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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Guest Blog: Lily Harlem: Writing M/M and Menage Romances

Hi, thanks for inviting me to Romance Books 4 Us, it’s great to be here. This last few years I’ve been reading and writing within various erotic romance sub-genres. Some I never thought I’d go near, others that have tempted me but I just never got round to it. Anyways, it’s been fun!

One of the biggest changes in my reading and writing material has been male/male erotic romance. I started off reading some really great man love books and then decided to have a go at writing a few myself. I suppose my first dally was with The Glass Knot which is about a married gay couple who allow a woman into their relationship. There were definite differences with the sex scenes (obviously) but I found that the love and respect and romance between the two men was no different to writing about a man and a woman, which of course it isn’t, it was just the first time I’d put pen to paper (or rather fingers to keyboard) about that subject. Also I kind of used a safety net, or rather my comfort zone, as The Glass Knot is ménage a trois my absolute favourite type of novel to write. I adore the dynamics and the complications that can arise between the characters. Also the situations and complexities that are born make for great conflict and resolution and three in a bed – wow, what’s not to love about that?

My first true male/male novel is High-Sticked, the 5th book in my Hot Ice Series. These books are all standalone reads which made it perfect for one of my players to skate out of the closet and into the arms of a male lover. I really enjoyed writing Todd and Matthews story, set in New York City (I’d just visited from the UK so it was fresh in my mind). It follows the struggle of a professional gay athlete and the nation’s media frenzy around his love life. It’s had great reviews and certainly will heat up any ereader. Gay athletes, particularly in the NHL seems to be something that always has an undercurrent of interest bubbling away when I look at the US media so it was/is pretty topical too.

I’ve since written more male/male, buoyed on by the positive reactions of readers and reviewers. Who Dares Wins is a short military ménage a trois which is riding high in the Amazon charts and I have Dark Warrior and Caught on Camera coming out early 2015 with Totally Bound – watch out for them! Dark Warrior is also something new within itself, this is a mixed race relationship, and the two men couldn’t be more different. One is an English doctor doing charity work in Africa and the other a Kenyan tribal warrior! I loved writing it, so much fun and a great setting on the vast, wild plains beneath Mount Kilimanjaro.

BDSM, or rather, more risky, harder BDSM, is also something I’ve dabbled with along with my co-author Natalie Dae – we write under the name Harlem Dae. Writing together we felt able to push boundaries, explore edgier sexual acts and create characters that were really out of the box. The Sexy as Hell Trilogy has been a great success for us and we certainly found our own limitations and learned a lot from and about each other. You can read more about my experiences with co-authoring here. Sexy as Hell isn’t for the faint of heart but if you like dark romance and eye-wateringly hot sex than it’s well worth checking out the box set which comes with three bonus spin-off stories about the secondary characters. That was new too, writing about secondary characters. We found that with the trilogy being the length that it is, these characters had unanswered questions about their lives. We’d got to know them, as will a reader, and they needed their own resolution. So far so good and they seem very popular as a wind down after the intensity of Victor and Zara’s story.

Paranormal isn’t something I’d tried before either. I’d seen shows, True Blood and watched Twilight, and decided to just go for it. Bite Mark will be out soon at Ellora’s Cave and has a sequel Claw Mark. It’s vampires and shifters and is adrenaline-infused and exciting. The plot swirled around in my head and I really got my teeth into it – excuse the pun – I can’t wait for it to hit the shelves. Bite Mark is set in London, it’s creepy, foggy and based around Smithfield Meat Market an area I know well from my younger years. I don’t think that’s something that will ever change, using places I’ve spent time in as locations for my novels, even it it’s just a springboard for the rest of the story.

So what’s next? It’s hard to know and I never say never. Sci-fi? Mmm, that’s not my thing to watch or read but maybe. Dystopian fantasy, steam punk? Again, maybe one day a fantastical plot will jump out at me. I’ve just written a short Viking story, that was fun and I enjoyed the research, also one about some bad ass bikers. I’m not sure what’s on the table next, or rather in my head, I guess that’s the beauty of being a writer – you just have to wait and see where your imagination takes you, but one thing is for sure, it will be romantic, fun, steamy and everyone will have a great time – in the end!

Lily Harlem’s latest release is The Silk Tie. It’s already getting great 5* reviews.

"Let's just say the steam-factor on this book is a 10, on a scale of 1-5. The dang thing mighta crashed my iPad it was so freaking hot. I loved every dirty second of it. Recommend to all lovers of M/M romance, and ménage."

"Oh please you must read this story. If you like to read a fantabulouse threesome story this would be it. This would be a great time to start reading Lily’s books."

"This book had me on a emotional rollercoaster hoping for the HEA but definitely a ride I didn't want to get off until the end. If you love Erotic M/F/M books this definitely one you don't want to miss."

"If you enjoyed The Glass Knot you'll LOVE The Silk Tie."

Professional life in the City of London is tough going which is why my husband Gabe and I live by the motto work hard and play hard. So when something, or rather someone, comes along that changes how he wants to play I’m intrigued by our sexy new game.

But there's always private sides to the ones you love, and in this case new thoughts and desires are stealing Gabe’s dreams. It’s not until I meet Brent—gorgeous and sophisticated yet soul-achingly alone—that I begin to understand the complex layers of Gabe’s needs and exactly what I have to do.

But I’m not afraid; in fact the idea of two men turns me the hell on. In a whirlwind of romance, fear, desire and a new cresting wave of passion we open up to each other, testing the water for one weekend only. Or is it? Will we ever be the same again? Can Gabe and I survive our decision to let a third into our bed? Can Brent just walk away and, more importantly, will we let him?

Lily Harlem lives in the UK and is an award-winning author of contemporary erotic romance. She writes for publishers on both sides of the Atlantic including Ellora's Cave, HarperCollins, Totally Bound, Xcite and Sweetmeats Press. Her HOT ICE series regularly receives high praise and industry nominations.

Before turning her hand to writing Lily Harlem worked as a trauma nurse and her latest HarperCollins release, Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse, draws on her many experiences while nursing in London. Lily also self-publishes and The Glass Knot and Scored have been blessed with many 5* reviews since their release in 2012.

Her latest novel, Breathe You In, is a super-sexy romance with a twist that will not only heat you up but stay with you for years to come. Breathe You In was named a USA Today Reviewer’s Recommended Read of 2013.

Lily also co-authors with Natalie Dae and publishes under the name Harlem Dae - check out the Sexy as Hell Box Set Trilogy available exclusively on Amazon - The Novice, The Player and The Vixen - and That Filthy Book which has been hailed as a novel 'every woman should read'.

One thing you can be sure of, whatever book you pick up by Ms Harlem, is it will be wildly romantic and down-and-dirty sexy. Enjoy!

Lily Harlem Links


Rose Anderson said...

Very interesting post, Lily. I too like dipping a toe in other waters when I write. The challenge of the unknown is appealing and love is universal. Best luck with the upcoming releases, and thanks for joining us today. :)

Melissa Keir said...

I love the post! It looks like you are spreading your wings. Congrats and good luck!

jean hart stewart said...

Loved your courage in striking out and especially how it's paid off. Congratulations...

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