb.

1. Use to set off material that represents quoted or spoken language.
2. Use single quotation marks to enclose quoted material (or the titles of poems, stories, articles) within other quoted material.

1. Use to separate the elements in a series.
2. Use a comma + a little conjunction (and, but, for, nor, yet, or, so) to connect two independent clauses.
3. Use to set off quoted elements.
4. Use to set off phrases that express contrast.

1. Use to indicate a choice between the words it separates.

Need more information? Check:
This is a great reference site!
Now, go write right!

Photos: Flickr: Adam807, Horia Varian, Marcin Wichary, and Derrick Coetzee's photostreams.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Out of Her Dreams is now in PRINT...

Now available in PRINT!

Out of Her Dreams

Fran Lee

Ellora's Cave Publishing

My second novel in print. First came the Carnal Reunions Anthology from Resplendence publishing (with my First and Ten novella). Now, just in time for Romanticon, comes Out of Her Dreams.

I'll tell you, I have sent out signed cover flats before, but the thrill of actually holding and signing your very own real paper and ink book is a shock to the system. Now...if anyone buys one, and you happen to be anywhere near Salt Lake City UT, or are coming to Romanticon in October, I will be thrilled to sign your copy! Hint. Beg. Whimper. Sigh.

In fact, the price of this trade paperback book on Amazon will be pretty high. It costs about $3.00 less to buy direct from Ellora's Cave website. I will be arranging a couple of book signings in a store somewhere in the Salt Lake City area shortly. I will release that information when I have it.

In the meantime, my new release contest is still running on Woman on Fire. If you didn't get my newsletter giving the specifics, you can find the newsletter as well as rules for the contest on my website:

Fran Lee

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'm as bad as Tessie!

Last minute post before I head out of town. I won't be back next week...sorry! I'll miss you!

Anytime Darlin' is available for pre-sale on the Siren site:

The official release date is August 26th, but I won't be here.

Okay...gtg! julia

Speed Post

It all of a sudden dawned on me I hadn't written a blog - oops - and the following will barely count!
Things around my house are crazy as we prepare to take my daughter off to start her senior year in college. Shouldn't we be pros at this by now? Oh, well.
Thanks, Kat, for posting the excerpt from Treasurie Evie!
Everyone have a great week!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

An Excerpt from "Treasuring Evie"

Boasting comes first. It’s been another great week for book reviews. Judith at Book Binge gave “Owned By Rome” a beautifully written in depth review that left me feeling grateful I wrote the book. 
I finally turned in my Christmas WIP Saturday night and immediately started a new WIP that’s really going to be fun and I can’t wait to talk about it because it’s not just about me…
I also have a treat here’s an excerpt from Tessie Bradford’s latest book “Treasuring Evie” Enjoy!
Evie slowly treaded water as she watched the last streaks of sunlight dip below the horizon. The still water was incredibly soothing to her tired muscles and frazzled nerves. Her home on the lake was her personal slice of heaven and she had worked hard to earn it. Thirteen years of slaving in a boring office during the day and painting long into the nights while saving every dime possible had finally paid off when she bought Northern Treasures and joyfully left the rat race behind. Of course, there had been a cost associated with her single-minded purpose and that had been her marriage. Bob had waited nine years before demonstrating he didn’t share her vision by up and leaving with his personal assistant when Evie’s goal had been within arm’s reach. But that was a long time ago and she loved her life now.

She dove down beneath the dark surface of the lake and swam until she had no more breath in her lungs. Evie didn’t believe in regrets and rehashing old mistakes, so what was her problem tonight? The vision of Matt Carstead in all of his goodness filled her mind. Why couldn’t she get him out of her head? It wasn’t as if she hadn’t seen a guy like him before; the movies were full of them. But it was so much more than his looks. He wore strength and confidence like a second skin. And never in her life had anyone reacted to her art the way he had. Did one painting truly say so much about her?

Evie came up for air and was shocked to see that she was firmly surrounded by night. The moon provided little illumination through the clouds. How had she gotten so wrapped up in her thoughts? She was now alone, in the water, in the dark. Calling herself every kind of idiot, she quickly swam until the water was shallow enough for her to stand and walk the short distance over to her dock. She grabbed the towel she had left at the ready and started rubbing the water from her hair as she moved out of the lake.

A strange feeling of anticipation and something else she couldn’t identify prickled along her nerve endings, causing her to stop mid-rub, to squint through the darkness. She froze in place at the discovery of a large, hidden-in-shadows figure sitting in one of her lawn chairs. Despite the massive adrenaline rush brought on by stark terror, Evie had the good sense to cover her naked body.


Matt sat in a lawn chair by the fire pit, scanning the surface of the lake, waiting for Evelyn to come up for air. The full moon peeked out around the gathering clouds enough for him to see her when her head bobbed above the water, but he became wary when she kept disappearing underneath. Didn’t she know better than to swim alone at night? They were going to discuss this very serious lack of good judgment after he finished making love to her until she screamed his name.

He had been catching glimpses of her around town since his arrival three weeks ago and each time he saw her, he hardened like a teenager. With her wavy auburn hair and luscious womanly curves, she was his fantasy woman in the flesh. She moved with a natural sexy sway to her hips and always seemed to be smiling.

It had to have been divine intervention when she pulled up next to him at that traffic light. With practiced ease he had followed her until she parked at Northern Treasures. One cup of coffee and a casual chat with the friendly waitress and the elderly woman seated at the counter at the diner down the street had garnered him the information he’d hoped for and more. Evelyn had owned the business for six years and was extremely well-liked around town. She was a successful artist who supported other artists and crafts people in the area. When the waitress went on to explain how Evie was divorced and lived alone on Miller Lake, he’d not been happy. He understood life was fundamentally different in a small town, but criminals and perverts weren’t exclusively city dwellers. He’d tactfully stopped the woman from revealing anything more, left a large tip and headed straight to the store.

The moonlight watercolor in the front window had instantly drawn his attention, and his gut told him Evelyn Ashlyn was the creator of the work. Watching her reactions as he discussed the piece confirmed her as the painter, but why she hadn’t admitted to it was a bit of a mystery. What was crystal clear, however, was how there was something about this naturally beautiful, artistic, breath-of-fresh-air woman that intrigued him beyond belief and he had no intention of fighting the fact that fate had thrown them together.

“Christ almighty,” Matt groaned when Evie stood up out of the water. Mercifully, the clouds broke in front of the moon just in time for him to follow every rise and fall of her breasts as she dried her hair. His pulse pounded in his cock at the sight of her gloriously nude body and his mind raced with every decadent thing he planned to do with her. The moment her actions signaled the fact she knew he was there, he stood and walked slowly down the yard toward her.
Tessie Bradford’s “Treasuring Evie” is available now from Ellora’s Cave Quickies!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dante's Desire

Today is new release day for ME! I love this cover. LOL I wrote this book after hearing song lyrics. These are the words that became Dante's Desire: "I Get On You, Getting Off On Me." The song is by Halestrom and I must say I enjoyed writing this quickie.

Below find the blurb and new excerpt. Oh and it's X-Rated!

Available from Ellora's Cave.

Masturbating can be so much fun—especially when you have a one-man audience. Addison loves sex. More importantly, she loves her body and isn’t afraid to make it sing. Add a little voyeurism and it’s totally erotic.

Dante’s muse has stalled—until his sexy neighbor starts seducing him. Through her bedroom window, he watches as her hands caress her tantalizing skin. It’s like something out of a strip club, with his very own personal view. Thanks to this beauty, he’s drawing like wildfire. To thank Addison, Dante sends her an invitation for a single night together. That night may encourages them to draw a new future…together.


Dante sketched feverishly as she slid the vibrator in and out of her drenched pussy. She was the perfect muse. She was beautiful. He longed to run his fingers through her rich brown hair and kiss those creamy breasts. His cock throbbed against his boxers. It pained him, but he had to continue. He wanted to finish this drawing tonight. He was only one drawing away from completing the required amount his agent demanded for a showing.
If it weren’t for this beauty there wouldn’t be a gallery show. She’d given him the strength to move on during a dry spell. His mind was no longer blocked. His creative juices were flowing as long as she was performing. He feared if she stopped he’d fall back into a rut.
This art show meant the world to him. It meant getting his sketches out in front of buyers. It meant finally getting recognition for his hard work. His agent would be happy with him. When all was said and done he’d have to properly thank his little muse.
He glanced back to her show and realized she was close to climaxing. He’d seen that look so many times. It should be embossed in his mind, but it wasn’t. He picked up the camera and clicked away. He needed something to remind him of this moment. He had to finish and he couldn’t wait until she returned from work another day. Besides, what if she was tired tomorrow? No, as much as he knew snapping pictures of her was wrong, he needed them to finish his masterpiece. When this was over he’d send her the pictures.
He smiled.
“You’re gorgeous,” he whispered to the empty room.
Placing the camera down, he picked up his pencil again and went back to putting the finishing touches on her face. He wanted to capture the look of sweet surrender as she fell in to the most glorifying orgasm.
As he captured the essence of her orgasm he knew he’d need release. His balls ached and his cock pulsed begging for relief. His relief would be that much sweeter, having waiting so long.
He placed the pencil on the easel tray and stepped back to admire his creation.
“Fucking fantastic.”
He glanced over to her apartment. She was gone. She was likely showering and settling in for the night, which was okay. Her work was done for today. He still couldn’t believe his luck the first time he spotted her.
He’d been standing on his balcony enjoying a warm summer night and an ice-cold beer. The sky had turned a midnight blue. The stars were plentiful. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
Dante remembered leaning against the steel railing and glancing around the neighborhood. He wasn’t expecting to find her standing there in the light of her bedroom. He never imagined as she gazed up at him that she would continue undressing. He’d expected her to flip him off and pull the drapes closed, but she hadn’t. Instead she smiled and removed all her clothes.
His beer nearly fell from his hand as he realized what she was doing. Never in his life had a woman undressed for him. Most women he dated were afraid of their sexuality. They wanted to have sex with the lights off, so he couldn’t see them naked.
Dante loved their bodies. Women were his inspiration. Maybe that’s what they feared with him. Maybe they were afraid of ending up on a canvas if they allowed him to fully drink in their beauty.
His neighbor had. She wasn’t afraid of him seeing every inch of her body. In fact there was no doubt she enjoyed putting on a show for him. What started out as a simple strip show turned into a full-fledged seduction over the last few weeks. She was gorgeous and sexy. He wanted to possess her. He longed to touch every inch of her precious skin. He wanted to claim her. Possess her.
The one downfall was she had no idea her body was displayed on many different canvases. She would know though. He wouldn’t keep that piece of information from her. Before he told her, he wanted to thank her properly for being a great inspiration. Once he’d properly thanked her he would show her the pieces of art he had grown to cherish.
Yes, it was time to meet his neighbor.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hero & Heroine: "Let's Just Be Friends"?

 "Let's just be friends."

Good Lord. Those four words can send you into a tailspin, crushing your world and causing you to crash land while your heart breaks. It signifies the other person doesn't feel the same "need, want, desire" for you as you do for him or her.

Relationships are so stressing, especially if one person is more committed to it than the other. If one seeks "more" than the other is willing to give, the "just friends" words will end whatever hope for a future the dreamer has.

Sometimes romance books have the hero and heroine begin as friends...and sometimes they're not exactly enemies but end up on opposite sides of arguments. The ones that are friends, seem to fight the attraction pulling them closer together, as if they need to avoid that giant step to a more committed relationship.

When I met my then 24-year-old husband-to-be, he had a 6-year plan of what he would do, where he would be, and told me he wouldn't get married until he was 30. I said, "Fine." I figured we'd date...but I'd already made up my mind he was "the one" for me.

Being "just friends" didn't work out as he'd planned. Five months later, we got married and will celebrate our 40th anniversary this year.

In 4 of my books ("Second Sight Dating" and "Anything You Can Do" by Marianne Stephens, and "Sexy Games" and "Strip Poker for Two" by April Ash) the hero and heroine start out as friends/business associates. Both agree to keep it that way, although neither can resist the other's charm and allure. Passion takes over, lust enters their worlds, and love makes them more than "just friends".

When it's meant to happen, the hero and heroine are fated to fall in love. They can still "be friends", but on a much more interesting and sexy level!

Photos: Flickr: Tiago Riberio, Juliana Continho, and bobafred's photostreams.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

WHENEVER WE MEET--how did you meet your significant other?

How did you meet your significant other? Or did you meet in odd circumstances?
Mine, I met through a mutual friend in grad school, who for ONE solid YEAR said, "you must meet this guy! He's fab! So you!" And the guy? Kept saying as I did, "Ah, no. Not my type."
Here we are. Many decades later!
Definitely my type.
This cover?
About two people who meet and know immediately they have a thing going on. He's a hotel magnate. She's his interior designer for a new chain of hotels. The setting is romantic Guadalajara Mexico and inland to the mountains which are breath-taking.
Can we go now???
This book? Out Friday, August 20 over at EC.
Ciao, bella.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Got my panties in a wad here...

I have certainly overextended my resources...

I have taxed my reserve energies to the max. I feel sorta like I am being pulled backward through a picket fence, and my brain is all tangled up in it's underwear. I think that's why I have been sick for the past few days. It's my body's way of telling me to take a step back and regroup.

So to those who are relying on me to jump in and start swimming, please wait for me to get on my water wings. I just might drown if I don't. :P

I have made several important commitments and am also trying desperately to get a wip to my editor...and frankly, I am drawing a blank.

But I will be back in the saddle, with my bootstraps pulled up and my fanny in gear and all those trite cliche euphemisms for getting my head out of my butt and moving forward. Sigh.

Thanks for your collective patience...


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Daughters of Persephone - First Review

From Happily Ever After - 4 Teacups

LynnMarie’s Review

I’ve read other books by Julia Barrett, so I was eager to start Daughters of Persephone. I commend Ms. Barrett for the time and devotion in creating a realistic sci-fi world with its own terms and rules. You are pulled into the realism of a new world and kept there by the larger than life characters.

In book one, we meet Aja and Kyr. Their romance is sweet and humorous, both knowing they’d found their mate from their first encounter. Aja is a daughter of The Blood, a race of women developed long ago on Earth and since descended from Persephone. They have unique abilities and can defeat a male with their eyes closed. Kyr is captain and responsible for Aja’s safe delivery in a time of political unrest.

In book two, Aja’s sister, Ennat, and Kyr’s brother, Karna are the focus. Ennat has the same mahogany hair and grey eyes of her sister, but she’s stronger, ready to fight and kill whenever necessary. Her relationship with Karna is sexy and playful. They challenge each other, but can’t deny their desire. Once they take the step to join their blood, their fate is sealed, joining them together forever.

There is a lot of politics in this book which can be a bit heavy at times. However, the dialogue, humor and developing romances keep the reader’s interest. The entire book was consistent and followed the rules created by the author early on in the book. The two Daughters of Persephone are ready to take on their evil father in hopes to bring peace and stability to the world. We learn a little of a third sister, but only meet her briefly. Each woman would easily give up their lives for their cause, or for their mates.

If you enjoy a complex and engaging sci-fi read with kick-ass heroines and steamy romance, escape into Julia Barrett’s new world in Daughters of Persephone.

Treasuring Evie

Treasuring Evie released yesterday at Ellora’s Cave!

I wrote a version of the first chapter of this story years ago, on paper with a pencil! I tried it again last year, on the computer this time, in between writing Ageless Desires and Oasis of Pleasure and it wouldn’t flow, so I saved it and moved on. A few months ago, I had a vivid dream about Matt and the scene at the lake – you’ll have to read the book for clarification – and I had no trouble writing Treasuring Evie! He’s actually a guy from my past that I’d completely forgotten about.

When I was growing up, my family spent a month each summer at various cottages in different parts of northern Michigan. Sometimes we were in more touristy areas, other times we were way up in the Upper Peninsula, cut off from modern civilization. One of the summers when I was in high school, I think it was the one between my sophomore and junior year (but that’s not critical to this story except to place me firmly in teenage angst/hormonal-ville) we were secluded in the U.P. My older brother and I are less than a year apart in age and have always been very close. We were both miserable being away from our friends, a telephone, a TV, a stereo and having way too much time with our parents and bratty little brother. Mom and Dad were more than happy to hand over the car keys and let us go off on our own.

Just like Evie, I saw “Matt” for the first time stopped next to us at a stoplight. He smiled and winked at me. I saw him coming out of a store one time, another time I remember him leaning against a pole across the street from the laundry mat and he tilted his head in recognition of me and smiled a killer grin. It got to a point where I saw him every time we were in town. He was hotty hotness and I spent hours daydreaming about him.

The night before we were going home, we went to this huge party. There were a ton of kids there, it was way deep in the woods, giant bon fire, radios blasting, lots of beer, (yes I know we were under age but what can I say, I’m trying to keep it real). One moment I was chatting with a bunch of girls, the next, I thought I was going to faint when I saw “Matt”, leaning casually against the side of his car, all shirtless, tight, worn blue jeans, barefoot guy! He motioned for me to come over. I stood rooted to the spot, heart racing, fighting an internal battle for courage. I had taken a couple steps in his direction when my brother came over and said we were leaving, now. His tone left no room for argument.

I found out later that “Matt” had pointed me out to the group of guys my brother was with and had articulated his plans of seduction! My brother lectured me the whole way back to the cottage about the evils of older men – he’d found out “Matt” was 20. My fantasies became even hotter knowing this guy actually lusted after my person!

Treasuring Evie is NOT about teenagers but was inspired by my memories of the intensity of those emotions and fantasies.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Tossed Summer Salad of News!

Today’s blog is a summer tossed salad of news.
I want to mention and thank Romancereader at
“Seriously Reviewed” for taking “Owned By Rome”
seriously and giving it a wonderful review.
Review: “Owned by Rome is an epic tale of lust, love
betrayal, and forgiveness. There were so many facets of the story,
 that as it unfolded, I forgot that I was supposed to be reading
 a romance and simply enjoyed the historical detail. The author
 does such a brilliant job of weaving fact, fiction and hypothesis,
that I was swept into the story and believed every word I read.
Some of the things I loved most about the story were also
aspects that some readers might not enjoy as much as I did.
The romance is often overshadowed by the historical details.
But the historical details are interesting.
The first third of the book reveals most about Atellus.
There is a lot of telling of events that had already occurred.
There was a build up of a certain aspect of the story that
wasn’t at all what I expected to happen. So lots of twists and
turns in the plot. The history of Atellus was also interesting,
but Owned By Rome at times, read more like literature and
was harder to lose myself in the story. There is an abundant
use of Latin in the story, but the use is not confusing
because Ms. Leon weaves words with clarity and context.
Once the story really picks up, after Rutila is introduced,
the romance of the story is bittersweet. They are both damaged
souls and need each other. But the wounds inflicted during
turbulent times fester in Rutila. Atellus is gentle and patient,
but also has darker needs. Rutila must forgive herself for
living before she can open herself to accept Atellus’ love.
And Atellus has to free the one woman who fires his soul.
She won’t be owned by a Roman. But if he lets her go,
he may never have her again.
Reading Owned by Rome will take you on an emotional
journey and in the end you’ll be glad you read the story.”
(Thank you!)
I also want to congratulate Tessie Bradford
on the release of her latest erotic romance
“Treasuring Evie” Here’s the blurb:
“So let’s recap. You screwed like bunnies in the yard and
then went inside to make omelets and get to know each other?”

Evelyn Ashlyn is living a life she’s struggled hard
to achieve. Her business is thriving, as is her career as an artist.
Success, however, always comes with a price. For Evie,
the price is her personal life—and sex life. She’s not had
any for two years. Dalliances with the summer tourists are
against her code of ethics and the few bachelors in her small
town are single for a reason.
Matt Carstead, recently retired Detroit police officer, thought
his dream come true was to move up north and spend his
days woodworking, fishing and relaxing. That was until he
met Evie, his fantasy woman come to life. Especially when he
discovers his new neighbor swims in the nude—and has a
mouth like heaven on earth.
Neither of them ever imagined what was about to happen.

      Tessie Bradford’s “Treasuring Evie” is available
now from Ellora’s Cave Quickies.
(Nude swimming? It sure sounds like fun!)
I finally finished my Christmas WIP and can take a
short rest from Christmas until the real Christmas
decorations start showing in stores in mid-September…
This week also marked Amber and I taking the
first step toward getting an interesting Ellora’s Cave
group project off the ground. I can’t wait to have something
solid to report on that front and hopefully we will soon.
Last but most important our sister scribe and blog
“Hunkifier” supreme Marianne Stephens aka April Ash is
 leaving us and hopefully will get a little rest and a moment to
herself to write more wonderful books. Thank you Marianne
for your generous, hard work and your sweet sense of humor.
You were the great informer. Without Marianne, how will
we know when National–hug-a-hunk day comes around?
Hunks might go unhugged! What a tragedy that would be…lol

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone

The other day I was preparing a blog for a guest appearance spot over at Nine Naughty Novelists. I was writing about adding real life to your stories. It got me thinking of the old adage, write what you know.I’ll admit I’ve written many stories based off of things I know.

Body Shots has a hero who is a singer. Music is my first love. Back in high school thru my early twenties I dated musicians. I know more about drums than I possibly need to. I’ve spent summer nights just attending concerts. When I was growing up in Upstate New York, every teen spent the summer at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. This was where all the good concerts took place. In 2003 when I was sowing my royal oats (I was celebrating my freedom from my ex), my best friend and I traveled all over to see concerts. In fact once at 5pm on a Saturday night we drove from Albany NY to the Comcast Center in MA (it was the Tweeter Center back then) to see Disturbed and Korn. A three hour drive one way AND we drove back home after the concert. Okay, so we were a little crazy what can I say.

Splashing Good Time the hero owns his own pool company. I’ve been in the business in the past and again in my present, someone close to me owns a few pool stores.

Gettin’ Lucky my heroine owns her own grocery store. My ex-husband and I owned a corner grocery store for almost ten years. And like Marcy, my heroine, the store was in a poor section of town.

Another story that will be published under my real name is about a woman’s journey to motherhood. She’s not taking the conventional way. After finding herself single, because her ex-fiancé doesn’t want children, Hailey decides to take out an ad for a sperm donor.

Granted I’ve never taken out an ad, but I’ve journeyed through the fertility process – more times than I’d like to admit. So I can add those little details to my story that make it that much more believable. Obviously my heroine will get a HEA, but the bottom line is I KNOW fertility.

But should we always write what we know? I say NO. Eventually you’ll come to a point where you want to diversify and move in a new direction. To do this you’ll have to learn something new and experiment. That’s what I plan to do.

I’m embarking on a new chapter or journey in my writing career. I’m taking on a subject and genre that is relatively foreign to me. But guess what? I’m excited about it. I may stumble along the way and I may suck at it, but I won’t know unless I try.

I’ll be honest – I’m scared witless. But that’s the thrill. That’s how I know it’s the right time to do it.

I’ve become too comfortable in my writing. I haven’t challenged myself in a very long time. A friend has thrown down the gauntlet and I’ve accepted the challenge!

Do you only write what you know? If not, how do you step out of your comfort zone?

PS...If you get a chance please stop by Nine Naughty Novelists. I could use some support! Thanks.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Can Heroes Play the Accordion/Tuba/do the Polka?

Can your hero play chess? Knit? Do the polka?

While all are worthwhile things to do...and I don't want to slight any man who does them!...I think these hobbies can't stand alone as a masculine lure but can add to a hero's macho facade and alpha male persona in romance books to gain a reader's attention.

In a book I'm writing/editing now, the hero finds out the heroine has asked a mutual friend about him in an effort to "catch" him by showing interest in his hobbies. Deciding to "turn the table" on her, he has the friend feed her misinformation. Two of his favorite things? Playing the accordion and dancing the polka.

In my published book "Strip Poker for Two" by April Ash, hero Jason actually has played the tuba while in the angst years of teen crushes. He tried serenading the girl of his dreams, heroine Allison. His tuba playing expertise and stories are inserted in their story, and he gets one last embarrassing chance to play for a room full of guests...including the heroine.

Do these hobbies make the heroes any less desirable? Hell, no. In my WIP, the heroine does her best to keep a smile on her face as the hero talks about his love of polka dancing and accordion music, although she finds an excuse not to join him. She does, however, try to act interested as she seeks his undivided attention.

In "Strip Poker for Two", Allison realizes she'd been embarrassed by Jason's school-years attention, and the tuba serenades just made him more undesirable at the time. Memories of Jason's playing music just for her make him more endearing as their relationship heats up and the tuba songs don't seem quite so embarrassing.

Can your heroes have these hobbies and still have you craving their passionate embraces?

Photos: Flickr: Sandy Kemsley, Michel Banabila, and Carsten Knoch photostreams.