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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Vampire Cocktail to Warm up Your Winter!

So what do vampires drink? *Cough* Well, besides the obvious that is ;) I wasn’t quite sure so I asked Arie Cush from my Eternal Vampires Series and he whipped this up:



 Ingredients:

•  2 ounces blended Scotch whisky
•  1 ounce ruby port
•  1/2 ounce French vermouth
•  2 dashes orange bitters

Glass Type: Chilled Cocktail Glass

Instructions:

Stir well with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass; it should pour an incandescent garnet red.

Enjoy! xoxo —A.C.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Writing Good Sex Is Hard (no pun intended!)



Porn bores me. Man summons secretary to office, sexily clad woman enters office, suggestive glances are exchanged, clothes come off, robotic sex ensues. Meh. 
I have a grown son, so it’s no secret I’m not a virgin. I have had a very satisfying sex life and do not consider myself a prude. But watching a mechanical display of sexual activity does not turn me on. The brain and the heart are important erogenous zones, and if they are not engaged during sex, it doesn’t work for me.
It’s the same for erotic novels. I don’t just want to read about who put what where without an emotional journey for the characters—once again, meh. So when I took it upon myself to write erotic romance, I knew that I had to write stories about characters who were more than just sexual beings; they had to have heart and soul.
Getting in touch with those elements is not easy. First of all, I needed a world in which these characters would inhabit. Though I enjoy a good billionaire romance like Joey W. Hill’s Knights of the Boardroom series or a fantasy kingdom like Anne Rice’s Beauty series, I have to admit to an imagination limited in that kind of world-building. I tried to write a millionaire romance and failed miserably. And I love to read stories about women like me, who struggle to find their place in the face of all the obstacles that life seems to throw at us. So I came up with the Kitchen Confessions series about women who run a catering company, something I’m very familiar with since I have a catering company of my own. 
Now I knew all about how these women live. The next part was to figure out how these women love. Intrigued by BDSM erotic novels, I attended the BDSM Writers Workshop, which was a three-day intensive on the tenets of Dominance and submission. As a feminist, it was hard at first to reconcile the concept of a woman submitting to a man in that kind of relationship—and accepting the reverse, where the woman is the one with the power. But as I learned more about it, I came to realize that the central element to these relationships was consent. And when a strong woman consents to give a man control over her, he better be taking her needs into consideration or she’ll take it right back.
This was a dynamic I found exciting. The emotional connection has to be intense or it doesn’t work. The Dom has to be able to get into the mind of the submissive or he will not be able to maintain control. Bringing my characters into the D/s lifestyle was a way for me to enable them to unite all the elements that are needed for good sex—body, mind and spirit.

So here's the series blurb:
The women chefs of Catered Affairs Company: In the kitchen they work hard creating fabulous food and camaraderie that creates a cocoon around them. God help the man who tries to hurt one of them—he faces the wrath of them all.
At the Playground, the exclusive BDSM club they all belong to, they explore the world of Dominance and submission, as each woman strives to find the man who can engage her in a loving power-exchange relationship that feeds her soul.
To read excerpts from the books and find out more about me and where you can meet me this year, go to my website www.roseccarole.com.













Monday, January 28, 2019

Silence Your Inner Demons

**This article originally appeared on terriluvsbooks.com **
This past June, I posted a little insight as To Why I ReadSince posting that, my summer only grew more hectic and my fall is shaping up to follow suit. Yet, no matter how stressful life got, I always found time to read. It soothed me. Once I finish a book, I had to start a new one in just a few days or I actually got cranky.
My fellow book lovers joke about our bibliophile disorder, but what if reading keeps us sane?
The Atlantic Monthly coined the term “A Literary Clinic” in 1916 (citation). Bibliotherapy, as it is known today,  is a cost-effective treatment used to support good mental health and supplement certain types of therapy (citation). Therapists use it with individuals and groups and adults and children. Many teachers and librarians use this with patrons on a daily basis.
I remember when I worked in the library, students came in specifically looking for books about issues experienced. I recommended fiction books and nonfiction. I also made sure that a book recommendation never replaced the need to speak with a mental health professional when needed. Ironically, many of the books I recommended were banned books (I wonder if there is a connection).
Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin , the authors of  The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies deliver a course at the School of Life in London to train professionals in the use of bibliotherapy. Their book is designed in the same format as a medical dictionary; listing “ailments” and then prescribed treatments. I checked out their book from the library. I was not familiar with many of the books listed. I found the book a little overwhelming
In his 2011 book, Such Stuff as Dreams: The Psychology of Fiction, Keith Oatley writes “Fiction is a kind of simulation, one that runs not on computers but on minds: a simulation of selves in their interactions with others in the social world…based on experience, and involving being able to think of possible futures” (citation). Any bibliophile that I know intimately understands this. Books are cherished friends and mortal enemies. We grieve when a beloved character dies and we plot revenge when they get screwed, but this goes beyond that. Certain books have the power to move us and transform our current way of thinking and feeling. Angela’s Ashes is a very difficult book for me to read. Reading The Color Purple and The Women of Brewster Place kills me to read. These books tackle issues that are very raw and personal to me.
This summer, I listened to Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail while driving back and forth to see my mom at the hospital and then in a rehab facility. The timing of this was also significant because I started a new job. As I listened to the struggles of the main character, Cheryl, I knew if she got herself out some incredible messes, I could too. I could tackle my job and succeed wildly.
There are different types of bibliotherapy.
  • Prescriptive bibliotherapy, which is also referred to as self-help, involves the use of specific reading materials and workbooks to address a variety of mental health concerns. Self-help may be conducted with or without the guidance of a therapist. A cognitive behavioral therapist teaching someone deep breathing and emotion regulation techniques may provide that person with a practical workbook to use at home, for example.
  • Books on Prescription is a program where reading materials targeting specific mental health needs are “prescribed” by mental health professionals, who might use resources such as the Bibliotherapy Education Project to find the appropriate books. Most libraries in the United States carry a set of books from the approved list for this purpose, often providing as a book list on their website. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburg is one such library. Their website also lists books for children, which cover topics like adoption, self-esteem, griefdivorce, and more.
  • Creative bibliotherapy utilizes imaginative literature—novels, short stories, poetry, plays, and biographies—to improve psychological well-being. Through the incorporation of carefully selected literary works, therapists can often guide people in treatment on a journey of self-discovery. This method is most beneficial when people are able to identify with a character, experience an emotional catharsis as a result of this identification, and then gain insight into their own life experiences. A therapist might use Our Gracie Aunt by Jacqueline Woodson, a story about a brother and sister who live with their aunt due to their mother’s neglect, with a child who has experienced abuse to build interactive discussions and activities around the child’s experience of the story.
Here is a partial list of some of the books I have read during certain times in my life and how they helped:
My Posse Don’t do Homework, Louanne Johnson & Freedom Writers, Erin Gruwell- My first teaching job was hard. After my first day, I went home and cried for two hours straight. I couldn’t quit. I had bills to pay. I desperately wanted to be a teacher and I decided I needed to dig in my heels. These two books, which are both better than the movie, encouraged me to stay.
The Time Traveler’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger- I read this book shortly after the birth of my first child. I was not prepared for the reality of being a new mom. It was nothing like the books I read. I suffered some mild depression and found myself doubting every part of my life including my role as a wife and my relationship as a husband. As I read this, I thought about the love shared between the two main characters. It reminded me of why I married my husband and what he meant to me.
To Kill A Mockingbird Harper Lee- I know many will agree with me that this is a powerful book. I often find myself thinking about Atticus and what he represented. Remembering that this story is told from Scout’s perspective, who was young at the time, it is amazing that he made that much of an impression. This book often shapes how I parent and even how I relate to others on a human level.
The Red Tent Anita Diamant- This book influenced my thinking of myself as a female and the role I play in this universe. I read this while I was pregnant with my second child. We decided early in the pregnancy to have a home birth. This book grounded me to my earthly soul and my connection to the life force we all have.
I need to say that I know books will ever replace the guidance of a trained mental health professional and in many cases, it is important to work with one. Books add to mental health therapies the way sprinkles add flavor to ice cream. Next time you are struggling with a decision or maybe a crazy demon in your head, try reading a book about a character who is experiencing something similar. It might just help.
**********************
Terri is a former English teacher and librarian. She taught middle and high school and college. Now she works from home homeschooling her two daughters and living out her dreams via her stories. She began escaping into books a little later than most but was hooked after the first book. It has been her dream to give back to the book world since second grade.
When she's not writing or reading, she enjoys binging on Netflix and painting. Due to her crunchy lifestyle and free spirit, she considers herself a recycled hippie. Her most important goal is to help others jump and learn to fly.
To find out more about her characters and the lives they live, check out her website, http://www.terriluvsbooks.com. Follow her on Amazon and Goodreads, or connect through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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SANCTUARY FOR MY MATE ~ NEVER FIGHT YOUR INNER DEMONS ALONE
Forgiveness For My Mate- To forgive others, you have to first forgive yourself.
Harmony For My Mate- How do you choose between two women, when only the love of both will bring you harmony?
Shelter For My Mate-What do you do when you've lost everything you ever wanted?

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Opium? A gift for your fiancee? No! Why not Fu dogs and...

Pre-order for 99 cents! Regular: $3.99
From approximately 1820s until Mao Tse-tung and his communist friends took over in China in 1949, opium was a major influence on Chinese politics. British merchants—and Americans along with other foreigners—traded in the poppy and its products. Why? It was an unequal trade and financed what might have been a losing trade out of China. Complicated but true.

So in my next novel, SCANDALOUS HEIRESS, my hero is a British merchant who lives in the British canton of Shanghai. He does not deal in opium, and in fact, refuses to, understanding the disastrous effects on any human who uses it.

But he is about to get married. (Like you do in a good romance.) And he wants to give his fiancee gifts that are useful, decorative and evocative.

What does he give her?


A kimono from Japan. (Why Japan and not China? Because in the 1880s, kimonos are the rage from the newly opened and modernizing island country. He has many stocked in his factories in the East London docks.)

Fu dogs.  Why? Fu dogs are Guardians of home and hearth. You will also see them at entrances to palaces and temples. They bring good luck, peace, serenity and protection.

Chinese silk wallpaper. The Chinese were expert makers of beautiful yards of highly colored wallpaper. This picture is my own and I took it in Ham House south of London. The silk is faded and the curators of the house have darkened the room to protect the fragile fabric. Yet you can see that what once was red is now a different color.

He also gives her cultured pearls from China. These were developed since the Sung dynasty in China and are still popular today.

SCANDALOUS HEIRESS, Book 4 in popular THOSE NOTORIOUS AMERICANS series, debuts February 4! But it is on pre-order now for 99 cents. Regular prince will be $3.99!
BUY LINK TO AMAZON!

My AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE for all in this series!


Saturday, January 26, 2019

THE BRATVA’S BABY: A DARK MAFIA ROMANCE (WICKED DOMS)
By: Jane Henry


 Available on Amazon; Kindle Unlimited.



BLURB:

My orders are simple.

Capture her.
Marry her.
Take her inheritance.
Get rid of her.

The bookish little recluse is worth more than she knows.

She’s an unassuming librarian.
I’m the brigadier of the Russian Bratva.
She has no friends.
I command a small army.
She’s a modest virgin.

And now she’s mine.
  

EXCERPTS: 

Reaching over to me he sweeps the tear off my cheek with his thumb, to my surprise, he brings his damp thumb to my mouth.
“Suck it,” he orders.
Grimacing, I do, tasting the essence of my own salty tears, strangely unsettled by the command to take his thumb into my mouth. My tongue teases his rough, calloused finger. I watch as his gaze grows molten, an animalistic growl filling the interior of the elevator.
“You will swallow your tears,” he rasps, in a low voice affected by our exchange. “Swallow your pride.” He leans closer to me, his breath hot on my cheek. “You’ll learn to obey until the thought of defiance terrifies you. Until obedience comes as naturally to you as breathing.”

EXCERPT:

     “Yes.”
Our eyes meet in a battle of wills. I’m stronger than she is. More powerful. I have the potential to hurt her with hardly any effort. And yet, her will must be extracted from her. Broken. Molded to mine.
I can train her. I can break her. The one thing I can’t do is predict her behavior. It’s too erratic, too impetuous. The only way to respond is by meeting her with an unexpected response.
She’s a challenge.
I’m so intent on her act of defiance I haven’t fully processed how beautiful she is naked before me. As she yanks her clothing back on, I take in every detail. The way her plain cotton panties glide over the curve of her backside. The clasp of her ugly bra encasing her full, exquisite breasts. The rough fabric of her skirt pulled up over her creamy thighs. The hideous top stretched over beautiful, unblemished skin. It’s like hiding a masterpiece in a burlap bag. Sinful.
But I’m well acquainted with sin.
And she’ll do penance for this.
When she’s fully dressed, I give a nod of approval.
“Now finish stripping.”



EXCERPT:

My cheeks heat when he turns me over his lap. Before his palm connects with my ass, I’m clenching and cringing in anticipation. Still, it hurts worse than I expect, his palm slapping my naked skin so hard it echoes in the quiet room. I hold my breath and brace for the second sharp spank. My eyes are closed, my only means of escape from the humiliating punishment. He gives me a series of rapid spanks before he speaks, and when he does, his tone isn’t angry but disapproving, like a stern father.

“You’ll speak respectfully to me from now on, or you will not speak at all,” he says simply, underscoring his words with sharp smacks of his palm. “You’re a little girl under my control who will learn her place.”

I don’t fight him. There’s a lump in my throat, and my body feels strangely heated and energized. I don’t know how to respond, so I don’t respond at all. Apparently, he thinks I’m sufficiently chastened, for he rights me with a fluid grace that surprises me. I blink, sitting upright on his lap, and he turns me to face him. His eyes are cloudy and severe, probing me.

“If you speak out of turn again, I’ll gag you. Do you understand me?”

“Yes, sir,” I say through clenched teeth. The audacity of this man infuriates me.
He stares at me a moment before he shakes his head.

“Do you have any idea what I could do to you?” he asks, his accent thick with emotion.
“No,” I tell him honestly. He’s a veritable stranger to me. I know almost nothing about him.

“I could hurt you,” he says, but he isn’t angry. His tone almost registers surprise. “Whip you. Put you in a cage and make you eat from a bowl.”

I wrinkle my nose at him. “Does that appeal to you?”

Taking my face in one of his large, rough hands, he grips me so tightly it hurts. “Your submission appeals to me,” he growls. “Your obedience. And I’ll do whatever it takes to get that from you.”

I meet his gaze squarely and give him the bald truth. Stripped and punished, I have no pride left. I have nothing to lose with stark honesty.

“I’ve seen cruelty in my life. I was raised on a constant diet of humiliation. If you think a spanking and the threat of more punishment will bring me to my knees in blind submission to you, you abducted the wrong damn girl.”

I’ve been beaten and starved, shoved in a closet and tormented. I hate thinking about my past. I hate remembering the pain and humiliation I’ve felt. But I learned how to withstand humiliation and never relinquish my dignity. He won’t get it from me this way.
“A spanking and a threat?” he asks quietly. Too quietly.

I shiver in fear when I feel something beneath my backside harden. Oh, God. I’ve given him an erection. I squirm in uncomfortable fear. This… this will be my undoing.

Leaning in from behind, his mouth brushes my ear.

“Have you ever had your defiant mouth gagged with a cock?” he asks. My belly twists uncomfortably, and I try involuntarily to pull away from him but he’s too close, too strong. “Have you ever been spread on a bed and brought to the edge of climax so long and so intensely the very breath you released caused you pain and torment?” I close my eyes to shove the image away, but he continues his relentless torment. “Have you ever been forced to orgasm again and again not for pleasure, but punishment? No? Learn to obey me, and you may never experience the variety of punishments I have at my disposal.” Brushing my hair off my neck almost tenderly, he kisses the skin there. “This was no accident, krasotka,” he says. “I didn’t abduct the wrong girl.” 


January 25, 2019

Once again, Ms. Jane Henry has spun a tale that had me captivated and intrigued as the story unfolds.  Nothing everything is as simple as it seems.  Intel will have Kazimir with orders to stalk Sadie—what starts as simple encounters, becomes a dinner that leads to an abduction.  Now Sadie is held captive by Kazimir.

What a roller-coaster ride of intense action, mystery, suspense, angst, and discoveries.  Sadie is a very unassuming woman, dresses so bland to stay hidden that her absence may go unnoticed at first.  Kazimir is a handsome and commanding man, one that turns woman’s heads, and not easy to forget.  When he asks Sadie to dinner, she is confused but he charms her into going, and that is where this story takes off.

Abducted—kidnapped—and held prisoner, Sadie is so confused, she was a foster kid, has no family, no friends, struggles to make ends meet, so why her?  Kazimir has a job to do and orders to follow.  If he can train Sadie along the way, that is a bonus—but what he wasn’t counting on was developing feelings for her.

“I do not demand your trust.  I demand your compliance.”

The story is a fast-paced, action-pack romantic suspense.  It has the good, the bad, and the ugly with life and death situations.  Sadie is an innocent virgin who has never been kissed, dated, and when it comes to sex, is very naïve.  Kazimir is a jaded man who has used and broken so many women training them that when he is with Sadie, she offers so much innocence and first experiences and he is the one to fulfill them.  That doesn’t mean he goes easy on her, she will be punished, spanked, and used, against her will at first, but will acquiesce quickly.


What happens when things don’t work out as the Bratva expected?  Is Sadie now a pawn that is no longer needed?  What will happen between her and Kazimir? The story does have explicit sex scenes.  It does end with a complete ending.

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Kathy Heare Watts, aka Redrabbitt.  I am a Top 500 Reviewer at Amazon and the Top #48 Reviewer (all time) at Goodreads for the USA and #65 Global.  I have over 3000 reviews listed on Amazon and over 3600 on Goodreads.