Articles for the Year 2014

Discouragement

I’ll admit it… I’ve been in kind of a whiny mood the past couple of weeks.

My first erotic romance story was accepted for publication almost 6 years ago. (January 2009). And my first YA novel, under my other pen name, was accepted in the fall of the same year. Since then, I’ve had… well, a lot of things published. And very few rejections.

In November, I got rejections on two romance projects. And that’s hitting me harder than I thought it would.

Getting rejections is part of the business of being a writer, and I know this. I don’t take rejections personally, any more than I take negative reviews personally. It’s about the book, not *me*.

But because these were only my seventh and eighth rejections since I started writing for publication, and because depression is a dick and the people in my past who told me negative things about myself apparently still live in my brain, I’m struggling to reach the point of “This isn’t something to dwell on, I can get past it, and I can try other publishers.” Both rejections were from publishers I’m not currently working with, that I was really hoping to get into, and one of the two had rejected one of my other books three years ago.

I know I’m good enough. I know that there’s definitely room for improvement in my writing, but I also know that my writing is good and that I’m capable of learning new things and making those improvements.

It’s just a matter of letting this mood pass so I can get back to work and try again.

Teaser Thursday- Christmas Consummation

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Rance held her hand as they walked inside but let go when they reached Ellery, who embraced Alanna and gave her a kiss that was only a bit too heated for public. He slid his hand over her ass as he let go. “Gorgeous,” he said.

“Careful.” Alanna looked around. “We wouldn’t want to give anyone the wrong idea.”

“Except it would be the right idea.” Ellery pulled one of the chairs out from the table and motioned to it. “Have a seat.”

Bemused, Alanna sat. Ellery stepped away and Rance pushed in Alanna’s chair.

“Two gentlemen.” Alanna smiled at each of them as they sat down on either side of her. “I am very lucky.”

“We’re the lucky ones.” Rance picked up his fabric napkin and spread it on his lap. “While we’re here, we’ll behave. At least I will. I can’t speak for the perv over there.” He inclined his head toward Ellery.

“I’m not a perv,” Ellery said. “I’m just confident.”

Alanna laughed. “So it’s going to be an interesting night. Are you two sure about this? It isn’t anything we haven’t already done but it’s different.” She couldn’t quite find the words for what she meant but hoped the guys would understand her question.

“It’s different because we both know we want to be with you now, and it isn’t spur-of-the-moment,” Rance said. “Separately everything was great. We can keep it separate all the time except I don’t think that’s what you want, Alanna.”

“I want whatever you two are comfortable with.” She paused. “No. I don’t want to be with you each separately all the time. Part of the appeal of having you both in my life is occasionally having both of you. If you aren’t okay with it, though, I can let it go.”

“Tonight we’ll see whether we’re okay with it,” Ellery said. “The other night was fun as hell. We just weren’t totally prepared for how we would feel about it. The feels, they burn.”

“Yeah.” Alanna reached out her hands to them, and each of the guys took one. “I love you both,” she said. “Whatever it takes for this to work, I’ll try.”

“So will I,” Rance said.

“Feels,” Ellery muttered. “Yeah. What he said.”

Alanna shook her head. “Okay, cynical one. Let’s eat and then we’ll see what happens back at the motel.”

Release Week! Christmas Consummation

It’s the holiday season, which means ’tis the season of Christmas-themed romance stories. Ellora’s Cave decided this year to do a menage theme for Christmas, and before a few other things happened, I wrote a story for it. Menage is kind of my thing lately… not so much about the sex, but about the dynamics of having more than two people involved in a relationship.

I also have a soft spot for reunion stories, so that’s what I ended up writing. In Christmas Consummation, Alanna reluctantly returns to her hometown for Christmas and encounters the two men she loved in high school. Back then, Rance was one of her oldest friends, and Ellery was the “new kid”. Alanna was in love with both of them, but when they wanted her to choose between them, she chose to have neither.

Seventeen years have passed. Alanna and Rance have both been married and divorced. Ellery has never married. When they reunite at a bar a couple days before Christmas, it’s obvious to all three that old feelings haven’t died. And this time, Rance and Ellery are mature enough to understand and accept that Alanna can’t choose, and Alanna is confident enough to try a relationship with both men.

Christmas Consummation releases Wednesday from Ellora’s Cave.

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Spotlight on Pelaam

Today’s second Breathless Press spotlight is on author Pelaam and her new release Horse of Bells. Welcome!

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A legendary horse, magic, and a man shrouded in mystery. Who can he trust? Caolan risks both his heart and his life to uncover the truth.

When his life is saved by a stranger, Prince Caolan feels an immediate connection to the man, and promises to meet him again. Forced to break that promise to protect his brother Donal, Caolan waits for the day he can return to the forest.

On their trip home, almost a year later, he and Donal are tricked by their step-mother into attempting to steal the legendary Horse of Bells from the infamous Dark Prince Tuathal. Honor-bound to accept the geis she set them, the brothers leave their castle to complete the quest.

During their journey, they meet the enigmatic Traveler. Caolan is confused and troubled by his reaction to the man. Is he a friend, or are his intentions darker and more deadly?

EXCERPT:

The morning came without further event, and Caolan consigned his fear to simple nervousness regarding his brother’s challenge. They rebuilt the fire and set some water to boil while they washed at the stream. Laughing together, they returned to their camp and stopped abruptly. A stranger sat at their fire, roasting a couple of skinned rabbits as if he had been expected for breakfast.

Caolan stared at him. He felt as if he should know the man, and yet he knew no one with such unruly sandy-brown hair. The newcomer’s beard seemed better maintained; it was but a light coating of slightly redder hair. He couldn’t stop his blush as the man’s gaze locked with his as if he had been caught. They were the same frigid blue-grey the sea had been the day they had left for the Isles—cold, uninviting, and daunting.

“If I were a spy for the dark prince, I would by now be on my way there, laughing at how two young idiots were going to walk straight into the arms of waiting soldiers the minute they set foot in Prince Tuathal’s kingdom. It would probably be the only thing that would save you from his wrath, to know that you sat and openly discussed an attempt to steal the Horse of Bells.”

“Then you are clearly not a spy.” Caolan observed.

“Bravo. You have a modicum of brains to offset your beauty,” the stranger retorted.

The words, cold as the look in the man’s eyes, would normally have made Caolan bristle with anger. However he found himself inexplicably wishing the stranger was less hostile toward him.

“What do you want?” Donal asked. Caolan recognized the brusque, assertive tones as his brother sought to take control of the situation.

“I would travel with you. These are lonely and dangerous parts. I gain company and you gain someone well-versed in the treacherous swampland through which you must pass.” The stranger spoke as if his offer was the most natural thing in the world.

“I cannot believe you would do so out of generosity.” Caolan felt unable to resist the jibe.

“That surprises me not,” the stranger countered. “Perhaps our hearts are alike. For payment…” He paused as if considering what would be suitable, yet Caolan was certain the man already knew exactly what he wanted. “Payment will be my asking the truth of you on your honor at a time of my own choosing.”

Caolan stood and stared with his mouth open but unable to formulate a reply. As if from a distance he heard Donal answer for him.

“It’s agreed.” Donal winked at him, but Caolan was certain there would be no way of telling a falsehood to this man.

“Good. Then let us break our fast. I already know your names. You may call me Traveler,” he said.

With a sinking heart Caolan sat next to Donal and accepted a plate holding a generous piece of roasted rabbit.

While his brother sat and ate his serving with gusto, Caolan’s attention was more focused on the man who now sat with his head bowed. He knew he’d never seen Traveler before, and yet there was a familiarity that made Caolan ill at ease. A niggling feeling, that Traveler was more than he seemed, made Caolan’s stomach twist into knots. Who are you really, and why do you make me feel I should know you?

 

BIO:

Pelaam lives in clean, green New Zealand. She is a multi-published author of gay male romance and erotica across time and space. When not writing, she indulges in her other passions of cookery and wine appreciation. She can be found on Facebook, and a full list of her published works are on Lazy Beagle Entertainment.

Spotlight on Carolyn LaRoche

Today’s first Breathless Press spotlight is on author Carolyn LaRoche and her new book Witness Protection. Welcome!

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Someone wants Angelina dead…again. Will following her heart put her in danger, or in the arms of the man she’s meant to be with?

As far as the world knows, NYPD detective Angelina Ferrara died in a violent firefight on Chelsea Piers over a year ago. Living in the witness protection program as history teacher Lucy Taylor was supposed to save her life, but being alive and living were two very different things. Until she meets Detective Logan James when he goes undercover in the same private school where she works. Something about the handsome man with the gorgeous blue eyes piques her interest. There’s no doubt he has secrets…but then so does she. When the Ricci crime family discovers she’s still alive, she finds herself on the run with Logan. Her heart led her astray before. Can she trust it to let Logan help her survive?

EXCERPT:

Her little car had an engine about as powerful as a hamster wheel. There was no way she was going to outrun the truck that was accelerating with lightning speed. On one side of her was a deep ravine, the other the steep slope of a mountain towered high and tree covered. The steering wheel vibrated as she pushed her little car to its limits, sheer adrenaline keeping her focused on the winding road. As she rounded a sharp curve, the back tires spun and fishtailed out from behind her. The tiny car shook violently as Lucy struggled to maintain control. The SUV caught up with her then, ramming into her rear bumper. The car groaned but held on. Lucy spun the wheel to make the next sharp curve, all the while her eyes searched for a way off the dangerous mountain highway. Another crash from behind jolted her car forward with such force Lucy lost her grip on the steering wheel. The car veered right but she managed to straighten it out before hitting the tree line.

“What the hell do you want with me?” she screamed at the truck in her rearview mirror.

The driver responded by slamming into the back of her car again. Metal ground against metal, gravel flew everywhere, and the car careened toward a thick bank of trees to her left. Straightening the car once more, Lucy crushed the gas pedal to the floor and watched as the speedometer climbed quickly. Lucy felt the little rush of excitement she always got in a good pursuit despite the fact that she was the one being pursued.

She whipped around yet another curve, and the SUV caught up with her. Just as she managed to get her little car under control again, the SUV crashed into her back end again with such force Lucy thought her car might shatter there in the middle of the road. The little car veered to the right, aiming straight for the side of the road and the ravine beyond. Lucy tried to regain control but the effort was in vain. She braced herself as the car plowed through thick vegetation, hit something, and started to slide down the steep embankment.

She heard the growl of the SUV’s engine roaring away over the revving of her own engine as the tiny car crashed through the underbrush. The car flew over a log and landed on the slick vegetation covering the incline. The car lost its hold on the ground and rolled its way down the slope, finally landing up against the trunk of a large pine tree where the engine died. Lucy’s head smacked against the steering wheel knocking her near to senseless. Everything fell deathly silent as she fought to remain conscious.

A loud crack broke the silence. As she watched through the broken windshield, the tree in front of her began to wobble. Blood trailed from her forehead into her left eye, blurring her already shaky vision. Rubbing at it with the back of her arm, she used her other hand to desperately claw at the seat belt release.

If she didn’t get out of the car, the tree was going to fall right on top of her.

The giant pine swayed once and then began its descent toward Lucy and her crumpled car. Yanking hard at the jammed seat belt, her head swimming and her stomach churning, Lucy finally freed herself. Just as the tree crushed the roof of her car, like it were nothing more than a tin can, Lucy pulled her body through the opening that used to be the driver’s side window.

Cracking wood and crunching metal stirred up a cacophony of birds and small animals protesting the intrusion in their habitat. Lucy lay on the damp moss and rotting leaves, her heart banging against her chest wall. The sound of her pulse racing in her ears muted the sound of the creaks and groans as the tree settled against what was left of her car. Every inch of her body hurt, but her head ached most of all.

 

Carolyn LaRoche Author picture

 

Carolyn LaRoche grew up in snow country but fled the cold and ice several years ago. She now lives near the beach with her husband, their two boys, two finicky cats, and one old dog. When she is not at the baseball field cheering on big hits and home runs, she is busy teaching science to unwilling teenagers. She is co-author of the book The Crazy Lives of Police Wives and hangs out online at both Carolyn La Roche – Author and The Crazy Lives of Police Wives.

She also writes a blog titled Boys, Badges and Writers Block about the joys and challenges of raising boys and living the law enforcement wife life found at http://boysbadgeswritersblock.blogspot.com/

You can also find her and her books at:

Social and Buy Links

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Teaser Thursday- Knot Intended

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He folded his arms and narrowed his eyes with a fury that made Nolie tremble. “You’re boring the hell out of me, you know that?” Joseph snarled. “All those times I watched you walking around your house, you looked like such a sexy bitch. I thought you’d be fun. That’s why I snatched your hot little ass. But you never shut up. Maybe I should gag you so I don’t have to listen anymore.”

Nolie’s chest tightened, and she shook her head. That was the second time Joseph had mentioned gagging her. This time he sounded as if he truly intended to do so.

She wouldn’t be able to tolerate it. The mere thought of having something in her mouth she hadn’t put there herself turned her stomach. She wanted to scream. Joseph knew how she felt about that, and rationally Nolie doubted Joseph would do anything she wouldn’t accept. But her fear wasn’t rational.

She shook. He simply stood, glaring at her, but when Nolie looked more closely at him she saw concern in his eyes. She took a deep breath and swallowed the lump in her throat. This was a game. She would be fine.

Joseph remained still as if waiting for Nolie to speak. She swallowed again and tried to sound convincing as she begged, “No, please don’t gag me. I wouldn’t be able to breathe.” Her voice broke on the last word, and tears came to her eyes.

She blinked them back. If Joseph saw her crying, he would break his character and become the loving husband again. Right then, that was not what Nolie wanted.

He visibly relaxed. “Fine. You not breathing would be a problem. After all, I wouldn’t want you to pass out before I have my fun with you. So if you don’t want to be gagged, keep your mouth shut unless I tell you different. Got it?”

Nolie opened her mouth to answer, then thought better of it and nodded. Joseph wouldn’t gag her, not after promising not to. But he was so into this character she could no longer be entirely certain what he would do. Her predictable husband had become completely unpredictable.

She loved it.

“Good.” Joseph sounded both pleased and disappointed. “Maybe you’ll make it out of this in one piece.” He went to the headboard of the bed and banged his palm against it. “Fuck. Why do hotels always make these things solid? How the hell am I supposed to tie you down if there’s nothing to tie you to?”

Tie me? Nolie bit her lip to keep from blurting out the question. When she’d mentioned being tied as part of the fantasy, she hadn’t expected Joseph to go through with it. Early in their relationship, she’d mentioned a desire to have her hands bound, and Joseph hadn’t seemed interested. Role-play or not, she hadn’t believed he would be any more willing now than then to bind her.

She wanted him to follow through. The image of herself stripped naked, unable to move, filled her mind and tightened her pussy.

She was so turned on she wanted to touch herself, but she didn’t dare. Her “captor” certainly wouldn’t be pleased if she “took matters into her own hands” as Joseph sometimes put it. But knowing if he tied her he would be able to access any part of her body he wanted to use excited the hell out of her.

She moaned and immediately clapped her hand over her mouth.

Trusting Your Partner

Many people who are in relationships have at least some level of trust with their partner. But there are some things that require more trust, and sometimes giving that trust can be scary.

Something as seemingly simple as sharing one’s sexual fantasies can involve more trust than you might think. Some people have fantasies that they would never want to make reality, and they’re afraid of what their partner might think if those fantasies are spoken. And even if someone is willing to share their fantasy and is interested in making it reality, engaging in something new and different involves trust in your partner as well.

In my novella Knot Intended, Nolie has to decide whether she trusts her husband Joseph enough to tell him her darkest fantasy: being kidnapped, tied up, and “forced.” Once she chooses to risk sharing the fantasy, Joseph offers to act it out with her to help spice up their sex life. Allowing her husband to play the role of her “kidnapper” requires even more trust from Nolie, as does remembering, during the roleplay, that Joseph is her husband, loves her, and would never truly hurt her. And because Nolie is able to give Joseph that trust, their sex life and marriage improve.

Trust isn’t always easy to give, but it’s often worth it.

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Teaser Thursday- Knot Intended

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Joseph pulled the belt back, then swung it to tap lightly against Nolie’s pussy. The contact jolted her but only increased her arousal.

He had to stop torturing her. He couldn’t make her wait any longer. Surely he could see how turned on she was and how much she wanted his hands on her, even if she was supposed to pretend she didn’t want him at all.

Again he let the belt swing against her. A tingle spread through her, centered between her legs. She ached for him and held her breath to keep herself from begging him to do something. Anything at all, as long as it made her come. Goddamn it, when will he give me some relief?

“You want to come, don’t you?” Joseph sounded far too pleased with himself for bringing her to the point where she was flushed and panting. Or maybe Nolie was merely projecting her thoughts to him. His expression didn’t betray anything at all.

She nodded, seeing no point in hiding how badly she wanted relief. Maybe if she was honest with him, he would get her off.

“Ask, bitch.” He slid the belt up her torso and neck, and she tilted her head back. He gazed into her eyes with an unreadable look in his own. “Beg me to let you come.”

“Please,” Nolie said tentatively.

He tapped the belt against his hand and narrowed his eyes. “That’s the best you can do? I said beg!”

Nolie had never begged Joseph for anything in their marriage, but now the words tumbled from her mouth as though on their own. “Please. Oh God, please let me come. I’m so fucking wet and horny right now I can’t stand it. This is the worst torture. Please don’t do this to me anymore. Please let me come!” Wide-eyed, she pressed her lips together, forcing herself to stop.

She needed him far too much. So much she barely managed to keep up the fiction of not wanting him at all.

Release Week! Knot Intended

One of the first erotic romance stories I wrote for publication was a short story called “A Little Tied Up.” It was intended for a roleplaying anthology being put together by a publisher I won’t name, and it was accepted in June 2009. The anthology apparently fell through, and after some questions and wondering what was going on, the publisher released “A Little Tied Up” as a standalone ebook in March 2010.

The story was pretty simple. Nolie and Joseph are a married couple who have been putting their careers ahead of their relationships. Joseph suggests roleplaying as a way to spice things up, and after some initial resistance, Nolie confides that her darkest fantasy is to be kidnapped and “forced.” Joseph is intrigued by the idea, and goes to great lengths to fulfill Nolie’s fantasy. With Joseph as the “kidnapper,” of course.

In August 2013, that publisher went out of business, and rights to “A Little Tied Up” were returned to me. My editor at another publisher asked if she could take a look at it with the possibility of having it reissued. Knowing that it was one of my earliest stories, which meant I’d learned a LOT about writing since then, I chose to rewrite the story first. In the process, I tripled the length of it, from just over 7000 words to over 21,000. I sent it to my editor, who accepted it. But…

Things happened. The new version of the story, which I titled Knot Intended after a friend said that would make a good title for a roleplay story in which the heroine gets tied up, wasn’t published by that publisher, and this summer I asked for it back.

So now, after all that, Knot Intended has found its home with Loose Id, and it releases tomorrow! I hope readers will enjoy Nolie and Joseph’s journey from “career first” to finding the fire in their sex life again. And maybe readers will get some ideas to spice up their own sex lives!

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Spotlight on Mia Epsilon

Today’s second Breathless Press spotlight is on author Mia Epsilon and her new book That Night. Welcome!

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What do you get when you have two best friends who happen to be roommates stewing in sexual tension? A night they will never forget.

Anna and Robin are college roommates and best friends. Even though the chemistry sizzles between them, they have remained platonic for over three years. One night will change everything.

Robin has struggled to repress his feelings for Anna. He seeks out brief and meaningless relationships with the women on campus, who flock to his charm, flashing blue eyes, and bad-boy appearance. But Robin can’t get Anna off his mind or out of his heart.

Anna has watched Robin move from one woman to the next, never settling for any. She keeps up the pretense of friends-only while secretly longing to be the woman to tame him. The combination of college demands, a failed date, and simmering sexual frustration explodes into a night of passionate need. But when it’s over…what happens then?

EXCERPT:

Why do I keep putting myself through this? Robin Bates paused in the stairwell to tap his head on the wall. What kind of an idiot kept up this charade for so long? He should just tell her. Why couldn’t he just tell her? It was simple, really. He stomped up the last flight of steps and down the hall to their room. All he had to do was say the words and accept the fall out. He opened the door, took a deep breath, and spoke. “Anna, there’s something I need to tell you.”

The small lamp on the bedside table glowed in the semi darkness. Books and crumpled papers lay tossed around her on the tangled sheet and blanket of the bed. Her lap top perched at an angle, half on and half off the pillows. Stats, Robin saw, her least favorite subject and the only one she struggled to master. He had made a promise to help Anna with the latest assignment and had gone on the disaster date from hell instead. His gaze followed the line of her bare legs. She said they weren’t perfect; he said they were. Sure, they didn’t look like they went on forever. Who wanted legs up to a woman’s neck anyway when there were so many other good things in between? Anna’s legs, long, lean, strong, and just a bit golden from their recent holiday trip to visit her folks in Hawaii made his mouth water.

Robin groaned as his gaze trailed higher. She wore the same blue nightshirt he’d seen her wear a thousand times. Thin from numerous washings, all but transparent, it rode high on thighs he’d give his right arm to caress, which made no sense, because without his arm he’d never be able to— Anna whispered something and shifted a bit, her thighs parting slightly. He felt actual pain as the cotton rode a bit higher and all the blood surged to one particular part of his body. Did she have on those cute little smiley face panties? Or did she wear the ones with the little bows? She usually only chose her silk ones for special occasions like parties.

“Jesus, get a grip on yourself.” Robin ran a hand through his hair. “I’ve not perving my best friend while she sleeps. I’m not so desperate. Yet.”

 

AUTHOR BIO:

Mia Epsilon lives with her enduring soul mate hubby in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, USA. She’s an avid reader of almost anything but particularly romance. She also is a never-miss-an-episode viewer of Doctor Who and Sherlock, and happily suffers coffee and chocolate addictions. She can most often be found at her computer, spinning new stories, or in a quiet padded nook with her e reader. She considers Facebook both the boom and bane of her existence. Mia loves to hear from readers and maintains a mostly current blog at miaepsilon.blogspot.com and a Facebook page under the name MiaEwrites.

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