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Release Date: “Symphony Amore: Erotic Stories of Love and Music”

I’ve got to be honest with you. I’m not typically a morning person, but today I’m up and about with a little pep in my step. In fact, I’m currently channeling Marching Band Spongebob:

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Look how happy he is!

I’m giddy because it’s time for another #BookBirthday! Not just any book birthday, mind you. I am thrilled to announce that Symphony Amore: Erotic Stories of Love and Music is available today!

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I will be the first to admit that I admire this cover on a spiritual level.

This collection is special to me for two reasons. First, it’s the first time I’ve stepped into the role of editor, which was an overall terrifying and gratifying experience. Making the decisions was a challenge, but a necessary one. I’m so grateful to each person who submitted his or her story to this endeavor. The authors who are included in this collection have written some beautiful, intimate, and unique stories. It is my wish that readers enjoy them as much as I have.

At times, putting this collection together felt a bit like being a conductor. Each story, like each instrument, complements each other while being wildly different. My role was to fit them together in the best possible way. I may be biased, but I think the finished product will be a gem in readers’ collections.

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Can we stop and stare at Dudamel’s fascinating mane?

The second reason that this collection is special to me is that, quite simply, musicians are hot. Again, I might be biased due to my musical background. However, it was my experience that this turn of phrase is a 100% fact:

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I know of several marriages that are directly due to both members being in my collegiate marching band.

In my experience, the sexiest musicians are those that are a bit strange. I’m talking about the band and orchestra kids, the DJ pioneers, the guys and gals in the basements noodling away at their instruments striving for better things. They’ve got some blinders on, sure, but when a gentle hand reaches out to take off those blinders, you might be in for one passionate person. In this case, you’ll find several passionate characters.

Of course, I contributed an original story for this collection. It’s a love letter to all of my brass playing folks, and I do hope it’s as fun to read as it was to write.

Here’s an excerpt of my story, Brass Trio!

The trio raised their instruments to their lips, as they’d rehearsed. They inhaled together. Angela whispered, “One, two,” tapped the third beat, and came in with her sixteenth note pickup.

The first movement, Allegro Moderato, was lively, but not difficult at first glance. The devil was in the details: Veronica focused her tongue into a tight point, landing the staccato notes precisely. Justin maintained the steady pulse with low, warm tones, while Angela’s fingers flew along the trumpet valves.

During the second movement, marked Andante, the mood shifted to a slower tempo and a softer dynamic. Veronica looked to Angela, watching her friend sway her horn in time. It was easier to get lost during slow pieces than in faster ones, at least for Veronica. She stole a glance at Justin, who was playing his trombone splendidly. At the conclusion of the movement, she shot a smile at him, which he returned.

The third movement, Rondeau, was faster in tempo than both the first and second movements. Veronica concentrated, as this movement featured a horn solo; though not technically difficult, she wanted to nail it. When they all made it to the section, she played her eighth notes with precision, much to her delight. There was a pause in the music, and they all looked at each other in that brief gulf of silence before restating the theme at a breakneck presto. Justin moved his slide rapidly, while the two women pressed their valves in time.

As the final chord of the sonata resonated through the recital center, Veronica took a deep breath and lowered her horn from her face. Angela and Justin smiled at her as they both took their own instruments down. The small audience broke out into more robust applause. The trio bowed, thanking the crowd that had attended their performance. Veronica made sure to look at the faculty members adjudicating, forcing herself to soothe her nerves as they furiously scribbled their comments and scores.

With a final bow of her head, she followed her bandmates off the stage.

You can grab Symphony Amore: Erotic Stories of Love and Music at the links below.

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

KOBO

Happy reading, everyone!

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“Symphony Amore” Author Interview: Nanisi Barrett D’Arnuk

It’s almost here! The final author for Symphony Amore: Erotic Stories of Love and Music is Nanisi Barrett D’Arnuk. Her story is titled Her Fall from Power. This story features a conductor and dips into the BDSM world, so of course I had to include it. Known mainly as a conductor and pianist, she holds the distinction of being the first open lesbian to conduct on the stage of DAR Constitution Hall in Washington DC. She is Artistic Director Emeritus of the Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corp of New York City.

  1. Is this your first published story? Is this your first published story in a Sexy Little Pages anthology?  My first published novel and short story were in the mid ’90s, but a fire of hate-crime origin that burned our house to the ground destroyed everything we owned. I stopped writing for about ten years. Since then, I have written five more novels and a dozen novellas. This is my first with Sexy Little Pages.
  2. How long have you been writing erotica? How and why did you start? I’ve been writing erotica for almost 25 years. I saw a call for submissions for a book about travel-related stories. I used to travel worldwide on business and had just come back from Berlin. I took one incident that happened to me in the Berlin airport: female guard saw the bulge of my pack of cigarettes in my pocket and her wand started buzzing from the metal in my lighter. She took me into a private room to empty my pockets. That was all, but it started me fantasizing: what else could she have inspected? I turned it into a story. It was the easiest $100 I’d ever made.
  3. What inspired you to write this story? I was a conductor in a previous life, but had never written about it. When I think of music, it’s always from that perspective. I’ve had several orchestra members approach me, but never an audience member so…(hint, hint). Like Shelby, I’m always in charge. I’ve found several other conductors who have the fantasy of giving up control. BTW: I went to a Pro Domme once, just to see what is was like (research, you know, LOL).
  4. What were the most challenging and enjoyable aspects of writing it?   Challenging: to make it interesting and not go off on a tangent
    Enjoyable: the research, of course!
  5. Does your story fit into your body of work? I write mysteries and romances, but all have some aspect of erotica in them. The only less than great review I ever got was that “the ratio of erotica to whodunit was too strong.” Where had she been? I’ll put all the erotica I can get into it (as long as it’s not gratuitous).
  6. What is your favorite line from your story? “I hardly recognized you.” “I had clothes on.”
  7. Being as this is a collection about music, what is your favorite song or piece of music? I prefer strong, fast music: i.e., Shostakovich rather than Mozart, Whitney before J.Lo. I absolutely love music that makes you laugh. I loved conducting Beethoven’s Fifth Inning Symphony (ask me about it sometime), The horns never forgave me.
  8. What can we expect from you in the near future? Several romantic novellas, the last three volumes of “The Cameron Andrews Mysteries,” and the full novel version of “Her Fall from Power.” I’m also doing research on Kinbaku for “Kimiko’s Slave.”

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You can read Her Fall from Power and eight other erotic short stories in the collection, Symphony Amore: Erotic Stories of Love and Music, to be released on September 19, 2017. The links are as follows:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

KOBO

Release Date: “Getting It: A Femdom Anthology”

What better way to kick off a new season that with another collection of sexy stories? I am thrilled to announce that Getting It: A Femdom Anthology is out and available for purchase. In it, you will find my short story titled French Palate Tickler.

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Published by SinCyr Publishing, this collection is comprised of thirteen sexy stories ranging from the sweet, new Domme finding her footing to the young man discovering that pain doesn’t have to be self-inflicted. Mild dominance and hardcore BDSM entwine in Getting It, pushing characters and readers to embrace their innermost sensational desires in healthy, consensual ways.

Consent is paramount in all things, but most especially in play that involves power exchange. There is an element of trust and intimacy that is remarkably profound. Despite the labels and the exact nature of kink relationships, there is always a deep respect between the participants. It’s honestly a beautiful thing to witness.

My story is rather tame by some standards, but it’s still sexy and interesting to read. I have always been interested in secrets in plain sight, such as the entertainment lawyer who wears lingerie underneath his suits. The juxtaposition of doing something secret and taboo while projecting a clean, professional image is fascinating to me, and I wanted to play with that idea for this story. Though the reader gets a snapshot of the relationship between Mariana and Travis, I think it’s a deeply intimate glimpse.

Here’s an excerpt of my story, French Palate Tickler!

We’d met at the vineyard, and She’d remarked that it was odd I’d never tried the wares
I’d sold; I hadn’t found it necessary to inform her that I merely distributed the bottles. Her clean yet neatly callused hand felt warm and inviting when we’d shaken, and She’d slipped me her card. I was struck by Her boldness, Her frank command of Herself and the room, and Her charismatic beauty. When She later informed me that She was looking for someone new to train, it piqued my interest.

I’d invited Her over, and She’d walked on my naked back wearing nothing save for black
patent-leather Louboutin stilettos. This tiny woman had taken command of my body and mind, and all I’d craved was basking in Her confidence, Her wit, Her presence. With Her, I’d never needed to make a decision, never needed to worry about pleasing Her, never needed to tease out meaning from any passive-aggressive statement. I was merely her instrument, and I adored that position above all others.

Happy reading this weekend, everyone!

“Symphony Amore” Author Interview: Elizabeth Coldwell

Today, I am pleased to introduce Elizabeth Coldwell. Her story in Symphony Amore: Erotic Stories of Love and Music is titled Verlangen. This is a moving and sensual story, a perfect addition to the collection. She is a multi-published author and the former editor of the UK edition of Forum magazine. She was the launch editor of Erotic Stories magazine and one of the co-founders of the Guild of Erotic Authors. She is now an editor at Xcite and Cariad. Find her online at The (Really) Naughty Corner. Verlangen is dedicated to the mystery violinist of Langestraat.

  1. Is this your first published story? Is this your first published story in a Sexy Little Pages anthology? No, I’ve been published more times than I can count, and I have two stories in previous Sexy Little Pages anthologies. Age Appropriate is in the Silver Desire collection, which are all stories about the desires of women over the age of fifty, and Tell Me If It Hurts in Rule 34. I’d advise you don’t read the latter story if you don’t like visits to the dentist.
  2. How long have you been writing erotica? How and why did you start? I’ve been writing for thirty years now. The first erotic story I had published was in Forum magazine, where I was working at the time. The editor challenged me to write something, and the result was An Unsuitable Man, about a woman’s efforts to finally find the right partner after being with all the wrong men. I had such fun writing it that I haven’t stopped since.
  3. What inspired you to write this story? I was on holiday in Amsterdam a few months back, and it seemed every time we walked back to the apartment we were staying in, we heard someone practicing the violin in a nearby house. I’ve no idea who they were, but they played beautifully, and I’d like to thank them for giving me the idea for the story.
  4. What were the most challenging and enjoyable aspects of writing it? The challenge with any erotic story is to make it about more than just people having sex. The characters have to be believable, as does their motivation for getting together. I used to play the violin when I was younger, so I enjoyed using my own experiences of that to build up the character of Chen, the violinist in Verlangen.
  5. Does your story fit into your body of work? I think so. I’ve written a few short stories, a novella, and a novel that are set in Amsterdam, as something about the place always gives me good ideas for stories. I think it’s the sense of history and the relaxed vibe of the place.
  6. What is your favorite line from your story? “She moaned, and in his head, he swore he could hear music: the seductive violin tune Chen had played for him.” I think it emphasizes the role that music has played in Tom and Chen getting together.
  7. Being as this is a collection about music, what is your favorite song or piece of music? My favorite song is Only Time Will Tell by Asia. Not in the least bit fashionable, but I adore it. John Wetton, the band’s lead singer, had such an amazing voice, full of passion and yearning.
  8. What can we expect from you in the near future? I have a story coming out in the Sexy Little Pages anthology, Goodbye Moderation: Gluttony. It’s very different in tone to Verlangen: it’s about two men who work in a restaurant kitchen and get up to some very naughty things once they finish work for the night.

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You can read Verlangen and eight other erotic short stories in the collection, Symphony Amore: Erotic Stories of Love and Music, to be released on September 19, 2017. The links are as follows:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

KOBO

“Symphony Amore” Author Interview: Sionna Fox

Today, I am delighted to introduce Sionna Fox. Her story in Symphony Amore: Erotic Stories of Love and Music is titled Etudes. This is an evocative and interesting story, one that I thoroughly enjoyed. She has been telling stories since she could talk. She is an avid romance fan and firmly believes the genre can save lives. She lives in New England with her very patient husband and a very put-upon dog.

  1. Is this your first published story? Is this your first published story in a Sexy Little Pages anthology? This is my first published short story, and my first story published in a Sexy Little Pages anthology. I have two novellas out: one paranormal, one erotic romance.
  2. How long have you been writing erotica? How and why did you start? I’ve been writing seriously for about three years, but I’ve been playing with storytelling my whole life. My primary focus is on writing erotic romance. I want the HEA! I started writing because I wasn’t finding the stories I wanted to read. Now that I’m part of the romance community, I’ve found more of those stories, but I’m still writing because you can never have too much love and hope in the world.
  3. What inspired you to write this story? Etudes rose out of the ashes of my first, terrible attempt at writing a novel. Just goes to prove that no writing, however awful, is ever truly wasted. I refashioned the hero of that story into Natalie: professionally accomplished, but personally a mess lady-pianist of my dreams.
  4. What were the most challenging and enjoyable aspects of writing it? I studied music through high school and college, but it’s been a while, so getting the language and details right took some work, though that was fun work. Keeping pronouns and body parts straight in an F/F story is always a challenge. You really have to think about the blocking and pronoun antecedents in every sentence.
  5. Does your story fit into your body of work? My most recent novella is also set on a college campus, though both pieces kind of exist in their own worlds and don’t directly tie together in any way.
  6. What is your favorite line from your story? “It wasn’t a date. It felt like a date. Like the best date she’d been on in years. But it wasn’t a date.”
  7. Being as this is a collection about music, what is your favorite song or piece of music? I have…a lot of favorites. It all depends on context.
  8. What can we expect from you in the near future? I’m working on finding a home for the not-terrible novel I did finish, and I have some more ideas for writing musicians. Etudes ends on a hopeful note, but I’d actually love to take Natalie and Esther all the way to their HEA.

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You can read Etudes and eight other erotic short stories in the collection, Symphony Amore: Erotic Stories of Love and Music, to be released on September 19, 2017. The links are as follows:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

KOBO

“Symphony Amore” Author Interview: Laura Callender

Today, I am pleased to introduce Laura Callender. Her story in Symphony Amore: Erotic Stories of Love and Music is titled Crescendo. Her story, like an  actual crescendo, is beautiful while filled with tension and ends with exquisite resolution. She lives in the UK with her two young daughters, who rarely afford her time to write. She is the founder of CWC (Collaborative Writing Challenge) and spends a good chunk of time organizing numerous ongoing writing collaborations. She also organizes and publishes various anthologies, alongside working as a professional cover designer.

  1. Is this your first published story? Is this your first published story in a Sexy Little Pages anthology? I have a few short stories published in anthologies I have organised, along with numerous chapters in the collaborative novels I coordinate. This is my first story to be published completely independently of my own writing circles, so that’s been very rewarding for me.
  2. How long have you been writing erotica? How and why did you start? This is my first completed erotic story. I did start a novella many years ago which I hope to complete at some point. I enjoy the challenge of writing a sex scene. I like the build-up of interpersonal relationships, and finding the right ingredients to translate that chemistry to the reader.
  3. What inspired you to write this story? Actually, this is a true story, embellished to fit the submission guidelines. Sadly, the real story didn’t have such a sweet ending, but the chemistry that drove the story forward was something I experienced first-hand.
  4. What were the most challenging and enjoyable aspects of writing it? It’s very hard to write something that actually happened, because you have to ignore the truth to make the scene as fulfilling as possible for the reader. I do like to use reality in all aspects of stories I write, and when I let go enough to let the story come out of the memory, I know I’m on the right track.
  5. Does your story fit into your body of work? No. I have mostly written fantasy stories, so this has a different feel to it entirely.
  6. What is your favorite line from your story? As the story is quite personal to me, there are too many parts I like. However, this couple of lines start to build the tension between the characters: “My hands impatiently traveled along the contours of his muscles. A light scattering of short black hairs on his chest fascinated me, as I took in every inch of his soft black skin. He had a faint distinctive scent that lulled me like a distant pot of brewing coffee.”
  7. Being as this is a collection about music, what is your favorite song or piece of music? Oh gosh, that is an impossible question. I grew up listening to Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. I still love their music to this day. I find I also like music that is very emotive. I loved “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap. It’s the type of song I listen to really loud and just let the sound overtake me.
  8. What can we expect from you in the near future? Life has been throwing me a few curve balls of late, so I’ve had to slow down my schedule somewhat. However, I have thoroughly enjoyed perfecting a few short stories and will likely look for another open submission that calls to me! In the meantime, I still work on book covers for numerous clients and find that work very rewarding.

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Be sure to read Crescendo and eight other erotic short stories in the collection, Symphony Amore: Erotic Stories of Love and Music, to be released on September 19, 2017. The links are as follows:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

KOBO

“Symphony Amore” Author Interview: Genevive Chamblee

Today, I am delighted to introduce Genevive Chamblee. Her story in Symphony Amore: Erotic Stories of Love and Music is titled Harmonious Variation, a story that immediately reminded me of my time in that jewel of a city, New Orleans. She writes contemporary romance, erotic romance, fantasy romance, occult, Creole culture, and southern drama. She has been featured in Jabberwock Review and The Beacon. She enjoys entertaining readers with quirky characters, fun mischief, and happy endings. Genevive lives in the bayou country in the deep south where sweet tea, football, good music, and colorful family is gospel.

  1. Is this your first published story? Is this your first published story in a Sexy Little Pages anthology? Harmonious Variation is not my first published story. However, it is my first publication in a Sexy Little Pages anthology. This year, I’ve had two short stories published: Valentine Mistletoe in Cupid’s Bow (Holiday Heartwarmer Collection Book 2) and Oasis Haze in Mysterious Hearts (Holiday Heartwarmers). In previous years, I’ve had other publications and will have future publications this year and in early 2018.
  2. How long have you been writing erotica? How and why did you start? Honestly, I’m not sure how long I’ve been writing erotica. I’ve been writing for years, and I’ve lumped most of what I’ve written under the header of romance without realizing erotica is a genre of its own. Down in bayou country, we like things spicy. That includes our reading material. When I was about fourteen, my family vacationed in Waco, Texas. We stopped at a bookstore, and I bought a romance about a woman becoming trapped in a blizzard and being rescued by a mountain recluse. A lot of the book alluded to things that happened or glossed over it. At the conclusion, I was not a hundred percent satisfied. I read a second book, and it basically did the same thing. I wanted the gaps filled in, and I figured other readers wanted that as well. So, I began writing stories with the “gaps” filled in. As I matured, so did the details in my writing.
  3. What inspired you to write this story? I enjoy challenges, and I’d never written a story about music. I wanted to try. Where I live, there is an old theatre that is in need of repair. I toured the backstage and thought it would be a wonderful backdrop for a story. As I stood there, I wondered what wild things would have happened there over the seventy-five years it has been standing.
  4. What were the most challenging and enjoyable aspects of writing it? The most challenging was keeping it a short story and not having it develop into a novel. Southerners do love to gab it up and spin colorful stories. The most enjoyable aspect of writing it was the thought/hope it would bring enjoyment to readers. My main purpose of writing is to entertain others.
  5. Does your story fit into your body of work? Yes. Everything I write in one way or another fit together. All my characters are a little bit whacky and find themselves in quite unusual positions (sometimes literally).
  6. What is your favorite line from your story? “No, but on the positive side, you get to have big wood vibrating between your thighs.”
  7. Being as this is a collection about music, what is your favorite song or piece of music? This is a difficult question since there is so many songs that I love. I would say it’s a tie between “Born for This” by Mandisa because it’s so inspiring and “Brown Sugar” by the Rolling Stones.
  8. What can we expect from you in the near future? I have two books that will be released soon. Life’s Roux: Wrong Doors will be released by Red Sage Publishing later this year. It is a very steamy romance about what happens when Cajuns and Creoles decide to spice things up on vacation. Out of the Penalty Box will be released in February 2018 by Hot Tree Publishing. It’s a sports erotic romance that will melt hockey rink ice. I also am working on a paranormal short story for the next Holiday Heartwarmers anthology for October this year. Other projects are in the early stages.

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Be sure to read Harmonious Variation and eight other erotic short stories in the collection, Symphony Amore: Erotic Stories of Love and Music, to be released on September 19, 2017. The links are as follows:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

KOBO

“Symphony Amore” Author Interview: Rebecca Chase

Today, I am proud to introduce Rebecca Chase. Her story in Symphony Amore: Erotic Stories of Love and Music is titled Beautiful Destruction, a totally different and excellent addition to the collection. She is an English rose with a taste for sex and romance. Rebecca loves finding interesting story ideas in everyday life. Love, or the possibility of it, is at the heart of all her stories.

  1. Is this your first published story? Is this your first published story in a Sexy Little Pages anthology? I’ve had stories published before, including one in an anthology (Only Girl on the Pitch was in Love of the Game by Harley Easton). I’ve also had a sci-fi erotic short story published as a stand-alone by Sexy Little Pages. That story was called Before the Slaughter.
  2. How long have you been writing erotica? How and why did you start? I’ve been writing erotica for about three years. I started because I had a crush on someone and I wanted to write our story, or rather the story I wanted us to have. I read a lot of erotica and it seemed a great form of escapism. From there, it turned into writing some of my fantasies. Before I knew it, I was no longer writing about me but creating something new, about people I might pass in the street or developing ideas that came to be randomly. I was giving a voice and excitement to those that didn’t exist and loved the adventure of making that happen.
  3. What inspired you to write this story? Beautiful Destruction started with the idea that music isn’t necessarily an orchestra or a music teacher but something that happens in a club. I love going out dancing and letting the music move me. A DJ is a musician whose skill is often overlooked yet they can create something life-altering with their ability. Music can heal and change. One night at a club can alter the rest of your life and I wanted to write a story about one such life-changing night.
  4. What were the most challenging and enjoyable aspects of writing it? The most challenging aspect was describing the music, the depths of the notes and the way it moves behind the action. The most enjoyable aspect was listening to songs that I adore dancing too and using them to aid my imagination and letting them lead the sexy scenes with their rhythm.
  5. Does your story fit into your body of work? Yes and no. It has many of the ingredients of my body of work: characters with deep issues that impact their lives and relationships, the opportunity for love and for happy futures, good friends, humour, and sexy protagonists. However, this is my first lesbian story.
  6. What is your favorite line from your story? “Just when she felt her limbs flag and her breath leave her, ‘Beautiful Destruction’ hit the speakers and once more she was a rising phoenix.”
  7. Being as this is a collection about music, what is your favorite song or piece of music? My favourite song changes regularly but the song that’s been my favourite to dance to for some time is “Nobody to Love” by Sigma. It always makes me want to move.
  8. What can we expect from you in the near future? I have some short stories in a mixture of anthologies coming out this year; all touch on different parts of sex and romance. I’m continuing to work on my two erotic romance novels that are based around different players in a rugby team. It is set in England and the first chapter takes place in a famous cathedral. There’s a lot more that I want to publish too, stories I haven’t yet found a place for. Watch this space.

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You can enjoy Beautiful Destruction and eight other erotic short stories in the collection, Symphony Amore: Erotic Stories of Love and Music, to be released on September 19, 2017. The links are as follows:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

KOBO

Summer Wrap-Up

Now that Labor Day has come and gone, and that summer is behind us, I’d like to pause and talk about some of the books I read. I typically devote a lot of time to reading, but summer brings about the excuse of reading by the beach or pool. This summer gave us some wildly wonderful fiction. Without further ado, here were my Top Three Erotic and Romantic Books of Summer 2017.

  • Haven, Book One of the Beards and Bondage series by Rebekah Weatherspoon
    • Started: June 4, 2017
    • Finished: June 4, 2017
    • What makes it great: This was the first book I’ve read by this author, and I am so glad I started with this one. The main characters are Claudia and Shep, and they are introduced to the reader in high-octane action. They are brought together through trauma that is gritty and portrayed without sentiment. Claudia is strong and aware of precisely what she wants, while Shep is sweet and caring while being grouchy and ferociously sexy. If that wasn’t reason enough to buy this book, the sex scenes are positively scorching. That reminds me: I need to find myself a diner…
    • Best quote: “I’m a grown man, Mrs. Tierney.” “No you’re not. You’re just tall.”
  • The Red by Tiffany Reisz
    • Started: July 11, 2017
    • Finished: July 12, 2017
    • What makes it great: First, let’s just get this out of the way: this book was reviewed on NPR! Another first by this author for me, this book was an absolute joy to read. Mona is a female entrepreneur who has taken over her deceased mother’s art gallery, which is drowning in debt. She meets Malcolm, an enigmatic man who proposes the following arrangement: permission to do what he wants to her and with her, in exchange for saving her gallery. She accepts, and what is most interesting about the ensuing play is that each scene is staged like a famous painting; these scenes were beautifully written and simply wonderful to read. As a hero, Malcolm is delightfully perverse and sweet to Mona. As for the sex itself, Reisz has written prose that is white-hot, emotional, and expertly realized.
    • Best quote: “You smile like the devil.” “The devil doesn’t smile. The devil smirks.”
  • Hate to Want You, Book One of the Forbidden Hearts by Alisha Rai
    • Started: August 8, 2017
    • Finished: August 12, 2017
    • What makes it great: Yet another first by this author! As someone who studied English literature, I’m a sucker for a good adaptation of Shakespeare. Rai gives us one with this book, and of course it’s a Romeo and Juliet adaptation, only this time there’s a happy ending (there isn’t a Prince to say, “For never was a story of more woe/Than this of Juliet and her Romeo”). Livvy and Nicholas are two wonderfully flawed characters, and boy oh boy do I love a flawed character. Rai addresses depression quite well, using a deft hand to accurately portray what depression can look like. The supporting characters are complex enough to be realistic, tangible people. And of course, this book is deeply emotional, wildly hot, and incredibly intimate.
    • Best quote: “Society tells women that they need to be responsible for the emotional health of their relationships, and then tells them they’re weak for feeling emotions. What kind of message is that?”

And there you have it! Each of these books offers the reader a wonderful respite, as well as romantic and hot scenes. I highly recommend each of them. Happy reading!

 

“Symphony Amore” Author Interview: Charlotte French

The next author that I am pleased to introduce is Charlotte French. Her story in Symphony Amore: Erotic Stories of Love and Music is titled Crescendo. She has always loved romance across a wide range of genres, from historical to paranormal to contemporary. She started writing at an early age and hasn’t stopped since. When she’s not writing, she also loves hiking trails, baking desserts, and spending time with her cats. I wanted to get to know her better, and learn about what inspired her to write this story.

  1. Is this your first published story? Is this your first published story in a Sexy Little Pages anthology? Crescendo is my sixth published work. But with Sexy Little Pages, it’s only my second published work. I’ve absolutely loved the feedback and encouragement I’ve received from Sexy Little Pages and I fully intend to continue submitting my writing to them.
  2. How long have you been writing erotica? How and why did you start? I’ve been writing erotica for about three or four years. But only within the past year, 2017, that’s when I really got more comfortable with it, pushed the boundaries, stopped blushing at the slightest intimate scenes and started to like the process, exploring kinks, etc. How I got writing it was a total fluke. At first, fanfiction exposed me to it and gave me the freedom to mess around, to get past the awkward stages of my first few attempts. Erotica, sexuality, etc., are all taboo topics in the household I grew up in and it’s still taboo around a lot of people I know. But I found that I enjoyed reading it, and when I started writing it, I enjoyed it even more. When writing erotica, I feel like anything is possible. I’m free to explore as much as I like and there’s no guilt, no shame. There’s something beautifully addictive about the giving and receiving of pleasure between people and I never get tired of writing it.
  3. What inspired you to write this story? Crescendo was inspired by two main factors: diversity and artistry. I knew I wanted diverse characters from wildly different backgrounds because representation is an important factor in all of my writing. I love it when romance unites ethnicities and cultures that might otherwise be separate. And I also wanted to write about artistic people who struggle with balancing their creative visions as well as the demands of reality, including relationships, because it’s a topic that has always been near and dear to my heart. But after those two key factors, I didn’t know anything else and I discovered the story as I wrote it. At the end, I came to realize what I’d wanted to say all along was that creativity and love are intertwined. Doesn’t necessarily mean it makes life easier. There will still be long distances and times of separation that are painful, but if you love each other, if you love your music, you’ll find a way to stay together.
  4. What were the most challenging and enjoyable aspects of writing it? The most challenging aspects of Crescendo were the diverse characters. I’m always double-checking myself that I remain true to the culture and ethnicity of any given character. Sometimes, that can be tricky when I haven’t experienced a day in the life of that culture/ethnicity. The most enjoyable aspect of Crescendo was incorporating romance with music, turning touch into song. Isabelle and Andre poured themselves into their music, but in writing, I can’t transfer that sound to the page. So I had to find other ways around it, how to take the description of music and make it tangible in other ways, in a kiss, a caress, a look, the way Isabelle and Andre held each other as if they were holding their own beloved instruments that they’d dedicated their lives to. Writing that kind of complete adoration never gets old for me. I love every second of it.
  5. Does your story fit into your body of work? It absolutely does. Many of my contemporary works focus on how difficult it is to be creatively gifted in this modern world that may or may not accept and encourage that gift, whether it’s music, art, or dance. Crescendo did challenge me to embrace a different kind of storytelling though, a little more abstract in terms of word imagery, and I really enjoyed working on it.
  6. What is your favorite line from your story? My favorite line is towards the end of the story and it’s one that totally took me by surprise. It came out and I just stopped what I was writing with this dazed feeling. The rhythm of it, the way it seems to slow everything down to that dream-like haze of being with a lover, it perfectly encompasses everything that Isabella and Andre are: “And when Andre raised his hips to slide into her, so wet and hot that it hurt with that beautiful ache, oh, the sound she let out, the way her hands splayed against the back of his head, holding him close to her chest, to the rising staccato of her heart, was almost enough to make him come undone. God, he had missed this music he could only make with her.”
  7. Being as this is a collection about music, what is your favorite song or piece of music? My all-time favorite piece of music is “Time” by Hans Zimmer from the Inception soundtrack. It’s hauntingly beautiful, starting out soft as a whisper, then rises to this aching crescendo that you can feel in your bones and your heart.I fall in love with it every single time I hear it.
  8. What can we expect from you in the near future? I’m hoping to release a novel in mid-to-late 2018, entitled, Muse. As is typical of my work, the novel explores the balance of romance between a quiet, humble artist, Theo, and his muse, Lanie, a wild and reckless singer. These two characters are very different people, each of them struggling to make a name for themselves in their own creative circles and on the world at large. And Theo has to learn how to take a chance on life the way Lanie taught him to or he’ll lose her forever.

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You can enjoy Crescendo and eight other erotic short stories in the collection, Symphony Amore: Erotic Stories of Love and Music, to be released on September 19, 2017. The links are as follows:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

KOBO