Thursday, 31 May 2012

Guest post: Taking Sex Outside by K.D. Grace + Giveaway

I am very happy to welcome back to Ex Libris the wonderful K.D. Grace, one of my favourite erotica authors. Besides celebrating the release of her latest novella Surrogates, K.D. is also celebrating the arrival of spring and what it means for her budding garden. Today she stops by to talk about how a garden and gardening can be sexy, read on and you could even win a sexy gardener story! ;-) (Thank you K.D. once again for the beautiful photos!)


Taking Sex Outside: Menage, Romance and Garden Porn
by K.D. Grace

Spring is SO in the air, and I’d like to thank Stella for inviting me to celebrate it on Ex Libris. It’s always such a pleasure to be here. And in keeping with the season, today’s topic is garden porn.

My erotic novella, Surrogates is romance al fresco squared. Mind you, I’m no stranger to taking romance outside. I think outside is the best place for romance and for sex, and if the setting is a large estate with exotic renaissance gardens, rose gardens, ponds, streams and a kitchen garden that would make a veg gardener like me drool, then it’s a pretty good bet a good time will be had by all … along with fresh veg.

Ever since I had my first gardening story, Vegging, published in Violet Blue’s Best Women’s Erotica 2010, I’ve had a reputation for writing ‘garden porn.’ Readers who know me are used to scenes being set outside and often in the middle of the veg patch.

There’s magic in a garden. Though I’m way more partial to veg gardening than flower gardening, I very much appreciate both. Gardening is a lot like sex, really, you put something in a hole and good things happen. Okay, that’s pretty blunt, I’ll admit, but it’s true. My husband and I just got an allotment, after three years on the waiting list. For my American friends who don’t know, an allotment is a small parcel of land set aside by the local goverments in Britain, which can be rented very cheaply for the purpose of growing food crops. The tradition is said to date back to Saxon times, but the first mention of allotments is in the 1500s during the reign of Elizabeth I. In some suburban areas the waiting list for an allotment can be many years.

Because we got our allotment in the Spring, we’re way behind everyone else around us at getting things in, so imagine my delight when I went over this morning to water and found that the peas and beans I planted are finally coming up. I put something in a hole and good things are now happening!


In our BA days – that’s Before Allotment – we used to look longingly through the gate into the allotments and fantasize about what we’d grow if we had an allotment. And, well size DOES make a difference. I’m not bragging, or anything, but our allotment is huge!

All of this is my way of saying that there’s something outrageously sexy about fecundity, about rampant growth, about green leaves and buds and new fruit, and oh yes, did I mention phallic veg? I know things to do with zucchinis and carrots and cucumbers that you wouldn’t believe. … Recipes, you naughty-minded folk! Recipes ;-)


Veg gardening is not a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am sort of proposition. Veg gardening is all about foreplay. It takes finesse and a firm but gentle hand doing the deed when conditions are just right. And then it takes patience and coaxing and more patience and more waiting. But the results are SO worth it. We have raspberries and strawberries growing in our back garden, and every morning in season, we go out and pick them fresh before breakfast. We seldom make it back to the house with our breakfast fruit feast without popping a succulent ripe red berry or two in our mouths as we pick because we just can’t wait to taste the firm, sweet juiciness.

I suppose the biggest reason that I love to write romance and sex al-fresco though is the fact that outside under the big blue sky, everybody’s doing it – birds, bees, butterflies, snails, frogs, plants. Outside in nature it really is all about sex and producing the next generation, and there’s nothing shy and retiring about it. There’s no embarrassment, no shame, no coyness, just a rampant sense of urgency that’s contagious. How can we ‘civilized’ humans, who have had that rampant unashamed urgency socialized out of us a long time ago, not look on in lust and longing? And ultimately, we’re not all that far removed from our animal cousins. Give us a garden with a little bit of seclusion and we’re quite happy to revert back to our more primitive, more yummy roots.


In my novella, Surrogates, Francie Carter is a master gardener who specializes in restoring medieval kitchen gardens on large estates. Dan Alexander is her boss and the owner of the estate, and he wants her. Problem is, he’s married, and he is neurotically faithful to his wife. Enter Simon Paris, owner of a landscape business and Dan’s old friend, and ménage of the strangest kind is in the air. The novella is a naughty, modern retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac complete with sex in the bean patch, fresh uses for phallic vegetables and romance with a twist. Here’s a little taste.


Surrogates by K.D. Grace

Even though he’s in love with his beautiful gardener, Francie Carter, Daniel Alexander III takes his marriage vows very seriously. Until he gets the balls to ask for a divorce, watching each other play is all he can offer her. Then Dan convinces Francie to allow his friend, Simon Paris, to be his surrogate – to have sex with her while Dan watches and supervises. It’s a win-win. Dan stays faithful to his wife, and with Simon’s help, he can keep Francie satisfied until he gets the nerve to ask for a divorce. And with their yawner of a love life, Dan’s wife, Isabel, is enjoying her own version of borderline fidelity with her massage therapist, Ellen. Bel can’t see the harm. After all, it's not proper sex if it's with another woman, is it? But Dan’s discovery of Ellen and Bel trysts strangely rekindles his passion for his wife. As sex with Bel gets kinkier and better, and sex between Francie and Simon gets ever more sizzling, Dan thinks he has the best of both worlds. But secrets don’t stay secret. Substitutes aren’t the real thing. And in the end there are no surrogates for matters of the heart.

Surrogates Excerpt:

Dan wasn’t listening. ‘Francie, darling, I know how hard it is for you, with us not able to really be with each other. I promise that’ll end soon, and we can be together properly. But in the meantime, it’s not right me having Bel and you having no one. So I’ve come up with a solution for us. Simon will be my surrogate.’

‘What?’ Francie had pushed herself back against the sink as far as she could. Her heart raced in her throat and her face felt like it would burst into flame. ‘You want me to … You want us to …’ She nodded to Simon, then she glared up at him. ‘Is this why you’re here?’

But before Simon could do more than make a couple of fish gasps, Dan ploughed on. ‘Oh don’t you see, darling, it’s so perfect. If I can’t be with you, if I can’t give you what I know you so desperately need, then who better to help us both out that my dearest, most trusted friend, Simon.’

‘He’s a landscaper. He’s hired help just like I am.’ She sounded a lot more hysterical than she meant to. What she wanted to sound was outraged. What she wanted to sound was incensed.

‘No, sweetheart, no. Simon and I are old friends. We went to uni together. We spent a wild summer in Italy together. Darling, I’d trust Simon with my life.’ He shot Simon a meaningful glance, then his gaze came to rest on her. ‘I’d trust him with the person in my life I value most, the one I most want to make happy.’ He caught his breath, and his face softened. ‘Please, darling. This is a gift, something I can do for you. You can pretend he’s me. I can make love to you through Simon, and you, anything you’ve wanted to do to me you can do to him.’

‘Anything?’ She spoke around her racing heart, which felt like it would jump right out of her mouth.

‘Yes, anything, darling. Anything.’
‘Good.’ Before she had time to consider what she was doing, she slapped Simon, hard, hard enough that he recoiled. Both men gasped, and her hand stung like fire. But she ignored the pain, squared her shoulders and looked Simon right in his now watering grey eyes. ‘Then you can give him that for me.’

To her total surprise, Simon did exactly as she said. He walked over to Dan and slapped him, slapped him hard enough to knock Dan up against the staging table, slapped him hard enough to draw blood where a tooth cut his lip.

The electric silence that followed was interrupted only by the heavy breathing of all three. The two men glared at each other for a moment, sizing one another up. Trembling all over, Francie grabbed the edge of the sink for support, just as Simon turned his back on Dan and came to stand in front of her. He stood so close his breath ruffled the hair that had come loose from the clasp she wore it up in, so close that the rise and fall of his chest beneath his T-shirt was impossible to ignore, so close the heat rising from his body felt magnetic.

‘Does that about sum it up?’ He asked.

For a second, she thought she might cry. But instead, she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. She kissed him as hard as she had slapped him, like she wanted to eat him up, like she wanted to crawl up inside his warmth. And he kissed her back. Jesus, how he kissed her back! He kissed and nipped the hollow of her throat around to the sensitive place below her ear, then he whispered in between efforts to breathe. ‘If you want me to stop, tell me now before it’s too late.’

‘Don’t you dare, don’t you dare, don’t you dare,’ she gasped over and over again, guiding his hand to the knot tied below her right breast that held her wrap-around dress closed.
He yanked it hard, then he shoved and pushed until the dress slid from her shoulders and pooled on the floor around her gardening clogs. Somewhere in the periphery of her mind she heard Dan’s fly unzip, a sound she’d grown used to over the past few months, a sound that constantly taunted her with everything she could see yet never touch.
But there were other things to focus on today. Simon kissed his way down her sternum and cupped her breasts, cupped them and kneaded them until her nipples strained against the callouses of his stroking fingers. Then his mouth took over. What her breasts lacked in size, they made up for in sensitivity, and her whole body thrummed as he suckled and bit, nibbled and licked.

Buy at:



K D Grace believes Freud was right. In the end, it really IS all about sex, well sex and love. And nobody’s happier about that than she, cuz otherwise, what would she write about?

When she’s not writing, K D is veg gardening or walking. She and her husband recently walked the Coast to Coast rout across England. For her, inspiration is directly proportionate to how quickly she wears out a pair of walking boots.

K D has erotica published with Xcite Books, Mammoth, Cleis Press, Black Lace, Erotic Review, Ravenous Romance, Scarlet Magazine, Sweetmeats Press and others.

K D’s critically acclaimed erotic romance novels include, The Initiation of Ms Holly, The Pet Shop, and her newly released paranormal erotic novel, Body Temperature and Rising, the first book of her Lakeland Heatwave trilogy, was listed as honorable mention on Violet Blue’s Top 12 Sex Books for 2011.

Find K D here:

Website
Facebook Author Page

Twitter


GIVEAWAY RULES:

K.D. has generously offered an ebook copy of Allotted Views to one lucky commenter!

Allotted Views by K.D. Grace

When the mysterious ‘Woo Woo Man,’ JONATHAN takes on the thin strip of bramble-infested ground in the Blue Bell Street Allotments, veg gardener extraordinaire, ROSE, whose bedroom window overlooks his ‘small holding,’ wonders what idiot would take on such a project. When she ‘accidentally’ sees him chanting a bit of woo-woo and having a midnight wank under a full moon in his newly rotovated plot, she suspects his methods aren’t found in any RHS manual.

As watching his late night garden antics becomes more for voyeuristic pleasure than for sussing out sound horticultural practices, and as Jonathan’s garden grows more exquisite with every wank, Rose begins to wonder if there just might be something to a little sex woo-woo in the garden. But can she learn Jonathan’s secret without him learning hers, or will she be forced to come clean?


All you have to do is leave a comment and answer Kathy's question: What is your favourite veggie and how is your favourite way to eat it?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 8 June 2012!

Good luck!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Book Review: By Surprise by Alyssa Turner

Title: By Surprise
Author: Alyssa Turner
Release Date: 28 March 2011
Number of pages: 94 pages
Publisher: Etopia Press
Source: review copy provided by author
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Grade: 4 stars

Novellus superbus!
Goodreads appetizer:

Sex that's twice as good, love that's three times stronger.

When Jodi returned to Burlington after a nasty divorce, broke and without a much needed place to sculpt, she never expected to bump into Paxton, her best friend from growing up. With her unresolved feelings for him still smoldering, it was a shock to find him married—to a great guy. But when Paxton and Nicholas offer her a room for rent in their too-big, too-expensive Victorian, complete with a turret to use as her art studio, it seems like the perfect solution for everyone. Until Jodi overhears Nicholas and Paxton making love—and finds herself burning hotter than she ever imagined.

Nicholas always knew his husband Paxton was bi-sexual, but finding his forgotten stash of cheerleader DVDs makes him wonder if Paxton's been tamping down his old desires. As strong as their love is, he knows there are things he just can't give Paxton...or can he? He decides to get Paxton a very special birthday present—a night with a woman—a no-strings arrangement to grant him the fantasies Nicholas isn't equipped to fulfill. But when he meets Paxton's best friend Jodi, Nicholas finds himself facing new feelings of his own. If only he could stop imagining Jodi's body wedged between Paxton and him and figure out what to do...

My Thoughts: By Surprise by Alyssa Turner really took me by surprise. I was expecting a scorching hot ménage erotica and instead I got a wonderfully moving and emotional love story (which of course had some very hot scenes).

I was truly amazed what a well rounded story Alyssa Turner managed to create in such a short novella of only 94 pages. Not only was there a developed plot (nope, this is no smut without plot story), the characters were fell fleshed out and, which is not a small feat once again considering the length limitations.

By Surprise is a ménage story in the sense that there are three people discovering and trying to define their relationship to the other two. Paxton and Nicholas are a happily married gay couple whose everyday life is rocked when Paxton's childhood best friend Jodi enters the picture and stirs up both their feelings and their peace of mind. Paxton has always had a crush on Jodi and considers himself a bi, but the shock of his attraction and emergence of feelings for her astonishes Nicholas who never liked women.

By Suprise is rather a discovery of each of the characters' feelings and their coming to grips with their emotions and attraction. Although there is sexual discovery what gets the center stage in By Surprise is rather how they deal with the situation emotionally, and Alyssa Turner didn't take the easy way out since she introduced the third player into a well established, harmonious and loving relationship. I was curious to see how one person of a devoted couple could deal with sharing that person with someone else and not feel jealous or possessive, but the way Nicholas reacted was both realistic and believable:
He continued, "I'm not jealous, though. I’m grateful, I think. Getting to know you feels like getting to know a part of Paxton I wouldn’t have been able to without you."

I found it wonderful how sensible he was and the fact of seeing Jodi make his beloved husband happy didn't make him jealous but grateful. And witnessing how he developed feelings and a connection with Jodi on his own made their unusual arrangement logical and credible.
...the anticipation tightened his balls, raised goose bumps on his skin. It wasn’t just the virginal aspect of pressing into a woman for the very first time, something he suddenly saw as an unbelievably exotic thrill. He was hard with the idea of sharing the woman that Paxton cherished as the only other important person in his life. He wanted to be inside her, to claim her too. Sharing her sealed the circle. To make her theirs, together…to be hers, together—he couldn’t wait to know what that felt like.

Verdict: I thoroughly enjoyed By Surprise despite the sometimes not fluent and a bit brusque narrative, as I was swept up in the story and more importantly in the characters' emotions. I wouldn't really categorize By Surprise as an erotica novella as the only graphic sex scene takes place at the very end, it is more an erotic romance as the focus is more on the emotional development of the bond between the characters. All in all By Surprise was a most delightful surprise, I would recommend it as initiation to those who are curious to discover erotica, ménage and m/m stories, I'm sure you'll like it!

Plot: 8/10
Characters: 8/10
Writing: 7/10
Ending: 8/10
Cover: 9/10

Buy it:

Interview with Alyssa Turner + Giveaway

Today I welcome to the blog Alyssa Turner, author of erotica and erotic romance novels, whose latest release By Surprise really took me by surprise. I was expecting a scorching hot erotica and instead I got a wonderfully moving and emotional love story (of course with some verrry hot scenes *winks*). Read on to discover more about Alyssa and her novel, and you could even win a copy of By Surprise for yourself!

Stella: Hi Alyssa, welcome to Ex Libris! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Alyssa: Hi Stella! It’s a pleasure to be invited. What can I say about myself? I’m old enough to remember the first reality show (MTV Real Word filmed in New York) but young enough to think that Jersey Shore is funnier. I’m a wine lover, a connoisseur of fine chocolate and sometimes gobble up an entire bag of cheese doodles. If you asked me to summarize with a single phrase, I’d say that I am juxtaposition personified. I find myself always seeking a measure of duality in my life and my writing, pursuing both what is sweet and sexy, prim and salacious, refined and crass. It is the complexities that intrigue me about people and situations, not the predictable path of assumption.


Stella: You pen erotic romance/erotica stories, what attracted you to this genre? What makes it special?

Alyssa: I think most writers write for the sake of connecting to an audience. Certainly published authors write for this reason. I can think of no greater connection to an audience than one that causes a physical and emotional reaction. Romance and her naughty cousin, erotica are perfect for that end. Combine the two into erotic romance and the results are truly powerful. A good erotic romance can transform your mood, encourage your imagination and give you something to look forward to. As both an author and a reader I can attest to that personally.


Stella: Your latest story By Surprise was released in March, congratulations! Can you tell our readers what they can expect of it?

Alyssa: With By Surprise I wanted to honor the complexities of a developing m/m/f ménage a trois relationship among a loving gay couple and the once best friend of one of the men. By Surprise differs from the usual m/m/f ménage plotline, in that it focuses partly on Nicholas’s struggle with his attraction to a woman. Nicholas has always identified as gay and he is comfortable with that. Jodi, his husband Paxton’s childhood friend, is irresistible to him in a way that is more than just physical. By Surprise is as much about emotional discovery and connection as it is about hot bi-sexual action. It’s a good read for a lazy afternoon and a peek into how such a lofty idea could actually come to pass. So many readers have said that they found the characters relatable and the story very realistic.


Stella: Can you introduce to us the heroes and heroine in By Surprise?

Alyssa: Of course I’m always in love with my characters, but these three really hold a special place.

Paxton is our first hero in the story, the alpha of the two men; he wears his protective nature on his sleeve. He’s tall, slightly muscular still sporting his swimmer’s physique from high school. He is weeks away from thirty when the story begins. Short dark hair and brown eyes with a soft stubble usually found on his angled jaw from too many hours working overtime as a police detective round out his facial features.

Nicholas is as tall as Paxton but more lanky and fluid under his clothes. His hair is longer and a bit curly, due to his Greek roots. The best part of Nicholas is his compassion. His days as a social worker have brought out his nurturing talents and his beauty is as plain to see on the inside as on his ex-model face. Blue eyes that burn bright with laughter, often threaten with the clouds of his sullen tendencies. Gardening brings him joy, Paxton brings him joy, but he has a heart big enough for so much more.

Jodi is a spit-fire little scrap of a young woman; petite of body, but not of spirit. She’s tough, because she’s had to be, but there is a sensitive side to Jodi that shows mostly in her sculpture and in the way she loves. Her mixed heritage of Irish and Native American make for a striking combination of thick auburn hair and olive skin. She’s not the type to cry easily. If she were, she’d have drowned in a river of tears already.

I sometimes do character interviews and have one with Paxton and Nicholas on my blog.


Stella: Can you summarize By Surprise for us in Twitter-style (140 characters or less)?

Alyssa: That’s a tough one, but here goes:

Paxton gets the love of his life and the love of his dreams in one bed. Nicholas discovers he’s more than a label and Jodi finally knows what it is to be cherished by both.


Stella: Can you tell us any behind the scenes secret related to By Surprise? (either to the writing process, or some tidbit about the characters that didn’t end up in the final version)

Alyssa: By Surprise was my first experience writing about an M/M relationship. Love scenes in my other books are lusty and intense, but usually quite tender. For By Surprise I needed to focus on a more rugged ideal in both their interactions and their sex life. Guys aren’t lovey-dovey with each other all the time. By Surprise is still quite a sweet story, but in a different kind of way.


Stella: What kind of books/genres do you like to read? Any favourite authors/novels you’d recommend?

Alyssa: Not surprisingly, one of my favorite genres to read is ménage, both M/M/F and M/F/M. But I enjoy straight forward romances between one woman and one man too. The last stay-up-all-night-with-my-kindle book I read was Hearts of Darkness. I love how the author solved the challenge of two people finding a connection without being able to see each other. For the most part, I enjoy a story that focuses on a challenging situation and keeps you thinking about an underlying message or concept long after. I try to do the same with every story I write.


Stella: If you could try your hand at another genre, which one would you like to try?

Alyssa: I’ve already dipped into the sci-fi genre with a new novel planned for release sometime this summer. If I were to take a leap in yet another direction it would be a BDSM thriller, I think.


Stella: What advice would you give to readers who haven’t read any erotica stories yet, how, with what should they dip their toes in the steamy waters?

Alyssa: Firstly I would sing the praises of the all-liberating E-reader and the discretion and privacy it offers. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to freely explore the gambit of inspiration, titillation and overall hottness that captures your imagination. Reading erotica and erotic romance is particularly healthy in my opinion, because it gives the reader a playground they might not otherwise ever visit, or want to visit. And oh my, the endorphins ... I would recommend the erotica genre with the same enthusiasm as I have for chocolate. But just like chocolate, there are the fine Belgium variety and the dime store tasteless bricks; not all erotica is created equal. Try an anthology first so you can sample a variety of authors and genres. I have found some of my favorite authors this way.

 
Stella: Can you share with us some little secret trivia, something that not many people know about you?

Alyssa: I’d put my spaghetti and meatballs up against the best Italian grandma from the old country’s any day of the week.


Stella: What shall we expect from you, what is next on your schedule?

Alyssa: My newest work, Double Take is a sci-fi erotic romance ménage novel anticipated for a summer 2012 release by Etopia Press. Set in New York, 150 years in the future, ex-military rebels Pryor and Tristan are twin brothers focused on the demise of the oppressive corporate dictatorship the country has fallen under. Shannon is a strong and capable business woman who has enjoyed the perks of her corporate status, yet she’s thrown into the middle of the resistance and a whirlpool of attraction for the sexy and intense Davies twins. We follow her journey as she realizes who she is and where she really belongs in the dawn of a revolution. Double Take was as much thought provoking as it was scorching hot for me to write. I hope you check it out!

You can find Alyssa at her website, Facebook and Goodreads.

By Surprise by Alyssa Turner

Sex that's twice as good, love that's three times stronger.

When Jodi returned to Burlington after a nasty divorce, broke and without a much needed place to sculpt, she never expected to bump into Paxton, her best friend from growing up. With her unresolved feelings for him still smoldering, it was a shock to find him married—to a great guy. But when Paxton and Nicholas offer her a room for rent in their too-big, too-expensive Victorian, complete with a turret to use as her art studio, it seems like the perfect solution for everyone. Until Jodi overhears Nicholas and Paxton making love—and finds herself burning hotter than she ever imagined.

Nicholas always knew his husband Paxton was bi-sexual, but finding his forgotten stash of cheerleader DVDs makes him wonder if Paxton's been tamping down his old desires. As strong as their love is, he knows there are things he just can't give Paxton...or can he? He decides to get Paxton a very special birthday present—a night with a woman—a no-strings arrangement to grant him the fantasies Nicholas isn't equipped to fulfill. But when he meets Paxton's best friend Jodi, Nicholas finds himself facing new feelings of his own. If only he could stop imagining Jodi's body wedged between Paxton and him and figure out what to do...


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Alyssa has generously offered an ebook copy of By Surprise to a lucky commenter!


All you need to do is leave a comment and answer Alyssa's question: Since By Surprise features both an alpha and a beta hero, I’d love to know which type of male main character you find the most tantalizing and why?

Giveaway is oöpen worldwide and ends on 6 June 2012!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Guest post: I Can't Get No…Satisfaction? by Tiffany Allee + Giveaway


Today I am very happy to welcome back to Ex Libris Tiffany Allee, author of the original and exciting new paranormal series: The Files of the Otherworlder Enforcer Agency. I loved the first book in the series Banshee Charmer, found it to be an enchanting and very exciting story combining the best of the police procedural and paranormal romance, urban fantasy genres (as you can see in my review). Tiffany is celebrating the release of her second book in the series Succubus Lost so please give her a warm welcome and read on for a chance to win a copy!


I Can't Get No…Satisfaction?
by Tiffany Allee

I was watching Saturday Night Live not long ago and witnessed the guest star (Mick Jagger) half sing (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction. Aside from being amazed that the man was a better actor than I expected, I was struck by how applicable that song is to romance writing.

The classic Rolling Stones song speaks to sexual frustration (and deeper themes, too) that makes me think about novels, and romance novels in particular. Tension drives many great novels. And my personal favorite type—romantic tension—is especially important. I do my best to keep my characters—and by extension, my readers—frustrated for as long as possible.

Don't shoot me! I have my reasons, honest.

Authors make promises to their readers in the beginnings of stories. If those promises aren't met, readers become frustrated. Particularly hazardous are those maybe promises. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. Maybe she'll end up with the pirate, maybe with the prince. Urban fantasy can even more romantically tense, as the heroine doesn't have to end up with anyone, let alone the man I'm rooting for.

I used to be a little frustrated by this—especially when the heroine ended up with the wrong man (or not the one I would have chosen, anyway). Television shows can be particularly cruel about this. I still recall watching Silk Stalkings years ago, and waiting season after season for the leads to end up together. From what I recall, they finally did, and it ended tragically (don't even get me started on that rant).

But one thing that show did right was wait until the end (at least the end for that set of characters). Why? Because that tension broke when they finally got together. A big climax, then we were all ready for a cigarette. One of my favorite shows now is Bones. It's a television show about an FBI agent and his scientist partner solving cases together. Something like six seasons went by before they finally ended up together. And season seven…fizzled. For me, at least.

Are you satisfied when the hero and heroine finally admit their feelings and become a couple? Do you find the tension that kept you glued to the page or to the television dissipates not long after this happens?


Banshee Charmer

Book #1 in the Files from the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency series

When she’s sent to a crime scene and finds her second dead woman in as many weeks, half-banshee detective Kiera “Mac” McLoughlin is convinced a serial killer is on the loose. Incubi are extinct, her boss insists. But what else can kill a woman in the throes of pleasure? When her partner is murdered after using witchcraft to locate the killer and Mac is thrown off the case, her frustration turns to desperation.

Certain the killer is an incubus, Mac works behind her department’s back to chase down slim, sometimes perilous leads. While the killer eludes her, she does discover handsome Aidan Byrne, an investigative counterpart from the enigmatic Otherworlder Enforcement Agency. Mac typically runs her investigations fast and hard, but with Aidan at her side, she’s running this one “hot” as well. But Aidan knows more than he’s letting on—something that could shatter their blazing romance and add Mac to the killer’s growing body count...


Succubus Lost

Book #2 in the Files from the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency series

Someone is kidnapping and incinerating otherworlders beyond recognition, and Detective Marisol Whitman, a succubus, races to find the murderer before he claims another victim. But her pursuit is derailed when her responsible younger sister vanishes. Marisol suspects foul play and enlists support from an unlikely source: an agent from the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency, Valerio Costa.

When the trail pointing to everyone from vampires to witches dries up, Agent Costa admits to knowing more than he’s shared. Marisol’s sister’s kidnapper harnesses more magic than she can imagine—and they’re running out of time. To find her sister before her powers are drained and twisted beyond recognition, Marisol must connect the dots between cases and put her trust in Costa, a salamander who may burn her before she can solve either case.


About the Author

Tiffany Allee currently lives in Phoenix, AZ, by way of Chicago and Denver, and is happily married to a secret romantic. She spends her days working in Corporate America while daydreaming about sexy heroes, ass-kicking heroines, and interesting ways to kill people (for her books, of course). Her nights are reserved for writing and bothering her husband and cats (according to them). Her passions include reading, chocolate, travel, wine, and family.

Tiffany's Website: http://tiffanyallee.com/
Blog: http://tiffanyallee.com/blog/
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/authortiffanyallee
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/TiffanyAllee


GIVEAWAY RULES:

One lucky person from Tiffany's tour will win an ebook copy of Succubus Lost and the salamander pin pictured below.


To be entered just fill out the Rafflecopter form:


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway is open to US shipping only!

Good luck!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Sister Pie or Extra Quick and Most Delicious Chocolate Pear Pie

Today I am a guest at Chicklets in the Kitchen sharing one of my favourite dessert recipes with you. Want to know the story behind the pie? Let me tell you:

I am the eldest of 3 sisters. Our relationship isn’t always the best or most harmonious one, because as siblings usually do we bicker and fight at times. But there is a night all three of us remember with fond memories and this cake remains a favourite of all of us even after many years. My parents were away for the night and it was just the three of us, and we planned a sister bonding girly night: my older sister prepared this cake, the little one was in charge of cocktails and we watched movie after movie while gorging on this delicious cake and laughing and talking the night away. 

The cake became history and we never forgot it. Its official name is Extra Quick and Most Delicious Chocolate Pear Pie, but we just call it the Sister Pie

If you would like to read the recipe stop by Chicklets in the Kitchen and I hope you'll try it! :-)

The Origin of My Fantastic Obsession by Hailey Edwards + Giveaway


As part of the Romance and Me Reading Challenge since May is Fantasy Romance month, as a special treat I invited fantasy romance author Hailey Edwards to the blog to ask her how she discovered fantasy and how she got hooked on it :-) Please give Hailey a warm welcome! 


The Origin of My Fantastic Obsession 
by Hailey Edwards

I was a year old when the movie The Dark Crystal hit theaters and five when Labyrinth was released. Other favorites in our house included The Last Unicorn, The Hobbit, Flight of Dragons, and Nausicaa. Those movies and cartoons shaped my childhood. I watched them until my parents begged me to stop, and then I waited until they left the room and hit Play just one last time.
The movies, the stories, were fantasy in its purest form. I didn’t realize as a small child, that those worlds were impossible to visit. I wanted to pet a unicorn. Heck. I wanted to ride a dragon. I wanted my own sword, which resulted in my parents installing a lock on the silverware drawer. Something about thou shalt not skewer thy baby brother… I also had a huge crush on Jareth, the Goblin King from Labyrinth. My parents discouraged this behavior as well. Something about thou shalt not bargain away thy baby brother in exchange for a hot boyfriend…

I know what you’re thinking—my parents never let me have any fun. Okay, and that maybe I had an unhealthy fascination with all the ways I could rid myself of my annoying little brother.

But the truth is, those movies kickstarted my imagination, and my love of all things fantasy. So it’s strange to think, looking back, that I fell into reading crime and mystery novels instead of fantasy or paranormal novels. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I stumbled across Darkfever by Karen Moning and became hooked on urban fantasy. From there, I rediscovered my love for the genre, and all its enticing new subgenres. I gobbled up paranormal romance—J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark, and Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld. I devoured all flavors of urban fantasy from Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files to Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson series.

Really, it was after reading Darkfever that I got a tickle in the back of my mind that maybe I could write a book. All those years of reading crime and mystery, the thought had never occurred to me. But after glutting on fantasy and paranormal romance, I began to have ideas for my own worlds and characters. It was so unexpected I didn’t know what to do. So I sat down and began writing. Four years later, here I am. I still write fantasy and paranormal stories. I still read them too.

I have been told my tastes are limited, but there I must disagree. My tastes are specific, yes, I will admit to that. But no other genre has as much variety as fantasy. No other genres encompass witches, vampires, werewolves, wizards, demons, angels, gods and goddesses, creatures of myth and folklore, humans, mermaids, mermen, and every other creature you ever promised your little brother lurked under his bed. (Not that I ever told him there were goblins hiding beneath his bed, waiting for him to get up to use the bathroom so they could drag him into their underground lair, because that would be wrong. What? Okay, so maybe I hinted at goblins. A little. And okay, one time I hid under his bed and grabbed his ankles. I couldn’t sit for a week after Mom caught me.)
I feel I should add here that my parents had no sense of humor. But I’m happy to report they have much improved since I hit thirty and stopped tormenting my brother. I think giving them a granddaughter probably helped too.

How about y’all? What led you to read fantasy? Or if you don’t, what would make you give the genre a try?

You can find out more about Hailey and her books at her website / blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads.

Hailey's latest novel A Hint of Frost was released recently, and you can read my review and how much I enjoyed my introduction to fantasy here.


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Hailey has generously offered an ebook copy of A Hint of Frost and a $10 Samhain Gift Card to a lucky winner who posts a review of any fantasy romance and leaves the link HERE.


Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 1 June 2012!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

It's Monday, What Are you Reading? (#76)


It's Monday, What are you reading? is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books to list the books completed last week, the books currently being read and the books to be finished this week.

 Here are the books I got to read this week:

Books I completed 

A short sexy novella, one I enjoyed even more since I was reading it while I went to my own high school reunion :-)



My Fair Concubine was a wonderful and very memorable story. I loved this vibrant and exotic China where Jeannie Lin took me, it was full of colours and interesting customs. The writing was unique and conveyed the atmosphere of Ancient China perfectly and the characters were also wonderful. I believe I have discovered a new favourite author and I wholeheartedly recommend My Fair Concubine to any historical romance lover! My detailed review will be posted on June 15th.


Book I'm currently reading


I love Elyse Mady's books (Learning Curves was a favourite of mine), so when I saw she had a new release: a full length historical romance I got excited, and so far I'm really enjoying it :-)


Book I can't wait to start


I loved Tiffany Allee's debut novel Banshee Charmer and can't wait to read the second book in the series!

And what are you reading this week?

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Winners, winners!


Hey Everyone!

Sorry I'm a couple days late announcing the winners but the week was so busy that I thought I'd wait until another giveaway ended to announce everyone at once, so here are the lucky ones:

The lucky winner of an ebook copy of The 2012 Book Blogger Cookbook by Christy Dorrity is

Charlotte


The lucky winner of an ebook copy of Bad Girl Lessons by Seraphina Donavan is

Kelly Grant


The lucky winner of one book from Gabi Stevens' Time of Transition series is

Beth W


Congratulations winners! I have sent you an e-mail notifying you of your win, please get back to me within 48 hours or I will have to draw a new winner. Thank you.

There are a lot of giveaways happening at the blog right now, you can enter them by clicking on their separate links at the top of the blog.

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Guest post: UK vs US? by Sophie Barnes + Giveaway

Today I am happy to welcome to Ex Libris Sophie Barnes, whose historical romance novels published by Avon Books have the most unique and fun titles (and their covers are just as memorable)! Sophie is celebrating the release of her latest novel, Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure the 1st book in her new Summersby Tale series. Please give Sophie a warm welcome and share your thoughts, you could win a copy of her book.


Toward or towards – American versus British English
by Sophie Barnes

Having attended mostly British schools, I find that I’m quite fond of adding S’ at the end of my words. For example, I have always written towards instead of toward, forwards instead of forward, maths instead of math and so on. To be honest, it didn’t even occur to me to write it any other way, so I couldn’t help but smile when I received my editors first set of corrections to How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back, only to find that all of my S’ had been guillotined =)

Now that I’ve been living in the US for a few years, the British and American words tend to get all muddled together inside my head. I generally have to concentrate in order to separate them from each other. For instance, when one of my friends proof read Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure before I submitted it, she pointed out that since the plot was taking place in the UK and my characters were British, I should probably write autumn instead of fall. Of course I knew this, but I’d somehow missed it anyway, and though that particular scene was eventually cut for other reasons, it did make me more aware of the words I was using. Later, as I was working on There’s Something About Lady Mary (the second book in the Summersby series), I remember pausing on the word sidewalk, deleting it again and writing pavement instead.

Since my books are set in the Regency period, my characters are generally British and I’m writing for an American publishing house, the British and the American languages do have a tendency to merge. The spelling should be American, but the words that are used – especially in dialogue – should be British. As a writer, I consider this another part of the learning experience, but to be perfectly honest, I still have a very hard time writing color instead of colour – it just looks wrong =)

For more examples, I’ve added the following link: http://www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/british-american.htm

I’d like to thank Ex Libris for hosting me today. I’ll be popping in throughout the day to chat with you and to answer any questions that you might have. So feel free to leave a comment or two – tell us about any unusual words that you’ve come across over the years.


To find out more about me, Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure, or my upcoming releases, please visit my website at: www.sophiebarnes.com

You can also follow me on Twitter or on Facebook.


A Summersby Tale – Book 1 – Coming May 22nd 2012

It’s going to be a wild ride...

Lady Alexandra Summersby is not your average society miss. Not only is she more likely to climb a tree than she is to wear a dress, but she has also sworn off marriage. Alex loves taking chances, which is how she finds herself embroiled in a secret mission as she races across the country with the Earl of Trenton. But Alexandra is about to discover that the real danger lies not in duels, but in her completely unexpected reaction to Lord Trenton’s company.

Michael Ashford, Earl of Trenton, is a man of duty. Honorable, charming, and a hit with the ladies, he’s never had trouble staying focused—until now. Lady Alexandra is like no other woman he’s ever met, and suddenly the prospect of marriage seems far more appealing. Now, to convince Alexandra that a life together could be an adventure like no other...

Buy at Amazon - Kindle store - B&N

GIVEAWAY RULES:

Avon Books has generously offered an eARC of Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure by Sophie Barnes to a lucky commenter!


All you have to do is leave a comment for Sophie or tell us about any strange or memorable word you have come across, or a word you are surprised the way it is spelled.

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 31 May 2012!


Guest post by Kristie Cook + Giveaway


Today I am happy to welcome you to Ex Libris a favourite character of mine in Kristi Cook's Soul Savers series, everyone please give it up for Owen!

Stella: Hi Owen, thanks for agreeing to answer a burning question of mine. You are the epitome of "loyalty". Your unerring devotion and service to Alexis, your service and loyalty are unfaltering. You’ve laid down your life to serve, help and protect Alexis and her family, so I would love to know, to what lengths would you go for Alexis? Also, you’re a friend of Tristan, so could you choose between them, to whom is your first loyalty? Is your loyalty born out of a sense of duty or love and affection? (or a combination of both?)

Owen: Protecting Alexis is my job and I will do whatever necessary to do that job, but my first loyalty (*straightens back to stand a little taller*) is to the Amadis. I do what I have to do that serves the Amadis best. That means protecting Alexis, sometimes even from herself…sometimes from Tristan. As the youngest daughter, her well being is paramount to the Amadis. As for love and affection? I, uh… *coughs* I’ll just say duty always comes first.

Devotion by Kristie Cook

Book #3 in the Soul Savers series

With powerful abilities gained from the Ang’dora and Tristan back by her side, Alexis thinks she’s ready for the next challenge— protecting her son from what appears to be the inevitable. But she has so much to learn about her powers, her new world and the people in it. Nothing is what it seems to be on the surface, including the Amadis.

Power-hungry politicians comprise the council and make impossible demands. A traitor lurks among them all, inciting trouble that could destroy the Amadis and, ultimately, humanity. The Daemoni wreak havoc in the human world, with the ultimatum that they’ll continue attacking innocents until Alexis and Tristan are expelled from the Amadis’ protection. The couple’s own society begins to shut them out. But that’s not all.

Someone’s keeping a secret. A big one. Faith and hope in Alexis and Tristan will be restored if she can uncover the truth in time.

But the search for answers leads only to the discovery of more betrayals by those closest to Alexis. Her devotion is put to the test—devotion to her husband, to her family, to her people and to her beliefs—leaving her to question whom she’s fighting for and why she should even bother. But if she won’t fight . . . who will?

Buy at Amazon - Kindle - B&N - Nook

Books in the Soul Savers series:

Promise
Purpose
Devotion

About Kristie Cook:

Kristie Cook is a lifelong writer in various genres, from marketing communications to fantasy fiction. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, traveling and riding on the back of a motorcycle. She has lived in ten states, but currently calls Southwest Florida home with her husband, three teenage sons, a beagle and a puggle.

She can be found at
her website /Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook.


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Blog Giveaway

Kristie has generously offered an ebook copy of Devotion, Book #3 in the Soul Savers series to a lucky commenter!


All you need to do to be entered is leave a comment and tell us what does loyalty or devotion mean to you?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 31 May 2012!

Grand Prize Giveaway


Grand Prize – Nook Simple Touch (US only)
1st Prize — All 4 of my books signed (US only)
2nd Prize — Soul Savers Swag bag (US only)
International Prize — All 4 books as ebooks

All you need to be entered is to leave a comment on this post (the more you comment throughout the tour the more entries you'll get as each comment left throughout the tour will count as an entry).

Please include your email address and if you are international or US.

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