Finding the right spot – Sex locations, Day 3


The Divas have been having a lot of fun of late, discussing all the places our characters have done the dirty. Sami made a list first, which you can see right here. Then it was Lexxie’s turn. (Click here for her list.)

The thing is with erotic romance writing, our characters do the dirty A LOT! And let’s face it, if they confined themselves to their bedrooms, things could start to get a wee bit boring, no? So it’s up to us, the authors, to throw our characters into places or situations that’ll spice up the scenes.


Truth is, very few of my love scenes take place in the bedroom. All too often, they’re so keen to get it on, that soft, comfortable bed is just too damn far away. So, where have they done it? Well let’s see:

1) In the lounge room. (That seems to be a favorite of mine. There’s even a scene on a couch which takes place as the NYE midnight firework show begins. And oh, yeah, there are a lot of fireworks!)

2) In the dining room. (On the table and a chair. Different books though.)

3) In the bathroom. (Not in the shower or bath, as you’d expect…)

4) A gazebo in the middle of a rose garden. (Several times. Turns out the gazebo was a special place for this hero and heroine.)

5) The dressing room of a sports stadium. (With sixty thousands people packed into said stadium.)

6) An outdoor spa/jacuzzi.

7) A doctor’s waiting room.

8) On the deck of a boat.

9) On the ladder of a boat.

10) In an office. (With someone watching through the window. And without someone watching through the window. And in his office chair. And her office couch.)

11) In the garden during a party.

12) In his parents’ garden, behind the massive eucalyptus tree. (Don’t worry. It was night. The parents never saw a thing.)

13) On the balcony of a hotel room. (Man, I adore love scenes set in hotel rooms! I have heaps of them.)

14) Tied to a chair. (Well, she was. He’d gotten free by then.)

15) On a bar. (With three hot men! How’s that for one lucky lady?)

16) On a poker table. (Never fear, the cards and chips had been packed away.)

17) On a kitchen table. (Sturdy table that one.)

18) On the trunk of a car on the side of a road in broad daylight. (Phew, lucky the road was deserted.)

19) On a cliff overlooking the ocean. (Spectacular views, I might add.)

20) In her dreams. (And his)


Now, for the fun bit…A CONTEST!

You’ve read my list. Now check out Lexxie and Sami’s lists. (Rhian’s is coming soon!)

Each day any commenter who can match up at least one of that author’s books with its corresponding sex location will go in the draw to win a set of four backlist books–winner’s choice, one from each of us. So, for eg, you might say that the love scenes in the gazebo are from Red Red Wine – and you’d be right. (I gave that one away because I’m super cool that way 😀 ). Do you get the picture? Match up as many or as few as you can.

Have fun. (Oh, and don’t be shy to add a couple of places you might have tried. Who knows? They may just land up in a Diva book one day.) 😉

Good luck,


Variety is the Spice of Life – Sex Locations Day 1


As an erotic romance author, one of the things you strive to do to is make the sex in each book distinct and different. This takes some inventiveness and some serious risk taking at times from your protagonists. When you’ve racked up 15 books (many more from the other Divas), most of them containing more than one sex scene each and many of them sporting many more than that, it’s Sexy Couplenot easy to make each scene stand out from the other.

This is why I’ve recently turned to play equipment. Yep, as in a public park. At night, no lights (aka no witnesses), not a lot of moonlight. Nobody’s naked on the jungle jim and no DNA gets left behind, this is strictly a preview to the main event. But still, I’ve resorted to foreplay involving a slippery slide. LOL.

Casting my mind back, my characters have committed sex acts in a wide range of places


In a bed (naturally)

On the couch

On the kitchen table

Against the wall

Against the door (same thing as above, really)

In a stable (but NOT on a horse. At least not yet)

In the shower

In the ocean

In a resort swimming pool

In a car (stationery)

In a car (moving)

On a boat (anchored. You can only handle one rudder at a time)

At the beach

On a balcony

In the middle of a vineyard

On a rug in front of the fire (it’s a cliché because it’s good)

At the bar in a hotel

At a lookout (very public, oooh)

Over the phone

In the back yard

That’s quite a list. But I reckon the playground example shows there are many more places to explore.

Anyone want to go canoeing?


 This week each Diva will be putting up their list of character sex locations (yes the list has an official name). Each day any commenter who can match up at least one of that author’s books with its corresponding sex location will go in the draw to win a set of four backlist books–winner’s choice, one from each of us. So for eg you might say that that Sami’s sex in the stables scene is from Eternal Brand (I gave that one away because that book hasn’t released yet!). Do you get the picture? Match up as many or as few as you can.

Sounds like fun to me :).


The Week of WIP Men – Eternal Brand


I’m currently in deadline hell, trying to get my latest WIP finished by Sunday. I’m feeling very ‘the little train that could’ right now I think I can, I think I can…

This book has been both a labour of love and a… well, just a labour, really. It’s only the second MMF I’ve ever written, and you may be aware of how long and angsty the first one is. This one was supposed to be simpler, but simple books and me aren’t very well acquainted. This time I have an ex-commando  hero with some serious psychological scarring and a long lost love who’s about to turn up and blow his sanctuary all to hell. His name is Brandon Walker, and his long lost love is Jet Durante. Together they’re explosive (and more than enough to satisfy Brand’s new love, Emily Irving).

In my mind, this is how I see Brand

Brand 2 Yes, Channing Tatum in army fatigues and a lot of sweat. Hmm.

And this is how I see Jet–Ian Sommerhalder wearing not very much.

Ian-Jet RaunchyThese guys make putting up with the torture of writing worthwhile 🙂


That First Rush of Love

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I’m writing a new book and really loving it right now. Of course this is the first rush of love, the honeymoon stage of the book writing process. The first three chapters are always fun, getting to know your characters and letting them steer the story. It seems like it’s all going to work out right now, and that you and your characters are always going to get along.

By chapter five it’s usually a different story and I’ll want to strangle them.

But for right now, I’m determined to love them as much as possible. I’ve decided my hero Aaron, is a dead ringer for Bradley Cooper:

Bradley Cooper 3

Now that’s inspiring, isn’t it? I’ve made a Bradley Cooper desktop picture, and a log in picture. I even made my start screen all nice and light blue just like his eyes. All in the name of keeping myself in the zone, you see. It’s not weird or stalky as some might suggest (namely my hubby :)).

I thought I’d share the first, completely unedited and probably very messy, paragraph of the rough draft.

Smoking cigars was a nasty habit, as was drinking fine scotch and chasing loose women, but Aaron Sanderson had never found adequate motivation to quit doing any one of them. Which was how he came to be parked at the beach at six thirty in the morning, unashamedly admiring the finest specimen of female flesh that had ever set foot in Leyton’s Headland while puffing on one of the secret Cohibas he kept in the glove compartment of his Jeep Cherokee.

            And unrepentantly enjoying every second of it.

Okay so that’s definitely messy :). But I’m in love right now so I don’t care.


What I’m Working On


Oh, there’s always more than one thing it seems, but I’m most occupied this week with finishing first round edits for Unforgettable Summer. I love going through a book again after it’s been a while and rediscovering what I did. Sometimes it’s a bit surreal, like ‘did I write that?’ By the time a book has gotten past an editor and is well on its way to publication, it’s pretty much as good as it can get. I can’t help recalling previous versions of this scene or that scene and being a little proud I spent the time to make the words sing (although at the time it felt like beating my head against a stone wall, of course).

Thought I’d share with you a little snippet from the book. This is not FINAL final, but I don’t think it’s going to change much. if at all, from here. This shows Summer Campbell about to give professional surfer Ty Butler, her long lost first love, a massage ten years after they broke broke each other’s hearts. Talk about awkward!


“Take a seat and fill this out.” Summer handed him a clipboard with a single sheet of paper attached. “Standard procedure for all new clients.”

Sitting on a rattan chair beside what was obviously Summer’s desk, Ty filled out the form quickly, spending a bit of time at the “list previous injuries” section before handing it back.

Summer raised an eyebrow as she read the form. “Your body’s been through a lot. Your shoulder, your knee. You have a nasty scar there.”

Ty touched the jagged pink line that curved around his kneecap. “A nasty collision with some coral a while back.”

“Does it give you trouble as well?”

“Not today. But it’s more of a help, seeing as it aches when it’s about to rain. I can pretty accurately predict the weather.”

“A skill usually only possessed by elderly men and meteorologists.”

He grimaced at her quip, uncomfortably aware as he occasionally was these days that he was getting old. Not old old, but professional-athlete old. His thirtieth birthday was around the corner, which meant if he kept going at the pace he had been the past ten years he could look forward to another ten collecting more injuries and aches than most men in their sixties had.

“I apologize, that was a rude thing to say.”

“No worries.” He didn’t want her to think she could impact his mood so easily. “The body’s not going to hold up forever, I know that.”

“So you are thinking of quitting surfing and moving back here?”

“Which rumor mill churned that one out?”

“I’m not in the habit of listening to rumors,” she said stiffly. “I saw you looking at real estate at AJ Sanderson’s.”

Ty’s lips twitched. “So you’re only in the habit of spying then.”

“I wasn’t spying.”

The twitch turned to a grin at her indignant denial. Summer looked up from the clipboard and saw the expression on his face. She let out a breath. “I forgot what it was like to be teased by you.”

“Missed it, have you?”

Summer’s gaze darted away once more. Ty instantly regretted the taunt, wondering why he had the urge to taunt her at all. He wasn’t nineteen and tied up in knots about her anymore. He wasn’t interested and she wasn’t available anyway, end of story.


Unforgettable Summer is a follow up to Moonlight Mirage, where I first met Ty Butler. I’m looking forward to it coming out in November :). How about you?


Catching Up


I finished a book last week–or should I say I refinished it since I was doing rewrites. What I like to do to celebrate each little (or big) submisison I make is to catch up on all the reading and movie watching I put off while all my spare time is funnelled into creating a story. I take a day or two (sometimes it stretches to three or four :)) to veg out, not write at all, and I spend that time reading and watching the movies I haven’t yet gotten around to seeing.

So this last week I read Flirting with Forty by Jane Porter, which I loved, plus a host of ebooks from writers like Erin Nicholas and Maya Banks and Lexxie Couper (oops, how did she get in there?), and Shelli Stevens and Cat Johnson. Believe me when I say that’s a lot of reading for me. I hired out a bunch of movies; Up in the Air (liked), Easy A (loved), and Sherlock Holmes (fell asleep in). And I’ve rewatched several of my old fav episodes of the Gilmore Girls. Yes, that in particular is a dorky habit, but a pleasantly mind-numbing, smile inducing one.

I love to do these things because they help recharge my brain when it feels completely fried from the creative stress of seeing a big project like writing a novel through to the end. I have started another story, but for the first week I took it easy on myself and just got to know the characters. Next week I start in earnest with the early rising and daily goals and all that crap, which I welcome and dread at once.

So what do you do when you feel you need to restart your brain?


Guest Blogger – Denise Rossetti


Our guest today is the wonderfully talented Australian writer Denise Rossetti. Denise writes unique and intensely romantic tales that combine elements of fantasy, sci-fi, romance and erotica. She is also from my neck of the woods here in Queensland, a lovely part of the country if we do say so ourselves :). I had the pleasure of conducting a talk on writing erotica at the Romance Writers of Australia conference with Denise a few years ago. Today, she has kindly agreed to answer a few of my questions, and she’s also offering an e copy of her latest Ellora’s Cave release as a prize to one lucky commenter.

1. Hi Denise *Sami waves* On your website you mention you had an Aunt who used to tell you wonderful tales. When did you first know you not only wanted to, but that you could create them yourself? 

Like many people, I spent years telling myself, “One day I’ll write a book.” But, of course, I didn’t. Then I hit a rough patch in my life and I had a significant birthday. Suddenly, I was thinking, “Why the hell not?”

I hadn’t written any fiction since high school (back in the Dark Ages), so at the start, I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to finish an entire novel so I chose to try a category romance, because categories were the shortest books I knew. Silly me! It’s funny when I look back on it now.

That was in 2002 and once I finished that first book (it lives in the sock drawer)… ah, then it was a different story. I was hooked on the sheer power of creating a world and disappearing into it. It also placed third in the Clendon, which proved, much to my astonishment and relief, that I really could tell a story. But the biggest thrill of all was that readers—real live people not related to me in any way—said they’d enjoyed it. I was so excited!

 2. What genre do you think your books best fit into? Or would you prefer not to be labelled?

I’ve always been firmly of the opinion that everything I write is fundamentally a romance, but not everyone is so convinced. The Flame and the Shadow, the first in the Four-Sided Pentacle series, was published under the Ace imprint, Berkley’s fantasy line. The decision was made because of the strength of the world-building. However, later the Berkley editors came around to my way of thinking and shifted me to the Sensation line. On the other hand, my two novellas for them were published in anthologies under their Heat imprint.

For Ellora’s Cave, I write erotic romance. Go figure.

I don’t much care to be labelled. I get bored easily and I like to try different things, new challenges. For example, The Dark Rose, the fourth and last in the Four-Sided Pentacles series, has elements of fantasy, science fiction and steampunk, all set on a world like a skewed version of Regency Ireland. There’s loads of adventure and derring-do. Oh—and it’s erotic.

But if you put a gun at my head and forced me to choose, I’d plump for romance because it’s always the dynamic of the emotional relationship between the protagonists that comes to me first.

 3. You put your characters through a lot of inventive turmoil. Does your guilt ever keep you up at night?

Nope, she said cheerfully. I remember going to a Donald Maas workshop (might have been the Melbourne Conference in 2005) and taking his constant refrain of “Make it worse, make it worse, worse, worse!” to heart. I write sword and sorcery type fantasy. There’s no sense in going for small stakes—no one would be interested.

There’s only been one character whose pain really distressed me. In The Flame and the Shadow, my hero, Gray, has a truly traumatic childhood. I hated doing that to him, I really did, but it was necessary to explain why he is so profoundly disturbed—essentially he’s a man at war with himself. The separation between Gray and his shadow, Shad, is central to the plot so it had to be credible emotionally. But by the time I finished writing those chapters, I was shaking, believe me.

 4. I hear around the water cooler that you’re a pantser (that is she writes without an outline folks). What’s your basic writing schedule like… or do you have one?

Hmm, shows you shouldn’t believe in gossip! Yes, I am a pantser, but not entirely. These days, especially writing for Berkley, I find do need some sort of outline to keep me on track. However, it’s always pretty vague and I never, ever, manage to stick to it! But given that I’ve already had to write a synopsis for my editor (which I utterly loathe and despise doing) I might as well take advantage of it. That said, I have to leave myself loads of ‘wriggle room’. Too much detail and I’m bored because, in my mind, I’ve already told that story.

As for a writing schedule—oh, how I wish I actually had one! *sigh* Part of it is because I have a Day Job, but I often say I’m the Queen of Procrastination ruling over the Land of Clutter. I’ve given up trying to tidy my desk before I begin. I’d never get anything written.

When I do have a writing day, I fluff around until lunchtime at least, doing emails, tweeting and stuff. Heavens, I don’t even know what it is that I do, except waste time. I usually start writing after lunch. The dog lies on the floor and snores. The cat insists on sitting on my lap so I have to type over the top of him.

Funnily enough, despite the fact that I’m so careless with physical objects, I’m a very slow, very deliberate writer. I don’t often get carried away and have words simply flow out of my fingers. I have to dig for every single one, which means I need to concentrate. I have a timer on the computer and I turn it for 45 minutes. When it goes off, I stretch and then I’m allowed to check my email. (Did I say I need a 12 step program?) It’s amazing how little I can write in that time. Around 5pm I have this incredible desire to doze off, but the cat comes in and head-butts me until I fix his dinner. The dog just grumbles. So I yawn and go on. By 8pm, I’m firing on all cylinders and if I’m on a roll, sometimes I go ’til after midnight.

5. I’ve saved the important question for last: What is your all time, absolute favourite dessert?

Affogato – icecream with espresso coffee and a nice liqueur, say, um, Baileys. Ah…

 Thanks so much for stopping by today Denise, we’re honoured to have you at our blog. Before you go, please tell us a little something about your latest release Guilty as Sin.

I haven’t had a new book in the Phoenix Rising series for ages, so I’m really excited about the release of Guilty as Sin. It came out on 3 August 2011 and is available at Ellora’s Cave.

Leave a comment to go in the draw for a free copy of the ebook!


I absolutely adore the cover. Not only is the model an absolute hunk, but he’s perfect for Dax, who is that rare thing—hero who is thoroughly good. He’s decent through and through—unlike Michael who’s the ultimate bad boy. Poor Lise, having to cope with them both. *sigh*

Here’s the blurb and you can read the whole first chapter on my website

Michael’s bad, bad, bad—all the way to the bone. A single heated encounter with the master thief and level-headed Liseriel the Gray has never been so furious—so intrigued—in her life. Neither has Michael. Danger’s always been his drug of choice.

With his huge bronze wings and sweet, serious smile, Daxariel the Burnished is everything the thief is not—a generous shining spirit, an honest loving soul—and a virgin.

It’s going to take two Aetherii to catch a thief. Lise and Dax are both so godsbedamned good, Michael can’t wait to debauch and defile, to make his Aetherii beg for dark erotic pleasures. It’s the only way he knows to win—and win he must, because there’s something about wings and tails and trust freely given that has him reeling.

Exquisitely trapped between Michael’s intoxicating wickedness and Dax’s steadfast love, everything Lise believes about duty is dust on the wind. How can she crave both these men, different as night and day?

Don’t forget, if you want to win a copy of Guilty as Sin, leave a comment!

Join Denise’s monthly newsletter for sneak peeks, freebies, contests, vignettes and general mayhem – https://app.expressemailmarketing.com/Survey.aspx?SFID=79564 You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads and of course, her website – http://www.deniserossetti.com.


Back to that old drawing board

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Would it sound insane if I say I love revisions?

Probably. Most writers I know hate getting revisions, having to go back to the drawing board on a manuscript they thought was done with. Admittedly upon first receiving news that something I’m sick of working on needs, alas, more work, I groan in dismay, feel sorry for myself, consider chucking the story and or give up writing altogether. But I don’t attack the problem straight away. I allow myself the luxury of burying my head in the sand. I write something else, go away and read, immerse myself in family life. I give myself a deadline, a point in time when all this procrastination will have to come to an end, but until that day arrives I have permission not to stress over what needs to be done on that other annoying piece of work that didn’t quite hit the high points like it should have. During that time, my subconscious is diligently working on the problem (or so I hope), so that by the time I sit down to tackle it some of the answers will be clear.

Thankfully that seems to be what’s happened with my fireman story, yes that one I’ve been fiddling with since November of last year. At least I hope what seems like clarity to me is not complete delusion. I hope I’m fixing the problems with the manuscript and that this go around I might at last have all my ducks in a row. I do finally feel like I know what I have to do. All that remains is for me to do it.

Ought to be a snap, right? Yes, yes, I assume it’ll be easy from here on in (head goes in sand again)

Here’s to a great weekend full of writing and reading,


The Big Finale


Sometimes writing a book is a real struggle. Scrap that—at all times, writing a book is a real struggle. Some days it’s a struggle


 authors enjoy in a perverse kind of way. Other days it’s sheer hell. We all at one time or another (and another and another) wonder why in God’s name we continue doing it.

Then we have a day when we actually finish a story, something we’re actually happy with (well, as happy as a writer can ever be with their own work :)). Ah, we think. That’s why we do it.

On Thursday night I finally typed THE END on my current WIP, the culmination of almost two years of writing struggles. There were times I wondered if I’d ever finish anything again, so this completion is particularly special for me. And I’m celebrating it.

Premature, perhaps, because it hasn’t yet been critiqued, let alone submitted or accepted. But I’ve decided to pat myself on the back sooner rather than later. After all, it’s the hard work of writing the damn book that is the real achievement, not publication or rave reviews. Not that we don’t like those things. It’s just that I’ve grown to believe we really ought to congratulate ourselves on doing the work for the work’s sake, and treat everything else as gravy. Otherwise our pride in our writing achievements is dependant on the reaction of others, something we can’t control. Who wants to rely on someone else for their own self-worth?

So what am I going to do? Watch A Single Man, because I’ve wanted to for ages and I haven’t gotten around to it yet, make a dent in my ever-growing TBR pile and buy myself a new ipod. Yes, I’m nerdy even in celebration mode :). Oh okay, I might have a few glasses of wine over the weekend too.

So what do you do when you want to treat yourself?


The Politics of Prophylactics


I was reading a novel a little while back and was totally jarred out of the story when in the third chapter the couple had unprotected sex. This after they’d met only 24 hours before. The conversational exchange went something like this:

Him: I don’t have protection

Her: It doesn’t matter. I’m safe.

Him: I’m safe too… are you sure?

Her: I have to have you in me—now!

Er, WTF??? You know someone less than a day and a mumbled ‘no I don’t have any of those STD things baby’ is going to pass for protection? Not in my universe.

This whole thing got me thinking about how we handle the issue of contraception/protection in romance novels. I’ve been reading contemporaries for a long time (think back to those harlequin temptations with the yellow back covers and the swooning women in tafetta on the front) and I think the progression has gone something like this:

  1. Not mentioned at all for fear of ruining the fantasy element of the love scene. Protagonists didn’t make love until they’d already established they were in love, anyway.
  2. Protection sometimes mentioned, only ever by the hero. Heroine was too much of a ‘good girl’ to even know what those things were for, let alone to know where to buy them.
  3. A mutual discussion might have taken place, with the hero being ultimately responsible for providing the necessary equipment.
  4. Heroines knew what they were, how to use them and where to buy them. This is probably about the time condom companies started bringing them out in all those pretty colours. 
  5. Present day – unprotected sex is rarely seen in a smart, contemporary romance novel (except when an unplanned for pregnancy is needed as a plot device. Not my favourite plot turn, BTW, but good on you if it’s your thing). Responsibility can be taken by either or both parties.

I’m glad that we’ve reached number five. It always bugged me when I was reading my romances back in the day and the couple got ‘swept away’, particularly if the hero was a bit of a playboy. I thought the heroine was mad to trust him, but that could be me. I’m a ‘go get a blood test and give me the paperwork’ kind of girl.

A few years ago I attended a day long workshop conducted by Jennifer Crusie for hundreds of rapt RWA members. During the course of discussions she mentioned she thought it was a bit skeevy for a guy to carry a condom in his wallet. I had a mini-debate with her about it at the time (I so should not be allowed in the front row of anything). The way I see it, if we’re at point five in the politics of prophylactics, someone has to handle protection. If it’s sleazy for the man to have them on his person, what about if a woman carries them in her purse? Is this totally unacceptable? And if no-one carries them, there’s less of a chance they’ll be used, isn’t there? Isn’t making sure they’re used more important than what someone will think of you being in possession of them?

The things that occupy my thoughts. Anyone else want to weigh in on this vital issue?



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