Photos from RWA and a New Release!

Hi, everyone! Well, I'm back from my fourth RWA Nationals. It was a fantastic trip, and it was so much fun to meet so many people I only know through the Interwebs. First a quick reminder, NOT UNTIL YOU BELIEVE, Part 7 of my e-serial is out today. We're almost to the end! So for those of you waiting to get them when they're all out so you can read them back to back, next week is the week! :)

Here are some highlights from the trip...

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel with Darynda Jones, Eloisa James, Debra Holland, and Robin Convington at the Golden Network Retreat (a chapter of RWA for Golden Heart finalists). The lineup for teh retreat was fantastic. It kicked off with a great talk from Susan Elizabeth Phillips and then a lunchtime speech from, yes, the Nora Roberts. Here's Nora during her speech:



Then that evening was the HUGE booksigning for literacy. Thank you to all who stopped by and said hi to me or bought a book! :) The event raised over 50k for literacy charities, so it was a great success. Here was my view from my spot. (Isn't my RITA flag pretty? It's now sitting on my desk.)



On Friday, I did my BDSM 101 for Writers presentation with the lovely Tiffany Reisz (and her sock monkey). We had a full room and a great audience. It was a lot of fun even though we had too much info and ran out of time. Here's a picture courtesy of author Miranda Baker:



Then, of course, on Saturday night I was a nervous wreck because MELT INTO YOU was up for the RITA award in Single Title Contemporary Romance. For those who don't know, the RITAs are like the Oscars for romance writing, so it's a big, exciting thing to be nominated. 

Here I was before the ceremony when I still had hope, lol...



Alas, I didn't win, but I truly was just over the moon to be nominated. An erotic romance has NEVER been nominated in that cateogory so that was a huge deal for me. Here was my view from my spot in the audience. My one goal if I won was not to vomit standing up there on that stage in front of 2000 people. o.0



After that, it was time to fly back home with my big pile of new books:



And though I was sad to leave all my friends for another year, I did have a nice surprise waiting for me on my doorstep when I got home. Look at the pretties...



So now back to my normal life of no makeup, living barefoot, and typing away on my keyboard. : )

Books That Left Me Breathless: The Darker Side of Erotica & A Giveaway

You ever get on one of those reading streaks where somehow you manage to pick up fantastic book after fantastic book? You read something and think...I couldn't possibly find another book in my TBR pile to live up to this, then *bam* you manage to grab another winner. Well, that's happened to me over the past three weeks. 

First, I read the second book in Tiffany Reisz's Original Sinners series, The Angel. I knew this would be good because I loved The Siren and I heart Tiffany's writing. (Full disclosure, she is an agency mate, but I don't pimp books I don't adore and she didn't ask me to promote her book.) Her series is erotica not erotic romance, but there's always a romantic subplot and even if I don't get a neat HEA for the main character, Nora, I do usually get one for secondary characters. So it feeds my romance junkie heart. And the books are BRILLIANT, people. So smart and full of dark humor and sexiness. And the characters are so richly formed that you feel like you could bump into them on the street (and you would really want to bump into many of them.)

Also, I'm listing this in a "dark erotica" post because most would probably think of them as such, but I think that depends on your perspective. Tiffany handles heavy topics with a deft hand and injects such wry humor that the book doesn't feel broody. So don't be scared. ;)

Read The Siren first before you jump into The Angel. But I highly recommend the series.


So when I was still buzzing off the book high of Tiffany's book, I ran across this post on Smexy Books about ten erotic books on sale for 99 cents. Well, I can't resist a sale, so I went through the list and purchased a few that looked interesting and had good reviews on Goodreads from people/reviewers I trust. 

The first one I cracked open was Captive in the Dark by C. J. Roberts. Now, I usually have trouble with the really dark, dubious consent books. I have no issue with people writing them, but the few I've tried haven't been my cuppa. I usually have difficulty connecting with the characters and can't get into the story. But holy hell was this one different.

Warning, unlike Tiffany's books which I think are accessible to the mainstream reader, you need to be aware that this story isn't for everyone. These books are DARK and disturbing and will make you uncomfortable. I put in my Goodreads review that this duet of books is a complete mindf**k and I stand by that. I felt like I was developing Stockholm Syndrome as I read these. To get me to sympathize with such an anti-hero--a guy who is a kidnapper, a murderer, and so cruel at points--is a freaking triumph. The backstories are rich and tragic. The heroine is tough despite her dire circumstances. And the "hero" gives new meaning to the term "tortured." Be aware that Captive in the Dark and Seduced in the Dark need to be read together. The first ends on a cliffhanger.

But seriously, it's one of those stories that will not fade from my psyche for a long time. It left an impact. So if you're not afraid to go to those dark corners in your mind, I highly recommend picking these up.

Alright, so those are my breathless picks. What are some books that have left you breathless recently?

CONTEST: Answer for a chance to WIN a signed copy of THE SIREN. Be sure to leave a comment and your email address. Winner will be chosen at random on Friday. (U.S. and Canada only)

THE SIREN Takes Over Boyfriend of the Week

Today I have a special treat for you. Tiffany Reisz is back, giving us ALL the boyfriends from her debut novel THE SIREN . If you haven't read this book yet, what are you waiting for? It's gorgeous and dark and beautifully written. Plus hello, it has all these delicious men in it. Really, this isn't because she's a friend, her book is amazing. This story convinced me I could enjoy erotica and not just erotic romance. (Yes, there's a difference.) 

THE SIREN has been early-released in ebook, so you can get it now. The paperback will be out in July.

Now over ot Tiffany and her men--oh, and fair warning if you're at work, Tiffany's excerpts are 18+.


Boyfriends of the Week - The Siren

Hi Friends and Fellow Man-Lovers! 

Once again Roni’s bad judgment has gotten the better of her and she’s allowing me to run roughshod all over her blog. I’m not here for the Boyfriend of the Week post. I’m here for the BoyfriendS of the Week.

That’s right. BoyfriendS. Plural. It’s the week of THE SIREN (my full-length erotic women’s fiction debut), and I brought all my men with me. 

At a recent writers’ conference, my agent described THE SIREN as a book with a hero, a heroine, another hero, another hero, another hero, and another heroine. Pretty accurate assessment. After all, THE SIREN is merely book one in an eight-book series called THE ORIGINAL SINNERS. I need a whole lot of sinners if I’m going to fill up eight books. 

THE SIREN is the story of Nora Sutherlin, a quirky and beautiful Dominatrix and her rich and powerful lovers and clients. She’s also an erotica writer on killer deadlines and the world’s sexiest editor is cracking the whip. On top of that, she’s got a nymphomaniac Frenchman for a boss, an all-American, virginal teenage boy for an intern, and you don’t even want to know who she’s sleeping with. 

Oh wait. Yes, you do.


Let’s meet our boys, shall we?


Hero #1

Zachary “Zach” Easton

Occupation: Uptight editor of literary fiction

Hobbies: Being British and mean to his writers


“You do realize that working with you could be bad for my career,” Zach said. “I do literary fiction, not-”

“Literary friction?” 

“I can’t believe I’m doing this.” Zach shook his head.

Nora leaned in close to him. He was suddenly and uncomfortably aware of the long, bare curve of her neck. She smelled of hothouse flowers in bloom.

“I can.” She breathed the words into his ear.



Hero #2

Wesley “Wes” Railey

Occupation: Full-time College Student, Part-time Babysitter to a Writer

Hobbies: Horseback riding and trying to get Nora to behave for five whole minutes 


“It's okay,” he said a little breathlessly. He curled up around the pillow and pulled his legs into his chest. “It's just, you're, I’m…”

“Turned on? I know you are. You’re accent gets thicker when you get-”

“Nora, please.”

“You can tell me, Wes.”

“Yes,” he confessed. “Very. I'm sorry. Just give me a few minutes to think about my dead grandmother and I'll be okay.”

“Can I help you?”

“I don't think so. You never met my dead grandmother.”


Hero #3

Griffin Randolfe Fiske

Occupation: Trust Fund Baby

Hobbies: Causing trouble, getting tattoos, lifting weights, going to rehab, flirting with everyone.


“Blowjob on a British guy?” Griffin asked with some concern. “You're a braver bitch than I. No offense,” Griffin said turning to Zach. “I have a foreskin phobia.”

“Zach's Jewish,” Nora said.

Griffin nodded his approval. “Mazel tov.”



Hero? #4

Kingsley Edge (not his real last name)

Occupation: Clubowner and King of New York’s Underground BDSM Scene

Hobbies: Seducing women, seducing men, being French and attractive, shopping 


“Miss me?” Nora asked.

“I miss you. My bank account misses you.”

“Your bank account is bigger than the G.D.P. of Luxembourg, King.”

“Oui, Maîtresse.” He took a bigger swig of his drink. “But Luxembourg is such a small kingdom.”


Hero #5


Occupation: You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Hobbies: Playing piano and mindfucking anyone who tries to get in-between him and Nora


“You know her that well, do you?” Søren asked, turning to face him full on. “Before tonight she scared you, didn’t she? Her fearlessness, her brazenness, I’m sure it’s terrifying at first. Foreign to those who lead the proverbial life of quiet desperation as I imagine you do. She scared you with the sheer force of her life and being. But now you look around and think her courage is merely a byproduct of her damage. You imagine I abused her, changed her. And you would save her, as Wesley imagines he can? You would be her knight in shining armor? Yes, before you feared her and now you pity her. I assure you, Zachary, you were right the first time.”


 Tiffany Reisz lives in Lexington, Kentucky with her boyfriend (a reformed book reviewer) and two cats (one good, one evil). She graduated with a B.A. in English from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky and is making both her parents and her professors proud by writing BDSM erotica under her real name. She has five piercings, one tattoo, and has been arrested twice. 

When not under arrest, Tiffany enjoys Latin Dance, Latin Men, and Latin Verbs. She dropped out of a conservative southern seminary in order to pursue her dream of becoming a smut peddler. Johnny Depp’s aunt was her fourth grade teacher. Her first full-length novel THE SIREN was inspired by a desire to tie up actor Jason Isaacs (on paper). She hopes someday life will imitate art (in bed). 

If she couldn’t write, she would die.

Thanks, Tiffany! Whew, alright, so which hero are you going for? I have a bit of a thing for Wesley, but Tiffany makes all her heroes interestiing so it's definitely a hard choice. :)

Rough Sex. No, The OTHER Rough Sex by Author Tiffany Reisz

Today I have a treat for you. The lovely and talented Tiffany Reisz has offered to give us the low down on writing rough sex...well not like you're thinking, but...oh, you'll see.  

Hi Readers!

Thank you, Hot Roni, for letting me infiltrate your shiny new blog to talk about a favorite topic of mine—ROUGH SEX.

No, not that kind of rough sex. There are two kinds of rough sex in the erotica world.

Type #1 is sex that’s rough to have—passionate, straining, intense, powerful…teeth digging into shoulders and thighs, fingers leaving bruises, thrusts that feel they’ll kill you and save you at the same time.

Type #2 is sex that’s rough to write. And that is today’s topic.

In erotica and erotica romance, explicit and frequent sex scenes are a must. And the everyday heterosexual vanilla missionary position stuff just won’t cut it with hardcore readers who want to be shocked, awed, and deliciously violated by your writing. Common types of sex scenes in erotica include Same Sex Scenes, Ménage Scenes, and BDSM Scenes. Unfortunately, these sexy as hell scenes to read are an unholy bitch to write.

Sex scenes are the “action” scenes in erotica and erotic romance. These are our version of car chases. They get the reader’s blood pumping, the heart racing, the juices flowing. But think about what a film director has to do to set up a car chase—block off streets, find stunt drivers, storyboard every shot, and set up cameras to catch all the angles…Sex scenes can be nearly as stressful. A writer stresses over every single moment of the scene, playing Twister with her characters, contorting them into the right position as she attempts to take a beautiful, intense erotic visual image and express it in words alone.

But same sex, ménage, and BDSM scenes pose unique challenges beyond even those of regular sex scenes.

In same sex and ménage scenes, pronouns become a nightmare. For example…

He touched his cock.

Okay, who touched whose cock? Did Steve touch Steve’s cock? Or did Steve touch Adam’s cock?

In a threesome scene writers run into the same problem.

She kissed his lips and moaned while he caressed her breasts.

Did Jane kiss Steve’s lips and moan while Steve caressed her breasts? Or was Jane kissing Steve while Adam caressed her breasts? I’m not sure but I’m a little envious of Jane.

Of course, using names instead of pronouns helps matters. But after a few sentences of Adam rubbed Steve’s cock while Steve panted in Adam’s ear. Adam felt Adam’s heart beating hard against Steve’s chest…you sort of want to kill yourself.

BDSM scenes can be just as tricky to write. Go to and browse for a few minutes. Imagine trying to explain to non-kinky readers what each of those toys are for, how they work, how they’re used, how they feel when used, and all without slowing the story or killing the momentum. Some writers aim for hyper-realism and go into great detail about each toy and how it’s used. Other writers keep it vague and let the reader do the work. Want to use a Wartenberg Wheel in a scene? Do you take four sentences to describe it for readers who have never heard of it? Or do you just assume they either know what it is or are smart enough to Google it and find out? The game of mental Twister writers play with characters gets a lot more complicated when you throw ropes, chains, and spreader bars into the mix. Plus us kinksters who have done it know how erotic and exhilarating a beating can be, but readers who have never experienced the pleasures of pain will likely be put off if the writer dwells too much on the S&M in a BDSM scene.

So what’s a writer of rough sex to do?

I don’t have all the answers. But here are a few tips gleaned from writing a shit-ton of sex scenes of nearly every conceivable variety.

  • Although it goes against this third person only writer’s grain to even utter these words, consider writing your same sex story in 1st person. Then instead of dealing with he/he you have he/me/I. (Employ 1st person with caution. Erotica in 1st person often reads like a Penthouse Letter. For a fantastic example of 1st person same-sex erotic romance, read BY THE BOOK by Scarlett Parrish.)
  • Stay vague. Seriously, a long drawn out eight-page sex scene can be more exhausting than enjoyable to read. A good sex scene is like a vagina—it’s at its best when hot and tight. Don’t stress over every single hand placement, every single kiss or touch. When you remember the great sex you had last week or last month or twenty years ago, most likely you are remembering the emotions it stirred in you. Focus more on the feelings of the characters and a little less on the *coughs* blow-by-blow. Even if the act you’re writing isn’t something the reader fantasizes about (getting flogged, for example), it can still move the reader if you focus on how much the character enjoys it.
  • In a ménage scene, stay entirely in the head of the character doing the least stuff. Let that character be an observer detailing for the reader what’s going on. I’ve only had one threesome and during it I did much more watching than participating, as I was the newbie with an established couple. Use that sort of dynamic to create an in for your reader.
  • Also in ménage scenes, don’t make everything happen all at once. Let Jane take turns with Adam and Steve, having sex with them one at a time during the more detailed part of the scene. When all three of them are in it together, let the edges of the scenes go a little fuzzy, focus on what she’s feeling more than what’s actually happening.
  • In BDSM, avoid the temptation to clutter your scene with every toy and pain implement in existence. Pick one or two and focus on those.
  • Also in BDSM, choose your toys wisely. Don’t just pick a flogger because that’s what you like personally. Think about what’s going on with the characters, where they are in their relationship. For a kink beginner, handcuffs or a blindfold might be as intense as he or she can realistically handle. For kink veterans, show them casually engaging in intense BDSM as well-trained Dominants and submissives would. In THE SIREN, when my female main character Nora (a Dominatrix and an erotica writer) is with a trained submissive, she employs a great deal of pain and dominance. With her mostly vanilla editor she’s attempting to seduce, she holds back and slowly woos him into her world a little at a time.
  • In all three types of scenes, let your characters do some of the play-by-play. Dominants I’ve played with often talked to me throughout the scene and explained what they were going to do to me. Don’t feel like your entire sex scene has to be narration. Instead of having Steve think about touching Adam’s cock, let him say, “I love feeling your cock in my hands.” A little dialogue goes a long way when writing a rough sex scene.

If you want to see some of my tricks of the trade in action, click HERE for excerpts from my own rough sex writing.

Thanks, Roni! Thanks, Readers!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m meeting Adam, Steve, and Jane for lunch. Yeah…um, lunch.


TiffTiffany Reisz lives in Lexington, Kentucky with two roommates, two cats, one dog, and one ex-boyfriend. She graduated with a B.A. in English from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky and is making both her parents and her professors proud by writing erotica under her real name. She has five piercings, one tattoo, and has been arrested twice.

When not under arrest, Tiffany enjoys Latin Dance, Latin Men, and Latin Verbs. She dropped out of a conservative southern seminary in order to pursue her dream of becoming a smut peddler. Johnny Depp’s aunt was her fourth grade teacher.

Her Spice Brief novella SEVEN DAY LOAN was given five fingers out of five by Romantic Times book reviewer Andrew Shaffer, ie Evil Wylie. Her debut full-length novel THE SIREN was released by Harlequin Spice in September 2011. The sequel THE ANGEL comes out in 2012. She has two Spice Briefs, The NEW YORK MERMAID and THE DRAGON, out in 2012 as well.

If she couldn’t write, she would die.



Thanks, Tiffany! And y'all feel free to ask any questions, I have a feeling Tiffany won't be afraid to answer much of anything. :) And if hearing Tiffany talk about all these things has you wanting to read more, you can buy her Harlequin Spice novella SEVEN DAY LOAN. It's less than three bucks people and it's fabulous. Go treat yourself. :)


Have you ever struggled writing a love scene? What do you find most challenging?

Do You Assume Writers Write What They Know?


Photo by Mikamatto (click pic for link)

Most of the time I bet the answer to the question is "no." No one assumes that writers who write about serial killers have gone and killed people for research or that fantasy writers actually believe in elves. But for some reason when it comes to romance, in particular, erotic romance, people start making all kinds of assumptions.


Perhaps because sometimes those assumptions are true. But many times they're not.

And unfounded assumptions can be dangerous (as is the case is yesterday's debacle with the news station "outing" teacher/writer Judy Mays and painting her as some sort of demented pervert because she writes erotic romance in her off time. And for the record, I wouldn't care if she was swinging from the chandeliers in her off time. It's her off time and it's her right. But don't get me started.)

But here's my question for you guys--what do you assume about a romance writer when you're reading the book? If they write kinky stuff or BDSM, do you think they're in that lifestyle? Do you assume they are writing love scenes that they've experienced in real life? Or do you believe it's a just healthy imagination? 

And does it matter to you? For instance, do you prefer someone to be writing from a credible standpoint (like Kink Cred as writer Tiffany Reisz talks about in her post today at Dirty Birdies)?

I personally don't care if someone has the cred or not as long as the story is well written and the author has done their research (whether it be vicariously or hands on.) You don't have to have a menage with two hot men to be able to write a threesome scene (unfortunately). And obviously, the majority of the authors writing m/m romance are women so they definitely have never been a gay man. But I will get pulled out of a story, for instance, if characters do something that I know isn't possible or would cause injury in real life or whatever. So if you're going to write it, do your homework.

Though I will say, even in the best written stuff, I can still kind of tell the difference between the writers who are writing it solely from imagination and the ones who've tried a few things out themselves. Doesn't make one story better than the other, it's more just a *feel*. There's an extra edge, a grittiness, when someone is writing from an experienced perspective. Those are the books that when I finish I think--yep, I believe her. (Tiffany Reisz and Joey W. Hill come to mind.)

So what are your answers to my questions above? What do you assume about authors? Do you think you can tell when someone is writing from fantasy vs. experience? Does it matter to you? What has pulled you out of a story?