Monday, 26 June 2017

Writing Heroines

WRITING HEROINES


Following on from my blog last Monday where I talked about writing heroes, this post looks at the heroines.

Unfortunately, even more so than having younger male characters, readers like to read about younger heroines. Although some people have professed strongly that they like reading about older women, it doesn’t relate to book sales.

Why? Because the readership for erotic romances is mostly woman – and mostly women over 35, who are likely to be in a relationship/married and who want to imagine what it was like to fall in love all over again.

Now, there is nothing to say that women over 35 can’t fall in love (and do!) but readers like to recall the delights of first love. I even had one publisher say they don’t want female characters with any baggage – so no divorcees. That isn’t to say these sorts of books aren’t written – but are they the most successful from that author?

Out of my 20 MF/Menage books, only four have older women – and none of those have sold particularly well in comparison. Out of 30k books I have sold, 20k of those sales have heroines in their twenties such as in Submissive Training.

In addition, readers like to forget about any middle aged body issues or issues caused by having children. So no wrinkles, no hot flushes, no weak bladders (and definitely no references to periods – have you ever read of a heroine in a BDSM story who starts leaking blood while tied up? Having, said this, in Kink After Dinner I do have a heroine who refers to her hot flushes. I may have put off any potential readers, though!)

And rarely do the female characters have children at the start of the book – unless they are a baby and it invariably turns out to be the hero’s secret baby. Why? Children get in the way of the characters having sex! My only heroine with kids is Beth in Kink After Dinner and hers are pretty much grown up. I deliberately wanted to write about a woman of a similar age to myself (in my fifties) for a change. (I know - she doesn't really look in her fifties on the book cover, does she! There are limited stock images of older women).

Add to this another dimension – the reader likes to put herself in the heroine’s shoes and when she does she likes to fantasize that (in addition to being young again), she is beautiful with a fantastic figure and she has long flowing locks (or short elfin look if you are reading this and you hate your long hair) – colour will depend what you have always dreamed of. Me, personally – I would love to have long blonde hair but it doesn’t suit my colouring or my frame (my hair if very thick and coarse when long) so I love to read about blonde heroines. Oh, and if you are short, like me, you will want your heroines to be tall and leggy. If you are tall and leggy, you may want your heroines to be petite. Those who are flat chested may want to read about curvy women and vice versa.
 
It’s hard to get the right mix. I deliberately try to change my female characters so they aren’t all tall busty young blondes despite my own fantasies. I even had a skinny heroine who was taller than the hero in The Sub Who Switched. I just felt like being realistic for a change (not one of my bestsellers!). However, you can’t go wrong with a tall beautiful blonde with flowing locks and gorgeous figure.

What about heroines’ careers? At least we have some leeway here – with the heroes, readers want the men to be leaders – so kings or CEOs or well paid jobs such as lawyers. But for the women we authors can be more creative – I’ve had an women who run an art gallery, the owner of a bar, a sports coach, schoolteachers, administrators, and a Christmas fairy, amongst others!

Now, I’ve talked about their looks and their jobs, but what about their personalities? Readers generally want strong dominant men – so that implies the women are submissive but if you make them too much like a doormat they lose their personality. If you make them too feisty, particularly in a BDSM story, readers will complain they are too bratty.  My favourite female characters (either to write or read) are the ones where the man has his work cut out. I had great fun writing Rebecca in The Submission Challenge – where the heroine has the challenge of submitting for 24 hours even though she thinks it is against her character (it was a challenge for the hero, too!).

 



And in Bounty Hunters’ Captive I was giggling as I came up with one liners for Felissa. “You have shit chance of me being either compliant or your slave.”


Or maybe I am just using my characters to say what I would say! Either way, whether tall or short, dark or blonde, young or old – I will continue to write the characters that beg to be created.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Wicked Weekends

WICKED WEEKENDS


Title: Possessed by Him, Helldorado Mongrels MC 1

Author: Jacey Holbrand

Genre: Paranormal MC Erotic Romance

Sexual Orientation: M/M

Length of story:  27,085 words

What's hot? Sex outdoors! Imagine the risk of being discovered or watched.

Blurb:

Forced to return to a place of childhood trauma, Cameron Russell fears he’ll have to confront the specter of the past once again. Instead, he comes face to face with the man of his dreams. Literally.

Unbeknownst to Cameron, Gabriel Dyson would do anything to help his human mate realize his destiny, including playing savior and invading Cameron’s dreams. When they finally meet face to face, all seems to go well. Then a member of the Helldorado Mongrels MC kidnaps Cameron, putting Cameron in mortal danger again.

While restrained, Cameron is told a fantastical story of werewolves, which has to be myth…right?  Yet memories flare to life—visions of bites and kisses—making him question everything about Gabe.

Can Cameron and Gabe’s cosmic connection, their choices, and their love surpass the secrets Gabe has and the Mongrels’ evil plans?

Buy links:




 

Title: Break Me

Author: Elyzabeth M. VaLey

Genre: Dark Romance, BDSM

Sexual orientation: M/F

Length of story: 61 pages

What's hot?: Hot, BDSM sex in a secret dance studio.
Blurb:

The monster lay dormant, until it saw her...

Every few years, the beast within Grisha Vasiliev rouses, clamoring for blood. When he sees Ayla Clark dancing, her movements exuding grace, passion and joy, he knows he must have her.
Grisha kidnaps Ayla expecting the usual: resistance, tears, pleas for mercy. But when Ayla breaks the mold, his whole world spirals out of control and feelings he thought he could never have again resurface.

He thought she was perfect, but she’s the broken doll on the shelf.

The last thing Ayla Clark remembers is celebrating her performance as Giselle and flirting with the handsome Grisha Vasiliev, the owner of one of the most prestigious ballet companies in the country. Now, she’s tied up and at his mercy, begging for more of his attention, while fighting to keep her own secrets buried in the dark.

Be Warned: BDSM, knife play, whipping

Buy links:





Title of book: To Claim a Mate (just a reminder this was out a few weeks ago!)

Name of author: Jennifer Denys

Genre: BDSM/Wolf shifter

Type of book: Novella

Sexual orientation: MM

What’s hot?: sex on the forest floor as wolves and then sex in bed as humans

Blurb:

Cole Linley is a gay wolf-shifter. In order to appease the Alpha within, he has taken up the BDSM lifestyle and become very experienced. This placates his wolf to a certain extent, but his dearest wish is to find a mate—male, of course. Except, the question is, how to find one in a city surrounded by humans where other wolf-shifters are rare.
Then, one night, he enters Balls & Chains, a BDSM club he frequents, and immediately senses another of his kind. And not only that, it is the scent of a potential mate, Jared Gray. There is only one problem—Jared is collared by another Master.
Jared’s relationship shows all the signs of an abusive relationship. Can Cole get him away from the other Dom and show Jared the delights of BDSM when done properly and what it means to be a beta wolf to Cole’s Alpha?

Reader Advisory: The submissive in this Gay Paranormal Romance doesn’t realize he is in an abusive relationship until he meets his true Master.


Buy links:







Monday, 19 June 2017

Writing Heroes

WRITING HEROES

I have the heroine joking in ‘Friendly Seduction’ that the heroes in erotic romances are usually extremely good looking and hunky – or manly at the very least. He has to be a leader or some sort – whether this be the Prince of a country, or CEO, and he has to be dominant – but caring. Age-wise he is likely to be in his twenties or thirties, possibly older.

Have you ever read a story about a bald, fat, man in his sixties who works down the sewers getting the girl? Those sort of traits are usually reserved for the bad guys, which is very unfair to those of you out there who may be bald, fat, aging with unpopular jobs.

I am the first to put my hand up and say we authors give our readers a very false view of real life. However, this is what the readers want. Yes, there may be some of you who say you like reading stories of older men or ones who are outside the norm physically – but it doesn’t relate to book sales.

Readers want to envisage the fantasy – maybe the fantasy they never got in real life even though they love their spouse, but like to dream what life could have been like through reading our books.

Part of the fantasy is wanting the hero to be strong and dominant yet caring, and in touch with his emotions. We want him to remember every birthday, anniversary, special days and shower us with flowers and gifts (a diamond bracelet would be lovely, thank you!) Or to whisk us off to a very romantic holiday – somewhere like the Maldives sounds perfect. We want him to be kind and loving and enfold us in his arms when we are being moody or just to accept that we women can be perverse instead of getting irritated or angry. We want him to be available for sex whenever we are in the mood and not bother us when we have a headache.

And sex has to be the most fabulous experience, with the hero immediately knowing which parts of your body of your body are the most sensitive (even when you have sex for the first time) and how best to make you orgasm – and give you multiple orgasms, of course – he is absolutely not allowed to come until you do, unless you want him to.

It’s not surprising I am single! Such a man doesn’t exist. Does he? You will have to let me know if you have one (and if you do, can you share him with me?)

Having said all this, I do try to buck the norm from time to time, just because, as a writer, I like to experiment (although it isn't always obvious from the book covers!). In ‘The Sub Who Switched’ the hero was shorter than the heroine. In ‘Kink After Dinner’ the hero was in his fifties (as was the heroine). In ‘To Claim a Mate’ (which is an MM story) the Dom is lean and rangy. In ‘Alien Manhunt’ one of the three men is short. In ‘Submissive Training’ the hero works in a University. In ‘Marital Duties’ – my story in the Men for Hire anthology – the husband is so busy with work he doesn’t have time for sex and his wife is desperate.


Meanwhile, I shall continue to write the ‘fantasy’ heroes the readers want – but occasionally changing it up.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Wicked Weekends

WICKED WEEKENDS


Title: The Earl and the Courtesan

Author: Raven McAllan

Genre: Erotic Regency romance

Sexual orientation: MF

What’s hot?: Their chemistry

Length of book: 62,283

Blurb:

Once a courtesan, not always a courtesan. It’s time to move on, and who better to do it with than a rake?

Theresa Kyle, ex-courtesan, will not kowtow to any man in marriage, let alone an odious ex-pupil. When the man rejects her refusal of his proposal, she reluctantly agrees to seek help.

Jamie, the Earl of Weston, is in a fix of his own. The marriage mart is not for him, let alone a compulsory wedding due to the machinations of his mother.

A mutual friend seems to have the perfect solution. The earl and the courtesan—what better way to foil those who want to see them married against their wills?

Alas, the best-laid plans go awry, for neither had expected to fall in love. Needless to say, as far as Jamie is concerned, being a member of the aristocracy comes in handy when you need to bend the rules to your will. Convincing Theresa, however, may well be harder than winning over the ton.

Buy links:






Title of book: Catching his Cat

Name of author: Sarah Marsh

Genre: Paranormal/shifter

Type of book: Romance on the go

Sexual orientation: MF

Blurb:

Sybella Gandry knows what it’s like to fight for something she wants. Her entire life has been a battle. But will one night of passion with a stranger threaten everything she’s worked so hard for?
She hoped her first meeting with the Alpha Council wouldn’t turn into a problem—but if it did, she was prepared to deal with it. The one thing she wasn’t anticipating was a wild night of passion with the male who was her fated mate the night before. She’d learned early on, that having a mate and her position within the pard just wasn’t possible.
Laird Connors is an Alpha’s Alpha and he’s very used to getting his way. So, true to his nature, when he meets his mate he wastes no time in showing her exactly who she belongs to—or so he thought. His little cat tries to run, but nothing will stop him from claiming what’s his.
Buy links:




Title of book: Two for Trinity (The Cowboys of Cavern County, Book#3)

Name of author: Bella Settarra

Genre: Erotic romance, cowboy romance, ménage

Type of book: Novel (69k)

Sexual orientation: MFM

What’s hot?: Sex on the side of a mountain – ménage style!

Blurb:

Having arrived in Cavern County to stay with her aunt and uncle, Trinity Ellis is shocked to find that two handsome cowboys have been helping the elderly couple. Knowing how wealthy her relatives are, she is suspicious of the guys, and annoyed that they have undertaken chores which she should have done.
Jarrod Parker and Cordell Bray are happy to help out their neighbors, whom they regard as family since losing their own. Jarrod was orphaned not long ago, while Cordell’s brothers and sister took against him and their mother after their father’s death. They are both instantly smitten with the bewildered, pink-haired beauty, although her Uncle Frank has warned them to tread carefully around her. It appears that not only has she just lost her home in a gas explosion, but she lost her mother a couple of years ago, a trauma she never really recovered from.
Despite her best efforts, Trinity falls for the guys, who support her in her quest to uncover the secrets her boyfriend has kept so well hidden. He died in the explosion, but their love died long before that – she’s about to discover why.
The guys and Trinity help each other to heal while learning the true meaning of family, and become closer as a result. She learns to trust again, realizing that she loves the guys in a way she never felt about her boyfriend.
But the cowboys are not as they appear – and who is the woman Trinity sees them holding?

Buy links: 


Monday, 12 June 2017

SMUT Leeds

SMUT Leeds



The fabulous people who organise the Smut events are bringing it to Leeds for the first time - Sat 12 August 12-6pm.

I am doing another workshop (this will be the 4th workshop I’ve done for them). My topic is What Author Shape are You?

No, I am not asking you whether you have an hourglass figure or any other type of body! LOL. This looks at your author traits, eg, are you a plotter or pantser, do you write one book at a time or several and so on. It is a fun personality quiz to help you learn more about yourself as an author and find others who have similar writing styles.


There are other workshops, reading slams, traders etc. Here’s a link for more info and to book. http://ilovesmut.uk/events/smut-leeds-2017

Friday, 9 June 2017

Wicked Weekends

WICKED WEEKENDS


Title: Rock My Body, Book #2 in the Mondez series


Author: Lee Piper

Genre: Contemporary romance

Sexual Orientation: M/F

Length of story: 87,000 words

What's hot?: This is a slow burn romance which, not gonna lie, builds up to some epic sexy time. There’s plenty of sizzling chemistry, hilarious banter, and smokin’ hot scenes.

Blurb:

Twenty-two year old Riley Sears promises herself never to fall in love unless it is with a guy who is long-term boyfriend material. She is not crazy, her psychologist reassures her of that, but when faced with situations she cannot control… Well. Her anxiety skyrockets.

Enter Dominic Mondez, the hottest creature ever to grace pecs and abs. The notorious playboy propositions Riley with the best sex of her life—his words. However, after learning he never sleeps with the same woman twice, Riley’s decision becomes remarkably simple.

No. Way. In. Hell.

Sadly, traversing the murky waters of friends without benefits is far from simple, especially since Dominic is the lead guitarist of local rock band, Mondez. He is also tempestuous, a womanizer, and—even worse—inexplicably jealous. Dominic is bad for Riley in every possible way. Bad, bad, bad.

If only her body would listen.

Buy links:







Title of book: The Blue Triangle

Name of author: Isabella Austin

Genre: Erotic Romance (contains explicit sex scenes and graphic language).

Type of book: Novel (81k)

Sexual orientation: Menage/lesbian/MF

What’s hot?: something for everyone’s fantasies – adultery, BDSM, bondage, orgies, sex toys

Blurb:

For everyone who has ever loved and been betrayed.

The handsome and successful bank manager, Peter, has his hands full beneath the sheets as he alternates between his unsuspecting wife, Sue, and very sexy Cleo. He thinks he has it all until his life starts to spiral out of control. Will Peter rise to the top of the pile or will he be undone by a wife with her own secret passions and a spurned lover with vengeance in her heart?

The Blue Triangle is no ordinary love story but a tale of desire, treachery, and revenge with lashings of hot, steamy sex. The Blue Triangle was written in response to stories recounted to Isabella by women who had allowed themselves to be seduced by the heady throes of passion. Delight in these characters’ erotic dreams and adventures on the path to redemption and just desserts.

Buy links: Links to buy are all on website:  www.isabellaaustin.com and also information about the author and excerpts, reviews etc.





Title: Under his Protection

Author: Doris O’Connor

Genre: BDSM

Sexual Orientation: M/F

Length: Novella

What’s hot?: Birthday spankings, Public exhibition, Bondage, Anal play, Voyeurism

Blurb:

Jacqui Page is all set to spend her thirty-fifth birthday eating her body weight in chocolate and watching chick flicks—until her best friend drags her off to visit the local BDSM club.

Now, a birthday spanking sounds like a mighty fine idea. Especially if it’s going to be delivered by the one man she’s been secretively lusting after for weeks—her melt your panties in an instant, bad boy neighbor.

Lukas Markz can’t believe his eyes when his shy, goody-two-shoes, next-door neighbor turns up at his club, dressed as every Dom’s wet dream. He doesn’t do commitment, but witnessing her submission brings out his inner caveman. No other man is going to get to mark her soft skin or listen to the sounds of her surrender. This bundle of curves is under his protection, and he will show her what it means to be his.

This is a previously published work. It has been revised and edited for Evernight Publishing.

Buy Links:


Saturday, 3 June 2017

Amara Lebel's 'A Month of Romance'

The lovely Amara Lebel is having ‘A Month of Romance’ with posts from authors over the next month.



Romance is that pleasurable feeling we gain from our emotional attraction toward someone. It is courtship. Stolen kisses and intimate touches. Secret interludes and naughty embraces. It is the foundation of what we all crave most in this world. Love.

Whether you’re a fan of Paranormal, Historical, LGBT, Western, BDSM, Sci-Fi, Erotic, or Contemporary Romance, there will be something here for you!

Stop by daily to join your favourite romance authors, and meet some new ones, as they give us some great guest posts, fun interviews, amazing giveaways, and so much more.

Mine is on 3 June – and is in the form of an interview (it’s a while since anyone interviewed me!). Find out where I get my inspiration and which one my favourite book is.