Guest Blog: AP von K’ORY

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The Short History of Chauvinism

By A P von K’Ory

Simon Thomas wrote a piece for the OED that caught my interest. It was about chauvinism. Now, that rings a bell, even without the ‘male’ preceding the noun. There’s been a whole lot of public discussion since the #MeToo movement. And the staggering public discourse around sexism, bigotry, and prejudice. Thomas brought the word chauvinism into my focus.

Most of us have heard the term used in the phrase male chauvinism, which means ‘male prejudice against women; the belief that men are superior in terms of ability, intelligence,’ and all the rest of it. According to research, the prevalence of this opinion dates back to the 1930s. There’s no need to explain the male bit. But what about the chauvinism?

Soldiering on

Who would have thought soldiers came into this, especially in an age where we have female soldiers? But  it all began, according to Thomas,  with one Nicolas Chauvin of Rochefort. Fighting in the time of Napoleon on the side of France, Chauvin’s one major disadvantage was the soldier’s nonexistence. On the other hand, his demonstrative patriotism and loyalty were the stuff of legend, and his name was used to celebrate as well as ridicule extreme patriotism, particularly as related to warfare. Indeed, the earliest sense in the OED is ‘exaggerated patriotism of a bellicose sort; blind enthusiasm for national glory or military ascendancy’. The English equivalent is jingoism, which was originally a nickname for those who supported the policy of Lord Beaconsfield in sending a British fleet into Turkish waters to resist the advance of Russia in 1878.

Here might be an idea for the historical novelists among us.

After the fall of Napoleon, the term – in the French versions chauvinisme – was widely applied to ridicule old soldiers of the Empire (who chiefly professed heightened admiration for all Napoleon said and did). Chauvin was popularized in the Cogniard brothers’ vaudeville La Cocarde Tricolor – translating as ‘the tricolour cockade’ – where tricolour is the French flag with its three bands of colour that most of us have heard of and seen, especially when it comes to football. The cockade is ‘a rosette or knot of ribbons worn in a hat as a badge of office, or as part of a livery’. A right royal show, by the sounds of it.

Broadening the definition

While ‘excessive or aggressive patriotism’ is still in use as a sense of chauvinism, it has also become used in the sense of ‘excessive or prejudiced support for one’s own cause, group, or sex’. So how did the broadening change occur? Well, the first use of chauvinism dates to 1870, and the broadening sense followed by 1955. It frequently appeared/appears with a defining adjective – such as cultural or scientific. Yet male became far and away the most connotative adjective.

Familiar with male chauvinist pig, anyone? Quite what the pig did to deserve this connotation is unclear, but the noun (again, for ‘a man who believes that men are superior to women’) emerged around 1970. Perhaps surprisingly, the earliest use of the term comes from Playboy (1970). The magazine – euphemistically labelled ‘an American men’s lifestyle and entertainment magazine’ by Wikipedia – isn’t always noted for its progressive views on feminism. Perhaps the Playboy quotation in which the term appears – ‘Up Against the Wall Male Chauvinist Pig!’ – isn’t the rallying cry for equality that it might seem, out of context.

Things have, therefore, come full circle. While chauvinism started life with a very specific application, it gradually grew broader, and then narrowed again. There are still a few applications that the noun chauvinist can have, but in isolation, it’s a pretty safe bet that it’s being used to suggest that somebody is a misogynist.

Another word which I plan to have a closer look at, as a writer of ©Sophisterotica, where my female MCs aren’t involved with ‘damaged’ men to save. Rather, the men may well be the saviours of strong, rebellious women, damaged or otherwise. Note the double entendre!

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Blurb: Golden Shana: The Chase (Book 1)

An evening at the opera house La Scala in Milan twirled the lives of five people into a web of intrigues, heartaches, human hunts, loss and revenge.

Roman: I never chased after a woman. It was always the other way around. Then I caught a glimpse of the woman I would kneel for, at the opera, and I didn’t even know her name. But I determined to find her if it took me the rest of my life.

Shana: He stood in the room with her. The frisson in the currents freaking between them was as solid as a steel portal. The mutual force of predator and prey blasted its way into her core … her soul … Danger. Keep far away from him.

Marie: Some men were born to rule the world; others were born to ruin it. Roman Alastair Northcott Broughton Castell was born to do both. But she loved him and awaited his baby.

Alyssa: He was the lover she wouldn’t tire of. Roman had something so damned perilous about him he was addictive. Who gets addicted to safe and riskless? Not her.

Grieg/Phoenix: Had His Girl interpreted that Friday night as abuse? He’d only done what she wanted – protection of her cherished innocence.

 

Excerpt from Golden Shana: The Chase (Book 1)

What a difference a day makes… And it hadn’t been a day. It had been an evening in Milan. Brief moments of an evening. I didn’t care about the consequences to whomever. Through my obsession with Svadishana I became aware of the fact that I was a person. A human being, not an almighty god, with all the baggage that comes with being that. I too – eureka! – had a heart pumping white and red corpuscles through my veins. Blood, not icicles.

Was it love I felt for Svadishana? A woman I’d spoken three whiny words – Please call me! – to? Was it more than simple lust and desire? Did I want to possess more than just her body?

Pondering these questions alone was so unlike me. That woman had turned me into an alien even unto my own self. What I felt, my inner voice said, was more than the thrill of the hunt. More than lust, desire, need, passion, the excitement of possession, and subjugation.

Of course all that was part of it. But the basis or the source, the seedbed on which all that sprouted and was growing to full blossom in me, could well be something else.

When I thought of her, saw her image from Milan in my mind, watched how she moved in long smooth strides in YouTube, my brow beaded with sweat. I couldn’t pull my gaze away from the few photos I’d fished out of the Internet. Group photos at a family birthday or the authorized biography of her father. Her movements in a YouTube conference clip were springy and powerful even in their smoothness. She exuded strength all over the place, laughing, talking, gesticulating.

A breath-taking beauty. Such beauty that I dared not believe it at times.

And brains to go with it.

In love or not, I knew what I wanted and Svadishana was the answer. I wanted her and would do anything short of suicide to get her. Who knows – perhaps when it came to that as the only means available, I’d really murder too. I didn’t in the least care about the consequences, as long as they got me to where I wanted to get to.

Svadishana’s arms and knickers and… heart?

What obsession, Roman. Get back to real.

No chance. Real was Svadishana.

 

Blurb: Golden Shana: The Capture (Book 2)

Roman finally gets together with Shana. But he finds himself wedged between three women and the man intent on killing him because of Shana. And there’s the secret of Marie’s unborn baby.

Roman: I wanted to eat all of her. Even within that fortress I longed to erect around her to hold her captive in, to keep her away from men not worthy of the sight of her, I’d devour her.

Shana: Roman was deadly sex. She had no antigenic for immunity against him. Instead she lay there on his bed, in an impossible state of sluttish disarray, holding her breath.

Marie: “So you didn’t bring your rich old cow with you.” The bitch was ten years older than her, years older than Roman himself. Weren’t men supposed to prefer younger women?

Alyssa: She was not going to let Roman treat her like a hole in the air. He started this triangle and she was going to make it equilateral.

Grieg/Phoenix: His philosophy stated that peace was bondage, and war was freedom. His Girl was his territory, and no other man’s.

Excerpt from Golden Shana: The Capture (Book 2)

I picked her up and carried her like a bride. Or a sleeping child. She nuzzled between my neck and shoulder. I kicked the door shut behind us.

We were both ablaze, and I needed to check that, wind it down a notch.

“Like to lie down on the sofa and cuddle till we both slow down a bit?”

“Bed.” Her voice vibrated against my neck.

We left the entrance hall behind us. The flames kept on leaping.

“Overriding my sensible decision?”

“Yes. Bed.” Tremulous once, tremulous twice.

“Just got me, and you want to run away with it.” I bore her past the living room.

“Bed.”

“I’m getting a restraining order on you.” I took the first stair, chest tight again.

She lifted her head off my shoulder and her Huskies sent megawatts to my blues. Unveiled desire. My balls clenched. At this degree I risked coming where I stood with her in my arms. I was tempted to close my eyes and summon my control. For the first time I felt life surge through my veins for a woman, the whole woman, not just sex with her. Again, I experienced that powerful instinct in me to guard and protect her, the fragile and most precious thing in my life. She had a pull on every cell in me. Her masses of loose curls gave warm slaps through my chinos to my hip, sending the sergeant into planning guerrilla warfare for its freedom.

The witch. I was hypnotized. I had to stop climbing the stairs and get my head cleared. She was as necessary to me as the air I breathed, yet she knocked that air straight out of my lungs. Her naked desire was intoxicating. Insanity mingled with reality. I really had her back in my arms. She came to me, came to my home for the first time. And ordered Bed, not a mutual shower. She was the first and only woman to take me to this Newland. She was my perfect balance. I’d fallen hard and didn’t even want to get back up. It happens to the worst of us ingrained rogue playboys.

The Huskies still pinned me in Newland. “Skirting around the deed, are we?”

“Protecting my golden goddess.”

For sheer survival, I broke the lock of our eyes and started up the stairs again.

Blurb: Golden Shana: The Untouchable (Book 3)

Roman doesn’t even want a harem. But the harem relentlessly seeks him. No sooner has Shana left Roman than Grieg/Phoenix is marking time on Roman’s door, out for a war, not a fight, over Shana. And so is Marie, whose pregnancy Roman still keeps a secret.

Roman: I loved owning women. Then I found my woman. But she would never be owned, not even by the gods. She left me. Still, her dangerous admirer and I began wars over her, not merely street fisticuffs.

Shana:  Roman scares me in every way and the fear excites me. I’m brainless in his arms, brainless just from thinking about him. He makes me navigate so many labyrinthine passages and secret doors that I’d never even been aware of before. My body knelt and wept for him. My common sense made me flee from him while I could.

Marie: I sold Roman my heart and soul. Only to realise my body had not been consulted, and was therefore out for war.

Alyssa: I really got all that about Roman. The super-ink indelibility of him, the substance of him that stamped his four-figure-euro Ferragamo Oxfords, the supernatural charisma that rocketed him all the way up there with Lucifer. His square would never fit my round. But hope springs eternal, right?

Grieg: “If I have whoever your girl is, why don’t you simply come over and take me off her or her off me?” Roman had not reacted like a man who had received that damning message. Over the phone, he’d sounded as if he didn’t have a single feather ruffled. Time to start the war.

Excerpt from Golden Shana: The Untouchable (Book 3)

I heard him change the phone to the other ear. “Castell, you’re a kid running a billion-euro crib, you pervert.”

My system actually waged wars for me to jump out of my skin. Control, Castell.

“Oh, yes. I’m about as straight as the U-bend under a sink, fuckwit. So is this the problem? A pissing contest based on having some beef about your wallet being a little anorexic in comparison? Have I got that bracketed?” I heard him swallow again. I decided on a blind knock on that, although for all I knew he was drinking water. “By the way, I’d ease up on the drink. Otherwise you won’t manage to solve the square root of bugger all, let alone remember if you have any other name but Sggirb.”

“I know you right up to your fucking perve room, Castell. I delivered the CD—had the CD delivered – right into your fucking office, practically into your hands. You know nothing about me. So you better watch your smart mouth.”

“Ah, you thought you’d simply storm the Bastille that’s my home and be discreet about it, then slink into my office building and show me the dot over the i that amounts to your balls? You’re right, I know nothing about you. You’re not even in my periphery, private or public.”

“I’m not a ball of yarn to your kitten, so watch your fucking mouth, Castell!”

Just to keep him put off his stroke, “Who would you say has all the tools for annihilation, fuckwit, the kitten or the yarn?”

“You’re lucky I’m—”

“Luck is basically mythical. Reality is called chance. How about we meet?”

He said nothing.

Not good, because now that I was screwing him hard, I needed to keep up the pace. So I said, “You could make it your mud hole or you could haul your arse back here to my city. Then we roll up our sleeves, or whisk off our T-shirts. Then we start doing a little tribute to Muhammad Ali out in the Congo with Joe Frazier.”

He said nothing. I heard him swallow at intervals during the silence. “I’m rapt with attention, fuckwit Sggirb, so let’s have a date and then – to quote your countryman –you are an American – float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”

“You think you’re so fucking cool…” He rumbled the word out long: Coooooollll…

“Oh, I don’t just think it.”

“Just keep your hands off her, Castell. Keep your hands off My Girl!”

“If I have whoever your girl is, why don’t you simply come over and take me off her or her off me?” I paused for a reply, none came. “Or is this the sheep being docile until they get utterly famished?” Another pause. Silence, so I continued, “You sound like you wouldn’t find a clitoris if you were armed with a compass, street map and a fucking NASA telescope.”

“You can’t intimidate me, Castell.”

Which only exposed to me the wound I’d ripped open in him. Time to add chilli.

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BUY LINKS IN KINDLE – Please note that the books are also available in paperbacks:

UK Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Golden-Shana-Chase-von-KOry-ebook/dp/B00WA7M3OC/

UK Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Golden-Shana-Capture-von-KOry-ebook/dp/B06X1DGGMZ/
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Golden-Shana-Untouchable-von-KOry-ebook/dp/B07H1YY28C#reader_1725967073

US Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Golden-Shana-Capture-von-KOry-ebook/dp/B06X1DGGMZ/

US Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Golden-Shana-Untouchable-von-KOry-ebook/dp/B07H1YY28C/

UK Untouchable PB: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Golden-Shana-Untouchable-von-KOry/dp/1725967073

Website http://www.Akinyi-princess.de

Twitter  https://www.twitter.com/Apky11162

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Guest blog: Aleigha Siron

What’s in a Kiss?

May 18 2016 AleighaSiron kiss_on_the_beach_from_here_to_eternity

Evidently, quite a lot, as discussed in numerous articles in Psychology Today, and Science Daily. Our primate cousins, chimps and bonobos in particular, engage in kissing though not as frequently as humans do. A diverse range of other species, from ants to elephants engages in affectionate kissing, touching, licking, etc.

According to Jennifer Verdolin, PhD, (Psychology Today, May, 2014,) “through saliva, scientists speculate, kisses help us acquire a range of information about a potential mate, including hormone levels, health, and genetic compatibility.”

Who knew? Of course, no one is consciously aware that our kisses evaluate at a chemical level.

Ms. Verdolin’s article, she goes on to say, “And once you kiss, a suite of chemical reactions in the brain and body are activated. Sparks really can fly.”

Yep, we’ve all known those sparks and every kiss after the one that first curled our toes is an exploration to experience that sensation again. Most of us remember the first kiss that created butterflies in our belly or ignited a fire in our loins. Yet, the experts still argue as to exactly why we are so inclined to kiss.

And who can forget the “kiss of death,” delivered by Michael Corleone to his brother, Fredo, when he learns of Fredo’s betrayal? Michael firmly grips Fredo by the neck with both hands, stares him in the eye, applies a hard lip smack, and delivers the infamous line, “I know it was you Fredo, you broke my heart. You broke my heart.” Bye, bye, Fredo.

AleighaSiron

Aleigha Siron, author of “Finding My Highlander”

Studies indicate women put more stock in kissing than men. For men, it’s a prelude to their primary interest, sex. That’s also true for women, but these studies go on to assert that women enjoy more kissing during the sexual act. Men, on the other hand, acquiesce to kissing during sex primarily to keep their partner involved. Unless, it’s kissing of a more sensual nature, such as licking, biting, tasting those forbidden areas. Are we surprised? No.

I don’t think people question or care why we do or do not enjoy another’s kisses. Those lip smacking, tongue-probing episodes are a means to determine whether we want to engage in further sexual exploration with a person.

Every romance story ever written plays upon the sexual tension preceding that first kiss between characters, or the second, not to mention all the kisses and touching that follows. The location of that kiss is equally important. A kiss on the top of a gloved hand is formal, and not very titillating even in the Regency era. However, a kiss to the inside of a bare wrist, to the pulse beat in the throat, to the pulse beat behind the knee, or at the top of the thigh. To touch, kiss, nip, or lick the places where blood rushes through our veins as arousal heightens—those kisses are hot.

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In Chapter Six of Finding My Highlander, Andra and Kendrick share their first kiss: “She lifted her face to his in defiance, fire meeting fire; a conflagration exploded between them. She would not be cowed and stood her ground, trying desperately to conceal her trembling. Before either of them turned away his hand moved to the back of her head, his lips crushed onto hers, his tongue probed her mouth and God help her, she returned his kiss with her own ferocity as he pulled her more tightly against the hard planes of his chest.” Yep, sparks! Enjoy all those heated kisses.

There are dozens of songs about kissing: the first kiss, passionate kisses, forbidden kisses, etc. For your listening enjoyment, I’ve included a few links to popular kiss songs.

Toby Keith:

Link:

 

Chris Brown:

Faith Hill:

Link:

Excerpt:

“Lass, can I help you?” His voice was softer than the others, his stance relaxed, composed, despite the dirt and blood splattered over his massive arms and clothing. He seemed to be a quiet, gentle man, though physically as imposing as the others.

“You could bring me my bag.”
He moved his hand from behind him and cautiously extended her mother’s old carpetbag. “Do I need to check it for weapons?” A slight crinkle lifted the corner of his mouth. A piece of leather cord tied wavy, light-brown hair at the nape of his neck and tight braids spilled alongside sharp, scruffy cheeks. His eyes were dark and shadowed.
“Thank you…it’s Rabbie, correct?”
“Aye,” he nodded.
Andra granted him a guarded smile. “I’ll pull no further weapons if you promise to be kind.” The slight attempt at humor from both of them eased the tension coiled in her gut.
He swept an arm gracefully in front of him and bowed, “Always, m’lady, as I learned at me mother’s knee.” Then he left her to tend the horses.
She searched her bag for the washcloth, hand towel, and first aid kit she always carried when traveling. The washcloth came to hand first. She dipped it into the cold water and wiped the dried and clotted blood from her face and hair. Then she dunked her head in the pool several more times.
“I seem to be awake,” she whispered, just for the comfort on her own voice. “My surroundings feel solid enough,” she pounded her fist on the dirt, “so it must be real. Accept it, Andra, and decide what to do next.”
She could hear the men speaking Gaelic, hushed yet clearly distraught about the condition of their clansman. They gathered near another pool of water several yards from where she knelt. She watched them over her shoulder for a few minutes struggling to fit the scene into her new reality. A million questions rose in her throat.
“Not now. Patience and observation are what’s required. All will be revealed in time.” What a stupid cliché.
Should she offer her help with their friend; would they accept it? She could not sit here and do nothing when one of them was seriously injured. Besides, anxiety always spurred her to take action. Her father had always said, “Move, keep busy, and don’t let dust gather under your feet.” With her father’s words ringing in her ears, she approached the men cautiously, keeping her eye on the mean one, Struan.
“May I be of assistance?” She stood with her feet firmly planted on the hard-packed, dirt floor, her head held high, one hand pressed flat against her side, the other rested on the cross dangling on her chest. It took an extreme effort to control her trembling body. Her palms moistened with sweat. She steadied her focus on Kendrick. His strong hands moved carefully over his brother’s body. The mean one harrumphed and growled.
A growl? Really?
Kendrick looked up, concern etched on his face. His dark, probing eyes bore through her. “Are you a healer, then?” he asked.
“Not a healer exactly, but I have cared for ill and injured persons and have some training in first aid. I wish to help if you’ll permit me.”
“I dinnae ken your meaning. What’s the first aid of which you speak? As you can see, we give him aid, but if you can do anything to help save my brother’s life, I will gladly accept your offer.”
The mean one growled again. “Don’t trust her, she’s the enemy and will just as soon slit his throat.”
Ignoring the slur, she continued, “Have you determined the extent of his injuries?”
“Aye, his shoulder is dislocated, several fingers broken, which we have straightened and bound as best we’re able. We need to stitch multiple, deep wounds, and he’s lost a lot of blood, though blood no longer flows freely.”
The injured man lay on a plaid, stripped completely naked, his kilt torn away from his battered body. Mud, blood, and all manner of vile debris caked the hard planes of his bronzed chest. Andra couldn’t identify the severity or location of all his injuries. He moaned but appeared unconscious, or so she assumed, since he hadn’t opened his eyes. Clumps of dried blood crusted over wounds on one leg and foot. Dark, matted refuse covered the entire other leg.
His manhood lay flaccid against his thigh, and none of the men seemed concerned about his state of undress in front of a strange female. She stood quietly, waiting for several breaths.

Blurb:
On a windswept cliff above San Francisco Bay in 2013, 27 year-old Andra Cameron, the last member of her family, prepares to scatter her family’s ashes to the wind. An earthquake catapults her to the Scottish Highlands in 1705. She wakes, aching and bloody, to the sound of horses thundering through the trees. Terrified and with no other options, Andra accompanies these rugged warriors. She can’t deny the undeniable attraction that ignites between herself and the handsome but gruff Kendrick. Will she trust him to provide protection in the harsh reality of 18th century Scotland and with her secret, or will she find a way to return home to the 21st century?
Laird Kendrick MacLean and his men, escaping a recent skirmish with their worst nemeses, clan Cameron and their Sassenach allies, are shocked to find an injured, unprotected female in their path. How could she not know her kin and how had she landed in the middle of the wilderness alone? His men suspect she’s a spy or a witch. Still, Kendrick will not abandon an injured woman, even if she speaks unusually accented English, and her name is Cameron. Will he ransom her to others or will their closed hearts open to each other? Although he questions her every utterance, this feisty, outspoken woman inflames his desire like no other.

Buy Links

Amazon us:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DFGYURE/ref=as_li_ss_tl
Amazon uk:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01DFGYURE
Nook:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/finding-my-highlander-aleigha-siron/1123595128
Apple:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/finding-my-highlander/id1097148126?mt=11
Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/625227
Kobo:
https://store.kobobooks.com/ebook/finding-my-highlander

Author Bio and Media Links
After more than twenty years writing and delivering management and other training programs for modest-sized to Fortune Five Hundred companies, and ten years developing community crisis-intervention training programs, Aleigha turned her writing efforts to her first loves, fiction, and poetry. Her poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies and university presses over the past few decades. Following a difficult period in her life, she discovered solace in romance novels that inspired her to write in this genre. As she says, “who doesn’t desire a guaranteed happy-ever-after scenario?” Always interested in the concept of time-travel, she knew her first few stories would follow that theme.

When not writing, her trusty four-legged companion/helper, Strider, accompanies her on sunset walks along the shore. During these quiet walks under an expansive sky, with the whoosh of waves across the sand and her gaze drifting over the rolling sea, her best glimmers of inspiration come to mind. Following the recent discovery of distant Scottish ancestors, she embarked on a trip to the Highlands. Although she had already developed the characters for Finding My Highlander, her trip to the Highlands enriched the characters and enhanced the story direction. This is her first full-length romance novel. Aleigha is working on a prequel to Finding My Highlander, and another time-travel novel set in a later period.
WWW (Aleigha’s WebPage)
http://aleighasiron.com/

Aleigha Siron’s Book page at Tirgearr Publishing
http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Siron_Aleigha/finding-my-highlander.htm

Tirgearr Publishing Home Page
http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/index.htm

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AleighaSiron

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/people/Aleigha-Siron/

*****
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Guest blog from Mary T. Bradford (@marytbrad)

USE IT OT LOSE IT

Use it or lose it, a phrase that is often thrown around in relation to having learnt something new and retaining what has been learnt. It is also said regarding your brain, keeping it sharp by tackling cross-words and word searches and puzzles daily.

But when it comes to writing, does it apply? If you do not sit and write each day will your creativity be any less? This thought came to me at about two a.m. in the morning when most inspiration strikes for writers it seems. I had not written daily for over a week now and I was beginning to wonder if I would get back in to my routine of sitting down with my laptop and spilling my thoughts via the keyboard. So do I agree with the use it phrase or not?

It is difficult to say. I do not think that my creativity in storytelling will disappear if I do not sit and write daily. I do feel however it loses its shine. If I have not put pen to paper or tapped on my keyboard in some way each day, then, the flow of my words and thoughts are slower. They are sluggish. My thoughts and ideas are still there but they flow in a more meandering way.

Whereas if I give a dedicated time to my writing and turn up each day to face the blank page, then my words rush out, at times faster than I can write or type them. Story ideas are always in a writer’s mind, it is unending, and never a moment without some plot twist or character action taking place. But like I said earlier, these ideas do not play fair with a writer if they have not interacted with each other for a while. So yes, it is important to use your writing talent each day, no matter for fifteen minutes or a few hours. Go meet your page, face it and make those ideas and characters come out to play. Happy writing.

Mary T. Bradford is the author of ‘My Husband’s Sin’ and ‘One Night in Barcelona’. Both books are available through Tirgearr Publishing.

Guest blog by Daithi Kavanagh (@Daithik3)

How Reading Helps my Writing

Recently I have noticed I have been finding it more and more difficult to write. I am on my third book of The Tadhg  Sullivan Series. Up until now my writing has flowed along at a fairly steady pace. Yet this winter, because I am in third level education I have noticed my ability to write wane. Initially I panicked thinking that the pool of imagination that drives my stories had dried up. Then one night after giving up on trying to write a new chapter in my latest book, I went down to the bookshelf in my living room and picked out a book I thought I might enjoy. I was only a few pages into it when I found I couldn’t read another word.

Was the same fatigue that was affecting my writing now affecting my reading as well?

Panic gripped me! Here were two of the things I loved doing, starting to feel like they were becoming a chore. What could I do to get out of this rut? I went back to the bookshelf and took out another book, this time in the same genre in which I write. The book was “Headhunters” by Jo Nesbo. Initially I found it hard to get into but I persevered. And like with my writing my perseverance was rewarded. The book began to grip me. I’ll be forever grateful to Jo Nesbo for writing this book, as shortly afterwards I began to write fluidly again. My enthusiasm returned and as with Nesbo’s book my writing began to speed up, as I was eager to find out what was going to happen next. These are the moments when I know my writing is going in the right direction, when I am feeling excited about the direction the book is taking.

For me, writing is not a formula. It is not something that I can always plot and steer in the direction I would like it to go. Instead, the characters often take on a life of their own and I just go with them. Tadhg Sullivan is one of those characters who will always do his own thing and forces me as his creator to travel the road that he chooses.

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The Gun

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The Brotherhood

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http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00USBGLJU

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http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-brotherhood-daithi-kavanagh/1121480796

Guest blog with erotic romance author, Lucy Felthouse

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Writing From Experience by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985)

 Lucy_Felthouse

Many non-writers seem to think that erotic writers all write from experience. If that was the case then I’d be a gay man, a lesbian, a vampire, a werewolf, a soldier, a policeman, a policewoman, a shapeshifter, a dominatrix, a succubus… the list goes on. It’s silly, really. No one accuses J K Rowling of being a witch, Anne Rice of being a vampire or Stephen King a serial killer.

So there’s no reason to believe that erotica and erotic romance writers have done everything they’ve written about. Which is certainly not the case in my series, World of Sin, from Ellora’s Cave. After all, if that was true, it would make me a young man. Which I am most definitely not. And yet, I’ve written from experience so far in this series. Confused? Don’t be.

My experience (aside from the fact I’m not a virgin) is in the settings. The series starts in London, then Paris, Rome and after that, Amsterdam. I’ve been to all four of those places, and my characters are, in fact, following me around Europe. I’ve been travelling to one of these places each year for the last few years (with the exception of London, where I go at least two or three times a year) on cheap trips, and next year I’m hoping to visit Barcelona. So you can probably guess where Ryan and Kristian will go after Amsterdam.

It’s great fun writing real places into books, and in reviews I’ve been praised for capturing the atmosphere of places and making them feel real. Which is why I soak up as much as I can when I go on trips, take a ridiculous amount of photos and try to see things differently. For example, when I visited Rome, knowing I would write about it, I started looking for places where characters might meet, or sneak off to be together. It spices up trips that are already exciting, I can tell you! And it’s incredibly useful for research purposes, too.

So, although the characters and their exploits are completely and utterly fictional, bear in mind that I’ve really been to Rome, The Colosseum, Ostia Antica, the Roman Forum, and so on. The rest is just a matter of imagination… one of the main reasons I love writing so much. I just make it up as I go along 😀

Happy Reading!

Lucy x

*****

atasteofrome

Excerpt:

Ryan came to the conclusion that perhaps this journey wasn’t so horrendous after all. He’d been a little miffed that the American girls, Shanna and Taryn, had wanted to tag along from Paris to Rome with him and Kristian. He’d been keen not to end up with any chicks who wanted more than a one night stand, figuring that any romantic entanglements would screw up their footloose and fancy-free gap year trip. Their last year of freedom, without commitment, before they went to University and had to grow up, buckle down.

In the here and now, however, Ryan decided that Shanna actually wasn’t that bad. It seemed she was determined to spice up the never-ending coach trip from Paris to Rome. Eight hundred and seventy miles, thirteen hours. They’d known when they’d booked it that it would be nigh on intolerable, but it was the cheapest way to travel. And having sat in the increasingly stuffy, tiny coach, Ryan could see why. It made cramped seats in coach class on a flight feel like first class.

Shanna had removed her jacket as the crap air-conditioning was utterly failing to cool down the cabin. It had been draped over her lap for a while before she slid it across so it covered part of his too. Ryan frowned, wondering why she thought it was a good idea to make him warmer. He was already melting in the heat. Then she slipped her hand beneath the jacket and moved it over his crotch. She squeezed his flaccid cock, making her intentions absolutely clear. He realized that if he continued to stare down at their laps it would be painfully obvious to anyone who glanced in their direction what they were up to. So he leaned over and kissed Shanna’s cheek, nuzzling her red hair out of the way to murmur into her ear.

“I’m going to try and act natural.” Then, remembering what had happened to him back in London when he’d ended up with cum-filled boxer shorts, he added, “Can you, uh, catch it in a tissue?”

Grinning, Shanna revealed the flimsy white material in her other hand. It appeared she’d already thought of that. Saucy wench—he liked her. She was a fun girl, gorgeous-looking and a great lay. Had things been different, he might have considered pursuing something long-term with her, but it wasn’t going to happen. He and Kristian had this one chance, this few months to live life to the fullest, do what they wanted, do who they wanted, go where they liked, and he wasn’t going to throw it away for a green-eyed, cute-accented chick. No way.

He wasn’t worried about upsetting her, though. He knew that she and her friend had a similar pact and outlook on their European travels. They too were hooking up, having a good time and moving on.

Ryan grinned out of the window. Life was good. A sexy girl was about to get his cock out on a coach and toss him off, and he was heading to the third destination on his gap year adventure. The Italian capital awaited and he couldn’t wait to see what it had in store.

Before he got there, though, he was going to have another orgasm on public transport. First the toilets on the Eurostar, now beneath a jacket on a coach. God, what was it with women and doing it in cramped, risky places? And Blanche—the French bird on the Eurostar—and Shanna weren’t the only ones he was thinking of. He was beginning to forget what it was like to have sex in a bed. Not that he was complaining—Christ, no. If a sexy woman propositioned him, who was he to refuse?

By now Shanna had undone his belt, button and fly and released his cock from his boxers. It had taken a while as she’d had to keep her movements slow, subtle, so no one realized what was happening. As a result of all the fumbling, his dick was rock hard by the time she got it out, and it sprung eagerly into her hand.

She leaned her head on his shoulder and he slipped his arm around her, pulling her close. Anyone who looked now would just see a couple of young people having a cuddle. Or possibly a hot redhead sleeping on the shoulder of a young man who could either be her boyfriend or a total stranger.

Carefully, she began to stroke him, getting into a rhythm that would drive him to climax without anyone knowing.

Ryan turned back to the window, giving the appearance of looking out at the darkening sky. Shanna’s grip tightened, her movements grew faster and he grew closer to coming. He dug his teeth into his bottom lip in an attempt to regain some kind of control. It didn’t help—his hormones raged and the familiar tingle at the base of his spine was a dead giveaway.

Looking as chilled out, as casual as possible, he turned to Shanna and whispered, “You’d better get that tissue ready—otherwise I’m going to make an awful mess.”

She gave a single nod of understanding and moved her other hand beneath the jacket, slowly, languidly. It probably looked as though she was just changing position, rather than anything naughtier. Ryan, however, was at the stage where he didn’t care. If anyone happened to look across, happened to confront them, he’d hold a hand up to keep them quiet until he finished.

*****

Blurb:

Book three of the World of Sin series.

Ryan Stonebridge and his friend Kristian Hurst have travelled to London and Paris on their “gap year” adventure, before starting university. Now it’s on to Rome.

The American girls they met in Paris are along for the ride, providing lots of sexy fun for the boys. But as no one in the foursome is looking for commitment, there’s still plenty of scope for hooking up with the locals. Voyeurism, cougars, risky outdoor sex and threesomes abound in the Italian leg of the boys’ European adventure.

More info, excerpt and buy links: http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/a-taste-of-rome/

Add to your Goodreads shelves: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18399288-a-taste-of-rome

*****

Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100 publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house. She owns Erotica For All, and is book editor for Cliterati. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

*****

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