BLOG STOP: Melissa Blue, author of ‘Kilted For Pleasure’!

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Blurb

Callan Baird used to laugh more than he frowned, but that was before his wife died. Now his life is duty, debts and a general apathy for anything else. And then Victoria Burke burst into his life. She’s everything he wants to corrupt. Victoria has two choices: agree to a grouchy, sexy Scotsman’s extortion or call her boss to explain why she can’t do her job. Since she’s spent the last three years rebuilding her career as antique appraiser, and this one commission could make or break it, the decision is a no-brainer. Except everything about Callan is complicated. He sees no problem turning their work relationship into a sexual one. She refuses to break her boss’ no-fraternization rule. He’s the one thing she wants and the one thing she can’t have. He’s had his one great love, and doesn’t want a replacement. His heart doesn’t agree, because she’s everything he desires. Callan will have to let go of his past if he wants Victoria to be in his future.

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From ‘Kilted for Pleasure’:

“How about drinks after we’re done here? That table over there is the last on our list. You can make amends for calling me goat-fucker.”

Booze, plus him seemed to equal a dumb-ass decision. Also, she wasn’t sorry for that particular insult. “I still have more work to do. I’m sorry but I’ll have to decline the offer.”

“The same Burke who’d have likely slept on my doorstep until I signed a contract has suddenly lost her guff?” He tutted in disappointment.

He dangled that as bait, and with him this close, she only wanted to bite into his lower lip as punishment. This was bad. “The only thing I need to know about you is whether or not you can competently repair the antiques.”

“That’s all?”

“Yes.”

“Good. I was worried there for a moment. The way you were looking at me…”

His position had forced her to hold his gaze. Heat burned in her chest, and she realized she’d been holding her breath. Letting it out, she took her time in replying—okay, she had to wait until her voice could come out cool, unaffected. “If you were the last man on earth, yada, yada.”

He laughed, and this time she was sure he’d taken her words as a challenge. She pushed him back and stood. For a fraction of a second, her palms lingered on his chest. His pecs under the shirt felt as wonderful as they looked.

Victoria snatched her hands away. Isn’t this how she’d screwed up in the first place? She’d lost sight of her goal because a man had made her swoon. She’d already gotten hoodwinked into taking care of her boss’ father. Victoria didn’t need to add sex with Callan to the situation.

“Back up.” She put a bit of steel in the words and hoped it would trickle down her spine.

He tilted his head, taking in her face. “If I misread you then I apologize about making you uncomfortable.”

Her brows shot up in surprise. She didn’t think he was the type to apologize, but nothing about him seemed consistent. He’d been a pain in her ass, gruff, impatient, thoughtful, uncaring and smart. She couldn’t catch a foothold around him, but the tension in her shoulders ebbed.

“Apology accepted.” After his nod of acknowledgment she added, “We’re at work. Let’s act like it.”

He stuffed his hands in his jacket’s pockets, his blue eyes so damn observant as he took her in. “For the record, I didn’t read you wrong.”

She huffed. They’d circled back to him being a pain in her ass. At least she’d found something consistent about him. “Tell me one thing, Callan.”

His lip twitched. “Aye?”

“Do you hit women in the head and then drag them into your cave by their hair? Because that’s the only way I can imagine you ever get laid.”

He took a moment to think about his answer. “Only the pulling hair part, but I’ve yet to get a complaint about that. So, the last thing on our list?”

Yup. That one thing was consistent. “Please, let’s get this over with.”

He laughed again. She had the distinct impression he’d taken her reply as another challenge.

***

About the Author

Melissa Blue’s writing career started on a typewriter one month after her son was born. This would have been an idyllic situation for a writer if it had been 1985, not 2004. Eventually she upgraded to a computer. She’s still typing away on the same computer, making imaginary people fall in love.

Where to find her online:

http://www.themelissablue.com

https://www.facebook.com/themelissablue.author

Buy Links:

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

Kobo

ARe

Smashwords

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Whet. The Sensuous Experience – Voice VII

Whet

For my final post on writers with a voice I found to be strong and impressive,  I thought I’d just reproduce in its entirety a review I did recently for a new writer I’ve met in the blogosphere. I think her work is amazing and would urge you to check it out. It’s not linear narrative so if that’s what you need in your reading, this probably won’t be for you but having said that, I generally like linear narratives and was still pretty blown away . . .

It’s taken me awhile to write this review because I wanted to do it justice and thoroughly enjoy a well thought out review myself. So, where to begin. Whet. The Sensuous Experience is a collection of seven erotic shorts, and at the end there is an excerpt from a longer work by this author, which I look forward to reading. I should start by saying I generally don’t enjoy short stories unless you’re like, Ernest Hemingway or something. But in this case, I was pleasantly surprised and in some instances, blown away by how strong this author’s voice is. And what was more interesting, her voice varies from story to story.

In the first story, Sugarfoot Bricks we see the unconventional beginning of a relationship, written almost in the style of a screenplay, describing scene, characters and mood with vivid prose that puts you there. And because it’s erotic after all, a description of fellatio not easily forgotten. Beneath all that, there’s also a cleverly-placed subplot of betrayal.

The second story, Paid Strangers describes an encounter between a seasoned escort and one not quite as experienced as they service their clients. In relatively few words, I got a full sense of who this more experienced escort was – that she was funny, cynical, still enjoyed sex and even more than that, enjoyed the power she wields over her clients. I could see her.

In Bond 45 a female barber gives a client more than he bargained for. This story was my least favorite, because I felt like it was great sex with less character development than the previous.

Be Here is erotica told entirely by text messages. Yah. Amazing. I almost didn’t care about the story, because the concept was go great.

The Slor was my favorite story in the collection. It was about a woman who has a dual identity of sorts – committed girlfriend and sexual opportunist who plays (a lot) while her man is away. I love stories where the characters are layered and complicated and this story more than delivered in that regard. I wanted to know more about her and this was the only one where I wanted to read it as a novel, because I felt there was so much more I wanted to know about her.

In La Boom Suite we see a sexually-adventurous, but in all other respects conventional couple enjoy a night out – and each other – and indulge their penchant for semi-public sex. It’s the kind of story that makes you wonder what that nice couple with the two perfect kids next door are really doing with their free time.

The final short, Convince Me is also about a married couple, and parts of the story were almost stream of consciousness style. This was probably, of the entire collection, the most erotic (with Paid Strangers being a close second).

On the whole, what I loved most about this collection was that it explored people’s relationships with their sexuality in a manner that had not even a hint of judgment. Some of the erotica out there, including the BDSM romances, tend to bear tiny hints of . . . I dunno, shame or something. Like an undercurrent of the author’s sense that this is not exactly okay, even if it turns you on. And some of the characters inner dialogue will betray that. There was none of that nonsense here. It was straight-up, permission to enjoy your sexuality with complete freedom from society’s strictures.

Finally, The Elephant and the Butterfly. Edgy stuff, focused on an important subject – depression and mental illness and the potency of psychic pain. I want to read this book before I comment at length, but am almost afraid to read it because even this excerpt made me sad.

But all in all, I highly recommend this collection. Some writers are like plumbers – they know where to put each element of a good story, and at the end, everything functions as it should and you’re satisfied. But some writers are artists; they put things in places where you might think they shouldn’t go, use tools that you don’t always understand, but damned if they don’t create something that leaves you awestruck at the end. Ms. Fleming ain’t a plumber, she’s definitely an artist.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Happy Reading!

-Nia-

The Sex Substitute

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Embrace Fine Art Print – Amy Marie Adams

Something strange is happening in women’s fiction these days. I call it the ‘Sex Substitute’. Not a substitute for sex, but rather, where authors use sex as a substitute for what’s missing in the stories we are being sold. More and more writers are falling under its spell; and though I am resisting it with all my might I can feel myself succumbing to this affliction.

Here’s what happens: you begin writing your new book, your head filled with wonderfully layered details about the lives of your characters, the experiences that made them who they are, and the situations that will help them find and bond with each other. And then you get lazy. You realize that you can circumvent all of that hard work by just making your characters have incredibly hot, graphic and frequent sex, creating an instantaneous connection that is fiery, passionate and exciting for your readers.

Writing sex scenes is loads of fun. And if you have a willing partner, you can even reality-test some of the more creative ones. But what is much more challenging is crafting scenes where your characters connect emotionally and reveal something about themselves to each other in a way that is authentic and organic.

In my book ‘Commitment‘ it was very important to me that my characters’ relationship not become reduced to their considerable sexual attraction to each other, so I found it very difficult to sacrifice even a single scene that demonstrated how they connected emotionally. But at the same time, their sexual chemistry was a vital element of their relationship as well. The result was a long book, of which I am proud, but there’s no denying that it is long at just over 500 pages.

To get a novel to a reasonable and well-rounded 350 pages and convince your reader that your characters have come to know each other, and to care for each other takes some degree of skill, which I for one am still working on. But lately, I think far too many writers have given up on that skill-building and given in to the sex substitute. You know what I’m talking about. You’ve read those books that contain a lot of prose like: “we had a connection that I could not explain, and which I was powerless against” followed by a sex scene; or “he looked at her and she was awash with desire” followed by a sex scene; or “his eyes smoldered as they found her across the room” followed by a sex scene. And these are not Harlequin romances, people, these are novels aimed at thoughtful women who want texture, character development and depth to their fiction. For the sake of expediency, authors are increasingly and artificially creating emotional connections between characters using the sex substitute.

After several scorching sex scenes, we become utterly convinced that the protagonists cannot live without each other. It is a particularly clever ruse because it happens like that in real life too, doesn’t it? Scorching sex can lead you to believe you’re “in love”. But like real life, the sex substitute in books is a mirage, an illusion that something substantial is there. And like all illusions, it disappears after a time leaving you feeling duped.

In my next book, ‘The Seduction of Dylan Acosta‘ the main character is often away from her husband, which made it very difficult to construct a believable emotional connection between them, so the sex substitute was incredibly tempting as a device for me to show the love between these characters. Only after many, many edits was I able to strike what I hope is the right balance.

In ‘Unsuitable Men‘, it was far easier because in that book the main character very clearly uses sex as a way to process emotions that are very difficult for her to face, so I was at liberty to make her have sex in every single chapter (though I didn’t). What I learned from writing that character is that almost always, the sex should stand for something other than my failure to say something more profound.