Forgive Me Somehow, Danielle Steele

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CLICK ME to buy!

In case there’s someone out there who didn’t know, my big sis, Lucy Blue, is a much better writer than me.  So much better that I’ve let her take over my blog today to talk about her new release, Alpha Romeo.  It’s a scintillating tell-all book written in the style of a Hollywood memoir.  Think about it this way– it’s the book about Angelina Jolie that you’ve always wanted to read.  Lucy herself describes the book as being  throwback to the old Danielle Steele/ Sidney Sheldon days.  Anyway, today she’s taking over to talk about how she came to write Alpha Romeo and why it’s such an important book for her. 

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When I was a teen-ager, my mother’s favorite writer was Danielle Steele.  It was one of the many things we fought about.  “Those books are just garbage,” I would tell her.  “They all have the same stupid, melodramatic plot.  The characters are paper dolls.  They read like the back of a cake mix.  You read Thomas Hardy for fun, for heaven’s sake.  How can you read that crap?”

                As I recall, her defense usually ran along the lines of different strokes for different folks.  But if I’d been particularly obnoxious, she might point out that she couldn’t understand how her beautiful daughter could enjoy “sickness” like Stephen King and Anne Rice, either, but she still loved me.

                As I got older and started writing fiction of my own, she read every word I wrote.  She was what that sicko Stephen King would call my “first reader,” and she praised it all, even the stuff outside her comfort zone, even the stuff I never finished.  She encouraged me every step of the way, and when I sold my first book, a horror opus about vampires, consumptive whores, and Shakespeare, no one could have been more proud.

                Mama’s health was never great, but about ten years ago, she took a definite turn for the worse.  I was in the midst of writing about medieval vampires for Pocket Books.  I actually made my first draft deadline for The Devil’s Knight during a two-week leave of absence I had taken from my day job to take care of her after her second open heart surgery.  I don’t remember ever having the conscious thought to write a “Mama book.”  I was very happy with my vamps.  But right around that same time, reading a tabloid account of a celebrity divorce, I got the idea for Scarlett Cross, a movie star who’s been haunted her whole life by the violent death of her mother.  I started writing about her in first person, a technique I hadn’t used for anything but short stories since college, because that was just how she came out of my head.

                There are no supernatural monsters in Scarlett’s world.  Maybe at that point in my life, the real world seemed a lot scarier than any horror I could think up.  Maybe I lost the knack for believing in fairies and witches and vamps for a while.  I know I made Scarlett a movie star to keep the fantasy, to keep that distance–the same reason, I suspect, that all of Danielle Steele’s heroines in those days were fashion models and lady business magnates and the daughters of Russian nobility.  Those women go through hell, but they look fabulous doing it, and they never have to worry about stuff like money or bad plumbing (at least not after the first fifty pages).  I know for me at that time, the story of an ordinary woman watching her mother waste away was beyond my talent and strength.  But I could write the outlandish trials and tribulations of Scarlett Cross at lightning speed, wallowing in her pain.  I wrote her made-up memoir right alongside my paranormals, hundreds and hundreds of pages of her voice telling the lurid story of her life while my own life as I had always known it fell apart.

                And out of that came my latest book, Alpha Romeo, the story of Scarlett’s first love.  Mama passed away in 2008, years before my notebooks full of Scarlett gelled into anything like an actual book, but sections of that manuscript were the last of my writing she ever read.  “I love this one,” she told me.  “This one is you.  This is the one.”  And while I know my vamps are as much me as Scarlett, and I still think Danielle Steele’s writing kind of sucks, I love this story in a way I’ve never loved anything else I’ve written.  Because I know she would love it, not because her daughter wrote it, but because it’s her kind of book. 

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Our poor mother always wondered how she ended up with two daughters who liked to hide in a fantasy world.  I think it’s safe to say that we are exactly what she made us. Here’s more about the book:

If the tabloids only knew.

Scarlett Cross is the classic Hollywood princess. Daddy is a movie star; Mama was a supermodel murdered when Scarlett was only four years old. Now she’s eighteen pretending to be younger for the sake of her father’s image and starting her own career as the muse of a famous European auteur. But bad boy actor Romeo Kidd is everything she’s ever wanted. He makes her feel safe and loved and wanted for the first time in her life, and she’ll do anything to keep from letting him go.

If Alpha sounds like your kind of book too, you can click the image above and zoom right over to buy it!  It’s also available from Purple Sword Publications and All Romance if you prefer a different format.  They also have nifty-neato excerpts so you can test drive first!! 

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Vintage Sexy

ingenue_new lineHi kids!  I haven’t said much about anything other than American Horror Story here in the last couple of weeks so I’ve decided to remedy that this week.  In case you didn’t know, I have a book coming out on Friday with Ellora’s Cave.  It’s a little historical piece that takes us back to the early days of American Burlesque and Vaudeville.  “Ingenue” is the story of a burlesque dancer and the stagehand who loves her.  With that in mind, I wanted to talk a little bit today about what is sexy.

As a writer of erotica, both straight and paranormal, I always find myself reading and researching about what is sexy to the readers of 2013.  It’s an interesting topic, though I often get strange looks from the patrons of the local Starbucks.  The fact is, the things that we find sexy in today’s modern world have changed drastically in the last thirty years.  The Sexual Revolution of the 1960s made us more open, maybe even too open.  Previous to this, housewives were hiding their bodice rippers in the nightstand and denying any involvement in masturbation or fantasy lives.  Then suddenly the market realized that women wanted more explicit sex, hotter men and stronger heroines. And then the 1980s brought us AIDS, an increase in teenage pregnancy and an emphasis on sexual responsibility. Nowadays, innovations like the Internet, social networking and eBook readers have made the world much smaller and if possible, more open.  Specifically, more open to sex.  With all of these societal changes, the modern romance author has had to become vigilant in keeping up with what makes the modern reader hot, while also maintaining that theme of sexual responsibility.

One of the coolest things that I’ve noticed over the last several years is the return to all things vintage.  As many of you who read my blog and indeed, my writing, I closely identify myself with the Goth culture.  One of the things that the Goth scene has done for sexuality is to bring back the Burlesque aesthetic.  Corsets, clothes that are sexy without being obscene and bawdy women who are purposefully comedic and sexually open are HOT.  The popularity of movies like Burlesque and Moulin Rouge and performance artists such as Dita Von Teese reflect a culture that is ready to embrace the playful side of sex.  And embrace it not as something dirty, but as something that should be enjoyed.  I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the proverbial “bodice ripper” that features some poor shrinking violet being kidnapped, raped and forced into marriage just doesn’t sell anymore.  The modern reader wants strong heroines who aren’t afraid to fight back with all the weapons in their arsenal:  intellect, beauty and general “badassery.”

Another thing that romance readers are finding exceptionally sexy right now is the Male/Male romance.  While I myself don’t write in this subgenre, I have great respect for those that do.  And I think it’s so exciting that love relationships between two men are becoming so mainstream.  No one, regardless of their sexual orientation, should have to hide who they really are from the world.  The popularity of the Male/Male romance genre indicates to me that the modern reader is accepting of the gay lifestyle.  After all, love is love.  And tolerance is, to me, HOT.

Along with the age of eReaders has come a wave of new and exciting writers in the romance genre.  No longer do writers have to drown in the slush pile of a New York publishing house for two years before being told, “It’s just not what we’re looking for right now.”  Instead of authors scrounging to be noticed by publishers, eBook publishers are pursuing unknown authors.  As one of those unknowns, I’m exceptionally pleased by this paradigm shift.  It means that thousands of creative minds are getting their words out to the readers.  How exciting to be a reader right now!  Whatever sort of kink you’re into, there’s a writer out there who caters to you.  Trust me, if you want to read a book about an alien that falls in love with a werewolf—it’s out there.  That being said, readers want more and more creativity.  Plots have to be tight and believable.  No longer will readers be content to lose themselves in a ridiculous scenario highlighted by ten pages of “He presented his throbbing member to the entrance of her moist and waiting canal.”

Let me close by saying that no one can really answer the question, “What is sexy?”  Because the truth is, like wine, everyone has their own preferred vintage.  The good news is, with the explosion of eBooks and small presses, everyone can find something to tickle their fancy.

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COMING NOVEMBER 1ST FROM ELLORA’S CAVE!

Never fall in love with a hoofer. That’s the advice given to Stefan—advice he immediately ignores when he falls head-over-heels in love with burlesque dancer Rose, the shimmying, corseted star of the Footlight Theatre. But wicked, wounded Rose is far out of the humble stagehand’s reach.

Rose has stars in her eyes—and bruises on her face. As she suffers abuse at the hands of a cruel patron, she dreams of the day when she’ll find her way out of her nightmare and into the arms of the passionate, protective Stefan.

Interview with a Vampire… No, not that one.

Joining me today at The Belle, I’ve got a most special guest.  That’s right, today I’m going to be talking to Seth, star of my new novella, “Sanguine Kiss.”

AC:  Welcome, Seth.  Thanks for agreeing to talk to us today.  Pardon the garlic garlands.  But we have to keep it safe, sane and consensual you know.

Seth:  Of course, Lexxx.  But you needn’t have worried.  The world is far more interesting with you in it.

AC:  (blushing) You’re such a charmer, Seth.

Seth:  (in a decidedly sarcastic tone) Vampire!

AC:  Indeed.  And speaking of that, tell us a little about your origins.

Seth:  Well, as hard as it might be to believe, I was born in 1341 B.C. in the city of Thebes.  I was a slave to a scribe named Kheti.  One day while I was gathering papyrus reeds by the river, a beautiful woman came upon me.  At first I thought she was the goddess Isis in human form, but her intentions were soon revealed.

AC:  I’m sure that was traumatic.

Seth: Indeed, but she claimed she could turn me to a living God.  Being stupid and young, I believed her.  And well… here I am.

AC:  I have to ask– were the two of you lovers?

Seth: (chuckles) For nearly a thousand years.  Off and on of course.  But as you know, now I have a new love.

AC:  Of course.  That lucky Gillian Thompson.  Why did you choose her for your mate after being alone so long?

Seth:  I don’t know if you realize, but the senses of a vampire are very keen.  Each of you has a distinct scent that is either pleasing or abhorrent.  There are subtle nuances that one can almost taste.  You, for example Ms. Christian, have an extremely spicy and sweet scent.  I would imagine that your blood tastes of cinnamon and chocolate.  Something about Gilly’s scent was so intoxicating.  It was as if her body called to mine.  I loved her in an instant and knew that I would no longer be satisfied without her.  And I suppose I enjoyed that someone needed me.

AC:  (cheeks in flames still over the chocolate remark) How do you feel about how vampires are portrayed in the media nowadays?

Seth:  Rather amusing.  I saw one of those Twilight movies with Gilly a few months ago and spent the whole thing thinking, “What sort of weed were these people smoking?”  A bloodless vampire movie.  It doesn’t surprise me.  Sexiness and allure is part of the vampire’s hunting practice and I’m sure that women find that very appealing.  The problem is, no one depicts what happens afterward.  Don’t get me wrong, I love women.  But there’s nothing I need more than blood.  And I’m sorry, I prefer it warm and directly from the source, if you get my drift (piercing stare that renders the Belle speechless for several moments).

AC: Well… it’s certainly been a pleasure, Seth.  I hope you’ll come back soon and give us some more insight.

Seth:  Anything for you, Lexxx.  I’ll come over and over if you like (eyebrows cocked in obvious innuendo).

(Wrapping a garland of garlic around herself like a feather boa.)  Thanks for joining the blog today, folks.  I certainly HOPE that I’ll be back tomorrow…

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For the complete story of Seth and Gillian’s exploits, be sure to go and download a copy of “Sanguine Kiss” from any of the following retailers:

Amazon

All Romance eBooks

Purple Sword Publications

Bookstrand

And if you’d like to sample a little before you buy, please visit my BookPulse page on Facebook.  There’s excerpts, trivia and other fun stuff!

 

Happy Release Day to Me!

Well kids, it’s finally here! The release of my new novella, “Sanguine Kiss.”  I’m so excited about this one as it’s my first vampire book AND my first venture with Purple Sword Publications.  And not to toot my own horn or anything, but this is probably the hottest book I’ve written to date.  And those of you that have read my books in the past know that that’s saying a lot…

“Sanguine Kiss” follows the story of Gillian Thompson, a scorned lover who thinks she has no choice left but to end her life.  That is until the mysterious and arrogant Seth crosses her path.  He’s a lonely vampire that offers her a new life of exquisite pleasure, bloody kisses and sweet revenge.  This one will leave you panting, first with a rush of terror and later with a rush of hot blood to your naughty bits!  Don’t believe me, just read the excerpt….

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“Imagine it…slipping into eternal slumber in the safety of my arms.”

“No!” she shrieked, making a dive for the hallway. He was faster and before she knew what was happening, he’d grabbed her around the waist and thrown her against the wall, pinning her between him and the rough stone. His hands gripped the corner of her jaw, holding her head in place as he sniffed her like the animal he was. He growled and hissed, burying his nose in the crook of her throat and inhaling her musky scent. “Please don’t hurt me…” she whimpered.

 “You think I want to kill you,” he said, his voice taking on a gravelly tone.

“But you’re…” She stopped, her voice trailing into another whimper as he kissed her throat. She couldn’t say it. The trembling and disbelief wouldn’t let her. “This can’t be real.”

“I can assure you, love. I am quite real.”

“Then you are…”

“A vampire?”

“Yes,” she whispered. “Are you?”

Seth smiled again, this time wide enough to confirm her suspicions. “Are you afraid?”

“No,” she lied, struggling to keep her breathing slow and even.

“Liar,” he replied, inhaling deeply as he nuzzled under her hair. “I can smell it on you like cheap perfume. It permeates every part of you and makes your blood a complicated ambrosia.” With that, he licked the outline of her jugular vein with the tip of his tongue then stopped, his lips lingering on the soft place just under the corner of her jawline and then sucking gently. “I can give you everything you’ve ever wanted and more. Answers to every question. Pleasure like you’ve never known.”

His words were the aphrodisiac she needed and she melted into his embrace. “Yes.” She sighed, succumbing to his seduction and offering her mouth to his. He kissed her deeply, his tongue delving into the moist cavern and drawing the breath from her body. He could feel her move against him, her body shuddering involuntarily. “Please…”

Seth broke away, growling deep in his throat as he swept her drunken, limp body into his arms. He carried her swiftly through the labyrinth of corridors and up the stairs, moving with an impossible speed that took her breath away. When they arrived at the end of the hall, he kicked the double doors, breaking the latch so that they flew open. Gillian flinched at the sound of the wood splintering as the doors hit the wall behind with enough force to leave a dent in the plaster. He tossed her unceremoniously onto his bed and stood back, watching her with a predatory glare.

“Are you going to kill me?” she whispered, sitting back on her elbows.

“Yes.” He watched as her chin began to tremble and she started moving backward slowly. “I’m afraid you’ve been chosen.”

“Please don’t.”

“So, you do want to live?”

She inhaled to say something but the words died on her lips, looking into his eyes. “I… I suppose,” she replied.

He came upon her, kneeling over her in an instant and making her draw back with fear of him. “You suppose? You must be sure! I offer you death, yes. But also life. Eternal life and you cannot change your mind once it’s begun!” He pulled her to him in a furious embrace that nearly stopped her breath. She cried out. He held onto her tightly, his mind racing with wonder. Why had he attached himself to this one so much? What was it about her that made him feel so…human? It had been a hundred years since he’d taken a companion and the last one had ended so badly—why should she be any different? But the thought of leaving her was nearly painful. “Let me give you something to live for,” he whispered.

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“Sanguine Kiss” is available NOW from Amazon, Bookstrand, All Romance eBooks and of course Purple Sword Publications.