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Monday, August 31, 2009

Courtney Breazile - Setting



Let's Welcome Courtney Beazile as our guest blogger today. She's giving a litte insight into what she's learned about setting and how to apply it to her story. Thanks for joining us, Courtney.



I posed the question of what makes a good setting and how can a setting enhance a story. I got many opinions on what settings were preferable but less on how they enhance a story.

When I sit down to write a story the setting is one of the first things I think about. The setting is so important to the story it is probably second only to the two main characters. Setting will, when done right, act as a character in itself.
A great setting sets up opportunity for the characters and it can set up obstacles for the characters. The setting acts like a character in these ways, moving in and out of the main character’s lives and shaping the story that the characters must walk through. The characters don’t walk a smooth paved path through life, there is no story there. They walk through dark woods and rough waters and get thrown off track time and again. It is this journey through settings that make a story worth reading.
Setting also sets the mood and tone of the story. If characters are walking through dark woods at midnight you get a completely different feeling than if the same two characters are walking on a crowded New York street. They can be having the same conversation, the same conflict with eachother but it will be a completely different experience for the reader and character depending on the setting.
Setting is used by an author to create the perfect story. Without a clear picture of the setting the reader will not fully experience the story, it will be as if the reader is only getting half the story. The setting should, at every turn, add something to the story or the character. It is never just a thing, it is a tool that, when used well, can create an unforgettable image and story.
As an example of setting telling half the story here is an excerpt from my September 1st release Treasure of Flowers:

“Trevon’s walk led him to a burnt out lot. He stood in front of it staring at where should have been his childhood home. The smell of burning wood and stone still lingered in the air as if the fire had only recently been put out. The heat that had radiated off the huge flames was a tangible memory. There was nothing left of it, a burned out shell of a home once filled with laughter and love. The place that should have stood here before him held his best and worst memories. It was odd to see such destruction sitting in these beautiful surroundings. But it was Trevon’s land to do with what he saw fit and he saw fit to do nothing with it. It reflected his goal, complete destruction. His life had held only one meaning, revenge, but now there was Violet.”




You can head over to my website and tell me what you think of settings.




Thank you,


Sunday, August 30, 2009

LET’S GET IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE

...And no I don’t ‘research’ all the sex scenes I write. Sadly!

So yesterday I talked about sheikhs, those men of the shifting sands and desert kingdoms that are so true to the alpha stereotype, but who with the guidance of a good woman, will always find love.
I think in sheikh stories the setting plays a strong part in the love stakes. I remember as a youngster (and no I’m not going to say how young) I was at the movies watching Elvis in some movie set in an Arabic palace. It was wonderful as the theatre had a glittery ceiling like stars and stone statues of lions with lights shining for their eyes. It set the scene perfectly for the movie.
So how do you create a world for a sheikh – if the story is not set in say London or New York. You have to create a world most of us have never been to, or in fact doesn’t exist. In The Sheikh’s Proposal his home is an imaginary island set off the west coast of North Africa/near the Mediterranean. I had to create a history his people – I mean they had ruled their for nearly 800 years – I got this idea from the Grimaldi family who have ruled Monaco for a similar length of time. I wanted to create a paradise, and chose flowers as a theme. That his ancestors had brought a flower/essence industry with them, and that had continued into a profitable perfume industry today.
Also, so that he wasn’t too restricted by the mores of his culture, I had it that his mother had been English and that his homeland had been inhabited at times by the Moors and the Spanish, so there was this tremendous mix of culture, and more importantly, understanding of cultures so that they lived in harmony – wouldn’t that be nice today!
One of the things the reviewer from Fallen Angels said she liked was the world I had created. It was such fun. I wanted it to be about perfume and flowers and so chose names in Arabic that represented that. I googled Arabic names and chose from there.
For example, Zuhair, the name of the island means bright, while the main city on the island, Azhar means flowers and blossoms. So you see there is a theme going on here. Tariq's daughter is Yasmin - after flowering jasmine and his dead wife Nawar's name also means flower. I hoped by doing this - at least in my mind, that it would create lots of setting and go someway to create the ‘mood for love’!
Just as a teaser I’ll post a short excerpt when the hero guides the heroine through the flower market, and how I used it as a prelude to first touch.

“Zuhair is distinctive. We live in harmony, which is something I am determined to preserve and have a natural climate for flowers. It's something we've become famous for.”
“You produce nectar for the Gods, so the travel brochures say.”
He steered her towards a trellised archway entwined with a mass of sweet scented roses. Nose twitching with the heavy fragrance, Callie reached out and trailed a finger over a velvet-soft pink petal, inhaling the delicious fragrance.
“This is the Fragrance Market. Traders for centuries have come with their produce. Our soil is rich and produces an abundance of flowers. Ancestors brought with them the artistry of perfume.”
“Frankincense and myrrh?” Callie questioned.
“Yes, though frankincense is a resin.”
With his hand cupping her elbow, he led her into the market. Basket after basket of flower heads, some dried, some fresh, lined the cobbled street. The fragrance was intoxicating, seductive with its lingering scent.
“They wanted something to remind them of where they came from and what they left behind, so brought their craft with them. Come.” His hand moved to her back, igniting a scorching heat radiating from his touch through her dress to her very sensitive skin. As he guided her along the market walk, acknowledging vendors and purchasers alike, Callie remained silent. This was Tariq's territory and she the interloper. Yet, as they made their way past innumerable stalls, the buyers haggling with the vendors for the best price for the flowers, fragrant oils and unguents, she was transported to days gone by. But it was Tariq who impressed her most, something she was uncomfortable admitting.
Although their king, he was one of them, conversing in all three of languages, listening intently to their problems, offering advice. That he cared was visibly evident.
And it disturbed her.
It distorted her preconceived opinion of Sheikh Tariq al Sulamein. Gambler. Womanizer. All the things she detested. However, his actions today didn't fit the jigsaw.


And just before I go, here’s another short excerpt. This is still using setting as a way to build sensuality. Can you imagine standing on a balcony overlooking the rippling ocean with a blanket of stars above? Definitely a wonderful place for love.


Excerpt 2

Out under a star-studded night sky they were alone, surrounded by a soft breeze scented with the lingering essence of flowering jasmine.
“Do you like art, Callie?”
“It depends,” she prevaricated.
How many times had she dreamt of facing this man, telling him what she thought of him, his kind, what she thought of his actions, yet now, when she had the opportunity, not one sensible syllable crossed her lips.
And he wants to talk art!
A soft chuckle echoed around their secluded domain. “I never thought I'd see you short for words.”
“I'm not used to idle chatter.”
“That surprises me, given it’s your job,” he said, deliberately derisive. “Your job relishes idle chit-chat.”
Callie bristled, yanked her arm from his hold, and wrapped both arms across her waist as if trying to protect herself. Anger unfurled in her chest. “My job has a purpose,” she defended.
“It does? What would that be precisely? So far, all I see is you commenting on my life, or what you perceive it to be and without the slightest knowledge.”
The hairs on the back of Callie's neck rose. “I know you. I know people like you. You give graciously, or so it seems, then suck people dry.”
“Vicious words, Callie. I'd be careful.”
“Or what?”
“Or...” His hawk-like eyes immobilized Callie and her breath became shallow, struggling for release as he held her without touching.
“Or this.” Tariq’s mouth came down hard, devouring hers with one surge of heated need. It rivaled an unforgiving and unrepentant desire of her own. For what could have been an eternity, but was only a mere few seconds, his lips lingered on hers. Then it was over. Callie stumbled backwards, stunned by what had transpired.
Oh, she knew she'd been kissed.
Thoroughly.
But what was the rest? Heat? Temptation? Lust?
Shamed by the flagrant desire coursing through her veins, Callie turned from him and wiped the back of her hand against her still burning mouth. She desperately wished she could douse the flames burning within. Eradicate the taste of him.
Blast the man!
With one kiss Sheikh Tariq al Sulamein had stormed her defenses and now the wall of stone she'd built was under threat. Callie wished with her all her heart it hadn't happened, prayed it wasn't too late to rebuild her defenses. She would need them where this man was concerned.


Happy reading
Jane Beckenham
www.janebeckenham.com
Love, honor and romance at the turning of a page.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

SHAKING UP THE SHEIKHS AND WHAT MAKES THEM LOVEABLE REALLY

I’ve just returned home from the Romance Writers of New Zealand annual conference and tucked away in my bag are several books to go to the ‘to be read’ pile and yes, I will admit they are sheikh stories. I myself have always loved them, and written them.

So what is it about these dark eyed men, who roam deserts in flowing robes, who are the ultimate in testosterone filled ‘alpha maleness’? What about them pulls our strings ladies?



Well, for a start for me it has to be their eyes. My heroes often have these dark eyes. I’m a sucker for what I call ‘bedroom eyes’ and yes they are modeled on someone, and no it’s not my husband LOL.



But it has to be their eyes that get me first. And these eyes, unfathomable, so rich and dark like Hershey’s chocolate are absolutely perfect for the bedroom.



I sometimes relate the story of meeting my girlfriend’s husband for the first time. He had these eyes. Very yummy indeed and in fact, yes I will admit this man’s eyes have inspired many a hero for my books.



Then there was this chap that I would see every Saturday morning when I took my daughter to gym class. I mean the guy was everything I could write about. He reminded me of one of the Baldwin brothers. Yep another dark haired, dark eyed kinda bloke.



And so each Saturday had me searching him out. Me the mother of 2, who was probably at least 10 years older than him, waiting, wondering, searching. Pathetic really.

But he was my next hero. I had to watch out for him, see if there were any little quirks that would transcend onto my pages.

And then disappointment slapped me in the face (proverbially I might add) . The man had a wife. Okay so was I wasn’t intending on ripping him away from his wife. But it was the wife who was of instant concern – the lovely lady who had spoken to many times (eeek) was in fact my daughter’s tap dancing teacher! (Oh ground swallow me up now please!)

Anyway,…all this in search of my hero, my sheikh.

But why are they popular? This is not a strange question. I mean when I was on a loop recently discussing this same topic one woman was quite upset, given the world’s difficult times, etc, soldiers and terrorism.

But what I tried to explain to her is that writers are writing entertainment. Pure and simple. We’re writing fiction. Something to take her away from her daily worries.

And I must admit my sheikh Tariq from The Sheikh’s Proposal, could certainly do that. These men are strong, they are unbendable, inflexible, but like all men who find a good woman, they finally learn what is most important to them.

The world that the sheikh lives in is a fantasy for the reader. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by such wealth, fly in private planes, drink Bollinger and go anywhere at whim? But beneath it all too, these sheikhs are working men. They have huge business empires to overseas, ensuring jobs are safe for their workers. So they are no different from say someone like Donald Trump – but none of my sheikh’s will ever have a comb over!

So if you’re looking at reading a sheikh story. Don’t just think of it as a hard-edged man, but think of it as a relationship book, a romance where when he finds her, the right woman will bring all the right attributes that this man has, to the surface.
You see all it takes is a good woman. As always.


Happy reading.
Jane Beckenham
http://www.janebeckenham.com/


Check out Jane’s Tariq
The Sheikh’s Proposal








THE SHEIKH’S PROPOSAL
Author: Jane Beckenham
Publisher: http://www.redrosepublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60435-080-7
ISBN: 1-60435-080-6










I sometimes think in the scheme of things we forget to give little hints in our excerpts as to our heroes…..how could I forget Tariq…

Excerpt



The constant paperwork and never-ending meetings soured Tariq's mood as his brain filled with visions of Callie. If he closed his eyes he could see her, feel her next to him, her kisses as they trailed across his skin, remember the taste of her mouth against his.



He bit back a barely suppressed groan and ignored the ceaseless counsel of his advisers. He needed Callie. She made him forget. Her presence simply let him be. Tariq knew he played a dangerous game when he needed to concentrate. Instead, dark passion-filed eyes swam before him, enticing, calling to him like a siren from the sea.



Guilt gnawed at him that he used her, assuaged his need for her, but the moment he gave in to the games his mind played, it would be over and he wasn't sure he wanted that.



It was too final. Too hard.



He wanted Callie at his side, in his bed. For now. And that had to be enough. Didn't it?



He struggled to focus on the information in front of him. It didn't work. Nothing worked and for the first time in his existence, his job wasn't enough.



He needed to get out of his suddenly claustrophobic office.



He needed space.



He needed Callie.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

World Building a Room in Romance

Pic from ~ http://parisapartment.wordpress.com ~

So, if you write in the scifi/fantasy/future subgenres of romance how do you world build a room? Obviously, rooms can take on a whole new view and a different meaning depending on the story. Really, rooms in these genres are only limited by the author’s imagination.
I can tell you from having tons of WIPs in these subgenres that creating these rooms is often a challenge. I have to think about what makes sense for that particular world’s culture and for the characters.
How do you write a far future room that is primarily a technology most of us aren’t familiar with or haven’t thought about yet.
I mean, what is it like sailing through the cosmos on any number of space vessels ~ from a one-person cruiser to a planet-sized cargo ship?


Mostly, I enjoy writing rooms that deeply affect the heroine and hero in some way. For example, in ALL SHADES OF BLUE PARADISE, Lady Sheridan and Baron Zaggry have been apart for ten years. In love with each other and planning to marry, Sher sees what she believes to be a betrayal by Zag and breaks their engagement. Now, she’s agreed to be his slave lover for one year to save her brother’s family from debt.
The moment Sher enters the upstairs mansion room that belongs to her, she is both amazed and her heart is torn from its moorings. The room has been designed exactly as she and the Baron lovingly talked about during their engagement. As she moves within and remembers, it’s in those moments her heart knows that Zag still loves her and has always loved her. Her heart knows this, but she doesn’t. She can’t yet. It would be unbearable to her. Still, the truth has found its way inside her because of a room, the room Zag held in his heart and had created for her.


In contrast to Lady Sheridan’s fantasy-in-blue private boudoir, I’ll leave you with the ‘room’ Sun Rocket, my heroine in RED LIONESS TAMED, finds herself trapped inside.

Chapter One excerpt:

"Frax! My brain feels like it’s been spun out of cobwebs," Sun Rocket muttered. She squeezed her eyelids open and shut several times, shifting slightly on the hard metallic surface. Expelling a breath, she attempted to open her eyes. "Frax it to the sun! More cobwebs," she angrily complained.

Pressing her hand over her eyes, she sniffed carefully. Sterile, her surroundings, except for harmless micro dust--except for her--about half a day away from a bath or a good tongue licking. Experimentally she shoved with her foot. Half her usual body weight. She was probably inside some cargo hold, orbiting or...

Sun Rocket shot up to a sitting position. Her head spun at some undefined warp speed. Blinking rapidly, she forced one eye to remain open, seeing ubiquitous gray cargo containers randomly stacked around her. "How the friggin’ frax...?"
She fought to stand upright, assisted by the lessened gravity, and crashed into a tall stack of empty containers. Stumbling into more containers, she kicked at them, managing to knock them out of her way while her head whirled like a new-forming galaxy.

"Not like there’s going to be a port window in here," she muttered derisively. Both eyes open now, she watched the wall circle before her impaired vision like a dimensional portal.

Steadier and steadier on her feet, her brain cobwebs clearing, she automatically reached for her left flank phase pistol. Gone! "Dang the villain! Of course!" she reminded herself. All her weapons would have been stripped during transport into the cargo hold by the beam.

What cargo hold?

Frustrated, wild, she lashed out at the nearest containers with her combat-trained feet--scattering them, semi-floating them away from her. Spying a dark, glass-looking monitor at the top of the hold, Sun Rocket shoved the nearest containers beneath it. Rapidly she threw containers together like a tower. Heedlessly she leapt up the huge makeshift steps, leaned her palms against the wall. She stood on her tiptoes, trying to examine the convex reddish monitor--not a type she knew.
"Get down from there!" a highly irritated male voice commanded in third galactic vernacular.

Wobbling precariously, Sun Rocket knelt on one knee. "Not like I can’t land on my feet like a cat," she murmured, amused for an instant. Gazing down toward the voice’s origin, she saw the fierce male’s flowing locks, well past his shoulders--dark red amber. The humanoid-appearing male glared up at her, hands planted on his hips like a holo-romance buccaneer. From her view, the rest of him could be compared favorably to a lean, yet beautifully muscled hero. Even his garments--a style unknown to her in her far-flung galactic travels tracking down, taking in or eliminating cat shifters who had gone bad--even his garments were reminiscent of swashbuckling ancient Earth.

"Who are you?" she called down to him, resting on her haunches. It was her good luck moon, she was still in human form. Not every galactic race "appreciated" feline shifters. To put it tuna-fish mildly.
~~~~~~

Yep, it’s a universe of room building in romance ~ the past, present and future ~ other fantasy dimensions, other worlds... whatever the mind of the writer can conceive.
So, what room are you penning right now?
Do you have a favorite room in a romance novel you’ve read?
~~~~~~

HAPPY END OF SUMMER

~ MAY ALL YOUR READING DREAMS COME TRUE ~


Savanna Kougar

~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Author of ~


All Shades of Blue Paradise
Red Lioness Tamed
When a Good Angel Falls ~ In Print
Tangerine Carnal Dreams
Murder by Hair Spray in Gardenia, New Atlantis ~ In Print
Black Cat Beauty
Stallion of Ash and Flame ~ coming from Siren-BookStrand
~~~~~~

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Room With A View....

Happy Monday! I wanted to start by congratulating my fellow HEA bloggers. There have been some awesome room blogs over the past few weeks. Brava ladies!

So, the room I chose to chat about today is one we take with us everywhere. This room can be a place of comfort and peace or it can be a place where we relive our worst nightmares, repeatedly. As an individual, I find my space is very private. As a woman, there are times I find it to be a swirling pit of emotions where copious amounts of chocolate are needed to lull it into submission. However, in all honesty, there are times when even I think the room needs a strong bolt and a warning sign telling passersby to steer clear. ~grin~

This got me thinking about my characters. Do they sometimes wish for a no trespassing sign to keep me from bursting into their lives and rummaging around upstairs looking for fear and conflict to grace the pages of my book? Do they cringe when I pull out their deep, dark secrets and present them for others reading pleasure? Do I leave that tempestuous room a barren and desolate place? Or perhaps, I change it for the better? You know knock down a few walls; let in the light, brighten the place up, as it were? Or maybe I stayed up too late while writing this and am over thinking this whole thing?

I don’t think so. Nope, I don’t think so.

These characters trust us to be gentle. They trust us not to pillage their minds then run with our ill-gotten gains. They trust us to always make things right.
Or as right as we can.

I have to wonder though, does my intrusion ultimately help the damsel in distress, fearful for her life and/or dignity, locked in the pirate’s cabin waiting for the dread sea stalker to arrive. Could I be doing lasting damage to the hero by locking him up, holding him against his will only to torture him with the threat of harm befalling his woman?

Ugh!

As a writer, I try my best to fix what’s broken. To leave my characters with their happy ever after and then some, but as their creator it sometimes bothers me to rifle through their secrets, their pain, their private rooms looking for a story.

Am I the only one who feels like this?

Here’s a snippet of what I found in Mari’s head when she wasn’t looking…

Had she’d known this man would be dangerous to her well-being, she might have waited for the next alpha to cross her path. To love him would be easy, though the broken heart could kill her.
Marina took one last look at the man who had changed her world before leaving the haven they’d created inside the gazebo. She would regret this decision for years to come. Unfortunately, she had no choice. Half-breeds never had a choice. They were not welcomed by full-bloods, nor were they allowed in any pride. He’d accepted her as a full-blood only because she’d hidden her scent.
She was several miles down the road, clothes on, in the car they’d brought from the casino, when she heard the pained cry of a cat. Agony, too great to be hers alone, tore at her chest. Tears ran down her face as she wished the cry was for her.


~Note - she did eventually forgive me for the intrusion...

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Room Within A Room

Room within a room is one of the most romantic elements of life. Of a movie. Of a book.

What is a room within a room?

It’s a moment in time when only the hero and heroine exist within a crowd. Everything, everyone else is excluded. The moment when hearts pound, your body feels warm, caressed. Even fear of the connection you’ve made.

They may be little moments throughout the story, but their importance is crucial to the overall chemistry that brings a satisfying end.

I love the moments that have me holding my breath, smiling, tearing up and the overall aw of it.

Here a few off the top of my head . They’re not necessarily in a crowd, they are public places with others around.

Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle have a couple of these that stand out in my mind – the first time they see each other when she’s standing in the middle of the road; see each other in the Statue of Liberty.

And again, in You’ve Got Mail – the look on their faces when they meet in the park – his unsure smile all because he doesn’t know what her reaction will be to find it’s him, her face scrunching up when she sees him - the first time you see it, you’re not sure if she’s upset because it is him.

My favorite line in the whole movie is “I wanted it to be you.”

We all write the scenes: It’s the buildup of sexual tension.

Heroine gazes around the room, a fleeting look, notices the man watching her, seconds later, the glance is a little longer, more communicative.

The hero holds her close on a crowded dance floor; their bodies moving as one; their hearts whispering to one another. She might gaze up at him with a shy, or not so shy, but knowing look.

Maybe share a kiss, a caress. No words need exchanged.

Maybe they’re at a table for two, he reaches over and caresses her hand while they talk.

They may be holding hands, but while they may be talking to someone else, one of them might caress the palm of the other - I love these little tele-tale signs they're thinking about each other.

All rather cliché when put in a list, but we have the ability to change them up, put twists on them and come away with the same affect. I love it! This is what makes being a writer fun.

When I began to write this post, I stopped every now and again to search my published work and it was disheartening in a way. Then I realized that I’m fine. Not all of our moments need to be room within a room. My hero and heroines are pretty much alone when their moments happen. The closest thing I have to a public display where they tuned everything out is in A Psychic Hitch. It's a story about a woman in her mid-thirties and wants to have a child, but doesn't want the man. This excerpt is from a scene where Allen shows up determined to show her they belong together despite her insistence otherwise. Circumstances play havoc with her emotions, but it's a pivotal scene in the respect she now must come to terms with feelings she doesn't want to have.

***

Her heart fell. By now, he knew every secret and had heard every embarrassing childhood story. The women in her family knew exactly how to talk fast and fill in the blanks for each other. She entered the bar and rounded the booths in time to hear her mother say, “She’s stubborn, but don’t let up.”

Allen sat beside her mother with his hands in hers. Her mark of approval. Oh, no! Tears stung the back of her eyes, but she pasted on a smile.

She walked up to the group and kissed her mom on the cheek. “Hi, Mom.” She glared at her sisters. “I see you’ve met Allen.”

“We’ve been getting to know him.” The gleam in her baby sister’s eyes confirmed her fears.

Allen stood and held his chair for her to sit next to her mother. Without thinking, she took his hand. “Listen, I’d love to stay and chat, but I promised to fix a catfish dinner and it’s getting late.”

Her mother stood and cupped her cheeks. “Honey, it’s all right.” She looked away from her mother, hating how she knew her so well. This wasn’t the time or place for her to bring up matters she didn’t want Allen to know about. Her mother let her go. “Go feed this wonderful man and we’ll see you at dinner Sunday.”

She glared at her sisters. “I will see you later.”

Cheri nearly pulled Allen away from them and out the front door. He stopped her with a yank on her arm. “What?” she asked.

“You tell me.”

“Everyone thinks you’re so damn perfect. Everything you do—my mother was holding your hand.”

“Jealous?”

“No, I’m not jealous. She made you part of the family and…” She stepped away from him. Her chest hurt and the tightness threatened to turn off the air. “They told you things you have no right knowing. The reasons I can’t use someone I know; a sperm bank. The reason I don’t want you in my life. They had no right to gang—”

Allen leaned over and kissed her, putting a halt to her ranting, then scooped her up in his arms. “Put me down!” He walked past the full-length windows, in full view of the women. “You idiot. I have to put up with those hens after you leave tomorrow.”

“They seem harmless enough.”

“Oh, my God! They are the least harmless bunch of women when it comes to relationships of a sibling.”

He set her on her feet at the car. “Cheri, they tried to tell me what you’re afraid of, but I stopped them. You need to be the one to tell me. I want to hear it from you.”

Pissed that they were so willing to tell him, she spit out, “There isn’t anything you need to know. You’re leaving tomorrow and that’s the end of the story.”

“Is it?”

“It has to be. And the reasons are mine. It was never part of the deal for you to come here, or meet my family.” She turned and stormed across the road to the parking lot, leaving him to follow or not. He caught up with her at the car and she whirled on him when he took hold of her arm. “Drop it!”

His hand fell. “Honey, the reasons don’t matter, but I’d like to know—”

“No. Allen.” How could she stand here and tell him what happened between them meant nothing and she couldn’t trust him with her secrets? She wasn’t so sure of that anymore.

***

Here's to many Rooms Within Rooms to come for all of us.

[I'm sorry for the late post -- I had an unexpected family deal this morning.]


Bekki
Contemporary romance with sizzling sensuality
Jewel of the Sun’s BLOOD DESTINY- coming soon
LOVE, Stalker of the Heart – a poetry collection – available now
A Psychic Hitch available now
Last Glass of Wine available now
Servin' It Up available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Room to Breathe, Room to Grow.


'Tony stood on the crest of the hill and looked out over the misty morning scene in the valley below. A wide curve of stripped and pruned olive trees embraced orderly rows of skeletal vines, dipping down into the valley and disappearing into the crook of the hill before reappearing on the next, and the next again.
He knew they crossed ancient boundaries, one farm’s land merging into that of another, an endless swathe fading into the distance as if they crossed the whole of Umbria. It amazed him, how there could be so much open land, so much space, quietly waiting for the first touch of spring.
He breathed deep and his lungs expanded and craved more. After years of shallow city breathing, he drank in the clean air as if making up for lost time....'


That’s Tony, the hero of A Different Kind of Honesty, in one of my favourite ‘rooms.’ You’ll be able to guess from the cover of the book where that might be. Umbria, right in the centre of Italy, is a place I go back to time and time again. For some reason, the second I get off the plane and my feet touch the ground, I feel as if I’m home. Why this should be, I can’t explain - but I know I’m not alone. I’ve met many people of different nationalities and cultures, Europeans, Americans, Japanese, who feel just the same way. Italy has a way of capturing your heart and your soul, and making you truly feel as if you’ve come home. No, it’s not where I come from, and it may never be the place I live, but like the saying goes, ‘home is where the heart is,’ and I know where my heart loves to be.

This is my favourite room. I love this photograph of the statue of St Francis of Assisi, looking out over Umbria as if he’s seated in his favorite room and loving the view from his window. He was a guy who knew a bit about quieting the spirit and contemplation of what’s really important in a person’s life, and no, you don’t have to be religious to appreciate that feeling. When I look at this landscape, my first reaction is to take a deep breath, and it’s as if all the stresses and strains of everyday life evaporate. I can almost physically feel my heart rate slow down, and my spirit is calm.

Here is where I find room to breathe and room to grow. I drink in the sweet clean air, and I feel alive and rejuvenated. It’s no wonder I send my characters there. Yes, it’s my own longing I’m writing about when Tony stands on that same hillside, but I make no apology. This is my favourite room, and I'm so happy to be able to share it with you.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

THE ROMANCE OF A ROOM ADDITION

What is the most romantic room in a home? In our romance stories, it’s quite often the bedroom where the romance actually physically happens. Other rooms in our characters’ homes are romantic and meaningful to the hero and heroine for various reasons as well.

The room I think of as most romantic is one that doesn’t exist yet: the room addition.

How can adding on a room be romantic? Okay, first of all, let’s remember this IS make- believe! In real life, home construction or remodeling projects will cause the topic of divorce to be introduced into the loving couple’s conversation at some point. Over and over.

Two short rollers and a can of paint in a bathroom can break a marriage faster than an overdrawn bank account. But come with me to the world of fiction—historical fiction—where women are heroines and men are heroes…and the announcement of “needing another room” is a joyous occasion, and not just another “honey-do.”

The addition of a room most generally heralds the impending arrival of a baby, or the growth of the young family in some way. Because cabins were so small and were generally put up as quickly as possible to provide a more permanent shelter for a family, improvements often had to wait until time, weather, or supplies permitted.

In our historical romances, our heroes are always eager to do whatever is necessary to provide the best possible quarters for their families. You’ll never hear them say, “I’ll do it when the playoffs are over.”

All joking aside, I believe we find the room addition romantic for several reasons, the most obvious one being that our heroine is pregnant and there needs to be a room for the little one the couple has created. Most women can relate to that maternal instinct of preparing a safe, warm place for their baby to sleep.

The second reason a room addition is romantic, is that the hero is actually building something with his skill, knowledge and love to provide for his growing family. It’s his answer to the heroine’s maternal need. Generally, the delivery of the news that a baby is on the way and discussion of the room addition is a shock to the hero, but not an unwelcome one. It transitions him from “husband” to “family man” and gives him the opportunity to “show his stuff.” He proves himself by his reaction to the news. The action he takes toward following through with the reality of building on shows the heroine (and the reader) that he is our “dream man.”

The family unit, complete, is probably the most romantic reason of all. The room addition shows the reader that the heroine and hero have matured, grown in their love for one another and are able to look toward the future as a family unit now. In the child to come, they will see themselves and one another, and will risk everything for the safety, comfort and protection of that child.

And it all starts with…the addition of the extra bedroom for the new life they’ve created.

In the following excerpt from FIRE EYES, Jessica gives Kaed the news that they’re going to be needing a nursery. This is an especially poignant moment because of Kaed’s past, and what it means to him personally. He’s being given a second chance—one he wasn’t sure he wanted, but now is desperate to hold onto.

FROM FIRE EYES:

“Looks like we gave up our bed.” Kaed’s gaze rested on Frank and the two girls. Nineteen. God, he looked so young, like a boy, as he slept, all the lines of worry around his eyes erased. Nineteen. I remember nineteen. Just didn’t understand until now how young it really is.

“Twice now.” Jessica’s voice called him from his thoughts. She grinned and nodded toward where Tom lay talking to Harv. “Maybe by this time tomorrow morning we’ll get lucky,” she whispered, reaching up to kiss his cheek.

“Neither one of us is going to ‘get lucky,’ in any respect, until everyone’s gone,” he grumbled softly, letting go a frustrated sigh. “One thing’s for sure. When everything settles down around here, I’m gonna add on a bedroom. With a door that shuts.”

Jessica was quiet for a moment, then very softly she said, “Better make that two.”

“Two bedrooms?”

“Uh-huh. Ours, and a nursery.”

Kaed nodded. “For Lexi.”

“And the new baby.”

His gaze arrowed to hers.

“Our baby, Kaed.”

The blood rushed through his ears, pounding at his temples. Nothing existed but the woman standing in his strong embrace, her love washing over him in warm waves as her eyes sparkled into his.

“Jessi.” The words he’d spoken to her the day he left came back to haunt him. I just hope that maybe we got lucky. Maybe it didn’t take.

But it had. And damn if he didn’t feel like the luckiest man alive. A baby. He read the unasked question in her expression, and he bent to kiss her. To reassure her. To let her know a family was what he needed and wanted. He felt her relax beneath his hands.

“I told you I was working my way through it, Jess,” he whispered against her cheek. “I’ll be a good father.”

Tears rose in her eyes. She nodded, her hair soft against his stubbled beard. “You’ll be the best.”

“Better than I was before, that’s for sure.” The words slipped out before he could stop them. He took a deep, jagged breath as Jessica finally dared to meet his eyes. He looked away, his gaze wandering about the small cabin, finally returning to lock with Jessica’s.

“I can appreciate what I’ve got this time, Jessi. I took it for granted the first time, and I lost it. I won’t let that happen again.”

Jessica shook her head. “Promise—” she began, but he tilted her face up, putting his lips to hers once more in a gentle, reassuring kiss.

“I’ll never let you go, Jessi. And I’ll never hurt you. I want what we talked about, the family, the farm, maybe a ranch.” He stopped and moistened his lips that had suddenly gone dry. “But most of all, I want you.” He glanced across the room at Tom, who gave him a fleeting grin. After a moment, he returned his gaze to the fathomless pools of Jessica’s eyes. “None of it means anything without the woman I love, Jessica. You. Yes, I promise, sweetheart. I promise everything.”

Travis leaned against the kitchen doorjamb, fresh coffee in hand. “Guess we’d better start beating the bushes for a preacher-man, boys. Get it done up legal and right for Miss Jessi while Kaed’s in this mood. I never seen him like this. Never heard him talk so serious.” He took a drink of his coffee, his green eyes mischievous above the rim of his cup. “I do believe he means it, Miss Jessi.”

Monday, August 17, 2009

Backyards for Romance

Technically, the backyard isn’t a room, but I feel like ours is. It’s fenced in and during the summer when the trees and bushes are filled out, it’s like a wall along the back. Our neighbors seldom spend time out in their yards, so it’s as if we’re alone. We call it our little piece of the country in town.


I often stand at the patio door and simply stare at the scene. It speaks romance. I can see a couple dancing on the patio, cuddled on a bench near the fire, or holding hands as they walk around the yard, stopping to smell the Lilac bushes or the admire the Rose of Sharon.

I’ve never written such a scene in one of my stories as yet. I did, however, write a scene with Cole and Lana of Last Glass of Wine, playing horseshoes in the backyard of a co-worker during a party. It’s definitely not your typical romantic scene, but the night was a turning point for them.

~~~


[adult]


She stepped up and swung her arm back and let the shoe go on her forward motion. It went wide, again.

Cole waved his arms in the air. "Holditholdit!" His words slurred together.

He staggered over and stood behind the pole in the sand. When he bent over, he nearly fell to one side, but her partner caught him. Damn! Could he be any sexier than he was right now with that goofy grin? She set her empty hand on her hip and laughed.

"Lana, the shoe…goes here," he instructed.

"Where does it go?" She held up the shoe and framed his face in it, then swung her arm back.

"No, wait'll…" Cole dove out of the sand pit as she let the shoe go. It landed next to him. Laughter filtered across the yard.

"Kind of hard to tell which gray pole she's supposed to aim at," someone said.

"Yeah, you shouldn't wear gray shorts," Lana told him.

"Ok." Cole grabbed the waistband and started to push them down.

Janet jumped up. "Cole, don't do it!"

He shrugged, picked up the shoe and started across the yard. Lana shoved her thumbs in the back pockets of her jeans. "I told you, I don't play."

Cole put his arm around her waist and, with his mouth almost touching hers, told her, "I'm showin' you how to play."

"Don't promise what you can't back up." She tried to step back, but he held her there.

"Sweetheart, when I finish with you, no one'll match us." He moved around her and put a horseshoe in her hand, his fingers covering hers. With his face next to hers, she could smell the vodka and cranberry mixture; it drew her eyes to his mouth. She wanted to taste it on his lips. It had to be better than over ice. She felt herself closing in to find out.

"It's all in the wrist," he told her.

"All in the wrist," she repeated. She could feel his body pressed into her backside when he drew her arm back.

"Keep your arm close to your side, and don't wait until your arm rises above your waist to let it go."

"You're going to give a tent show when you move away."

"You'll have to take care of it, since it's your fault," he replied.

Her mouth went dry, and her crotch became wetter. "If you're willing to reciprocate."

"Give it a try and see how close you come."

Hell, if he continued to rub his cock against her, she was going to come. She shivered and watched him step away from her, face the forest and attempt to hide his erection. Lana quickly inhaled and let the air out before she concentrated on the fuzzy site of the far pit. The pole stood somewhere in the center. She let the shoe fly and heard the clang of metal hitting metal.

"All right, a ringer!" Jerome cheered.

Cole staggered over to her with a raised hand. She smacked it and walked over to where her glass sat. Hot, she fanned herself, eyeing the strong muscled calves as he returned to his side. If she shoved him against the tree and rode him, they'd hold them.

After a long drink, she set the empty glass down, took a deep breath and watched Jerome and Cole toss the shoes back to her pit.

"Want another drink, Lana?" Taylor asked.

"No. I'm good. Thanks." And I'm going to get better in a little bit, from all signs of things. She picked up her horseshoes and waited for Taylor to toss his.

When the game ended with Cole and Taylor winning and Cole doing his little winner jig, she walked over to the pool. She wanted nothing but a cold shower, but the cool water would do. Splashing water on her arms, she found herself being lifted and landed in the water.

~~~


There are characters, as well as real people, who are beyond the simple basic romance, not that they might not believe it in, or want it. It’s just not what life has in store for them right off the bat, but may come later. Whether it be the strength of the chemistry between them coupled with the emotional desire for each other or simply who they are as people. Who are we to judge? If it works for them and if they’re happy, it’s all good.

A toast to the freedom to be different.



Bekki
Contemporary romance with sizzling sensuality
http://bekkilynn.net/
www.myspace.com/bekki_lynn
http://bekkilynnsplanet.blogspot.com/
Books available at: http://www.bookstrand.com/authors/bekkilynn

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Kitchen Romance



I’m celebrating the kitchen in romance.


In Lady of the Stars, my Regency time travel novella, Caroline and Richard begin their rocky road to romance in the kitchen, where each gets their first good look at the other.


Here’s the time-traveling Caroline’s view of her 1817 hero, Richard:


Not knowing where to go, she headed for the kitchen.


She saw Richard before he saw her. He stood in a beam of sunshine, his back to her as he poured water from a bucket into a large kettle sitting on the grate over the fire.


The sun glinted off his light golden brown hair, short at the sides and back yet full on top, a haircut many men of her acquaintance wore. Unfortunately, he was still dressed in breeches and boots, like the men in pictures from two hundred years ago. She had always laughed at the ornateness of men's clothes from that era. But in bright daylight, somehow, those elaborate clothes appeared utterly masculine.


His dark blue jacket was slung over a chair back and he wore a white shirt with flowing sleeves and a gray vest. Though the shirt was loose, the vest was not and she gazed down the expanse of muscle from broad shoulders to slim hips and sinfully long legs. Her gaze jerked back up to the breeches. They were as tight as his vest. Good thing his jacket had those ridiculous tails, or women for miles around would follow him just to see that magnificent backside.


And now Richard’s view of Caroline:


When he had examined her by the kitchen fire, he could see only dark hair and dark eyes, with a suggestion of regular and well-formed features. He remembered thinking she might be pretty when she was dry and clean.


Now that he had gotten a good look at her, whatever or whoever she was, he had to admit she was lovely. Short, but slim, her indecent clothes, drenched from the rain, skimmed her figure to reveal charming proportions. Her hair was a rich brown, her face a perfect oval, her eyes large and dark.


He paused. Brown. Her eyes were brown, the color of chocolate. He had seen their hue when he knelt at her side. What would she look like in the full light of day?


Aren’t kitchens grand?


Thank you all,

Linda


Linda Banche

Regency romance--most with humor, some with fantasy, and occasionally a paranormal

Lady of the Stars--4 stars from Romantic Times, Regency time travel available from The Wild Rose Press

Pumpkinnapper--Regency Halloween comedy, coming September 30, 2009 from The Wild Rose Press

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

The bath-house

Medieval bathing, from Wikimedia CommonsSetting is always a key element for me - I tend to fix 'where' a story is going to take place early on, so I can research it. I don't have a glitzy city background, or lots of specialist knowledge in a particular sexy field, so I knew that to tempt editors I'd need to place my stories in special settings. Also I find it exciting to research places abroad or in the past - another kind of 'abroad' to me.

So far as room settings are concerned, I love water and I love to bathe, so I've chosen bath-houses as my room for this theme week.

Here's an excerpt taken from my historical romance, Flavia's Secret. In it, Flavia has just gone into the main great bath at Aquae Sulis (Roman Bath: Aquae Sulis - means 'Waters of Sul, the goddess). Sadly, in 206 AD,
when the story is set, her bath is not quite the same as the baths we see today, but I attempted to re-create them from research.

Excerpt: Flavia's Secret.

Leaving her shawl with the unsmiling Rags, she followed Marcus into the great bath, hearing behind her the slap of sandaled and bare feet as new bathers began gathering for the tenth hour—the time any fashionable citizen of Aquae Sulis would aim to be at the baths.
`Wait there a moment, please.' Marcus stopped by one of the pillars close to the rectangular pool and expanse of the great bath and shouted something in a German tongue at a blond, rangy swimmer with only one eye, who raised a fist from the steaming waters and yelled back an answer, in obvious delight.
`I know Otho from Germania—this won't take long,' he said hurriedly to Flavia, grinning as he stepped down the top step of four broad steps at the water's edge and stood waiting, immersed up to his knees, for his former comrade, both arms spread wide in greeting.
Amused at their back-slapping antics—Otho seized Marcus' hand and tried to drag him under the water—Flavia left them to their incomprehensible talk and took in the scene around her.
The great bath was a wonder, she thought, grudgingly acknowledging the powers of the Roman engineering. Set in a huge aisled hall with a soaring barrel vault overhead supported on massive columns, the great bath was surrounded by four deep steps on all sides and its aisle walkways were lined with massive white limestone flagstones. After the dimly-lit corridors leading here, the bath was dazzlingly bright, the light from huge arched upper windows reflected by white limestone columns and smooth plastered walls. The steaming water itself, a pale
green, shimmered with light making the statues lining the bath seem alive.
In the water or waiting in the colonnade were the bathing attendants: slaves holding towels or bottles of scented oil, or strigils to scrape off the oil; masseurs calling out their prices; hair-pluckers flashing their tweezers.
Flavia studied the bathers with narrowed eyes, resting her chin on one hand as she crouched by the base of a statue. She had never been in the baths so late before and she soon understood why, and why some of the women were leaving. The men flooding fast on her heels into the great bath were not elderly veterans. These were a different breed.
She picked out a few figures in the bobbing, chattering mass. There was a magistrate, whom she recognized from one of Lady Valeria's rare dinner parties, swathed in towels as he swept along the side aisle with his entourage and various cronies trailing behind. There was a rich young nobleman with a bored, sulky look, being lifted directly from the bath onto a waiting litter, which bore him away into one of
the hot sweat rooms. There was a massively fat man with a scarlet nose eating a sausage and singing while floating on his back in the water. He was being propelled in the bath by an elderly slave whose
back was still raw with lash marks.
`Don't stare, he is not a forgiving man,' said a familiar voice by her ear.
Flavia turned on the damp limestone. Crouching beside her, his German friend nowhere to be seen, Marcus jerked his head towards the eastern exit.
`Let us get this visit over with and go home,' he said.


I feature bath-houses in my medieval novels, too. Just as today, medieval women and men enjoyed a dip in a warm bath. Monks were allowed to bathe for health reasons, medieval pilgrims still flocked to the baths at Bath in hope of a cure from the warm spring waters. By 1100 AD, hot baths or 'estewes' had been established in London.

These 'stews' could be rather shady places - brothels in fact - but many were simple bath houses. In this excerpt from A Knight's Vow we see the hero and heroine together in a bath house.

Excerpt: A Knight's Vow.

‘I heard about your vow.’
Guillelm did not pause in his stoking of the bath-house fire. He had sent the other men and servants out, but Fulk had entered as if he had a perfect right to be there.
‘Do you not think it a sign from God?’ Fulk continued, in that pious, smug way of his. How had I not noticed this aspect of him before? Guillelm thought, depressed anew. In everything it seemed he was a poor judge, willfully blind. The only skill he appeared to have was in killing.
‘Yes, it is a sign - of my own inadequacy. Boil, damn you,’ he added under his breath to the already steaming tub of water. He longed to be clean, to feel clean. ’I want no one here with me now,’ he growled. He had not forgotten or forgiven Fulk over the man’s mean trick with his wife’s diadem.
His wife - what a reckless dream that had been! Heloise was right: no woman wanted him.
‘Go!’ he snarled and Fulk paled and went, backing out rapidly and skidding down the bath-house steps.
Guillelm hurled more logs into the fire. Presently he heard the door creak and bawled, ’Out!’ without turning round.
‘Where shall I put the towels?’ asked an achingly familiar voice.
He spun round and there she was, Alyson his wife. Even as he gawked at her, longing to beg her forgiveness, to snatch her into his arms, to drag her with him into the steaming bath and frolic there until the water turned cold, his tongue felt nailed to the roof of his mouth. What could he say? He had failed her so badly.
She smiled and he was smitten afresh, more stunned than he had been that time in Outremer, when a stone from a sling had struck him on the visor of his helmet and he had almost blacked out. There was no fear of his losing consciousness now, but certainly she mazed his wits.
‘I shall put them here, shall I, my lord?’
Nimbly, she arranged her armful of towels by the side of the great tub, scattering something on the lapping water that instantly perfumed the bath-house.
‘An old remedy, lavender,’ she explained, lifting her skirts to tread lightly over the flags towards him. ’I have spearmint, too, for our teeth and breath.’
‘Our teeth?’
She did not answer, merely passed straight by him, close enough for him to feel the swish of her robe against his legs, and lit two beeswax candles from the torch. She placed these on the stone shelf beside the tub, where most bathers put their trinkets, or goblets of wine.
‘I find that bath-houses are always a little gloomy, even in summer,’ she remarked. ’Do you not think the candles add cheer?’
They did, and they put a glow into Alyson’s face, warm shadows on the vaulted stone roof of the bath-house and a flickering play of lights on the water. They added little light, if truth be told, but something else instead, a sense of being in a dream.


To end, I do not feel I have explored all aspects of bath-houses and look forward to exploring more in this most sensual and romantic of rooms.

Best wishes, Lindsay Townsend

Friday, August 14, 2009

Romance and Rooms ~ It's the open road. It's the sky. It's the galaxy.

It seems I’ve hit a major brain malfunction. In terms of my writing, only ~ just to be clear. My brain seems to be working just fine on every other matter. Perhaps, my mind is simply romance-writing burned out... Or there’s just not enough *ROOM* in the ole noodle, anymore. Though, it doesn’t feel like that’s the problem. No mental block against reading a romance novel. No, feelings of *I don’t want any romance in my life, right now... oh, ick.
Yet, yesterday turned out to be one of THE MOST HORRIBLE experiences I’ve ever had writing a scene that I actually wanted to write. I adore penning new scenes for Sedona and Volcano, my heroine and hero in WHEN A GOOD ANGEL FALLS. In fact, I felt enthusiastic about creating their one year celebration in honor of the first day they met each other.
I mean, what could be more natural? August 13th, 2008 was the release date for ANGEL. Why not let Sedona and Volcano celebrate a year later on December 21, 2013?
Okay, maybe, I should have just selected a *ROOM* scene from their story. Rooms, let’s see... there’s a cave... there are underground tunnels... there’s a mountain cabin... there’s a tiny abode in another dimensional realm... mostly, though, it’s Sedona and Volcano together, creating room for each other and a home on earth for humankind.
So, here it is... the scene that took, at least, eight grueling hours... and I mean grueling with a capital G. Does it work? Heck, I don’t know. All I know is that I like it, despite the mental torment I went through to finally create my celebratory passionate scene.
Oh, the room? It’s the open road. It’s the sky. It’s the galaxy. Ultimately, it’s Sedona and Volcano’s love for each other...
So, it’s up to you, now... like it or hate it, or somewhere between those two possibilities... yep, this could be the absolutely worst writing ever in the whole history of writing... I assume there are awards for that. Or, I’m just hoping.


BTW, the following scene is X-Rated for those who prefer not read those types of excerpts.
~~~

December 21, 2013 ~ THE CELEBRATION

Sedona felt like a temptress as she leaned forward and hugged Volcano tightly. The shape of his super-cycle seduced her bare thighs while the black celestial leather of his jacket wickedly teased her naked breasts. Somehow the carnal cherub had convinced her to go skinny dipping in the sky.

He’d refused to tell her the destination of their celebration, though. Their first meeting had been one year ago and Sedona hadn’t known if he was friend or foe. Still, his dark purple eyes had glinted with the playful passion she’d come to adore, then glowed with the promise of pleasures she just couldn’t say no to... that is, if she rode behind him nude.

“Where are we going?” Sedona aimed her breathy voice toward his ear.

“Woman, ask me again, and your heavenly butt will know the divine fire of my hand.”

“Is that on the erotic menu for later?” Sedona stroked her nose in the thick strands of his hair, then nuzzled his neck as he prepared the super-cycle for take off, humming it with his palm.

“You are my erotic menu. I plan to dine on every gorgeous inch of you, my Sedona.”

The primal deepness of his voice and the scorching raw scent of his virility slickened her sex. “Stop it, you bad cherub, or I won’t be able to hang onto...”

They blasted off with a silent ferocious speed. The feeling of utter freedom invigorated her spirit as they flew down the winding California highway they’d been traveling on. The inky darkness of midnight and the refreshing chill enveloped them, as did the complete emptiness of the road.

The terrific force of the ocean-drenched winds pummeled her skin and Sedona flattened herself against Volcano’s back, holding on more tightly. Wild with excitement, she savored the forceful buffeting of the winds and the fecund odors whipping around her. Mother Earth was in recovery and Sedona felt the singing gladness of her heart.

Volcano knew how much she craved this sense of flying free and fast. Thinking of nothing else but these precious moments, Sedona basked in the sculpted hard feel of his torso. Goddess, he was magnificently made as a man. She lived in constant wonder over his masculinity. Not so much because of his physique and spiritual heritage. But because he was more of a real man in how he cared for her than any human male she’d ever been with.

The brilliant flash of oncoming lights caused her eyes to blink open. Enemy? she mind-asked.

Scavenger semi-truck, he returned.
Hauling scrap lumber and building material.

Not altering course, Volcano streamlined the super-cycle and sailed them above the semi. They soared into the night sky, the winds becoming colder as they jetted higher and higher. Sedona wanted to shiver as the savagely swirling winds sluiced over her body. At the same time, she felt deliciously untamed.

The barest wink of stars surrounded them, a spectacular sight. Gradually, the heavy clouds of volcanic ash were being cleansed from the atmosphere. Before her gaze a long thin cloud formed, streaming in front of the moon, only a distorted haze of crimson light in the black sky.

Ship or real cloud? she telepathed.

Platform, my woman.

Time pulsed rapidly, a blur of beautiful sensations for Sedona as Volcano landed the super-cycle on the celestial ship’s platform. Lost to everything, except his lover’s embrace, she clung to him as he floated her into the gossamer silkiness of the sky.

Bare skin against bare skin, he spun them upwards as if they danced to the strains of an ethereal waltz. In a magnificent burst of power, his ebony wings appeared and Volcano winged them higher until the pure white radiance of the stars surrounded them.

Slowly rotating them in the heavens, he wrapped his wings around her, a sensual cocoon. Suddenly, the engorged strength of his cock pressed against her belly, the demanding brute she wanted and an omnipotent force she desired with her whole being.

Sedona opened her thighs as his hands claimed her waist, lifting her. The mighty lunge of his shaft inside her sex caused her to cry out, a melodic sound she’d never heard before. Dreamy and blazing with need, she embraced him with her body and tightly held his cock with her sheath.

Joined as one, they whirled through the cosmos until time felt like a distant memory to Sedona. Every particle of her flesh blazed with celestial light and their stunning speed became an indescribable rapture. It was as if a cyclone carried them throughout the galaxy and refused to release them.

Until... saturated with the orgasmic bliss, they halted, motionless in the sky. Several kisses later, they fell back to Earth. A slow drifting descent among the pale stars of early morning.

Sedona, my angel woman, I love you.
~~~~~~

WHEN A GOOD ANGEL FALLS

Blurb ~

Winter Solstice, December 21, 2012 – The end of the Mayan Calendar

What happens when a world weary, worn out incarnated angel, Sedona, who believes she is merely human has three choices after her old van breaks down? Let the Nazerazzi squad of the North American Union capture her and force her into a FEMA concentration camp? Walk out into the Arizona night desert, let the wildlife have a good meal, with the hope her death will be quick? Or does Sedona trust the mysterious stranger suddenly before her? Handsome as sin and all in black, he emerges from the darkness astride a super-speed black motorcycle.

Is he her savior from the brutal hell of end times, or is he a roving cult member of the New World Order, hunting his next blood sacrifice?
Sent from heaven to help her save humanity, Zerr Dann knows the Divine is playing its last card on Earth.
~~~

Happy 2012 Reading...
May your most romantic dreams come true...

Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~
~~~

Sedona & Volcano invite you to read their love story ~
WHEN A GOOD ANGEL FALLS ~ Where angels fear to tread, 2012 Earth...Is a stranger on a superspeed motorcycle her savior from the brutal endtimes? ~ available from BookStrand ~
http://bookstrand.com/authors/savannakougar ~ http://bookstrand.com ~ NOW IN PRINT [Barnes and Noble & Amazon] ~ An Author Discovery by Lindsay Townsend ~ http://sirenbookstrand.blogspot.com ~
Volcano’s Angelic Forecast for this week ~
http://sirenbookstrand.blogspot.com ~

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Happily Ever After Beyond the Story

Have you ever been so involved in a story that you wish it’d gone beyond the happy ever end to show you? Well, we can imagine and come up with so many scenarios based on what we’ve read and what we’ve experienced. I’m guessing if you asked each reader to give their take on what would happen, you’d have hundreds of different lives.

This is my take on marriage – beyond the HEA.

Marriage is a funny institution. I’ve come to the conclusion that it started as a light-hearted institution to somehow legitimize what’s in the unforeseeable future. Only problem is, people began to take it too seriously. Yeah, that’s right, people take marriage too seriously and then one day when they run into a bump and they panic. Granted, there are legitimate reasons why marriages don’t last, but I’m referring to the ones who suddenly can’t handle the faults of the other, or worse, find themselves with a family and wonder how that happened.

And, yeah, the vows we take are serious, a commitment to one another, but there is so much more than adhering to the promises. Don’t take them at face value, dissect them and learn the variances of fun they withhold.

‘to have and behold from this day on, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; until death do us part.’

Rather sounds like doom, doesn’t it? However, nowhere in there says you can’t have fun. ‘to have’ – sounds like fun to me. ‘for better’ – sounds fun. ‘love’ – it’s fun to love. ‘cherish’ – well, it’s hard to cherish one you’re not enjoying.

I hear things like, have fun now, once you say ‘I do’, the fun is over. Why? It shouldn’t be. It should be beginning. With my husband and myself, the fun didn’t end with ‘I do’. The real fun began.

We’re often asked what our secret is. How did we manage to stay together so long? We look at one another and grin. Depending on who’s asking and where we are depends on the answer. And, of course, if it’s me or my husband being asked. He likes to tell them our secret is, “I adore her and she let’s me.” Me, well, you know I’m wordy. lol

The truth is, we are friends first, and foremost. We like being together, doing things together and we have a crazy sense of what’s fun. Boy, will our kids have stories to tell.


In our younger days, well, I don’t want to say that, because he still does this when I least expect it. In a restaurant, if they seat us near plants, he comes up with these wild stories of plants coming to life, growing arms and stealing food. He’ll tell the waitress, “The last time I was here, that plant…” The first time he did this, I was 18/19 years old. I never had so much fun in a restaurant, or laughed so hard. He had the waitress so afraid of the plants, she’d go out of her way not to be near them.

We’ve been known to get up and walk outside in a rainstorm and sit in a mud puddle and splash around until we were covered, make mud pies and serve them for dinner just to see the kid’s faces.

Our poor kids.

Is it no wonder my oldest son will come in, stand just inside the doorway of the living room, and wait for me to jump four feet off the couch when I notice someone is there. lol

Once we decided to play a joke on my husband’s co-workers. New job and no one had met me-this was twelve years ago. Every Friday, they went down the street from the office to a bar for cocktail hour where they’d play darts, drink and eat. So, we concocted a plan where I’d play a hooker and he’d try to pick me up. This went on for three months, and it was wild. We had the best time, though we ended up having to tell his boss and another co-worker who were relentless. Then it came time for the tell-all. He showed up at the company Christmas party with the hooker who shot him down, repeatedly. Halfway through the dinner, my husband announced that I was really his wife. Jaws dropped and silence came over the room. Now, everything we do is suspect. You can imagine the reaction when my husband walked in one day with the cover of A Psychic Hitch and told them that Bekki Lynn was his wife. One of the guys is still convinced it’s another game we’re playing.

We do quieter things, too. Silly things such as sit across the room from each other and chat on messenger, sometimes flirting as strangers. One of our favorite things to do is to go in our bedroom and watching sitcoms on the Family Channel as if we were a couple of teenage kids. Laying there on our bellies at the foot of the bed, feet swinging in the air, a bowl of popcorn on the floor in front of us. We’ll be laughing so loud the kids will tell to be quiet and go to sleep.


Or walking through the grocery store exchanging innuendos. Or, I’ll turn around to find out where I lost him at and he’ll be standing with another guy and they’ll both be staring at me. He’s acts like he doesn’t know me and wants to know if the man thinks he’s good enough to go out with me. No one has ever said no. Other times, we banter back and forth and unexpectedly involve other customers in our play. Then we’ll run into them again at some point in the store and they give us silly grins. It makes us feel like we’ve brightened their day, it did ours.

Or I’ll play the damsel in distress when he’s gone across the store for something. I’ll call him and he has to find me to save me from some giant food creature.

We do normal stuff, too. Leave each other notes, cards – at random give flowers or a plant. The other night, he came in and asked if it was all right if he thought about me. He then kneeled and presented me with a one-liter bottle of Pepsi as if it was a bottle of wine and asked if it was all right if he bought it for me.

Marriage should be full of little fun things.

I will admit there have been rough times emotionally, financially and all the normal stuff, but it’s all we are to each other that allows us to get through them, and makes them so unimportant. I don’t care if he puts the toilet paper roll on backwards, or wakes in a bad mood. I don’t even care if he leaves the toilet seat up and I fall in at two in the morning.

There was a time when I lost my mind. Seriously. I woke one morning and decided I no longer wanted to be married, I no longer wanted to live with my husband, but I still loved him and I wanted to be with him. This plagued me. I ended up going to mental health [military clinic] and I tell you, that doctor did his best to keep a straight face as I told him this. I was serious about wanting to move out and only have a sexual relationship with my husband and he worked to keep the corners of his mouth lifting. Finally, he told me I was experiencing ‘the seven year itch’ and to go home and talk to my husband about it. Yeah right, men’s egos are way too fragile to handle something like that. I went home, went about my life and the whole thing went away. I did eventually tell him, just a few years ago. He laughed. And well, yeah, a game came of it.

This is a sample happily ever after beyond the story we give readers.

I can’t imagine my life any other way. I’m just happy to have him here with me. That’s all I need today. Today, we celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary.


Bekki
Contemporary romance with sizzling sensuality
Jewel of the Sun’s BLOOD DESTINY – Coming Soon
LOVE, Stalker of the Heart – a poetry collection – available now
A Psychic Hitch available now
Last Glass of Wine available now
Servin' It Up available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble
http://bekkilynn.net
www.myspace.com/bekki_lynn
www.zazzle.com/lynnsplanet

Monday, August 10, 2009

What Almost Killed My Happily Ever After?

HEA afficiandos, please welcome Serena Shay, our guest blogger. She’s a new author and *today* is the very magical day of her first release, THE CHALLENGE, a shapeshifter erotic romance from Liquid Silver Books.

What Almost Killed My Happily Ever After?

By Serena Shay


Happy Monday, Everyone!!!

My thanks to all of the wonderful authors here at the Happily Ever After blog for having me here on the release day for my very first story, The Challenge. ~Happy Snoopy Dance~

So what to talk about? I've been wracking my newbie brain for a good topic to discuss today that is related to Romance and the Happy Ever After. I could go with sex, love, the character background that allows for a HEA ending to all stories...What? Yeah, I made that one up as I was falling asleep last night, amazing how fantastic it sounds at that moment just before the sleep rolls in, doesn't it.

Then I thought, hey how does my hero compare to Prince Charming? Erhm, well he doesn't. At least not in a little girls fantasy kinda way. Nope, Bastian is a full-blooded jaguar shifter. A pride leader. A takes what he wants, when he wants kinda guy. He's the has his (heroine) cake and eats it too type of hero, but when he loses said cake, another intensely intimate bodily function goes right along with her! It's okay, Bastian, it happens to a lot of men...

Yep, I gave my hero a case of erectile dysfunction. Thunk, what? Huh??? I can hear it all now, the question that ran through my newbie brain day after day of working on this story...how the heck can I give the hero of my erotic romance, ED?

This development in the story left me with many a wordless day and quite a few losing battles with Bastian himself, always ending with me sniping at him "You're killing my happy ever after!" and him calmly replying, "That's what happened, write it!"

After much cajoling and hours at the storyboard, we did finally settle on an acceptable medium ground. A way to keep the ED for awhile, make it work for the story and be resolved for a HEA. Only by then he had another nasty surprise to throw my way. He was determined to make me work for my Happy Ever After!

So that brings me to my questions for you out there, What was the biggest obstacle to the Happy Ever After you've ever written and/or is there anything that could truly stop the HEA from happening?

Thanks again for having me here today! I'd like to leave you with the blurb to The Challenge, and a small snippet to introduce you to Bastian. Have a great week!

The Challenge, Releasing today at Liquid Silver Books...

Blurb:

Marina Jamison is a mystery. As a half-breed shapeshifter, she lives on the fringe of were-jaguar society. Though her love for pride leader Bastian LaRue is forbidden, she finds herself tied to him by a bond stronger than their individual wills, a psychic link born from their one-night stand. When her secret is revealed, she is scorned and excluded. Neither Bastian nor the pride can accept a half-breed queen.


Snippet:

“We’re here.” His hand reached out, palm up, ready to assist her from the car. He left her breathless with his considerate gesture. How many men these days opened car doors? A symphony of nature met her as she rose from the car. Water lapping onto the shore and a fresh pine bouquet filled her with a wild yearning. She could run here, be free here. Maybe she could be more, here.
They moved along the dock towards a giant gazebo outlined with twinkle lights. Silky netting hung suggestively around a raised pedestal in the center of the room, a bed hidden within its depths. They were alone, and the incredible man at her back demanded her full attention.
“Shh, pretty kitty.” Bastian wound himself around her, calming the shakes racking her body. When had those started? “There’s probably a minimum of a hundred things I could call you.” His tongue dragged lightly over the whorls of her ear. “But do you know what I would like?”
She tingled as pictures raced through her head. Her body sprawled over the hood of the car, the warm metal teasing her breasts as he pounded into her from behind.
“Wha—what?”
“Your name, darlin’, what do I call you when I demand your release?”
~~~~~~

Where else can you find Serena Shay hanging out?
http://serenashay.com ~
She contributes regularly to
SHAPESHIFTER SEDUCTIONS blog.
Her blog is
MY MIND WANDERS.
http://myspace.com/authorserenashay ~