Archive for June, 2012

June 27th, 2012

Recommended Reading #105: Loss and Connection



      “About My Work” by Susie Mandell (Non-sex-related, Death, Art, Family) Undated

I find this artist’s work (introduced to me by Tess Danesi) gorgeous and astonishing. When I read this story about how it came about, I was struck by what a beautiful exposition I found it on humanity, art, loss, presence, inspiration, and connection.

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      “Farewell, Dear Friend” by Alisa Valdes (Non-sex-related, Death, Memoir) 6/20/12

Beautiful, heartbreaking, and offered with reverence. Beautiful journey, Erica.

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      “I Was a Good Mormon Wife … Until My Husband Stopped Believing in God” by Maren Stephenson (Religion, Relationship, Self-Awareness) 6/5/12

I both sympathize and strangely relate a little bit to what a wrenching experience what this exposition describes must have been for the author. This piece struck me as riveting, profound, and beautifully written.

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Recommended Reading posted every Wednesday

June 25th, 2012

Meet Siobhan Muir, Author of Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack (and a Book Giveaway!)

I met paranormal romance author Siobhan Muir last September at the Erotic Authors Association conference in Las Vegas (where Siobhan is lucky enough to live!). Since then it has been my pleasure to be acquainted with her, especially as her writing career really begins to take off! It is my delight to host her here today so she can tell us about Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack, her latest werewolf novel published by Siren Publishing.

Siobhan is also generous enough to want to do a giveaway today! Should you feel so moved, you are welcome to comment following this post—and if you do, you will be entered into a drawing to win a free copy of Queen Bitch of the Callowwod Pack or a prize package that includes a Siobhan Muir magnet and a signed copy of the cover art. Siobhan will choose the winners at random on Thursday morning (June 28), so be sure to stop back by then to see if you’re one of them! Please also be sure to leave an email address or Twitter handle in your comment so she knows how to contact you. :)

Okay Siobhan—welcome, and have at it!


Thank you so much for having me today, Emerald.

It’s officially summertime here now in the US and that’s the time when everyone is out of school and coming home. The phrase “You can never go back home” is traditional for redemption stories and a very common thread in fiction. It’s meant to teach us that nothing will be the same when you come back to the place you started. And there’s a great deal of truth in it.

In my recent release, Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack, Julianna Morris has returned to her hometown to bury her father and to start again, but of course, everything has changed for her. She’s no longer the girl who crushed on the cutest guy in town. Her father is dying, she’s survived an unfaithful spouse, and she’s recently turned fuzzy when the full moon comes up.

Talk about nothing being the same.

But there’s nothing so constant as change, and it’s not always bad. Julianna finds out that the guy she’s crushed on forever isn’t married with 1000 kids, and her fuzzy issue might not be a problem for him. Plus, she’s now accepted into a larger community than she’d been when she left.

So perhaps the phrase really should be “You can never go back to the home that was”, because “time heals all wounds” and people change with the new life they’ve experienced. As for Julianna Morris, those changes may just have been exactly what she needed to face a new life in her old hometown. Because now, the true adventure begins.

Here’s the blurb of Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack:

Julianna Morris didn’t know werewolves existed…until she became one.

Hiding her new identity, Julianna returns home only to find her teenage crush, Jeff Lightfoot, is the future Alpha of the Callowwood werewolf pack. She’s unexpectedly chosen as a candidate for the pack’s next Luna, the Alpha female—and Jeff’s mate. This is perfect, except Julianna knows nothing about being a werewolf, and someone’s determined to make her fail the Seven Tests of the Luna.

Jeff Lightfoot lusted after Julianna for years, even when he thought she was human. Now she’s home and all his—if she passes the tests. She’s his True Mate and he wants no one else, but pack politics trump Mother Nature and will prevent him from choosing Julianna if she fails.

For the future she wants, Julianna must pass the tests to become Queen Bitch of Callowwood—or watch Jeff take another woman as his mate.

I’ll leave you with an excerpt of just how strong Julianna has become, but before I go, I wanted to say a big thank you to Emerald for having me here today, and thanks to everyone who came to read. I really appreciate it. All the best,

Siobhan

_______________________

Excerpt from Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack

Julianna strode confidently through the house toward the front doors, her fury banked but still smoldering as she tightly gripped her purse, in which she’d dropped the token. She’d sought out Jeff, but he’d disappeared while Richard gave her the pendant, and he was nowhere to be found under the tents.

It figures he’d make me look for him so I can seek his approval for departure!

As she passed a darkened hallway to her right, a male arm reached out of the darkness and jerked her against a hard body. Rage blazed hot as she crashed into the wall of flesh with an unladylike grunt of surprise, but it dropped into icy fury as she slammed her elbow into her assailant’s gut.

Her Sister’s nature surged into the forefront of her awareness and she turned on her attacker with pent up ferocity.

He yelped as she stomped down on his instep, twisting in his arms. Then she shoved his shoulders back against the wall and slammed her knee into his groin. He collapsed, panting and groaning, when the irresistible scent of the desert rain penetrated her adrenaline rush.

Understanding dawned.

She’d just kneed Jeff Lightfoot in the balls! It would’ve been funny if she wasn’t so angry. His original grip had been sexually domineering, complete with raging hard-on.

“Jeff?” She grasped his shoulders. “What are you doing?”

“What the hell was that for?” he groaned, cupping his crotch protectively.

“Haven’t you learned never to grab a woman out of the darkness?” Julianna shook her head as some of her anger drained away. “I lived in the big city for a long time. More than one man tried to take me down. Are you okay?”

“No.” He sounded strangled, and she had to hide a smile. “Can’t breathe.”

“Sorry.”

“Damn, woman!”

“Damn, yourself! Why did you try to grab me?”

“I didn’t want you to leave yet,” he whispered as he slowly straightened up. His face looked a little gray, but it might have been the dim light. “I wanted to say a more private good-bye, but I think I’m only going to say good-bye to my balls. Shit!”

“I am sorry, even if I was defending myself.” She bit her bottom lip. “Do you want to sit down?”

He nodded, and she slid one arm around his waist, lowering him to the floor.

“Goddess above, you smell wonderful. How did you hide it for so long?” He dropped his head and nuzzled her neck and jawline as she sat beside him. Arousal pushed through her chagrin, tightening her nipples.

“I didn’t.” She snorted. “I threw myself at you for years, and you ignored me the whole time, remember?”

“More idiot, me.” He chuckled ruefully. “If I’d known you were a Moon Singer, I would’ve taken you years ago.”

Suddenly, rage obliterated all the lustful feelings in her, and she snarled, scooting away from him.

“Taken me?” she growled, pushing to her feet. “You would’ve ‘taken’ me? You asshole, am I nothing more than a piece of tail to you? If that’s the case, go grab one of those other bitches. I’ve already experienced being treated like a piece of meat. I’m sure Brenda would submit to you willingly enough, with her tits against the floor and her ass in the air!”

Jeff stilled, and his hands warily covered his groin again as he looked up at her.

“What’s wrong, Julianna?”

“What’s wrong? What’s wrong?” She barely held herself back from kicking him in the ass with her sandaled foot. “What’s wrong is that I’ve joined a pack that doesn’t see this”—she stabbed a finger at him sitting on the floor—“as something to be upset about! I want you, Jeff, but I’m not just a piece of ass that any alpha male can use when he’s feeling horny. I won’t be ‘taken’ unless I give permission. Do you hear me, Mr. Successor of the pack?”

Julianna whirled and stomped out of the house, leaving Jeff completely nonplussed on the floor behind her ringing heels.


Thanks again so much for coming by today, Siobhan! To see more of today’s lovely guest, find her online at these assorted locations:

Siobhan Muir’s website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Google Plus
Romance Novel Center

And you can buy Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack now at BookStrand or Amazon!

Readers, don’t forget you have a chance to win a free copy of Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack just by commenting now. Siobhan will choose one winner upon whom to bestow a free copy of her masterpiece, while two other commenters will get a copy of the cover art signed by the author, along with a Siobhan Muir magnet. She’ll choose the winners at random on Thursday, June 28, and I’ll announce them here.

Thanks for coming by, and comment away! ;)

Love,
Emerald

June 21st, 2012

Fairy Tales, Lesbians, and the Pleasure of the Unexpected

Well, I’m about two weeks late writing and posting this, but somehow that doesn’t seem surprising to me given my schedule lately. I feel I would be remiss in letting it go by (as I have other outings and subsequent planned posts in the last year…about which I also feel remiss!) without commenting on the experience, though, so late as this may seem, I am posting it now anyway!

Two weeks ago, Book Expo America took place in New York City. I did not attend due to the (for me anyway!) prohibitive cost, but a number of editors and authors that I know did. As it happened, the presence of some of them there led to the planning of a small cadre of erotica readings that week, two of which I had the pleasure of attending.

Speaking of cost, planning a trip to New York City is no small matter for me, given that a night or two there can financially impact me in a way I would often prefer not to be financially impacted. :) It was with profound and earnest gratitude that I discovered this trip that I have two magnificent, beautiful friends—whom, incidentally, I adore—in New York who are (or were this time anyway) generous enough to let me to stay with them, making a relatively leisurely trip in NYC much more doable for me. Not only that, but each of them was such a delight to stay with that I am still missing them and do not know how to express appreciation enough of their extraordinary hospitality and lovely breakfasts. :) Giant thank yous to Monday and Tuesday nights’ respective hosts SP and Tess Danesi!

Kristina Wright organized and hosted a reading that Tuesday evening for the recently released Lustfully Ever After: Fairy Tale Erotic Romance. Readers of this may be aware that I have a story in this anthology, and I was one of the authors that signed up to read at the event. Given about 15 minutes to read (an amount for which, despite all the story trimming I had to do, I still felt some concern about being able to hold the audience’s attention!), I was still cutting words, lines, paragraphs, and sections on the train ride from Tess’s place into the city Tuesday evening. :) But it appears (from the video) that I succeeded in getting a much-edited totality of my story down to (close to!) a 15-minute read time.

Other Lustfully Ever After authors in attendance to read were Michelle Augello-Page and Sacchi Green. It was, truly, an honor to share the mic with them. Not only do I love their stories, which I’d read prior to that evening, but they both read them beautifully. I went first, so I had the opportunity to enjoy their presentations devoid of attendant nervousness.

Fabulous and much-adored (by me anyway, and I am quite sure I am not alone as such) colleagues who attended the reading included not only my splendid host, Tess Danesi, but also Erobintica, Jeremy Edwards, and (Jeremy’s wife) Helia Brookes! It was sublime to see them all and spend time together after the reading at a marvelous nearby (and very chocolate-heavy) restaurant.

The next night I attended another reading (at the same place—I forgot to mention that all these readings took place at the charming and accommodating Bluestockings) hosted by Sacchi Green and D. L. King, whom I was thrilled to get to see again, having last had the opportunity last September at the Erotic Authors Association conference. I was attending this reading, of course, because 1) I was already in New York, 2) I was excited to see a number of the colleagues and readers that were planning to be there, and 3) because I like to support fellow authors and artistic endeavors when I have the chance.

The reading’s theme was lesbian erotica, with authors reading from Sacchi’s new anthology Girl Fever: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex for Lesbians and D.L. King’s The Harder She Comes: Butch/Femme Erotica. Having never felt a sexual attraction to women myself, I have not generally sought out lesbian erotica, though I have appreciated much of it in a literary sense when I have encountered it.

When D.L. King got up and read her introduction to The Harder She Comes, I found it compelling and impressive. Of course, despite my historical lack of connection with the kind of content the book comprised, I was not really surprised by this—I certainly appreciate D. L.’s articulateness, professionalism, and taste. When authors began to read their pieces, though, an expansion occurred in me I hadn’t experienced—or at least this fully appreciated—in a while.

Their readings turned me on. Not only have I not usually felt this way in the face of lesbian erotica, but one of the specific themes, “daddy” and “girl” stories, was not something it had ever occurred to me would hold any interest for me at all.

But it did. Not because my sexual inclinations necessarily shifted while I was sitting there. But because of something else, something that had occurred to me before but I had not really articulated, even to myself.

These authors (as I saw it) were speaking of arousal. They were writing about intensity, about connection, about what it was that did it for their characters in a way that subverted every consideration but that foundational, primal pull that makes us want someone, something, some experience or person or feeling or sublimeness.

That is something to which I certainly relate.

When authors talk about that, really talk about that—when that is the very thing they are writing, the place where they are, where their characters are alive—it becomes universal. That is one of the striking surprises of erotica, as far as I’m concerned: to find oneself turned on by something unexpected, connecting simply with arousal, intensity, affectedness—outside of what is actually eliciting that. The author is simply writing from/about that place of primality. What is actually going on, the literal means that are used to get there, are not the front-and-center stars. The feeling is.

Over and over I was surprised that I was turned on by a lesbian space story or a daddy and girl scene that I would never have suspected would make my breath catch the way it did. This experience, or perhaps this reminder, was one of the intangible reasons I felt so grateful that I had attended this reading. I symbolized it tangibly by buying The Harder She Comes and Girl Fever on the spot and receiving the honor of having them both signed by their editors.

Rachel Kramer Bussel (whom I had the pleasure of also seeing at Wednesday’s reading) held a reading for her brand new anthology Suite Encounters: Hotel Sex Stories at Bluestockings on Friday. I was very sorry to miss it, but I had to return home to accompany Rick Write to a minor medical procedure he was undergoing that day (he’s fine, yay!). I love hotel sex—and hotel sex stories!—and I would have loved to be there to see Erobintica and other authors read from theirs.

Overall (in case it’s not obvious), I found it a marvelous trip, and I extend many thanks to the editors, authors, publisher, audience members, and my hosts who contributed to its happening. Lastly, the beautiful and extraordinary Tess Danesi was kind enough to record my reading of “The Beast Within” Tuesday night. Here it is.

Love,

Emerald

“Honey you know where the world is at, get what you want with your lucky eyes; you turn me on…”
-Oakenfold featuring Brittany Murphy “Faster Kill Pussycat”

June 20th, 2012

Recommended Reading #104: Questioning the System(s)



      “All About Pleasure: Erotica Writers in Bondage” by Donna George Storey (Writing, Art, Sex and Society, Sociology) 6/18/12

I just find this brilliant. Exquisitely articulated and considered, Donna’s exposition of mainstream messages around sexuality and the way they’re systematically presented and reinforced offers either a reminder or awareness of considerations relevant not only to erotic writers, but to all of us as sexual beings and participants in society.

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      “Another View: The Science and Strategy of College Recruiting” by Marina Keegan (Non-sex-related, Youth, Economics)) 11/9/11

This strikes me as an incisive, salient piece. It’s an area I know little about, as I did not attend a top-tier school, and I know extremely little about banking and finance. Thus, one of the things I appreciate about it is that it exposed me to new information—and I thought it did so in a concise and compelling way. (Note: I am heartbroken to mention that I found this piece via a friend on Facebook, who posted it along with the news of the author’s death. :( )

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      “Honeytrap: All Sluts Considered” by Chelsea G. Summers (Sluts, Sex and Society, Politics) Undated

I wholly love this. I love what she says at the beginning about finding slut-shaming absurd and ineffective to those of us who couldn’t care less about being called a slut, and I love her further musings about the larger implications of a political movement built on slut-shaming. Beautifully put.

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Recommended Reading posted every Wednesday

June 13th, 2012

Recommended Reading #103: Writing, Pt. IV



      “Broken Rainbows” by Ashley Lister (Art, Science, Perception, Nature) 12/2009

I simply adore this piece. Ashley’s exposition on the analysis of art (and aesthetic scientific phenomena) resonates with me so much, and I find his expression of it articulate, insightful, and charming.

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      “On Winning, Losing, Writing & Fucking” by Shanna Germain (Sex and Society, Livelihood, Reflection) 6/12/12

This piece offers considerations I find valuable to consider/contemplate. I like the overall perspective, as I interpret it, of appreciating and respecting our own unique inclinations and recognizing that they are where we often have the opportunity to offer what serves. I especially consider her assertion that “The ACT OF DOING THE WORK is, in itself, a way to create positive ripples of change in the world” to be of profound relevance.

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      “Write Like a Rock Star: Making Magic on Stage, on the Page, and in the Kitchen” by Donna George Storey (Creativity, Consciousness, Self-Awareness) 4/2012

I am energized and delighted by the brilliance I perceive in this column. I could not agree with Donna more about what touches an audience—I feel we touch in others the level from which we communicate ourselves. In other words, if we are embodied, Present, aware, integrated, whole—that is what we contact and invite in others. Thus if we create something (or do anything, actually, but I interpret this article as about creating), the level where we are when we create it tends to be what is evoked in those who experience or receive (all of which is also another way of expressing one of my favorite quotes from Eckhard Tolle: “[O]ur level of consciousness is primary, all else secondary”). As usual, she includes additional deliciousness at the end in the form of one of her high-caliber recipes. ;)

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Recommended Reading posted every Wednesday