Sunday, April 22, 2018

Charity Sunday: Courageous Kitchen - #CharitySunday #Cooking #PoorKids

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Welcome to another Charity Sunday. I am a few weeks late because I was traveling—I wanted to make sure I was here to promote the post so we get as many comments as possible.

Fate works in mysterious ways. Earlier this week I was pondering what charity I should select for this month, when I saw a Facebook post from an old friend recommending Courageous Kitchen. This is a really creative organization that works with poor, at-risk children to improve nutrition, life skills, language skills and self-confidenceby running cooking classes! The organization was founded by people from the US, but is currently focused on helping kids in Bangkok, Thailand, especially children of migrant workers.

I’ve always loved to cook. I got started cooking seriously when I was only seven. My mom had severe pneumonia and I had to help my dad put meals on the table for the family, including my two younger siblings. At one point, my husband and I had a floor-to-ceiling bookcase full of cookbooks. We did some purging before moving to Asia, but we still have a long shelf of our favorites. 

 

Anyway, the classes run by Courageous Kitchen are both fun and useful. Kids get the chance to practice English and to eat great food, all in the context of learning a skill that could lead to better work opportunities, or simply more independence. Go explore their web site: you can book cooking classes for adults or with the kids. You’ll even find some delicious recipes!

As usual, I’ll donate one dollar to Courageous Kitchen for each comment I get on this post. So don’t be shy!

Meanwhile, I have a hot and spicy excerpt from my cooking themed ménage erotic romance, The Ingredients of Bliss.



One sexy French chef. One kinky American TV producer. One ambitious Chinese gal who thinks she wants them both. The ingredients of bliss? Or a recipe for disaster?

Youve got nothing to hide now.With his lanky frame, mussed hair and crooked grin, Harry almost looked like a teenager. A very horny teen, considering the substantial erection bobbing hopefully at his groin. He flipped back onto his side and fixed me with a slightly fuzzy gaze. He was irresistibly cute without his glasses.Everythings out in the open.

But its all socomplicated!As usual, my objections began to melt in the warmth of his smile.

He danced his fingers up my outstretched thigh and my pussy clenched in anticipation.

On the contrary, I think this considerably simplifies the situationMs Wong.Etiennes voice was deferential, but I read a mirror of Harrys mischief in his expression.I serve you. You serve Harry. Each of us gets what he or she wants.

Theres no more need for secrets, love. Or for surreptitiously administered enhancements to the libido, either…” Harry slipped a fingertip between my moist lips and grazed a fingernail across my clit.

My annoyance paled next to the flare of pleasure kindled by his touch. Before I could clamp down to hold his hand in my crotch, however, he’d snatched it away.

Oh no!I groaned, fighting arousal and disappointment.You told him?

I had my suspicions in any case. It doesnt matter. Your methods might have been dubious, but Im grateful for the results.Etienne glanced down at the livid marks from my beating, a set of parallel strips leading up his lean thighs toward his rearing cock.I might never have had the courage to act on my desires if not for yourumintervention.His voice held quiet pride.

You dont have to be ashamed or embarrassed,Harry added.All we wantboth of usis to satisfy you. To please you and make you happy. Cant you just accept that?

Harry hooked an arm around my neck and pulled me down into lush kiss. His tongue was assertive as ever, yet I caught a hint of uncertainty in his manner. Under his brashness, he worried that Id reject the solution he and Etienne had worked out. If I did, would I choose him, or the suave, glamorous chef?

I relaxed and let him plunder my mouth, offering reassurance via my physical surrender. His hands roamed over my body, visiting all the sensitive spots hed discovered in our months together. There was no pain now, only bliss, pouring from him into me.

Warmth pressed against my back. I smelled vanilla and thyme. Etiennes fingers joined Harrys, tracing along the top of my corset. He stroked the tender flesh under my arm, making me shiver, then let his palm wander down my side to the curve of my hip. His uncharacteristic boldness increased the thrill of his touch. Youll be sorry, I thought, giddy with desire, as Harry continued his hungry kisses. Ill trash your butt until you cant sit down.

Etienne knew hed be punished. We both knew that was part of his motivation.

Only part, though. I felt the hair lifted off my neck, the moist, gentle pressure of Etiennes lips between my shoulder blades. The eloquence of that simple gesture almost brought tears to my eyes. I eased my lips away from Harrys, beaming him a look I hoped was full of love. Then I swiveled to offer my mouth to Etienne.

The chef accepted my kiss with the eagerness of a starving man. He opened to the probing of my tongue, letting me drink my fill of him. I tasted the walnut mousse hed sampled earlier at LAuberge de Francois-Martine and the Courvoisier hed used to wash it down. Under it all, I caught a hint of some half-bitter flavor that reminded me of rainy autumn afternoons in Jardin les Tuileries. As I kissed him, I realized Id been craving this since the first day hed graced me with that haughty smile.

While his mouth was subservient, his hands became increasingly more brazen, palming my breasts and thumbing my nipples, then sneaking down to tease my lower lips. Meanwhile, Harry was busy unlacing my corset. I hadnt appreciated how much the garment had constrained me until he managed to slip it off, somehow without breaking the lip-to-lip connection between Etienne and me.

I paused to draw in a lungful of the sex-scented air and looked from one man to the other. Had Harry minded my kissing Etienne? Did Etienne think I was rejecting him for Harry?

Both of my lovers wore broad smiles. Relief washed over me. The last vestiges of guilt evaporated. And I was too horny to be embarrassed.

* * *

Don’t forget to leave a comment! Every one helps Courageous Kitchen serve more needy kids.



Saturday, April 21, 2018

Saturday Seven: seven things my characters don’t do - #SaturdaySeven #personality #bloghop

Characters image

I’ve been traveling for the past two weekends, hence didn’t post a Saturday Seven, but I thought I’d remedy that today.

I’ve written a lot of books and stories—it’s difficult to figure out exactly how to count, but I probably have at least a hundred novels, novellas and short stories available. That’s a lot of characters!

While I strive for variety in my characters, the people I create have certain commonalities. In particular, there are some activities they’re very unlikely to ever engage in. This generally reflects my own life and preferences—for the most part these are things I don’t do, either.




1. Play hockey

I know that sports romance is quite a popular genre, but I could never write one. I have zero interest in team sports, either amateur or professional. And I probably know less about hockey than any other sport except rugby. (Okay, I do have a rugby team in an upcoming book. However, they don’t actually play the game in my story.)

2. Smoke cigarettes

In fact, smoking provides a quick way to establish certain sorts of characters (for instance, the hard-boiled, world-weary private investigator so popular in noir tales). So I won’t go out on a limb and claim I’ll never write a character who smokes. I can’t think of anyone I’ve written who does, though.

It’s a bit odd, because many of my characters drink alcohol. Especially wine!

3. Watch TV as a regular pastime

I haven’t owned a television in more than thirty years. When I think about ways to spend my time, TV doesn’t even occur to me. Hence, the same tends to be true of my characters.

Anyway, they tend to be busy doing more interesting things!

4. Trick someone into getting her pregnant

Having a heroine seduce a hero in order to get pregnant is a trope I’ve encountered in some romances. To be honest, I find this notion horrifying.

The idea that a character might deliberately sabotage a woman’s birth control so he can impregnate her is equally repugnant.

Child-bearing is too serious an issue to play with, even in fiction.

5. Be celibate

I might have a character who starts out being celibate (or a virgin). However, given my favored genres, which are erotica and erotic romance, it’s quite unlikely such a character would remain so by the end of the tale.

All right—I can imagine writing a tale with a character who engages in sexual activity in his or her fantasies only. That might be a challenge. I’m not sure you could really claim such a character was strictly celibate, though.

6. Take a selfie

I’m sure it’s a function of my generation, but I find the current passion for constantly photographing oneself to be embarrassing, even a bit pathetic. My characters use their phones mostly for the original purpose of communication.

7. Abuse an animal

I’ve written a few truly despicable villains, people who have no compunctions about rape, torture or murder. However, I don’t think I could ever create a character who was deliberately abusive to animals. Just thinking about that makes me queasy.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Jade by Valerie Ullmer is free! #PNR #FreeBook #LimitedTimeOffer @ValerieUllmer

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Blurb

Jade never wanted a mate. She loved being an assassin and she had a family in her fellow assassins, their mates, and little Silas. She truly had everything she needed. But when Ghost assigned her to track the same immortals who tried to kill Xander’s family, she couldn’t refuse.

But the complication arises when Ghost requests she partner with Noah, a human and ex-special forces soldier. Jade has never worked with a human before, much less one that hated her from the moment he laid eyes on her. But she was a professional and if she could play a part in destroying the immortals who threatened her family, she could accept the human. If only she knew how to fight her attraction to him.


All Noah Hale wanted was to kill the immortals who lured his best friend and fellow ex-Navy SEAL to his death. He had no desire to be teamed with a beautiful tracker who mesmerized him the moment she turned her emerald eyes his way. But in order to stop other soldiers from pursuing the same fate, he needed to swallow his pride and work with a group of immortals he didn’t trust.

As Jade and Noah track the group of shifters through the mountains of Colorado, the danger lurking around every corner threatens everything they both hold close. Will they be able to find a way through, together?



Free on Amazon from the 19th to the 22nd of April!

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Excerpt

Jade caught a scent of a human as she entered the fourteen-story building in downtown Snowfall. It wasn’t just any human scent, but something that made all of her instincts flare. She knew that she’d never caught this particular scent before, but something told her that this human might be important to her. She tried to brush it off as quickly as the thought came, but she couldn’t find it coincidental she smelled it in the same steel building owned by Ghost and housed the headquarters of Dark Company.

As she dismissed the fleeting thought of searching for the scent, her heart thumped once, hard, in her chest at the thought of not finding its owner. She forced herself to walk toward the elevator bank, ignoring the unwanted perusals she received from the men in the lobby. Even in an unassuming hoodie and black yoga pants, she drew unwanted attention. A side effect of being an immortal.

The elevator opened as soon as she pressed the up-button and she kept her gaze down as she walked into the elevator. She entered the code to get to Ghost’s private floor, her movements too quick to be caught by the human eye, before she squeezed into the corner. Jade used her other senses as three men in suits and two women entered the enclosed space with her. There was no need to glance at the glass interior that covered the back wall to see what she looked like.

She sensed eyes on her. Instead of searching out the gaze, she whipped her long, straight dyed black hair into a bun on the back of her head with quick movements before sneaking her hands into the front pockets of her hoodie.

Jade waited patiently as the car traveled toward the penthouse, her ultimate destination, but she couldn’t help but try to find the intriguing scent from earlier.

After my meeting.

All she knew was he hadn’t used the particular elevator she was in and the higher the lift took her in the building, the more his scent dissipated.

In her entire existence, or what she remembered of it, she’d never been attracted to…anyone. She’d never felt the pull to find someone either. But lately, she’d felt increasingly restless whenever she had any downtime and her skin tingled in a way that had nothing to do with signaling immediate danger. It was as though her body tried to convey something she didn’t understand.

Her thoughts were interrupted when a man who had gotten into the elevator with her on the first floor stepped into her personal space.

Hey, beautiful?”

Jade rolled her eyes and raised her head to glare at the man. Of course, he wouldn’t take the hint that she wanted to be left alone. To emphasize the point, she crossed her arms and leaned against the wall, moving away from his intrusion.

The man decided to take this as an invitation and moved to wrap his arm around her waist. The move gave her a clear shot to his ribs and she took it, gently moving her elbow back and making contact. She flinched when she heard a distinctive crack, realizing she hadn’t been careful enough. Before she could apologize, the elevator door opened and he ran off without looking back, holding onto his side.

She sighed.

About the Author

Valerie writes paranormal and contemporary M/F and M/M erotic romances. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her wonderfully supportive husband and their funny and wise black lab. She's addicted to coffee, crime shows, and reading and writing character-driven romances.



Thursday, April 19, 2018

Fear of Flying - #mash-up #steampunk #risks

airship image


It would have been much faster to fly.

Alas, Cecily Harrowsmith—special agent for Her Majesty the Queen, expert in the martial arts of three continents, past mistress of princes, potentates and the occasional prime minister—was afraid of flying. She despised herself for this weakness, but not enough to board one of the Empire’s sleek, viridium-powered airships, strap herself into her seat and hope for the best.

Hence the current tedious journey. Cecily peered out of the window of her carriage at the endless expanse of russet-coloured desert stretching in all directions. The mere sight of all that sand was enough to make her throat burn. She sipped her tepid tea, wondering for the twentieth time why she’d accepted this bloody assignment.



Thus begins my sixth novel, Rajasthani Moon, a book that deliberately defies categorization. It contains elements of the steam punk and paranormal sub-genres, plus quite a lot of moderately extreme BDSM and a M/F/M ménage. It features a kick-ass Rubenesque heroine, a billionaire Rajah and a sexy, deliciously disreputable bandit. It flirts with non-consensual fantasies and lesbian attraction. It has some funny moments, not infrequently associated with sex. Oh, and it's a romance, with what I hope is a sublimely satisfying happy ending (although I won't tell you who ends up with whom!)

Writing this book involved taking risks. I've observed how readers cling to their favorite genres. I broke rules right and left with this novel. Would the market embrace my mash-up? Or would readers run away in droves, terrified of the unfamiliar?

Producing the same sort of stories, again and again, can be comfortable. It may help sales, too. To grow as authors, though, we have to leave safety behind. We must step out onto that high pinnacle of creativity and let go, defying the fear that we'll plummet ignominiously to the ground. We have to get over our fear of flying.

Rajasthani Moon was like nothing I'd written before. Well, that's not strictly true. Like most of my books, it has plenty of erotic content. What I mean is that I've never felt so free as I did writing this book. I gave myself permission to follow my imagination, no matter how wild its suggestions. I found this difficult at first. The further I ventured out onto my self-constructed limb, though, the easier I found the process.

The result? Well, I'm pleased with it. I have no idea what other people will think. But I am not going to worry. That's out of my control.

And Cecily? She conquers her fear, too, eventually:


The passenger compartment was about ten feet long. Its walls were chest height. A canopy shaded one end, including the brass and quartz crystal control panel. The other was open to the sky, though the gas bag a dozen feet above them shielded them from the most direct rays of the sun. She was not surprised to discover that the floor was covered by multiple layers of intricately-patterned carpets and strewn with fat, multi-hued pillows. The Rajasthanis seemed to have little use for furniture.

Amir busied himself at the controls while Pratan lounged on the cushions, looking rakish and indolent. “Come here, Cecily,” he ordered. “Sometimes the take-off is a bit bumpy.”

Her heartbeat accelerated and her palms started to sweat at this reminder of what lay ahead. She gave him a sharp look. She could have sworn he was suppressing a chuckle.

Nevertheless, she reclined beside him, as he’d instructed. He slipped his arm around her shoulder and held her tight against his chest. His strength reassured her, but she still felt as though her stomach was turning somersaults.

A low frequency vibration hummed under them as Amir started the engine.

Here we go,” called the Rajah. “Prepare to lift off.”

Kiss me,” said Pratan. He took possession of her mouth without waiting for her acquiescence.

Amir released the tethers binding the dirigible to the roof. They retracted into their housings with a snap and the gondola swayed in reaction, springing upward a few feet. Cecily’s heart climbed into her throat. She gritted her teeth against sudden nausea. Pratan’s agile tongue wormed its way between her lips, urging her to relax and open, and the spell passed. Meanwhile, his hands wandered over her body, pulling her loose clothing out of the way so that he could stroke her breasts and belly.

His scent enveloped her, sandalwood and smoke superimposed on animal musk. The wolf had not returned since their encounter on Mount Abu, but Pratan still smelt like something feral. He burrowed into her, sucking on her tongue and nibbling her lips, while his fingers teased her nipples into hungry knots. Cecily moaned as the pleasure mounted. She lay back, cradled in the nest of cushions, and allowed him free access.

~ ~ ~

Rajasthani Moon is available at all your favorite bookstores. 



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Body Electric - #BDSM #Electricity #MFRWHooks

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I’ve been away for the past two weekshope you have all been enjoying yourselves! Just got back yesterday, a few hours before the Book Hooks deadline.

This hook is from my story “Body Electric”, one of two BDSM erotic romance tales in D&S Duos Book 1. I have four volumes in this series, each (as suggested by the series title) including two tales of power exchange. These books tend more toward “literary” erotica, but almost all have at least a hint of romance. Many focus on relationships between committed couples. 

 

In "Body Electric", a professor of engineering charms his female colleague into experiments on the erotic effects of electricity. In "Limits", the second tale in this volume, a long-established kinky couple push their relationship to next level of trust.

You can get a copy of the book here:




Here’s the hook:

He didn't look like an engineer. He smiled and postured and gestured expansively as if reciting poetry or making a speech. Half a dozen females surrounded him, hanging on his every word. Periodically the little knot of women (which even included crusty old Margaret Evans) would burst into self-conscious laughter. Dean Evans would look around nervously, then return her attentive gaze to the towering shaggy-haired orator in their midst, as if he were a combination of Tom Cruise and Mahatma Gandhi.

A politician, or a TV celebrity, or even the leader of cult – I could readily believe that he was any of these as I watched him fascinate his listeners. But an assistant professor from the department of electrical engineering? Highly implausible. But true nevertheless. Earlier in the evening, my colleague Loren had given me a full briefing. Dr. Ryan Moresby was apparently a brilliant teacher, a talented inventor, and a rising star in his department. In addition, Loren emphasized, he was single, which was surprising considering his obvious talent in attracting the opposite sex. Of course, why would someone with that kind of charisma want to settle down?

I wondered idly how many of the women in that little circle of his he had bedded, then gave myself a mental slap on the hand. I had to stop thinking like that! Ever since I completed my dissertation, I had found myself speculating on other people's secret lives and desires. My research on women's erotic literature was, of course, impeccably scholarly, serious and restrained, carefully purged of any salacious elements. My sources, though, were anything but. Their enduring influence on my thoughts was only too clear.

~ ~ ~

I hope you’ll drop by to visit the other authors participating in this week’s Book Hooks hop!




Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Review Tuesday: Wild in the Country by Portia Da Costa #eroticfantasy #classic #vintage

Wild in the Country cover

Wild in the Country by Portia Da Costa
Latest edition, 2017

Leggy, creamy-skinned redhead Flora Swain longs for something newsomething more exciting than her well-paying but tedious job and her well-meaning but prudish boyfriend Ian. While Flora has daring fantasies and longs for sexual variety and kinky exploration, Ian is strictly a missionary-position, don’t-make-too-much-noise sort of guy.

When she unexpectedly inherits a chunk of money, Flora throws caution to the winds. Handing in her resignation, she moves from the city to the picturesque country village of Marwick Magna, where she takes possession of charming Pennyroyal Cottage and its resident feline Arnold. Little does she know that she has joined a community of libertines whose salacious activities far exceed her wildest dreams.

As she starts to meet her neighbors, including the seductive and mysterious Morwenna Carfax and Declan McKenna, a renowned artist who lives next door, every social encounter seems to turn intimate. Flora has never been with a woman before; she’s never masturbated in public; she’s never been spanked, or been bound and teased. With the eager assistance of the attractive denizens of Marwick Magna, Flora rapidly expands her repertoire of erotic experience. Meanwhile, almost every day, she receives explicit letters from someone who signs himself (or herself) “The Scribe”. The Scribe seems to know about all her naughty adventures, almost as if he (or she) were constantly watching Flora’s experiments with pleasure. Who is her secret admirer? It could be any of the village’s outrageous inhabitantsanyone, that is, except sweet and sexy Declan, who is illiterate.

Wild in the Country is pure, vintage Portia Da Costa, the sort of erotica that first inspired my own writing. The book was originally published in the nineties, in a more innocent time. It gleefully includes a huge variety of sexual situations and activities, including M/M and F/F interactions. Set against the lush background of a bountiful English summer, the novel brings Flora, her desires and her not-terribly-effective doubts to vivid life.

I love women like Flora, women who aren’t afraid of their own carnality. That’s the way I was, during my “sex goddess” period, so I really identified with her. Meanwhile, the author populates her fictional village with distinctive and likeable characters, each one attractive in his or her own way. There’s the deceptively prim shopkeeper Lucy, bare-bottomed under her ankle-length skirts and buttoned-to-the-throat Victorian blouses—intellectual, middle-aged author Marshall Fox, with his predilection for kink—Lord and Lady Rawnsley, the local gentry, who excel in the arts of discipline—Jack the handyman, with his hairy limbs and unlimited horniness. And of course there’s Declan, who seems to want more from Flora than just her body.

Eventually, Declan and Flora fall in love and commit to one another, but honestly, I can’t call Wild in the Country a romance. It breaks every rule of the genre.

You’re probably not surprised to learn that didn’t bother me at all. I adored the novel. It took me back to a simpler time, when desire was magic, and all you had to do was imagine what you wanted in order to have your wishes granted.