Tuesday, February 25, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Pearl On Cherry by Chanse Lowell


 Clarissa Stone never thought she had a chance to make it on stage, but a strike in 1907 at the music hall in New York City opens up a door, and she races to it. The path isn't easy, and especially not after catching the eye of William Berling Ferrismore III. Money and power have gone to his head, and he uses that to his advantage, sating his sexual appetite with the women on stage. Clarissa won't be caught so easy, but William doesn't play by the rules. How can she prove her worth as an actress with his defaming ways?

R.E. Hargrave's Review:
* * * *
I’m in an odd place as to where to begin with this review. Up front, I want it clear that this piece is well-written, the errors few and far between. Because of the author’s attention to this, and the unfortunate lack of proper-editing in the recent world of publishing, I want to firewall my rating; but I can’t. There was something about the story that just didn’t pull me in and keep me there; it took me about a month to read. You can tell Lowell did her homework, which is another huge point in her favor. However, this may be where my hesitancy comes from. There is almost too much going on the story, as weird as that sounds.

Pearl On Cherry takes place during 1907, and more specifically, is built around the Knickerbocker Crisis. For the most part, Lowell does an excellent job in keeping the reader’s mind in the time period, but there were areas where the text became more modern, and I, for one, was yanked out of the story. 

The hero is a wealthy rake, a railway heir, with his hands in the theatre and a side-project of designing naughty lingerie. William Ferrismore has dark desires that he doesn’t understand. Until he meets his ‘cherry girl,’ Will is always left feeling remorseful when he tries to act upon them. He also holds some dark secret from his past which is revealed later in the book.

Clarissa Stone is a fiercely independent woman with aspirations of performing, her special talent being a singing voice unequaled to the actresses of the day. The catch is that she belongs to the wrong social class. When she first catches William’s eye, she is the stage hand of his current mistress. What follows is a tumultuous union of two people from separate social classes, brought together by their singular need and understanding of what lies in the deep recesses of a person’s psyche, theirs in particular. 

Above all, the reader needs to remember this a BDSM erotica story so that you aren’t caught off guard at the . . . nature, of the sex. As a fellow BDSM writer, I tip my hat to Lowell for writing beautifully detailed scenes that are sexy in addition to being educational.

Clary did get on my nerves after awhile with how manipulative she can be; the girl does not like it when she doesn’t get her way. However, in balance, William who is typically strong and demanding, has plenty of ‘whiny’ moments that just don’t seem to fit his overall character. As a couple, these two were strongest during the intimate “scenes.” 

Returning to my worries that there is too much happening in the book, I felt there were numerous characters and subplots to keep track of. If you don’t, you might reach the ending not understanding everything that transpired. (My head is busy enough tracking my own storylines! I will be the first to admit that this makes the ‘too much plot’ issue mine, and possibly mine alone.) 

What I can conclude with, is that Pearl On Cherry deserves to be read and judged on an individual basis. Especially if you like historical romances. It is quite clear that the author put time, care, and pride into creating it. 

*I was provided with an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.*


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New Release from R.E. Hargrave: Unchained Melody, a novella


Summary
Marshall Chandler is a true American who grew up wanting nothing more than to serve his country to the best of his ability, by becoming a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force. On the eve of his first assignment, he meets the woman that will haunt his dreams and change his life.

A single night to connect, but a decade to realize it . . . when one man is torn between the love of his country and what might have been the love of his life, how does he stay sane? How does he cope? And will he ever get a second chance at love?

Sometimes fate works in mysterious ways.

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

Teaser





Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tantalizing Tuesday Thoughts: Writing Same-sex Vs. Different-sex Pairings

As part of my A Divine Life (Edition 1) Blog Tour (8/8/13 http://bit.ly/1gmnLZy ), I was asked to write the following as a guest post, and thought it was worth sharing again:


Writing f/f v m/f v m/m . . . Which one is your favorite? Do you think writing each one brings you to a different place? 

Wow, what a great question. I had to spend some time thinking on this one, to be honest. In doing so, several thoughts occurred to me.

Am I really “qualified” to answer this question when my own dabbling in the slash and femmeslash genres has been limited at best? While I've written each pairing separately, and in a variety of configurations such as m/m/f or f/f/m, my works have been predominantly heterosexual. It’s what I live; i.e. I know it best.

But does that mean it’s my favorite? Not necessarily. Does a mother have a favorite child? They might all be similar because of genetics, but each one is precious and unique and you can’t choose one over the other. You love them for who they are inside.

I ventured into writing male/male first with a couple of one shots, and then a collaboration effort for a full length story. It wasn't too long before I gave the female/female pairing a try. Granted, these stories were written as fan fictions. The Divine Trilogy is the first “official” project I've done that includes not only hetero relationships, but gay and lesbian ones as well.

Guess what I discovered by trying my hand at the different pairings? It really is so basic, you’ll laugh.

For me, once I factored out the physical components of what goes where, I was left with a single truth. The intimacy of the act, the earth-shattering connections, the tender moments — even the hot, sizzling ones — are all the same regardless of the gender. At the end of the day, there is kissing, hugging, and probably holes being filled. Who cares if it’s two guys, two girls, or one (or more) of each?

It boils down to you can’t choose who or what makes you happy. A solid relationship is based not on the exterior parts of the body, but on the connection at the mental level and in the heart. In my writing, it’s not the physical bond between characters, but the emotional ones where the story comes to life.

Love equally — simple as.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sneak Peek Sunday


Sneak Peek Sunday Banner

Just in time for Valentine's Day - a sneak peek at FIVE short stories to be released on February 14th!

Previously published in the Romantic Interludes anthology, these love stories will be available for the first time as stand-alone shorts - for just $.99 on Amazon!

The Golden Arrow and the Butterfly by Lissa Bryan


SUMMARY:
Eros is the god of love, but he has never experienced the emotion himself—despite his inexplicable fascination with a beautiful young mortal woman, Psyche. When one of his golden arrows strikes Psyche instead of its intended target, he whisks her away to Olympus, to save her from the fate of falling in love with the next man she sees. Psyche is terrified when she wakes blindfolded, in a strange realm, in the company of an oddly compelling man who claims to be a Greek god. What happens when the blindfold finally comes off?

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Excerpt:

“What I have told you is the truth,” he said finally. “I am Eros, and you are on Mount Olympus.”

“But that’s only a myth!” Psyche protested.

“Apparently not.” Eros sounded amused.

“Go on. Tell me the rest of it, why I’m here.”

“Your friend was fated to fall in love with a man she met at the mall. But I missed when I fired my arrow at her and it hit you instead.”

Psyche blinked. “Does that … um … happen often?”

“No. It’s the first time I’ve ever missed.” She heard frustration sharpen the puzzled note in his voice.

“What does that have to do with why I’m here?”

“Because you were hit by the arrow, you would fall in love with the next man you saw, no matter who he was.”

So, that explains the blindfold, she thought.

“I couldn’t let that happen to you. I’m trying to find a way to undo the enchantment.”

“Have you found anything?”

“Not yet. I’ve sent a message to my mother. If anyone will know, she will.”

Psyche tried to remember. “Who is your mother?”

“Aphrodite. My father is Ares.”

It was Psyche’s turn to be amused. “Love and War?”

“On occasion, they can be somewhat similar,” Eros said and Psyche laughed softly. It startled her because it was the first time she’d laughed since she was kidnapped.



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Add it to your Goodreads shelf here:
The Golden Arrow and the Butterfly


Buy directly from the publisher, or from Amazon on the 14th.


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Justin's Second Cover
Justin's Second Chance by Sandi Layne

SUMMARY:
Ten years ago, April Peterson asked her long-time crush and pen pal Lance Corporal Justin Clark for a date. Just a day spent alone together. Though he cared for her more than he had ever let on, he was still in shock after his first military deployment to Afghanistan, and responded in perhaps the worst possible way: He ignored her.
When they meet again, April Peterson Sinclair is a widow with a young daughter. Gunnery Sergeant Justin Clark is hoping to win April's heart and asks for a second chance.
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Excerpt:
He didn’t know what it was, but something inside him threw caution to the winds. A coward dies a thousand deaths; a brave man dies but one. Was that how that quote went? She’d probably know, but he wasn’t going to ask her. “What I’d really like,” he began slowly, kneeling so that they were knee to knee and he could smell the slightly spicy scent of whatever it was she was wearing for perfume, “is something you asked of me once.”
He saw her jaw tighten, saw the muscles in her throat move as she swallowed. “What?”
“I’d like a day to spend with you. Just the two of us. We could share the long versions of our stories, maybe. I could give you a tour of D.C. Just one day.”
“Justin...” Her lips parted, her breath caught, and she studied his face. He grew nervous, wondering what she was seeing. He felt all kinds of vulnerable, more than he felt when he’d been deployed in places far away and quite dangerous. “I’m not ready.”
“Ready?”
“My husband died a year and a half ago, you know? And I, we moved out here for a fresh start. To get, to get away from...some things.” She slid his present to her back under the tree to rejoin the other gifts that waited patiently for tomorrow morning and the eager eyes of a little, red-haired girl. “I’m not ready to date yet, Justin, is what I’m trying to say.”
“All right. How about being ready for a friend?” He offered her his hand.
Slowly, she took it and he rose to his feet, pulling her up with him. “I could use a friend.”
“You have one.”

You can add this title to your Goodreads shelf today!

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A Piece of Cake
A Piece of Cake by T.M. Franklin

SUMMARY:
Emily Valentine is a matchmaker who doesn’t believe in love. Well, at least not the hearts and flowers, see-your-soulmate-across-a-crowded-room-and-the-world-stands-still kind of love. No, Emily is a pragmatist – a scientist – and she’s abandoned her family’s tradition of matchmaking based on instinct and uncanny intuition for a more scientific approach to pairing people up. Emily believes love is more about compatibility and common interests than anything mystical.
But a run-of-the-mill job turns her world on end when swoony cake designer Sam Cavanaugh pops up as a potential match for her newest client. The attraction she feels for him throws a wrench in her plans, but she’s not going to succumb without a fight.
Emily is nothing if not practical. And reasonable. But she’s about to learn that sometimes the best things in life…are neither.
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Excerpt:
“Want a bite?”
Emily jumped at the sound of Sam’s voice, relaxing a bit when she saw him holding out a cupcake in the palm of his hand. He rolled his eyes at her suspicious look.
“It’s just a cupcake,” he said, lifting it slightly to emphasize his words. “Well, I shouldn’t say just. It’s double-chocolate with salted caramel frosting, and it’s incredible, if I do say so myself.”
Emily smirked. “Mighty sure of yourself.”
“Definitely. At least when it comes to salted caramel frosting.” He grinned at her. “Go on, take it. I’m relatively certain one cupcake isn’t going to jeopardize your professional objectivity.”
“I don’t know. It’s hard to be impartial about chocolate.” Was she flirting?
Double chocolate.” Was he?
“Even more so.” She looked away from his crinkling eyes, and stepped back to put some distance between them. He set the cupcake on top of the case, his smile fallen slightly. With a mental eye roll, she reached for the cupcake, feeling more than a little ridiculous about making such a big deal over an innocent conversation.
“Thank you,” she said quietly, peeling back the paper. He watched her carefully as she took a small bite and licked a dab of frosting off her lips. She froze.
“Holy crap,” she mumbled through the cupcake. Sam’s face broke into a smile.
“Good?”
Instead of answering, she took a bigger bite. The cake itself was dark and rich, moist and not too sweet, a perfect counterpoint to the sinfully rich ganache filling and the smooth, velvety frosting. A drizzle of caramel boosted the flavor to eleven on a one-to-ten scale, and Emily closed her eyes as she swallowed, barely stifling a moan of appreciation.
She opened her eyes to find him watching her intently, his eyes focused on her lips.
“This is incredible,” she said, a little breathless.
His gaze snapped up to meet hers. “Thank you,” he rasped, the sound stirring something trembly within her.


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Add A Piece of Cake to your Goodreads Shelf here:
A Piece of Cake

Purchase it directly from TWCS Publishing House - or from Amazon on February 14th.

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Stupid Cupid
Stupid Cupid by Sydney Logan

SUMMARY:
Jada Morgan hates Valentine’s Day, which is ironic, considering she's a writer for a greeting card company. She meets Nathan Reynolds, one of the company’s new graphic artists, and they bond over their mutual hatred for all things Cupid while working on designs for this year’s marketing campaign. As they grow closer, Jada learns Nathan is a single father, and she quickly becomes attached to him and his little girl. When it’s time for the company’s holiday party, Jada assumes she and Nathan will attend together, not realizing he already has a date for the event. Has Stupid Cupid broken her heart once again? A heartfelt story about love, family, and second chances.
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Giveaway:
Enter for your chance to win a "Love to Read" T-shirt, Hershey's Flavored Lip Balm, and signed bookmarks from Sydney Logan!


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This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter, Hershey's, or Blogger. We hereby release all names listed of any liability. Winner(s) will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. Let me know if you have any questions or issues by contacting me: @SydneyALogan. - Good Luck!

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SUMMARY:
After a less than stellar ending to her seemingly perfect relationship, Christine decided to spend Valentine’s Day at the one place where her mind would stay good and occupied. The Emergency Room had a way making the day pass by quickly, yet when her former fling elects to change his schedule with another nurse, Christine finds herself in a situation she can’t avoid. Can she finally set aside her fears and take a leap of faith? Or will her assumptions about Mitch prove her to be unlucky in love?
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Add it to your Goodreads Shelf HERE
Available February 14th on Amazon and TWCS Publishing House.
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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tantalizing Tuesday Thoughts: Why erotica?

Why Erotica?



Perhaps we should begin with: “What is erotica?” According to Wikipedia:

            Erotica(from theGreekἔρως,eros"desire") can describe any collectible object that deals substantively with erotically stimulating or sexually arousing subject matter. The object may be a painting, sculpture, photograph, dramatic arts, film, music or literature.

The important part of that definition is the variable “sexually arousing.” Nobody can tell us as individuals what is arousing. To adjust a well-known phrase: One man's pain is another man's pleasure.

For some, vanilla or “plain” sex is satisfying – they're happy and don't require any more than the sweet, creamy treat. They always know exactly how it's going to taste and just how much will fill them up but not go overboard.

But some of us want to go overboard.

For those people, they like to pile on the toppings and mix them up: voyeurism, exhibitionism, toys, multiple partners, spanking, same-sex partners, bondage, submission – the list goes on and on. Every adult should be free to partake in whatever they enjoy as long as it doesn't forcibly take away another person's rights away.

Safe. Sane. Consensual – remember it, and live by it.

One thing is certain: people, as a rule, get aroused; what's uncertain is whether it'll be a story that heats them up or maybe the sight of leather that quickens their pulse. Could even be a smell or a sound – you never know.

Because the way of thinking and talking about sex has become more forward and acceptable than in the past, less things are seen as taboo. Therefore, more people are willing to admit what they like and what turns them on.

A little true story for you . . .

In honor of the release of the first book in my trilogy, I started having a tattoo done which incorporates my story themes. Orchids and black pearls are the focal point of the tattoo.

It starts on my upper back, comes up and over my collarbone, and then down my chest. Due to the location, my tattoo artist hand drew the design onto me. While he was working, we were discussing what the ink meant to me: my books. Another guy came up to watch. He glanced down at the assorted orchid pictures the artist was working from and made the comment: “Those are very vaginal flowers. What kind of book are you writing?”

I smirked at him, and replied: “BDSM erotica,” and immediately had the attention of everyone within hearing distance.

Flower guy started laughing and preened while claiming he'd called it on the orchid description.

It was almost comical to watch their faces while I explained why I really had chosen orchids. Not for the obvious sexuality of the flower's appearance (though that was a bonus), but because of what it takes to keep them alive. They are so delicate that you have to be meticulous with their care or they'll shrivel up and die – much like a Dominant must care for their submissive in order to earn their trust and submission completely.

Later, as I was paying and we were out of ear-shot from other people in the shop, the artist leaned in and asked if he could get an autographed copy of the book for his wife.

So, “Why erotica?”

Why not? People enjoy it and there's no shame in seeking pleasure – whatever form you find it in.

*Guest post originally shared January 23, 2013 as part of the To Serve is Divine (Edition 1) blog tour.  http://bit.ly/1dJAimA