Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss


December 26, 2007
It’s December 26, Boxing Day, one of my all-time favorite holidays. Not that I know what it’s about—I looked it up in Wikipedia and I still don’t get it—but because it marks the winding down of the annual Chrismahanukwanzakah Festivity Vortex. Much as I love the holidays, this time of year tends to make me just a little bit tense. It always seems like there’s a whole lot more stuff to do than I have time for in my already harried life, and I have to admit to a sigh of relief when it’s all over but for New Year’s—which, in our upstate New York household, means champagne and cigars with our closest pals as we huddle under afghans in the “smoking lounge” (our screened-in back deck) until the wee hours. My favorite night of the year.

But back to Boxing Day. This year, there’s another reason to love it, and that’s because it’s the release date for Bound in Moonlight, the second book in my Hidden Grotto series. You can’t miss it in the bookstores—it’s the trade paperback with the bright, shiny gold cover and an oval inset of Bouguereau’s Evening Mood, a romantic Victorian masterpiece. I’ve posted this fabulous painting on my website, if you’d like to take a look. Click here and scroll down.

Being the artsy fartsy type, I love that Bantam is going with classic art for my covers. The paintings they’ve chosen are not only gorgeous, but sensual and evocative, which is perfect, given that the Hidden Grotto series is erotic fiction. Actually, “erotic fantasy” might be a better description, because the stars of the series are four beautiful immortal beings who live in a secluded French château and thrive on sexual energy: an incubus, a succubus, a djinni, and every reader’s favorite trend-loving satyr with the mythic endowments, boyish grin, and MySpace page: the now-legendary Inigo.

The readers who wrote to me about the first book in the series, House of Dark Delights, begged for more of Inigo, who accordingly gets a whole lot more “screen time” in Book #2. Bound in Moonlight is comprised of three closely linked stories set at the château, each of which explores a different aspect of enslavement—physical, psychological, and of course, sexual.

In the first story, “Tutelage,” which is set in 1902, Emily Townsend, an American “dollar princess” engaged to a land-poor British nobleman, walks in on her betrothed doing the wild thing with two women. At first appalled, then curious about what she’s been missing all this time, Emily takes our merrily lusty Inigo up on his offer to teach her a thing or two… or three.

We journey back to the Regency era for the second story. “Slave Week” takes place during an annual event in which moneyed libertines bid at auction for temporary “ownership” of beautiful women of their own class whom they may enjoy at the château in any manner they desire. Enter Caroline Keating, a ruined rector’s daughter just desperate enough to put herself on the block, only to be purchased by a brooding rakehell with a dark past whose depraved demands are meant to keep her at a distance.

Fast forward to the present day for “Magic Hour,” in which Isabel Archer (yes, she was named after the Henry James character), long enamored with the charismatic young lord of the château, makes a rare visit only to find a porn film being shot there—a film based on the events in the first story, “Tutelage.” (Read the book—it’ll all make sense.)

The world of the Hidden Grotto, which has become all too real to me, is explored in barking-mad detail on my website, I’ve just finished revamping it, so stop by and then drop me a comment here letting me know what you think of it—or of my blog, where I’m posting a column on writing and publishing called FictionCraft. And if you have any questions about what it’s like to write “intellismut,” as my friends call it, bring ‘em on!


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