An Author By Any Other Name by Raven ShadowHawk

Hi folks, my name is Raven ShadowHawk, thanks for having me here today. I want to talk about pen names and how (I feel) they can (and should) be used.

First off, I suppose I should mention that Raven ShadowHawk is a pen name. Ha, so this topic is close to my heart. I should also mention that it’s not my only pen name.

OneRaven ShadowHawk

I also write fantasy under Ileandra Young and the two names are yet to meet (though I’m beginning to think a cross over is imminent). I work (write) from home while caring for my young boys (twins) and my older boy (who probably wouldn’t appreciate being called ‘boy’ as he is my partner and father to my sons :-p).

Two

Ileandra Young

I should also mention that I have a plethora (man, I love that word!) of other names too: Leah (on my birth certificate), Trya (when I’m LARPing) Oi You (when I’m with friends), Sexy Balls (when with my old house mates – don’t ask) and Diavian / Shaniqua / Ilanyë / Lupa / Catarina / Yuvina / Minnie / Myst / Isys / Taithin / Michael (when I’m playing RPG games like Dungeons and Dragons). I have many names. Each of them has special meaning to me and that is the first thing I want to talk to you about.

Three

Trya

Why Have A Pen Name?

Not for the hell of it, that’s for sure. Not just because you fancy a different name on the spines of your books; I honestly feel that your name should mean something. After all, it’s how you’re going to become known.

There is a (very) long story about how I picked the name Ileandra for my fantasy pennings, but the one for Raven is much shorter so I’ll tell you that. There was a man I met at university with whom I had a brief (thankfully) fling. It was intense and sexy but ended quite sharply when I told him it would be nice if he stayed the night rather than ‘partying and bailing.’ He told me I was a ‘typical woman’ and I told him to ‘get the fuck out.’ True story.

But… (!)the point of this tale, is that he used to call me his Nubian Princess (which I thought was pretty sweet). Then as he got more irritated with my insistence for an actual relationship, it became his Raven Princess (before downgrading to Typical Woman).

I liked (and continue to like) the name Raven. It has weight now, as it reminds me (on a low-key level) that all the smexxy-hot-times in the world (because they really were!) are no substitute for an actual relationship.

See? A name that means something.

Do You Need A Pen Name?

Not really. Unless you’re writing an exposé about your life with the Russian Mafia just as you’re stepping into a high profile political career. You can probably just use your own name. After all, isn’t it must easier to market/promote yourself if people know who you are? Using a pen name makes it even harder for the people who know you to find you in a saturated market, let alone the people who have no idea who you are.

Similarly if you’re writing personal, sensitive material then sure, you could use a pen name. I have a writing buddy who writes a column in the local paper. Since it’s about her life with her children, everyone has a different name to protect their identities and privacy. Not really a safety thing – it’s far too easy to find information on people these days – but if surface-level privacy is something you’re concerned about, then why not?

Is It A Marketing Thing?

I’ll be honest, it can be. Though I write with you here, now, as Raven ShadowHawk, until mid-2013 everything I wrote came under the name Ileandra Young. Now because I’ve separated the two names, I’ve made a bit of a spectacle out of it. On my blog, I refer to myself (Leah) in the third person since both I (Raven) and I (Ileandra) talk about myself (Leah) during the course of my blog posts.

Confused yet? :-p

Four

Examples of savvy marketing with pen names range from hugely positive (JK Rowling and Robert Gilbraith) to vastly negative and fury-inducing (I won’t name these authors because they don’t deserve any attention from me for what they’re doing). Some authors use a pen name to distance themselves from the work or test the waters without the weight of their own name behind them (Stephen King, Shaun Hutson). Others use pen names to hide their gender (George Elliot, JD Robb, Harper Lee).

There are lots of reasons people feel the need to use pen names and these are just a few. I touched on this topic briefly on my own blog while discussing character names, but I would love to talk to you guys about it here. Any of you writerly types have a pen name? May I ask why? Does it have a special significance to you or, like some other writer friends of mine, is it because your true name is impossible to spell or pronounce easily? Why not hit me up in the comments and let me know?

Raven ShadowHawk can be found on her blog talking about all things writerly, or on her website. She appreciates comments and friendly discussion and takes the time to answer any and all questions.

***

SugarDust-200x300After an unwelcome family visit highlights romantic insecurities, Dan takes Karen to exclusive fetish club, Sugar Dust. Will the trip rescue or destroy their relationship?

Dan loves submissive women and longs to build a harem of willing females to fill what he lovingly calls his “Slave Library.” He shares his plans for sexual bliss with Karen, the first of his submissives in both his mind and his heart. But when an unexpected visit from his mother leads to uncomfortable questions about his ex, Dan realizes that past mistakes are catching up to him, faster than he can run.

The first D/s relationship to blend comfortably with her vanilla life is the one Karen shares with Dan. She treasures the freedom in the act of submission and wants nothing more than to share it with her Master for as long as possible. Why then does he insist on bringing other women into their beds? And why can’t he say he loves her?

As Dan battles his inner demons, Karen hopes a sexy mini break at the exclusive fetish club, Sugar Dust will allow them time to relax and reconnect. There she meets Beth, the personification of Dan’s past, storming in to demolish her present. Can Karen show Dan that their relationship is strong enough to break the chains of his past, before Beth drives an immoveable wedge between them with her tales of what once was?

Buy: Sugar Dust (Slippers and Chains Book 1)

New Year Resolutions that go Horribly Wrong

Hi everyone! I’m back again! This time I’m talking about my book Makahiki, the third and final chapter in my M/M urban fantasy/paranormal series, The Last Warrior.

It’s apt that I am here so early in the New Year since Makahiki is the Hawaiian word for a special festival celebrated each New Year in the islands. These lavish feasts often went on for a week, so maybe it’s not so surprising they are no longer celebrated.

For my character, Lio and his alter-ego, ‘Ailani, life has come full circle with endings and beginnings. Life is wonderful for Lio, but also frightening. Somebody very close to him is trying to kill him. But when he has dreams about the future, the killer looks like…him.

With this being the first week of 2015, I’m still thinking about fresh new beginnings, and resolutions. And how they can go horribly wrong. Mine usually do, but then I do tend to set myself lofty goals that doom me to failure. I’ve also seen people around me set good intentions for themselves, with often appalling results.

I once had the worst New Year’s Eve on record. I get breathless just thinking about it, but this is what happened. A guy I liked asked me out for New Year’s Eve and I was thrilled. I have always been taught that how you usher in a new year is a harbinger of how the other 364 days will go. And so I have strived to do something fun that doesn’t involve leaving my house. Yes, I’m a bit of a hermit, really.

But many years ago I was single and caved in to temptation. This guy asked me out and his sister and best friend called me and said we’d all been invited to a toga party. God! It sounded awful, but I was trying to be congenial. I was trying to be, well, happy. So two of my friends came over and sewed me into a bed sheet since I had no idea where to rent a toga, and they sewed fruit along the one shoulder holding the whole thing up, and I looked pretty good.

Until the others arrived and nobody was dressed up.

Nope. Not a single one. It was impossible to get out of that tight-fitting outfit. It was awful. They all made fun of me. When I asked the girls why they hadn’t dressed up, or why nobody had mentioned it to me they said, “We all had bets that you’d come dressed up.”

Well!

I had to walk all the way down to the taxi stand, on the street, in my bed sheet. My companions picked at the grapes dangling over my right breast and I wanted to go home, unpick the stitches in my sheet and crawl into bed. For the rest of my life.

But that was just the beginning. My date and his best friend had never mentioned to any of us that the party was at a sex club. As in, sex orgy.

I went mad. I didn’t want to be at an orgy!

I was the only one who ended up having a good night because I left and headed home, eating the rest of the fruit on my toga and nabbing the last free cab in town. I have never forgotten that night. Those girls sat there miserable all night. I guess I got the last laugh but it wasn’t fun. Going home, cutting myself out of that sheet and hanging out with my pets was super fun.

But, what happens if the New Year brings you more joy, more happiness, yet more weirdness than you could ever imagine?

That’s what happens in Makahiki: The Last Warrior. What was your worst New Year’s Eve ever? Please post a comment to qualify for the draw to win an ebook copy.

And in the meantime, please feel free to check out my details:

***

MAKAHIKI_200x300On the anniversary of the ancient Makahiki festival, reincarnated Hawaiian warrior, Lio Paiaki, goes back in time to face a deadly enemy: himself. In the final chapter of the exciting Last Warrior series, Lio Paikai rushes to the hospital with his lover, Kord, for the birth of his baby brother, Lono. They’re soon waylaid, however, by traffic on the Pali Highway. 

Not by cars, but foot traffic. He and Kord, who once were warriors for the last king of Oahu, have intercepted an ancient procession of devotees marching down the old Pali for the Makahiki. They’re stunned to learn dark kahuna forces plan to provide a blood sacrifice for the New Year festival. 

The sacrifice they have inadvertently crossed paths with is Lio’s. He must right past wrongs—or there won’t be any future for him or the man he loves.

Find A.J. Llewellyn on Amazon

***

A.J. Llewellyn lives in California, but dreams of living in Hawaii. Frequent trips to all the islands, bags of Kona coffee in the fridge and a healthy collection of Hawaiian records keep this writer refueled.

A.J’s passion for the islands have led to writing a play about the last ruling monarch of Hawaii, Queen Lili’uokalani, plus a non-erotic novel about the overthrow of her kingdom written in diary form from her maid’s point of view.

AJ never lacks inspiration for male/male erotic romances and on the rare occasions this happens, pursue other passions such as collecting books on Hawaiiana, surfing and spending time with friends and animal companions.

A.J. Llewellyn believes that love is a song best sung out loud.

Find A.J. Llewellyn on Amazon

How to find/friend A.J.

website: www.ajllewellyn.com

www.facebook.com/aj.llewellyn

www.twitter.com/ajllewellyn

Newsletter sign-up: ajllewellynnewsletter@gmail.com

I’m an app! Download my FREE A.J. Llewellyn App for Android here: http://tinyurl.com/lkbc4wm

Compulsive Writer of Smut

Red Dress 200x300Guest blog by Erzabet Bishop, author of Red Dress

Hi and thanks for having me on the blog today. My name is Erzabet Bishop and I am a compulsive writer of smut. I write in several genres within said smut because I have a limited attention span and can’t seem to make up my mind what I’m focused on from one moment to the next. One minute it’s witches with enchanted paddles and the next it’s holiday antics with vibrators and spankings. What can I say? I’m a kinky thing living in a librarian style body. Gotta let a girl have her fun, right?

Some obscure facts of an absurd nature:

  1. I hated tacos as a kid and now you can’t pry them from my hands. I live in Texas people, what do you want from me? Oh- pass that guac please. Hold the tomatoes or I’ll throw them at you. *narrows eyes in serious fashion*
  2. Chocolate in all of its should by rights be one of my main food groups. I have piles of it on my desk and I seriously don’t think I could meet a single deadline without it.
  3. My first published erotica piece was about zombies. Go figure.
  4. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. After all, there are lots and lots of cookies!
  5. There is a distinct possibility I may have rescued most of the canine population of my small town. Well, if the dog food bill is any indication that is…

Back to being serious-okay not really but I really should talk about my nifty new story, The Red Dress. It’s my first publication with Breathless Press and I’m very excited to share it with you. A restless librarian…a sexy pair of knickers and a naughty drawer in the nightstand…What more could a girl want, except maybe a hunk of a husband with a firm hand. Check out my excerpts and see what you think:

Author: Erzabet Bishop

Publisher: Breathless Press

Genre: Contemporary romance/ holiday/ erotic/ Flirt

Blurb:

Angel in a red dress…

Cecily’s husband Neil has kept her waiting one too many times. After another lonely night of movie watching, she decides to take her pleasure into her own hands. Tangled up tinsel, a smoking hot red dress and a holiday wish come true are in store for Cecily when Neil comes home from work and catches her being a very naughty girl.

Buy: Red Dress

Excerpts:

Naughty:
“Take off your thong.”

“What?”

“You heard me.”

Thumbs hooked in the delicate fabric, Cecily did as he asked, the red thong sliding down her legs and onto the carpet.

“Now. Put those on.”

It took Cecily a moment to understand the mechanics of the tie-up panties, but she secured them and finally knotted the bows at her hips. She looked like a very naughty Christmas present ready to be unwrapped.

“Good. Now bring me the small gadget in the paper.”

Cecily dug it out of the box and dropped it into Neil’s palm.

“Hold still.”

Neil leaned forward and slid a finger inside the panties, deliberately brushing against Cecily’s clit, causing her to jump. Cecily moaned as a second finger slipped something small and cool inside a pocket in the panties. Withdrawing his finger, Neil grinned.

Nice:

“What are you doing?” Neil’s voice slid along her spine, startling her.

Cecily wobbled on her heels, trying not to fall. She reached out and rested her hand on the bed, trying not to think about what almost might have happened. For once she was glad of her obsession with organizing by list. If she’d reached into that drawer…

Her eyes were drawn to the phone on his hip and she twisted her fingers together. Had he viewed the pictures?

“I was getting changed.”

Setting down his briefcase and a large bag, Neil crossed his arms over his broad chest and narrowed his eyes. A curl of dark brown hair fell across his broad forehead, his lips thinning in displeasure.

“I had a meeting that ran late and I had to stop and pick up a few things for our evening. You were supposed to be ready at seven.”

“I was.”

“But you aren’t now.”

“No.” Cecily blushed and edged the point of her black dress shoe against the carpet. “I thought maybe you’d forgotten.”

“Forgot?” Neil’s eyes snapped up, his voice sharp. He moved forward, his long legs crossing the span of the bedroom in moments.

Fingers gripped her chin and forced her gaze upwards.

“I would never forget you. Change of plans. We’re staying in…for now.” Neil released her and stepped back, his eyes molten.

***

I hope you all have a marvelous holiday season and I hope you enjoy The Red Dress.

Warmly yours,

Erzabet Bishop

Erzabet Bishop Author PicAbout the author:

Erzabet Bishop has been crafting stories since she could pound keys on her parents’ old typewriter. She has only just learned that it is a whole lot more fun writing naughty books. She is a contributing author to the Silk Words website with her Fetish Fair, Gingerbread Dreams, Holiday Cruise and Temptation Resorts interactive romances, Sci Spanks 2014 Anthology, Potnia, A Christmas To Remember, Taboo II, Forbidden Fruit, Club Rook: The Series, Sweat, Bossy, Cougars, Spank or Treat, When the Clock Strikes Thirteen, Wicked Things, Unwrap these Presents, Unbound Box, Milk & Cookies & Handcuffs, Corset Magazine: Sex Around the World, Vaginas and Vulvas, Man vs. Machine: The Sex Toy Issue, Smut by the Sea Volume 2, Hell Whore Volume 2, Can’t Get Enough, Slave Girls, The Big Book of Submission, Hungry for More, Gratis II, Gratis III, Anything She Wants, Dirty Little Numbers, Kink-E magazine, Eternal Haunted Summer, Coming Together: Girl on Girl, Shifters, Coming Together: For the Holidays and Coming Together: Hungry for Love among others. She is the author of Lipstick (upcoming), Dinner Date, Tethered, Sweet Seductions: The Erzabet Bishop Collection, Red Moon Rising (upcoming), Red Boots (upcoming), Charity Benshaw’s Enchanted Paddle Emporium (upcoming), Holidays in Hell (upcoming), Pomegranate (upcoming), Red Dress, Sigil Fire, Written on Skin: A Sigil Fire Short, The Erotic Pagans Series: Beltane Fires, Samhain Shadows and Yuletide Temptation. Erzabet was a finalist for the GCLS 2014 awards in two separate categories. She lives in Texas with her husband, furry children and can often be found lurking in local bookstores. She loves to bake, make naughty crochet projects and watch monster movies. When she isn’t writing, she loves to review music and books.

Follow her reviews and posts on Twitter @erzabetbishop.

Links:

Facebook “like” page: https://www.facebook.com/erzabetbishopauthor

Author WordPress blog: http://erzabetbishop.wordpress.com/

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/erzabetbishop/

Buy: Red Dress

Forget Babies, Here’s Where Love Scenes Come From

dani collinsGuest blog by Dani Collins, author of The Dani Collins Erotic Romance Collection: Mastering Her Role\Playing the Master

One of the most clichéd question we romance writers get is something along the lines of, “How do you research the sex scenes?” It’s one of those things where the people saying it don’t mean anything, they see a clever witticism, but from our end it’s kind of like a stranger walking into my bedroom uninvited. I don’t care if I’m only watering the plants, it’s still an invasion. We writers smile and pretend it’s fine, but we’re always privately thinking, Dude. Not cool.

I’ve had quite an increase in those sly remarks since I came out about the erotic romances I have releasing this August, so I thought I’d talk about how these super-sexy books actually came into being. Hashtag-spoiler-alert: Not based on my own life.

About fifteen years ago, which was a good ten years into my twenty-five year journey to making my first sale, I was super frustrated with all the rejections I was receiving from romance and decided to try my hand at erotica. It was gaining popularity at the time. Ellora’s Cave was the hot publisher of the day, and I was definitely not alone in thinking an erotic ebook might be the wedge that opened the door for other publishing endeavors. In fact, when I mentioned to a writer friend that I was going to write an erotica, she said, “Et tu Brute?” because so many people were doing it.

I was a little hurt, to be honest. It made me feel like she thought I was being a sell-out. Or maybe that trying to do an end run was cheating. I wrote the book anyway. I had what I thought was a fun premise—an alpha Presents-type hero, Jason, who has an alter-ego who’s even more dominant (Dominic). The virgin-like (history of repression) heroine, Arianne, asks to meet this other persona so he can ‘teach’ her to be sexy.

The lessons in intimacy escalated naturally, which made the book fairly straightforward to write. The final manuscript had some problems. My agent at the time suggested I develop the hero more, especially in his Clark Kent guise. I didn’t know how. I actually went to contract on the story, flawed as it was, but wound up with a case of cold-feet, partly induced by that sense of judgment from my friend. I shelved it and moved on to other genres.

Do I regret that decision? Not really. I wasn’t ready in a couple of ways. I wasn’t prepared to start my publishing career as an erotic writer—not because I’m a snob or anything, but my writer friend was right about one thing. I was betraying myself. My heart belonged to straight romance. But I knew I wasn’t ready as a writer. I genuinely didn’t feel I had the skills to do the story justice.

Fast forward fifteen years and a handful of Harlequin Presents under my belt. Given the popularity of Fifty Shades, I figured it was now or never for that erotica sitting on my hard drive. I asked my editor if she’d like to see it and then I had to take a fresh look at the hero’s journey in that book before I sent it to her.

With the experience I’d gained over the years, I was able to see how to expand on the romance and develop the hero and I wasn’t the only one who loved the final product. The team at HarlequinE did too. In fact, they loved it so much, they asked for another one.

One piece of advice I often heard over the years of submitting and getting rejected was to always have a follow up book in mind. “No one wants a one-book wonder,” published authors would say. “They’ll want to know what you’re planning next.”

Well, I always thought it would be fun to have a companion novel to the above, but with the heroine having a secret identity. For any would-be writers in the group, let me state right here that the difference between a premise and an idea is the premise has a story thread you can already follow, eg. How will the heroine learn to be sexy? Questions spring to mind about how this story will play out.

An idea inspires questions like: Who is the main character? Where is it set? What is the premise? After much cogitating, I came up with: Ann is being forced to marry Porter. She isn’t sure she wants to, especially when she’s made-over into the submissive, Violet, and sees the world he inhabits (a BDSM club in Paris.)

Coming up with that was a challenge, but even harder was writing erotic romance again. I hadn’t written one in years. Yes, I had revised one, but the skeleton of the story was there. Those of you thinking erotic romance is just a romance with blunt language and graphic sex are dead wrong. You’re juggling a whole different element. I’m sorry to kill the mystique, but writing erotic romance is work, same as any other book.

Which means I probably should have entitled this post Why I Probably Won’t Write Another Erotic Romance. But I won’t say that because if the right premise comes along, I will write one. (In fact, I wound up writing a novella length one for The Chatsfield Series which is also out in August. My editor gave me the premise. If you enjoy bondage stories, you’ll want to look up The Secret In Room 823.)

Which required a ton of research. Honestly, I think the real reason I get my back up when I’m asked about researching love scenes is the implication that I can’t just use the internet like I do with everything else. No one asks, “Does your husband help you murder people so you get that right?”

Am I being over-sensitive? How would you answer that question? What’s your pet peeve about your job?

I’d love to draw from the commenters for one e-copy of The Dani Collins Erotic Romance Collection.

HARLEQUINe_Erotic-Collection_DaniCollins_WEBBLURB(S):

Two lessons of disguise, erotic pleasure, and liberation from renowned author Dani Collins.

Playing The Master

In a week, timid Ann Parker will belong to the coldly handsome Porter Navarro—a marriage arranged by her vicious stepfather. But when she’s secretly made over and presented to Porter as “Violet,” she is initiated into his world of dark, exquisite delights. One where he is master. But it’s only as Violet that Ann tastes true freedom. And her liberation will cost not only her sensual teacher, but the man she’s grown to love…

Mastering Her Role

Arianne has it bad for her friend and neighbour, Jason. Unfortunately, rumour has it that Jason has a kinky side, and Arianne’s inner freak is still hiding in the closet. So Arianne asks Jason to introduce her to his friend Dominic—a sexually dominant instructor in the ways of pleasure. And so Arianne begins her lessons of sexuality, lust, and being thoroughly and deliciously ravished. But behind his mask, Dominic seems awfully familiar…

Buy: The Dani Collins Erotic Romance Collection: Mastering Her Role\Playing the Master

EXCERPT – Playing The Master:

On the telephone he had sounded like Jason with a British accent. More or less.

The relationship between the two men was something of a mystery. She’d pressed Celine after the woman said with haughty amusement, I thought he would have introduced you to Dominic by now. But she’d only received a smirk in response.

Arianne wondered how much he’d be like Jason as she stood outside the hotel-room door. Until Jason had yanked her into his arms and spoken so explicitly, she’d only suspected what kind of man lurked beneath his quiet exterior. The idea of giving herself over to someone like that made her breath stutter, urging her to back out of this crazy stunt and retreat down the hall.

It didn’t matter how desperately she wanted Jason. He was a man who enjoyed highly sophisticated sex play. She’d never reach his level. This was—

The door opened.

The man who filled the open frame wore black from silk shirt to snug leather pants tucked into tall, well-worn boots that reminded her of Jason’s. She couldn’t be sure of his identity by looking at his hands or face. He wore leather gloves and a silky kerchief thing, cut with eyeholes. It hid the upper half of his face and hair, like a pirate.

Below the mask was a blond goatee. Jason’s hair was dark as a raven’s wing. This man was about as tall as Jason, but Jason had green eyes, while the ones staring at her were brown.

Stop comparing him to Jason, she scolded herself. He looked like the kind of man who wouldn’t put up with that sort of divided attention.

“Too timid to knock? Come in,” he said in that subtle accent, so crisp with authority. He braced the door with a straight elbow, remaining in the space so she would have to duck beneath his arm and brush his body to get by.

Her purse felt slippery in her grip, and she was pretty sure she was going to faint.

When she hesitated, he said, “Would it help to know I don’t intend to touch you? You wanted to meet me, so we’ll talk.”

She managed to swallow and nod then pressed through the tiny opening, feeling the brush of soft silk against her bare shoulder. She hadn’t known what to wear and had settled on this lacy sundress. It was too virginal, she realized. It screamed of inexperience. Timid. Newbie.

But she was here now, looking around the elegant suite. This was a chic boutique hotel, and he’d booked them into one of the best rooms, a suite on an upper floor. It had a lounge area, a small bar and a door to the left that would be the bathroom. The bed sat on a platform three stairs up, next to the hollow of a three-sided window alcove. Across the foot of the ornate king-size bed draped a fringed, peacock-blue sheet. A footstool, also ornately carved and upholstered in red velvet, stood beside the bed next to a discreet black suitcase.

Wondering what the case might contain made her abdomen tense. She jerked her gaze to the drawn sheers over the window that allowed some of the afternoon sun to penetrate, bringing a glow to the polished wood detailing above the empty fireplace. The room was comfortably warm. The air-conditioning, off. No hum. No music, either, just silence as he waited behind her.

She knew she ought to turn to face him, but it was easier to continue studying the room. In one corner stood a screen, black, with an inlay of tile chips. Perhaps it belonged to him, since mosaic nudes in Kama Sutra poses decorated it. Something red hung over the top of it. The rest of the furniture appeared to be hotel issue. Lovely, but not provocative—not like that screen or the suitcase.

“I said I wouldn’t touch you but I have a custom, Arianne. People who play sexual games need signals between them to express readiness to begin and closure at the end. It builds trust. You will kiss me now and again when you leave.”

Was he kidding?

She pivoted slowly, trying to find something reassuring in the cut of his jawline, but he was pure wickedness, lounging so negligently beside the door. She didn’t think she could do it and wound up shaking her head at him.

“I was under the impression you wanted to reset the boundaries you’ve placed on your sexuality. Have you changed your mind?”

Buy: The Dani Collins Erotic Romance Collection: Mastering Her Role\Playing the Master

BIO:

After a brilliant debut in the UK with No Longer Forbidden, a Mills & Boon Modern Book Of The Month January 2013, Dani’s first Harlequin Presents, Proof Of Their Sin, won the Reviewer’s Choice by Romantic Times Book Reviews for Best First In Series. While her focus is Harlequin Presents, Dani also writes romantic comedy, medieval fantasy, and coming August of 2014, erotic romance. Whatever the genre, she always delivers sexy alpha heroes, witty, spirited heroines, complex emotions and loads of passion.

Enter Dani Collins’ Masked Desires Contest for a chance to express your secret desires from behind a masquerade mask.

Stay current with Dani’s new releases by joining her newsletter or visiting her here:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Audio Review: Disciplining the Duchess by Annabel Joseph

Disciplining the DuchessHero: The Duke of Courtland is known for his subversive bedroom behavior and his uncomfortable preferences. He’s also known for his rigid control and decorum… but that just confirms these “uncomfortable habits.” He’s a dom and is into spanking – the news reaches his father-in-law and fiancée and suddenly he’s jilted while the bride runs off with another. Determined to leave it behind, Court goes to a house party and comes across a most intriguing creature.

Heroine: Miss Harmony Barrett is a spinster in the making. She’s been on the marriage mart for five seasons and is still unmarried. She’s very good at repelling gentlemen of consequence away – but who wouldn’t repel a greasy overblown aristocrat, decades older than yourself? She’s not even allowed to waltz since the debacle at Almacks. A genuine bluestocking, Harmony prefers her books on Mongol hordes over idle chitchat with girls her own age. When it comes to the hero and Mongols, she’s a bit of an airhead.

Review: Harmony is a heroine determined to land herself in the suds. She wants to see a Roman wall so badly she runs off without telling anyone. Lucky for her the Duke was interested in her safety to the point of willingly leg-shackling himself to her in order to fulfill her stubborn desire. (Heroine believes for as long as possible there will be no consequences to her misadventure.) The story is definitely erotica and for the most part works really well and comes across sexy. But as with most BDSM set-ups the hero is unaware of when he takes it too far and it causes emotional and physical strife for the heroine. That’s always difficult for me especially when the reasoning behind the “big punishment” is so stupid. Court wants Harmony to be a society duchess, but he’s oblivious to her own desires and the fact that she’s apparently incapable of proper behavior in front of company. He tries to mold her into something she’s not and that there is the “uncomfortable habits” for me. I quite liked the heroine just as she was – earnest, eager, and ditzy. The heroine pulls off a “perfect submission” as an innocent punishment for the hero (she’s really trying to be exactly what he wants.) It becomes very clear to Court that the perfect sub and featureless woman is not what he truly desires… and then comes the groveling. Epilogue was meh for me. Overall, why it works so well is how much it reads like a “normal” Regency romance novel with a little extra added.

Narrator: Emma Kent is great. She makes the heroine sound young and airy (and occasionally earnestly ditzy). She handled the bedroom scenes very well and in a way that pulled you further into the story. In my opinion she was integral in how the novel read to listeners. I can’t think of another narrator that would have fit as perfectly as she did.

Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Disciplining the Duchess, Disciplining the Duchess (Audiobook)

Review: Islands by Richard V. Raiment

islands raimentReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: When two men find themselves shipwrecked on a deserted island they find that they must find a connection as they are the only two men who are left there for years. Of course there is only one way for them to quell the boredom of isolation, but Peter Lightfoot is a gay man while Thomas Carton is straight. That doesn’t stop them having intimacy though but when a woman is shipwrecked with them, anything could happen.

Review: The book starts out from Tom Carton’s perspective, from his time on the ship when turbulent seas meant the two of them had to make do on a desert island with no other company. Glad that he is not alone, he is also shocked that they would be involved in such an awful time sailing. Richard uses the language of the day and has Tom referring to Peter as a “Molly,” a man who has what he calls unnatural relations with another man, so the writing is very convincing – that you are transported to that particular time and place. You could be there, an observer of what two men’s lives would be like. There is the tension, the misery of them maybe never seeing anyone else ever again. it isn’t just the isolation that causes both men grief, it is the change in the way Tom feels about his new-found friend and bed partner, Peter. At first he sees him as a gay man, someone to avoid, feel hatred toward and even great unease, but as the story progresses, he has to change his mind about him and even grow to like him having been on the island with him so long. This is not just a menage story, it is more about acceptance than anything else.

Good Bits:

  • There are some humorous moments in the story.
  • The story is well written and you can actually feel you are there observing the action and the feelings of others purely as an observer.
  • Peter and Tom’s relationship – from unease and loathing to love, it couldn’t get any better than that.

Summary: This is a story to enjoy, and unlike many other novels that are at two-hundred or more pages long, this one is a lot less and more compact and cut back so that readers aren’t troubled by too many words of description or narrative. I love to read period dramas and menage ones are pretty rare, or so this reviewer thinks and I must admit to looking forward to seeing more from this writer in the near future.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: ISLANDS

Review: Dirty Teacher by Harley Baker

dirty teacher harley bakerReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: For Linda Moore, sex is something she doesn’t get much of as she considers herself undesirable to the opposite sex, but that is before she meets Zac. Linda is a kind woman who wants to do her bit to help others learn more than they could in a society that doesn’t like drop outs and the sort of kids she teaches every day. Her main annoyance is her urge to help these kids versus the fact she’s exhausted all the time when she comes home from work. Zac Jones is the sort of man every woman wants, he is attentive, handsome and kind – it could be said he is the best she could ever want, but her only problem is the fact he is 19 and a student at the college she works at as a teacher.

Review: You might recall I previously reviewed Harley’s other story, Two Friends and a Bartender. I liked it, and wanted to read more from what I would call a new author who specialises in erotic works. Like the previous story, this one is set into several chapters too even though it’s the same length. This makes it easier to read as you can separate the blocks of text. I liked Linda, she’s a teacher, and let’s face it, we all hated them when we were at school, but she thinks what we would be thinking if we took her class every day for a whole year with the same drop out students. She wants to make a difference to the world, but knows she might not even make a dent with the heavy work load she has plus the student most girls would swoon at who has his eye on her. What is a girl to do? Linda’s history with men isn’t so good, her previous boyfriend resented her for being at work most of the time, and she feels as though she is getting older an hating the thought that soon she might be past her prime. She sees everyone else at college as being lucky not having to go home and grade papers, but lucky for her – she soon has a young man who could love her for who she is.

Good bits:

  • Linda is a kind-hearted gal, so she gets a hot guy for her troubles!
  • Zac smoulders on the pages and acts like the bad boy you can imagine.
  • The story is well paced and fun.

Bad bits:

  • The story can be seen as a might unrealistic with Linda risking her career for a fling.

Final Thoughts: This was another short but sweet story from Harley, and taken on a purely fantasy basis, reads nice and steamy, just the way I like it, but if this were true, a career woman like Linda wouldn’t risk her job for a fling with a young man like him, even though there are many who have made the mistake, Linda knows the rules and what she’s risking and she doesn’t care. Other than this, I liked the build-up and the character development on such a short story – it’s well done and has what I would call a happy ending for now.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Dirty Teacher

Review: Forbidden Desires by Marina Anderson

forbidden desiresReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Lewis James had popped the question to Harriet in the previous novel, Dark Secret and she had reluctantly accepted his marriage proposal. After the success of his movie Dark Secret, Lewis has come up with another idea for Forbidden Desires, his next movie. It is going to be about her husband and his newly wedded wife, and for it to work, he has brought in some more people; the handsome and enigmatic Edmund, who he knows Harriet fancies, and Noelle his voluptuous wife. The question is, will Harriet fall for Edmund, and unleash all her forbidden desires for another man, or sill she resist the temptation?

Review: Lewis has already bet Edmund that she can’t resist his good looks and daring personality. Edmund has already tired of Noelle, and looks for someone else to fill the void his life has become; obviously in this it proves that having beauty and a voluptuous body can’t keep a man in love with you for long. A man like Edmund needs more to keep him interested, and so far Noelle hasn’t been interesting enough.

As the story continues, Harriet believes Lewis is more interested in the making of his movie than in his wife; in fact she wonders why he married her in the first place as he confesses to her in bed that he would have affairs even when married to her. Lewis is a cold, calculating man who likes to push people to the brink of insanity, but who doesn’t like it if his calculations are off about situations he has put his characters in. As we noticed in Dark Secret, his calculations don’t always go as planned, and in this he will have to be strong if he is to keep his wife.

In a rented house in Cornwall, Lewis puts his notion of faithfulness to the test. It is an unusual tale, but a thrilling one that makes for questioning your own ideals of right and wrong. You realise that Lewis is only concerned with his work as a film director, Noelle has a tainted past, but is more honest than the others, while Edmund is a control freak in bed, and that comes across in the sexually charged scenes between him and Noelle. The nub of the story is how far would Lewis be prepared to go to let his new wife gain new heights of pleasure with other men for the sake of his new movie’s success.

As in Dark Secret, the handsome Lewis was married to Rowena, a former Hollywood starlet who is now past her prime, and had to watch as her husband cavorted with Harriet, her new PR. In Forbidden Desires, the rules are reversed, and the story turns into another summer sizzler.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Forbidden Desires