Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jina's Venice Videos: Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) and Gondolas




Today we visit the famous Piazza San Marco in Venice. When was I putting together this blog, I thought about the comment my fellow Naughty Author Chick Wynter Daniels made last week: she was a fab photo of her grandmother in St. Mark's from the 1920s (Love to see it, Wynter!).

It's mind blowing to imagine the history that has taken place here over the centuries...

Napoleon likened the Piazza San Marco or St. Mark’s Square to being the best drawing room in Europe, while others have called it everything from a fantastic stage set to a vast museum.

No doubt the piazza is the most famous Venice landmark known for its pigeons and tourists.

I remember one cold winter trip I took to Venice when the whole city seemed to be enveloped in a misty fog until the arrival of Carneval, carnival. Then the piazza came alive with the living, vibrant colors and exquisite beauty of the costumed figures in masks and dominos appearing like ghosts from out of the past…




What you’re about to see in my video is Venice on a June day when the summer heat sucked the moisture out of the air, but not the tourists.

You’ll see the square packed with people all vying for position with their cameras. A grand sight.



Then we’ll check out the gondolas.

I didn’t have time to take a gondola ride on this trip, but you’ll get an idea of the wild craziness that goes on around the gondola station. Next time I’ll hop on a gondola and get the shot for you.

Promesso
.

Venice, Italy: St. Mark's Square (Piazza di San Marco) and gondolas from Jina on Vimeo.



Coming up in my next Venice Video: Venice bookstores and gelati shops

Click on links below if you've missed previous postos re: Jina's Venice Videos:


Venice, Italy: Jina takes you on a tour of Hotel Saturnia

Share

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Coming Clean

Hi, my name is Naima Simone and I am a Boy-Band-aholic.

*Hi, Naima*

My addiction started twenty-five years ago with the band, New Edition. I took one look at Ralph Tresvant in his red kango and jeans and fell in luuuv. With his high voice and slight lisp, he stole my pre-teen heart. Candy Girl, Lost in Love...*sigh* All those were meant for me. Hence, his star role as hero in my first romance novel. He serenaded me in that book, too....right after we made out at the drive-in...




Then several years later another Boston band caught my eye...and replaced Ralph in my ever fickle teenage heart. New Kids on the Block. More specifically, Donnie Wahlberg. It wasn't the cute, blue-eyed Joe McIntyre that caught my attention but the crazy bad boy who I believed could be tamed with my love. Ergo, the hero of several romance novels where the heroine--who bore an uncanny resemblance to moi--rocked his world. The pun was totally intended.



Over-exposure and several voice changes later, my adoration turned to another group. Not necessarily a boy-band but a band nonetheless. Bon Jovi. New Jersey's pride 'n joy. Jon and Richie. Big hair, leather pants and guitars. I couldn't choose between Jon's strut and sexy voice or Richie's hot guitar solos and soulful back up vocals. Boy what a pair! *sigh* Too bad Michelle Polaris won't write a story with me, Jon and Richie chained together! (hint! hint! nudge! nudge!)



Yes, so my secret is out.

Why this revelation of my soul you ask? A not so subtle lead-in to a blurb for my upcoming release with Ellora's Cave, Love and Protect. I did say it wasn't subtle...sue me...

Tormented by nightmares of her last failed assignment, ex-undercover agent, Erin Montgomery, has spent a year off grid--until a late night phone call from her ex-partner. Within a week she's returned to active duty posing as the sex-kitten lover to Sean Ledger, lead guitarist of rock band, Odyssey to track a stalker.

When an obsessed fan's behavior careens into terrifying, Sean Ledger agrees to allow Erin to join him on tour and investigate possible suspects on his crew. As a man who prizes control, having this woman of strength and restraint willingly submit her pleasure to him is a lure he cannot—will not—fight. Unaware of the history he shares with the agent, Sean is pulled to Erin, and hungers to unlock her sexual inhibitions. Yet neither can forget the insane love of Sean’s stalker who is coming to claim what's hers...



So come on and admit the crushes you had once upon a time! And if they influenced any books you've written all the better! Spill!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Magician's Chains and more of the Circus





So it's out and I'm pretty darn happy with it. Magician's Chains was released June 16th and it's already a Reviewer Top Pick at Night Owl Reviews with 4 1/2 stars. Yay!!!!!


Here's a short excerpt from the beginning:


Shadows moved behind the sheer screen covering the front of the stage, jacking up the anticipation. The spectacle was a grown-up version of shadow puppets, with dark outlines of jutting breasts and naked limbs behind the see-through curtain. Enough to send pulses past their legal limit. Or at least past his, goddammit.


Though it proved his libido wasn't completely dead. He'd begun to wonder.


Fog crept along the floor of the platform, setting the mood for this erotic magic show. Jesse shifted in his chair and rubbed his palm along his thigh, unable to find a comfortable position. The build-up to the curtain lift, including the foreign music in the background, strung out his nerves, which hadn't been spectacular to begin with. How the hell had he let Corrine convince him to come here tonight?


He swiped a glance at her out of his peripheral vision. Yup, she was all toothy smiles and eyes glued to the performance. So fucking giddy to be here it depressed him. He wanted to scream over it, the son of a bitch he was. But he held himself back. He had to in order to walk the fine line of keeping his shit together. For her sake. She deserved this vacation. Still this whole weekend trip to Las Vegas had been insane.


The synthesized music, a combination of Indian, Middle Eastern and techno beats, started winding higher. The pulse of it throbbed in his cock. The curtain rose and Jesse found himself sitting forward in his seat. Onstage a dozen men and women, faces covered in domino masks, danced, wearing leather-studded harnesses and mesh g-strings, nipples hard points, groins outlined tightly to advertise their assets and sweat gleaming from their skin. Pantomiming servants rushing with excitement to prepare the room for their Master. Jesse imagined he smelled their sweat but even with his front-and-center orchestra seat that had to be impossible. From the faux stone walls hung manacles, coiled whips on hooks, other devices he wasn't quite ready to name but which unmistakeably reeked of nasty.



And above this dungeon setting perched a metal scaffold. Atop it stood a bare-chested man in leather pants, a cliched black cape hanging from his shoulders. The magician?



Before Jesse could draw a breath, the man jumped. Shit. It had to be forty feet. But instead of plummeting to a messy, splattered landing, the laws of physics shifted, his fall slowed and he flew down in a controlled descent. Damn good wirework. Jesse shifted in his seat again.



The magician strode to the front of the stage while the music dropped to a background hum. Jesse's heart sped to overdrive as the man looked out into the seats and met his gaze dead-on. He smiled a secret, his slate-blue eyes narrowing and the cleft in his chin becoming pronounced. He tossed his head back and laughed a rich thunder. Holy hell!



Jesse recognized that laugh. Deeper but still the same. Fuck it! It was him! Savin. No, Jesse thought, he had to be wrong. His damn mind played tricks on him all the time now. That's what happened when a person barely slept.



The magician began to stalk back and forth across the platform. Jesse's eyes traced the line of his body, the lithe, lean muscle. A sleek jungle cat. His soft, burnished golden-brown curls wild and unruly to his shoulders. His low voice purred out into the air and Jesse clenched his teeth.



"Tonight, my dear ladies and gentlemen, you come to witness magic. An erotic tease to your sense. What masks do you wear to hide your darkest fantasies, I wonder? And are you brave enough to strip them off?" His gaze squared on Jesse. "My intrepid theater seat travelers, this evening I offer you new questions to ponder. If you surrender to magic and forget what you think you know about bondage and freedom, pleasure and pain, what ecstasies await? He reached his hand out to the audience and curled one finger as if to beckon. "Join me if you dare."



Jesse's cock hardened viciously with the challenge. The volume of the music swelled as the magician strode back toward his servants. "Come, poppets," he called to his entourage. "Gather 'round and let your Master practice his magic."



Jesse tried to take his eyes off the stage and the man who cast his spell on the room. He couldn't afford to fall under anyone's spell. He tried and he failed.



End excerpt


You like? I do, but I may be prejudiced. Here's the buy link.




Now, because I know you have all day to linger over my post, I'm including Part Four of Slave to the Circus. Remember, its my serial short story--a futuristic, BDSM menage featuring Vivi, Duncan and Raven. If you'd like to read the last segment that appeared in my blog post on June 14th, click here.


Otherwise.... Here goes nothing.


Slave to the Circus part four copyright 2010 by Michelle Polaris:


Although Vivi didn't mind the jouncing atop the clown's shoulder, her simmering arousal, delight at the liquid slide between her legs at this turn of events, made her just as impatient to arrive where ever Raven intended.


Duncan would follow. She knew it as she knew her own name, or each of her knives when blindfolded. Her submissive might have speared his heart from his chest for her and presented it on a platter, but he was not one to lie down and let his male ego or his masculine sense of modern knight protector cave to a challenge from another man or threaten what was his. And Vivi was his.


She loved the delicious complexity of their D/s reality. When a wild thing like him surrendered everything he was to a woman, trusted her with the deepest part of his soul, the obligation and claim he placed on her was just as deep as any brand she might layer on his skin. Often she felt it was the submissive in such a relationship that was the more courageous partner. To let go and trust at such a profound level. She loved Duncan for this and so much more. And she feared that what she had to give back to him would never amount to enough. That her ambitions would get in the way of what she had to offer. Her Mistress heart worried amidst this unexpected play with the clown. Why hadn't she noticed Duncan's injury? Or how hard he was driving himself?


Maybe it was time for a change. Maybe the painted Dom would be good for them. Not that she'd let him get away with any more once he put her down.


"Where exactly are you taking me?" she shouted over the noise of the fairway as he exited the big top.


"The Fun House."


"Management closed it last week for repair."


"I know."


The answer pleased her, the familiar arrogance of his words helping her trust in his plan.


He let her down as they approached the darkened building with its facade of purposeful decay, the nano paint-flecked steps artfully sagging. The gaping maw of an entrance was painted as another clown face, this time the lurid one of nightmares. Fear could be delicious, but nothing about the bald vid-terrors of clowns gone killer mad, popular in the spacer empire media now, did it for Vivi. She'd seen the effects of fear in her subs and nothing beat the taste of a man or woman bound but doubting, despite assurance of a safe word that she would stop doing whatever the fuck she preferred to do to them even if they asked. She would never betray their limits, but knew how a submissive lingered over the idea, making him more aroused. Wishing partly that even those final boundaries were removed.


"He's right behind us," she said, gesturing to the figure of Duncan even now dodging crowds to catch up."


"Then let's enter quickly by all means."


Raven lifted her hand in a regal motion to help her up the steps. The frizz lights off with the exhibit powered down, the dark shadows sucked them in as they breached the building.


He extracted something from a pocket, twisted the object. Light bounced out form the thin wand-like tech. A soft muted glow to it, like miniature packaged sunshine, it threw the stark lines of the handsome harlequin into relief.


"If you want him frustrated in the hunt, darling," she said, "we need to go further inside."


Raven led the way. They negotiated the obstacles, unstable floors that still swayed back and forth as you crossed, a jungle's worth of hanging ropes drizzling down around their torsos as they pushed through tunnels, the wind machine that pummeled their bodies as they passed, not deactivated after all with the closure of the attraction.


After the bulk of the hurdles they found a panel off the side corridor and Raven stopped to open it and adjust some settings. "This will buy us time, keep Duncan from coming upon us too soon."


As they moved on Vivi heard the hum of the obstacle settings increase. Her intrepid and talented boy would be leaping left and right to dodge the surprises flying out at him. But the chase would build the edge in him she required. Time to deal with what she'd ignored too long. He deserved as much.


They hit the corridor of mirrors, the maze like pathways leading guests in circles with hundreds of images, twisted and true sized, bouncing back at them as they passed. The lights still worked in this section, dimmed but enough to make their path clear. She was out of breath, the pace Raven kept just under a full run.


Mid corridor of glass, he stopped and spun, grabbing her around the middle and pressing her into the smooth mirrored surface. The hard muscle underneath his clothing set her blood to simmer as she rested her hands at his slim hips, tilted in her groin to enjoy the feel of long, thick cock at her folds. She slid her knee between his thighs, nudging it upward to compress his testicles. An obliging groan left his lips.


"Lovely," he added.


His lips inches away, it was hard to focus on much beyond the slow, sexy smile of his. "Now that you have me just where I want you," she said, "what do you intend?"


He tilted his head, lips hovering closer. "A contract for the three of us."


Her fingers skimmed up his body, snaked in front of his arms and shoulders and kept going until both hands were twined in the bottom of his hair, digging into the dark silky strands tucked into a queue but even now unraveling as she pulled it taut. "Why is it worth my while, Raven? You are a gorgeous man, but not my type."


Yes, she appreciated his body, but if locked too long in a room with him she suspected they'd end up killing one another.


In answer he raised a hand to caress her nipple with a light brush of thumb. She shuddered with the sensual drag of pad over her pointed tip. His fingers pinched, caught the nub elongating with his attention. Held it captive. "I've seen your passion together. Your love. It's breathtaking even in the few moments you snatch together. And I like to increase joy. I'm a clown after all. You can treat me as one of precious blades, the excitement and danger of an edge pressed so gently against the texture of your relationship. Or like another whip to use to heighten the tension for your poor boy." His eyebrows quirked. "Of course, it won't go amiss if you'd care to let me taste your merchandise apart from this play. Fucking you would be worth it indeed."


She leaned into him fast and caught his lip between her teeth. Bit hard.


He barely flinched.


"Behave. Such a tough Master, Raven. You say you want me, but you must be dying to get inside Duncan's ass to think of approaching me. What Dom would lower himself to the level of another's tool?"


"You've caught me out, my dear. I do indeed get off on swooping in on the wings implied by my name to save the day. Fix any problem. Savior complex. But am I wrong about your love for Duncan or the difficulty of balancing work and ambition?"


Her skin drew tight as the corners of her mouth slid down. "Perhaps not."


"You could always choose to cut him loose. Let him find another who can devote the energy. He is not low maintenance."


The rage that funneled up from her gut had her tightening the fingers in his hair, almost yanking. "Never."


"Why?"


"Cut the shit, Raven. You understand how it works and I don't appreciate the manipulation. We're together because we fit. He understands my drive. Daughter of a Cirque family, my father trying all my life to bully me into submission and offering no center in return. Antithetical to every instinct in me. I'm a Domme because I was born that way and it calms the chaos of that traveling life and reminds me of my worth. And Duncan is my home. And he needs one too. He's insecure about his worth. Needs my hand my love to remind him. His rubbish of a mother never gave him the time of day so he doubts himself. It makes him driven. My demands, my attention brings him peace. I love and he is everything." She never refused a challenge or feared to tell the truth. Even personal ones. Yes, it was time for a serious change in their lives.


In quick response Raven grabbed her arm and pinned it to the mirror. His fingers circled her wrist. A living manacle. "I understand the importance of home, Vivi. And what you give each other. Just as much as you. All of us who wander for a living understand how precious it is. I don't ask for this lightly as entertainment. I'll prove myself if you give me a chance. How can showing him he deserves even more attention be wrong?"


Both their breasts ran fast, as skin to skin she kept his gaze and tried to find the truth in it.


"Give me the chance. I respect you and your sub. I envy what you have."


She hesitated. Hated the hesitation, so unlike her.


"Take the risk, lovely Mistress of Knives. A contract, for one night. Let me prove my intentions and my skill."


Footsteps grew louder, running toward them. Time was up. "He's coming."


"Please, Vivi."


Beneath the contradiction of the harlequin gaze she saw a burning need of his own, a solemnity completely at odds with his guise.


She made her decision. "Show me," she said.


He smiled. "Come on."


He pulled her father into the hall of mirrors.



To be continued in two weeks.....






Friday, June 25, 2010

Guy Shows This Girly-Girl Loves to Watch!


My name is Paige Tyler and I'm a girly-girl. And yes, I like to watch "guy" shows!

First off, I love watching football, which my hubby says makes me a guy's dream-girl! LOL! In the off-season, I still have to get my fix, which is why I love NFL Live on ESPN. It lets us keep up with our favorite team, as well as the rest of the league all year round! During the season, we also watch all the pre-game shows like Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown. I told you we love football!


Staying on ESPN, I also like SportsCenter, Outside the Lines and Jim Rome is Burning. Speaking of Jim Rome, I'm absolutely hooked on his radio show, too! Yes, I'm a "lady-clone," too. If you know the show, then you know what I'm talking about. His show is the only talk-radio I'll listen to, by the way. Not only is he funny, but he also interviews great guests. Best of all, I get to keep up with what's going on in the world of sports!


Other "guy" shows I like are Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel. I sure as heck wouldn't want to do any of them, but it's fun to watch. We also like Mythbusters. They're also on the Discovery Channel. I don't know why, but I find them really hilarious.


Now, over to the National Geographic Channel. Factory Floor and Ultimate Factories are both fun shows, especially if you're like me and you think the way things are made is really cool! My favorite show on there, though (besides Dog Whisperer, which isn't really a "guy" show, but an "everyone" show,) is World's Toughest Fixes. My hubby teases me and says it's because I like the host, Riley, and while he is a great host and very funny, I really love watching all the cool and, in my book, crazy stuff they have to do to fix things. Since Riley is a rigger, all the stuff they fix is up high, Really, really high.


Okay, so those are the "guy" shows I like to watch. Do you have any you're hooked on?



*hugs*
Paige


"Stories so hot, they'll make your cheeks blush!"


http://www.paigetylertheauthor.com/

http://paigetylertheauthor.blogspot.com/

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Prefer Pronouns


I picked up an oldie from my keeper shelf the other day, ready to settle down with an old friend, but I just couldn’t get into the book. The problem? The author kept using the character’s names multiple times in one paragraph, even when those characters are the only two people in the room.

I know this is a writing style. I also know it didn’t bother me one bit before I started writing. Unfortunately, knowing these things didn’t allow me to get into the book. It distracts me from the story by distancing me from the characters.

Here’s what I mean. I’ll use one of my sex scenes from Stray Lovers that actually shows how sexy and personal saying and hearing names during sex can be. You be the judge of which version is sexier.

Here’s the original:


He couldn’t help saying her name again, groaning it as he covered her, aligning his cock for entrance into that warm wet haven. Then he kissed her and pressed between her legs, pushing deep with no barrier between them.

They both cried out at the exquisite moment of penetration. He framed her face with his hands and looked directly into those blue eyes so heavy with desire. “This is the moment I’ll remember most, Janie. I’m never going to forget how it feels to be inside you and I’m never going to stop wanting it, no matter how far away we are from each other.”

It was risky but it was the truth and it needed to be said. He was leaving but he was not going to leave behind any impression that this wasn’t making love. So he’d said it but—aah god—he couldn’t give her any time to respond. He already felt the tingle at the base of his spine, the hot rush as he pushed deeper, retreated, then pushed deeper still. He had zero control, crashing into her again and again, feeling his chest vibrate with animalistic sounds he barely heard.

Any hope of holding off was over the second she raised her palm to his cheek and whispered his name. The hot rush roared to an explosion as he came, barely slowing in time to register it when she tightened around him and cried out with her own orgasm.

Now came the reckoning for his earlier words. The minute he felt able to, he began to lift his weight off her.

“Wait,” Jane said, wrapping her arms around his neck. “Don’t leave yet.”

“I’m here.”

He buried his face in the crook of her neck and stayed right where he was. For a second he let himself believe she didn’t just mean staying inside her, that she wanted him to stay in her life too. Hope filled him, made his cock twitch to life again, which proved the wrong brain was at work. He was the one leaving.

Now here’s the version in the constant name style:

Marcus couldn’t help saying her name again, groaning it as he covered her, aligning his cock for entrance into that warm wet haven. Then Marcus kissed her and pressed between Jane’s legs, pushing deep with no barrier between them.

They both cried out at the exquisite moment of penetration. Marcus framed Jane’s face with his hands and looked directly into those blue eyes so heavy with desire. “This is the moment I’ll remember most, Janie. I’m never going to forget how it feels to be inside you and I’m never going to stop wanting it, no matter how far away we are from each other.”

It was risky but it was the truth and it needed to be said. Marcus was leaving but he was not going to leave behind any impression that this wasn’t making love. So he’d said it but—aah god—he couldn’t give Jane any time to respond. Marcus already felt the tingle at the base of his spine, the hot rush as he pushed deeper, retreated, then pushed deeper still. He had zero control, crashing into Jane again and again, feeling his chest vibrate with animalistic sounds he barely heard.

Any hope of holding off was over the second Jane raised her palm to his cheek and whispered Marcus’s name. The hot rush roared to an explosion as Marcus came, barely slowing in time to register it when Jane tightened around him and cried out with her own orgasm.

Now came the reckoning for his earlier words. The minute he felt able to, Marcus began to lift his weight off her.

“Wait,” Jane said, wrapping her arms around Marcus’s neck. “Don’t leave yet.”

“I’m here.”

Marcus buried his face in the crook of Jane’s neck and stayed right where he was. For a second he let himself believe Jane didn’t just mean staying inside her, that she wanted him to stay in her life too. Hope filled him, made his cock twitch to life again, which proved the wrong brain was at work. Marcus was the one leaving.

Which version do you like better? Let the comments begin.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jina's Venice Videos: Jina takes you on a tour of Hotel Saturnia



I was living in an enchanted land when I was invited to Venice by La Biennale Arts Festival, especially in my hotel.

(Last week, I took you on a tour of my room at the Hotel Saturnia.)

Wandering through the halls of the Hotel Saturnia was like stepping back in time with all the beautiful artifacts, paintings and furniture.




But it isn’t a stuffy place where you’re afraid to laugh or sink down into the comfortable couches in the drawing rooms and take your shoes off. Everyone is friendly and the staff goes out of their way to make sure your stay is a memorable one.

The hotel is a cool, quiet refuge from all the hustle and bustle going on outside in the streets where I could sit in the elegant, comfortable lobby--



--and gather my thoughts before venturing outside and exploring Venice.

Check out the poster above advertising the Dance Festival I participated in while I was in Venice--I was on a panel discussing geisha, Japanese culture and dance.

I also signed copies of Passioni di un geisha (The Blonde Geisha) afterward!

The Hotel Saturnia also has a public room with Internet access if you can’t resist checking your email.

This charming hotel is conveniently located a short walk away from the Piazza San Marco as well as shopping and restaurants. I highly recommend Hotel Saturnia as the place to stay when you’re in Venice.

Tour of Hotel Saturnia, Venice, Italy Video:



Venice, Italy: Hotel Saturnia Tour - Free videos are just a click away


Coming up in my next Venice Video: Piazza San Marco and Gondolas

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monsters are Hot!


Today we welcome the fabulous Cynthia Eden to the Naughty Chicks clubhouse. Cynthia isn't just a terrific author, but those of us who have met her in person know she is a real sweetheart too.

Thanks so much to the Naughty Chicks for inviting me over today! It’s great to be here…and to be talking about monsters.

You see, I think monsters are hot. That may sound wrong, but it’s true. I love wolf shifters. Sure, they can get a bit furry, but they’re tough, they’re wild, they’re animalistic…and sexy.

And vamps…oh, yeah, they have a bit of a neck fetish, but they’re eternally young, eternally strong, and they have that whole I-Can-Mesmerize-You-With-My-Eyes thing happening. Sensual!!

Lately, another monster hero is on the rise in paranormal romances…the demon hero. Come on, can you get a better bad boy? I don’t know if it gets much badder than a demon.

I love writing and reading about these paranormal characters. They’re more than men. They’re stronger, more dangerous, and often (to me!) hotter. Come on…don’t you love the idea of an all-powerful vamp hero being at your beck and call? Or isn’t the idea of having a sexy shifter to yourself pretty tempting?

I’ve had a crush on monsters for years. I realized I had a problem early on. When I saw my first vamp movie, I didn’t root for the “hero”—no, I wanted my vamp to get his girl and to live (eternally) happily ever after. Didn’t happen in that movie, unfortunately, but these days, I make sure I always give my supernaturals their happy endings. After all, those hot monsters need love, too!

So I say bring on those monsters!!

But how do you feel about the monsters? Love ‘em? Have a particular favorite? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. One commenter will win a copy of I’LL BE SLAYING YOU, my very soon-to-be released (on June 29) paranormal romance. And, yes, in I’LL BE SLAYING YOU, a hot monster will get a happy ending.

Award-winning author Cynthia Eden writes paranormal romances and romantic suspense novels. She is currently very busy writing her stories for Grand Central Publishing and Kensington Brava.

She has always wanted to write (don’t most authors say that?), and particularly enjoys creating stories about monsters–vampires, werewolves, and even the real-life monsters that populate her romantic suspense stories.

(Back in the day…) Cynthia graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Alabama where she studied Sociology (because people interest her) and Communication (because she likes to write about said people). Cynthia has worked as a college admissions counselor, a teacher, and as an editor. But now, Cynthia is thrilled to be spending her days making up stories.

***Update - winner drawn for Cynthia's contest is MBreakfield. Congratulations!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Medium

I don’t watch a lot of television (who has the effing time?) but one of my favorite television shows is Medium. I’ll be honest, I haven’t watched it this year b/c well, like I said, time, time, time. I’ll probably get caught up through Netflix next year.



I watch it for a few reasons. 1. The paranormal aspect. 2. Patricia Arquette. I have a major girl crush on her. And that will likely be a blog for another time… like two weeks from now. 3. I love the characterization and I absolutely love the relationship between the married couple on the show (Joe and Allison). If you don’t watch the show, it’s about a woman with psychic abilities who works for the District Attorney (somewhere in Arizona). She’s a wife and mother of three children and even though she’s psychic, they still struggle with bills and real life.



Obviously I’m a fan of romance and everything it entails. Most of the romances I read involve a couple just getting to know one another, or even if they have a past, they’re starting fresh because of some outside force trying to keep them apart. Or, an outside force is determined to kill one of them, thus pushing them together against their will (I read a lot of romantic suspense). Sure, they fight along the way and usually butt heads, but everything about their relationship and even their arguing is new and fresh.



I like that Medium shows a couple that’s been married for at least 16 years (the age of their oldest daughter), fight like cats and dogs sometimes about the same things, but still make up like adults. There’s such a realism to their relationship it’s refreshing.



Can anyone recommend any romances that involve couples who have been married for a handful of years? (Or a good movie involving Patricia Arquette?) ;)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Whatcha readin'?

by Cara McKenna



I've had a crazy June so far, writing-wise. May I vent? Why thank you!

In the past two weeks I've accepted a new erotica contract with Ellora's Cave, added a whole new genre to my repertoire with my first romance novel sale to Samhain, lived through another release day, fielded edits and paperwork on four contracted novellas, redesigned my website, and received a completely unexpected and terrifying phone call which may or may not equal an opportunity too exciting to even mention by name, lest I jinx it.

Gah!

So needless to say, I'm surrounded by books-to-be, and by books-which-may-one-day-be. Let's get away from that and talk about books that actually exist, now! What's everybody reading? What's on your summer to-read list? I don't care if it's erotica or romance or a tractor manual or the back of a box of cereal, so long as I don't have to edit it.

Oh and if anybody else is on Goodreads, feel free to add me as a friend and I promise I'll follow you back…unless you're a spambot. Sorry, spambots.

Anyhow, I'll start. I tend to stray outside my own genre quite a bit, reading only a couple eroticas and romances a month, the rest a grab-bag. My head's so full of passion and conflict and longing from writing the stuff, I need to venture out into the larger literary world and refresh my brain with change. Our genres aren't stale, but my skull is when I forget to air it out.

A couple weeks ago I finally read a book I've been meaning to for years—Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. So good, so gruesome. I rather unwisely followed it by reading The Lovely Bones, (a couple years after everybody else on Earth read it, but oh well). Two books about brutal murders back to back wasn't the most cheerful of decisions, but my GOD, Alice Sebold is such an awesome writer. If you're one of the three people on the planet who still who haven't read The Lovely Bones, I can't recommend it enough. Funny and heartbreaking and frank and beautiful, everything I want in a book.

Most recently I finished a memoir by Nancy Makin, called 703. It was all about the author's descent into depression and rise to 703 pounds, and how she survived it all. Really enjoyable—very candid and uplifting, not sensationalist, or a how-to diet book disguised as a memoir. Just a real person's fascinating story.

Next up on my bedside pile is Chuck Palahniuk's Pygmy. Oh, Chuck, I just can't quit you. I don't always love his books, but neither can I seem to stay away from them. I always want to see how he's going to surprise me this time. When I'm done with that I want to read a book my husband took out—The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr. It's a nonfiction title about how the internet has affected our brains, our attention spans, the way we process information. I love stuff like that—books and documentaries about how the media is melting our kids' heads, about how industrialized food production is making us all obese, how celebrity obsession has robbed humanity of its sense of personal value and spirituality…my own little slow-motion Apocalypse. Morbid? Glib? Disheartening? Awesome. Send it my way.

So how about you all? What are you reading, what did you just finish, what's on your summer reading list? Also, where are you reading? Beach chair, recliner, porch swing, bath tub, sitting in the car, waiting to pick up the kid / husband / parent / dog? And why are you reading? For research, escape, relaxation, homework? To stay up to date with the newest releases? If it's about reading, tell me!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Jina's Venice Videos: Hotel Saturnia: Jina’s room



Today’s Venice Video Episode: I take you on a tour of my room at the Hotel Saturnia



Last week I took you on my private boat taxi to the Hotel Saturnia so now it's time to unpack and relax!



What a charming hotel this is. I had an elegant room with its own frig, a built-in plasma TV and a shower in the bath that cascades out of the ceiling like a waterfall. Wait until you see it in the video. You can imagine having all kinds of sexy scenes with your hero under this waterfall!







Come to think of it, I do have a waterfall sex scene in "The Blonde Samurai"--in Japan!


"He shed his kimono and took my hand and together we bathed nude under the crashing waterfall, our wet bodies entwined, my nipples puckering into hard points when Shintaro splashed cold water on me, laughing, tempting me to do the same and shower him..."


When I was able to tear myself away from this sexy, hot shower, I especially enjoyed the lovely view of the courtyard. In the mornings I could hear the church bells and the birds singing in tandem. Bellisimo.




The food at the Hotel Saturnia is outstanding. Every morning until 10:30 a.m. they have a buffet breakfast included with the room that features delicious, fluffy scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, croissants, rolls, fresh fruit, cakes, orange juice and coffee. You need such hearty fare to get you going because in Venice you walk everywhere.

The hotel staff speaks excellent English and is committed to making your stay comfortable. Housekeeping is there when you need them and everyone always has a smile and a “Buongiorno” for you everywhere you go in the hotel.


I highly recommend the Hotel Saturnia and intend to return…

Here is my Venice Video of my room at Hotel Saturnia!



Venice, Italy: Hotel Saturnia Jina's Room



Coming up in my next Venice video: I take you on a personal tour of the elegant Hotel Saturnia.



Share




Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It's Just an Honor to be Nominated...Yeah, Riiiight!





Naughty Author Chick of the Week, huh?

I mean, no...that wasn't necessary...really...I can't

Forget that! Yay me!! Gimmee that title! LOL!

Last week I received a contract offer on my new manuscript, and after going, Oh my God! Oh my God! for a couple of hours I finally calmed down to, I can't believe it! I can't believe it! So four days later I'm finally a believer but still so excited. Let me tell you why...

When I turned this manuscript in about three months ago it was a masterpiece! A piece de resis..uh, a peace de reasist...shoot, it was perfect! It contained all the elements of a best selling novel. Suspense. Romance. Twisted killer. Shocking ending. Hot sex. What more could anyone want in a book right? Right.

Wrong.

Revise and resubmit. R & R. And I don't mean in a relaxation-sunshine-and-sands kind of way. More like an I'm-a-flaming-failure-and-my-editor-doesn't-like-my-flash-in-the-pan-a** way. Okay, yes. I had a moment. And it didn't help that she had a laundry list of what I needed to revise if I chose to resubmit the book. I felt like someone gagged me with a spoon and a rusty butter knife. Alright, so I'm a drama queen but at that moment I wanted to just curl up and cry! All that rolled through my head like a stinking subliminal message was she didn't like it! I poured my heart and soul into that manuscript and she didn't like it. I called myself everything from a one-hit wonder to a no talent has-been...after one book! See, I had sold my first book right away and I expected the second--since it was much better, in my humble opinion--to do the same. And I was devastated that when she rejected the story, she rejected me.

My next step? (After the junk food binge that is...)

I pulled on my big girl panties, took the reality slap like a champ and started revising. I recognized that I could decide to take my ball and go home like a spoiled brat or I could dig in and become a true author. First I had to realize and accept that she did not reject me or my story. My editor actually listed several things she liked and helped me out by itemizing what didn't work. Going in I knew what I needed to rework, shore up and get rid of. Most importantly, though, none of her suggestions took away from the heart of the story. I sheared down over half the word count, eliminated a few characters and kinked up my hero. By the time I hit send to my editor I had an even better book. It was cleaner, faster-paced, sexier and solid. My "masterpiece" had evolved into a kick a** novel!

When I received that offer it was more than a contract. It was a raised fist! A whoo-hoo! A you-go-girl!! Because I became a true author with this book. I grew up. And me and my big girl drawers are feeling just fine!




Monday, June 14, 2010

SLAVE TO THE CIRCUS Part Three


As promised, below is the third installment to my serial BDSM menage futuristic short story, SLAVE TO THE CIRCUS. Here's the link to my last blog with the second part of the tale if you care to catch up:
Otherwise, here it goes. And remember that this is an unedited draft.
SLAVE TO THE CIRCUS Part Three by Michelle Polaris:
The cued music warning a transition in the show leaked from the speakers. Vivi leaned over and covered Duncan's lips with a fierce press. He opened to her. Thrust back his tongue to mark her as much as she did him. He wanted her to feel his claim, along with his irritation at this asshole. But no matter what, the kiss was a wet promise as her fingers tightened in the hair she'd stroked, pulled at the strands, a pledge for later. She tore away her mouth, dragged it over to his earlobe and bit down. The pain reassured him.
Drugged him.
"I want to fuck you, Mistress. It's all for you. Every pledge of love and my protection."
She murmured, "Love you, pet. Just let me finish here and I promise my full attention."
His skin itched with her presence. He reached out and brushed a calloused palm down her hip, light to avoid smearing the body paint. He was dying to suckle her breasts, take those pointed tips and elongate them farther with suction and tongue. If she'd let him. Her lips tilted in a smile. Almost like she knew his thoughts. He loved that smile.
"Pietre," she called to her brother. His head popped up and at her nod he stepped onto the target platform, flattening his back against the wood backdrop and sliding his wrists and ankles into the free hanging cuffs. They were more reminders for the target to remain still than devices to achieve it. Their loops hung too loose to really restrain. And Vivi knew enough about restraints to use them when she needed. The platform still sat dark in the shadows waiting for its turn in the spotlight.
Andreil's big top voice called to the alien crowd. Alerting them to the next performance. Vivi moved out into the ring near her gear to the display of gleaming, sharp metal set on a rack. Although the edges of her weapons were dull enough for her to switch grips with no threat of harming herself, the tips were lethal. The blades were each made of one long piece of metal, the handle not separate as in other knives. Made for better balance and durability. And Vivi used her knives a lot, so they needed to last.
"Honored guests, next for your consideration I present to you our beautiful and dangerous Mistress of Knives."
The spotlights shot over from Andreil to Vivi where she turned to the audience with a flourish. No overdone showmanship for her, but gestures that said to everyone she was real and potent and powerful. That she belonged where she stood and no one should forget it.
The crowd responded. It always did. She was gorgeous, her body was gorgeous, her allure was addicting, and any normal male of any species wanted to fuck her, even those who didn't like the company of women as a rule.
Movement at the corner of his eye distracted his attention away from her. As it must have distracted Vivi herself. He pivoted, still on his knees, in time to see Raven, who'd slipped away without notice, hand Pietre off the platform with a whisper and a clap of hand to his shoulder. In time to watch Raven step onto the platform and snake his own wrists and ankles through the loops, grasp the hand grips and rest his soles on the footrests, leaving his body spread.
His smirk at Vivi was a dare. It was too late to make him move without disrupting the show or causing commotion. What the fuck did he think he was doing? Duncan rose, clenched his muscles to keep from charging over to the harlequin.
Vivi frowned, but never lost her composure or a beat as her hands reached unerringly over to the first half-dozen knives she'd use in the act. The music built anticipation in the crowd as she tipped her head almost infinitesimally toward Raven. Acknowledging his challenge.
Duncan blinked and the knives went singing. Through the air with such quick succession all six were thrown before he even registered her intent.
Thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk into the woodwork. Raven hadn't flinched once, the neat outline of his limbs and torso framed by the sharp metal. Whisper close.
Vivi smiled. Reached for more knives and the leather blindfold mask she used. Over her eyes it went. Before she turned back assuredly toward her target. Lifted her arm.
The audience sucked in breath almost as one, in anticipation of the next second.
Duncan's chest tightened, a spasm almost like a seizure. His reaction the same every time he watched her throw despite knowledge of her skill.
She launched.
Lethal, accurate grace made real.
Thunk, the last of them ended underneath Raven's groin, a hairsbreadth from his balls and cock so prominently displayed. The son of a bitch was still erect from earlier. Masochist maybe despite all of his insistence of his Master status.
Duncan watched the man purse his lips and blow Vivi a kiss after she removed her blindfold. The crowd cheered, loving the teasing play between them.
His Mistress tilted her head, considering the black and white painted man.
She moved to her weapons stand and the small console embedded on its side. She flipped the switch. Duncan knew what came next and hoped it surprised the clown. But nothing seemed to bother him as his platform began to slowly spin, tipping him around on his head and back down. He hung on, Duncan watching him sink his ankles farther into the loops to keep his legs gripping the stand, fists squeezing harder around the handholds.
The music had quieted, purposefully allowing the sound of the motor rotating the stand to float into the crowd. Vivi kept it loud intentionally. It heightened the drama, a laboring noise that brought to mind a struggle.
Vivi bowed dramatically to her symbolic captive caught on her wheel of death. She took up more knives. Turned her back to the device.
Indrawn breaths turned to gasps of fear.
Cheeky asshole, Raven looked almost relaxed up there. Letting the drone of the machine and the smooth motion glide him into a seeming meditative calm.
Vivi corrected her stance, closed her eyes and started to listen the way Duncan knew she did to take her aim.
She drew in a deep inhalation and...
Elegantly tossed her arms up and behind, hands releasing her blades, over the shoulders one after the other.
Deep reverberation in the wood in fast succession.
Perfect.
Empty handed she spun to face Raven. Looked pleased as the motor died away, the stand slowed to stopping upright, and the harlequin blew her another kiss.
She strolled over to the platform to the sound of the audience going crazy. Leisurely, with a jaunt in her gait that reminded him too much of his cats considering their next meal. Except lust was in her eyes as well as her predator, and Duncan's gut dropped into free fall. What was going on?
She grabbed the handles of her knives with a slow grip. Jerking each one clear of the wood as she stared into Raven's eyes. Standing close. Her crisp movements, his eerie stillness as he met her gaze, building an intensity Duncan couldn't look away from. The tension was an aphrodisiac as much as he wanted the other man out of the way. Raven better not hurt her.
She dropped one blade to Raven's chest, used the sharp tipped end to trace a light design over the cloth of his shirt, teasing movement, circling his nipples, with her tongue darting out as she did it to lick her lips. It hardened Duncan's own nipples with the sight.
The clown leaned closer, ignoring the threat of the blade, and whispered something after which she pulled away the knife and threw her head back with another laugh.
Fuck!
When the last blade was out she retreated to give him room to get off the stand. He unwound his wrists and ankles from the straps and gracefully dismounted.
Raven looked beyond Vivi to where Duncan waited. The harlequin raised his voice just loud enough to be heard. "I think it's time to teach your sub how to play, Mistress." His gaze chained Duncan's. A still moment expanded out, filling the air, pausing even the breakneck thud in Duncan's chest. And Raven sent him a slow wink.
Then, time sped up again to beyond normal. Duncan watched the harlequin step into Vivi, mumble more deep, lilting words, and suddenly dip his body.
Bending down to her middle, he swept her up, threw her over his shoulder in a carry, spared one last look at Duncan, and ran with her out of the tent. Kidnapping his Mistress.
Vivi laughing with glee all the way.
(excerpt end)
Stay tuned for Part Four two weeks from today.
Michelle

One of those Mornings


When you're a writer, you have about a million and a half details all running around your head. From an idea for your next bit of dialogue to that blog interview you owe site X by tomorrow, to the promo materials you're debating ordering, to whether you liked the close of your last chapter because, really, that final bit of tension wimped out between your characters.
One detail is my upcoming release of MAGICIAN'S CHAINS this Wednesday the 16th. I am psyched, but my mind is cluttered. And while I will wait to post my official announcement next time I blog here, that will be almost two weeks after the release so I thought I'd give an advance shout now. I'll post the blurb below.
But most of all I wanted to throw up this announcement with my apologies for not posting more of my circus story, SLAVE TO THE CIRCUS this morning. I promise to get some more up later today. So see, you get double Polaris posts today. Truly a cause to celebrate. What more do you need on a Monday?
Blurb:
Jesse and Savin shared one strange, hot kiss and even stranger mystical connection over a decade ago. Now reunited at a BDSM-flavored erotic magic show in Las Vegas, Jesse finds Savin performing as the Dominant magician. He's one sexy, powerful package, and Jesse fights the call to expose himself to Savin, and give up body, soul and heart. But dark fae nightmares prophesy a more dangerous magic than stage tricks at work as their lives collide.
Jesse has given up on his dreams after a personal tragedy. Savin's only dream is to be human, although he is not. Drawn to one another, the men enter into a weekend Master/slave contract. In Savin's chains, Jesse submits, letting loose destructive passion and grief. Both resist the craving to make their bond permanent, sure that if they do they place one another in jeopardy. If they cannot accept the magic they create together and their joined destinies, the survival of two worlds will be at stake.
Enough to want to make you buy it, yes? I hope so. I promise these guys and their struggle are hot and delicious.
Later chick readers,
Michelle

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Promotion without losing your mind, money and soul


You know you have to do it. If readers aren’t aware of your book’s existence, they aren’t going to buy it. If you don’t know that, you must be dreaming or have a huge fan base to buy your books and do all the selling for you by word of mouth. Yeah, that doesn’t usually happen. Even if you’re with a large publishing house, you’ll be expected to make the occasional public appearance. The bottom line is: if your books don’t sell well, your publisher might not love you anymore. If your publisher doesn’t love you anymore, someone else’s books will be published instead of yours. It’s not like they’ll go under without you or that there aren’t several other authors waiting to step into your shoes. Unless you’re a big deal and you’re publisher loves you for your name, alone, you need to promote your books.

Now, what about the new or relatively unknown author? They need to promote their books even harder. Their budget for promotion may be very limited so they have to find venues that are free or very inexpensive—mainly on the Internet. Perhaps that’s why chat loops, blogs, ezines, and review sites are springing up in record numbers. New authors are some of the most Internet promo savvy authors out there—because they have to be.

I'm not new, but I'm new to the mainstream marketplace. People know me for my erotic romance, but many reviewers and bloggers out there have never heard of me. So...I reintroduced myself on my website: http://www.ashlynchase.com, created a 'brand' literally--I have my own logo...see middle of webpage.

Knowing that, let’s move on to the survival aspect. I went to a workshop given by Vicki Lewis Thompson on promoting according to your personality. If you’re an extrovert, lucky you! Promoting your books in person will be easy. People will automatically gravitate to you and they’ll even forgive you if you act like your own biggest fan. And, by the way, you have to be when promoting your work. If that’s extremely uncomfortable for you, it might be easier to hire a good publicist, pay for advertising, and give loads of promos to venues willing and anxious to distribute them for you.

Most authors dread promotion. In my typical overly honest and irreverent way, I’ve even referred to it as “pimping” my book. But I have a secret. When I’m having fun, it isn’t work. ‘Playing’ with readers online is fun for me because I can let my outrageous personality shine through and readers have a blast. Ultimately, they look at my website and buy my books—at lease I hope so. I’m sure there are those people who think I’m a lunatic and run the other way. Oh well. They’re no fun, anyway. So, there’s my secret in a nutshell. Promotion can and should be fun.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lori Foster Get Together!



We went to the Lori Foster Get Together in West Chester, Ohio this past weekend, and it was awesome, as always! Lori and Dianne do a fantastic job of putting together the event and making it fun! In addition to the pizza party(my hubby's favorite part!), pirate party, book signing, workshops and oodles of delicious desserts like the decadent chocolate mousse cake at the Saturday night dinner, there are lots and lots of authors, readers and industry professionals to hang out with! We got to catch up with some of the people we'd met in previous years, like Moni Draper, Anne Rainey, Natasha Moore, Barbara Vey, Barb Ledbetter, Bookstore Deb, Deb S. and Pam M., as well as got to meet some new friends like Ashlyn Chase, Nina Pierce, Kealie Shay, Renee Vincent, Renee Bagby, Kaenar Langford, Lacey Alexander and Misa Ramirez. It's always so nice to meet people I talk to online and put a face to a name!


Can't wait until next time!


*hugs*
Paige


"Stories so hot, they'll make your cheeks blush!"


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Inspiration and Imagination = Books


(This is the actual pic I used as my inspiration for Kevin Springer in Winters' Thaw. Thanks to Ashlyn Chase and her yahoo group, ashlynsnewbestfriends.)

Have you ever had a "connection" with a complete stranger, or even someone you see on a routine basis, but never outside of that venue? I'm talking about that cute guy behind the counter at the store, a businessman at the airport, a client at the office, an actor, pics in a magazine. These are harmless thoughts, or even flirtations that are perfectly normal.

Yes, it's perfectly normal to sin in your mind.

Jimmy Carter had that right, oh so long ago! Um, I heard his quote in reruns when I was a kid, I swear.

So here's the thing, and I've said this before: writing erotica is the best job in the world because we get to live out these scenarios over and over again, going as far as our imaginations will take us. And then some.

Do I get inspiration from my DH? Oh yeah, you betcha. He's the hero of all heroes. There's a piece of him in every single hero I come up with, no matter where the idea is born, or who my muse uses to wake my imagination.

It's all book fodder.