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Monday, May 25, 2015

Today on @RomanceBooks4Us: Emerald Influence by PG Forte #Menage #PNR #Romance

Emerald Influence

In keeping with this month’s theme of Emeralds, I’ve decided to write about one of my favorite places in the world, The Emerald Isle…or Ireland, if you prefer. J 
 I’ve always felt a special affinity for Ireland, mostly due to my maternal grandmother.  Both of my mother’s parents came from Ireland—separately. The met here; and that’s its own very romantic story—but my grandmother lived with us throughout my childhood and was a huge influence on my life. 
The stories she told of growing up in Ireland always seemed more like fiction than fact. At times, they seemed to border on fantasy. In part this was because she was a natural-born storyteller, and, well, Irish.  Blarney. It’s an actual thing, y’all. But she was also an amazing woman who actually lived a pretty amazing, and occasionally tragic, life. 
I never got the chance to know my grandfather, other than a few bare facts. He became a blacksmith at age of eighteen to support his mother and younger siblings after his father died. He was later known as “the only honest building inspector in New York”.  He met my grandmother at a dance that they both had to be talked, reluctantly, into attending and fell in love when he first caught sight of her on the dance floor. Later in their courtship, he walked through a snowstorm to keep a date with her.  He loved antiques and travel. He was a pretty good writer and a very good artist. Naturally, he preferred writing.
I think they’d  both be properly horrified by the fact that I consider them the inspiration for my Irish-themed books, especially since said books are erotic romances.  I like to think the practical side of my grandmother’s nature would have brought her around to accepting it, eventually, but maybe it’s just as well she never knew. 
I’m happy to have passed down my love of Ireland to my daughter, who worked her way across Europe a few years back, and spent the summer on Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands.  And if I had to pick a favorite part of my favorite place, it would be there.  It truly is like traveling back in time—only with all the modern amenities. My favorite combination!
My most recent Irish-themed book released in March (on St Patrick’s Day, because why not? J ).  Three of the four main characters are trees…or, well, tree spirits and shape-shifters, to be exact. And my love of trees is something else I have  to thank my grandmother for. As a child, I was awed by her extensive knowledge of plants. She grew up in the country and knew everything there was to know about growing things, or at least that’s how it appeared at the time. 
I guess I’ve wandered a little far from the original topic, but May is the month for Mother’s Day, so I guess it still fits. It’s also the month for Mary—which was my grandmother’s original name. She changed it to Maurine at the age of thirteen when she arrived in this country, having traveled here unaccompanied on a mission to get an education, then a good job, and then make enough money to pay for the rest of the family to come over as well. Which, of course, she did.
  

Purchase from Loose Id
The Oak Spring 
by PG Forte

Twice each year, Aine Murphy ventures into the woods to hold ceremonies to honor the Oak King and the Holly King, never dreaming these Lords of the Forest could be anything more than myth. When the legends spring to life in front of her, how can she help but fall for the sexy demi-gods she’s loved all her life?

From midwinter to midsummer, Fionn O’Dair rules the Greenworld as the Oak King--a role he feels is beyond his abilities, and one that dooms him to a loveless future, forever craving the one man he can never allow himself to have. How can he resist what Aine offers—the sweet devotion that soothes his aching soul, and the slim chance to live a “normal” life as her husband, if only for half a year?

Holly King Kieran Mac Cuilenn never desired a human lover—until now. Seeing Fionn and Aine together fills him with longing for the love he threw away and awakens feelings he thought he’d buried with the last Oak King. Is there enough magic in the solstice to correct the mistakes he made years ago? Or is he doomed to be forever left out in the cold?


Author Bio: 

PG Forte inhabits a world only slightly less strange than the ones she creates. Filled with serendipity, coincidence, love at first sight and dreams come true.
She wrote her first serialized story when she was still in her teens. The sexy, ongoing adventure tales were very popular at her oh-so-proper, all girls, Catholic High School, where they helped to liven up otherwise dull classes...even if her teachers didn't always think so.
Originally a Jersey girl, PG now resides with her family on the extreme left coast where she writes contemporary and paranormal romance in a variety of sub-genres.

PG can be reached directly at:



Sunday, May 24, 2015

EMERALDS--LEGENDS & MYTHS



May’s birthstone is the emerald. The green color of the emerald is a sign of spring, which is most likely why it was chosen as May’s birthstone. I don’t own one of these green and fiery gems but wish I did. Every gem seems to have myths attached to it so I did a little research on emeralds.



The word emerald comes from the Ancient Greek word for green, “smaragdus.” The Ancient Romans, including the Emperor Nero, used emeralds as looking glasses because the green was soothing to the eyes. Even now, many sunglasses have green lenses. The first known emerald mines were in Egypt dating from at least 330 BC to the 1700’s. Cleopatra had a passion for emeralds.

Peter Ustinov as Nero in the movie, Quo Vadis.


The Inca’s had been using emeralds in their jewelry and religious ceremonies for 500 years before the Spanish invaders plundered the emerald mines in the sixteenth century. Legend says that emerald was one of the four precious stones given by God to King Solomon, and that the four stones were said to endow the king with power over all creation. Another legend is that an emerald placed under the tongue gives a person the ability to foresee the future.
[Note: the above is from www.gia.edu]

          It’s said that the emerald dampens lust. Hmm! As a romance author, maybe I should rethink using emeralds in a story. Hindu legends from India state that if one made offerings of emerald to the god Krishna, they would be rewarded with Knowledge of the Soul and the Eternal. The emerald in Hindu teaching is associated with the planet Mercury, while in Western culture, it’s associated with Venus.

An emerald the size of an ostrich egg was worshipped as a goddess in the Peruvian city of Manta during the Spanish conquest.

[Note: the above is from www.gemsociety.org]

Emeralds were first known and sold in the markets of Babylon around 4000 BC. Aristotle advised hanging an emerald from the neck to ward off epilepsy.

Colombian emeralds are the most expensive, followed by those from Brazil and Zambia. Emeralds are believed to hold physical and mental healing powers. It’s believed they can lift depression, cure insomnia (if only I’d known during my six years of severe insomnia during the 1990’s), cure ailments of the heart, eyes, pancreas, backbones, kidneys, and intestines. All that and they’re beautiful too.
 
Colombian Emeralds
Emeralds are associated with love and fidelity (A contradiction. See “dampen lust” above). They are also said to provide wisdom, harmony, patience and peace. An all-around good gem to have.

Now I want to go out and by an emerald. How about you?







Another theme this month is “questions I wish I’d asked my mother.” Unfortunately, my mother and I weren’t close and I can’t recall ever having a serious discussion with her. We were so different and I believe she didn’t know what to do with me. My mom died in 2010, in her mid-80’s, from Parkinson’s and dementia. Even though we weren’t close, I do miss her at times. She gave me a precious gift I will always cherish: she instilled in me a love of books. She was a high-school dropout who I never saw read a book for herself. Yet when I was a toddler I remember going to the library with my mother. We’d check out books and she’d read them to me. Those are my best memories of her.

Since we’re on the subject of emeralds, an emerald engagement ring figures in my novel A Groom for Christmas. My heroine, Graceann, is a jewelry designer. The book's cover shows her wearing an emerald and diamond ring.

For a Christmas treat in May, here’s a glimpse of this award-winning sexy, sweet, story.



 

A GROOM FOR CHRISTMAS is a new twist on the classic Hallmark Christmas movie full of family, humor, love, and a little bit of redemption. 

Family pressure just might make her do something crazy... 

When a young woman hires her hometown’s former bad boy to be her pretend fiancĂ© for the holidays, she finds she can’t wrap up her feelings as easily as a Christmas gift. 

New York jewelry designer Graceann Palmer has two days to find a fiancĂ© to bring home to Pennsylvania for the holidays so her matchmaking mama will quit fixing her up with jerks. The Falcon, a motorcycle-riding, leather-clad former high school crush, helped her out once before. Maybe he'll do it again. 

Jake Falco, man of many mysteries, is back in town on a mission—one the people of Spirit Lake most likely won't appreciate. When Graceann presents him with her crazy scheme, it gives him something he's always wanted—a chance to get to know Graceann. It also gives him the perfect opportunity to add fuel to his project of revenge. 

But as Jake and Graceann grow closer, their engagement-of-convenience begins to feel like the real deal—until Jake’s secrets are revealed. 

Can a relationship that began with lies and secrets bloom like a rare Christmas rose into happily-ever-after? 

 Sign up for my newsletter, Food, Film & Fiction, at www.caramarsi.com



Saturday, May 23, 2015

Never Say Never to Research! Guest Blog by E. Ayers

Hi, everyone, I love being a guest on this blog because I happen to think this is one of the best blogs for readers and writers. I want to discuss that nasty little word research. No matter what an author writes, it seems at some point that author must stop long enough to do a little research. But how accurate is that research?

For the last three years, I've spent quite a bit of time doing research on the history of our "Wild" West. It all happened by accident. I wrote a contemporary romance, A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming, which is a little east-meets-west-type of story. It was loads of fun, but I had no idea that I was going to open a big can of worms. I never intended to write historical. I know several authors who do and the stuff they've had to research... Nope, not me. Never ever would I write that! Well, never say never in this business. It all happened by accident. I wrote a contemporary romance.

The contemporary that I wrote mentioned an old diary. People began to ask for the diary. When enough readers asked for it, I thought I might as well write it. So I began. But as usual, it's easy to get sidetracked. Debra Holland asked me to be part of her Christmas anthology, Sweetwater Springs Christmas, and I said yes. So I wrote about a young man who leaves Creed's Crossing, Wyoming to ask his long time pen pal, Adie Reiner, to be his wife. And as I wrote that story, I realized I had another one brewing between her older sister and a Crow Indian. That story became A Rancher's Woman.

Sounds simple, right? Quite the opposite. I was buried in research. I'd write a few sentences and then spend hours looking up something. It's been a fascinating journey for me. Having lived my life in the eastern portion of the United States, I can talk about the colorful history of the east. To make matters worse, history in school is taught mostly from the standpoint of important battles. But east is east and west is west, and I probably read three lines about the railroad being laid, a single line or two about the Pony Express, and not much more on the early settlers of the west. I had to learn everything from scratch! Plus, I hadn't been in the beautiful state of Wyoming in years. I actually managed to contact someone within the Farm Bureau who was wonderful. He was also a rancher, and he gave me all sorts of answers to the strangest of questions. Oh, yeah, I really did, I asked what color the dirt was. When he quit laughing, we had a long discussion on soil types.

I didn't want to write about pretty dresses. There are plenty of authors who do that. I wanted to write about real life. I found it in photographs, letters, and all those wonderful things that historical societies collect. Plus many companies have fabulous records. Even simple things such as pens needed hours of research. Did you know that the railroads employ historians? The Bureau of Indian Affairs was wonderful - once I reached the right people within that organization.
So after hundreds of hours of digging, and some awesome contacts, I wrote A Rancher's Woman. The Diary of Clare Coleman is still being written. That one is more difficult because it starts in the 1840's and records are sketchy.

I just finished writing A Rancher's Dream, which follows A Rancher's Woman, and that second novel should be available around the end of this month. As I wrote these, I realized that my grandmothers would have been the same age as the young teenage girls in the stories. My one grandmother and her son, my father, grew up on a self-sufficient farm. That gave me a slight edge as I’d heard all those old stories.
I know that what I've written is historically accurate, and it's a slightly different glimpse of the past than what most romance readers might expect. That's because I didn't leave out the day-to-day chores, the lack of plumbing, or all the other stuff that is not mentioned in most books about our west. And those gals who went west were tough! They had to be to survive!

What do we do when it gets a little too warm? We turn on the air conditioning. If it's cold, we use the heater. They didn't have that luxury. If it was hot, they still had to cook over a wood stove and churn cream into butter. They didn't jump in the shower to cool off! And they certainly weren't wearing corsets under silk dresses as they milked the cows. Maybe reading Roberta Gellis spoiled me. If I'm going to read historical fiction, I want it accurate. And I feel as though I owe it to my readers to write with the same care and accuracy as Roberta Gellis. (Thank you Ms. Gellis for giving me so many hours of reading pleasure and for being such an inspiration to me!)

So that dirty little word, research, has become part of my life. The diary is no longer on the back burner. It's become a labor of love. But using the Internet is tricky. I can't take a single source and assume it's correct. I try to find several sources. Wikipedia has been my friend, but I make certain I have other sources and not just the ones Wikipedia cites that will back up my info. Even photographs can have errors. They might say the photo was taken in 1880, but really it was taken in 1903. I've learned to look for those flaws.

I've had some training in working with old photos. Find something that you know is a certain color, and then, in theory, you can pick out everything else in the photo which is that color. I often felt as though I was looking for Waldo! Depending on the tribe, the white man's influence on their clothing changed. They wouldn't be wearing shirts or blouses made of flour sacks until they were confined to a reservation.
We gave them bags of white powdery stuff that had no taste. They didn't know what to do with it. They dumped that flour out and used the bags for all sorts of things. It's really sad. Plus every tribe has its own language. Some were similar and some were as different as Portuguese is from Swahili. Just toss out most of what you probably were taught or thought. Chances are it's wrong!

Creating a historically accurate book takes extra time. As an author, you must check, double check, and check the information again. And then it has to be applied to what you are writing. Sometimes that research yields hardly anything applicable and other times it showers you in useful info.
If the author is researching something for a contemporary novel, be creative! I know of an author who joined a dating service and made it quite clear she only wanted someone who could feed her information for her novel. She got lots of that and a few marriage proposals! Never be afraid to ask. Most people are more than willing to share their information.

When I wrote A Cowboy's Kiss in Wyoming, I needed medical help. Fortunately, I knew several doctors in a large sports medicine practice. I learned more about hip replacements than I would ever need. But that entire office was so willing to share information. And as a way of double-checking, I contacted a physical therapy group in Wyoming and got the same information with a slightly different slant. Apparently, those cowboys don't believe their doctors when they are told to stay off the horse for at least six weeks. Stubborn men! Why don't they listen?

Research is research. It makes our stories better. If you are an author, just jump in and don't be afraid of it. It's amazing what you will learn! And sometimes it’s fun. If you are a reader, do you prefer to read stories that are historically accurate or do you only want a romantic story that skims over all the not so glamorous aspects of life years ago?

When E. Ayers isn't busy writing, she's often doing photography. She'll be away from her desk most of the May 23 with her camera, but she's promised to respond to everyone as soon as she returns that evening. 

Her historical western A Rancher's Woman has been added to a Native American encyclopedia and is a USA Today Recommended Read. It is available in e-form and in paper. You can visit with her on her blog. Her westerns are sweeter than her contemporary stories but nothing is ever extremely hot. She writes down the middle.

Friday, May 22, 2015

How a song became a story

Did you ever hear a song that just stuck right in your brain and never let go? More years ago than I want to post here I heard Tommy Makem and The Clancy Brothers sing The Whistling Gypsy (also known as The Gypsy rover). It's been decades and I still can't get the song out of my head. So what's a writer to do? Why, I put it in a story.

It's an old Irish air that I moved into modern day Texas. I'm posting the lyrics here so you can see what the genesis of the story is.

The gypsy rover came over the hill
Down through the valley so shady
He whistled and he sang till the green woods rang
And he won the heart of a lady


She left her father's castle gate

Left her own fond lover, left her servants
And her estate
To follow the gypsy rover


Her father saddled his fastest steed

Searched these valleys all over
Seeking his daughter at great speed
And the whistlin' gypsy rover


At last he came to a castle gate

Along the river Claydee
And there was music and there was wine
For the gypsy and his lady


"He is no gypsy, my father", she said

But Lord of these lands all over
And I will stay till my dying day
With the whistlin' gypsy rover


Ah dee du, ah dee du da day
Ah dee du, ah dee day dee
He whistled and he sang till the green woods rang
Till the green woods rang, till the green woods rang
And he won the heart of a lady




Erin Braddock, daughter of wealthy and powerful rancher Rance Braddock, has been to hell and back. So has wandering cowboy minstrel Grady Sinclair. But the moment they meet chemistry ignites between them, erasing everything else. The sex is scorching, explosive, addictive. They can’t get enough each other. The same talented fingers that coax seductive music from his guitar coax powerful orgasms from her body. Seduced by his music as well as the sinfully sexy man himself, Erin runs away with him. Nights she sits in the bar listening to his come-to-me voice promising her the erotic delights he delivers on when they’re back in their room. But will the past follow them or can they build a future together, in and out of bed?

Erin woke to the grey light of dawn filtering in through the blinds at the windows, the color of the sky before the first rays of sunlight painted it. She blinked her eyes twice, not sure at first where she was. The room was totally unfamiliar. Had she somehow woken up in an alternate universe?
Then she realized in quick order that a warm male body was spooned against her, a strong male arm was around her waist, and a very masculine leg was draped over hers. And it all came crashing back like a building imploding. The party. The noise. The crowd of people. The desperate need to escape. Smoky’s and the singer with the let-me-fuck-you voice. 
And the best sex she’d ever had in her life.
Grady Sinclair.
Holy shit, what had she done?
She shifted slightly, wondering exactly what the morning after etiquette was in a situation like this. She’d never picked a guy up in a bar before. She’d gone home from a party with Cal but that was different. That had been more of her rebellion. And of course, look how well that had turned out.
She waited for the fear to sweep over her, the panic, the desperate need to escape, but all she felt was a throbbing in her pussy and an unbelievable need to feel this man inside her again.
So now what?
As if reading her thoughts Grady’s arm tightened around her and he pulled her close enough to him that she could feel his hard cock pressing against the crevice of her buttocks. For a moment she tensed, but when he shifted enough so his shaft rested against one cheek of her ass she relaxed again and let the heat bubble up inside her.
Without saying a word Grady moved one hand so it cupper her breast and the other to slide down her tummy to the curls covering her mound. His fingers drifted idly through it until he found the hot button of her clit and just like that lightening speared through her.  She clenched the muscles of her pussy against the sudden surge of need and a moan drifted from her mouth.
“Feel good, darlin?” he breathed in her ear. “Sure feels good to me. You’re already dripping wet.”
Erin wondered if she should be embarrassed at how quickly and easily she responded to him, but she felt so good she just couldn’t care.
Grady stroked her clit while a thumb and forefinger squeezed and tugged on a nipple, and twin sparks of pleasure ignited her nerve endings. Tug, tug, stroke, stroke, his arm holding her in place even as his hand probed her slit. She rocked her hips against his touch, silently urging him to rub faster and harder.
“That’s it, sugar. Ride my hand. Go on. Let me feel you.”
He nipped at the lobe of her ear as she pushed herself into his touch. The touch of his tongue licking a path along her neck was like a brush of flame dusting against her. She groaned in protest when he hooked one leg over hers and pulled it back so she was spread wide open. When she tried to squeeze her thighs together he tightened the pressure on her leg.
“Uh uh, little girl. Just like this.”
Rub, rub, rub. His fingers were doing wicked things to her cunt, stroking the lips, the clit, rimming the opening to her channel. Oh, god, she wanted him inside her. Needed to feel him there, with a desperation that threatened to consume her. But he was relentless, merciless, holding her open as he drove her to completion. She shuddered as the muscles of her pussy clenched on air and Grady squeezed her nipple and licked her skin.





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