Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Twisted Secrets and Out-of-Control Desires (Giveaway)

This week I have the joy of talking with Seattle based author Kristine Cayne.
 Award-winning author Kristine Cayne is fascinated by the mysteries of human psychology—twisted secrets, deep-seated beliefs, out-of-control desires. Add in high-stakes scenarios and real-world villains, and you have a story worth writing, and reading.   

 Kristine’s heroes and heroines are pitted against each other by their radically opposing life experiences. By overcoming their differences and finding common ground, they triumph over their enemies and find true happiness in each other’s arms.

 KC: I’m thrilled to be visiting the Inner Goddess blog today. It’s always exciting to talk about my work, especially with someone who’s already read it. LOL. Okay, I’m ready now. Fire those questions at me!

 IG: You wrote in an anthology with a group called The Rainy Day Writers. Did you come together for this project, or is it an ongoing group? What others things do you do with this group?     
KC:  The Rainy Day Writers is an ongoing group. The current group of six has been together for about three years. We meet every couple weeks to read each other scenes from our individual projects. Romance in the Rain was our first anthology, but hopefully not our last. 
IG: Many of our members are also writers. How can they find writing groups to join? What should they look for in a group? 
KC:  If they write romance, Romance Writers of America is a great place to start. In addition to the national organization, RWA has chapters and special-interest groups, both online and local, in many cities across the country. It’s a great place to meet like-minded authors and then create your critique group, plotting group, and so on. In terms of what to look for, you want people who will be honest, but in a constructive way, and they should be people who will let you tell the story your way and not try to take over and tell it their way. That’s critical to letting your voice as a writer come out. If RWA isn’t an option for you, another great place to find writer’s groups is Meetup.com. 
IG: The Romance in the Rain anthology is unique in that each author chose a different generation of the same family. Can you talk about the generation you wrote, and if you worked in a bubble or in conjunction with the others for continuity? 
KC: We had two requirements: first, the story had to at least partially take place in Seattle; and second, the hero or heroine had to be a member of the Caldwell family. Each writer chose their generation based on the time period they wanted to write about. Because mine was an earthquake in an actual city, I placed mine in the near future.
We worked together very closely, reading each other’s stories and adjusting ours based on what was happening in the other stories. We created the genealogical charts as went along as a way to keep everyone in sync.
 IG: Your Deadly Vices series looks at how secrets from our past can affect our present and future. How do you create these secrets: are they from the headlines or grow as you create the character? 
KC:  The secrets start with the headlines and grow from there. For example, the idea for Deadly Obsession sparked when I was looking at a fan site for Gerard Butler and people were posting pictures and talking about the times and places where they’d seen or met him. Some of this seemed almost real time. It got me thinking about how easy it would be to use this information to stalk a celebrity. Likewise, for Deadly Addiction, Native American issues are always in the news in Canada, especially the ongoing chill between the provincial police and the local Mohawks. 
IG:  Your latest novel Under His Command examines what happens when a couple doesn't communicate, allowing guilt and assumptions to create a wall. I like that you chose to look at an established relationship (5years with a child) instead of an emerging relationship. Why did you decide to go that direction?
 KC: Under His Command started with the story Aftershocks, which appears in the Romance in the Rain anthology. Because that story focuses on a rescue that takes place during an earthquake, the hero and heroine needed to have an already established relationship that was on the rocks in order to make a romance story believable in those circumstances. Even though they achieve a major breakthrough in Aftershocks and admit that they love each other and want to fix their failing marriage, it was clear to me that they had plenty of work ahead of them. Saying that something needs to be fixed is different from actually fixing it. Thus Under His Command was born. 
IG: The Hawaiian scenes in Under His Command are beautiful! Are these real places you've visited or a great imagination? 
KC: They are definitely real places, but they are not places I’ve visited. As an author, I need to be able to write about places all over the world, and to do so, if I can’t get there myself, I rely on research. This includes talking to people who live in those locations, watching videos, and looking at photos. All this combined gives me a hopefully accurate feel for the setting. Diana Gabaldon wrote Outlander, which is set in mid-18th century Scotland, before ever setting foot in that country. She did an amazing job of putting you there, and that was all through research. 
IG: The Six-Alarm Sexy series begins with the story Aftershocks in which Seattle is rocked by a destructive earthquake. Why create this scenario rather than use one of the many real events in California? 
KC: First off, all the stories in Romance in the Rain had to be set in Seattle. Secondly, Seattle has had many earthquakes, including the Nisqually quake in the 90s, which damaged the King County Courthouse where the heroine works. We keep waiting for “the big one” that scientists assure us could happen any day. If you use a real event, you’re limited to what actually happened, unless you’re writing an alternate history. In Aftershocks, the type of destruction and the location in which it occurs are based on the predictions scientists have made for future big quakes in Seattle. (See here for an in-depth report on the risks: http://bit.ly/XhsOmR) 
IG: What is next for Six-Alarm Sexy fans? 
KC: The next book in the series is Everything Bared, which is Dani and William’s story. The series is based on kink; each couple expresses it in their own unique way. I’m trying to release Everything Bared in early summer. 
IG: What is next for Deadly Vices fans?
 KC: The next Deadly Vices book is Kaden’s story, called Deadly Betrayal. Kaden returns to Afghanistan to help the doctor who saved his life and to investigate the ambush that led to his injury and honorable discharge from the military. 
IG: What is coming up for Kristine Cayne fans? 
KC: In March, I’ll be participating in several blog hops, where I’ll be giving away my new Six-Alarm Sexy t-shirts! Be sure to visit my blog at http://kristinecayne.blogspot.com. For my fans, I also have a free romantic suspense story available, called Guns ‘N’ Tulips, on Smashwords, iTunes, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and All Romance eBooks. Hopefully, it will be free on Amazon soon as well. Enjoy!
 Thank you, Kristine, for coming in today.  I loved learning more about you, your books, and the wonderful city of Seattle.  (Who knew it had real earthquakes?)  And I can’t wait to see how Dani takes the starch out of William!!!  And don't forget to download her free book Guns 'N' Tulips! 

You can find Kristine Cayne at any of these links: 

Her books are available at:

Deadly Obsession (Deadly Vices, Book 1)

Amazon US - http://amzn.to/RETLOq
Amazon Paperback US - http://amzn.to/Q7U2e1
Amazon UK - http://amzn.to/On7LZN
Amazon Paperback UK - http://amzn.to/Qmdfq5
Apple iTunes: http://bit.ly/KUXUrB
Diesel ebooks: http://bit.ly/L48YD1

Deadly Addiction (Deadly Vices, Book 2):

Amazon US - http://amzn.to/U5i7zJ
Amazon Paperback US - http://amzn.to/OnUDa7
Amazon UK - http://amzn.to/RwiNwU
Amazon Paperback UK - http://amzn.to/RfitCo
All Romance eBooks: http://bit.ly/SfvD3Z

“Aftershocks ” in Romance in the Rain (Six-Alarm Sexy, Prequel)
iTunes/iBookstore: http://bit.ly/Xfxes5

Under His Command (Six-Alarm Sexy, Book One)

Guns ‘N’ Tulips

Un-Valentine’s Day

iTunes: http://bit.ly/130jnvK

Contest Time:    

Kristine is giving away the anthology Romance in the Rain, which includes the story Aftershocks, book 1 of the Six-Alarm Sexy series.  To win this book, post your answer to the question in the comments below.  Be sure to provide an email contact so we can let you know you won.  Contest runs until Feb. 23, 2013, midnight CST. 
Jamie and Erica take their honeymoon in Hawaii.  Where do you think is the perfect honeymoon destination?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Celebrating Sex, Women, and the Jazz Age (Excerpt & Interview)

They vibrated with incendiary Jazz. They teemed with sexual abandon. The Twenties were roaring and the women–young, open, rebellious, and willing–set the pace and pushed the limits with every man they met…
 In the aftermath of a wild, liquor-soaked party, three women from very different social classes are about to live out their forbidden desires.

Society girl, Nora Richardson’s passionate nature has always been a challenge to her ever-patient husband. Now he wants out of the marriage and she has just this one night to win him back. The catch? He wants to punish her for her bad behavior. Nora is offended by her husband’s increasingly depraved demands, but as the night unfolds, she discovers her own true nature and that the line between pain and pleasure is very thin indeed.

Meanwhile, Clara Cartwright, sultry siren of the silent screen, is introduced to a mysterious WWI Flying Ace. If Clara, darling of the scandal sheets, knows anything, it’s men. And she’s known plenty. But none of them push her boundaries like the aviator, who lures her into a ménage with a stranger in a darkened cinema then steals her jaded heart.

Working class girl Sophie O’Brien has more important things on her mind than pleasures of the flesh. But when her playboy boss, the wealthy heir to the Aster family fortune, confronts her with her diary of secret sex fantasies, she could die of shame. To her surprise, he doesn’t fire her; instead, he dares her to re-enact her boldest fantasies and Sophie is utterly seduced.

One party serves as a catalyst of sexual awakening. And in an age when anything goes, three women discover that anything is possible…


We love this book so much, we made it our February Spotlight Book.  Read this Exclusive Excerpt for a taste.  Then join us on the forum to talk about the book.  

Purchase the full story at Amazon      B&N 

 Exclusive Excerpt from IT STINGS SO SWEET

Stephanie Draven
“Miss O’Brien, I apologize for making you uncomfortable. Sometimes there’s a fine line between seducing a woman and frightening her. It’s a line I never want to cross . . .”

The casual admission of his intentions—and his regrets—astonishes me. Why, he’s insufferable. That’s what he is. “You’re trying to seduce me, sir?”

His eyes twinkle. “I’m trying to seduce the author of this journal; she isn’t as timid as you are.”

“I’m not timid,” I protest, with a toss of my head. “I’m just stunned at your nerve. I believe a person might find pleasure in thinking about things she might never actually want to talk about . . . or do.”

“Quite right. But do you think it’s likely that a woman might not want to do any of the things she imagines?”

We appear to be having a philosophical argument and every word we say is like a thread weaving us closer together. As much as I want to escape his dangerous web, I feel myself drawn closer. “This lacy garment isn’t the kind of gift an unmarried gentleman gives to an unmarried lady.”

“Right you are. It’s the kind of gift that a married gentleman gives to his mistress. But as I’m both unmarried and endeavoring to be less of a gentleman, I hope this gift might signal my willingness to help you experience some of your fantasies.”

I hear myself gulp. How many times in a girl’s life does she hear an offer like that one? Not many, I think. And in spite of my sweating palms, my nervous little breaths, and my general sense of outrage, temptation tugs at me. I’d best put a stop to it before I end up just like Gertrude. “Mr. Aster, I told you, the journal isn’t mine. And even if I—even if my friend wants to experience those fantasies, it doesn’t mean that she wants to experience them with you.”

He takes a moment, scratching his chin in feigned humility. “Why not? Am I too repulsive for her? Too rich? If she’s a friend of yours, I assume she’s attracted to Bolsheviks and penniless professors, but I’m told I have a certain appeal.”

He does at that.

There’s something about those gleaming teeth, in that brilliant smile, that make it hard to stay sore at him. In fact, I’m starting to feel something altogether different. Something that’s making me sweat behind the knees. It’s terribly warm in here and the decorative tie at the front of my dress is suddenly rather constricting.

Mr. Aster, on the other hand, is wondrously pale, cool, and collected. “If your friend doesn’t like lingerie, I have other tricks up my sleeve.”

“That’s the problem with men. They all want to trick a woman into bed.”

His head bobs up, as if I’ve finally offended him. “It was merely a turn of phrase, Miss O’Brien. I assure you, I’ve never tricked any woman into my bed. And in your case, I’ve been remarkably frank about my intentions.”

With that, he pulls a stack of cream-colored envelopes from the drawer, then piles them in the middle of the desk until the edges line up.

I stare, shocked to the marrow of my bones.

In one of the stories I wrote, a girl receives anonymous letters in the mail, each of them daring her to take some provocative new risk. I’d described the notes as being written on cream-colored paper with a silver trim. The envelopes on his desk look just the same—as if conjured from my own imagination.

I know what they are, and he knows I do. He doesn’t have to say it. It’s all in his gaze. And a little thrill goes through me that any man should go to such lengths to impress me. His meticulous attention to detail is flattering, overwhelming, alluring. I’d be lying if I said otherwise. But what kind of man does this? Is he mischievous, obsessive, dangerously eccentric, or depraved?

“You wrote on all these cards?” I ask, my mouth dry.

“I did.” Maybe he finally feels the heat, too, because he removes his closely tailored linen jacket to reveal a pale gray vest underneath. Then he rolls up his shirt sleeves and comes round to the front of the desk. “. . . and it was rather time-consuming.”

My eyes widen at his sudden proximity, large and looming. I motion to the wide shiny expanse of
his bare desk. “Don’t you have a hotel to run, sir?”

He chuckles, leaning towards me. “Yes, which is why I’m so bored.”

“What a luxury. Most of us are too busy trying to earn a living to have time for boredom.”

His grin widens. “Sorry, Comrade. Most of my business is finished by noon and I’m ossified by dinnertime. So, I’ve plenty of time for recreation . . .”

Emboldened by his teasing, I put a hand on my hip like Clara Cartwright always does in the movies when she needs to knock a man down by a peg or two. “If you’ve so much time on your hands, perhaps you ought to make time to hear the complaints of your workers. I’ve a list of grievances, starting with a friend of mine who—”

“Another friend, Miss O’Brien?” he says, his eyes sweeping up and down my body. “My, you’re a popular girl . . . but I’d rather not talk about business, if you don’t mind.”

I do mind. Or at least, I should mind. It’s just that I never knew how very difficult it is to champion a cause—even a very good cause—when a man smells so wonderful. Soapy, spicy, and clean. My nostrils twitch in delight, which I fear must make me look like a timid little rabbit after all. Bloody hell!

“Aren’t you curious about what’s in the envelopes?” Mr. Aster asks.

“Painfully.” My fingers itch to open them. But when I reach for one, he stops me.

His eyes crinkle at the corners. “Those aren’t for you, unless you want to admit that you wrote the journal.”

Such an admission is going to cost me. It’s going to cost me dear. It better be worth the price. “Will you give my diary back to me if I admit the journal is mine?”

He nods, his eyes shining with challenge.

I’m sure I’ll regret it, but that look in his eyes goads me to make the confession. “Very well. I wrote it.”

“That wasn’t so hard, was it?” he asks, his voice low, seductive, and approving.

It was harder than I imagined because now he knows all sorts of things about me and I don’t know anything about him. “It’s extremely embarrassing.”

“I wish you wouldn’t be embarrassed. I think most women are ashamed of thoughts like these, so men don’t know that you have them. We assume you’re all angels we taint with our own base desires rather than earthly creatures with desires of your own. That’s a tragic mistake I’ve made at least once before.”

With that last bit, he takes it a touch too far. He’s been seen on the arm of pretty husband hunters and socialites. Why, before he returned to the city he was even linked in the scandal sheets with movie stars. It ought to serve as a warning to me what kind of man I’m dealing with.
“I’ll wager that’s more than a bit of blarney, Mr. Aster. You’ve quite a reputation with the ladies.”

“My reputation notwithstanding, I won’t force unwanted attentions on a young woman in my employ. If you want to take your journal and go, this can be the end of it . . . but if you would like to make any of the stories you’ve written come true, I’d be happy to be of assistance.”

“Would you now?” I grin, in spite of myself.

He levels his gaze on me. “I doubt you’ll find many men better suited . . . especially for the more outlandish and expensive fantasies.”

His self-assurance must come from knowing he can buy whatever he wants, and whoever he can’t buy, he can probably charm into submission. I wonder what it must feel like to be him—able to live his life with no limitations but the ones he puts on himself. I call myself a modern thinker, but feel like an unsure girl inside. And here’s a man offering me a chance to become a woman in all the ways I’ve only imagined. Would I be a fool to refuse? “Just how far are you prepared to take this, Mr. Aster?”

“As far as you’ll let me,” he replies, tapping the pile of envelopes. “What do you think?”

I think that I’m two breaths away from forgetting all good sense.

“I need to return to work, sir.”

Standing up, I dare to pluck my beloved journal from his hand. He follows me to the door and when I start to turn the handle, he angles his shoulder to block my exit. “Aren’t you forgetting your lingerie?”

Something flutters in my belly. “It seems like a dangerous gift to accept.”

“Oh, it is,” he says, leaning lazily against the doorframe. “But I want you to have it. I want to imagine you wearing it. I can’t quite get the picture of you naked right in my mind, though. I can’t decide if your breasts are round or pointy, with low nipples or high nipples, and the curiosity is driving me mad.”

“Mr. Aster!” I laugh, shocked, amused, offended, aroused, and uncertain which is the strongest emotion. I’ve imagined men of all sorts in my fantasies: strong and shameless men, controlling and crude. But I’m not sure I ever imagined a man quite so playfully debauched.

“Take the lingerie,” he insists.

I don’t own anything like the garment in that box. It’s pretty and feminine and utterly impractical. It would be a gift I couldn’t tell anyone about, a gift just for me, secret and sinful and forbidden, just like him. “I don’t think I should.”

“Then don’t take it. Just stay. Because this is the most interesting morning I’ve had since returning to the city and I’m not ready for it to end.”

“So I’m a source of amusement to you.” It ought to offend me, but it doesn’t. Everything is crowded out by the coiling desire in my body.

“I mean to be a source of amusement for you, too, Miss O’Brien. Haven’t I already amused you?
You came into this office such a serious girl, but you’re on the verge of laughing now . . .”

I have to bite my lip to hold back the merriment he senses. “What happens if I stay?”

“Then I’ll let you open an envelope . . . but there are rules. If you find that you don’t want to obey the command written there, the game stops and you don’t get to open any of the other ones.”

Obey? So there are commands in those envelopes. The thought of it makes me bite my lower lip even harder. The secret notes were my own idea, drawn from little dreams that gave me pleasure in the dark. Will I still like them in the light of day?


Exclusive Interview

 STEPHANIE DRAVEN is a bestselling, award-winning and RITA-nominated author of historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance. Her newest project, IT STINGS SO SWEET is a collection of 1920s historical erotic romances that celebrate sex, women, and the Jazz Age. Her most recent novel with Entangled Publishing, IN BED WITH THE OPPOSITION, is a mix of humor and sex-appeal set against the backdrop of a zany political campaign inspired by the career of Baltimore legend William Donald Schaefer. Both novels are fun departures from her more serious Greek mythology-inspired series for Harlequin's Nocturne line, the debut novel of which was nominated by Romantic Times for Best First Series. The series has earned critical praise for its originality and awareness of social issues and garnered the 2012 SWIRL award for excellence in multi-cultural romance literature as well as the CataRomance's Reviewers Choice Award. Writing historical fiction about Cleopatra’s daughter as Stephanie Dray, she won the Golden Leaf Award for SONG OF THE NILE. Stephanie is currently a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies. She lives there with her favorite nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books. www.StephanieDraven.com


 Check out our exclusive interview with Stephanie Draven on the Inner Goddess Forum.  Click Here. 


 Stephanie is dropping by throughout the day on Wednesday, Feb. 13 to talk to her readers. Please leave comments and questions in the comments below. 


Sunday, February 10, 2013

We <3 Romance Valentine's Giveaway
Happy Valentine's Day, Goddesses!!

We have a signed copy of J. Kenner's Release Me and we want to give it to you for Valentine's Day.  The winner will be randomly chosen from all who post on the Inner Goddess forum from Feb. 9-14, 2013, ending at midnight Chicago time.  The contest is open to all US, CA, and International members.

All you have to do is post.  Length and topic are up to you.  Multiple posts = Multiple entries.  Winner chosen by Random.org.   Click Here to get started. 

Release Me is a NYT and USA Today Bestseller.
Here is the Goodreads write up:
4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·    2,843 ratings  

 For fans of Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You comes an erotic, emotionally charged romance between a powerful man who’s never heard “no” and a fiery woman who says “yes” on her own terms.

He was the one man I couldn’t avoid. And the one man I couldn’t resist.
Damien Stark could have his way with any woman. He was sexy, confident, and commanding: Anything he wanted, he got. And what he wanted was me.

Our attraction was unmistakable, almost beyond control, but as much as I ached to be his, I feared the pressures of his demands. Submitting to Damien meant I had to bare the darkest truth about my past—and risk breaking us apart.

But Damien was haunted, too. And as our passion came to obsess us both, his secrets threatened to destroy him—and us—forever.

Release Me is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Vanilla-Flavored Alpha Males

by Candace Blevins

As someone who only enjoys BDSM, and not vanilla sex, the male heroes in most mainstream fiction do nothing for me. There are some exceptions -- Curran from the Kate Daniels series, Roarke from the In Death series, several of the alpha males in the Psy-Changelings series, and Vlad in Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress / Night Prince series. Actually, there are a whole lot of vampires who get my blood pumping, but since most of them feed when they have sex – tying pain into sex –- this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Roarke and Eve may not have a power exchange relationship, but they’re both very powerful – at times one chooses to let the other lead, while at times one of them forces the issue and leads whether the other likes it or not; not too often, but they both have a temper, and they’re both used to being in control. Best of all, both enjoy rough sex, where Roarke occasionally comes out with an Irish "You'll take what I give you, then," as he takes her.

As for Kate and Curran... both are powerful as well. I think sometimes Kate scares Curran with what she can do with magic, but this is balanced out when he has to rescue her and then see she’s put back together again. It's also a bit of a see-saw with them as to who will call which shots and who’ll take the back seat. Or, maybe with this couple it's more tug-of-war than see-saw. It works, though, and I find myself fascinated by Curran in so many ways.

Nalini Singh’s alpha males in the Psy-Changelings series are the perfect mix of caretaker and bossy alpha Dom. Best of all, her women are just as strong, but in a different way. Come to think of it, the women are strong in all of the series I like best. Guess it’s no surprise I enjoy writing strong women who submit to even stronger men, right?

You can visit Candace on the web at www.candaceblevins.com and www.kinkyeverafter.com.

Discuss her Safeword series on our blogs in the Dungeon.

The Safeword series is available at Barnes & Nobles and Amazon.com.

Contest Time:  Win an Ebook: winners choice of either of the Davenports! (Click Here for an Excerpt)
 Candace has posted a great discussion question.  Every post counts as an entry, so come back and post as often as you like.  Names will be chosen by an online name randomizer.  Be sure to leave contact info so we can tell you when you win.  Drawing closes at midnight Friday, February 8th (Central Standard Time). 

Are there any vanilla Alpha Male characters in mainstream fiction who especially work for you?
What do you think makes a mainstream character attractive to those of us normally only attracted to Doms?