Visit my Website for all the blurbs, excerpts and news!!

Visit my Website for all the blurbs, excerpts and news!!
Visit my Website for all the blurbs, excerpts and news!!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Oh, she blushes!

The city of Venice has been rebuilt on the far planet of Cydonia. Despite the uneasy presence of the mysterious, only part-human Sand Riders who roam the Cydonian deserts, The Black Carnival has become a celebration of beauty and lust known all over the Galaxy.

Ivory Blake, a young artist from the conservative Central Planets, is thrown in the middle of the festivities to illustrate a new book about the Black Carnival. As a guest of the glamorous art collector Lukan Løvensgård, her professional assignment quickly turns into a highly emotional exploration of sensuality in all its most varied aspects, from BDSM to romantic love, passing through obsession, fear, jealousy and passionate, tender complicity.

He laughed and lifted a hand to caress my chin. He brushed a strand of hair back, tucking it behind my ear, and then he put down his glass, brought both his hands behind my head and undid the lacing of my mask. I didn't say a thing. As the mask was taken from my face, I felt more naked than I had ever felt since coming to NeuVenedig, and yet I felt no uneasiness at all. If anything, I began to unwind and took a deep liberating breath. I smiled at Laz'law and shyly, lightly caressed the tiny scales on his cheekbones, the rougher, thicker scales on his eyebrows, the beautiful strange mask that could never be taken off.
"Lovely," said he and I at the same time, and we laughed.
"So beautiful," we said again absurdly, improbably, in unison.
It was uncanny. It was fantastic.
He grinned widely. I am sure that he had quite some practice at being adored. I was not used to be called beautiful; men in the Central Planets were too correct and formal, or, perhaps, just plain shy, for such wildly romantic statements. I had been called pretty, cute, sweet and even hot, but never beautiful. Obviously, I blushed.
Lune put two fingers around my chin to turn my face to him. He looked at me tenderly and softly kissed my temples, my eyebrows, my cheekbones, all those places that he had never seen before. I closed my eyes, smiling a small beatific smile as I went more or less limp in his arms. I heard them both laughing, but I didn't open my eyes.
Laz'law took the almost empty glass from my hand; I heard him getting up and walk off towards the bar, but by then Lune was kissing my mouth in intense, hot, tongue-and-teeth kisses, and I was quite distracted. I felt Laz'law sitting back on the sofa and lifting my skirt up. He took off my tall, soft suede boots and began caressing my knees, just under the edge of the skirt, then further up, running a flat warm palm along my legs. When his hand reached the naked skin of my thighs I shuddered with pleasure and finally broke the kiss, opening my eyes to look at him.
He smiled at me, and kept caressing me in flat even caresses as if savoring the smoothness of the silk stockings and of my skin. Lune looked at him with a curiously affectionate smile, and then he said to me, "Come here."
He pulled me to sit in his lap, and began kissing me again, running his searching lips on my mouth, my throat, my neck. I sighed, my head thrown back, quite abandoned in his arms, when I felt Laz'law standing up behind me. His warm hands began to massage my naked shoulders, as if to ease my nerves. I didn’t think I needed any easing, but his warm fingers seemed to unravel my back as if it had been knotted. I bent my head forward to invite his hands higher. He obliged; his palms rubbed warmly along my neck, crawled in circles on my skull, loosening my hair, then descended again. He caressed my tightly corseted breasts and sides. Then he lifted my hair out of the way and started kissing the nape of my neck and my spine, between my shoulder blades.
I was melting like chocolate.
I pressed my face in the curve of Lune’s throat, opening my lips to taste his skin. Laz’law kneeled on the carpet behind me, lifted the skirt up around my waist, and went on kissing his way down my back as his hands caressed my legs and then my buttocks. His breath puffed warm through the crisscrossing lacing of my corset, making me shiver in anticipation.
I think I could have gone on like that forever, but after a while Lune sat up and moved further back on the deep sofa.
“Turn,” he whispered, pushing and pulling me around until I turned in his lap and sat facing Laz’law, who smiled, running his hands lightly along the inside of my legs.
I relaxed against Lune’s body, my back on his chest. I parted my legs a bit, feeling wonderfully exposed, slutty and happy. Lune lowered the zipper of my corset and, as my breasts spilled out of their almost painful confinement, I sighed and put my arms up around his neck, turning his face down to mine, silently begging him to kiss me again.
He was more than willing to comply, and kissed me deeply, hotly, his lips covering mine entirely, his tongue lashing down my throat, circling in my mouth, searching and teasing, pinning my head irresistibly against his shoulder. He kissed in fierce, carnivorous kisses, in surprising, delightful contrast with the quiet courtesy of his manner and the sweetness of his smile.
One of his hands had taken hold of my left breast, and he was squeezing my nipple, softly at first and then harder, rolling the tender skin between his strong fingers until it almost hurt. He smoothly pushed his knees between mine, and spread my legs wide with his, opening me to Laz’law’s kisses. My breath was quick and shallow in his mouth.
I could feel Laz'law's rough, scaly, metal studded brows brushing on the skin of my thighs, his warm mouth open on the almost transparent lace of my panties. His tongue was even warmer, and he ran it flatly on the damp lace a few times before untying the two twin bows that tied the panties around my hips. When my sex was naked and open before him, I pushed it upward towards his face, with a tiny pleading moan. When he stooped forward, I began rocking against his rough chin; he laughed softly and started lapping me in brief quick laps, retreating out of my reach after each lap, until I strained and arched my back for more.
"What a hot little thing she is, indeed," he said, and Lune broke the kiss again to nod and laugh.
“Told you,” he said.
They both stared at me, and I suddenly felt somewhat self-conscious at the thought that they had been talking about me, although it was quite natural, I guess. I sat up a bit straighter, closing my legs somewhat. Laz'law smiled up at me, caressing my thighs, murmuring something unintelligible but soothing while kissing my knees apart again, but in that moment I felt Lune's hands gently pushing me off his lap. I stood up and he carefully unbuttoned my skirt, which slid down my hips with a silky rustle. I kicked it off, and Laz'law, still fully dressed, still on his knees on the carpet, pulled me toward him and pressed his mouth hard on my sex.
That is when the last of my shyness went overboard.

While dining out with a bunch of old friends in Italy some days ago, I was thoroughly interrogated about my book.
Smutty? Really smutty? But how smutty? Hints, innuendoes, allusive metaphors? Literal, descriptive, periphrastic, how much left to imagination?
They seemed to conclude that it was really, really smutty when I told them that Evernight had requested some more romance in the plot. Yep, that smutty.

I mention this conversation because in the middle of it the incredible, and, alas, inevitable, happened.

I blushed (much to the everlasting delight of my friends).

It is a sadly embarrassing trait of my personality that I share with the heroine of Black Carnival, Ivory.
Yep, here I am, writing the hottest romance you can wish for - and blushing. Why, why me? Why us?
Sometimes, while writing Black Carnival, I wondered if Ivory blushed too often. Whenever the question arose I tried to imagine myself in the same situation and quickly added a bit of heat around her ears.

It doesn’t matter what sort of stuff I write when the hormones are right, I am still ridiculously shy.
What a mess.

Ah well. Leave a comment below for a chance to win a free copy of the smutty book, and blush along with Ivory and me.

Winner will be annouced on January 26th!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Worth his Freedom, a review

"Miria, a young noblewoman on the cusp of an arranged marriage, meets the Ausir Tsalrin, her father's mysterious assassin, and sparks fly immediately. Tsalrin is trapped by an ancient curse, and Miria cannot escape her father or the husband to whom he would sell her, a man who sees her merely as a political tool. Miria and Tsalrin's position is impossible, but neither one will give up their hidden love. Theirs is a story of struggle against abuse, bigotry, and paterfamilias. Their love is both their greatest danger and their only comfort as they search for their mutual freedom."

I had been looking forward to read Worth His Freedom, by Adonis Devereux, since it made its first appearance in Litopia’s Bragging Writes. There were three things about it, all ceaselessly tickling my curiosity. First, the cover, hot yet really elegant; second, the fact that it was written in tandem by husband and wife, which looked like a truly remarkable feat to a loner (creatively speaking) like me; and third, that the husband half of the duo, a fellow Litopian,  once threatened to whack my ass with a ruler, which seemed a delightfully auspicious way to start a friendship between, ahem, romance writers.

Ok, seriously, now.

The fact is that I was extremely curious to read into this completely original fantasy world, because I am a sucker for fantasy. I read more fantasy than romance, to be honest, and I was delighted that somebody had gone, invented a whole new universe and then set a romance novel in it. Maybe it’s just me, but I think this is a fantasy novel with strong (very strong) erotic-romance theme, not a romance novel with a fantasy setting. It completely transcends the romance genre (in all its multifarious sub-genres) because of the complexity and originality of its world, Gilalion.  The only other romance novel with such a rich original universe that comes to my mind is Lauren’s P. Burka’s “Wishbone”.

Gilalion draws you in and make you want more. I want to know about Lorins’ magic, Nohrs and Wyrms. I want to know more about the Ausir wars and history. I want to see the Ausir cities. I want to know about the complicated customs and religion of Nirrion. I want to know about the geography and the languages and, and…

I loved that Nirrion is not a medieval empire, but even older, classical in fact. There’s reclining dinners and lyres. There’s temples and cleansing rituals.  There’s also slavery and rather serious violence because Adonis Devereux does not pull punches (which is good).

Of course there is a love story. Now, as a writer of super-dissolute, multiple-partner erotica, I find some aspects of this love story a bit hard to bear. Not to put too fine a point to it, Tsalrin and Miria are a bit too obsessively jealous for my taste. Other than that, they are an engaging couple, and well deserving of the happy ending they get. Tsalrin is moody, dark and mysterious, as befits his role of cursed assassin. He is also however, a skilled artisan, which really raised my interest. It always bugs me when vampires, elves and immortals of various kinds waste away their long lives bemoaning their lonely lot and being generally miserable. If I were immortal (or going to live a few centuries at least) I would pick a hobby and get damn good at it. That’s what Tsalrin does, and it makes him a rare breed of sensible and sensitive creature. However, Miria is my favourite of the two, perhaps because one sees her growing up during the story and change from a tearful, soft girl into a seriously steely young woman.

There is of course sex, naughty wicked sex, because sex is a pretty pervasive aspect of the Nirrion society and all the characters are pretty uninhibited. There is more of it in the first half of the book, less in the second, where the plot takes precedence (it speaks for the quality of the plot and setting that I – smutty I - actually liked the second half of the book better than the first).

The style of the book was also a nice surprise in that it is written in a high, learned prose, which puts the antiquity and complexity of this world in even sharper relief.  Sometimes I wished the dialogues were less formal, more actual, but it may have jarred with the style of the narrative, so perhaps it’s better this way. There are many many names of places, creatures and gods which create the strong impression of a native language (several languages, actually) different from ours. Some of these names are wonderfully musical and keep singing in my head. Elendrie, Nistaran. Silbrios (=Forest-of-Stars), Mirmanduil. Tsalrin, of course.

All in all I am pretty enchanted by this read, and wish Adonis and Devereux could be closeted in a tower somewhere, and chained to their desks, and forced (with a ruler, if necessary) to produce three mighty, red, leather-bound volumes of Gilalion tales.

If the Long Lost Volumes of Gilalion Lore cannot be produced, I will for the moment content myself with their new release, “Bride for the God-King”, which was published just a few days ago and is set in the same universe.

Worth his Freedom @ Evernight
Bride for the God-King @ Evernight