Thursday, October 13, 2011

When Was The Last Time You Read A Good Book?

The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say.

~Mark Twain~


That was the quote that got me thinking about writing this. It has been rolling around inside my head for a while. So here it goes Mark…wish me luck!

Sitting here working on some new postings and changes on my website I was telling some friends about some of the stuff I’m doing, and; giggling, one said me… “you and those sexy vampires you read about all the time, how do you find the time”? Well the first thing I realized was even though she’d said she seen my site, clearly that wasn’t the case. Then I found myself trying to defend the “types” of books by explaining that while yes there is plenty of sexy vampires… werewolves… dragons oh gosh even a few misunderstood demons, well you get the point; it’s the paranormal factor I like most. Again laughing added, “yea OK sure it’s just the superheroes you like, as long as there is a lot of (and then she whispered)… sex. I thought “what the hell” she’s saying sex like it’s a bad thing.

OK I’ll admit I like a story that revolves around romance and where there is romance there should be sex. I just find when I’m reading a story where the sexual chemistry is stimulating between the characters makes it soooo much more…interesting. So sue me!

It’s not just genetic instincts anymore driving us to have sex in order to procreate, hell we don’t even need the act for that anymore; it’s also a very human need for touch that drives us. And just feels so damn good.
 Then I was really floored when another gal there said to me “besides not everyone has the time to read like you do”. Whoa, I think I was just sucker punched...

Suddenly I stopped, and thought... OK I’m out numbered here so maybe I’d better cut my losses and move on the another subject. However, anyone who knows me knows I just don’t know when to shut up, and just couldn’t let it go. So I asked what it was about “these” books they had a problem with. There was a pause and then somebody finally said “well to be honest I for one don’t understand what is so appealing about them. They are so unrealistic. And besides if my husband saw me reading those books he’d expect more sex, especially the ones with M/F/M or that BDSM stuff...ewww!!" (Dear God women who said anything about that??? thinks someone might be hiding a dirty girl mmmm?)

Clearly the poor dear doesn’t get the idea behind fantasy, and I looked at her husband and felt kinda bad for the guy. That really seemed to open a can of worms, and bang we were back to the sex. Evidently Watson I think we may be on to something here.

Sex such a small word for so much ambiguity.

I went on to listen to some of the other comments, and here is what I heard...

  • “I read all day at work or for school, the last thing I want is to read something else”
  • “All I want to do at the end of the day is turn on the TV and stop thinking”.

Those two have to be the saddest one of all. What better way to escape or “stop thinking” then with a good novel? Reading a book shouldn’t be deemed a chore, it should be looked upon as an adventure that’s just a page away.

·  God I wish I had time to read like you do” (again what the hell does that mean?)

So is it just “those” books or recreational reading in general that they don’t have the time for? Could it be that when they say “no time” it’s meant literally? Why? What has us so busy that we can’t take a moment to relax with a good book? Are we afraid we’re going to miss something if we take the time to read? Could the latest tweet or FB post be that important we couldn’t stand to miss it? (Don’t worry I’ll be twitting about this as soon as it’s posted) Or does it have more to do with the attention required sitting and focusing on one thing only, that is the problem? I think with all the new venues we have at our finger tips today, Kindle, IPad, even our phones now have apps that will allow us to download books it would be easier now more than ever to find the time to read. So maybe it’s not so much finding time, and more to do with finding something that might be worth taking time for.
·  “I use to like to read romances” …so what happened? “I got bored”…
Ah, now there’s something I can relate too.

I hear this alot; they just became bored with what use to keep them interested.

Romances today folks are more than the sum of its part, regardless if they are set in a paranormal genre or not. I think that a lot are still thinking about the old historical romance of yesteryear with more testosterone then brains, and swooning women looking to be saved. I began to think authors weren’t even trying anymore, they were just writing the same story over and over again and changes the names and locations. For a long time I to was so dishearten I almost thought I’d never find a romance that was stimulating enough to keep me turning the pages, until I found the paranormal genre, add a bit of erotica and “SHAZAM” it was off to the races once again and a whole new world for me.
·  “Oh I couldn’t buy that book, I be too embarrass of what people would think” (hello, can we say Internet)

OK sure maybe you don’t want to take “20 ways to tie up you lover” to work or the PTA meeting. That might be bad. So don’t. Worried the kiddies might find them? Hide them with your sex toys then. (Oh don’t look so shocked. If you didn’t have a “spot” that has stuff for your eyes only would be more shocking, if you ask me). My first“adult” erotic book was one I found in my mom’s stash. The Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann… Thanks mom! I remember when she walked in my room and saw me reading it, I thought for sure my ass was grass; she laughed and said “well what do you think”? I asked her if she had more. That’s when she gave me my first historical romance. I thought“oh if all pirates were like this the Queen of England (because you have to admit most were set in merry old England) herself would have demanded much more of them than just an audience and she would be one very Merry Yo..ho...ho..ho Queen to boot! "

Oh and here’s a bit of trivia you might find interesting the word SHAZAM originally came from captain marvel comics. Captain Marvel is the alter ego of Billy Bats and was chosen to be a champion of good by the wizard Shazam. Whenever Billy speaks the wizard's name, he is struck by a magic lightning bolt that transforms him into an adult superhero empowered with the abilities of six legenday figures.

Remember all those old children’s fairy tales that began with; “Once upon a time…” wouldn’t those just packed full of hidden connotation? Well let me just say the fairy tales today are all grown up, and they want do so much more with those big teeth then eat you (well they do just not figuratively).

Regardless of what your reading preference, don’t limit yourself, find the time, and explore. So tonight, after you finish reading the kiddies a bedtime story about heroes and castles in the sky, instead of just plopping down to watch TV; ask yourself when was the last time you read a good book?

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.

~Anaïs Nin~

This was previously published On March2011, some corrections have been made…

This was originally posted in March of 2011. There have been some changes made.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Welcome My Two Guest Authors Alisha Paige and Skhye Moncrief

What Pushes a Regular Steamy-Sexy-Hot-Romance Novel Into The Realm Of Erotica?

Today I’d like to welcome two authors Alisha Paige and Skhye Moncrief who will be helping me and hopefully a few of you understand what it takes to push a regular romance novel and turn it into The Realm Of Erotica.

Let’s start with my first guest on this quest, Alisha Paige, author of Paranormal Fantasy, Time Travel, and Vintage Romance…

Alisha, thank you so much for joining us on our quest and welcome!

Pushing Sexiness into Erotica from a Paranormal Point of View...

 I'm a paranormal romance author so when asked
the question, what pushes a regular steamy,hot,sexy romance novel into the realm of answer is always WOLVES! Can you say wolf pack? A wolf pack is the perfect excuse to have steamy, sweaty, hot, passionate sex with multiple partners. In Circle City, the Lord of the Wolfen has a haremlik, taken from the word harem adding the word in in yum...if you get tired of one lover, try another or if your lover is exhausted, take your pick from the haremlik. And lick away!

 Something kinda hot about a man who loves his woman so much that he understands she needs her beauty rest and can't tolerate the extreme sex drive of her mate. Oh sure..they have plenty of hot sex themselves but there are times when he must visit the haremlik and the women are totally devoted to their master, proud to serve him, living like queens in their quarters, in close proximity to the king.

 Hell, Lord of the Wolfen's coming out party is called The Unleashing, an all out orgy with his entire harem. Oh…and all the male Wolfen come to the Pit to watch. Just like a boxing match, everyone seated around in a circle, waiting and watching to see who lasts the most rounds. A nakked boxing match. Only the wolves aren't fighting and they look as human as you and I.

Within a paranormal, you can push the boundaries and I try to do just that not only with paranormal elements but in the bedroom as well or wherever my shifters make love.

 Explicit sex defines erotica and when described graphically, giving attention to every tiny detail, sexual literature can and does arouse. In a big way. Many women read erotica in bed as their partner snores. It has been said that women who write and who read erotica have much healthier sex lives. With good reason too. Many a lover has been nudged awake after reading a hot scene…Or fondled awake…Kissed awake…Dare I say sucked awake?

Some couples read erotica together. Just as visual porn arouses, so does erotica, but it arouses more than the loins. Literature describes feeling, both emotional and physical and nothing is sexier than appealing to the heart while engaging in mind blowing sex!

 This is what I strive to do as a writer of erotica. To dive deep into my characters' emotions and thoughts while describing the oldest sport of all: the language of love through speech, body language, verbal flirtation and hard core fornication; two people communicating with lips, hands, giving their bodies to one another or to multiple partners as in some modern day cultures. As in the Wolfen. This is perfectly acceptable to some and in a paranormal world, it is easy to do, easy to justify and a fantasy for many, though they won't admit it.

 So I can write about it, you can read about it and then you can jump your lover's bones and the world is all the sexier for it. ;)
Alisha Paige/Ruby Vines

Now Available ~ Deadly R&R

Circle City: Lord of the Wolfen~Book NOW AVAILABLE for Kindle and Nook!

Ok now that Alisha has started our engines running let's make sure we keep them rolling  to the second part our journey with my next Guest Author Skhye Moncrief for her titillating spin into the Realm of Erotica...

Welcome Skhye and thank you for joining us today and helping us on our quest...

I've always wondered where to draw the line between romance and erotica. Since I started writing hotter stories, I couldn't determine if five sex scenes in a Gena Showalter Lords of the Underworld novel pushed the story over the romance line to erotica when the novel seemed clearly labeled paranormal romance. ??? But the sex scenes were detailed and very explicit and some of the darkness involved was clearly not for the faint of heart. And, lord, talk about sexual tension. Oh boy! I read that series in one week. I'm a sexual-tension junkie aside from my fascination with world building! Showalter produces on both. 

Now, if I differentiate between romantica and erotica, I see a clearer definition. An erotica is just one sex scene after another where romantica has the standard romance layout and its supporting romantic growth with a happily ever, but the sex is more frequent and smoking hot. Erotica has no plot though. However, romantica does. That's two different erotic animals. At least that's the way it was defined for me at a Romance Writers of America National conference. Sex is physical. Love is mental (internal with supportive goals, motivation, and conflict). As for defining plot... 

I've always heard characters make a story whereas plot is a series of scenes, i.e. plot points. These points are only significant when a character reaches a point of character growth where the character's perspective (views) changes, i.e. growing for the greater good of the individual. My favorite reference here is Joseph Campbell's metaphysical moment in The Hero With a 1000 Faces (I actually couldn't read the thought-draining dry book and watched THE POWER OF MYTH) when the individual realizes the needs of the many (or other) outweigh the selfish-to-narcissistic needs of the one. {Thank you, Mr. Spock!} That right there is enough to draw a line between carnal romance and erotica. 

One might ask why is it important for a character to grow though? Well, story has purpose. If romance is a true story, it's about character(s) in a setting that has something for the audience to gain. Story inspires the reader or gives the reader aspirations. Okay, you're thinking whoopie I'm reading a romance. But it's true about the aspirations, because romance has two plots. That's double the pleasure and fun!!! Let me explain...

Every romance has a romance plot and a second embedded plot--the external issue driving the internal (romance) plot forward. For instance, a sci-fi romance has a sci-fi plot driving the romance plot. My Feral stories have a werewolf space opera driving the romance between the were-assassins who must blood bond as mates to become were-assassins and save the universe! That's werewolf space opera fused with romance, 2 plots! How the characters interact with the romance aspect of the story is the character-driven, internal, aspect of a romance--a separate plot with character growth where the hero and heroine overcome their issues with their intimate relationship to find happiness together while saving the universe. Think end-of-the-world kinda ambiance while the hero and heroine face the external obstacle that's forcing the hero and heroine together. The external plot requires the characters deal with said external obstacles as much as their romantic interpersonal issues though.

Well, the external plot gets enough page time to make it significant. *clears throat* We all know romance readers want the hero and heroine together as much as possible! But in the end, both plots show us something by example--how it's good to fight to save the farm or universe while showing us that love conquers all. Yes, I ended with that old romance theme. Well, if it works, don't fix it. So, the countless ways a character can approach resolving the dilemma and get the prize (love) keep romance readers returning for another story. The combinations are endless. Hence, the number of romances circulating for  our reading pleasure. Ultimately, the word plot simply refers to genre or subgenre classification... a stamp of what to expect with your story selection. So, why in the world bother with one plot if a romance has two?


Why is Skhye rambling about aspirations when discussing romantica and erotica? Story is a dydactic or teaching tool. Story teaches by example. This is the easiest form of sharing ideas among the most social creature that's ever existed on the planet... Homo sapiens sapiens. {Don't worry. I know what I'm talking about. I'm an anthropologist.} Back before writing and television, humans sat around the fire telling stories to teach their little ones all about the world--life. So story is all about how to live. Remember, story is supposed to give us something to aspire to in life. But forget that moment of pontification until later, and let's move onward with delineating between romantica vs. erotica with my publishing story here at NCP.


When I contracted FERAL FASCINATIONS with NCP, I had no idea my work would be classified as carnal. My editor just asked for more explicit sex because it correlates with sales, and I produced. Then fearing I'd shock readers who bought my work based on my backlist, I asked if the increase in the explicit sex made the story carnal... So, maybe the explicit sex is the selling factor? Maybe it doesn't matter if erotic romance (romantica) and erotica are apples and oranges. Maybe it only matters if readers get their explicit sex?

I think the sexy steamy hot romance novel becomes erotica when the inclusion of explicit sex has no purpose (refer back to my points about plot and character growth). I wrote an epic-length novel, FERAL FEVER, with the heroine landing 5 Tiger Lord mates by the end and each Lord has his romance and happily ever after. The novel includes 15-20 sex scenes. I really lost count. *snort* But that's a lot of sex. Readers found me to tell me how incredible Feral Fever was. But if I hadn't had the romantic growth for each male, would they have cared as much about the story? I don't know. I don't. Really. I can name two out of hundreds of romantica novels I've read in the past year that failed to keep me in the story. These were clearly erotica with gratuitous sex--sex that functioned as nothing more than the act of titillation. I can remember the titles, sadly enough for the wrong reason. I don't want people to remember my stories for that reason. So, don't expect straight erotica from moi

Now, for the clincher... My latest novel, Werescape: COUGAR, is much shorter, and the same readers hunted me down to tell me it was the best yet. But the heroine only gets one mate. These are ménage readers preferring my "traditional" romance. Albeit, it's definitely carnal because the heroine has sex with the hero in his wolfskin, but the kiss doesn't come until the characters have gotten to know each other about a fourth of the way through the story. That's not sex, sex, sex. It's romantica with the heat cranked up in a romance when it's time to get the show on the road--or rolling in the hay. But in the end, I shake my head. I don't think anyone can draw a line between erotica and romance. Doesn't it vary from publisher to publisher? I know this after buying 15 top bestsellers from the Fictionwise erotic futuristic romance list on more than one occasion. I can't forget waiting 200 pages to get to the boring first sex scene in that book... ~Skhye Moncrief


The subject of romance vs. erotica came with these choices to choose from when thinking about the options for my answers: 

1. Love scenes are frequent, extremely detailed and very explicit

2. The storyline pushes the envelope, as do the sex scenes and may involve multiple partners, partner swapping, extreme BDSM, and fisting. The story may also contain controversial subject matter not for the faint of heart.

3. These stories are more explicit and may involve exclusive couples or multiple partners. The love scenes are described in graphic language and may involve light bondage, BDSM, toys, and/or anal play.

4. An erotica story would have no plot without the sex

5. The sex needs to be described clearly and at length to the point where it’s clearly meant to arouse.

6. All of the above

Well there you have it folks two very interesting takes from two very talented authors on one very provoking subject. Now I don't know if this has helped answer the question or raised more. All I know is I can't wait to get back to reading, because I am ready for some experencing of my own....

I want to thank both Alisha and Skhye today for taking the some of their time and spending it with us today...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What Was The Question?

I just love my sexy romances. I love reading about heroes that are so hot it’s just a miracle a fire hasn’t started from the heat coming off those pages. I know my husband gets a kick out it every time another book comes in the mail. He would never think of trying to stop me from reading them. Even though he knows when I’m reading about the big hot sexy “nekked” men described in them, I’m having a little fantasy or two of my own. He sees the covers I drool over and hears the comments I make about them. Such as, “Now that is one lick-a-lious hunk”. Those covers and my imagination are a beautiful thing together. And my husband is a real trouper, especially since he’s the one who benefits from all those juicy fantasies that need an outlet. He is more than happy to do his part to help J

I mean maybe you don’t read books like these, but don’t tell me your heart doesn’t beat a little faster when you see a picture, let’s say, of a hot fireman and just for a moment have a little fantasy about what drives a man like that. A man with abs you can bounce quarters on, a man that runs towards danger when everyone else is running away.


Yummy…right? Don’t lie it’s just us here.

Actually you hear a lot of women quite opening saying things like that; sure there are a few who deny they like to look, even as their cheeks are heating up. Stop it, what’s wrong with you? What are you afraid of, it’s only a fantasy. You aren’t cheating or wrong or a bad person, because you see a hot guy and suddenly wonder what he looks like “nekked” and wonder what it would be like to hit that. You do know what a fantasy is right? I mean in real life he may look like a stallion, but just be an ass. Who cares what he’s like in real life… this is about fantasy.

That’s actually what brings me to something I’m having trouble understanding. Maybe you can help. Whether you’re the women who openly talks about it or not why do some of you give your men such a hard time when they admit to having a fantasy or two? Why are you surprised that he might still enjoy seeing a sexy picture of a beautiful woman?

What is it that gets you so upset?

Really I want to know….Well, while we’re waiting for the answer; there is something else that I’ve also found troubling.

A lot and I do mean a lot, of women I’ve talked to admit they would insist, if gods forbid they found any “dirty” magazines they would throw them out. Some have argued “what if the kids found one of those magazines”? I was 12 when I found my mom’s stash of “dirty books” I didn’t need any pictures to know what was being described on those pages. So, unless your kid can read there’s a real good chance he or she isn’t going to “see” dirty pictures, just pictures of people with no clothes on doing some very weird things that will make no sense to them at all. The only thing however, they will see is how funny you look acting like a crazy fool trying to get it away from them. “Wow mommy, I didn’t know you could make your face get that red”. Do it again…Mommy…do it again!!” Yea now that would be funny! And if they can read, just make sure to hide them better. I’m sure there are all kinds of things you’re already are hiding from the kiddies, say for instance your special “toys”. What was that? I thought I heard you just say you don’t have any? Poor dears, you do not know what you’re missing. Or maybe you just don’t like sex. Oh the horror! Still that could explain why you’d want your man to get rid of those magazines too. Wouldn’t want the poor dear to get any ideas, right?

Seriously have you ever been to clubs that women go to see sexy men take off their clothes? Which by the way, they never do get totally “nekked” (I really like that word). Most times they don’t even get to their skivvies. You can see more at a beach then one of those clubs. Damn shame too, because at the beach you really have to look hard to find a really hot guy.

Oops...sorry about that got side tracked, my bad...

The point I was trying to make is, if you know anything about the clubs men go to, girls we are not the civilized ones. There is more security at the places we go, because if there wasn’t the women would tear down walls to get to those guys. You don’t see that kind of security at men’s clubs. How do I know? I’ve been inside both.

Girls it’s not men that are the perverts. They are straight up honest about sex, likely it, wanting it and finding ways to get it. We however hide, scheme, lie and skip around the subject when it comes to sex. Hot, sweaty do it like monkeys sex.

Liar, liar pants on fire…I’m telling you I’ve seen rooms so full of women screaming at the top of their lungs, pushing and shoving to get to the front to get a better look at those hunk-a-lious men on stage.

Yet I can guarantee those same women would get their panties in a twist if they caught their guy chancing a look at another woman. And would raise hell if they found out he ever went to a strip club, even if they weren’t a couple when he did. How do I know? While at one of those clubs I asked all the women I was with and everyone said the same thing. "I’d kill him". What’s that all about?

Men how about you? Come on tell us what you think about this wicked little game women play. Is it really ok when they want to walk the walk, but not you, never you? Unless you want to be ripped a new one, I suggest you find a really good place to hide those dirty magazines. Women you really need to stop that. Double standard goes both ways. Why are you so worried?

I mean come on there isn’t a smart man alive who would admit he’s just notice a beautiful women as she passes him, or admit that he found her attractive when his wife or girlfriend caught that glance. Remember I don’t mean the jerk that falls off his chair when said hot chick walks by, I’m talking about just a glance a slight smile. Why, because he knows what will happen next; “what I’m not good enough? Mmmmmmmmmmmm? What’s she got that I don’t? I’m fat right? That’s why you’re looking at her, I knew it, I don’t turn you on. Why do you need to look at “other” women, do you need that to get turned on uh… uh… tell me is that what it takes to turn you on? And finally…YOU’RE A PERVERT!”

Ok ladies I’m gonna let you in on one of their little secrets. After that first word, Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah is all they really hear.

YES IT DOES TURN THEM ON and unless he gets up and goes after her. It was just a glance, it’s just a magazine and who cares about the strip club he went to 10 yrs ago. The only thing that should matter is that the one he is rubbing all up against is YOU! The person his hands are trying to grope IS YOU! Who cares how he got there, he’s there with YOU!

So here is some advice, the next time you catch your man glancing at another woman, whisper in his ear…”hot isn’t she”? And while you’re whispering that start rubbing up his leg and when you’re almost to that sweet spot, stop and whisper this… “did she turn you on a little bit, mmm, can I help”? Believe me before you finish that question, he’s already forgotten the first…

And by the way, you’re not fat.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Interview for Natasha Blackthorne

Interviewed by Barb
Posted Oct 9th 2011

Natasha Blackthorne has always been a bit of a day dreamer, especially when it came to romance and love. She has a B.A in history and married her real life hero (lucky girl).

Natasha never stopped dreaming and soon those dreams demanded to be heard. And what better way than to combine her dreams with her love of history. So her dreams took flight and became erotic Historical Romances from the Georgian and Regency Eras, set in both England and America.

Natasha heroines are both strong and shy with desires and needs that will not be denied. These women are the driving force in her stories plots. And the men are about to find out what a women really is. But don’t worry they get over their shock and soon begin to see the benefits can be quite pleasant…snicker! It’s the journey getting there that holds all the fun.

Welcome Natasha to Risqué Reviews! We’re here to talk about her new release Grey’s Lady, but I am also interested in finding out about the person as well as the author. So let’s begin there shall we…

1.    How difficult is it to separate the author form the person?

I am not sure how to take that question. I write about all kinds of people and situations that do not reflect on my life or my mindsets. Many times they think and behave in ways I never would. I write about people living in circumstances and time periods that have nothing to do with my daily life. I am not sure I can be found in my writing, but my writing consumes me. It consumes me, fascinates me, tests me endlessly and will not let me go but it does not define me. I don’t think I can necessarily be found in my writing but my writing is interwoven in me.

2.    What did you do before becoming a writer?

I don’t really look at my life as being “at this point I became a Writer.” I was a writer for years before I took it seriously and started learning to write for publication. Even when I was a child, my mind showed me stories and I felt internal pressure to capture these stories in some fashion and record them. I drew pictures before I could write. When I learned how to write, I started putting stories into prose in a little notebook. This really wasn’t something my adult authority figures valued and I felt pressure to hide it. It was sort of a forbidden thing after a time. This whole aspect delayed me seeing writing as something I could take seriously.

3.    What other creative outlets do you have besides writing?

I enjoyed making my book trailers. LOL, I’ll leave it up to others to say if the results are worthy or not. But I am not really good with crafts and things like that. I admire people who are creative with their hands, people who can sew or draw or do woodworking.

4.    What was the driving force behind Grey’s Lady?

The inspiration for Grey’s Lady came after I had read deeply about the era. Philadelphia in this time is the Athens of America. It is a city filled with beautiful houses hidden behind garden walls and bricked sidewalks lined with shade trees. It is also a city known for its elegant ladies. It is a sophisticated city, very different in mood from the commercial New York City and the still quite Puritan Boston.

At the same time, the New England merchants and their world appealed to me. I was fascinated by the stories of the men who earned their fortunes at sea privateering and then spawned the legacies that would create our rising national commerce.

In a quiet moment, Grey, the hero, “showed” me the story through his perspective. He was staring out the bookseller’s windows at the rain and the gray sky. He made eye contact with Beth, the heroine and in that moment she touched him deeply with her sadness that mirrored his own feelings that he was disconnected from.

So the idea came to me, through the character of Grey, to have one of these staid, business-minded merchants from the north come and fall in love with one of these beautiful, beguiling women from the lower class in Philadelphia. And through Grey, I saw Beth. I saw first that moment in the booksellers when he first saw her. And then little by little I saw why she did what she did.

As the story opens, Philadelphia was holding its collective breath. President Madison had signed the Embargo Act and set America on ninety-day countdown to war with Great Britain. This is springtime in the year 1812 and Grey Sexton, a merchant prince from New York, has come to Philadelphia to gather investors for his privateering voyages. Because of the depredations of both the French and the British, especially with the upcoming war and the current embargo, privateering, and shared risk of investors, became even more attractive. Besides, it was the patriotic thing to do.

All business, Grey lives his life free from emotional attachments and drama. He is in total control of his personal world and likes it that way.

But he’s about to be broad-sided by a force he cannot control.

To her family, Beth is a respectable young unmarried woman who works hard to help her older half-brother, Charlie, and her half-sister, Ruth, run their shop. But her family would never dream that she has a secret life as a temptress who seduces wealthy, powerful men for the thrill of it. In this era, women from the Lower Sort sometimes gave sexual favors to gentleman from the Better Sort in exchange for monetary gains. A sort freelance prostitution when they needed to make some extra money. Even “nice” women might find themselves in the position of temporary mistress when their financial situation called for it. But they would do what they had to do and keep it secret and protect their good names.

But for Beth it’s not about money. She wants to prove to herself that even though she’s poor and lacks social position, she can attract and enchant powerful, dynamic gentlemen. There are deep, painful reasons why she’s driven to do this and that’s something the sequel to Grey’s Lady, White Lace and Promises goes into in deeper detail.  And yes, it’s risky behavior; if she were caught there would be terrible consequences. This is a time of duels and fighting over matters of honor. A man like her brother, who is poor but proud, would have little else but his honor and being protective of his family to feel good about. Beth knows this but the excitement and challenge of the hunt is something she uses to cover over a deeper need that she cannot admit to herself. She loves her family and does not want to shame them. So she tricks herself into believing if she follows certain rules—only meet a gentleman once and always leave them burning for more--she won’t get caught.

Yet Grey’s appeal is too strong. Beth can’t help herself. She breaks her own rule and meets with him a second time. My story began to develop with an unconventional, seductive heroine and a different sort of Cinderella story at its core. I enjoy the themes of self-protection, surrender and rescue and I enjoyed exploring them in this story. As often is asked in these types of stories, who really rescues who? Can deep sexual intimacy they share work a miracle and lead to the opening of their hearts?

The sequel to Grey’s Lady is titled White Lace and Promises and is scheduled for release Dec 26, 2011.  I offer your reader’s a sneak peek at the lovely cover art that the Total-e-Bound Art Department designed for it:

 5. How do you decide what qualities you give you heroes? Your heroines?

My characters come to me as whole people, fully dimensional images and profiles. It is up to me then to decide if I can use that character in a story.

6.    Writers paint with words, but smell/scent also plays an important factor in books, why do you think that is?

If a writer is painting with words, then the words would also be used to describe the scents the character experiences just the same. Fiction writing is not exactly like a painting. I think fiction writing should get right into the head of the character and describe their direct experience. In my opinion, for those moments described in the prose fiction writing is not just showing a picture of a life. It is living a life.

7.    Do prefer books where the problem is plot and external to the relationship or where the character has a “hang up”?

For a Romance, I think it is best when the conflicts come from differences between the hero and heroine that come from their past conditioning and experiences. External antogonistic forces are good when used to apply pressure to already existing conflict between the hero and heroine. But for some other genres, I think conflict based more on external forces can work fine.

8.    Are there any guiding factors involved when you are writing a love scene?

Just the individual characters and the story. When drafting a scene, I think if I were to impose my will and guidance on the scene, it would come out clunkier than if I just watch and let it unfold. But polishing a scene afterwards is different.

9.    What do you think is sexier an implied love scene or the actual scene from the first kiss to the grand finale?

I write graphic erotic romance. I find graphic erotic romance interesting and sexy. But I also read many different genres and subgenres. As a reader, I enjoy a good inspirational Romance where the brush of a hand carries all the sexual tension. It just depends on what suits the story and the characters well. I really don’t think in rigid terms of what is sexier than something else. Sexy is like beauty, it comes in many different variations. To compare an implied love scene to a erotic love scene would be like comparing a snowflake to a rainbow. Who can say which is more beautiful or sexy? It depends on the story and the scene and how the writer crafts it.

10. How do you get into the head of your characters when writing a sex scene?

I just let the flimstrip roll. Being in the character’s heads is the only way I can see what happens. They show it to me.

11. How do you keep the sex fresh? How do you keep it from feeling repetitive from story to story?

Each story has different circumstances and/or different characters. If the sexual scenes are growing out of the character’s interactions and the needs of the circumstances, I think this keeps things fresh.

12. When you completed your novels do you breathe a sigh of relief, or do you feel sad the experience has ended?

Mostly I am sad. The emotions from the story will haunt me for a while afterwards; the scenes will play out in my dreams.

13. Have you ever had one of those profound “AH-HA!” moments while you were writing? Would you be willing to share it?

 I get those all the time when I am rough drafting. The basis for Grey’s Lady came to me like that.

14. Have you ever thought of venturing out to different avenues/genres with your writing?

I might someday write women’s historical fiction.

15. I’ve often wondered when I read about authors that say, I write only from 8-2, or whatever. How is that so? When a scene is going so well, would you be able to just stop and say “ok time to cook dinner” and walk away?

I don’t follow a rigid schedule. I look at my writing day more from a scene approach. I write what I see in a story at that point. If see a scene, I write until it is done. The only thing I have had to impose discipline on myself is the issue with breaks when really into a scene or, more commonly, a group of related scenes. When I have a scene pressing on me to be put into text, I force myself to take breaks. And a break means laying down and closing my eyes and letting my mind float free. LOL, it doesn’t mean doing housework or talking on phone or chatting on IM.

I used to have a real problem with breaking or being disturbed when writing a scene. But now it gets easier and easier to break and come back and get into the scene. I actually do some of my most productive writing when my husband is home.

It’s been a long week of writing, editing and coming up with new ideas. Now the weekend is here and you can actually relax, how would you spend the next 24 hours? One restriction, you’re unable to pick up a book...

I’ll be writing some portion of this weekend. I write everyday. From my perspective, writing really isn’t like a 9-5 job that can be put aside and there just aren’t days off. If the muse calls, I better answer. That’s just the way it is. My mind is always working on stories, always running scenes through, always taking in information. I have internal goals I need to meet this year and there’s so much reading that goes along with writing that if I spent a whole day without reading anything, I’d fall behind. And it’s just not good for my processes for me to skip days without writing or at least thinking about writing.

But I will also spend time with my husband, listen to music. I spend most of my day surrounded by music. I like Old School R&B, New Wave, Soft Rock from 70&80s, 90s jazz-funk/dance, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, disco and funk, oldies from the 40s-60s, Baroque and Classical, Reggae, Folk, Blue Grass, old style country and western. Mostly when it comes to music I like it all it just depends on my mood.

I don’t watch much TV, but do I enjoy watching period movies on Netflix, British Comedies or series like Dark Shadows, Twin Peaks or original series Star Trek. I like all genres of emotional, character-driven movies. I have been into a real Film Noir phase lately. I am currently watching the series Mad Men and loving it.

Well that brings us to the end of our interview with Natasha Blackthorne. I want to thank Natasha for letting us into her world and taking the time to let us do this interview with her.

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