Staircase of Dreams – São Paulo

Another post of my adventures in Brazil… Many thanks to Resa of Graffiti Lux and Murals for hosting my photos on her amazing street art blog.

Graffiti Lux and Murals

São Paulo, Brazil is back with a look at “Staircase of Dreams”: in Portuguese, “Escadão dos Sonhos” courtesy of  Carolee Croft! “

Photo © Carolee Croft

“Staircase of Dreams” the title given to the project by the community organization, is described by Carolee.

” This staircase is located in the Pompeia neighbourhood of São Paulo, Brazil.”

Photo © Carolee Croft

“The artwork was commissioned by a local community organization, Cidade Ativa (Active City).”

Photo © Carolee Croft

“Previously, there had been concrete walls around each platform. These structures had enabled a lot of drug deals in the area due to the tall walls that could hide dealers from view.”

Photo © Carolee Croft

“Now, the metal railings allow this beautiful art to be seen instead. There are some pictures and videos of what it used to look like and how the project was done (it looks like they had a…

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An Officer and a Werewolf Teaser Excerpt

This story was inspired by my time in Phoenix, Arizona. I didn’t encounter any werewolves, but I lived so close to the outskirts of the city that I could just ride out into the desert on my bike. This is why the opening scene has the heroine simply walking out into the Arizona wilderness.

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I took this photo near Sedona.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from An Officer and a Werewolf:

What kind of person just walks out into the middle of the desert and gets lost like an idiot? Apparently, I’m that kind of person, Alicia mused.

The Arizona sun was impossible to escape, making her feel trapped in one of those hot yoga classes, and it wasn’t even noon yet. The heat had a dumbing down effect. Whenever she tried to think of a solution to the whole issue of getting lost in the desert on the southern edge of Tucson, she would get sidetracked by daydreams of Matthew McConaughey in Sahara.

Matthew-McConaughey-Sahara

Of course, it wasn’t all her fault. She had definitely had help in getting herself into this predicament. Why did Taylor have to break up with her on one of their morning walks? She hoped this wouldn’t forever ruin morning walks for her. She had gotten Taylor into the habit. Whenever he stayed over at her place, they would get up in the morning and follow the unwaveringly straight line of the highway out into the desert. It was just a short walk to the majestic, scrub-covered plains where sometimes they could see wild horses grazing and birds of prey flying overhead.

Most Arizonans wouldn’t be caught dead walking, especially during daylight hours, but Alicia had grown up in the mountains of Oregon, and hiking was like second nature to her.

Except, on this particular hike, her boyfriend Taylor had something to say.

“Alicia,” he said, “I think we both know that there are some problems with our relationship.”

“You think?” she replied with playful sarcasm.

Of course, they had problems. What relationship didn’t? Sometimes they fought about stuff like where they should live if they moved in together or whether Alicia should get a job as a dog walker – Taylor thought it was beneath her. Surely, two adult people who each had their own opinion were allowed to disagree once in a while.

“Yeah, I’m sure you’re aware of it,” he said gravely.

This was when Alicia finally realized they were having one of those “talks.”

“So, what do you want to say about it?” she asked, clutching the brim of her flower print sun hat.

Taylor stopped walking and stood facing her. A lone car sped by them on the highway, raising dust into the air.

“I think we should break up,” he simply said. “I’ve met someone new. Now, I don’t want you to get upset. We’ve been struggling for quite some time now, and these things happen.”

“How? When?” Alicia gasped.

“I met this lovely woman named Page at one of our open houses.”

In a way, it should not have been surprising at all. Working in real estate, Taylor met so many people every day, and on top of that, he was good-looking and had the gift of the gab.

“When did this happen, and why didn’t you tell me before?” Alicia asked, as if knowing the exact details could help make it go away.

But he seemed so excited about this new woman that he wasn’t even listening.

“Page is witty and fun, and I just come alive when I’m with her.”

“And you wilt like a dead rose when you’re with me, is that it?” Alicia yelled.

“Now, calm down. I just need you to understand. She’s different–”

“No, I don’t want to hear any more about this Page!” Alicia interrupted.

At this point, she completely lost it. She simply walked off into the scrub-covered plain, off towards the horizon where majestic buttes towered and cacti raised their arms to the sky like the background to some cowboy movie.

She had a love-hate relationship with Hollywood movies. For one thing, they were always selling people a pack of lies about some brave, dependable man who always came to the woman’s rescue when she needed him. There was really no such thing as the heroic gentleman those movies portrayed.

“Alicia! Where the hell are you going?” Taylor shouted.

Case in point: he wasn’t even going to go after her. All he did was stand by the roadside and shout for her to come back. She completely ignored him; didn’t even turn to look back.

“There are snakes out there!” he tried again.

“There are snakes back here too,” she yelled.

Yes! Just when she needed it, the perfect comeback. She had always held back during their arguments, fearing she would hurt his feelings. Well, not anymore!

That must have discouraged Taylor, because he didn’t say anything else and didn’t follow her. Part of her wanted him to come running up and saying how wrong he had been to break up with her. But there was no sound of footsteps, only the gentle swish of the wind.

After the first ten minutes of walking away from the main road, Alicia realized she was acting like a crazy person, but this mad dash felt good, helping relieve some of her anger. It was either that or bursting into tears, and she refused to do that. Why should she cry when some jerk she had mistakenly thought was the love of her life decided to reveal his true colors?

Hey, maybe speed walking could be her new career? She had been searching for something different to replace her mind numbing job at Cool’s, supposedly the place “where fashionistas shop.”

Just as she was getting seriously tired, she looked around and realized that the road was nowhere to be seen. Just how far had she walked? Even with her hat on to protect her from the brutal UV rays, the heat was too much. She was only wearing shorts and a tank top, which had been fine for an early-morning walk, but now her shoulders were starting to feel the sting of sunburn.

One of the buttes, a huge rock formation with a large base and two spire-like summits, was not far off, and Alicia decided to walk to it and hide in its shade to get a break from the sun’s glare. Then she could climb to the top and see the shortest way back home.

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She scanned the area for thorns and spiders. Then, with a huge sigh of relief, she sank down into the narrow strip of shade on the hard, cracked ground.

Suddenly, she heard the unmistakable sound of a car door slamming shut. This was a weird sound to be hearing here, and Alicia looked around wildly but there was no car to be seen. She was desperate enough to try to hitch a ride with whoever it was, though she decided to be cautious and take a peek first. She got up and tiptoed around the foundation of the butte, looking cautiously around every corner.

She had reached the opposite side of the structure when she saw them. Two cars parked against the side of the rock formation: a dusty little green Jeep with a Mexican plate and an equally dusty white SUV, a Ford Escalade whose plates sported the familiar purple Arizona sunset. She could now hear the voices of four men talking beyond the cars. At first, only their heads were visible, but then they walked a little farther from their vehicles and she could see the whole gang: two white guys who looked like wannabe rappers and sounded local with that broad Arizona accent, and two Mexicans covered from head to toe in designer clothes. It didn’t look like they were out here to enjoy the scenery as they kept referring to some sort of “shipment.” Was this some kind of international meeting of mobster minds?

Alicia shrank back behind the rock wall. Something touched her shoulder, and she screamed. Obviously, she had missed one. Another Mexican man was standing right behind her with a gun, which he now aimed at her.

He was probably in his twenties, wearing a button-down Diesel shirt, distressed jeans, and a large, red bandana covering most of his forehead.

“Drop your weapons!” he said.

“I- I don’t have any weapons,” she replied.

The Mexican looked her over. With her skin-tight yellow tank top and fitted khaki hiking shorts, it was easy to see she was telling the truth.

“Okay, walk forward!” he ordered, jabbing the gun into her back.

“Hey, look what I found!” he shouted jauntily, “Was this supposed to be a surprise for us?”

The two Americans exchanged puzzled looks. They were both dressed in loose pants and t-shirts, with multiple gold chains around their necks like some rapping duo. Finally, one of them, a short skinny guy with a handlebar moustache, found his voice.

“Yeah, we’ll throw her into the bargain if it helps you make up your mind.”

His buddy, a tall, muscular guy nodded self-importantly.

Alicia tried not to hyperventilate. Breathe normally, she told herself. It’s just a little drug deal, nothing to be afraid of. They’ll figure out that you’ve got nothing to do with it, except being a witness. Shit. There was lots of be afraid of.

“Look, I was just walking here,” she said, willing her voice to sound normal, and mostly succeeding except for a tiny quaver. “You can’t use me as a bargaining chip.”

“Wait a minute,” said one of the Mexicans, who wore a sizeable gold cross round his neck. “I don’t think they brought the girl for us. I don’t think they even know her.”

“We’ll take her anyway,” said Bandana Man.

All three of the Mexicans laughed.

“Yes, we’ll take her anyway,” said Cross Man’s accomplice, a burly character who looked in danger of ripping his Diesel shirt with his muscles. “She has a nice pair of mangos.”

“Hey, I’m not an object!” Alicia yelled in anger.

“Fine, take her! What do I care,” said the bigger American, completely ignoring her. “Now do we have a deal?”

“No,” said the guy with the cross, “this girl isn’t even yours to begin with. What, you think we’re a bunch of fools?”

“Now, Ramon, I never said you’re a bunch of fools,” said the little skinny American, “but you’re asking for a lot of extra money, which I’m not prepared to give you.”

Ramon did not take well to this tone. He pulled out a gun that had been tucked into the back of his pants and pressed the safety switch off.

“You are starting to make me very angry, and I don’t like being angry,” he yelled. “Like I said, all the money, plus a thousand for our troubles.”

“Ramon, put the gun away,” the big American said in a voice that attempted but failed to sound calm. His accomplice, in the meantime, drew his own gun.

The burly Mexican was yelling at Ramon in Spanish. Alicia was seriously hoping that Ramon was just blustering and that she wouldn’t be caught in the middle of a shootout.

They were all interrupted by Bandana Man, who had been scanning the horizon with a pair of binoculars. Evidently, he had not forgotten his duty as lookout, though he still held his gun trained on Alicia. Multitasking, she thought, how nice.

“Someone’s coming!” he shouted.

Swearing profusely in English and Spanish, the drug dealers scurried behind their respective cars for cover. Alicia was about to run for it, but Ramon yelled at Bandana Man to bring her. She just barely understood enough Spanish to discern that he meant to use her as a hostage.

Bandana Man yanked Alicia’s arm, making her fall hard behind the jeep. She drew in a hissing breath and swore as her thigh throbbed with pain. Just her luck on this pleasant day, she had collided with a sharp rock jutting out from the desert soil.

Alicia could see the vehicle approaching now, a white police cruiser coming straight towards them at racing speed, raising a cloud of dust up to the sky. She got up to a low crouch, ready to dart for the safety of the police car.

“You’d better let me go,” she warned, “you don’t want to add kidnapping to your list of charges.”

“Shut up!” Bandana Man replied.

He quickly raised his gun, aiming to hit her in the face with its grip.

Alicia saw it coming. She used that split second when the gun was not aimed at her and grabbed his wrist, twisting it hard. She winced inwardly at the sound of cracking bones. It was a move she had learned in Jiu-Jitsu class, and it seemed to work. Bandana Man cried out in pain and dropped the gun. Fueled by adrenaline, Alicia instantly dove for it and stood up, aiming it at her aggressor and backing away. Luckily, the other drug dealers had been too occupied with watching the police car.

Now she saw the cruiser pulling to a stop near a smaller rock formation, and she quickly headed in that direction, stepping backwards and still aiming the gun at her bandana-wearing nemesis. The other drug dealers were yelling at him for letting her get away.

Alicia dared to throw a glance behind her. She was so close to the rock cluster. She reached out with her left hand behind her, and finally she could touch its rough surface.

She circled to the other side of the rock, finding the cover she needed. Now, she felt safe enough to lower the gun… and try to stop hyperventilating. Her heart felt like it was going to burst.

Just to be safe, she put the gun down on the ground. She didn’t want the officer to think she was part of that drug dealing crew, especially if he was the type who came in guns blazing, which seemed to be a popular style of policing in the southwest.

The car came to a screeching stop just a few feet in front of her. It sported the golden star of the Pima County Sherriff’s Department, and there was only one state trooper inside. For extra precaution, Alicia raised her hands to show she was unarmed.

Contrary to her expectations, the officer stepped out of the car slowly and with his gun still holstered. She couldn’t see much of his face, which was shaded with his broad-rimmed campaign hat and aviator sunglasses, but from the way he moved, he seemed the very picture of confidence and calm. Of course, a man built like that probably had very little to be afraid of.

Not that he was gigantic or anything. He was nowhere near as built as Ramon’s drug dealing associate, but he was definitely over six feet tall and muscular, the kind of muscles that moved fluidly and easily as he walked, but looked strong enough for a huge burst of energy if the need came. The beige uniform of Pima County Sheriff’s Department had never looked so good. The crisp, light shirt outlined his powerful torso, and its short sleeves revealed his gorgeous biceps. The dark green trousers hinted at toned, lean legs, framing them loosely.

He walked toward Alicia with smooth, graceful step that was rare for most cops.

“It’s all right, Ma’am,” said the officer. His voice was musical and pleasant, with a slight southern drawl. “You can put your hands down. I’m not here for you, but to put away those three Mexican boys and whoever they’re selling the drugs to.”

“Okay,” Alicia said meekly.

She was still breathless, though she wasn’t sure whether it was from all the recent excitement or the sight of this sexy police officer.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this little excerpt. This story is part of the Uniform Desire Anthology. Grab your copy on Amazon if you like steamy or erotic stories.

uniform anthology

Tolkien’s Angels: A question of belief

Today I have a special guest post by fantasy author R.K. Lander. Without further ado, here’s R.K:

If you are not a Tolkien geek, haven’t read the Silmarillion, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, or just haven’t read about elves in mythology, your impression of an elf is probably what the movies have portrayed; tall angels with long hair and flighty voices who dance to the lyre and cry woeful tears as epic poems are recited. They float angelically around majestic gardens of blooming flowers they wear in their hair, pose for portraits or titter away the afternoon as they braid each other’s’ hair and drink miraculous cordials. They sit upon the loamy banks of a beautiful forest and eat green things – probably lettuce and perhaps aromatic herbs and even flowers – they can also be seen cantering bareback through a forest on a unicorn as their immortal eyes marvel at the unfathomable beauty of the land.

Oh the joy – the utter wiles of nature that made these creatures such divinities!

Right?

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Well I don’t know about you guys but is this really what an immortal being would be doing with his time? Is this the mind set of an immortal? Do they eat lettuce and flowers?

So I write fantasy – epic fantasy and you might ask yourselves what the problem is –  elves are a product of fantasy so why reason their nature?

Fantasy authors create worlds, beings, cultures and magic – they bring things into being. elves.pngHowever, I am sure most readers would agree that you can’t just make a categorical claim about the nature of something – you need to explain it. I don’t mean you need a degree in physics to describe the laws of entropy, but the author does, at least, need to offer some sort of background as to why, how, etc. And whatever it is that you write as you build your world and the people that inhabit it – surely you want to make those beings as credible as possible – so that the reader – a human being for the most part –  can empathise, follow the characters’ journey through the story. But if you put something like this into your book as a main character …

Aloof, snooty, male? Oh it’s a he, and a warrior??

No, don’t tell me it’s Glorfindel.

Nah … don’t think I would read that.

Tolkien, in his Laws and Customs Among The Eldar, says that elves are quicker to mature mentally – can speak and dance even at the tender age of one. They come of age at around 50 and then stop growing at around 100, oh, and they just about live forever. OK, I can take that – these are physical differences that can be explained in fantasy fiction.

But what about their ideals, their beliefs? Tolkien states that elves are strictly monogamous, that adultery is unheard of. That elves only marry once and that sex is, basically, to conceive children. It is also made clear that sex outside the bonds of matrimony – just doesn’t happen. Sex is an instrument, not to be ‘abused’ or ‘debased’ by the pursuit of simple pleasure. In fact, Tolkien says that sex is tantamount to marriage, and that once children are conceived, elves don’t even fancy sex any more. Crikey, the even need parental consent to get married.

Now, if you are a religious person, you may agree with some or all of this, and that’s fine, but to me, such experienced beings would find it ‘hard’ at least, to not have sex for centuries! True, there could be physical reasons for this, but it does seem a little harsh, and if it doesn’t get explained, well this all sounds very religious indeed, Christian, specifically.

Is it truly realistic to assume they don’t grow tired of their spouses? Never argue to the point of rupture? Or maybe they want to try something different after centuries of the same old routines? Do they not have lovers? Are there no illegitimate children? Are they all heterosexual?

Monogamy, fidelity and contention are values that are intimately tied to the historical and geographical enclave of the writer and while some will love these traits and claim they are timeless, personally I find them unbelievable over such long periods of time.

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In the movies, we get to see some pretty impressive battles and I love them. The archery, the sword work, all that swishing silk and swaying hair, bright sparkly eyes that give swift, surgical death to their foes – I’m a sucker for it – but FFS – how about the odd bruise? A bit of blood? A black eye? – If elves are indeed supposed to be able to die from traumatic wounds – then they bruise and bleed like the rest of us – right?

elves legolasThere is so much weirdness about your ‘typical elf.’ Look at Legolas in The Fellowship of the Ring – the guy goes on a quest to destroy a magical ring – in a dainty pair of shoes – What!! Well at least Peter Jackson gave him a nice pair of swede boots! But then that fight when he gets bashed in the nose and then nearly faints when he realises he’s got a nose bleed. OK, an Elven warrior with possibly thousands of years in the field – never bled? And come to think of it, so many battles and no one-legged veterans? No missing eyes or hands? OK, maybe they grow back but please explain!

Now, what’s with the perfect manicure? I mean dirt just seems to roll off them magically, the same magic that allows them to walk ON snow – does it make sense if the author doesn’t actually tell us there is magic going on? Not for me.

Now don’t get me wrong – I love the beauty and strength of elves, I love to break the idea that beauty is fickle. But please would someone help Peter Jackson with his casting? I have never seen a weirder bunch of guys and gals than the extras in the LOTR Trilogy – Remember Glorfindel? Elrond? And oh God – Elladan and Elrohir!! YUK.

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So here’s the thing with elves in the movies and in many works of fantasy. For me they just don’t work. Don’t get me wrong – they are beautiful, tall and strong – oh yes – I would never forsake that part, but what about their mind sets? Their ethics and morals? If you have lived for centuries or millennia, you’ve seen quite a few things. You have lived through great joys and sorrows, seen strange things and then you rationalise – you think about the things that happen to you and – hopefully – wisdom ensues – or madness

I see them as passionate beings with a tendency to reason things out. I see them as knowledgeable and relatively well-spoken – they would have had time to read quite a bit, right? I also think they can be fundamentally flawed but not in the way Tolkien described. I think it would be easy for an elf to lose her mind, to wish for death, to be depressed.

I see them in a society that is equal for men and women. I don’t mean that all roles in society are necessarily occupied by male and female elves equally, I just mean they would be free to do as they please. In this, Tolkien was quite the visionary; his elves were not sexist for the most part. All he says is that females were not often warriors for the simple reason that to give life seems antagonistic with the ability to take it away. The only problem here, I suppose, is that males give life too – right?

What I really cannot see is this very strict ethical code that rules everything related to marriage and sex. I believe life-long relationships are possible, my novel has them, but I also think that sex would be freely given and received, at any time and by any one and that there is no reason why anyone should be offended by that, unless there is some religious code of ethics and that is something only the author gets to decide.

My conclusion is that elves are portrayed as what a perfect being would be, given the specific moment and place in time. They are immortal because nobody wants to die, they are beautiful because nobody wants to be ugly. They are powerful, intelligent, morally and ethically pristine – and this – is the crux of the question. They are angels, as we perceive them at a given time in society.

path of a novice.pngPath of a Novice is about elves – about elves I feel are believable. They suffer abandonment, are bullied, can be utterly cruel and wonderfully generous. They crave power and riches and yet will die in battle for honour. They lie and they bet, live and love, get dirty nails and messy hair. They are racists, they are tolerant, they are warriors and they are artists.

This is what motivates me – these are the reasons I would follow a main Elven character, because I can walk beside them, see what they see, feel what they feel and suffer what they suffer and actually believe it – because it makes sense to me to do so.

What do you think? Are elves angels that adhere to an essentially Christian code of ethics? Are they simply the immortal humans we want to be? What’s your take on elves?

R.K. Lander is the author of Path of a Novice, first book in The Silvan Trilogy.

www.rklander.com

@rklwrites

FB: rklwrites

rklanderwrites@gmail.com

Street Art Sao Paulo

With all the book-related stuff going on, I haven’t blogged much about Brazil, or at all. Resa of Graffiti Lux and Murals has kindly posted some of the photos I took in Sao Paulo. These might give you a taste of Brazil…

Graffiti Lux and Murals

Carolee Croft has sent us Street Art from Sao Paulo, Brazil!

Photo © Carolee Croft

I love the man and cat interacting!

Photo © Carolee Croft

Carolee says: “If you’re interested in street art, Sao Paulo is the place to be.”

Photo © Carolee Croft

“These photos were taken around the area where I live, Vila Anglo Brasileira and Pompeia, very close to Vila Madalena, which is home to Beco de Batman (Batman Alley), a place visited by throngs of tourists for its famous graffiti”

Photo © Carolee Croft

Photo © Carolee Croft

Photo © Carolee Croft

Photo © Carolee Croft

Photo © Carolee Croft

Photo © Carolee Croft

I thought I’d do an almost bookends with the 2 different hummingbirds.

Photo © Carolee Croft

I say “almost” because the frog piece is jut too, cute!

Photo © Carolee Croft

Photos taken by Carolee Croft – 2017

Sao Paulo, Brazil

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Ariella’s Escape is Going on Tour

Today I have a blog tour starter party at Enchanted Book Promotions.

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I hope you’ll join me for some of the upcoming tour stops, especially if you’re a fan of male sex slaves and warrior maidens. There will be excerpts, giveaways, and guest posts, oh my!

Today as part of the tour, urban fantasy author Tiffany Shand asked me what inspired me to write fantasy. Check out my answer here.

Also, I wanted to say thank you so much for sticking with me, dear readers and fellow bloggers. Publishing this novel has been an emotional roller-coaster, and it’s so great to have your support and your positive comments. I love you guys!

Uniform Desire, a Very Hot Erotic Collection

Do you dream of a lover in uniform?

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Probably the Channing Tatum kind, but hey I’m not saying Jonah Hill isn’t cute in his own way.

Uniform Desire is a collection of erotic tales to fulfill your naughty fantasies… or inspire new ones.

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I’m so excited that my story, An Officer and a Werewolf is part of this collection. Have a look at the stories below…

AN OFFICER AND A WEREWOLF by Carolee Croft

sexy cop.jpgAlicia Greenfield doesn’t believe in werewolves or in gentlemen…

until she meets a man who is both. A police officer who rescues her in the midst of the Arizona desert steals her heart with his southern charm, but she’s in for a dangerous ride when she comes between the werewolf and his jealous ex-girlfriend.

 

THE PROMISE by Heather Walker

sexy priest gabriel byrne stigmataLily Labelle has a guilty confession to make; she lusts after the handsome Father Zachary Blackthorne. But when Lily finally summons the courage to enter the confessional, Father Zac’s reaction is surprising, yet delicious.

HER AMPHIBIOUS ASSAULT by Leslie McKelvey

the rock soldier.jpgBree’s best friend, Holly, is a handful, and Bree tries to protect her from harm. In a bar, Bree meets Chase, whilst Holly is dancing with Tom, her man of the night. To ensure Holly is safe, Bree accepts Chase’s offer for the four of them to go to his apartment and, while Holly and Tom go for it in the bedroom, Bree and Chase get to know each other. A Navy SEAL, Chase is deployed for eight months, but will his return be all that Bree hopes for?

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE UNIFORM by Starla Kaye

After Dustin’s fall from his horse he grudgingly accepts Karena as his nurse, but complains that the pants suit uniform she wears doesn’t help with his rehabilitation. Finally sick of Dustin’s attitude, Karena surprises Dustin with a change of uniform, with dynamite results!

ROOM 605 by Deborah Kelsey

Deborah and Jon are about to meet in person for the first time. Can they build on their long distance online relationship or will nerves get the better of them? What lies in store behind the door of Room 605?

HEARTS ABLAZE by Selkie McKatrick

Blaize and Toni were lovers years ago, and are flung together again, when Toni is brought in to investigate a possible insurance fraud following a fire at a rich girl’s home, and Blaize is accused of starting the fire. Toni still has feelings for Blaize and works to prove him innocent – but can they rekindle their former passion?

GOT TO LOVE A MAN IN A TOOLBELT by S.K. Fero

When Annabelle falls in lust with Kaden, the gorgeous handyman she hired, she is on the point of sharing her home with him; but there is one test to pass before they can become a couple. Kaden has built a woodshed in the garden, and today Annabelle will visit it for the first time. Can she be sure life as a submissive is for her?

UNDER HOUSE ARREST by Breanna Hayse

Amelia lives a pristine life. It takes twin brothers, who tormented her at school, and are now hunky policemen, to shatter her sterile world and introduce her to every sexual pleasure imaginable!

ONE EVENING IN NUREMBURG by Deborah Kelsey

Haupsturmfurher Faber is no stranger to sexual liaisons in alleyways with willing young men, but there is something about his latest boy, Dieter. His admiration for the Sicherhitzdienst and its uniform lingers in both men’s memories long after their brief encounter.

A PARTY FOR THREE by Breanna Hayse

Zoe and Jordan’s relationship seems to be heading for the rocks as Marine Jordan is deployed, yet again, on Zoe’s birthday. Zoe is concerned that, since Jordan returned from his last time in the field, his interest in sex has bombed! Zoe’s lesbian friend, Penny, has a plan to help – a two girl, one guy threesome!

Grab your copy at Amazon.com, Amazon Canada, or Amazon UK

The Ladies of Game of Thrones and Ariella’s Escape

Recently I’ve become a huge GOT fan, and it all started when I read a chapter of my book Ariella’s Escape to a writers’ group I attended back in the UK, and one of the members said it was a lot like Game of Thrones.

So of course I wanted to check out Game of Thrones. I’d always been hesitant because some people I know said they hated it, that it had too many rape scenes. But then even the most hardcore feminist person I know became a fan. At this point, even my mom and dad have seen it! I was like, “Okay, I think it’s time to see GOT already.” And now I’m an addict!

I feel silly not having watched it sooner because it’s the kind of high fantasy stuff that I love with lots of noble lords and ladies being very noble and chivalrous, but also plenty of devious traitors.

arya stark.jpgProbably my number one favorite character is Arya Stark. At the beginning of the show she’s just a cute tomboy, and she works so hard at trying to become a warrior you have to admire her.

Her father is a great lord of the Northern realm, and there’s a wonderful scene where he’s having a nice talk with Arya and telling her that one day she’ll marry a lord and have a castle of her own and have lots of children.

But instead of objecting strongly, Arya replies with quiet assurance, “No, that’s not me.”

And it turns out she’s right  because she ends up traveling the realm of Westeros trying to survive and having lots of adventures. Despite being a girl in a man’s world, she gains others’ respect because she’s so fierce and so dedicated to her plans for vengeance against her enemies. And she’s so cute!

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Then there’s Brienne, a friendly giant of a woman, very calm and very serious. She just wants to be the perfect knight more than anything in the world. She reminds me of those knights of the Round Table from the stories of King Arthur who would always do the honorable thing even if it kills them.

Brienne also had an identity crisis, and her backstory is eventually revealed. When she was younger, and her father threw a ball for her, she was shunned by all the young men for being so huge and ungainly. It could have been the worst day of her life, but she was approached by the king’s brother, Renly, who also feelt like an outsider because of his homosexuality.

Brienne wanted to cry and run away, but Renly danced with her and told her that those “little shits” aren’t worth her time. Ever since that moment, Brienne had a special love for Renly. Obviously she knew he was gay, but I think it was sort of a pure, non-sexual love also similar to the way Arthurian knights would admire a certain lady and fight for her honor even though they had no hope of reciprocity.

I’m so glad there are all these female actresses who can get roles in an action/adventure show and not just be the sidekicks, love interests, or the cliche ‘strong female character’. These ladies and the characters they play are not so much trying to get equality with men, they seem to see sexism as a minor inconvenience and are just doing their own thing and kicking butt.

Lady Warriors in Ariella’s Escape

Ariella's Escape E-Book CoverUnlike Arya and Brienne, the title character from Ariella’s Escape is a bit spoiled. She grew up in a land where female warriors are already accepted as the norm. In fact, women are running the place. What’s more, she’s a lady with her own castle, and she’s always been the boss ever since her parents died when she was just a child.

But she has other problems to contend with such as a prince trying to have her assassinated. I didn’t want the whole novel to be about a woman being picked on for being a woman, but rather a woman being double-crossed because of other people’s political ambitions.

Unlike the token ‘strong female characters’ of past generations, Ariella is definitely not perfect, and maybe not that strong. I mean, she once threw a bottle at her loving nursemaid!

But she’s actually a very kind and generous person as she proves throughout the book. At the ripe old age of 24, she’s still a bit immature, but I like to think that she does change and grow even in this first book, but even more so in the next books in the trilogy, so I hope readers won’t write her off as a spoiled brat and will stick with her. 🙂

Anyways, I’d love to hear from you. Do you have a favorite warrior woman? Game of Thrones, love it or hate it?

Ariella’s Escape is available on Amazon USAmazon Canada, Amazon UK,  Amazon AustraliaNook, Kobo, iTunes