Thursday, July 30, 2015

How Music Motivates Me

Settle in and have your drink of choice at hand – this is going to be a long one. 

Way back in my very early days on Twitter, I was known to tweet lots of song lyrics, particularly on Fridays. Long story made short, I hope – Friday has always been my "unwind" night, at least for the last almost 30 years. My routine, so to speak, and it always involved cranking up my music – however it was being played. Part of the reason my kids are such sound sleepers is that they learned very early on how to tune out Mommy's music. Anyway, I moved out of my parents' house right around the time CD's became the popular choice for playing music, and landing a job at Sony helped me get my hands on a gorgeous rack system stereo. Which for the time, was top of the line, and even with my windows closed, the entire neighborhood could hear my music as if they were standing inside with me.

I've always been a music lover and I have a wide range of favorites, from the early days of rock to a lot of the music being put out today. I have my favorite types that I prefer to listen to more than others – classic rock, southern rock, punk/new wave, and yes, the dreaded Disco. Sorry, my formative years spanned the 70's and the 80's. Say what you will, every era had their crap and their classic gems.

One of the biggest effects my love of music has had is to inspire me to strive to capture the emotion in a way that often has less than 200 words. I've always been amazed at songwriters who can convey a whole array of emotions in such a few words, or drive home an extreme feeling with only a line or two.

Bruce Springsteen, to me, is THE one for me who tugs at my heart with just a simple turn of phrase. I can't even begin to think of how many emotions that man has stirred in me as I listen to his songs. Of course, the classics – Thunder Road, Jungleland, EVERYTHING on Darkness, Point Blank, No Surrender, Tunnel of Love, Human Touch – okay, you get the point, and I could go on for hours listing all the songs that hit all the sweet spots in my musical nirvana. Don't get me started on his newer stuff – I wish I could inject it! lol

Anyway, as I was starting to say before, many many songs I love give me the inspiration for my books. Or at least the emotional impact I strive to hit between the characters. Sometimes it's passion, sometimes it's anger, sometimes it's hurt. Sometimes it's a just-let-it-go feeling. I don't have a specific playlist I listen to when I write – I keep the ipod (long way from those "cutting edge" CDs!) on shuffle and just let it flow. I'm doing it now. And wouldn't you know, Bruce is on – I'm on Fire, in case you're wondering.

In lots of cases, the song I'm listening to has absolutely nothing to do with my WIP, the characters or the scene. They're just songs that hit my inner happy place and keep my creative juices flowing. For instance, Bruce just changed to Johnny Nash's I Can See Clearly Now. ;)

Anyway, I digress and ramble, as always. If you've done any reading of this blog, you're surely familiar with that by now! lol What I wanted to do is share a few lines that hit my gut in various ways every time I hear them. Check them out – do any get to you in a visceral way like they do me? After you read through, share your own favorite songs/lyrics that touch you in ways you simply can't explain, or maybe you can. I have a free copy of Warrior's Possession for a random commenter, so don't be shy!

So, here's my first list – and I guarantee, I can come up with at least five or six more! ;)

I give you everything I own, mind, body and soul

Skin and Bones
The Hazies

It's kind of an obscure song, but this is what I strive to make every one of my main pairings feel for each other, no matter what their ulterior and possibly nefarious motives might be when they first encounter each other. And chances are, they don't recognize that feeling for quite some time, even if it bites them on the ass in the moments after the first meet.

This love is killing me but you're the only one

It's Not Over

This is a tough one to explain. This affects both hero and heroine. Chances are the heroes have un-heroic motives toward the heroine, at least at first, and when this realization kicks in, it's driven by guilt for those un-heroic actions. Kills him that he claimed her the way he did, but he still won't have done it any other way, as long as he gets to keep her.

As for the heroine, she's sharp enough to realize her hero has reasons for being a dick, but she sees the hero in him, and knows he's the only one who can share this passion with her, even if she thinks a future for them is impossible because he's a stubborn idiot! lol

So tonight I'll ask the stars above:
How did I ever win your love?
What did I do; What did I say
To turn your angel eyes my way?

Angel Eyes
Jeff Beck

Many of my heroes ask this type of question of themselves several times. Chances are, they didn't treat their heroine very well to start off, yet somehow, she recognizes the man he truly is. Takes a few hits upside the head (so to speak) with the cast-iron frying pan to make him get it. :D

Just for this moment
As long as you're mine
Come be who you want to be and see how bright we shine

As Long as You're Mine
Wicked Soundtrack

I can't really explain exactly how this one fits, other than it draws on many emotions during the sexual encounters between my characters. Just for that moment, nothing else matters except the connection being made on both a physical and emotional level. They'll deal with the fallout when they have to, they just need to share their connection in the deepest of ways at that particular moment.

Here's some more:

And giving yourself to me can never be wrong if the love is true

Let's Get It On
Marvin Gaye

This is one of my all-time favorite songs ever, for a ton of reasons. The way Marvin used his voice to convey need and desire sends shivers along my spine.

Honey, I need a lovin' tender touch
Just move your body close to mine
Make everything alright

Runnin' Through the Fire
Beaver Brown Band otherwise known as Eddie and the Cruisers

That is just a seriously hot set of lyrics. ;) And since I picture Michael Pare as Eddie whenever I hear it is a cherry on top!

Breathe out, so I can breathe you in
Hold you in

Foo Fighters

Another seriously hot song – and it hits so many notes on my scale of true love and passion, not sure I can explain it. Then again, maybe it needs no explanation.

Nobody ever gonna love you the way that I love you
And I never want to see you doin' without

No Alibis
Eric Clapton

One of the greatest guitarists of all time. DH and I often debate who comes close to being on his level. This line is again tied to my heroes – chances are he is going to explain his actions in such a pathetically poor way, it will take until the end of the book before the heroine will understand. But he does it only because he loves her. Bottom line, The End.

Oh, you've got to love her, tease her
But most of all you've gotta please her

Treat Her Like a Lady
Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose

These lines set off sparks for me because they speak to the physical relationship between my characters. If you've read any of my books, you know just how my heroes like to tease their heroines before ultimately pleasing them. Which they do in spades! ;)

I feel my temperature rising
Help me, I'm flaming
I must be a hundred and nine
Burning, burning, burning
And nothing can cool me

Burnin' Love
Elvis Presley

Yeah, say what you will about the hunka hunka lyrics and the man himself (yeah, he was messed up, but damn he was smoking hot, even in his last days), these lyrics are what every one of my heroes is feeling as he's making love to his heroine.

Okay, I'm wrapping it up now, I promise, and if you've made it this far into my ramble, I give you a lot of credit! lol Seriously, though, tell me what songs/lyrics touch you – no matter how and you could win yourself a copy of Warrior's Possession!

Monday, July 20, 2015

WARNING!!! So Hot, It Will Fry Your Kindle!

It's no secret that what I write is very erotic, with BDSM elements a common theme through all of my books. Since my books are historical and/or paranormal, I can twist things around a bit, break some of rules that are common to contemporary set BDSM romances, and generally make things up as I go.

My historical-set books in particular break a lot of rules. I like to call these stories "true-to-the-time" in regards to the fact that the heroes of my books are men who see what they want and simply take it, much as the men of the 13th and 14th centuries did exactly that. The difference being of course, that even though my heroes (or anti-heroes, in some cases) do take the heroine, there is a strong attraction and an emotional connection of some sort at the start. The heroine is his, and he will do anything he needs to do to protect and keep her. They aren't simply ruthless brutes, though my heroines might not always agree, at least at first.

When writing Warrior's Possession, I was able to use the theme of a secret traitor, possibly the heroine, Gillian, to propel some of the sexual aspects of the book. Royce has quite a set of sensual tools he wields against Gillian, to get her to reveal all her secrets. Gillian, on the other hand, is determined to keep those secrets, and finds herself enjoying Royce's torturous games. I had a lot of fun writing those scenes, and the chemistry between the two made it easy to spice up their love scenes.

Apparently, I spiced those scenes up a bit too much.

A friend of mine and fellow writer/critique partner, Janet Lane Walters, recently purchased Warrior's Possession for her Kindle. Unfortunately, the download fried her Kindle! Literally – she got about halfway through the book and the Kindle ceased to function.

Janet described to me what happened: 

"The day my Kindle died, I was reading your book, Warrior's Possession. The bit on the bottom said I had read 50%. Did that mean the glass was half-full or empty? What happened was my Kindle was empty. Did I cry? Nah, I just did what the screen told me to do and recharged the battery. Twenty-four hours later, the screen still said Battery Needs to be re-charged. Would I never be able to read this book? Now I could read it on the computer but I hate sitting at the computer and reading anything much longer than email or blogs of friends. So here I was with a dead Kindle and a half read book. The screen didn't even have what looked like lightning bolts. I called Amazon. This was Sunday afternoon just before I needed to leave my study and make dinner. I explained the problem and was told they would send me a new Kindle and I should return the dead one. Monday morning my third Kindle arrived. I returned the other. Then I had to wait for my son to come home from work to key the Kindle into the internet. I really blame the burn out on the heat level of this book. I will never know but now I can finish the story, one I've seen in several incarnations."  

Wow – you got the Kindle the day after you called! I'm impressed by that quick turnaround! Sorry I fried your Kindle, but so glad you were able to replace it and get to finish the book!

So a warning to anyone reading my books – make sure you are in very cool surroundings, the content alone will set the temperature to blazing hot! Dare to take the risk? Here's where you can get Warrior's Possession:

If you don't want to risk your reader, Warrior's Possession is also available in print:

Here's a little taste of this scorching erotic romance – but be careful! This might be the scene that shorted out Janet's Kindle! Keep some ice on hand in case you get burned! lol

“Tell me, what are you thinking about?”

Gillian met Royce's gaze, and gave a small shake before lowering her head. He tilted her chin up.

“Do not keep secrets from me. ‘Twill go badly for you.”

She stiffened and tried to ignore the burst of panic. “I keep no secrets.”

Proud of her steady voice, she boldly held his stare.

“I’m not so sure. But I don’t wish to think on that now. First is the matter of your punishment.”

“What? I’ve done nothing to warrant it!”

“Ah, but you have. Do you not recall striking me last night?”

Heat scorched her cheeks. God’s blood, she had hit him. It had led to the beguiling brutal and tender kisses they’d shared. A shiver slid through her veins.

“You insulted me.”

“There was no need for you to strike.”

He set her away from him and a chill drifted over her. Barely a moment later, he caught her wrists in one hand. She had no time to resist as he sat on the bed and hauled her across his lap.

She kicked and twisted, trying to free herself. “You bastard, let me go! I will not be treated this way.”

He said nothing while he caught her legs between his, imprisoning her further. She tugged against his hold on her wrists, but ‘twas like pulling against rock.

She screamed her outrage, but his grip only tightened. With his free hand, he stroked her arse and she gave another furious screech.

“Unhand me, you beast!”

His reply was to bring his hand down hard on her bottom. She stiffened in shock, the sting of the blow not truly painful. When the second strike landed much more harshly, she began to struggle once more.

“You cruel monster!”

“I expect to be respected and obeyed. You did neither.”

Another blow, and another, and another. Fire bloomed in her arse and she squirmed against his hold. Tears escaped her squeezed eyelids, but she held back her sobs, refusing to let him see any weakness. After several more strikes, however, the pain oddly seemed to fade, replaced with a heat that near matched what he’d stirred with his kisses. She stopped fighting, falling limp against his lap and waited for the next strike. When it came, she rolled her hips toward him.

The next blow seemed to take longer to come, but she anticipated it by counting the seconds between. This time, he didn’t hit hard, he lightly stroked her burning skin. A moan escaped to feel the fire spark still hotter at the gentle touch.

“Your skin turns a lovely shade of pink. I find myself hoping you will disobey often so I may enjoy the sight.”

His words, spoken in a gruff tone, added another dimension to the riot of thrills that took over her thoughts. And, ‘twould seem, her body. What had the man done to her?

She found herself suddenly upright, her sore bottom pressed onto his leg. Burying her face into his shoulder, she whimpered at the fresh burst of pain. Oddly, her nipples remained rock hard and eager. For what? The heat and wetness coating her sex left her unable to take a steady breath.

His hand slid along her breasts and she looked up into his face. His tawny eyes caught hers for a moment, before lowering to watch while his fingers rolled her nipple between them.

Flames erupted and she made no effort to conceal the moan of delight. His touch was unlike any pleasure she’d ever known. Her heart seemed to beat in time to the throb in the heated flesh of her bottom. Her husband continued to pinch and pull at her nipple, now turning his attentions to the other.

The wanton sensations flooding her left her quivering. To her horror, she pressed her breast into his hand, wanting more caresses. A husky chuckle accompanied a sharp pinch.

“I see you enjoyed my punishment. I don’t think you’ll like what I have in mind next.”

Before she could respond, he stood, scooping her against his chest before laying her out on the bed. The feel of the feather tick against her sore arse made her attempt to rise, but he held her down with one hand on her chest.


She didn’t dare defy him. She had no desire to be spanked again, though truthfully, right now, she might not have minded, noting the delightful languid feeling in her arms and legs.

He peeled off his tunic and Gillian found herself unable to look away as he removed his shirt then his hose. In moments, he stood bared before her. She held his gaze and detected a hint of humor there. Did he realize how hard she tried not to look at him... there?

He reached down and took her hand. She used all of her will to hold his stare as he guided her hand to his shaft and curled her fingers around it. She froze, her eyes widening to realize how very large his cock was.

She was no fool, innocent she may be. She knew what passed between a man and woman. But now she realized just how little she knew. How on God’s earth would he fit that inside her?

“You are afraid?”

His voice cut into the ramble of her thoughts and she gave a nod. Finally, she dared look at the hard and warm flesh she held. Her hand, surrounded by his, barely covered half the length, and her fingers only just fit fully around. Royce began to move, sliding her along his cock. After a few moments, she shrugged him off and shifted closer, still stroking.

He gave a low groan and she lightened her grip, worried she had hurt him. When she ran her fingers over the shiny tip, a sharp hiss escaped him. She looked up and found the most intense concentration lined into his face. His eyes had closed and his lips were tight, yet parted, allowing him to suck in air. The sight set her body burning anew.

He liked her touch. Pride and anticipation dimmed her apprehension. She took her time exploring him, leaning up and using her other hand to find his balls. Another groan and he pulled her hand away.

“Enough! Lay down.”

The sudden change in his tone alarmed her. At her hesitation, he leaned over and pushed her back against the pillows.

“I see you’ll need instruction on how to properly obey.”

She had no time to respond for he stretched out above her, taking her hands and drawing her arms above her head. He parted her legs with his and the panic returned at the helpless position. Her squirming did nothing to loosen his hold. He switched both her hands to one and used the other to land a light slap to her thigh.

“Be still. I wish to... inspect you.”

Stunned by his callous words, she froze, then began to struggle against him once more. "You insult me again. Why should I obey, you insufferable oaf?”

He slapped her again. “You are my wife now, and under the law, mine to do as I please. And now, I wish to see what my wife offers.”

“As if I’m no more than livestock to be bought or sold?”

“‘Twould be very unlucky for you if you tempt me to sell you.”

She let out a snarl of anger and fought to free herself. He caught her face with his free hand and devoured her mouth, swallowing her protests with his lips and tongue. He gave her no respite, drawing the very breath from her lungs and replacing it with a fire that threatened to reduce her to cinders. Forgotten were the angry words of moments ago. Now desire took their place, and Gillian’s struggles ceased as passion surged.