What’s Under My Hat today? Confessions from Lisabet Sarai!
Wednesday, April 25th, 2012


Confessions of a Clueless NewbieBy Lisabet Sarai


Let me begin by making my title clear. I’ve been writing since I was six or seven years old. I’ve been publishing for more than a decade. So I’m not a clueless newbie as an author. No, the areawhere I’m sadly clueless is the romance genre.


From reading author interviews, I get the impression that most romance writers started out as romance readers. Not me, I’m afraid. Before I began submitting to romance publishers, my ideaof “romantic” fiction was Wuthering Heights, Gone with the Wind and Romeo and Juliet. Stories like these tore at my heartstrings, but you’ll note that none of them has a happy ending. I readmy first mainstream romance (some title by Danielle Steele) in my forties and to be honest, I didn’t think much of it.


My earlier publications were basically erotica. I entered the romance world only half a dozen years ago, when the owner of Total-E-Bound contacted me about six months before the companylaunched to ask if I’d be interested in submitting something. I offered them two of my erotic novels that had gone out of print. The books really weren’t traditional romancein both cases theheroine has encounters with several individuals beside the herobut they did both end with the hero and heroine getting together, and they were sexually intense, something TEB was seeking.


Since then I’ve penned more than a dozen new tales specifically targeted for the romance market. But it has been tough. I’ve had to learn new narrative conventions. For instance, much of my previous work was written in the first person, but my publisher made it pretty clear that she preferred third person. I wasn’t used to providing detailed descriptions of my characters, but I came to understand that many romance readers want this. I’ve learned that I can give reign to my sexual imaginationthe days of the closed bedroom door are overbut only if I keep thespotlight on the protagonists. I can’t have the sexual subplots and the side scenarios that I used to include. 



One of the most difficult issues for me has been the apparent dislike that readers of M/M fiction have for including any female-oriented sexuality of any sort. I’ve also had to accept the relative unpopularity of F/F stories, even though I enjoy writing them.


Finally, one of the biggest adjustments for me has been always delivering a happy ending. I know that most of you will find this strange. It’s clear from the polls that I’ve conducted that romance readers insist on things turning out well for the hero and heroine (or hero and hero). But personally, I prefer more ambiguous resolutions to a story’s conflicts. The problem with guaranteed happy endings (from an authorial perspective) is that they make it really hard to create any kind of suspense. No matter how impossible the obstacles dividing the protagonists,readers always know that everything will work out in the end. How do you make the reader care about the conflictshow do you make the problems believable? –when a HEA is a foregone conclusion?


I’m still struggling with this issue. I’ve been reading my colleagues’ work, trying to understand the dynamics of romancewhat makes it work. I think I’m improving, but like I said, I stillconsider myself something of a clueless newbie. I hope that my readers will take that into account and be gentle!
My latest release is a M/F paranormal called Hot Spell. 


Here’s the blurb:The flames of passion are more than a metaphorThe city swelters in the grip of an unseasonable heat wave. Sylvie endures her solitary urban existence for the sake of her career, but the prospect of a hot, lonely three day weekend proves unbearable and she flees east to the pine-shrouded mountains. Far more at home in nature than in the city, Sylvie doesn’t mind being alone in the wilderness, but she’s not the only being haunting the glades and the trails.


Aidan is fiercely attracted to the voluptuous beauty he finds sun bathing nude in a high meadow, but he must resist his overwhelming desire for the sake of her safety. The sun-bronzed man with the red-gold hair is cursed with power he knows will destroy her if they give full rein to their passion. Can Sylvie refrain from tempting him? Or will she risk being being literally consumed by love?


Want an excerpt? Of course you do!****Her muscles ached from the strenuous hike. Her hair was in knots and a sticky film of perspiration coated her skin. None of that mattered. Peace enfolded her, along with a profound sense of well-being. The breeze whispered to her. The creek babbled and laughed.


Water. A bath. Relaxed, lazy, and sated though she was, the notion still held an irresistible appeal. Sylvie checked the remains of the fire to assure herself that there was no chance it would escape the rocks encircling it. Then she dug a towel out of her pack and headed down the forested slope to the creek.The gurgle of water tumbling over stone grew louder as she approached. The very sound was refreshing. A few feet from the edge, she stripped off her clothes, draping them and her towel over a convenient boulder. She was about to step out of the woods, when an unexpected movement caught her eye.There was something splashing in the creek, a bit downstream from where she stood – something, or someone. Sylvie shrank back into the shadow of the trees.


Directly opposite her, the stream rushed over river-polished rocks, flecked with white froth. To her right, though, it widened into a calm pool, black as the sky above. The unexpected noise came from there.


She peered into the night. All she could see at first was a round, furry mass that seemed to float upon the surface. Ripples stirred as a figure rose from water. At the same time, the half moon climbed above the crest of the trees. Its pale rays revealed the form of a naked man.


Sylvie caught her breath. His back was to her, a gleaming, sculpted expanse that swept down to a narrow waist, then flared into taut buttocks. A wet curtain of golden hair clung to his neckand shoulders. He took a step forward, water swirling around his lean thighs. The grace and power revealed by that small motion made Sylvie ache inside. She’d never encountered such beauty in a man.He turned then, and the ache deepened to an agony of want. Sleek skin stretched over his muscled chest and abdomen, strewn with glittering drops of moonlight. 


He turned his face to the skyand Sylvie caught a glimpse of features that seemed carved from marble: soaring brow, chiselled jaw, sharp cheekbones, and a broad, resolute mouth. The man’s eyes were closed, as if he were praying to the moon.


Then she noticed his hands, clasped below his belly in a firm grip around his erect cock. His luscious penis reared up from a matted tangle at his groin, hard and smooth as the rest of his body. Her nipples snapped into tight peaks as she watched the stranger knead his rampant flesh. Slow and deliberate at first, then with a quickening pace, he stroked from the glistening bulb down to the root. His cock grew longer and fatter as he worked it, hand over hand. His full lips drew back and his brow furrowed as the pressure and the pleasure built. He kept his eyes shut.


Sylvie licked her lips. Dampness painted her inner thighs. Her clit tingled and throbbed, crying out to be touched. Her empty pussy hungered to be filled. In a flash of memory, her dream returned – not the details, just the fevered arousal. Her body was on fire again.She sank to her knees on the mossy ground and plunged her fingers into her wetness. There was no conscious decision. She simply couldn’t help it. Her folds felt slippery and burning hot.


She cupped her hand, four fingers deep in her cleft while she rubbed the back of her thumb over her clit. Pleasure shuddered through her. The swollen nub was hard as a pebble, so sensitive that she could scarcely bear to touch it. When she backed off, though, it screamed for more stimulation.With her other hand, she massaged her breasts, cradling the lovely weight in her palm. She flicked her nipple, striking sparks, then pinched it with all the force she could muster. Her pussy clenched in response. Waves of sensation fanned out from her centre.


A low moan dragged her attention back to the stranger in the stream. With one hand he jerked his cock, fast and rough. The other was hidden behind him, moving in the same jagged rhythm.From his spread thighs and straining muscles, Sylvie guessed he had at least one finger pumping his rear hole. The lewd notion made her own anus twitch and tingle.


He was obviously close to coming. The realization sizzled through her, pushing her to the edge herself. She dug in, mashing her clit against the heel of her hand and rocking back and forth,keeping her eyes on the gorgeous man jacking off barely a dozen feet away. His biceps corded with tension, his teeth bared in a feral snarl, he clawed his way toward orgasm. Sylvie climbed with him, matching him breath for breath, groan for groan.****Hot Spell is available now from Total-E-Bound.

You’ll find information on my other work as well as lots of free stories on my website.

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Night with a Dom

Casea Major

Thanks for having me on your blog today.
I came up with the idea for this 1Night Stand story while watching football one Sunday afternoon in late fall. I wondered what kind of catalyst would propel someone into experimenting with their darker sexual desires. What would cause someone to take a small step out of their comfort zone to seek fulfillment for a craving they’d never satisfied. That is how Night with a Dom was born.

And as for the football tie-in — If you buy the story and can find the hidden football reference email me and maybe you’ll get a prize.

:

Melody Manning’s workaholic ambition, coupled with a slave-driving former boss, has made her the youngest market analyst in her firm. It’s also killed her personal life, including losing her fiancé. When she receives a message from him on New Year’s Eve announcing his engagement to another woman, Mel loses it. Her new, more compassionate boss has the perfect solution for her—get laid. Good and laid.

At his suggestion, she signs up with the 1Night Stand service, listing her deepest sexual desires on the application.  A speedy response from Madame Eve has Melody on her way to Sonoma Valley wine country and a one-night stand with a mysterious Dom.

The sexy, masked Master promises to get to the bottom of her guilt and provide ultimate satisfaction under the safety of his stern hand. After an emotional night of submission and uninhibited passion, will her lover’s unmasking lead to the end of their encounter or give Mel another chance at love?

Excerpt

The following excerpt has been bleeped out to make it a PG-13 excerpt. Please keep in mind that the book does contain adult themes and language, and is not suitable for minors. Thank you.

Mel sucked in a breath, and opened the door. The darkened room flickered with the light of at least a dozen candles. She squinted as she walked in. The smell of incense and roses wafted in the air. Her sight adjusted, and the darker shadows of the space became visible. She scanned the scene.

In the middle of the room sat an oversized bed covered in black velvet and satin. Her arms and legs quivered. A roughly made wooden table stood with two straight-backed chairs in the corner, and a tray of appetizing food awaited.

She stood frozen, anticipating his appearance. Her heart thumped in her chest. Was he hiding? She began to turn—

“Do not turn around, Miss Manning.” His voice whispered against her ear.

She jumped at the husky sound, but didn’t try to move away.

He ran his hands across her shoulders and trailed his fingers down her bare arms. “Are you frightened, kitten?”

Her skin tingled at his simple, but intimate touch. The heat from his massive body radiated against her back though he never made contact with it. Although she couldn’t see him, his presence filled the room, and the walls seemed to shrink at his closeness. “I’m a little scared. I’ve never done anything like this before, but I guess you do—”

His finger glided up her shoulder to press against her lips and his whispered rebuke filled her ear. “Silence.”

Her eyes fluttered closed. Pleasure and fear mingled in her mind and over her skin. She wanted so bad to turn her head and look at him, but somehow she knew she shouldn’t.

The spicy masculine scent of him filled the air, and his moist, heavy breath sent waves of heat  down her neck. “During this portion of the evening you will only speak when asked a direct question, and you will address me as ‘Sir’. Understand?”

Concentrating on his words, she had to strain to hear him over her pounding heart but nodded. In the dim light of the candles, her chest rose and fell rapidly. Excitement and fear zinged to her extremities and every place in between.

“There’s nothing to be frightened of.”

He trailed his tongue from her earlobe down to her nape. She gasped and tensed her shoulders as he nipped and sucked the sensitive skin. Goosebumps covered her from head to toe. Her nipples hardened and throbbed. The mystery of him enticed her as much as his touch and scent.

He swept his hand slowly over her stomach. She melted back against him, the heat of his body wrapping around hers, instant, carnal and very real. Throbbing need pulsed between her legs, replacing the chill of fear.

“I’m going to remove your dress.”

“Okay.” The word whooshed from her. Dizziness caused her to sway. Is this really happening? His velvet baritone held a familiar lilt she couldn’t place, but surely if she’d heard that sexy sound before, she’d remember. Right now she was so aroused, it could be her high school boyfriend and she wouldn’t know—or care.

“Okay, what?”

Her body tensed at his rebuke. “Okay, Sir.”

“You have enough discipline coming this evening for past transgressions, Miss Manning. Let’s not complicate matters by increasing their number. All right?”

“All right, Sir.” She sucked in a breath at the mention of punishment. What would he do to her? She had stipulated mild discipline, but what did that mean to him?

Major Love ~~~ Major Romance

Prior to becoming a writer of romantic fiction, Casea Major worked in the legal field for a non-profit dispute resolution company for ten years.  She is now a full-time mom to three preschool children with whom she and her husband live happily…most of the time.  When she isn’t chained to her laptop, she enjoys Cary Grant movies and crocheting.

Under My Hat today-How Elizabeth Coldwell got to be a rock star-kind of
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012
One of the best things about writing fiction is that it gives you a great way to act out a lot of your most cherished fantasies. We all wanted to be different things when we were growing up. The first thing I really dreamed of doing was being an archaeologist, until I realised that meant I’d have to dig up dead people, which rather put me off the idea. But, like lots of other people, I harboured fantasies of being a rock star. Go on, admit it, you’ve done it yourself – playing air guitar in your bedroom to your favourite song, or using a microphone as a hairbrush. Even though it was never going to happen, I loved the idea of getting up on stage and singing my heart out, while an adoring audience screamed my name. And the fact rock stars have been known to get up to all kinds of kinky, sexy things with an array of willing groupies – well, that can only add a little extra gloss to the fantasy.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to have met a few people who’ve made their living in rock bands, including one of my very biggest idols, who was just as charming (and hot!) as I hoped he’d be, but my dreams of singing have mostly been restricted to getting up and doing a spot of karaoke every now and then. But when I gave up the day job and started writing full time, one of the storylines in my bulging ideas file revolved around the erotic adventures of a rock band – and when Total-e-bound put out a submissions call for a collection of ménage tales with a musical theme, I was there like a shot.!

I have to admit that part of the inspiration for Three-part Harmony, the story that made it into the Treble anthology and is now available as a standalone tale, came from a documentary I saw a couple of years back on Fleetwood Mac. It’s well known that they’ve had what could be described as a tangled series of love affairs within the band – just about everyone in what you’d call their classic line-up has either married or had a fling with one of the other members, but that documentary really outlined the ups and downs, the passions and the heartaches they experienced. And I knew that while truth can be stranger than fiction, when your imagination runs wild, you can create a band whose relationships are even more closely entwined. I’ve longed to unleash my inner Stevie Nicks (that voice, that songwriting talent, that extensive crushed velvet wardrobe…) and in Aimee Caine, the heroine of Three-part Harmony, I did just that, having as much fun creating the song lyrics for Aimee and her husband, Stefan’s, band Sweet Lies as I did rocking the couple’s world by adding hot new guitarist Jake Anderson to their line-up. Which was when things got very deliciously complicated – and boy, was it fun to write!

If you like the sound of Three-part Harmony, why not try the whole Treble anthology, which also includes stories by Lily Harlem, Imari Jade, Lisabet Sarai, Wendi Zwaduk and, of course, the very wonderful Ms Desiree Holt herself. And you’ll discover why bringing your hidden rock star out to play is such fun. And of course, all I have to do now is go right back in my past and unearth those archaeology fantasies, just to see what might happen…

Three-part Harmony blurb: 
When guitarist Mark Deans quits Sweet Lies the week before their concert tour is due to start, it looks like the end of the band, but singer Aimee and her husband Stefan have worked too hard to let that happen. The answer lies in Jake Anderson, who blows them away when he auditions to replace Mark. He’s cute, talented-and twelve years younger than Aimee-but there’s an instant attraction between them.

Even though she loves her husband deeply, she knows it’s only a matter of time before she and Jake end up in bed together-the same way she destroyed her relationship with Mark by tumbling into bed with Stefan. What she doesn’t expect is that when it happens, Stefan will not only give his blessing, but make the twosome a threesome by acting on his own desire for Jake…

Excerpt
In turn, each auditionee was ushered into the rehearsal room. Almost all of the twelve were ushered out almost as swiftly. The majority of them were session musicians, who would play for anyone as long as the money was right. They had the notes down pat, but there was no real passion in their playing, no sense they were interested in being part of the band long term. We might as well take a digital recorder holding all Mark’s guitar licks on stage with us for all they brought to the party.

More impressive were the two guys from the tribute acts. They cared about the music, and we knew they’d both be thrilled to be a part of the band, but Stefan’s words about the weirdness of taking on a Mark Deans lookalike still rang in my head. I honestly didn’t know whether I could spend so much time around someone who was almost Mark…but not quite. Still, given what we’d already heard, we were convinced one of the two would become our new guitarist.

Then the last man walked into the room, and my heart missed a beat. He couldn’t have looked less like Mark, with dirty-blond hair that fell in shaggy waves to his shoulders and a deep cleft in the point of his stubbled chin. In his mid-twenties, he was by some distance the youngest person we’d auditioned today. And when he opened his mouth, his accent placed him from somewhere on the west coast of the United States. Yet the reaction I experienced on his arrival was every bit as powerful as the first time I’d seen Mark. I knew with absolute certainty that one day very soon, we’d end up in bed together.

I didn’t know whether Stefan saw the flush rising to my cheeks as I watched the newcomer shrug out of a well-worn leather jacket that appeared to be older than he was. Beneath it, he wore a sleeveless black T-shirt revealing honey-tanned, muscular arms. An intricate piece of knotwork circled his left bicep. I wondered whether that was the only tattoo he had, or whether there was something else, in a more intimate place where no one but his lovers would ever see it…

Elizabeth Coldwell blog link: http://elizabethcoldwell.wordpress.com

What’s Under My Hat today? Some very Dark Secrets
Thursday, April 19th, 2012
Everyone’s got dark secrets. Sheriff Hawk Blackwater, the new top law enforcement officer for the county where Freewill, Wyoming is located, has plenty—the lingering violence of a lifetime fighting ugly crime in Phoenix, dealing with his mixed raced heritage (his mother is Caucasian, his father Yavapai Indian), and a marriage that self-destructed. He has come to Freewill, Wyoming to begin a new life in the wide open spaces of the state, but some thing never quite go away. Riley Scott has dark secrets. She’s on the run, hiding away in tiny Freewill from a violence that could destroy not only her but many others. Then there is the unsolved murder of the former sheriff, the mysterious lights that come and go in the nearby Laramie Mountain, and a hostile environment in the sheriff’s office that has Hawk’s radar at full strength.
You’d think he’d have enough on his hands without being intrigued by Riley and her scared mouse aura. But when chemistry unexpectedly explodes between them and an attraction develops so strong neither can turn away from it, he adds ferreting out her dark secret to his to-do list. And as their relationships deepens, it becomes his number one priority.

Dark Secrets is part of Decadent Publishing’s Western Escapes.

Excerpt:

“Interesting, “ Hawk commented, watching the woman leave the restaurant. “Wonder what her secret is?”

Brady lifted an eyebrow. “Secret? How do you even know she’s got one?”

“Instinct. Half lawman, half Yavapai. All the signs are there. If I didn’t know better I’d think she might have something to do with John Foster’s death. Or even the lights in  the Laramies that come and go.”

“How do you know she’s not?” Brady asked.

“If she’d killed Foster or been a party to it, she’d be long gone, not hanging around here. Besides, she showed up months after the murder. But I wonder if she has something to do with these strange lights that are driving me crazy.”

Brady frowned. “What makes you think that?”

Hawk shrugged. “The lights didn’t show up until a couple of weeks after she got here. And she sure acts like she’s got something to hide. ”

“Maybe she’s running away from something,” Brady suggested. “Or someone. Don’t you think that’s more likely? She lands here in a place that’s not exactly a destination spot for people. Unless they’re going to the Misbegotten Gaines Ranch.  She doesn’t exactly reach out to people. Just keeps to herself. As far as I know the only places she goes besides work are the bookstore, Wyoming Eats and the grocery.”

“She’s not on any Wanted list. Could be she just likes her own company.”

“If you’re so curious you could always drop in at Books and More and the two of you could have a reading hour together.” Brady grinned. “You do read, don’t you, Hawk?”

Hawk made a face. “Very funny. But I might just drop by Darnell’s place. I’m out of feed for the horses and few other things.”

“You could always call in your order.” Brady laugh. “Save yourself a trip.”

Hawk just shook his head shoved his hands in his ranch jacket and walked towards the feed store.

Leave it alone. You have other things more important to focus on.

But he hadn’t been able to get her out of his mind. He didn’t know why she was bugging him. She certainly wasn’t any of his business, but his curiosity was on full alert. As was another part of his body.  Deliberately he tamped down the feelings surging through him. He had no business letting himself get involved with anyone. Especially someone who was obviously carrying a pound of trouble.

Go back to your office. Haven’t you got enough going on without piling on more?

But his feet kept moving in the direction of Freewill Feed and Supplies, trying to remind himself he had more important things than scoping out a woman doing her best to blend into the background. One of these days his curiosity was going to get him into real trouble.

Also at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and All Romance eBooks.
Find out what’s Under My Hat
Thursday, April 19th, 2012

It’s a new look and new dirt to dish. Check here daily to find out what’s Under My Hat. Thanks to the gorgeous and talented Nicole Austin for the new look. She is a true goddess.
So what will you find Under My Hat?
Today you’ll find out…..I’m an App!!!
That’s right, I’m a real live App. Go to the Apple store or Android Apps and there I’ll be, Desiree Holt, in all my App glory.
Check out my books and buy them with one quick click.
Get notified of new releases and personal appearances, special parties and special giveaways.
Check out all my book covers plus photos of my and my hot friends.
Find all my links in one place.
And each month I’ll be running a contest for those who download the App.
So come on. Put me on your phone, your tablet, your Kindle, your Nook, whatever. It’s time to get hooked up with Desiree so you can keep up with what’s Under My Hat.