Is it wrong to like erotic romance?

I just read an older post on Romance: B(u)y the Book about erotic romance and saw a comment about how reading/writing it seemed to be a way for abuse survivors to reclaim their sexuality. Whatever helps on that score is a wonderful thing.

What about the rest of us? There seems to be preconceptions floating around that erotic romance is bad or somehow dirty, and not in the good way. ;) Different strokes for different folks, of course, but this is a topic often on my mind because I really struggled to accept myself writing erotic romance. Sounds funny, doesn't it? But my reading tastes have mostly drifted toward the paranormal/UF side of things, with the occasional romantic comedy tossed in, and erotic romance usually wasn't part of the mix. I hadn't necessarily planned to write it...but my CPs said I was good at it, and before you get published is a great time to try other genres. So I tried writing sexier...and lo and behold, Full Disclosure is the first story I sold.

Which brings me back to my question. Do you like erotic romance? (And your definition of erotic romance is up to you...doesn't have to be hardcore.) And if it's not your thing, why? (That was me for a very long time, and I still have my anti-erotic moments.)


Do you ever hate your writing?

Okay, okay, hate is a strong word. Are you ever...not pleased with your work upon rereading it? Do find yourself taking apart sentences and wincing at descriptions and possibly, wondering what mental condition afflicted you when you were behooved to string together those particular words in just that way?

Or is it just me?

To say I am a harsh critic of my own work is an understatement. Rarely do I like my stories upon rereading. But twice in the past week...okay, three times...I've reread some of my work and enjoyed it. Have my standards lessened? Or have I finally realized there is no such thing as perfection, and the ability to lose yourself in a story is the only true benchmark of its worth? 

Hard to say. It's funny, though, how easily I can forgive transgressions on the part of writers I love, but when it comes to my own work? Uh, not so much.

So what about you? Do you have a love/hate relationship with your writing? Has your perspective changed over the years (months?)

Want more fun writing talk? Please stop by Word Wenches, the blog I'm doing with one of my CPs, Tara Leigh Coons. This week's post is about her first contest results.

(And yes, I've changed my blog again. It's Fall. I had to show my appreciation of my favorite grateful I haven't whipped out the bats and jack-o-lanterns yet!)


I've changed my template yet again...

and the bugs still have to be ironed out, but I like it. Odd that I'm going with a Spring/Summer-ish feel during Fall, but that's me. Always a step ahead (or behind, depending on your perspective.)

So for this week's scintillating blog post, I pose a challenge to my loyal blog readers. Finish this sentence:
If money were no object, and no one would ever find out, I would...

To be fair, I'll finish it first.

If money were no object, and no one would ever find out, I would find out if a place really existed like Pleasure Cove Resort in my CP Helen Hardt's hot novella, Montego Lay.

If you haven't read Montego Lay...well, suffice it to say, Pleasure Cove lives up to its name. ;)

Your turn!


Please welcome Juliana Stone!

Juliana is a debut author I met on eharlequin, the message board for writers/readers of Harlequin and Silhouette books. She's a super cool chick who not only writes kick ass paranormal stories, she also sings in a band (and anyone who knows me knows that music is my second love after writing...okay, first love, shh....)

Juliana's got a busy year ahead of her in 2010, and she generously agreed to answer a few questions about what she's got in store for her eager readers. 

1) You're a debut author with your first release due out April 2010. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Hey Cari, thanks for having me here!

Yes, my very first book evah is being released from Avon/Harpercollins next year and I can’t even tell you how excited I am!  I fell in love paranormal romance after picking up Dark Prince by Christine Feehan. I was hooked and when I decided to give the whole writing thing a try, though I loved vamps, I wanted to do something different.

The story came to me after I envisioned an opening scene where the hero is bent on revenge against his former lover.  But what if in that moment, when his chance for revenge is within his grasp, he realizes something is wrong?  That the woman who betrayed him three years ago is not the same?  That she has obviously been abused, tortured and has no memory of him?

That scene stuck in my head and the rest fell into place.  This book is about two people who have been manipulated by outside forces, and their fight for the truth and for each other.  This is the back cover blurb:

Jaxon Castille: jaguar shifter, warrior, assassin.  He has long hungered for the chance to make his former lover, Libby Jamieson, pay for her deadly betrayal.  After three long years he’s finally found her.  The hunt is over…

But the Libby that he finds is not what he expected. She has no memory of their tumultuous affair; of her treachery; of anything beyond her own name.  A shadowy and deadly clan has marked them both for death, and in an instant the game changes: the hunter has become the hunted.

On the run, with the ghosts of their past between them and a dark, desperate hunger quickly reclaiming their bodies and souls, Libby and Jaxon must discover the truth behind the dark forces working against them.  Together, they must grab hold of a destiny that has the power to either heal them or destroy them.

But the truth is far more shattering than anyone could imagine…

2) Why werejags? And why do you think shifters are so enormously popular with readers?

Jaguars are sexy, sleek and powerful.  I don’t think I envisioned Jaxon being anything else. There is something in the wildness of an animal like the jaguar that appeals to woman.  We want to tame the beast, but we want them to play rough too!  I think shifters are popular because in most instances they mate for life and there is something primal and amazing about a man who will fight to the death for what belongs to him.

3) For the aspiring writers out there, is there anything you wish you would have known before you sold a book?

I was and still am very new to this game.  His Darkest Hunger is the first book I ever wrote so every single step in this journey is new to me.  But, because I’d hung out on various blogs and online writers forums I was fairly knowledgeable about the whole process.  The one thing though, that I didn’t realize was how SLOW publishing is.  It’s awful, the waiting, and I’m a pretty impatient person!  So I find that very hard.

4) What upcoming releases can we look forward to from you?
Well, His Darkest Hunger comes out in April of next year, and the second book in my Jaguar Warrior’s series comes out in the fall of 2010.  I have a third and fourth planned but as of yet don’t have dates for those.

I also am lucky enough to have a series of shorts come out from Samhain Publishing. The Black Opals is a time travelling romance series about five sisters who protect the delicate thread of time from rogue jumpers.  Their enemy, The New Order has found a way to predict who their predestined mates are and they’re  pulled into a deadly game.  They must find their mates before the New Orders assassinates them, because if there are no more Black Opals humanity will pay the ultimate price.

The first book in this series is called Black Legacy and will be available from Samhain Publishing in February of 2010.

5) Lots of authors talk about "the book of their heart." Do you have one, and has it sold yet?

Well, at this point in time I would have to say it’s the current YA I’m working on.   It’s now in probably the third version and finally has my agent’s blessing.  She’s an amazing lady, really knows her stuff so I’m just glad I was able to pull it together.  We shall see what happens with it, but my goal all along has been to be pubbed in both Young Adult and Adult paranormal, so if I am lucky enough to sell to the YA market, I will be over the moon.

6) And finally, for fun...True Blood or Twilight, and why. ;)

True Blood all the way baby……um, all I need to say is ERIC!

Thanks for having me Cari!  This was fun!

Thanks for stopping by, Juliana! You can find out more about Juliana or her books at


Helen Hardt's Montego Lay is out today!

Summer's not over yet!  

My lovely CP, Helen Hardt, has a sizzling release out today with The Wild Rose Press's Wilder Roses. Montego Lay will definitely make you need to turn on the A/C, so be prepared!

For today's release day spotlight, she graciously agreed to tell us a little about her inspiration for the story.

1) Tell us about Montego Lay. What inspired the story and that tantalizing title?

There's actually a story here, as you can imagine, LOL. Last December, my husband and I went to a resort in Runaway Bay, Jamaica called Hedonism III.  It's an adult only resort, complete with a nude beach.  We had a terrific time, and during the whole getaway I thought about what a perfect setting a similar place would be for a Destination Pleasure story.  So I invented Pleasure Cove Nude Resort in Montego Bay, which is an even more unhibited place than Hedo, if you can believe it.  Plus, using the well known locale of Montego Bay gave me my title, Montego Lay.  While the story is pure fiction, I did base some of the people and events on things we encountered at Hedo.  And I did meet a resort worker named Ace, though he didn't look anything like my Ace.  I just liked the name ;).
By the way, dh and I are going back to Hedo this December to celebrate our 20th anniversary!
2) Now that you've whetted our appetites, what other upcoming releases can we look forward to from you?   

I have two more releases this year that I'm very excited about!  First up is Blood Wolf, an award-winning dark paranormal set in contemporary Scotland.  It will release on October 9 at The Wild Rose Press in a two author anthology...

When mysterious Damian MacGowan saves Suzanne Wood from a gang of thugs in a small Scotland town, she's beyond grateful. But his possessive need to be near her troubles her.  Damian doesn’t understand why he’s drawn to Suzanne. He knows only that he must have her, or he will die. As the two get to know each other, love blossoms. But Damian has a secret, and an enemy, that may keep him from Suzanne forever.

Next up is Slow and Wet, a hot western menage, releasing November 24 at Ellora's Cave.  This is my first release with EC and I'm really looking forward to it!

Jillian Reynolds loves her gorgeous bronc busting boyfriend, Dale Cross. She just hasn't told him yet. After a satisfying romp when she returns from a business trip, she walks naked into Dale's kitchen and is shocked to find another hot cowboy. Travis Logan likes what he sees and is eager to take up where he and Dale left off four years earlier–as two men giving one woman the ultimate pleasure. To please Dale–and herself–Jill agrees. Under the Wyoming summer sky, she yields to the desires of both men. They cover her in her favorite beverage, Dale’s homemade honey-lemonade, and lick every drop from her body. But will this erotic encounter lead to what Jill ultimately wants–Dale’s love?

I have two more stories under contract -- Loving Eve with Ellora's Cave and The Cowboy and the Cougar with Aspen Mountain Press.  Look for them in 2010.

Thanks for stopping by, Helen!

Want even more fun writing talk? Check out WORD WENCHES, the blog I'm doing with my other wonderful CP, Tara Leigh Coons. Tara's first post is up and we'd love to see you! 

On a more serious marks 8 years since 9/11/ you remember where you were? I do, and I won't ever forget. Time goes so fast. Make it count, and hug someone you love today.


Release Day Spotlight

Today marks my first Release Day Spotlight! It's a quick, fun way to get to know a bit about a new-to-you author, or to learn more about one of your favorites. Today J.A. Saare is on the hot seat, and she's even giving away a PDF of A Kiss Before Dying, which releases today at Amira Press, to a lucky commenter! Winner will be chosen tonight, Friday, September 4th.

Here's the blurb:
Vampire Lord Sebastian Arsov is everything Katja Morgan has ever wanted, and as their time together nears an end, she carefully constructs the ruse that will allow her to belong to her shellar in both body and soul. But sharing an evening with her beloved comes at a high price--the cost of her life. Disguised as a bed slave, Katja enters Sebastian's chambers to experience the pleasures she's been long denied, including the bite that will ultimately kill her... What is referred to as a kiss before dying. Will Sebastian discover Katja's true identity before it's too late?

Check out her gorgeous cover! 

Please welcome J.A.! 

1) Not only are you a debut author, your first two releases fall within one week of each other. Whew! Can you tell us about them, along with what other releases are on your slate for the next few months?

Sure can! I’m a paranormal junkie by design, and my first releases are a result of that fixation.  I wanted to create stories that are as hot as they are romantic, and my sincere hope is I’ve been able to accomplish that.  
A Kiss Before Dying was my first foray into erotica.  It’s the story vampire Lord, Sebastian Arsov, and the blood slave that has become his companion, Katja Morgan. Sebastian took Katja from a life on the streets, molding her into a refined and educated woman. A decade has passed, and soon Katja will be returned to the mortal world with her memories scrubbed clean.  Knowing she can only be with Sebastian if she deceives him, Katja uses an enchanted mask to hide her identity and comes to him as a bed slave.  Of course, Katja doesn’t know that Sebastian has hidden his feelings from her. Vampire law prevents them from being together, but when the sun crests, they’ll both discover just how far each are willing to go for love.

Moon Kissed is the first in a series. Lycae Adam Trevlian has waited three long years to claim his mate, a female that battles for the Thymeria human vampire faction.  Kassia Lambert is everything he’s ever wanted, and now that she’s twenty-one, she’s of age to mate. Unfortunately, Kassia hasn’t forgotten the man that treated her so callously years before.  When he bites her in the process of saving her life, she’ll be forced to face the emerging wolf under her skin, as well as the man that claims her as his own.  

You can purchase A Kiss Before Dying on September 4th, and Moon Kissed on September 11th, at Amira Press. Soft as Moonlight and Lick of Frost are novellas that take place immediately after Moon Kissed, and tell the story of Adam’s cousin, Wolfe, and his brother, Luke.  My website is always active and will have future release dates for the rest of the series as they become available.

My other works are Crimson Moon, a full-length paranormal romance that will be released by the The Wild Rose Press (TBA).  And Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between, a full-length urban fantasy that will be released by Eternal Press (TBA).  My short story, Penance, was recently accepted for the September issue of Niteblade horror and fantasy magazine.  

2) Everyone loves a sneak peek into an author's writing life. Are you a plotter, pantser or hybrid of the two? And do you have a "dream genre" you'd love to break into? If you haven't already... ;)

Since I prefer a 1st person narrative (I write both 1st and 3rd) I enjoy learning things as the character does.  So I’d say I’m a pantser with a “plot” in mind. I’ll start with an idea and let it go wild.  If something comes to me along the way, I’ll jot it down.  My urban fantasy, Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between, became slightly plotted in that I know what occurs in the following installments.  The Renfield Syndrome  and The Ripple Effect are stored away in my head.  I just have to write them.

I would love to break into the urban fantasy genre. You can include romance in the plot, and it’s so much fun to write!  But I have to say, I’m enjoying erotica more and more. Anything that pushes boundaries is something I want to see more of.

Thanks for having me on your blog, Cari! 

You're so welcome, J.A.! Don't forget to comment for a chance to win A Kiss Before Dying!