Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Natural Curiosity?

This post is just some rambling musings that I thought I'd bring to the blog for general thoughts and conversation.

This past weekend, my teenage nehpew, who I love much like the son I never had, succumbed. To what, I haven't yet fully decided. Peer pressure? A natural curiosity? A sense of reckless adventure? Or perhaps, he was just being a typical teen. You see, he and his friends went to the park, bought some vodka, and 'chased' it down, he said with his little impish grin, with a can of coke.

Now, he's under-aged (19 is the legal drinking age here in Ontario, Canada), and he's a few years shy of it. So, yes, what he did was illegal, and bad, and blah, blah. His parents were properly horrified, he's grounded, and basically been subjected to every adult admonishment possible. But his aunt, that 'bad influence' erotic romance writer felt compelled to stick up for the boy~at least somewhat. You see, my nephew, when everything is taken into account is a good kid. He treats his mom with the utmost respect, he goes to school, gets decent grades, doesn't skip classes. He's a gem of guy with his 9 y/o cousin (my kidlet who does enjoy tormenting him about kissing girls) and basically, he's never screwed up before. He also did some things right that night.

1. He came home, assisted with the help of a friend who was, thankfully, sober.

2. He did not try to hide the fact he was three sheets to the wind. He 'manned' up as I called it, admitted his faux pas, and accepted the fact that he's grounded--indefinitely.

So, me being liberal, and remembering those teenage temptations attempted to smooth over things, much to the narrow gaze of his parents, who apparently have convienantly forgotten their teenage years, either that or they were both utter saints, doing nothing but studying, staying home on the weekends, and attending church on Sunday morning. Perhaps this poor lad really did have sterling parents, but his aunt unfortunately was a bit of a rebel and a hell cat during her informative years. Needless to say, my help fell on deaf ears and the often cried 'I never did that. I would never do anything that might have gotten me into trouble' overroad my 'kids do this. It was one time....'. Apparently, they don't recall their teenage years very well, because I bet they did do at least one thing that could be called questionable!

During this hullabaloo, in which everyone was scandalized and shocked, it occured to me, that in historical times, this gent would not be in any sort of trouble. He'd probably be off at Cambridge and Oxford, getting an education in life, along with latin and mathematics. He'd be schooled in cock fights, dog fights, gambling dens and hells, hookers, whores and charlatains. Many would have already lost their virginity, created illegtimate offspring, and lost a packet of their father's money.

It's funny, how even three quarters of a century makes a difference in the way we see our children, and our moral conscienceness. My sister in law kept proclaiming that he was a 'boy', I tried to tell her that at 6 ft 5, he's a very tall young adult who must learn through his own folly.

In the Victorian era, and definitely in early eras, he'd be considered a man, perhaps, gasp, a duke!!!

I realize that times are different, and all that rot, but it made me pause, and think of how it used to be. How we as writers think nothing of our young hero getting a lesson from a brandy decanter and a worldly woman. Even as readers, we accept that this was the way.

Funny how back then things were never made a big to-do over, drinking, whoring, bastards.....

Of course, I'm quite certain that I shall cease to become the ' cool, 'with it' aunt' once my darling offspring decides to head to the park with a mickey of spirits. lol!

So, what do we think of the past? Did parents get all bent out of shape because their child went on a bender, or were they too busy, too absorbed in their own lives to give a bloody toss? Was it just accepted that these things happened at this point in time?

Sunday, September 28, 2008


What do you get when you combine beautifully written prose, two fascinating, well-drawn protagonists, a seemingly fresh plot, and some of the hottest sex this side of erotica?? Easy....you get Victoria Dahl's latest historical romance, A RAKE'S GUIDE TO PLEASURE (Zebra Books). I can sum up my reaction to this book in one word: WOW!

I don't like to summarize plots in my reviews--just to say why a book worked (or didn't work) for me, so excuse the lack of plot summary. What I will tell you is that the book's lead characters, Emma and Hart, are fascinating characters. And equally important, they are *believable* characters. Their conflict seemed real, not at all contrived, and they behaved in ways that seemed real, given their past experiences. And though Hart is a duke and Emma is far below him in rank and circumstance, they come off as equals in many respects, and I liked that.

And what was really clever about that 'equality' is that, once again, it wasn't contrived. It wasn't even anachronistic. Hart was a duke and expected to get his way, as any duke would. He took advantage of his position. He commanded and stomped about, all ducal-like. And yet, somehow, I never felt that he treated Emma as a 'lesser.' And Emma was a strong, likeable heroine without becoming one of those caricature 'spunky' heroines that are so common in historical romance.

And the naughty parts?? Smokin' hot! And there were LOTS of naughty parts, mind you. Really, really naughty! (read Ms. Dahl's MySpace blog entry about a particular scene that scandalized her husband!) Suffice it to say that this book had sexy stuff I've never before read in a mainstream (as in, non-erotic) romance. And you know what? It worked. It fit this story, these characters. It wasn't at all gratuitous--each love scene moved the plot forward; irrevocably changed the characters, developed them.

I'm pretty sure I've never read a romance like this one--love scenes, plot, characters, etc. It was just different. In so many ways. Fresh. Unique.

All in all, I adored A RAKE'S GUIDE TO PLEASURE. Everything about it. Probably one of my favorite historical romances *ever*, and without a doubt, Hart has made my short list of all-time-favorite romance heroes. Yes, he's that delicious!

So, get thyself to the bookstore, pronto, and pick up a copy--if you haven't already. And if you have already read it, I'd love to hear what you thought!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Autumn Equinox-Harvest Home Festival

"To the ancients, this was a sacred time. The Irish saw this time of year as the Waning of the Goddess. From the Summer to the Winter Solstice, they would hold festivals for the God ­ who was seen as a dark, threatening being. To the Goidelic Celts, the spring was the time of joy in the rebirth of the Goddess. To Brythonic Celts, however, this was the time of the death of the God (the Sun or the Grain God)." http://www.sacredfire.net/festivals.html

Known around the world by many things, it is a time of checks and balances, a festival of Harvest Home, when day and night are of equal length. It is also a time when we acknowledge what we have learned through the year and decide how we will use it. It is in the sharing of these lessons, experiences that we can begin to grow. Only by this sharing can we receive the feedback that builds confidence and unity.

I love this time of year, though I knew it was the day when night and day were equal, I had never thought about the idea that it was about balance. I celebrate this time of year by visiting a local apple orchard and picking apples, as well as gathering all of my fall foilage to decorate my mantle and my home. Part of that decor is the sweet grass, woven from the native prairie grass of Tatanka, a wonderful memorial to the Native American Buffalo. run.

It is a reminder to me of the importance and longevity of history and our respect of all things , including the earth.

At LIT, we celebrate the diversity of readers, writers, and the magic of history! How do you celebrate the coming of autumn?


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wicked Wednesday

Just for your wicked pleasure, I present to you our Wednesday uplifting message....

Um, I suddenly have a new and very healthy appreciation for chocolate....MMMMM

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ultimate Satisfaction...

Well, I've finished it. Karen Tabke's medieval romance, Master of Surrender. Wow, what a great read, and a wonderful reminder of how much I love medievals. It's also a fresh take on that genre. No 'light knights' here, folks. Alpha all the way. Sometimes I was a bit put off by Rohan's handling of Isabel, the heroine, but then he would redeem himself and I'd be in lust...er love...with him once more. Definitely, this series is a pull away from light and fluffy, and dare I say, PC medievals. It's very true to the times, which were dark and turbulant. The men are quite agressive, a bit sexist, but ultimately come to heel by the power of the woman.....as is only right in a romance! lol!

The sexual tension was definitely steaming, and while I wouldn't fully agree that there is a strong parallel between Tabke's knights and Ward's vampires, I will reserve the right to say in future, that it's a definite possibility.

What I really liked is that she's given us a band of brothers--all dark, tortured knights, with teasing glimpses into many of them. With the first book, I can't say any, besides Rohan, really stood out to me (and really, that's the way it should be, it is Rohan's book) but the two who had me wondering, and wishing to learn more, were Wulfson (Wulf) and Warner....I understand Wulson's book is next.

The only nit I have is that there was the occasional use of a modern word that temporarily pulled me out of the story. Was it a major thing? Well, not really. It didn't cause me to want to throw the book at the wall or anything, but it did make me think...'hmm, too modern'. But I kept reading it and enjoying it, so really the point is moot. Besides, I'm not a historical purist in any sense. I prefer to read for the enjoyment of the experience, and Tabke, definitely gave me something to gratify my sexy medieval craving.

So, if you like hot alpha men, traditional dark medievals, and lots of REALLY good sexual tension, than Master of Surrender by Karen Tabke is for you. I've pre-ordered Wulf's story, so you know it's gotta be good......

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Ever had a hankering for a certain read? I've been dying to sink my teeth into a really hot and sexy medieval. The first romance I ever read was a medieval, one of those classic bodice rippers, with heaving bosoms and men who on the surface seemed cruel, but underneath were well...men, I guess. For years, medievals were all I read, then came the regencies.....

I haven't been reading medievals for quite a few years now. I've lost track of the authors I used to like. But then, out of the blue, I came across this review quote...

About Master of Torment: “Karin Tabke does for Norman knights what JR Ward has done for vampires, with hot alpha heroes and the fiery heroines who tame them." —Monica McCarty New York Times Bestselling author

Ah...Jr's vampires but like knights???? SOLD!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, I was smitten. But then I found out that the review was for the second book of Karin Tabke's series. Ah, well, I headed to Chapters anyway and picked up the first book, Master of Surrender.

So, I'm putting the kidlet to bed. Mr. Charlotte is watching his post NASCAR race stuff, and I'm diving into Master as a way to take the edge off my craving.

I'll post with my thoughts. I've skimmed through the book a bit, and I can tell you Rohan, the hero, is pretty damn sexy......just sayin'.....

Friday, September 19, 2008

Torrid love scenes?

My dear, dear ladies,
I beg your forgiveness for this intrusion, but I am compelled to respond to this particular topic. It is ...after all, an area where I do have a measure of experience.

Ah, let me think back for a moment on the women who have impressed me most with their beguiling ways. Those who were able to capture my ardent attention and coddle it between the silky softness of their sweet...hands, at least for a time.

What of romance in the midst of such raw passion, you may ask? True, a man such as I, requires of my women (yes, I used a plural form-does it surprise you?) to be as eager as me to please. Be my match! Nay, do not give me the milk-toasty form from which I must drag every last ounce of passion. Let me drink deep of the woman whose passion overflows, rising to the top, overflowing in great waves of her pleasured sighs. Ah, there is passion!

Am I being too elusive? Let me state my position quite plainly, then.

Give me torrid, my good women. Give me cause for my blood to race, give me the chase for which I most happily pursue, for I know then that the prize is worth the effort of my quest and the capture all the sweeter.

But milord, you ask, "Shall this magical bliss, this euphoric haze of sensuality last forever?" I confess, I am a rogue, I do not deny it and my sweet ladies will tell you it is true. Ask no more of me than to worship you with all that I am.
For to that end I give myself freely, entirely, and without reservation!

You must forgive me now, such musings create the most delightful visions in my head and so I am off to find my companions and suggest a walk amid the bronzed hues of the autumn woods.
For who knows what passion we will find there!

Your most courteous & passionate rogue,
Lord C.M.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The TBR Pile...got one?

I think almost any reader, and that includes us authors, has a TBR pile. What is that, you ask? It's that pile of books that grows magically, almost obsessively, and basically overnight.

My husband says my pile is obscene, and in truth, it is. For chuckles and grins, Mr. Charlotte added the value of my TBR pile, and it came to nearly five hundred dollars. Um...yeah...obscene is right. He nearly swallowed his tongue and I'm sure he had an internal fit of the vapors. When the veins in his neck began pulsating and I heard his teeth grind to powder, I decided it would be too cruel to tell him that I'm expecting a new shipment of TBR any day now, to the tune of a 100 bucks. I did say, however, that that lovely pile has been the dedication of over a year of collecting. It's not like I dropped that cash in one chunk. Funny, that did not seem to induce Mr. Charlotte out of his grumpy mood.

My cup, as they say, overfloweth. But, I don't see it as a waste, because I know I'm going to read these books. I swear I am. "Fall is my reading time!" I protested. That proclamation was met with a grunt and a glare and a general expression of disbelief.

And it's the truth. There's nothing I love better in the fall than curling up with a good book and a nice blanket. And I will do so. I just need to get through deadlines, edits, and galleys for my two 09 releases, and then I'm going to park my posterior on the couch with a mug of chai latte and a snickers cany bar!

At some point in time, these books were on my 'oh my god, I have to read this book, and must pre-order it this second' list. And I still want to read all thos books. But there is one tome that I'm waiting for, and it's coming in this next shipment. I know I will stop everything to read this book. Line edits will not be touched. Supper will not be made. Hair and teeth may or may not be washed....

What is this little gem I'm waiting for, and the one book that won't make it into the TBR pile because it will be read that very day of arrival? Lisa Kleypas' Seduce me at Sunrise...

Man, I cannot tell you how stoked I am about the hero in this book. Merripen. A mysterious gypsy who has longed for the heroine forever. He's an outcast. A pariah. A dark brooding hero. Everything I adore, and I must read his story the second it is placed in my hands.

So, what book are you waiting to get your hands on, and do you have an overflowing TBR pile?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Torrid love scenes

Kathleen E. Woodiwiss has for a long time been one of the foreunners of sensual writing. What I remember being called, "bodice rippers" if memory serves(and it is poor these days, I admit.) Still, a distant friend and I got into this discussion the other day and I would like to present it as food for thought--do torrid love scenes portray romance realistically?

Or are the more genteel forms of love-making scenes (perhaps even so far as closing the bedroom door) a more "realistic" picture of what romance is?

To each his/her own, I say. But to categorize either as more "realistic" is a disservice I feel to writers and readers. Still, I suspect for some, the prejudices go back to a time when women were not supposed to think of or enjoy sex, perhaps even think of themselves as sensual creatures, capable of emotionally and physically embracing that sensuality.

Can we attribute this change to the womens movement? Or at least to parts of it that we are most comfortable with?

It is an interesting question for writers who face the reality of what is selling and what publishers/editors are looking for. But greater is the challenge to look deeper than the surface and see that we are all human beings--sensual , emotional creatures at heart--and embrace that wonderous gift.

So what do you think? Do torrid love scenes do it for you? Are you just as happy to give the characters their privacy and shut the door?

Post your answers and this month, we'll pick the best answer from the bunch and offer a special prize from the Lust in Time ladies!!