Top 10 Fun Facts About Angel’s Keeping

BedtimeKyrieGuest blog by Brantwijn Serrah, author of Angel’s Keeping

  1. “Raschael” is pronounced like “Raphael”
  2. The characters in Angel’s Keeping are mostly incubi and succubae. The “familiar” name for these demons is exsul, or “outcasts”. They descend from the original fallen angels and are the oldest race of demons.
  3. All demons in the Blood and Fire series have fangs (even the witches).
  4. Three characters in Angel’s Keeping have appeared before in my short stories: Raschael and Father Gabriel appear in The Wages of Sin in the Ravaged, Volume 2 anthology; Malael appears in Bad Dreams, my recently released “hentai” short.
  5. I Won’t Be Home For Christmas, by Blink-182, plays at the strip club Raschael visits. The whole strip-club scene came about so that I could work the song into the story; it’s one of my husband’s favorite holiday songs.
  6. In Angel’s Keeping it is revealed that a group or family of exsul is called a horde. From other Blood and Fire books, we know a group of witches is called a coven; a group of weverwolves is a pack; a group of shadow-walkers is a prowl; and a group of vampires is a colony or brood.
  7. In the Blood and Fire series, roughly 99% of all exsul are pansexual. The ones who aren’t are called tavari: the “unfortunate”.
  8. Though I’ve had stories in mind for the Blood and Fire series for more than 10 years, Raschael and Kyriel are some of my newest characters. I only really discovered them about a year ago.
  9. Angel’s Keeping was written in less than 10 days.
  10. Fans of Lotus Petals might be excited to know that Raschael and Rhiannon (my vampire leading lady) do cross paths at some point…

AngelsKeeping_600x900Book cover and blurb

As a succubus, preying on humans is Raschael’s business, and mortal holidays are a frivolous waste of time. So maybe her king meant to punish her when he sent her out to hunt on Christmas Eve. Or maybe he just wanted her far, far away, so he could banish Raschael’s one trusted friend.

Now Raschael must track down a missing fallen angel, and she doesn’t have a clue where to start. Bigger predators are closing in, and Rasche’s only lead is a Christmas stripper named Noelle.

Buy: Angel’s Keeping: A Blood and Fire Novella

Book excerpt

The waitress ditched her tray of drinks and took Rasche by the hand, leading her into one of the back rooms. The Christmas theme survived even in the private show quarters, though with a more generous degree of triple-X action. The small space Raschael’s escort chose had been decorated with garlands and wreaths, and a stocking hung by the door, but on top of the holiday trimmings there were also striking boudoir pictures. They all contained the same sweet, golden angel, but in much less “angelic” form.

Raschael spun to address the woman personally. “Who are you?”

By way of answer, the woman nodded her head at the bright red stocking. Noelle, it read in sapphire blue, glittery letters across the trim.

“Noelle?” Rasche asked. “Really?”

“Yes, really,” Noelle replied with a brilliant smile. “It really is my God-given name. Honest.”

“All right, Noelle, then about Kyrie-”

“Oh, now, now.”

Noelle took Rasche’s hand again, stroking her fingers, and led her to the soft red leather seat stationed in the center of the room. She gestured for Raschael to sit and, before Raschael could stop her, climbed expertly up into the succubae’s lap.

“First thing’s first, gorgeous. How about we get a little more…intimate?

She raised a hand and snapped her fingers. The faded strains of Blink 182 from the main room became inaudible, as Lady Gaga’s “Speechless” flowed into the room’s own speakers. Noelle lowered herself over Raschael’s body, rocking in time with the sultry piano, wrapping arms around the fallen one’s neck.

Forgetting herself for the briefest of moments, Raschael closed her eyes and let the first swell of carnal desire stir to life in her loins and chest. The dancer didn’t stop her when she lifted up her hands and cupped them over warm, soft buttocks.

Noelle smelled of warm vanilla. She had a luscious body, petite with classic curves, Renaissance in a way…but with eyes closed, Raschael’s mind made her Kyriel, little and lithe and naughty. Under her hands, Noelle’s plump hindquarters might have been Kyrie’s slim, boyish ass instead, and the sweet scent of heather rose up with the remembered sounds of Kyrie’s intoxicated desire, from earlier in the evening. Rasche lowered her face to nuzzle against a plentiful swell of tender breasts, and she sighed before she could stop herself, moving her body against the other woman’s with yearning.

“Why don’t you tell me about your friend,” Noelle whispered against her ear, gyrating ever-so-delightfully against Raschael’s body. “Why are you out searching for her on Christmas Eve, hm?”

“She ran away,” Raschael said. Her palms caressed the dancer’s ass greedily. “And I’m responsible for bringing her back before she gets in trouble.”

Noelle tsk’d her. “Now, now, Raschael. You make her out to be some sort of bad puppy.”

The dancer extended a leg and swung herself neatly around, facing away now to grind her pert little rear down on the succubae’s lap instead. Noelle’s hands stole to hers and guided them up to stroke tits through gauzy white fabric. Raschael’s fingertips found stiffened nipples, and she teased them through the thin material.

“Who told you my name?” she asked. “Kyrie?”

Mm, could be…”

Noelle’s hands closed, warm, over Rasche’s own, as the dancer welcomed her to knead, stroke, and caress. Rasche inclined her head to breathe in deep, relishing the scent of beautiful blonde hair.

“Listen, honey,” she whispered. “I’m sure as hell enjoying this, and if I had the time to spare I’d be all over you in ways you can’t even conceive.”

“Mm-hm,” Noelle replied. Her hips rolled in languid, mesmerizing rhythm, and Rasche let out a little growl as she returned the motion in kind.

“Oh, sweetness, I’d fuck you until you couldn’t stand,” she said. “But not now. You’re going to tell me if you’ve seen my girl, and where she is, and then we’ll see about making it up to you. Sound good?”

Buy: Angel’s Keeping: A Blood and Fire Novella

1 - Author Pic SiggyAuthor bio

When she isn’t visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and sewing plushies for friends. She can’t handle coffee unless there’s enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours watching Futurama, Claymore or Buffy the Vampire Slayer while she writes or draws.

In addition to her novels, Brantwijn has had several stories published in anthologies by Breathless Press, including the 2013 Crimson Anthology and 2014 Ravaged Anthology.  She’s also had a short story published in the Cleiss Press Big Book of Orgasm and the anthology Coming Together Through The Storm. She hopes to have several more tales to tell as time goes on.  She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work. Her short stories occasionally pop up at Foreplay and Fangs, her blog at http://brantwijn.blogspot.com.

Social and buy links

Brantwijn’s Facebook Page: http://tinyurl.com/qf2bzwk

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Say hi to her on Twitter

Let’s Talk Shop: Evoking Imagery

All Mad Here  200x300Guest blog by Brantwijn Serrah, author of All Mad Here

Imagery. By golly, imagery is one of my all-time favorite literary devices. I’ve been told I have a very “immersive” writing style, because when I get on a kick with imagery, I can go on forever. My editor has even had to cut down some of my imagery, to keep the story moving.

Imagery is defined in the dictionary as “the formation of mental images, figures, or likenesses of things, or of such images collectively: the dim imagery of a dream.” A creative writing teacher of mine once added a very important detail to this description, and I have taken it deeply to heart. The teacher told us that imagery appeals to all the senses.

Many times I read authors who forget about three of the five senses. Usually, sight and sound imagery are easy to come by. We won’t bother discussing them today. Touch gets a bit more screen time than taste or smell. I, however, try to utilize at least three, if not more, of the senses in any extended description. In erotica, this is both extremely immersive, and fun.

Smell

Scent and smell can be some of the sexiest images utilized in erotic fiction. The way a man smells of cigars or of a woodsy cologne. Go look up some men’s colognes and imagine the scent you interpret from the description: is it mellow or crisp? Mild or strong? The scent of skin—even sweaty skin—can be tantalizing as well. Most literary erotica I read contains a reference to the smell of a person’s sex…and I find it very hot. A few good words for describing smell can be “delicate” (nice for people wearing perfume or something like baby powder), “sweet” (definitely good for perfume wearers or very tender, more innocent characters), “exotic” (this one usually needs a modifier; exotic like what? Tropical flowers? Incense? Opium smoke?), “sharp” (someone recently involved in exercise or sheened with sweat, or also a good one for someone aroused), or “mellow” (think of someone wearing a milder, subtler scent or recently bathed with vanilla body wash).

These are only a few examples to get you thinking about smell, of course. Smells should match character as well as circumstances: someone just out of a hectic fight scene is probably not going to smell like roses. That doesn’t mean they can’t have a scent which is somehow attractive or arousing; sweat and body heat can cause a very primal reaction in potential mates.

Smell is one of the most evocative senses we have. You can create a very organic reaction in your readers with even a one-sentence image appealing to the sense of smell. For more examples, try searching online for suggestions on wine-tasting or coffee-tasting (yes, tasting). I find they can be powerful descriptors, and in many cases, the smell of wine and coffee play a big role in describing its character. Just as it should be for your characters.

Taste

Lips, skin, fingers, breasts and sexy southward regions all have a taste. When you’re writing erotic romance it had better be a pleasant taste, but keep in mind that many, many different kinds of taste can be pleasant. Some folks have complained about the description of “salty“; I personally find it incredibly sexy and true-to-life, when describing skin, especially if a person has recently engaged in activity or exertion. Other ways to describe it, of course, are “sweet” (wonderful description for someone freshly showered or conscientiously prepped for something like a date or a formal appearance), “bittersweet” (a more “au naturel” description), “earthy” (also “au naturel”, good for characters who are more rugged or less prone to gussying themselves up), or “savory” (I find this one to be a more masculine descriptor, though that doesn’t mean it is only appropriate for men). I also think a person can be described as “tasting hot” or “of heat“. If you’re talking about pheromones as part of your sensual description, I think “piquant” or “spiced” are good words.

Just like with the sense of smell, you can find good ways to describe and interpret taste by looking up wine-tasting. Some of the most evocative words I’ve ever found come from those descriptions. It can also tell you how taste affects the “character” of something. I wouldn’t describe a femme fatale character or a James Bond type as tasting “sweet” like cupcakes are sweet, though they could be “sweet” like spice cake is sweet.  Remember modifiers as well: “her lips tasted of frozen raspberries” has different connotations than “her lips tasted of fresh raspberries”.

Touch

One can never downplay the importance of the physical sensation of touch! Especially in erotic romance, the type of touch, pressure, texture and emotion of touch are paramount to good, immersive imagery. The way someone touches you, as well as the feel of their contact, can significantly guidethe tone of a sex scene.

What is the character of a touch? How does the toucher feel towards the touchee? A “soft“, “tender” or “gentle” touch is good for lovemaking, sweet romance scenes. A “hard grip“, “rough” or “demanding” touch is good for rougher sex or BDSM. Of course, those are easy to determine. So how about texture?

Texture greatly affects sensation, and both create deeper character of the image. Consider how a rough or callused hand might feel as it caresses your skin. Feelings that come to mind for me are “rasping“, “warm” (like a deeper inner heat transferring from skin to skin), or “firm“. In contrast, consider a smaller, more delicate hand. I consider this sort of touch to be “fleeting“, “soft“, “cool” (less body heat transfer from lighter touch), or “teasing” (think of the sensation of slender fingertips lightly brushing your skin).

A touch can make your skin “tingle” or “ache” or “yearn“. These are the inner sensations that result from a certain type of touch (as well as outside factors such as environment or tone of the interaction). Other good words for internal reactions might be “sting” (good for BDSM scenes), “heat” (think blushing or flushing with desire), “swell” (use this one correctly and you’ll evoke a sense of rushing pleasure, not a physical swelling as in from an injury, like a broken ankle), or “thrill” (another good one for rushing/climbing pleasure, a bit briefer and quicker a sensation).

Synesthesia

Another of my favorite literary devices is synesthesia, and I think it ups the ante on descriptive sensual imagery. The dictionary definition of synesthesia is “a sensation produced in one modality when a stimulus is applied to another modality, as when the hearing of a certain sound induces the visualization of a certain color.”  An easier way of thinking of it is, when you use a descriptive modifier for one of the five senses to describe something perceived by a different sense. “This tastes blue” is one my husband recently used, to describe a particular kind of candy. It solicited some giggles among us but he was right: the only way I can think of to describe the taste of that particular candy was blue.

This is where I get some of my descriptions such as “she tasted the heat of his skin” or “his hand moved like a melody along my skin“.  A very common use of synesthesia that we don’t really think of is when we say something “looks delicious“.

I find synesthesia to be extremely powerful in use with imagery. It can seem strange at first but if you get a little poetic with it, it’s amazing.

Don’t neglect the emotional and evocative power of sense imagery, and don’t forget we have five senses, not just two. As you conceptualize a scene, close your eyes and try to really experience the things your characters are hearing, smelling, touching, feeling. Create a whole, surround-sound experience for your readers.

Practice with this. I guarantee it will kick things up a notch.

bserrahBio:

When she isn’t visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and sewing plushies for friends. She can’t handle coffee unless there’s enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours watching Futurama, Claymore or Buffy the Vampire Slayer while she writes or draws.

Brantwijn has published two full-length erotic novels with Breathless Press: Lotus Petals and Goblin Fires. In addition to these, Brantwijn has had several other stories published by Breathless Press, including contributions to the 2013 Crimson Anthology and 2014 Ravaged Anthology.  She’s also had a short story published in the Cleiss Press Big Book of Orgasm and the anthology Coming Together Through The Storm. She hopes to have several more tales to tell as time goes on.  She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work. Her short stories occasionally pop up at Foreplay and Fangs, her blog at http://brantwijn.blogspot.com.

Excerpt from Brantwijn’s New Release, All Mad Here:

Nineva and Nerissa have planned a big surprise for Finn’s twenty-first birthday. Before he knows it, Finn finds himself in a version of Wonderland, racing the Red and White Queens for his fondest birthday wish—of course, his Ladies can’t know his true desires…can they? Will he best the Red Knight, find the White Rabbit’s missing token, outsmart the Cheshire Cat, and win his princesses, before he gets turned into a sheep?

“You are almost free,” Nineva said. “But alas, for riddle number three.”

Finn had no worries. The first answer had been tied to Spring and Autumn, the second to Winter. She had but one Court left to draw from.

Nineva swept up close to him.

“What did my sister give you, which I now wish for you to give to me?”

“Wait, what?” he asked.

She seized him, pulling him to the grass with her, drawing him into a kiss. Finn flailed a moment, caught off-guard, but he planted his hands on either side of her, holding himself above her. The erection Nerissa had stirred to life became rather obvious between them.

“Bloody hell, lass! What do my Ladies mean by all this?”

“Finn,” she said. Her hand stole down, sneaking to his groin, where she teasingly caressed him.

What did my sister give you, which I now wish for you to give to me?”

He stared.

“Nina,” he whispered. “The rules of this game are…very unclear to me.”

“Ah, well…allow me to make them clearer,” she said.

Breathless Press 5th Birthday

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Exclusive sneak preview: Satin and Steel

lotuspetals_200x300Guest post by Brantwijn Serrah author of Lotus Petals

In anticipation of Lotus Petal’s print release, I thought I might like to tantalize readers with a little taste of the sequel-in-progress: Satin and Steel.

The second of Rhiannon’s stories, Satin and Steel takes place in London, and Rhiannon is sent out to hunt a wild demon who’s been killing its own kind. On the hunt she meets Vivienne, a shadow-walker with a ravenous interest in Rhiannon’s future.

Join me in Covent Garden, my lovelies, with an exclusive sneak peek at Satin and Steel.

~~~~~

As they descended into the larger room Rhiannon saw a sprawling floor populated by lush couches and cushions, with rich, red velvet curtains draping down from the ceiling among and between them, opening wide circles and closing off others from view. The air pressed in, hot and thick, and pungent with the same sweet, sickening smell. It drifted in winding ribbons of thin white smoke. The sensuous figures of beautiful women and epicene young men sprawled naked on divans while others sat close and adored them, fondling and tracing their bodies with light, reverent caresses.

Dancers entertained in one corner, lithe women undulating in slow circles, their bare breasts covered by nothing but long drapes of colored glass beads or hammered gold discs. On her left a naked woman reclined on her stomach, while another idly painted intricate letters—Chinese, she thought—in a vividly complex pattern across her bare skin.

Rhiannon found herself speechless.

As Vivienne led her through this menagerie of bodies, the vampire saw many demons sporting four fangs, exactly as Vivienne predicted. They lay wrapped in the arms of the true demons, reclining with them in various states of dress, as the kin-bitten inclined their heads over them and drank from their veins. The kin-born bore their throats, their wrists, breasts, thighs, and sexes, all to the teeth of their masters. As the kin-bitten imbibed of their blood, she saw the slaves’ drunken expressions of pleasure, their eyes rolled back and mouths open in quiet moans.

She recognized the look. She remembered with bittersweet pain what it meant to let her master drink from her. The blood of demons intoxicated the drinker; the lustful passion of the bite could be equally as intoxicating to the slave.

Of course, it could also leave them dead.

Vivienne took her past a raised dais in the center of the room, where two lady shadow-walkers lay naked beside one another, heads and toes pointed in opposite directions. One had her long, dirty-blonde hair spilling across the stone beneath her and almost to floor, and the other’s thick, crimson-red ringlets tumbled carelessly over the other side of their stage. They lay as still as corpses, their parallel arms wound together, holding hands like sisters, like young girls in their tenderest years. Their mouths each opened in silent moue of pleasure, as several demons surrounded them, lounging on the floor or bent over the stage, drinking from their veins.

Rhiannon paused without realizing it, counting vampires, beast-demons, and even exsul among those feeding. The writhing knot of bodies stirred a strange mixture of keen interest and awful dread in her gut.

“What is this place?” she hissed. Vivienne flashed a pretty grin as she found an empty circle of cushions and took a seat, gesturing for Rhiannon to join her. An elaborate mahogany tray rested on a low table in the center, and on it lay two ivory pipes.

“Silly girl,” Vivienne said. “It is an opium den. Couldn’t you have figured it out by yourself?”

“These demons are not smoking opium,” Rhiannon muttered, glancing back at the two shadow-walkers lying on the dais like a platter of earthly delights. With so many teeth and tongues on their bodies, how could they not fear they would be killed?

“Oh,” Vivienne murmured. “Some of them are.”

Rhiannon glanced around the others gathered on sofas and cushions. Then, it dawned on her, and her eyes widened.

“The kin-born…”

Vivienne followed her gaze among the others, her eyes glowing with delight.

“True demons do not feel the effects of food or drink. Or poisons.”

“But the kin-born do,” Rhiannon said.

“Very good, mon beau cherie. I could smoke this entire pipe full of the strongest opium they provide, and it would not have the slightest effect.”

She leaned forward, giving the vampire a meaningful grin.

“But one wineglass of your blood,” she purred. “And I would find myself most pleasantly intoxicated. And if your blood happened to be laced with the same opium I cannot enjoy…”

“It’ll hit you, too.”

“Oh, yes.”

Green eyes glittered. “We connect with you through your blood. We feel what you feel… and oh, my darling… it can be quite glorious.”

Rhiannon spun in place, unable to count the number of demons drinking the blood of other demons. Not just vampires—all the races took part in it, all of them sucking deeply from the veins of their slaves and wallowing in the thick, heady intoxication.

“Oh, hell,” she growled. “Any damn one of them could drink enough to kill… and become a thrall.”

Exactement, ma cherie.”

Vivienne gave her a coy smile. “Any one of them. This is not the only such pleasure house in London, either, as I’ m sure you can guess. We have the London vampires to thank for it. These are their enterprises, you see.”

Rhiannon could hardly believe it. A whole nest full—several nests full—of drunken demons, feeding on one another night after night.

And now a monstrous thrall on the loose, killing their kind.

How had they not had a client turn rabid before? How had they not bred a whole pack of rabid abominations?

“How did you discover this?” Rhiannon asked, turning back to her companion. “You’ve been in London but a few days.”

“These establishments are not uncommon in France,” Vivienne mused. “Despite the war separating us, London and Paris are not so far apart. The vampires there kept this secret as well, and cater to the demons of my country… although they have not been so willfully blind to the consequences. No demon has ever murdered another within the Paris opium dens and been allowed to live.”

Her eyes roamed across the floor.

“The London vampires have not bothered to be so careful.”

“Which is why this whole mess is our fault,” Rhiannon muttered, a low growl escaping her. “Verdammt, we are a whole city of idiots. This ridiculous debauchery should never have been allowed to happen!”

“I would not go sofar, ma cherie,” Vivienne corrected her. “Such vice can be enjoyed well enough, for those who have the will to control it. I myself have succumbed to the perfumed blood of your kind on more than one occasion.”

Rhiannon shot her a glare. “You’ve been a part of this?”

The shadow-walker’s grin grew wider; her fangs were pert with glee.

“Oh, yes,” she purred. “It is un plaisir le plus divin… how do you say? A most divine pleasure.”

She arched her eyebrows.

“Why do you think I brought you here, my darling kin-born?”

Brantwijn’s Social Links:

Brantwijn’s Facebook Page: http://tinyurl.com/qf2bzwk

Foreplay and Fangs blog: http://brantwijn.blogspot.com/?zx=6ba3380c7201b326

Foreplay and Fangs on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/q2cmnep

Find Brantwijn on Google+

Say hi to her on Twitter

Author bio: In addition to her novels, Brantwijn has had several stories published in anthologies by Breathless Press, including the 2013 Crimson Anthology and 2014 Ravaged Anthology.  She’s also had a short story published in the Cleiss Press Big Book of Orgasm and the anthology Coming Together Through The Storm. She hopes to have several more tales to tell as time goes on.  She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work. Her short stories occasionally pop up at Foreplay and Fangs, her blog at http://brantwijn.blogspot.com.

Lotus Petals Book Blurb:

Aijyn, human slave to a ruthless vampire Lord, would never dare do anything to incur his wrath. Then, she fell in love…with his bride.

Rhiannon Donovan, daughter to the vampire Queen, would rather die than be made a bride to a demon lord. Aijyn, courtesan to the undead Daimyo of Kansai, can think of nothing more horrifying than his promise of eternal life. In the halls of the Blood Lotus Temple, the two women struggle against the chains of their fate, and find a solace in each other that could mean freedom for them both…or cost each of them their lives.

Buy: Lotus Petals

My Writing Philosophy: Stop me if You’ve Heard This One Before

Guest Blog by Brantwijn Serrah, author of Goblin Fires (Chronicles of the Four Courts)

Pop quiz time: what do the following three books have in common?

books1

If your answer is that the lead female is an unbearable moron, I’d argue that at least Beautiful Bastard features a decently smart and independent gal (whereas you’d be entirely right about the other two).  The answer, though, is that all three of these books follow the same formula.

She:

a)      Tries to resist his charms at first, but just can’t seem to get him out of her mind.
b)      Doesn’t believe she is “good enough” for him to truly care about her. (Reasons for this: none)
c)      Is perfectly attractive and desired by other men around her, but almost willfully refuses to acknowledge this. Consider this in relation to item b).
d)     Puts up with unacceptable behavior, because he’s just that good.
e)      Thinks she can change him.

He:

a)      Is gorgeous. G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S. There is no other word for him. He is the finest specimen of human male this side of the planet Mercury.
b)      Is emotionally troubled or unavailable (well duh).
c)      Is “the biggest” she’s ever seen (in the case of Twilight, just lump another point in the “most gorgeous ever ever ever” category for this).
d)     Is “the best” she’s ever had, and not only the best, but by far the best (in the case of Twilight, the best person she’s ever met. Though where she got that idea, I have no clue).
e)      Is ludicrously rich; she will never have to worry about anything again as long as he is her sugar daddy.

They:

a)      Both try to resist one another at first, for reasons of varying logic.
b)      Can’t get away from one another no matter how hard they try.
c)      Believes the other is bad for them, but pursues them anyway.
d)     Are explosive together. Practically perfect in every way.
e)      Survive sometimes unforgiveable betrayals by simply being so sexually desirable.

So I’m sure the first thing you’re going to say is, “Well, of course they all follow the same formula… the second two are Twilight fan-fiction!

To this, I say, pop quiz number 2: What do the following three books have in common?

books2

Answer: They follow the exact same formula as the first three books. And a quick browse through Amazon’s “more like this” rolls will show you even more books exactly like these (just exactly how many erotic BDSM romances are going to do that gray cover with a single highlighted “power” object, by the way? Are even the cover artists becoming lazy?)

This, in my opinion, is a very, very sad phenomenon for serious writers of romance and erotica. Besides all containing the same story with varying degrees of semantic details (New York instead of Seattle, werewolf instead of vampire, take your pick), these are all still extremely popular series. This sets a bad precedent, though. So let me say to all of you writers and aspiring writers out there: You can do better.

The conflicts in most of these books is negligible. The challenges are few and generally easily or ‘coincidentally’ resolved for the characters, rather than the characters having to resolve them. Unacceptable behavior—stalking, controlling and in some cases sexual assault—are excused as acts which make the characters more desireable. Worst of all, women are represented in a completely pathetic, desperate and insulting manner.

In any other genre, these blatant, clichéd carbon copy techniques would not be acceptable.  Perhaps we erotic romance authors get off easy because the world sees us as “peddlers of porn, soft-core and other”. But we know we are more than that, right? We have stories that are just as legitimate, just as good as those in other genres. Sex scenes and romantic plotlines shouldn’t lessen the tales we have to tell.

As a writer of erotic romance, I encourage my fellow writers to consider this when you’re plotting your next story.  It’s not to say that writing a rich male lead or a nervous and clumsy female is an unforgivable cliché in and of itself… but redeem yourself from lazy writing ripping off these overdone formulae. Beware books devoid of conflict, chance and doubt.  Try to imagine your story going up against the great bestsellers in other genres: make sure it stands out and holds its own, make it unique. This is your creation, not anyone else’s. Give it a personality it deserves.

Because you do.

GoblinFires_200x300Book Blurb:

A Fae Knight’s life belongs to the Monarchies. For Reagan, a life is a small price to pay for the princess she loves.

From the moment she laid eyes on sweet Ceri, Reagan knew she would be lost forever. A Sidhe Royal, though, could never return such feelings for a War-Child…

As the daughter of the Fae Goddess of War, Reagan was sworn into service to the Sidhe monarchies before she was born. Her contract forever binds her to the beautiful goblin princess, Ceridwen. When an unseen enemy threatens the Fae Courts, Ceridwen is caught in the attack, and Reagan must fight to the ends of the earth to save her. But will this battle tear her away from her princess forever?

Buy: Goblin Fires (Chronicles of the Four Courts)

Excerpt:

We came out on the other side of the park, across from the Terrace, in time to see the three Princesses and Erin emerge from the restaurant patio, bright with conversation. There were flittering butterflies—or at least, what mortals would take to be butterflies—drifting playfully around them. Pixies, three of them: one dusky lavender, one a pale coral orange, and one pristine white.

It happened in a perfect storm of a moment. Ceri distracted me, my head perhaps too busy with all Finn had said. She captivated me, such a joy to behold, and in the beautiful noonday sun all the pretty kindness of her face radiated, brimming with unspeakable serenity. She walked between Nina and Neri, laughing at something Nina told her. Erin and Puca scampered ahead, the latter bounding and barking at the coral-colored pixie with seamless dog-like excitement.

We had no reason to expect danger. I brushed at the snowflake-white pixie, who flew up very close to tug prankishly at my hair, trying to shoo it away as I watched the girls enter the street at the light change.

Then—almost too late—I realized the little creature wasn’t trying to play with me.

It wanted to get my attention.

That’s when my hackles raised and my spine stiffened. I sensed it—a brief split-second warning, a flutter of heat in my stomach: my portent of ill to come. Finn noticed me react and in turn he lunged to be ready. I saw it first, though, coming up the street too fast, swerving between lanes, and heedless of the light: an old, rusted, ugly car, something enormous and boat-like, full of dents.

Careening straight for the Ladies.

We moved quickly. I have said I am no hand at magic but this is why: as the adrenaline rushed through my limbs, I surrendered to a surge of unearthly power. I launched myself into the street like a charging beast, lunging violently through the knot of strolling pedestrians, and avoiding collision with wildly preternatural speed. Finn, even bigger and broader than I, danced through the started people with the precision of a practiced gymnast.

Erin stumbled, caught off guard as she saw us rushing at her; at the same time a blue truck waiting to turn noticed the oncoming sedan and sped up to get out of the way.

I grabbed the handmaiden and swept her to one side, bringing my hand down on the truck’s bumper hard enough to dent it as I forced it to a stop. A second vehicle, a utility SUV leaving the park, saw the rust-bucket coming and swerved to the right to avoid being hit; Finn squared himself in front of it, seizing the grill in both hands before it could barrel through the crosswalk. I bounded up over the hood of the truck and managed to grab Nina and Ceridwen out of the way of the oncoming car.

Neri, though, froze, caught in an instant of paralyzing shock. The rust-bucket screeched, desperately trying to squeal to a stop… and instead going into a skid.

Buy: Goblin Fires (Chronicles of the Four Courts)

 Author Bio: 

They say you should never meet your heroes, but Brantwijn Serrah says otherwise. At a Los Angeles book signing in 2012, Brantwijn met one of her all-time favorite authors of urban fantasy, Jim Butcher, who couldn’t have been kinder or more encouraging to her as an aspiring novelist herself. As it turned out, the book he signed for her that night gave her the first spark of inspiration for Goblin Fires, the story of a goblin Knight hopelessly in love with her princess.

When she isn’t visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and sewing plushies for friends. She can’t handle coffee unless there’s enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours watching Futurama, Claymore, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer while she writes or draws.

In addition to her novels, Brantwijn has had several stories published in anthologies by Breathless Press, including the 2013 Crimson Anthology and 2014 Ravaged Anthology.  She’s also had a short story published in the Cleiss Press Big Book of Orgasm and the anthology Coming Together Through The Storm. She hopes to have several more tales to tell as time goes on. She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work. Her short stories occasionally pop up at Foreplay and Fangs, her blog at http://brantwijn.blogspot.com.

Buy: Goblin Fires (Chronicles of the Four Courts)