Get into Bed with Entwined: Unbound Authors

entwined_final_600x800_300Lynn Reynolds: What inspired you to write the opening for Unbound

Lacey Michaels: I’ve always had a thing for airports—and no, it’s not a kink, not really. Nor is it anything to do with induction into The Mile High Club—at least not that I’m admitting! ((wink)) To me airports are semi-magical spaces—the arriving and departing planes, the kiosks of upscale shops and restaurants, and the people whose lives intersect there be it for a few slice-of-life seconds in passing— or prolonged welcomes and farewells weighted with life-altering meaning.

Several years ago, I was returning from a first trip to Ireland. Standing outside the security gates at Cork International, I witnessed the saddest of scenes: a young American woman and an Irish man, both in tears, embracing. Clearly their leave taking was not a goodbye but a final, wrenching farewell.

“I’ll never forget you,” the woman said, tears streaming her upturned face, her trembling mouth seeking his for yet another kiss.

“I love you,” he replied simply, pulling her so close that it was as if he sought to absorb her into his skin.

And that’s when I saw it—the rusty glint of his worn gold wedding band.

The woman was ring-less, the considerable luggage all hers. Both seemed to be deep in doomed love and appropriately miserable. Looking on, I longed to intervene, to suggest that maybe others weren’t as fragile as they feared, to beg them to reconsider, to flout conventional morality and take a chance on love.

Of course I did none of those things. I picked up my bags and continued through security—and began rewriting their story in my head.

At the start of our Unbound, Entwined #1 interactive e-book, romance novelist Charity McCormick has just landed in New York’s JKF Airport after a hiking trip to Western Ireland. The vacation has been a convenient excuse to put some distance between her and her dream man, Drew, whom she’s begun dating in New York. What’s her problem, you might well ask? Finally freed from a sexless, decade long marriage, Charity has promised herself a year of dirty, sexy fun—dirty sexy fun the likes of which she doesn’t dare have with Drew. The hot Texas-transplant is definitely monogamous relationship material, but to explore her kinky side, Charity needs a fling with Mr. Right Now! To that end, during the trip Charity hooked up with her sexy Irish tour guide, Patrick, only Patrick is married to Meg. The couple has twenty years and two grown children together as well as a deep mutual affection that’s sadly never found its way into their bed.

Guilty about their brief affair, Charity and Patrick have agreed to break off all contact. Only once she deplanes, she finds his text message waiting. He has confessed their encounter to Meg! Despite her understandable upset, she has invited Charity to return to Ireland and enter into a marital ménage-a-trois. The start of an unconventional Happily Ever After for all? Read our quartet of erotic novellas and decide for yourself.

Lynn: What do you like about the erotica genre?  What is it that draws you to cats as opposed to dogs as pets?

Cecilia Tan: I can’t imagine not writing about sex. To me, the erotic drive is one of the most basic human drives. Books that have a love story and no erotic component just confuse me. If someone wrote a banquet scene and never mentioned the actual food, for me that’s what a romance without sex is like. Everything I know about the characters, or think I know–their quirks, their hangups, their connection to each other, their conflicts, and their passions–can be shown through well written sex scenes. In fact, if I don’t see those elements tested and proven in a sex scene, I don’t believe them!

Cats are exactly like me: very sensual nocturnal creatures who are quiet and self-sufficient. If I had to get up in the morning to walk a dog? Forget it. I wouldn’t last a month as a dog owner.

Lynn: What did you like about a “choose your own adventure” book?  What does your husband think about you writing erotica?

Lissa Trevor: I have always been a huge fan of “choose your own adventure” books.  I would read the books over and over again to make sure I took every path there was.  I didn’t want to miss any part of the story.  When I was a kid, I wrote my own “choose your own adventure book.”  It was about pirates.  I remembering spreading all the pages out on the living room floor and using colored markers to show where the stories interacted.

My husband loves it.  We went swag shopping today at a local sex store.  We had a great time trying out the floggers and whips.  Do you know there’s one out there made out of Koosh material?  He supports my crazy ideas.  Like when I ordered two hundred paint stirrers to use as giveaways for “spanking” or when I drag him places.  This weekend we’re going to the Museum of Sex in Manhattan.

Lynn: Do you find that winning the Lambda Literary Award has changed your writing at all?  What is it that you love about the older editions of erotica?

Debra Hyde: The Lambda was a pinnacle achievement, a validation, and winning it didn’t so much change my writing as freed me to write across a broader spectrum of storytelling. Since then, I’m writing more for the reader’s entertainment, and Hers, my contribution to Entwined’s Unbound, Volume 1, is entertaining first and smart, second.

Why old erotica? Erotica’s history spans centuries and I’m a book junkie at heart. For Unbound‘s Hers, I wanted the presence of 1950/1960s to reflect how far we’ve come in terms of personal freedoms. “Vintage sleaze,” as these paperbacks are now called, were the closest thing to legal erotica that the readers of that era had. In fact, the explicit language of today’s erotica and erotic romance would’ve landed us authors and publishers in jail back then. And we all know the history of LGBT repression during that same period of time. Today, we’re far more free to love who we want and read what we want and Hers, to a small degree, celebrates those facts.

But, to a far larger degree, I aimed to make Hers entertaining, engaging, and hard to tear yourself away from. Let me know if I succeeded.

Buy: Unbound

Blog: www.entwinederotica.com

Follow us: @Coliloquy @EroticaColiloquy

Giveaway details: 1 ebook- winner can choose format preference (Kindle, Nook, iOs, or Andriod) Ends May 12, 2013. Enter by leaving a comment!

Review: Unbound (The Entwined Series, Book 1) by Debra Hyde, Lacey Michaels, Cecilia Tan, and Lissa Trevor

entwined unboundReview by Lynn Reynolds

This is a new type of book that will have you going back for more – it’s interactive. There are four stories to choose from. But I warn you, unless you have no feelings these stories are going to get your blood flowing – and possibly other things as well. And even your partner may benefit. You may want to read in bed, or other comfortable spot, but you definitely won’t need a fire – this will get you plenty warm enough.

Unbound is written in the first person. Charity McCormick is all about wanting to find romance and yet she already has her own Prince Charming. His name is Drew. But something happens to her after she returns from a trip. This is where you can become adventurous – which story will you choose first?

Hers by Debra Hyde

Charity gets an adventure she never dreamed of when she travels to Ireland. She’s ready to explore the unknown and see where it takes her. Debra introduces a character in her story named Riordan. I found it interesting that Riordan happens to work in my neck of the woods.

If you have never personally experienced the BDSM lifestyle, Debra gives you a little background information. Don’t be shy, experience this tale that Debra has written – you know you want to. It’s not all about the sex. Debra builds a relationship between Charity and Riordan.

You don’t realize how quickly the story goes by. With this book being interactive, you can read one story in just a short amount of time. You can also decide whether you want to start reading another one or save it for another time.

Dear Girl by Cecilia Tan

Right from the start, Cecilia shows the reader how technology has affected Charity. I wonder how many others are affected the same way – what would we do if all technology was here one day and gone the next. Charity has to work the old fashioned way. Cecilia shows how sometimes the lines can become blurred between what is reality and what is fantasy.

This is a story of finding your sexual being – now don’t be shy. We don’t necessarily need a name to be fulfilled by our partner. It’s all about sensation and pushing the limits of what you’re used to – your deepest desires. But don’t despair; Cecilia will reveal her male character’s name eventually. You’ll just have to make sure to read her story if you want to find out his name.

Eight Days in May by Lacey Michaels

In this tale, Lacey takes Charity back to Ireland where she meets her tour guide and his wife. It’s another tale of sexual adventures. This tale shows that sometimes sex can be emotional. It can also push you out of your normal comfort zone.

One thing that I liked about Lacey’s story was that I got a chance to “see” more of the Irish countryside. I felt that I got to experience it right along with Charity. If you are looking for a romantic getaway, maybe this will give you some ideas. And depending on how adventurous you are, you may or may not want to be reading this at an airport. It depends on whether or not you want someone reading over your shoulder.

Wild Oats by Lissa Trevor

Lissa takes the reader on a very different journey. Charity gets to choose which way she wants to travel. Her adventure starts at the airport like the other stories but she doesn’t quite leave the same way. Lissa puts in a paranormal twist but it’s more time travel than paranormal.

I feel that her story is the hottest of the four tales – although they are all smokin’. Her story pushes the boundaries of what’s comfortable. Lissa adds in another male character that helps Charity with that. I will say that I was a little disappointed that Charity didn’t choose him in the end but it left me hoping that Lissa’s next story will take care of that issue.

I hope you will choose to get this interactive book and when you are finished, or even right now, stop over to http://www.entwinederotica.com/ and join this series web site. And you will be happy to know that there is a volume two coming. The bad news is it’s not out yet – coming out Winter 2013.

Rating: ★★★★★

buy: Unbound, The Entwined Series: #1

Review: Like a Moonrise by Cecilia Tan

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

For lovers of stories who want a change from reading a whole novel about the same thing, this compendium has the added bonus of having six tales about creatures who can change their shape, and each is as sensual and sexual as the next.

The writers are some of the best around, award winners like Kyell Gold, Rakelle Valencia, and MeiLin Miranda. These and others who have contributed all have an interesting tale to tell, and know how to show the reader what they can do with their respective stories.

So, onto the stories – they are all set in make-believe worlds readers will be only too happy to immerse themselves in, and fantasy does make the immersing a lot easier if only to take a break from work issues, (this is the best place to start.) Fears-Moon Woman by MeiLin Miranda, The Moon, Reversed by Catt Kingsgrave, Cycles by Marie Carlson, On The Run by Kyell Gold, Werewhat by Rakelle Valencia, and The Winter Prince by Aoife Bright.

MeiLin’s story is a treat to read and has a lot of meaning to it, while Catt’s offering is a sensual story of two men, one has a captive and he can’t seem to get enough of him, much to his amazement. She has a way of expressing the inner torment and yearning of the characters in her work. Marie’s story is set in the real world where anything could happen as the main character is a werewolf and mentions what happens to her on a daily basis, and what happens when she changes.

I found it a daunting and strange tale, but that made it even more captivating – read on, it will send shivers up the spine, Kyell’s tale is set in a similar time as Marie’s with a man in love who hides a secret from his family – no not just that he’s gay, but something else that seems to happen when he gets excited during intimate moments! It is erotic, and makes the reader wait for the best parts of the story, and why not – it’s what makes it so good.

Rakelle’s is a comedy that can’t be missed, as Morgan is a shape shifter of a different kind – but unlike the others, he isn’t something to be afraid of being a were pony. Aoife’s goes back into the realms of a fantasy world most know and love, medieval times and not so much fun for Einion, who has to address his own problems after battles fierce and cruel. The setting of this story is perfect, as is the time period it is set in, there is great attention to detail that will be noticed.

For shape shifter lovers everywhere, there is something for you in these six tales, or you’ll love all of them just like I did.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Like a Moonrise: Erotic Tales of Shapeshifters

Review: Women on the Edge of Space by Daniell Bodnar and Cecilia Tan

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

After an interesting and in depth introduction by Danielle Bodnar about the science-fiction genre, its reasons for intriguing her to want to have a compilation of stories based in deep space, the reader is treat to four stories of how women cope with their lives in space starting with an unusual tale of love that knows no bounds.

In The Many Little Deaths of Cicilia Long by Shanna Germain, Shanna has Cicilia, a girl who has died after her girlfriend dumped her in a callous way. She has had many other deaths since then, and her mother never helped when she mentioned that she could have dated boys instead – the way many would think is she would have been dumped by men anyway, as there is nothing different from a woman dating another woman, or a man – there are players and cheats everywhere regardless of gender. Cicilia has a chance of finding happiness, but is it at a dear cost to her?

Fair as the Moon, Clear as the Sun by Laurel Waterford has a woman along with others on a mission to bring God’s word to the masses in space, but all one girl can think of is getting clean after the heat gets too much for her, and being around such pretty girls, she finds it hard to concentrate on her purity and her devotions. One such girl is Mary who she forms a bond with deeper than the others she is met with, and one night she does something even she did not think would happen, they have a deep intimacy that she can never forget, or mention to the other girls or, for that matter, Father Graham.

Adrift by Kaysee Renee Robichaud opens on an intimate moment where two women have made love and this is the aftermath, the two of them laid in bed relaxing, contemplating. Lydia and Adrianne, subordinate and captain have shared her bed, and are both explorers in deep space wanting some time out from their chores, and the command of the ship and Lydia wants to spend more time with her, yet there is little chance of that even though they have just found each other – what can she do to make their relationship more than a one night stand?

Unfolding Her Wings by Elizabeth Black has Sun, a woman who is in the months before she has a baby, known as Parent 1 her partner, Gatria Parent 2. She misses her, yet has an open relationship where she introduces other women to their bed. Sun has all the problems a new mother would; the morning sickness, fainting spells and cravings for food she would never have contemplated eating before. This story is a sensual one where her lover, Shira gives her the most pleasure before they return to normality again. Though they have their intimacy, she still wants Gatria to return to her, as she is starting to see the world that has been built around them as a form of confinement, and she desires more than anything to spread her wings and explore.

And with all kinds of people in them, mainly women who love other women, there is a sensuality factor that brings the question of prejudice out there for the readers to find out about, and what can be as intriguing as that?

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Women on the Edge of Space

Review: Magic University Book Three: The Incubus and the Angel by Cecilia Tan

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

If Tarot cards are your thing, you might like this one as they are, in part responsible for one man investigating some strange goings on with a female friend he knows. She is having nightmares when she shouldn’t have, and doesn’t know the reason for them until she discovers she has an incubus who visits her nightly and gives her very sexual dreams.

Alex and Kyle are both friends who see what goes on around them, and know all about the occult, the benefits of it, and the down side to knowing more than they should. As an apology for something he’s done before, Alex tells his fortune by spreading the cards for him one night, even if he does think he’s no good at being able to predict anyone’s fortune. Kyle thinks different though, as he has already proved he can do it – his predictions so far have been spot on, and he wonders what the next spread have in store for him.

The cards can tell a person anything, love life, the possibility of wealth, even a new start for the one involved, but in Kyle’s spread there are quite a few negative cards, the positive ones meaning he could be in store for a new relationship if he’s lucky, but he doesn’t see the future even if he does believe what he has told him. Kyle has nightmares, and he feels for Lindy who is not in control of what the incubus is doing to her nightly. He discovers the only way he can help her is to use sexual magic to ward the demon off her.

I liked the fact Cecilia had Kyle as a moderately bisexual male in the novel, one who had a touch of femininity to him that could make him relate to the women he meets, especially Jeannie and Lindy. After his relationship with Frost, he wants to discuss other things with him that do concern him as he tends to jump between guys and girls, and doesn’t have any stability.

Cecilia’s use of Circe’s Tit as a retort reminded me of Arthur Weasley’s utterance of Merlin’s Beard when he sees Harry Potter. It’s funny and gets the point across.

Kyle has had his fair share of romances, but wants to find his true soulmate, not just feel that the sex is right – he wants to feel for the other person, have a connection with someone that goes beyond sex. He has never felt that close to a girl or boy who took his fancy, and thinks that someday he will find the one who is right for him, even if it is a girly notion for him to have.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Magic University: The Incubus and the Angel

Review: Mind Games by Cecilia Tan

guestreview

by Susan Sigler, guest reviewer

Mind Games lead me on a roller coaster, tempting me with erotic pleasures, suspenseful turns and stopped only after I was screaming, “Uncle!”

I recommend this book to anyone who reads romantic suspense or erotica. As a reader with a fondness for romantic suspense; I couldn’t control the urge to finish the book.

Tan introduces us to the heroine, Wren Delacourt, a book transcriber with a rather dull existence. It isn’t until she discovers her sister Abby has disappeared; that her life is transformed. She begins to have erotic dreams that seem to be premonitions, but she can’t decipher if it’s past or future. Flowers begin to arrive at her job from an unknown sender, and her attraction to a P.I. named Derek; begins to reach new heights. Together they’ll unlock hidden desires, cast off inhibitions, and explore their growing needs.

In order to find her sister, Wren will have to uncover her telepathic abilities and learn to use them, but can she do it in time to find Abby?

My favorite character turned out to be Lawrence; Wren’s gay neighbor. He’s kind, witty, a good listener, and has all the qualities you’d expect from a friend. Lawrence is such a great sport; even when she drags him into Victoria’s Secret.

This book is not without its flaws. Tan fails to express the desperation and anguish you’d expect to feel; if your loved one has vanished. Abby’s disappearance takes a back seat; while Wren’s sexual needs take precedence. I also found Wren’s self gratification excessive and felt it robbed the story of some of its magic.

Regardless, I found it was a good read that had me anticipating; what was to come. Tan also caught me off guard; I was shocked when Wren breaches Derek’s hidden thoughts. The author’s larger theme appears to be, that we should find the courage to confront our fears and embrace our sexuality.

Rating: 3 Stars

Buy Print: Mind Games

Buy ebook: Mind Games

Publisher: Ravenous Romance, Breathless
ISBN-13# 978-1-60777-079-4
Copyright 2009
Genre: erotic science-fiction/paranormal romance
Format Read: e-book
Page count: 150

Erotic Romance, Not Just Erotica and Romance

guestblog

by Cecilia Tan, guest blogger

Our tale begins in 1970, which is the year some point to as the beginning of the modern romance genre, with the arrival of the manuscript The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss on the desk of editor Nancy Coffey at Avon. The book would be a huge bestseller, kicking off a new era of romance publishing, and Woodiwiss was the first of the “Avon Ladies.” In that year, the average age at which American women married was 20.6 years old.

But 1987 that average was up to 23.3 years old, and according to the US Census Bureau, by 2003 it was 25.1 years, where it remains today.

Meanwhile, the percentage of female teenagers becoming sexually active rose from 30% to 40% between 1982 and 1988, and now, 20 years later, the rate of high school students who have had intercourse is close to 50%. (They don’t count it as “sex” unless you have intercourse, you know.) In short, that means a lot of young American women, who used to go into their marriages with no sexual experience, now tend to have a significant amount of time as sexually active people before they marry–most as much as a decade.

Not only that, but as the generations have progressed from the swingin’ seventies to today, the kinds of sex that women are having has proliferated. The likelihood that they have experience with spanking, bondage, multiple partners, bisexuality, and other things that would have once been considered outre is now quite high as well, with 48% of people currently in their 20s reporting they have at least “experimented” with these activities.

bondage

Is it any wonder, then, that romance novels have changed, too?

This doesn’t mean that every romance reader wants in her life–or in her fiction–non-stop sex, kinky sex, or partner swapping. But the “bodice rippers” that were a staple of past generations are now often seen as either laughable or even anti-woman by modern readers, and the breathless euphemisms that used to be standard in the genre come off as quaint or unintentionally funny. The back cover copy on Woodiwiss’s “Flame…” speaks of “…the Carolina plantation where Brandon finally probes the depths of Heather’s full womanhood!”

We might make fun of the old style of marketing, but there is no denying that whatever language is used, romances have always been about passion as well as love. And just as fewer and fewer women would find a chaste kiss to be satisfying after a romantic dinner out, and now they want the same desires reflected in their favorite fiction.

But what distinguishes erotic romance from “erotica”(a broad term in itself)? Is erotic romance just a hybrid between romance and erotic fiction? In actuality, it’s the strength of the romance genre that allows so much flexibility in what we can call “romance” these days. The two unchanging aspects are the focus on love and the core relationship, and the happy/emotionally satisfying ending. That leaves a lot of room to have different historical settings, mystery subplots, fantastical aspects. As Beatrice Small wrote in a 2007 essay on the history of the genre, “[In the 1970s] romance [grew into] a billion dollar baby for publishing. It was a two-headed baby to begin with: Historicals and Category. But then as women’s palates grew more sophisticated, baby grew more heads. Historical and Category were joined by Western, Thriller, Paranormal, Glitz, Chick-Lit, Christian, Contemporary, and OHMYSTARS! Erotic, just to name a few. And the Historical sub-genre had sub-sub-genres. Regency. Georgian. Medieval. [and so on.]”

In other words, romance is a great-looking model on which you can put any kind of outfit, whether a medieval ball gown or six-inch spike heels and a leather corset.

For me, it isn’t the amount of sex in a book, nor how graphic it is, that makes a book “erotica” and not romance. I am one of those women for whom love and sex go hand in hand in my real life. I wouldn’t dream of spending my life with someone if I didn’t know we were compatible in bed. In a love story, especially a contemporary one, I feel like I need to see some erotic interaction between the characters in order to believe that their love is real and can work. In historicals I find Unresolved Sexual Tension more believable than in stories set in the modern day, but what I am still seeking is the ultimate release of that tension. I love writers who can wind the ratchet tighter and tighter, but just like someone who is great at teasing in bed, I want them to eventually deliver me that mind-shattering release.

legs

More sex scenes do not necessarily make a “hotter” book, the way more salt and pepper doesn’t automatically make a meal taste better. What is most arousing is when the sex is convincing, when it makes sense with the characters and when it follows a logical progression through their emotional lives.

There are plenty of books of erotica out there. I know, because I’ve written them. Many of them are collections of short stories, because erotica can so often be about the fling, the one-night stand, the exploration of a character’s sexual growth, but doesn’t necessarily have to be about love. Short stories are flings, but novels are relationships. And just as I found I need to see some sexual interaction between characters for me to believe they are falling in love, I also have to see them falling in love in order to believe that they are going to keep having sex for the space of an entire novel! If they aren’t, if the plot is not a love story but just an vehicle to get us from one sex scene to another, inventive and arousing as the scenes may be, I’d classify a book as erotica, and not erotic romance.

When I sat down to write my book MIND GAMES, which I’d classify as an erotic paranormal suspense romance, I had already come up with the characters many years before. I’d originally envisioned Wren and Derek as an established couple, and I was trying to write them in a kind of detective/spy scenario where their partnership and relationship were already long since established. But that idea never really firmed up. I kept asking myself how they had come to be a couple, and how did they find out that sex enhanced her psychic abilities? Ultimately I realized I couldn’t write what happens in their future until I wrote their love story and answered those questions.

It was an incredible experience writing them falling in love. After over a decade of writing and publishing dozens of erotic short stories, in places like Ms. Magazine, Best American Erotica, and Nerve, having the room to follow the characters from their initial meeting and spark of attraction, right through to their eventual emotional break-throughs, felt like a decadent luxury to me. I really was able to focus on the emotions, not just on Wren’s attraction and feelings of arousal, but also her conflicted feelings, her fears, her past wounds, and her determination to make this time different from the failed relationships of the past.

Now that I think about it, I did the exact same thing in my second romance novel, THE HOT STREAK. If anything, THE HOT STREAK concentrates even more on the relationship because there is no mystery sub-plot. All the “action” revolves around our heroine falling in love with a baseball player and learning to negotiate the ups and downs of being a “major league girlfriend.” It’s a much more light-hearted book than MIND GAMES, but again there’s that theme of her not yet having found Mr. Right, and then all the doors it opens in her heart and her life when she finally meets him.

Ultimately, this is why erotic romance is still romance, because although we want him in bed, we still want Mr. Right. It’s just romance created to satisfy the women like me who aren’t satisfied by a story that doesn’t meet their own sexual reality, and those are the women I set out to please, too. And I’m sure as the needs and lives of women continue to change in the 21st century, the heroines and stories we find in romances will change to meet them.

Cecilia Tan is the author of the erotic romances MIND GAMES, THE HOT STREAK, and the forthcoming MAGIC UNIVERSITY series, as well as numerous books of erotica and baseball nonfiction. Read sample chapters more at http://www.ceciliatan.com/.

References:
“More Girls Are Sexually Active, Study Finds,” by Felicity Barrington, New York Times, November 10, 1990 (http://www.nytimes.com/1990/11/10/us/more-girls-are-sexually-active-study-finds.html)

“Facts on American Teens’ Sexual and Reproductive Health,” Alan Guttmacher Institute, September 2006 (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_ATSRH.html)

“Most Americans Have Had Premarital Sex,” By Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY, December 19, 2006, (http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-12-19-premarital-sex_x.htm)

America transformed: sixty years of revolutionary change, 1941-2001, by Richard M. Abrams, Cambridge University Press, 2001

“A Brief History of the Romance Genre,” by Beatrice Small, Shorelines newsletter, August 19, 2007 (http://www.authorscene.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=60)

Photo Credits: Wiros, Oneras [what about peace?]