What’s Been Going On Spring 2013 Part 1

Estimated reading time: 5 – 8 minutes

Hello Everyone!

You haven’t seen or heard from me in a bit, have you? I’ve been neck deep in projects, graduation, writing, gardening, and all that good stuff. Our family came to visit to see my oldest son’s graduation. (Which took place a month ago today in fact.) I still can’t believe my baby is out of school, especially because I’m coming up on it being 20 years since I graduated. (Class of 1994.)

I worked like a fiend these past few months, enough so that I dropped some pounds before they crept back this last month. (Been writing like mad on a project and not doing a lot of moving around.) Anyways, I wanted to show you all how my Spring went. It’s pretty photo-intensive so I’ll be posting another part soon.

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36th Birthday

I celebrated my b-day with loads of sweets and a trip to Ikea. Usually I only go once a year and usually only pick up a few things. This year I was ready to buy. Unfortunately our SUV was out of commission, so I could only pick up a few things again because I couldn’t carry much else in my convertible. 🙁 I got some awesome DVDs (gotta keep on top of the latest alien conspiracy), clothes, and some cool sneakers because I’d just about wore my black pair out. It was a nice day and I really love how my husband takes the day off so he can feed me to my heart’s content!

Closet Cleaning

If you’ve read any of my past postings, you probably know that my mother-in-law passed away last year after a 2 year battle with cancer. As you can imagine, everything fell apart during that time. I let my house get really junky and didn’t have the stamina or desire to deal with it.

This year we’ve all been coming back out of the fog and working hard to put things back in order or even better than they were before. Our master bedroom closet was one of those projects. It was so bad in there we could barely open up the door, much less do more than step over piles of stuff and toss our shoes in there.

I belatedly thought of taking pictures, so I didn’t get any before shots but did catch a few afters:

Spring Cherry Tree

We planted our Yoshino Cherry Tree for my 28th birthday. AC (my oldest) constantly called it a stick because it resembled one for a long time. Now, Yoshie (our name for him) has been in the ground for almost ten years and his spring time flowers are so beautiful! He’s truly my favorite tree of all time:

Kitchen Cabinets

I painted our kitchen cabinets Behr’s “Antique Ivory” this spring. I still need to do a few touch-ups but I’m so pleased with the results. I haven’t taken any pictures of the final look but I will soon. Meanwhile, here’s a few WIP shots:

 

Living Room

I did get a few shots of our living room after it was painted and prettified. The TV cords still work my nerves but that’s price I’m willing to pay for my entertainment. My cat Jaguar crashed the photo shoot but probably just made it better anyways. 😉

Annie Sloan Provence Paint

I love cruising around DIY/Home Decorating blogs so that’s how I found out about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I’d seen the painted pantry door posts for a bit and really wanted to do that for my own pantry. I wanted a vibrant color and the only way to achieve that richness of color (that I had seen) was to use Annie Sloan’s paint.

The thing is, I’m a very lean budget kind of gal, so the $40 price tag for a quart of paint, plus the $35.00 for Light Wax and Dark Wax (each) really was an unusual splurge for me. Huge. But thankfully I had the cash to indulge my longing. My pictures really don’t do justice to how gorgeous this color is.

At first I just painted it Provence without antiquing it. Unfortunately, I just felt like something was missing. It wasn’t quite there. So I decided to go and bust out the wax (which I’m so glad I bought) to see if I could make it pop. I loved it! AC, did not. The first thing he said when he and Dominic got home from school was “What did you do? You ruined it!”

Pfft. No way, CC. No way.

Spring Porch

My front porch had been sadly neglected for quite some time. It was just something we passed through to get into the house. This spring I decided to scrub it down, repaint a old table, use the chairs I spray painted last summer, and spray paint some other little things. The azaleas were blooming and it was just a nice spot.

Okay, that’ll do it for this post. I’ll be back soon with another one. 🙂 I’m also thinking about getting a Facebook page for this site, but I’m not sure yet. (I’ve been FB resistant for so long!) It’ll probably make things easier instead of blogging, because you all know how great I am at that. *eye roll*

See you soon!

 

 

 

 

Strawberries, Aliens, & Sneak Peak

Estimated reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

 

Hello, Everyone! As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been working on a bazillion house projects and writing projects. When I’m not playing with Julian & Lily from DDIII as Claudia, I’m dipping my mental pen in several different universes.

Charlotte has been visiting the Billionaire landscape about a childhood sweetheart couple who loved too much, broke up (twice!), and finally come back together to find a BDSM love story.

D. Cristiana has trespassed onto Claudia’s territory by exploring a dystopian future where a human woman agrees to become a vampire’s secretary. Angst, blood, and strangeness abound.

Amelia loves all things alien hybrid. Put saving a girl, D/S, spankings, alien hybrids, billionaire status, and you have this:

“Come here.” He pointed to the spot next to him. When I didn’t move he growled, “Now.”

That worked in making me bend to his will. Cautious, I scooted over. His cool hand cupped my chin, tightening when I tried to draw away.

“Don’t ever lie to me, pet. Not only is it futile, it is one of the few things that draws my anger. I say this for your benefit—don’t make me angry.”

My heart thudded hard. His stare flickered, showing me the ebony hiding beneath the human orbs.

“What exactly are you?”

Maybe he was a demon like on all those TV shows? The black eyes definitely supported it. Or a robot? Logic seemed to be his go-to way of being and talking. No, scratch that. He was too warm to be a robot. Unless he was some kind of government project that escaped. Although I’d never read about A.I. being this advanced, anything was possible.

He smirked again. “You’ll learn soon enough. For now I’m Master to you in all things and especially when you’re in my bed—but only if you’ve been a good girl.”

A blush flamed across my cheeks and throat. Master? In his bed? Good girl? While certainly no virgin, I could count on one hand the amount of partners I’d had. None of them were ever so presumptuous to assume out loud I would grace his bed sheets.

Yet, his presumptuous wasn’t the same. It was a fact. Non-negotiable. We both knew it.

This should be out in the next day or so. 🙂

ROSWELL

Which brings me to this. I have Netflix (which I love) and it wasn’t until I was done with my Amelia story that I fell back in passionate love with a TV show cut too early. Roswell. Oh, how I loved that show! Alien hybrids, true love in the form of Max and Liz, hot love in the form of Michael and Maria, conspiracies, intrigue, love triangles (kinda), and it was awesome!

I remember first seeing the promo on WB back when I actually lived in a town called Roswell. 😉

If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend checking it out. It seriously has aged very well and Michael and Maria are still just as fiery and hot a couple as I’ve ever seen. Max and Liz are still the sweetest ever. They inspire me to one day give a sweet love story a try…

STRAWBERRIES

Speaking of sweet, the other night I made these for the first time:

Nummy little cakes!

I loved it and couldn’t believe I’ve gone almost thirty-six years without ever making this angel food cake/cup, whipped topping, strawberry treat.

Neither did this little feline punk (at least the whipped topping anyways):

Caught!

That is Persephone, or Baby Persephone as she’s known around here. She’s much smaller than the rest of our feline brood and the youngest so she gets Baby as part of her name. She’s also the flirtiest and the naughtiest. Needless to say our treat wasn’t ruined–only the whipped topping.  >.< Bad cat!

So that’s what’s been going on around here. See you all again soon!

House Projects & WIPs

Estimated reading time: 6 – 9 minutes

Hello, everyone! I’ve been MIA much of this year, but working like a devil on all sorts of mental and physical projects. As far as the house goes, my husband Adam and I have a huge-for-us goal: finish all our influx house projects before our oldest son AC graduates from high school in May. (Wow. I still have a hard time believing our baby is only a couple of months away from his diploma.)

This goal list includes lots of painting of rooms already painted–which makes Adam all monkey-faced about it. He’s okay with touching up paint but repainting? All I’m saying is that we’ve lived with Fossil Butte in the living room for six years. It’s time to go to Informal Ivory. Great thing he likes the new color. 🙂

I usually write all throughout the day. Lately though I’ve been staying up until 3 or 4 am so that I can take care of house stuff during the daylight hours.

Here’s a sample of what’s been occupying me:

CHAIRS

Refinished Chair, Cushion, Pillow, & Pandora

 

Refinished Chair, Cushion, Pillow, & Jaguar

These chairs were passed onto us by my beloved Mother-in-Law. They were a project for her that she never got around to finishing, so that was a huge priority for me this year. I stained them, recovered the cushions, sewed the pillows, and then used some of her costume jewelry as accents.

I used a couple of pillows from a thrift store instead of buying pillow inserts which saved me a lot of money. Yay! The covers needed to be removable since I live in a house full of about a bazillion animals and since I haven’t learned how to sew button holes, I went with the flap method. (Which reminds me–I need to pin the cover on Jaguar’s chair better.)

PAINT

Informal Ivory & Painting Tape

This shot doesn’t do a good job at all of capturing how warm, lovely, and awesome my Informal Ivory shade is but it does a great job of showing the painter’s tape. It’s all over the living room, y’all! I have a quirk in that I don’t pull the tape down until the entire room is done. And since I ran out of tape yesterday…

Informal Ivory vs. Fossil Butte & Doll Faces

My husband & I stopped painting right about here. The chain you see here goes to a really cool vintage lamp that belonged to my MIL. I should’ve snapped a picture of it. It’s white and sky blue and just lovely and delicate. Just so pretty.

So as you can see, I still have walls to paint before I can cross this sucker off our list. (Along with crown molding, quarter-round, and a few other things to complete the living room. Okay, not a few. A lot.)

CURTAINS

Fabric & Drop-Cloth Project

In order to save money and be crafty, I’m going to sew drop-cloth into curtain panels decorated with this fabric and possibly another. I’m looking forward to doing it but I’m not going to do it until I finish painting that wall. Which I can’t do until I get more tape. So until then, this baby is going to sit here in my kitchen as a reminder to hurry up and get that tape!

Which brings up my little work surface…

Work Surface?

Yeah, it’s pretty messy. I do clear it off when I sew, but I think I’ve given up keeping it tidy while the living room is a WIP. Then it’ll be a huuuugggeee WIP in the kitchen when I start working on that. That brown beadboard is going to be painted white and go on our dresser-turned-into-a-kitchen island that Adam did for me back in November. Actually, it’s going to be a part II because we figured out a few things we’d like to change on it. (Like the top and side and color…okay, maybe it shouldn’t count as a part II but rather a project in its own right.)

The kitchen is going to try me but I just keep thinking about the finished product. Which doesn’t mean stuff like this doesn’t make me monkey-faced:

Kitchen wall is missing something...

We still need to touch this up with more drywall mud before we can paint over it. I’ll be so glad when this wall is done. So glad. I also need to reorganize my little hutch there. It’s got a mixture of my MIL’s dishes and dishes from her mother. I really want to honor her things, thus her memory, but making it all pretty. I know she’d like to see her things prettified that it does give me that extra push to keep going even when I get bored/antsy/tired while doing all this stuff.

I’ve got a bazillion things to do in my kitchen and I’ll be sure to have pics for it later. Seriously, you don’t want to see my dirty dishes right now. 😉

WORK SPACE

Needless to say, I’m writing virtually every day–even if it’s only a little bit. January saw me writing little bits, February saw my kids sick for a couple of weeks before getting me (I don’t usually get sick but boy did I get my butt handed to me!) so that month’s progress was tiny but still there. March has been the first month that I’ve really cranked up production–even though I’ve only released one thing this year so far.

I’ve been working on Devil’s Descent III, a Charlotte project, D. Cristiana project, and an Amelia project. (My sci-fi erotica name.)

Busy, busy, busy.

Where I get busy!

All the things I need: laptop, Blistex, my iPod, soda, and view of the TV. (Which I really don’t use since I always listen to music, but I like to have options.)

So this is where I’ve been this year. Busy, tired, and full of stuff to do. 🙂 I’ll probably release some sneak peeks soon, so please be on the lookout.

My Inspiration for Love Blind’s “Julio Alberto”

Estimated reading time: 6 – 10 minutes


I’m taking a break from doing a final pass on my latest Charlotte DeCorte work and wondering what I should blog about since lately it’s only been releases. (I really need to get a newsletter, huh? 😉 ) Then I remember how my husband suggested I start sharing what influences the stories I write since I don’t really like blogging about myself. (There’s so many times I think about “Ooh, I want to share this latest home project or book find” but I don’t. Lame, I know. I might start sharing my book store finds one day.)

Anyways, I remember how I posted If Julian Douglas Lived in the Flesh and thought, “Oh, yeah! Julio Alberto would be perfect!” So here we go:

I grew up on Telenovelas which are Latino soap operas. The biggest difference between US soap operas and Telenovelas are the length. Telenovelas typically run for 3 to 6 months. (Sometimes longer but not by much.) I absolutely believe I got a bit of my fetish for emotionally damaged bastards from watching these shows at such a young age.

My favorite Telenovelas were the classic Cinderalla takes of rich guy/poor girl love stories. Except in these love stories, the innocent girl falls in love with the jaded rich guy who is usually coerced into marrying said girl but doesn’t love her. He’s often cold and cruel but can’t keep his hands off the no-longer-innocent girl. Usually he cheats, leaves her because he got his mistress pregnant, and our girl becomes a heroine bent on revenge. Her love has turned into hatred and it’s damned addictive to watch as our rich guy finds out that he did indeed love his innocent bride and wishes more than anything to win her love back.

They do find their way to one another after a whole slew of drama, tears, yelling, and begging. The Telenovela typically ends with our now-hero and heroine marrying in a church with a whole slew of smiling family and friends in attendance.

Okay, how does this tie into Love Blind?

Sadly, I haven’t watched any new Telenovelas in about seven years. (Wow! That long?) It’s the thing that if you don’t catch them in the beginning, it’s kind of hard to catch up. The last one I saw was this strangely addictive one called “Inocente de Ti”. The reason I say strangely is because it pissed me off more often that not. I wanted to strangle the main character Julio Alberto Castillo Linares-Robles (played by the phenomenally talented Valentino Lanus) so many times because he was such a dick.

Yet, I was captivated. Why? Because as cruel as he was, Julio Alberto was also a man in so much pain. Argh!

Anyways, when I sat down to write Love Blind, it was my first full story I started after my MIL passed. I knew exactly who I imagined physically as Josephine’s vampire lover. (At the time I thought it was going to be a fun, sexy piece. I should’ve known better. 😉 ) So Mr. Vampire Lover had to have the same name as the physical inspiration: Julio Alberto.

Hmm…I just love saying that name. Julio Alberto, Julio Alberto, Julio Alberto.

So there you go! Feast your eyes on this beautiful man and tell me you understand my fascination:

NOTE: Obviously the captions are my brainchild and not meant to represent anything factual outside of Love Blind.

Hello, Josephine. My name is Julio Alberto.

 

Silly girl, thinking you could run from me...

 

You don't want me to bite you? Aww, that's too bad.

 

Behave, or down into the basement you go!

I’ve also wrangled some clips for you to see him in action during “Inocente de Ti”. Warning: I’m going to get carried away here. Seriously there are so many great clips I would love to show you.

Julio Alberto Kissing

This is a very short clip showing how Julio Alberto kisses his lady (Florecita Gonzalez AKA Innocent Girl) and lays her down by the proverbial fire.

 

Julio Alberto Jealous & Enraged PT. I

Julio Alberto got into a fight because a man was dancing with Florecita. (She was trying to make him jealous because he was spending way tooo much time with an ex-girlfriend. Dick.) Bloody & pissed he’s locked out of Flor’s room where she’s hiding with her sister who encouraged the tit-for-tat situation, Julio Alberto bangs on it like a maniac. Frantic, the girls look for a place to hide and find it in the closet but not before unlocking the door. Julio Alberto storms in and looks for them before realizing they’re hiding in the closet. He demands they come out, saying he’s not going to hit a woman. Flor’s sister leaves but not before warning her brother-in-law not to lay a hand on her sister. Julio Alberto then yells at his wife for disrespecting his name and honor. She begs and pleads before screaming back at how he’s disrespected her with that tramp of an ex-girlfriend. Yep, that’s a lot of drama. 😉

Julio Alberto Jealous & Enraged PT. II

Although Julio Alberto and Florecita are separated, he can’t help but go into a jealous rage when he happens to see a young man kissing her. What doesn’t help? Julio Alberto was on his way to beg her to come back to him–which he admits to after yelling bloody murder. Florecita is immediately deflated and wants to explain how she wasn’t willingly kissing that man but was instead forced. (True. She slapped him right afterward, but it was too late because Julio Alberto had already stormed off.) Julio Alberto isn’t trying to hear it.

Interesting parts: 0:00 to 0:32 | 2:00 to 3:15 | 5:26 to 6:26 | 6:56 to 8:40

 

Julio Alberto Distraught & Begging

Julio Alberto all torn up because his ex-wife Flor rejects his love. He’s begging for her return, wanting her to marry him again and have a bazillion kids. She lets him know how much she hates him and can never forgive him for all his betrayals. She swears she’s going to go far, far away from him so she never has to lay eyes on him again. (By the way, she’s in the hospital as a victim of a hit and run. Drama, I’m telling you!)

So there you all have it. I hope you enjoyed peeking a bit into my mind. If anything, I hoped you enjoyed seeing Julio Alberto’s inspiration. 🙂 Oh, if it’s not how you imagined him to look—feel free to purge the above out of your mind. Because how you imagine it is the best! 🙂

Sharon Cramer Interview & “The Execution” Giveaway

Estimated reading time: 10 – 17 minutes

Hello, Sharon Cramer

Credit: kgreggain@sxc.hu

Hey, Everyone! So glad you could make it to Sharon Cramer’s awesome interview and fantastic giveaway!  She’s here today to talk about her book “The Execution” and to give one paperback copy to one lucky winner and one ebook copy to a second lucky winner! Giveaway details will follow after the interview so let’s get to it! 🙂

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What was your goal in writing “The Execution” and do you feel you’ve met it?

In the deepest way, I want the reader to feel something, more than anything else. I want them to experience bitter hatred and scaldingly raw love. If I have done this, I think I have met my goal. It is meant to entertain, painfully and beautifully. I believe I have done this.

Was there any one event or feeling that led you in writing this story?

I believed I could capture the experience of love and lost love. I felt challenged to do this. I never realized how challenged I ultimately would be. I toyed with the idea of this beautiful story for a long time, but a tragic event finally plunged me into it.

What has challenged you the most about “The Execution”?

What most people don’t know is that I am an identical twin. This story deals with identical twin brothers and the differences in their lives that shape them, simply because they grew up under very different circumstances.

I lost my twin, at the age of 38 yrs. She died of unknown causes in her sleep. She knew this story–I’d told it to her, but I hadn’t penned it at the time of her death. It was, therefore, imperative that I represent the characters faithfully, to do justice to her memory of it. She very much believed in the flawed loves that are represented in the book, and it was sometime painful to remain true to this. In the end, I’m happy that I did.

Initially looking over “The Execution” it would seem that it is a male audience-oriented tale. What would readers who actively look for dark romance/erotica find most addicting about your book?

An initial glance might give this impression, but look closer… While there is an abundance of action, there is not a single scene that is not intimately tied with the emotions of love, hate, or sorrow. True, the main characters are both male, but the women they fall in love with are so very critical. As a matter of fact, Nicolette is probably my favorite character in the entire story, and she is not introduced until the last third of the book. I tried to have the reader lose the concept of gender, to be able, even as a female, to step into the shoes of the male characters. I think it is unusual to have the primary character of a love story male, however.

Most addicting about the book? I believe you will be drawn in so deeply, you will feel you are there–right there, in the dungeon, in the 14th century, in the arms of 14th century love and on the gallows of 14th century death. You will taste, breathe, live, and struggle with what your characters do. That is the most common response I get to the book, and I love that!…next to complaints that my readers stayed up much too late finishing it.

Do you believe perfect love exists?

Mortally? No. I believe that love is fatally flawed. I guess I believe that love can be as perfect as you are willing to make it. And that is a never-ending journey. I am amazed at the mistakes I have made, in my own past loves, and pull a great deal from those mistakes to try to avoid them now. However, I must be clear–I believe that in all its imperfection, NOTHING is as perfect as love is. Therefore, humanity will always seek it and mourn it beyond all else when they lose it.

Who would be the ideal audience for “The Execution” and why?

This is not a weekend read. It is a very literary novel, and because it is really two stories, told in flashbacks, it has been described as an intellectual read. It takes about three chapters to set the story in place, and then avalanches upon the reader for 37 more chapters. I think it is well beyond YA, meant for a more mature audience who is not afraid to feel pain. Not to be entered into lightly, but if you do, will break your heart in a most exquisite way.

What is your favorite moment and/or scene in the book?

Oh wow…you would ask that. Uhm…there are so many beautiful and tragic moments in this book. The reader will closely identify with at least one, in their own lives. So, not wanting to spoil anything, I think I am most drawn to the scene on the river. You will know it when you read it. Oh, and Nicolette’s wedding night. I reread it even now and it blows me away!

Given the dark subject matter, how did you get into the zone to write this book?

I live in Washington state. This is a beautiful state to live in when you are an author of dark subject matter. “Why?” you ask… It is because we have crappy weather. The best dark authors come from climates with bad weather. Look at the Swedes! They rip your heart out in a most exquisite way!

So, at this very moment, it is storming outside, I am in my second floor studio, and rain is smattering my window. Trees are swaying darkly in front of me even though it is only 4:30 in the late afternoon. All I would need to do now is Pandora a favorite “dark”  radio station (epic movies like Last of the Mohicans is a good one) and, voila! Perfect writing conditions! Oh…and if it’s going well, leave the coffee on cause it’s gonna be a marathon until I bleed dry! (Kahlua optional and highly suggested for those difficult chapters).

Being someone who appreciates the darker side of love, who is the most unconventional romantic couple you adore? (This can come from a book, movie, TV show, song, etc.)

Unconventional romantic couple? I would have to say they come from the movie Castaway on the Moon. It is unlikely you have seen this movie–it is Korean, but simply stunning. A young man’s failed suicided attempt strands him on an island on the Han River, right under a freeway. He cannot swim to the city, so close but so far away. An agoraphobic girl with a long range telescope is the only one to see him. Nothing can really prepare you for what you will feel when you watch this movie. It is true love, and yet they have never met. And, it, they, are so beautifully flawed.

What is the dark romance you hold closest to your heart? (This can be a book, movie, TV show, song, etc.)

I would have to say The Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice, is very close to my heart. I was sixteen when I read the first release of it in 1976, and it reshaped my beliefs and ideas on eroticism quite a bit. Considered to be goth or horror, I think it is really a transgendered love story. I KNOW it defies the swill that is the current interpretation of a vampire love story.

What set you on the path of dark romance?

I don’t think it was a choice, really. Nothing set me this direction, it more or less drew me. I love the idea of imperfection. I don’t like my characters, even my heroes, to be perfect, and I don’t like my story to be tidy. Give me flaws and wounds and broken hearts any day! You’d laugh at me because I’m very happily married.

In your opinion, what makes a dark romance?

There are certain elements that must be present. Not all of these have to be there, but consider…

Forbidden love is a wonderful twist for a dark romance.

Set it in a clandestine environment. This is very sexy.

Pull the reader into the story in graphic detail. Make the sex real. Please don’t make your women swoon or your men have stern visages. That’s just lame. And don’t make your sex into a porn movie either. It’s not real and will only insult.

Allow your character’s hearts to be made of glass. And then break them. It doesn’t mean the love isn’t still there, it is just beautifully shattered. ALL readers will identify with this.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Ha Ha! I’m doing it right now! I have a quiet home to myself and I’m writing. I also consider reading a guilty pleasure. I don’t get to read near as much as you might think I do. This is because I’m very affected by what I read. Then, when I write, I have three chapters by Stephen King instead of me and it pisses me off. I have to have serious down time to be able to enjoy reading, and that is rare for me. I envy my friends who read all the time. But, ah well…I cannot not write. It is not only a guilty pleasure, it is a divine curse!

What are the top three books one could read to get a glimpse into Sharon Cramer?

The Modern Prometheus (Frankenstein)- Marry Shelley

Black Beauty- Anna Sewell

The Phantom of the Opera (Gaston Leroux)

What would you like the audience to know that has not already been asked in this interview?

I get asked if there is a sequel to The Execution. Yes there is, and I will start that in January of 2013. Probably release it on Valentine’s day of 2014.

The second question I get asked is, “What are you writing now?” I have just finished the first of a six book series. It is called The Cerulean Star. Beautiful tale about childhood love…

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Thank you so much, Sharon, for the interview and sponsoring the following giveaway. So are you all ready for a chance to win? Here’s the details:

The Execution

A young, tormented priest must see those to be executed. It is a thankless job, one D’ata dreads. Nevertheless, he does it kindly, giving them a chance at eternal life, listening to their confessions and offering absolution before they go to the gallows. But tonight, nothing can prepare him for what he finds when he goes to the dungeons to see the last one, the mercenary—the murderer. On this night, he is forced to recount the design of his own torment and fate. His own redemption is at stake and the sins he’d tried so desperately to forget are laid naked before his grief-stricken eyes. When morning breaks, he has a decision to make…

Set in fourteenth century France, it is an epic, two-sided tale, woven amidst the cataclysms of that magnificent and wretched time. Cramer is superb at taking your heart into her hands. Gripping and poignant, this story will surprise you, making you remember what perfect love and absolute hate truly feel like, for what is the cost of true freedom?

Rules

1. The contest is open to U.S. and International readers. Woo-hoo! 🙂

2. Contest runs from October 24, 2012 to October 31, 2012.

3. One randomly picked first prize winner will receive a paperback copy of “The Execution” via mail from Sharon. I will contact the winner via e-mail for mailing information. If a reply is not received within 5 days, another winner will be picked at random again.

4. One randomly picked second prize winner will receive an ebook of “The Execution” via e-mail from Sharon. I will pass the winner’s e-mail to Sharon. She will then take over the delivery of the ebook.

How to Win

Please comment below (make sure I can reach you by e-mail!) and tell me how dark do you like your alpha men in fiction: light, medium, or ultra-dark?

***Giveaway closed. Congrats to Carolyn for winning the paperback prize. Congrats to Jay for winning the ebook prize.***

Paperback prize results.

“Vampire Fiction Connection” Facebook Page

Estimated reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Hey Everyone! I want to share this Facebook fan page created by the generous Nickie Asher. It’s called “Vampire Fiction Connection” and only promotes vampire fiction. How awesome is that? 🙂

I’m still not on Facebook but these awesome fan pages are seriously causing me to reconsider. Hmm…

I hope you all find some great, new vampire fiction. By the way, you can also add your recommendations if there’s some fangalicious fic you feel is missing. You’ll soon see something familiar since Nickie soon plans on posting “Devil’s Descent I: purgatory” for me. How nice is that? 🙂 So please go on over and visit “Vampire Fiction Connection” and “like” the page if you do!

50 Shades of Pleasure Giveaway!

Estimated reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

Fifty Shades of Pleasure by Marisa Bennett

Hello Everyone!

Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. has been so very gracious to provide the following for a giveaway: Fifty Shades of Pleasure: A Bedside Companion: Sex Secrets That Hurt So Good.

An entry level guide to the joys of naughty pain and pleasure.

Surrender to Your Desire for Naughty Bedroom Pleasures…

If hot erotic romance novels have had you fantasizing about certain naughty pleasures, or if you just want to add a little spice to your sexy love sessions, this kinky how-to will bring your fantasies to life. Explore the pleasure of a little pain, flex muscles you didn’t know you had through hot sex positions, and learn how to make or break the rules in your playtime romp.

With a light, playful tone, this book eases you into the stingingly sweet side of sex. Each section features excerpts from the Kama Sutra or classic erotica, extra tips like “Dirty Talk Dos and Dont’s,” and offers further resources to continue your naughty education. Gather your ben wa balls and feather ticklers while this handbook gives you the rundown on all the hot moves you’ve been wanting to try, from beginner bondage techniques and starter spanking to hot wax and flogging—no dungeon required!

A sample of the chapter titles:

Table of Contents

Saucy, saucy!

And the typography!

50 Shades of Gorgeous Typography

And the back cover:

Loving the cuff detail...

So how do we go about giving a lucky winner a fabulous copy? Please read below.

Rules

1. Contest is open to U.S. residents only.

2. Contest runs from August 6, 2012 to August 20, 2012.

3. One randomly picked winner will receive a hardcover copy of Marisa Bennett’s Fifty Shades of Pleasure: A Bedside Companion: Sex Secrets That Hurt So Good via mail. I will contact the winner via e-mail. If a reply is not received within 72 hours, another winner will be picked at random again.

How to Win

Please comment below (make sure I can reach you by e-mail) and tell me would you rather be spanked, tied, or both?

Good luck!

August 21, 2012: Congrats to Diana for winning! Thanks to everyone who entered. 🙂

What to Read after “50 Shades…”

Estimated reading time: 6 – 9 minutes

***If you’re a U.S. resident don’t miss out on the August 6, 2012 – August 20, 2012: Fifty Shades of Pleasure Giveway!***

Hey Everyone! I’m popping really quick to share this FB fan page created by Summer Daniels. It’s called “What to read after Fifty (50) Shades of Gray.” I’m sure many of you are already on FaceBook (I’m still not *gasp*) so please check it out and like it if you do.

I also hope you’ll find some cool, new books to read that maybe you haven’t come across yet. You’ll also see something familiar there since Summer was kind enough to post “Yes, Mr. Collins” for me. Yay Summer! :)

So please visit and find new books!

________________________

Yes, Mr. Collins

“Take off your clothes Natasha.”

Natasha Reynolds has worked well under her brilliant yet demanding boss, Mr. Collins, for over a year. One night he accuses her of making a mistake and their dynamics take a dark but erotic turn. When Mr. Collins confesses to seeing Natasha as his prey she is forced to admit her submissive side can no longer be completely confined to their working relationship. Just how well will this bunny survive being a wolf’s carnal plaything?

***This novella contains spanking and light bondage, along with dominance and submission themes. It is meant for adults who enjoy reading about unconventional relationships.***

EXCERPT

 

Amazon: Buy now!

Barnes & Noble: Buy now!

Smashw0rds: Buy now! (Great for international readers. There’s no surcharge added to the price.)

All Romance eBooks: Buy now!

________________________

Cry for Me

Ava is emotionally complicated. Sevastian is emotionally repressed. To ease the burdens of their high-stress lives, they like to play violent dominance and submission games. However, one night things go too far. How will Ava and Sevastian come to terms with the dark knowledge that it’s not all just fun and games but a new way of life?

***This novella contains violent sex, spanking, light bondage, along with dominance and submission themes. It is meant for adults who enjoy reading about unconventional relationships.***

EXCERPT

 

Amazon: Buy now!

Barnes & Noble: Buy now!

Smashwords: Buy now! (Great for international readers. There’s no surcharge added to the price.)

All Romance eBooks: Buy now!

 

Reflection

Estimated reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

Credit: Andrew Watla

It will be a week tomorrow since my mother-in-law died.

Writing those words sets a crack inside my heart and my mind. My eyes reflexively fill with tears while my mind struggles to remember and understand what the last two years have been all about.

I spent almost 17 years with her. Nearly as long as I spent with my own mother.

She was there when I gave birth to both of my boys. She loved my sons as much as I did. She loved them and they loved her.

Now she’s gone from here.

It’s been almost two years since she was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. It had already spread into her bones by the time it was discovered. They never did find the primary.

I’d spent the last two years being with her, immersed in this polite and sterile world of liquid hope against death. I wrote when I could and my pieces became shorter as that was all I could focus on.

It’s been two weeks since I wrote anything.

Going through her things, dividing a life’s worth of possessions into neat piles has made me feel that strange state of not-feeling-for-long. I swing between mad joy for still being alive, greedy for all the possibilities to come, and a quiet despair of knowing everything is impermanent. Nothing lasts.

Ten years ago she read the rough draft prologue of “Vicious Bliss: fallen.” She whispered to my husband, “She’s really good.”

I sit here and wonder how I can ever write another word again when all I feel is this disturbing grief and guilt for falling prey to my insecurities all these years.

I never let her read anything else I wrote. I had a long list as to why. I never thought it was good enough. I was afraid an avid reader like herself couldn’t truly enjoy anything that came out of my twisted mind. I thought once I achieved a certain level of sales, reviews, and/or financial success then maybe I could share.

Now she never will get a chance to read anything.

I think back to how I thought I had forever. I had forever to fix me. I had forever to get through my shit. I had forever to become the woman I always knew I could be once upon a time.

Forever isn’t here anymore.

So what do I do?

I grieve. I grieve and I grieve and I grieve.

Then I kick my own ass and stop living this half-life that I’ve accepted for myself. I have tons of things I have shelved but the main focus for this segment of my life is writing.

All work has pretty much come to a stop since December. Any deadline I had before has died. That’s okay. I’ll get to it one word at a time. I’ll get to it and think of her, knowing now she really did think I was good. She didn’t need a sales figure or a rank or a certain number of favorable reviews to believe and appreciate my work.

And now I have to do the work of believing that too. I’m sure she’ll be able to help me now in a way she couldn’t before.

So please know that while I am grieving I do plan on coming back. Devil’s Descent III, Of Course Mr. Collins, Paramour, plus a couple of shorts are my top priority.

Thanks for reading and let me end on this note: if you have a goal, dream, or idea hovering and aren’t sure if you should go for it–go for it. This all ends far more quickly then we think it will. Don’t leave anything on the table to regret.