Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sideboob Reading Challenge: Lace by Shirley Conran

See the entire Sideboob Reading Challenge List!

WARNING: this post contains book spoilers.

I may have talked about the golden age of television movies in the past. Back in the 70s and 80s a miniseries that interrupted regular programming on any of the Big Three networks was an event. We'd rush home from work so as not to miss a minute of Roots, North and South, The Winds of War, or whatever mega-bestselling novel got the small screen treatment, enacted by a cast more than worthy of filling a Love Boat episode. In the early 80's you could add Shirley Conran's Lace to that list. It starred Phoebe Cates, and if you check Youtube you can watch the entire thing in twenty-plus increments. Of course, I wasn't allowed to watch the sexy back then, but judging from the one trailer I found it's a safe bet that Phoebe and company chewed up the scenery, gargled, and spat it out.

Anyway, I can't comment on the amount of sideboobage in the miniseries just yet. The book, though...holy cow, this book. As you can tell by the cover, the recent edition has a quasi-Fifty Shades makeover, and this story makes the latter read like a Mother Goose rhyme. So you know, though, there are portions of Lace that just drag on - when you span a few decades in a story you have to acknowledge that not all of it is spent between the sheets. Given the graphic detail of some sex here, though, it's probably a good thing.

So here's the story: there are four girls in Switzerland for school: American Judy, Brits Kate and Pagan, and French Maxine. They bond, they flirt with boys, one gets pregnant. The decision is made to place the baby in foster care until the mother is in a good place to collect her. When young Elizabeth (Lili) travels with her foster family to Hungary they are caught up in the revolution, and all but Lili are killed. It is assumed she has died, too.

The story jumps forward through the lives of these five girls-to-women. Bad marriages happen, careers flourish, but Lili gets the rawest end of the deal. She's adopted by two soulless harpies, then runs away and ends up in porn (underage, ick) before rising to become a popular starlet. It's not until the last hundred pages or so when she finally decides to trace her mother down, and it turns out she's encountered one of the possible candidates in the past.

Elsewhere in the story is woven a subplot about a Middle Eastern prince with weird sex fetishes (a goldfish figures into one scene - eye-bleach worthy). It reads out of place in the book, until you come to the conclusion...and unless you're really into stuff like VC Andrews you probably won't like it.

Lace is the book with everything. You may rage read it, you may end up searching the net for a thousand GIFs of disgusted and WTF expressions for enhancing your Goodreads review, who knows? All I can say is, I don't think I can get through Lace II, which continues the search for the father.

Who am I kidding? I'm checking the library now.


Monday, November 25, 2013

M/M Steampunk Giveaway! Part of the Steampunk Hop

So, you like M/M erotic romance? You like steampunk? Hey, guess what - you don't have to go far for either here. I am the editor of Silver Wings, an anthology of gay steampunk stories by Cari Z., JT Whitehall, Ross Baxter, and Mahalia Levey. I think it's a great book and definitely one to try if you are interested in either or both genres.

In fact, for this Steampunk Giveaway Hop I have a copy up for grabs. All you have to do is comment and I'll put your name in the hat to win. Contestants should be 18 and older and able to read eBooks. Silver Wings is available in several formats, so you can read it pretty much on any reader or your laptop. This book is not available in print format.

I will award the book when the hop ends on December 2 at midnight. Good luck!



Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankfully Naughty Giveaway Hop


Be sure to comment below. One random winner will receive an eBook from my backlist.

CLICK FOR THE REST OF THE BLOG HOP PARTICIPANTS.

Happy Thanksgiving, hoppers! This is Leigh Ellwood, author of erotic romance and erotica, and I'm happy you could join me. I'd like to wish everybody celebrating Thanksgiving a safe and happy holiday, and I hope you enjoy the time spent with family and friends. This time of year usually sees me at the laptop or outside helping the little one make an early snowman - it always seems to snow when we visit the in-laws.

This year, however, things will be different. We are hosting this year, and I will be cooking all the sides. I have a turkey on order - I don't think I'm ready to tackle a bird just yet. Maybe next time.

Speaking of doing things differently, since the theme of this blog hop is wicked, today I will share an excerpt from one of my favorite backlist stories: The Dares That Bind. To date, it's my only story with a strong BDSM focus. Here's a taste:

The Dares That Bind

Victoria Robeson is content to live at home and work her dead-end job, despite dealing with her overbearing mother, just as long as she has time to write. When she meets the handsome and mysterious Alton Weiss as Dareville prepares for Brady Garriston's big concert, Vic is unnerved and intrigued by how well he knows her personality and desires.

Alton introduces her to a world of sensuality and submission, encouraging her to become a new woman. But is Alton merely a weekend distraction, or the promise of a better life?

~

She had never been inside a room at the Dareville Inn. Being a local, there was no reason to check in and stay the night. Yet, Alton’s suite looked pretty much how she expected a typical room in the historic guest house to appear. Cherry-maple furniture filled the living area—a Queen Anne desk, love seat with an embroidered cover, an oval coffee table fanned with regional guidebooks. Antique vases, lamps, and knickknacks, all resting on ivory doilies, contributed to the antebellum feel of the space. The absence of a television enhanced the charm, yet Vic noticed the open laptop, wires sprouting from all ports, on the desk. It looked like Dr. Who had come to call at Tara.

She ventured further into the suite, one cautious step after another, passing doors for the bathroom and bedroom, in which she saw a gigantic four-poster bed with a bright floral coverlet. To think fifteen minutes from now she could be laying there, legs spread while this man pounded into her. The thought frightened, yet thrilled her.

Why did I come here with him? She instantly knew the answer. Her mind insisted research for her writing, and to disprove Alton’s theory of her submissive nature. However, her body shuddered in a silent cry for passion, determined to join forces with her heart and overrule her mind. That she willingly followed Alton to his room marked one strike against rational thought.

The click of the door’s lock sounded throughout the room, drowning out the blood pounding in her ears. Vic felt attuned to everything in the suite, with even Alton’s soft, carpeted footfalls toward her sounding like a basketball thumping against a hardwood floor. Curse this wild imagination.

“You have excellent posture,” he noted, circling her with amused appraisal. Hands clasped behind his back, he tilted his head and stepped slowly, resembling a tourist before an ancient statue. “Good lines and bone structure.”

Don’t ask me if I’ve modeled. Vic considered her five-feet-ten height an inconvenience, non-conducive to her writing aspirations since her long legs often cramped under desks while shuffling for a comfortable sitting position. Her reluctance to face another reprimand prevented her from voicing the smart remark.

“Yes, you carry yourself well.” Alton’s voice lowered and melted into the air between them. Vic felt the words caress her and tease the skin on her exposed arms. How ridiculous and utterly amazing it was that his presence compelled her to assume this rigid stance. I can leave whenever I wish. Nothing stopped her from simply turning to unlock the door and leaving.

She exhaled slowly through her nose. Nothing but curiosity, and her desire to know what Alton planned for her.

To his credit, Alton didn’t mince words. “I think you should see how well you look, too. Stand before that mirror there,” he pointed to the full length mirror in one corner of the living area, “and take off your clothes. Slowly, and watch yourself as you do it.”

Huh? This certainly hadn’t been part of her day’s agenda. The way Alton commanded this of her sounded gentle and non-threatening yet firm, and Vic vacillated between moving to obey and wanting to escape…if only to learn the whether suffering the consequences might promise something more exciting. She looked at the expectant Alton and knew instantly that he could see the war raging inside her. If he were truly a Dominant as portrayed in Kerry’s magazine, he was quite patient. Hopefully that counted as a good quality for a Dom to possess.

She watched his hands, large with thick fingers, now folded before him. What would they feel like, spanking her for her insubordinate behavior? Or perhaps the punishment for her refusal to undress would involve not touching her? God, this kink shit is so hard to figure out.

“Victoria?” he pressed, a touch of insistence in his voice now.

“Yes, sir.” That gave him pause. Vic realized Alton had never instructed her on how to address him. He appeared to be pleased.

Somehow she willed her legs to work and soon she stood before the tall, beveled mirror framed in a cherry maple stand. She stepped out of her shoes, then lifted each heel one at a time and slipped off her socks. Next would come her white t-shirt, the hem of which she now freed from the unbelted waistband of her jeans just before reaching to pull the material over her head.

“Slower, Victoria,” Alton quietly admonished. “Undressing shouldn’t be a chore or routine.” He paced behind her and she paused, watching his movement in the mirror. He stalked her carefully, his gaze taking in her entire form. “Let your movement become fluid, and graceful,” he said. “Experience the eroticism of the moment…show me your sensual nature.”

“My what?” She bit her lip, ashamed to have let the words slip. She really wanted to laugh, for she never considered herself sexy. Slow motion preening was best left to the Victoria’s Secret models, any of whom could pull it off without looking silly.

But she followed Alton’s instructions, studying herself in the mirror. To her advantage, an attractive young woman did stare back. Dark, straight hair just dusted her shoulders, deep brown eyes marked a bold contrast against her light skin. While not voluptuous, she possessed enough curvature in her ample breasts and womanly hips to display the desired hourglass effect. Alton was right, too, she had good posture…at least right now. She did notice, though, standing up straight gave her bosom quite the appealing lift.

What would it look like without the shirt?

Remembering Alton’s words, she let the hem fall and instead reached behind her for the back collar of her t-shirt. Pulling upward, the material blocked her view for only a moment before flying away to reveal her white cotton bra. She frowned. She would be caught wearing a Doris Day garment during a Bettie Page moment. At least it matched the thong she’d soon expose when she shucked the jeans.

Those went next. Each button torn from the fly signaled a spike in her temperature until she felt her skin aflame. Gaze still on the mirror, she bent forward and pushed the denim over her hips, allowing herself a slight smile at the sound of his breathed approval. The cool air washed over her backside, neutralizing her flesh and teasing her pussy. She pressed her thighs together to stifle the moist sensation threatening to overtake her.

“Beautiful,” he murmured. “Turn around and watch yourself unhook your bra.”

She did as told, craning to look over her right shoulder. Her ass was a perfect inverted heart bordered with white lace. Despite her apparent obedience, she wondered whether he could leave a red handprint across her smooth, pale skin, and how long would the mark remain?

The temptation to stall her undressing and perhaps find out for certain nagged at her, but she continued to strip. The back hook unclasped, Vic crossed her hands to her shoulders and simultaneously eased each strap to her elbows, turning back to watch the bra fall away completely. She watched her hands, as though they acted alone, cup and fondle her breasts. She rolled her nipples between her fingers, studying the dusky pink skin of her areole. How different would Alton’s hands feel against her? His lips, his tongue?

“You’re seeing them for the first time, aren’t you?” Alton asked her.

“I know you are,” Vic said, then gasped at the spontaneous comment. When Alton’s warm laughter rumbled through her she relaxed. “This does bring an interesting perspective, however,” she added. “Growing up, I always seemed to look for changes in my body, but I guess it’s like the watched pot, you know?”

“A watched body never blossoms?” Alton smiled.

She slowly shook her head, not necessarily in dissent. At twenty-four, she could see her breasts for the first time, and note the thickness of her nipples and the faint, pinkish tint of a few freckles in the valley. When had this happened?

Alton’s voice snapped her from her reverie. “I think we’ve accomplished enough here,” he said. “Leave the thong, I like the way it looks on you.” He paused. “Before we go any further, we’ll need a safe word. The major point of play is that everything is safe, sane, and consensual. I can guarantee the first two, as for the third…” He leaned forward, drawing out her response.

“We have a consensus,” Vic said.

He smiled. “Now we just need a word.”

~

Leave a comment below, and I'll choose a winner to receive one book from my backlist. It could be this or anything else I've written. 18 and over please, good luck!

CLICK FOR THE REST OF THE BLOG HOP PARTICIPANTS.

1. Close Encounters with the Night Kind 34. Alexandra Anthony
2. Natasha Blackthorne (US) 35. Madison Sevier
3. Dana Delamar 36. Shauna Aura Knight
4. Morticia Knight 37. Heather Geoffries
5. Draven St. James 38. S.J. Maylee
6. Polly J Adams 39. Siren Allen
7. Liv Honeywell 40. Renea Mason
8. Lusty Penguin Reviews – US 41. Kelly Gendron
9. Starla Cole 42. Lindsay Avalon
10. Shannan Albright 43. Tara Lain
11. Paloma Beck 44. Valerie Twombly
12. Leigh Ellwood 45. Caris Roane Paranormal Romance Author
13. Danita Minnis 46. The Hedonistic Minimalist
14. Share My Destiny 47. H. D. Thomson
15. Kristine Cayne 48. Rose Wynters
16. Eliza Gayle 49. Susan’ Sensual Side
17. Eva Lefoy 50. Vickie Dold
18. Shiloh Saddler 51. My Kindle Fever
19. Malia Mallory 52. MYTHICAL BOOKS (INT)
20. J.E. & M. Keep 53. Rhyll Biest
21. Anya Breton 54. Cassandra Carr (INT)
22. Evie Knight 55. Love Bites and Silk Ties
23. Jami Denise 56. Passion Shields Series
24. Buried Under Romance 57. Lisa Beth Darling
25. Liberty Ann Ireland 58. Fierce Dolan – Words Without Limits
26. Suzi Love (Int) 59. Booked & Loaded
27. 2 Bibliophiles Guide 60. Layna Pimentel
28. Smexy Fab Four 61. Traveling Cats
29. Literal Hotties Naughty Book Reviews 62. Vanessa Morgan
30. Lorraine Pearl 63. Tabitha Conall
31. Read Between The Lines 64. DC Juris
32. Lily Harlem 65. Dana Littlejohn
33. Lucy Felthouse

Monday, November 18, 2013

Five Things You Didn't Know About My Book: Truth or Dare

All over Facebook, people are doing these "little known facts" posts. They're given a number and told to reveal that many secrets. I thought this would work great with my books, so here's five fun facts about Truth or Dare.

1) I wrote this book while I was pregnant. Truth or Dare was my second blessed event to happen in the fall of 2004. When I learned I was pregnant, I got the news that Mundania Press, which was about to publish a book I wrote under another name, planned to launch an erotic romance imprint. I had read a few Ellora's Cave titles and wanted to try the genre, so I wrote the story. To my surprise and elation, it was accepted. I like to think all the hormonal issues I suffered at the time helped me write the sexy.

2) Truth or Dare was one of the first books published by Phaze Books. When Phaze launched in November of 2004 it did so with three titles: Fairy Godlover by Devi Sparks, Three Days in New York City by Robin Slick, and my Truth or Dare. More titles followed the next month, and soon I had my first booksigning at the Pink Banana Boutique in Virginia Beach.

3) Truth or Dare was supposed to be a standalone book. When I sat down to write, I didn't do so with the intent to write a series. I'd write the one book, then move on to something else. As I wrote, however, the supporting character Cal stood out more, and I envisioned a story for him. When I finished the book, my editor asked about a sequel, since series in romance were popular. I relented and went to work on Dare Me.

4) The original cover for Truth or Dare raised a lot of eyebrows. Stacey King designed the first cover according to the questionnaire I gave her. The hero, Brady, is a rock pianist, so I thought the piano was important. The result was a revealing cover with quite a bit of skin. I would bring copies of this book to events and signings, and people would just gape at it, then at me, and walk away blushing. Maybe it was a bit before its time?

5) Once upon a time, you could find Truth or Dare in bookstores. Borders carried my first book nationally for a time, right when stores first started carrying Ellora's Cave and Samhain in romance. We had hoped to establish a relationship with them, but alas the chain of stores didn't hang around long enough. I'm still trying.

So there you have it. Hope you enjoyed these fun facts. I'll be back soon with another book.

(Congrats to JM for winning the Kindle Paperwhite, 6" High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Light, Wi-Fi - Includes Special Offers)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Do You Have Book Amnesia?

Way back in 1991 I didn't have the Internet. We sure as hell didn't have the likes of Goodreads to help us keep track of our books. I had two lined journals into which I recorded the books I read, with some notes:


Cows and Star Trek. Don't judge.

Anyway, cut to 2013 and I'm filling out my Goodreads account with all the books I've read from 1991 through 2004, when I stopped recording. By the end I had become published, and began to spend more time writing. I'd still read, but the volume trickled to a near ooze. For years, though, I'd pledged to read every winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. I still have a long way to go, and every time I go to a bookstore I check for an affordable copy of a book for my TBR.

Over the last year, I've looked around used bookstores for a copy of Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie. Yes, I could buy it from Amazon or elsewhere online easily, but the thrill of the hunt inspires me. The eBook version is more than $9.99, too, and I'm watching my pennies. This particular Pulitzer winner appealed to me, and unfortunately my library doesn't carry it. So while I wait for my next royalty check I've been poring through my diaries and transferring the books to Goodreads.

Last night, I saw this:


Sandwiched in between The Wizard of OZ and two Danielle Steel novels I read in July, 2003 is Foreign Affairs. According to my diary I have already read this book, yet for the past several years I believed I hadn't. It wasn't ticked off on my online TBR list, and I honestly have no memory of this book. I don't have a copy at home, and I have no memory of obtaining the book to read. Those Danielle Steel novels, however, I recall. In fact, I remember every last Steel novel I've read.

What's more, in the same month I read another Pulitzer winner, Anne Tyler's Breathing Lessons, and recall is zilch on that one. How could I have forgotten these books? Granted, it's been ten years - yet I've prided myself on having a sharp memory. To this day my husband and I reminisce about an amazing eggplant lasagna he cooked twenty years ago. I can remember when I was four years old and got into a car accident in Bozeman, Montana with my family. Why can't I remember two lousy books?

Yes, it's a first world problem, but it does bother me. I'm an author. What if ten years down the road somebody has no memory of reading any of my books? A friend tried to spin it positively for me: maybe that person would buy another copy and read it again. That helps, but I really want to remember reading Breathing Lessons and Foreign Affairs. I've ticked them off the Pulitzer TBR for now, but I feel as though I'd be cheating. I recall all the other Pulitzer books, so what's the deal?

Have you experienced book amnesia? Would you keep the read credit or pick up the book again? I'm leaning toward the latter.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

How to Mentally Spend $200 in a Bookstore

First things first: if you can, please make a donation to the Red Cross to help victims of the typhoon in the Philippines. You can also buy a copy of Coming Together Hurricane Relief Edition, which benefits the RC. I'm not in that one, but I've read it and recommend it. Every bit helps in these situations.

I went to the bookstore last night to have a look around. November is great time for publishing because all the Christmas gift books are ready, and all I have to do is stroll the shelves and spend money in my mind. I likely won't get all the books I ask for this year, but I have a library card and some ARe credit left, so I'll be fine this holiday. Just a few titles I'm looking forward to reading include:

  • Eminent Hipsters by Donald Fagen (big Steely Dan fan here)
  • Robert Plant by Paul Rees (my husband knew a guy who knew Robert Plant; that guy had some interesting stories)
  • Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks (I love the original Jeeves stories. I'm not a fan of these "sequel" books done by other authors, but I'll give this a shot.)
  • Star Wars: Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn (Zahn is my favorite SW tie-in author. Haven't read a SW book in ages, but I hear this is like Oceans 11 with Wookies. Can't ignore that.)
  • In Bed With Gore Vidal by Tim Teeman (My writing professor knew Gore Vidal. Now he had some stories.)
  • Johnny Carson by Henry Bushkin (I hear this haz gossip.)
I'm also reading down my ARe library, will hopefully make a dent over Christmas vacation. What are you reading?



Friday, November 1, 2013

NaNo, No

I'd like to wish all the writers taking part in NaNoWriMo the best of luck this month. I have participated in NaNo, usually unofficially, for the past few years and have done well. Dare to Act was a NaNo project, and I have a few trunk novels I should probably polish. It is with some sadness, though, that I have decided to pass this year. It's not that I do not think NaNo is a good exercise. It's great. I feel this year I need to work at my own pace and take care of some things with regards to my writing.

In lieu of writing 50K in a month, I have decided to up my reading in November. I pledged to read 125 books in 2013, and I'm in the low 90s right now. My plan is to make the goal by November 30 and let my December reading become gravy. I have several TBR books in my ARe library and Kindle stash, plus a few library books out. I slacked off a bit in October, and I am hoping a read-a-thon will help me find some purpose for the coming year.

If you'd like to read more in November, be sure to check out my backlist.