Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Katee Robert | My Favorite Annual Re-Reads
Author Guest / December 10, 2018

Every year, when December rolls around, I find myself gravitating back toward the same books over and over again. They’re my ultimate comfort reads, the books I want to curl up with when the snow it falling and it’s bitterly cold outside. It’s been enough years at this point that it really feels like visiting old friends for the holidays, which just adds to the attraction of these particular rereads. What books are these? Of course, I’ll tell you! The Black Jewels series by Anne Bishop. I first discovered these books when I was in high school, and they only seem to get better with each reread. Anne Bishop doesn’t shy away from some truly dark topics, but she has this wonderful way of threading the darkness with amazing relationships, found families, and surprising humor. I love all her stuff, but the original Black Jewels trilogy is the one I gravitate back toward again and again. Kushiel’s Legacy trilogy by Jacqueline Carey. I’ve had the original trilogy so long that my paperback is starting to fall apart, and I’ve since re-purchased digital copies to save my arms (they’re VERY long books). Jacqueline Carey is straight up brilliant with how she…

Nina Crespo | Behind the Playlist of The First Rule of Hook-ups
Author Guest / November 22, 2018

Music is a big part of my writing experience, along with dancing, whenever the mood strikes. My playlists are an eclectic mix of genres. Hip-hop, pop, rap, reggaeton, jazz, country, classical—they’re all part of my music selections. The perfect song can put me in the right headspace and drown out any competing thoughts that get in the way of my productivity. I become lost in the music as well as the story while I’m writing. From a practical standpoint, it also blocks out my upstairs neighbors when they get too loud. A killer playlist becomes the soundtrack for my story and often reflects the attitudes of my characters, along with the ups and downs they face. For instance, in THE FIRST RULE OF HOOK-UPS, as I thought about Alexa and her friends at the Breakup Bash—a party held at Club Escapade to help women get over one man and move onto a better one—a few of Beyoncé’s songs about women and empowerment came to mind. And in the book, when the DJ cues up a line dance song and Alexa joins in, the “Cupid Shuffle” was playing through my headphones. Music also helped in imagining Raphael, a retired male dancer…

Louisa Burton | Confessions of a Research Slut
Uncategorized / July 14, 2009

When I first set out to write stories about incubi, succubi, and vampires, all I really knew about them was that they were mythological beings known for ravishing humans—a good premise, I thought, for a series of scalding erotic romances. Being an obsessive-compulsive researcher, I read everything I could find on the subject in order to build a world for my characters: a Babylonian succubus, a brooding djinni, a cheerfully lusty satyr, a tall, babe-alicious Nordic elf, and the occasional bothersome bloodsucker. It turns out that, until fairly recently, most people, no matter how learned, regarded “sexual demons” as real (in fact, a surprising number still do). St. Augustine (354-430) wrote that “…sylvans and fauns, who are commonly called ‘incubi,’ had often made wicked assaults upon women, and satisfied their lust upon them.” Nine hundred years later, St. Thomas Aquinas explained that incubi could actually beget human beings, “not from the seed of such demons… but from the seed of men taken for the purpose; as when the demon assumes first the form of a woman, and afterwards of a man.” Hmm… Digging deeper, I found a 17th century treatise by Father Ludovicus Maria Sinistrari de Ameno, in which he…

Summer Devon | Give Me the Dessert Tray…
Uncategorized / January 9, 2009

I love anthologies. They’re like getting small portions of several desserts. You don’t have to choose between the mousse, the chocolate dipped strawberry or the truffle cake—you can have them all. Plus you get a real taste of what you’re reading. Novellas are actual portions–not the single bite of a short story. I love writing novellas, too, and that shows up in the number of anthologies that contain Summer Devon stories. The first collection is Taming Him (Ellora’s Cave/Simon and Schuster) Other authors: Michelle Pillow, Kimberly Dean. Summer’s story is “Perfection”: A laboratory experiment gone awry cranks Bryan’s pheromones into overdrive and he’s irresistible to women. Escaping droves of desperate women is only one of his worries. Thugs from the lab are after him, eager to recapture the million-dollar essence he exudes. His only hope is to find the “perfect” woman. Sleeping with her will turn off his pheromone factory. Finding her is another matter. Most of the anthologies I’m in have themes, such as dragons. I Dream of Dragons, Volume 1(Samhain Publishing) Other authors: Marie Harte, Bianca D’Arc. The Summer Devon story is “Knight’s Challenge”: Sarkany has collected a fine hoard, including much of a small New England city….

Amanda McIntyre | Perceptions
Romance / February 25, 2008

As I step ever so lightly toward another birthday this week, the one that comes “after” the milestone one we all remember our parents getting to. I am reminded again of how very different perceptions of youth, not to mention birthdays can be. I honestly don’t think about growing older. I don’t think I would trade all that I have learned, for the chance to go back and relive it. Besides, I’ve far too many adventures ahead of me yet to want to return to the blossom of my youth. Nevertheless, to each his/her own; though we joke about it, I have a dear friend (who looks much younger than I look, but is, only by a month and killer genes, I’m guessing) who has made me swear I must never allow her to be placed in a nursing home. She claims *GASP-those are for old people. She isn’t going to get old. Given that, I should never have to worry seeing her in a home for the aged, since she never plans to be old. Her humor and attitude though, is what I admire and emulate. We see ourselves as an aging Thelma and Louise, making our spur of…

Hope Tarr | Keeping it in the family-or at least together: Writing the romance series
Romance / February 22, 2008

To paraphrase the late great John Lennon, life is what happens while you’re making other plans. To directly quote my mother—and mothers everywhere—”Don’t do as I do. Do as I say.” Both sage snippets segue albeit circuitously into my blog topic—how to write connected romance novels, or rather how not to write them, or at least how to recover from (cough, hiccup) going about it all wrong. My Men of Roxbury House trilogy—VANQUISHED, ENSLAVED, and now UNTAMED—is my first shot at writing connected books. Like anyone’s first anything, in the aftermath, there are lessons learned, battle scars to be shown off—and FYI, I’m not just in it for beads. 😉 Seriously, I don’t write like grownups do. Never have and likely never will. For starters, I don’t write sequentially, linearly, or well, in any reasonable, replicable fashion. You’ll never catch me at a writers’ conference touting my “process,” flashing charts and graphs, or God forbid, instructing others on how to write like me. If anything, I’m the textbook case for what not to do. I do it all wrong—and yet for me, it works. I write scenes out of order, the characters voicing firing off like canon shot in my…

Amie Stuart | What’s in a Name?
Uncategorized / February 1, 2008

One of the most important parts of a book—besides the conflict of course LOL—is your character’s names. I put as much effort into naming a character as I did my kids…okay, probably more since I don’t have to consult anyone else. However, it’s not like you can just go around throwing out names willy-nilly. I once named a secondary character only to have my WIP to come to a screeching halt. And I’m talking painful! I had to back up and change his name. Then ended up with a fully formed secondary character who had the hots for the heroines best friend. In HANDS ON (June 2007) I gave all my heroines names that could have male or female nicknames to represent their dual lives. In Make U Sweat (Aphrodisia September 2008), the heroine in the first novella is Reece—and she made sure to give her daughter a name that’s decidedly feminine. Her sister’s name is Roberta. I must say, if my name was Roberta, I might go by Robbie Jo too. In NAILED (Aphrodisia, June 2008), I was presented with the challenge of giving my heroine not one, but two names! Convinced that her sister’s death is no accident,…

Sasah White | What makes you feel sexy?
Uncategorized / January 21, 2008

What is it about the tease that’s so hot? You know what I’m talking about. That tingle you get between your thighs when someone exciting catches your eye, or when you catch his. The lingering looks, the hair toss, the silent communication. That time when your blood heats up and your body awakens as you feel the magic of “what if?” It’s almost … intoxicating. I used to flirt a lot. Men used to flirt with me. Then I got married. I haven’t gained weight or let myself go, but somehow, I’ve changed. I know it, and they know it. I think it’s because the chase is over. The magic of flirting, the heightened awareness that arcs between two people, the building of anticipation… it’s gone. And I don’t know exactly when, or how, it disappeared.The sad thing is, it also seems to have disappeared between my husband and me. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my husband. Grant is still very attractive in every way, and leaving him has never occurred to me. I’d never cheat on him, either. Yet, I can’t deny that a certain restlessness has been building in me for some time. That was the…

Kate St. James | "Good Vibrations" & The Power of Goals
Uncategorized / December 31, 2007

“Good Vibrations” in Red Sage Secrets Volume 21: Primal Heat is my first erotic romance novella. I had a blast writing it, and I’m thrilled to share the story with readers. My heroine, Lexi O’Brien, is funny and practical and dead-set on her goals. She’s about to give notice at her quirky aunt’s love shop where she works so she can enter a competitive MBA program. In the past, mixing her studies with dating has caused Lexi’s grades to suffer, so she’s decided to remain celibate for the next two looooooooong years. Then Gage Templeton, her favorite out-of-customer, shows up as she’s about to close shop for the night. Lexi realizes this might be her last chance to see him…and her last chance for some hot loving before she straps on her chastity belt. So she does what any bright girl in her position would do–she modifies her goals. Lexi’s new goal is to share one wild weekend with Gage and then go merrily on her way. However, Gage has other ideas. Unknown to Lexi, he was raised in her city and is moving home. He has no intention of settling for a short-term affair. So…Lexi’s plans are turned upside-down….

Louisa Burton | BOUND IN MOONLIGHT
Romance / 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…