Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Finding Prince Charming in a sea of Frogs!

Available HERE
By Zee Monodee 

I am a 3rdgeneration Indian, born and raised on the south Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Bollywood movies? Story of my life, literally! No, we didn’t break into song at every opportunity, but the drama and over-the-top-ness of the Indians in those movies? We had our fair share...sometimes multiplied triple-fold by overbearing mothers and aunties who (supposedly!) know best!

So what’s life like for a girl of Indian origin, never mind in India, Mauritius, or everywhere there’s an Indian diaspora thriving?

You can expect to be going on the marriage mart – officially, that is – when you turn 16. Yes, you read that right! It’s not unheard of to have girls in the A-levels’/junior & senior years already engaged and going to tie the knot the minute they graduate high school.

Oh, and if you’re one of the super-beautiful ones (especially, understand by that, that you have fair to white skin!), you can be snapped up as early as 14! Society mamas, or even prospecting future bridegrooms, prowl wedding ceremonies on the lookout for the most beautiful/fair girl so she can be snapped up ASAP (Beyonce’s “if you like it then you better put a ring on it” rings soooo true here!).

So yeah, let’s imagine that like the majority of Indian-origin girls, you have brown skin (from pale almond butter brown to honey tone to really roasted-nut hues... If you’re darker than an unpeeled almond, you can hope to join the line of becoming an old maid because no society mama wants a dark-skinned girl for her boy!).
What happens now? You’re, say, 18 years old, and have finished school. University is a diversion that can be ‘tolerated’ for the sake of the girl getting a top notch job later and thus making her even more snap-worthy on the marriage mart (hopefully, before she turns 25. After that, the prospect of the old maid shelf starts to loom...)

Remember those obnoxious and overbearing aunties? That’s when they come into play. There’s even a name for them – the “agwa”, literally meaning, the matchmaker. Well, ‘agwa’ auntie will approach your mum and tell her of this “very suitable boy looking for a girl to marry.”

If he’s tall, the eligible pool will be reduced to tall girls; same if he’s short. Then there’s the question of – does he want a wife who will work outside the house, or does he require a housewife? Of course, the family AND his whole 
life/dating/existence history would’ve been vetted beforehand! (Same for the girl, btw). If ever he/she has had the misfortune of being spoken for or worse, engaged and then the relationship broke, everyone will expect to know what went wrong, and especially whose fault it was! (because, of course, there’s got to be one at fault, and that person will then be blackballed in the ‘agwa’ world).

I always expected an auntie would bring a “proposal” (yes, like a business merger!) for me when the time would come for me to “look for a suitable boy”. Luckily, I never got to that stage, because I had the good luck of marrying the one I fell in love with (to stay in tune with Bollywood drama, there’d have been countless wailing and tears from the mother – “How could you do this to me, to our family? Don’t you have any shame?” – intense perusal of the other party’s life, family, family tree, finances, social status, etc – not to forget the many, many talks of “are you sure of what you’re doing?” Note: these can sometimes turn into brainwashing sessions!)

Diya Hemant, the heroine of Light My World, is one of those girls who vowed she would never let herself be entrapped in any alliance by an “agwa” auntie! Thanks to her combative spirit, she succeeds...and then she is 24 years old and she herself knows the time has come for her to settle down. She’ll find Mr. Perfect on her own terms, thank you....but she never expected this quest could prove so hard – there are frogs everywhere, and worse, there’s even an ogre who appears into the picture!

What’s a girl to do? Find out in Light My World, Book 2 of the Island Girl trilogy!

From Mauritius with love,


Zee

Monday, April 14, 2014

Alert for Voyeurs


On April 15th there’ll be a cosmic—literally out of this world—ménage a trios. The sun, earth and moon are going to get it on in perfect alignment. The earth will take dominance, its shadow blanket the moon, and tomorrow night will begin a rare sequence of four successive, total lunar eclipses—a tetrad of blood moons—over the next two years. Each blood moon will be separated from the other by six full moons without any partial eclipses between them.
The action begins at 1:20 a.m. on the East Coast, according to Sky and Telescope magazine. Another source says it’ll start at 3:06 a.m. EDT, and end at 4:24, meaning it’ll last for 78 minutes and highlight the sky across the western hemisphere.
The moon rises in the western Pacific and only the last half of the eclipse will be visible there. In much of Europe and Africa, the moon will be setting so not much to see. That means if you have shifter issues, hunkering down in Europe or Africa where there’ll be less hunters about is a good plan. The night owls who don’t fang and claw out, those with no fear of the moon, will be all set to watch. For those of us who need more than caffeine to stay awake past midnight, I can’t think of a better way to remain wide eyed than to read a romance that happens under a blue moon, and a thriller with one of the most evil villains of all time, and an erotic and fun take on Cinderella.
Here’s what’s on my e-reader:

By Cate Masters

Home for the holidays…
Sierra O’Brien and Carter Grove have a lot of history—and regrets between them. Their high school romance didn’t survive after he went away to college. Despite tremendous business success, Carter never found another woman like Sierra and has two failed marriages to prove it. Sierra’s luck wasn’t much better, but after being widowed, she heads back to Bliss to plan her future. The last thing either expected was to run into each other or to reconnect to the magic that once drew them together.

Can Sierra and Carter make it work this time or are they doomed to repeat the past and let the same mistakes drive them apart? In Bliss, the inexplicable is an everyday occurrence, and anything is possible—especially during a blue moon.
By Barbara Elsborg

Some crimes can never be forgotten.
Kate Evans doesn’t take risks. She chose her apartment with care—a safe district with a good neighbor—a place where she can live a quiet, unassuming, under-the-radar existence. Then she makes one mistake and opens her door to accept a delivery of flowers from a secret admirer and her life will never be the same again. A guy she’s never seen before bursts into her apartment and asks her to marry him. Jack Thompson won’t take no for an answer and drags Kate on a cross country journey to hell.


Invalided out of the police, Nathan Beranson works as a private investigator in San Antonio, Texas where he spends too much of his time following unfaithful spouses and delivering the bad news to their partners. When his fiancée cheats on him with Jack Thompson, the half-brother Nathan’s only just met, he becomes obsessed with Jack in the same unhealthy way as his revenge-seeking clients. By the time Nathan finally realizes putting the ghosts of the past to rest is a wiser option than settling an old score, it’s too late. He’s already been drawn into his sibling’s latest deadly game and Nathan and Kate find their nightmare is only just beginning.


                                                      By DL Jackson

Sometimes Fairytales come true.
First Sergeant Cori Valentine faces a bleak future. She’s turning forty in three weeks and life as she knows it is over. An injury received while on deployment has earned her an early retirement from the Marine Corps, something she’s not sure she’ll survive. Things get even better when interfering Marines set her up on a blind date for a party she doesn’t want. The guy has to be a total toad to want to go out with her. Right?

When Madame Eve informs retired SEAL, Sol Keller, she’s found his perfect match, he doesn’t believe it, but takes up the challenge. One look at the First Sergeant in a sexy dress and combat boots has him wondering if fairytales really can come true. Madame Eve might be the legendary Fairy Godmother, and Cori his Cinderella. Sol intends to show the Marine beauty a Prince Charming she’ll never forget, and that retirement isn’t the end of her story but merely the beginning.

Lastly, you could check out another ménage a trios that, in this author’s humble opinion, eclipses a lunar show.  Did I mention this M/M/F is on sale—99 cents!—until 4-22?

By Arlene Webb

Gwas can outrun a horse, knows how to hide and steal, but is ignorant of the ways of men. The last thing he expects when he is rescued from a miserable existence by a blue-eyed, blond haired angel is to be promised as a Druidic sacrifice to Eostre. Unfortunately, the only direction Gwas wishes to flee is straight into the arms and knife of his savior, Gareth.

Maura knows Gareth is no angel, but she adores him with a passion that time and loneliness cannot dent. When he rides in carrying an injured lad who fears her on sight, she is drawn to open her heart to the abused orphan as well.

Gareth is caught between his liege lord and brother’s fist, and an emotional dilemma that grows harder and harder to deny with every passing season. If he must defy man and gods in order to embrace his heart’s desires, so be it.

When the clash of old and new religions puts lives in peril, ultimate sacrifice bears witness to enduring love. Winter gives way to spring, and the evolution of a colorful myth spreads across the land.

For those who take a moment to comment, please leave your email. A winner will be picked at random to receive their choice of a DP story of mine. Happy reading.

Sincerely,
Arlene

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Self-Assessment, Sex, and a Giveaway!

Based on that title you must be wondering what in the world this post is about. Me too! Ha! Actually, it's about a little self-assessment, sex, and a giveaway. I know, I know. See here's how it all comes together. I just finished teaching an online course, Pumping Up The Sexual Volume, on how to write hot sex for my local RWA chapter in San Diego. It was a great class! But in order to put the class together I had to do a little self-assessment. I had to find a way to explain the process I go through to a bunch of people through a computer.
So I sat down and assessed my process. How do I think about the scenes? The characters? The sex? I spent a few weeks (at odd times, obviously!) laying it all out. Nine lessons and four bases later I had it all laid out. I walked the class through deciding if it's the right time to have sex, what kind of sex to have (yes, there are kinds of sex!), and we even broke it down the old-fashioned way...the bases.
I laced the lessons with a couple of samples from The Market series published with Decadent to help illustrate what I was attempting to explain. I have to say I really enjoyed it. I just hope the class did too!
You might be wondering what the most important lesson of the class was. Well, and I think readers will agree, the sex has to be just as vital to the plot as every other scene in the book. Sex for the sake of getting naked and having some fun is fine in real life, but not so much in a romance book. The characters need to grow, to change in some way through each interaction in the book and most especially any physical ones.
That is the key to keeping the sexy in the sex scenes.
If you might be interested in taking my class sometime, just sign up for my newsletter and I will be sure to let you know about it as an upcoming event. http://bit.ly/1qhut8X

The Market Series is a set of three novellas that take place in and around a Victorian era London brothel called The Market. The brothel is run by Madame Marie Marchander. The Market consists of three row houses. The main house in the center contains the common rooms. From the street, the house on the left is for the average customer who is there to see one of the ladies of the house. The right side caters to those with less average desires and the income to indulge them. Kinks of all kinds can be found on the right side. Voyeurs given something to watch, floggings can be both given and received, domination abounds, and orgies are not uncommon occurrences.
Want to know more?

Love Revealed (The Market Series, Book1)

Lady Katherine Drummond plays by society’s rules, even after the Ton turns on her. Shunned by her peers, she keeps up appearances by day but allows her true self out in the privacy of The Market. There, in the arms of one man, she comes alive. So much so, she signs a contract to be his for six months. Despite never having seen his face and knowing him only as Sir, she fears losing her heart to the man who breaks through her defenses.
Lord Raymond Tarkenton, the Earl of Heathington, despises being one of the most sought after bachelors of the Ton. He could never ask a woman of his circle to submit to his sexual needs, and a mistress would never be an option. For now, one masked woman at The Market holds his undivided attention. When he realizes that his masked lover and Lady Katherine Drummond are one and the same, he must find a way to convince her that they are bound together by more than the straps at her wrists and the contract they signed. He must reveal himself and his love to her. But will she accept him for more than a sexual escape?

“Wow. This one was the scorcher of the month.  Sizzling and risqué, indulging in this book is a definite way to escalate your arousal levels. … I really enjoyed this tantalizing little morsel.” - Lady Ryleigh, Ravishing Historical Romance Reviews, All Romance eBooks

Want to win a copy? Leave a comment below about which activity you like most in a sex scene. Is it the kiss? The grope? Maybe the bodily exploration? Or do you like it when they get down to brass tacks *cough*, well you know what I mean. 

Me? I like the bodily exploration. All the teasing and tasting that can be done.
Want to hear about my other books either in the series or from Decadent? Check me out here: http://bit.ly/1kIzfZM

Sorcha Mowbray is a mild mannered office worker by day…okay, so she is actually a mouthy, opinionated, take-charge kind of gal who bosses everyone around; but she definitely works in an office. At night she writes romance so hot, she sets the sheets on fire! Just ask her slightly singed husband.
She is a longtime lover of historical romance, having grown up reading Johanna Lindsey and Judith McNaught. Then she discovered Thea Devine and Susan Johnson. Holy cow! Heroes and heroines could do THAT? From there, things devolved into trying her hand at writing a little smexy. Needless to say, she liked it and she hopes you do too!



Sorcha Mowbray is a founding member of the author site Silken Sheets & Seduction where fourteen ladies blog about erotic romance. Consisting of thirteen authors and one book reviewer, the site focuses on all things sexy.

#decadentpub, @decadentpub, @sorcha mowbray, Daily Dose of Decadence,

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Be My Friend

Available HERE
By Stephanie J Grace

Any given day, I can look around my world (in my home, in my town, on the internet, in social media) and find some amazing people I’m proud to call ‘friend’. I am in awe of the women, especially, who walk through my life and allow me to walk in theirs. Sometimes I look around and say, “What the heck do they see in me?” Now, I’m not fishing here. I know I’m pretty cool, but I can be humbled by the quality and integrity around me. The friendships I’ve nurtured sharpen me, and make me better.

However, nothing is ever perfect. For friendship blips that have tripped me up, I’ve finally started listening to the advice I give my daughters in concern to friendships.

**The term ‘best friend’ is reserved for family. Throwing it around in any other situation is means to cause upset. The fact that a friendship has blossomed and grown between two people is amazing enough, no need to quantify it.

**Friends of friends do not need to be close. Larger groups who enjoy each other’s company are bound to form break off friendships that grow at different speeds. This can be so tough, because I think it’s easy to fall into wanting to please everyone and wanting to be ‘fair’. Being loving and open to friendships as they form, deepen—or even drift apart—is the only thing you can do.

**Be kind. Egos are fragile things and all too often, life is hard. Also be kind to yourself. Don’t overanalyze everything. (I have a bad habit of replaying conversations in my head, “Did she take that as I meant it? Was I as honest as I could be—how exaggerated was that story? Will it bite me in the ass? Jeez, why do you do that when you get excited!) As the song says, let it go.

**It’s okay to be in different economic places. No need to break out the paystubs, but it’s okay to say ‘playdate at the park’ over a day at the amusement park if it’s just not in the financial cards at the moment. In my daughter’s case, I remind her not every day can be ice cream truck day. There’s nothing wrong with grabbing freezies from the freezer instead.

**Don’t hide your true nature. If you’re basically a goofball, it will come out eventually. Some personalities don’t enjoy the goofball type, and it’s best to know and respect that from the start (we’re cool with the goofball type—pretty sure it’s hereditary).

In Felinesand Flowers, Warren and Wendy are colleagues, but the friendship is there. I love Wendy’s confidence—it makes her a better friend to Warren, especially when he’s so unsure. The couple are one of my favorites. The springtime story of love and renewal and joy really lights my heart.


Felines and Flowers
By Stephanie J Grace

During high school, Warren was just Wendy’s youth pastor. All grown up and shepherding over her own flock of church kids, Wendy Miller turns to her old friend for help. Not that Warren is that old. In fact, the two have a lot more in common than Wendy would have ever thought.

After the death of his wife, Warren was sure he was finished with relationships. Wendy changes that forgone conclusion with her bright spirit and zest for life. Lining up their desires when they’re at very different points in their lives proves a challenge that might take a little divine intervention, or at least help from friends.

Buy Now Amazon    Buy Now Decadent   Buy Now Barnes and Noble

I’d love to give away an e-book of Felines and Flowers. Please leave a comment with your favorite friendship advice. Be sure to leave your email address, so Decadent can send out the winner’s book.

All the best,
Stephanie J Grace