Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Guest post by Stephanie Draven + Giveaway

Today I'm very happy not just because I get to welcome back to Ex Libris Stephanie Draven, whose previous novel In Bed with the Opposition made it to my Top 2012 Books List (read my review here), but also because Stephanie is celebrating the release of It Stings So Sweet, a historical romance set in the "Roaring Twenties", one of my favourite time periods! And as I was just bemoaning that not enough stories were set in this time Stephanie revealed the great news that her next trilogy will be set in the '20s, so yay, I couldn't be happier that they are finally here!! So please give the warmest welcome to Stephanie, read on to learn more about the inspiration behind the stories and you could even win a copy of It Stings So Sweet!

Adult Entertainment in the Roaring Twenties
by Stephanie Draven

It Stings So Sweet is a novel in three parts--a literary threesome, if you will. And, no question about it, much like the middle part of a threesome, it was the story in the middle that had the most fun. Or, at the very least, it was the most fun to write.

Inspired by legendary silent screen star Clara Bow, I wanted to write a sassy, brassy heroine with a secret her lover could exploit.

Where to turn, but to Hollywood? The Roaring Twenties kicked off the Golden Age of movies. It was a time before television and millions of people went to the movies every week five times or more. There were neighborhood Nickelodeons where couples necked in the back aisles, and luxurious Movie Palaces where the ritzy folks went to rub elbows in style.

This much I knew. What I didn’t know was just how naughty those films could be.

They said, in the twenties, “Anything Goes.” And there were no movie ratings or restrictions on filmmakers at the time. So just how randy did these films get?

Well, if you were ever under the impression that pornography was a Boogie Nights invention of the 1970s allow me to shatter your illusions as mine were shattered when my research led me to a vintage stag film called Nudist Bar*.

I admit to staring agog at one of the few surviving films to have been digitized from that glitzy era.

What I learned--after I recovered from the shock--was that stag films from the Jazz Age were not only explicit, but experimental. Every coupling you can imagine was caught on film, and sometimes it was more than just couples. Threesomes, foursomes, and moresomes, too!

But in spite of the graphic nature of the films there was a sort of charming tenderness to such films utterly lacking in the modern adult entertainment industry. The cheeky winks at the camera, the hand-holding, the courtly behavior of a vintage porn star towards his leading ladies is arrestingly different than what we have come to expect--and somehow seemed far less exploitive than its modern equivalent.

It was, for me, a real eye-opener about the evolution of sexuality in the 19th Century. And it also helped inspire my heroine’s secret. You see, in It Stings So Sweet, glamorous Clara Cartwright starred in just such a film before becoming a Hollywood legend...and is now being blackmailed by the mysterious WWI Flying Ace who gets his hands on the reel.

When she decides to meet the war hero for a private screening, to make sure he isn’t bluffing, the sparks fly! And I think you’ll fall in love with her blackmailer just as hard as she does.

* The film is often misattributed to the 1930s but it belongs to the previous decade.

Stephanie Draven is currently a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies. She lives there with her favorite nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books.

Stephanie has always been a storyteller. In elementary school, she channeled Scheherazade, weaving a series of stories to charm children into sitting with her each day at the lunch table. When she was a little older, Stephanie scared all the girls at her sleepovers with ghost stories.

She should have known she was born to hold an audience in her thrall, but Stephanie resisted her writerly urges and graduated from college with a B.A. in Government. Then she went to Law School, where she learned how to convincingly tell the tallest tales of all!

A longtime lover of ancient lore, Stephanie enjoys re-imagining myths for the modern age. She doesn’t believe that true love is ever simple or without struggle so her work tends to explore the sacred within the profane, the light under the loss and the virtue hidden in vice. She counts it amongst her greatest pleasures when, from her books, her readers learn something new about the world or about themselves.

Stephanie also writes historical fiction as Stephanie Dray and has a series of forthcoming novels from Berkley Books featuring Cleopatra’s daughter.

For more about Stephanie and her books find her at her website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads.

It Stings So Sweet by Stephanie Draven

They vibrated with incendiary Jazz. They teemed with sexual abandon. The Twenties were roaring and the women–young, open, rebellious, and willing–set the pace and pushed the limits with every man they met…

In the aftermath of a wild, liquor-soaked party, three women from very different social classes are about to live out their forbidden desires.

Society girl, Nora Richardson’s passionate nature has always been a challenge to her ever-patient husband. Now he wants out of the marriage and she has just this one night to win him back. The catch? He wants to punish her for her bad behavior. Nora is offended by her husband’s increasingly depraved demands, but as the night unfolds, she discovers her own true nature and that the line between pain and pleasure is very thin indeed.

Meanwhile, Clara Cartwright, sultry siren of the silent screen, is introduced to a mysterious WWI Flying Ace. If Clara, darling of the scandal sheets, knows anything, it’s men. And she’s known plenty. But none of them push her boundaries like the aviator, who lures her into a ménage with a stranger in a darkened cinema then steals her jaded heart.

Working class girl Sophie O’Brien has more important things on her mind than pleasures of the flesh. But when her playboy boss, the wealthy heir to the Aster family fortune, confronts her with her diary of secret sex fantasies, she could die of shame. To her surprise, he doesn’t fire her; instead, he dares her to re-enact her boldest fantasies and Sophie is utterly seduced.

One party serves as a catalyst of sexual awakening. And in an age when anything goes, three women discover that anything is possible…


Stephanie has offered a paperback copy of It Stings So Sweet to a lucky commenter!

All you need to do is leave a comment and tell us: Do you like the '20s? What is your favourite thing about this period? The hair 'do, the dresses, the songs? Or something else?

Giveaway is open only to US/CAN residents and ends on 22 February 2013!

Good luck!

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