July 31, 2014

A Thursday Taste: "Joy to My World", a Christmas Story about Demons

It's time for a taste of Thursday, dahlings!


Watch out every Thursday for a wonderful treat. Here you will find links to a taster of some awesome writers' work. Please support and encourage them


And now, here's this Thursday's Taste of a Foreplay and Fangs work in progress:

"Joy to my World", a Christmas story

about fallen angels. 



The waitress ditched her tray of drinks and took Rasche by the hand, leading her into one of the back rooms. The Christmas theme survived even in the private show quarters, though with a more generous degree of triple-X action. The small space Raschael's escort chose had been decorated with garlands and wreaths, and a stocking hung by the door, but on top of the holiday trimmings there were also striking boudoir pictures. They all contained the same sweet, golden angel, but in much less "angelic" form.

July 30, 2014

Wednesday Writing Challenge: July 30th

Welcome to the Wednesday Writing Challenge!

Every Wednesday, I pose a new writing challenge here on the blog. These challenges come from books on writing, classes I've taken on creative writing, or sometimes just from my own imagination. If you're an author, hopefully they will help you get your writing juices flowing and help you improve your craft.


Some of these challenges may be very good ones or may include an element I consider highly important for writers to learn...so occasionally I may cycle through some of my favorites more than once. 


??  Want to Participate  ??

The Wednesday Challenges are open to all readers. In order to participate, simply comment on the challenge post with your response to the exercise. Not only is it good practice, but you could win something nifty and fun!


August Prize: A Lotus Petals journal

Including a personalized message from Brantwijn Serrah


Win Prizes with the Wednesday Writing Challenge!

Welcome to the Wednesday Writing Challenge!


Every Wednesday, I pose a new writing challenge here on the blog. These challenges come from books on writing, classes I've taken on creative writing, or sometimes just from my own imagination. If you're an author, hopefully they will help you get your writing juices flowing and help you improve your craft.


July 28, 2014

Talking Shop: What is Conflict?

(This post originally appeared as a guest post at Literary Lagniappe.)

A story is nothing without conflict. There must be a some form of obstacle to overcome, big or small...there must be stakes, something for your reader to invest in. Without a conflict, complications, and resolution, a story can really fall flat.

How does your writing measure up? Are you giving your characters the dynamic plot and conflict they deserve? Or are you pulling your punches just when it counts the most?

July 12, 2014

New Release from K.E. Shade: An Outlaw in Her Bed

If there's one thing I love, lovelies, it's a sexy western. Today I'm welcoming fellow Breathless Press author K.E. Shade, and her new release, An Outlaw in Her Bed.

An Outlaw in Her Bed
Published: July 11, 2014
Breathless Press
western romance

When Ella realizes that her mysterious guest, Travis, has a deadly past, she has to come to terms that it may just be the cause of her husband's untimely death.

Ella Gilby lost her husband to the perils of living in the wilderness of the new frontier. When her son finds a wounded man in the barn, she does what any Christian woman would do for a needy soul. She takes him in until he's able to move on, but never expects the attraction to blossom between them.

Brantwijn's Burning Question: What drew you to the Western Genre for this story?

I don't know why I decided to write a western. One thing's for sure, I love watching them. From the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns to my ultimate favorite Tombstone (I'm your Huckleberry), I love the mystique of that whole time period in history. Though I have to laugh when the saloon scene comes along and someone gets tossed out the window. The likelihood of a glass window in the west was slim to none. Transporting glass was next near impossible. Still, it makes for a good effect even if it's not historically accurate.

Since I've written using many settings between fantasy and historical and everything in between, the idea for An Outlaw in Her Bed just sprang up. The best thing was I got to do my favorite about writing—research! From western slang to what kind of gun existed in the time period, all the details were important for me. Hollywood can get away with inconsistences, writers should strive for something better. I plan on writing more just because there's nothing sexier than a man tipping his hat while he utters "ma'am" with a twinkle in his eye. Rawr.

A Foreplay and Fangs Review

I had the privilege to read an advance copy of An Outlaw in Her Bed, in response for an honest review. I have a special place in my heart for Westerns: I adore them. So when K.E. Shade announced her upcoming release, I jumped at the chance to read it!

I'll be introducing a new system of reviews for new releases. I'll be rating the book in three parts: Storytelling, Technical, and Passion. The Storytelling aspect of any book pertains to how much the story appealed to me, including the setting, the characters, and plot. The Technical aspect pertains to literary analysis; for those of you who don't know, I spent 4 years learning to appreciate and analyze literature and writing techniques, including classical, contemporary, poetry and argumentative. It's impossible for me to read a book without considering its effectiveness in from a technical standpoint. Passion is probably self-explanatory: how did the tale measure up with heat, eroticism, and romance?

Storytelling: 5 Enthusiastic Cries of Joy
The story is the strongest part of An Outlaw in Her Bed. From the first chapter, that special flavor of a Western Romance immersed me. There was definitely thought and research put into this story, as well as a degree of interest on the part of the author which clearly shows. This is a good thing: when the author is genuinely interested in the subject he or she is writing about, it draws the reader in, as the author shares this interest with enthusiasm. This book did something very special: it took me back to a moment in time full of romance and comfort. As I read, I couldn't help but feel as I do, snuggled on the couch, watching a classic western with my husband. That's exactly the sort of feeling a romance book should inspire. So I give the book my highest recommendation, for story.

Technical: 3 Flirty Little Winks
I find that many romance novellas are lacking effective technical structure. An Outlaw in Her Bed held up well in terms of syntactical and literary structure. K.E. Shade produced an excellent, natural flow in terms of language, which is essential to telling a story (if it doesn't "sound" natural, it doesn't read natural). The one place where I thought it fell short was the pacing. This is a flaw I find in many short romances. Perhaps romance writers are seduced by the suitability of the genre to novella-length stories, however, quite often I find authors skipping over areas that really call for more time and focus. In the case of Outlaw, I feel a few details were cramped into the story which could have been ultimately removed, or given more focus. One of the bigger sins of the romance genre as a whole is the dismissal of time passing with phrases such as 'several weeks passed' or 'some months later'. Things happen in that time, and in many cases, in romance, that is the time when the little details begin to build into the bigger love story. A side effect of this is that authors are then pressured to build up a lot of motivation in a little time. Outlaw does, unfortunately, suffer a bit from this. The characters are driven together much more quickly than feels natural, and in doing that the author pressured herself to use what I think of as 'excuses': phrases like, "it surprised her to feel so strongly about him so quickly' or 'How could he be this drawn to a woman he'd just met' (Please note these are not direct quotes, only generic examples).

While this rushed sense did disappoint me, I never felt 'kicked out' by it. I feel the story suffered a bit from missing details that could have fleshed out the characters much more, as they deserved to be (terrific characters, by the way, loved every one of them). Ultimately, the book still held up. I give the technical aspect an average score.

Passion: 4 Delighted Moans of Pleasure
 Outlaw took a more "true-romance" style approach to the love scenes: softer language, tender images, and emotive response over physical. For a western, I feel it fit perfectly. It wasn't a roaring erotic read, but given the style of the book I feel anything more risque would have been awkward and drawn away from the romance (which is, in this book, the leading plot). I would have given Outlaw a full five out of five, but I feel the love scenes could have taken it just a step further, to be truly immersive for me as a romance reader. By this I don't mean 'raunchier', but given more time to build up, and afterwards, to wind down. Besides that minor point, though, the romance was sweet, fitting and genuine. One of the most important aspects of romance.

Final Score:
A Well-Satisfied 4 out of 5!
I recommend this book for fans of tender romance and good, strong genre fiction.

With a gasp of breath, Travis bolted upright in the bed. Sweat drenched his body. The pitcher Austin had fetched sat on the table beside the bed, beads of moisture running down the side. He'd fallen asleep and remembered...what? Travis groaned and grabbed up his tin cup. Tremors rippled through his fingers. He cursed.
Then, on a whisper of the wind, her heavenly visage blossomed in his head. The shaking subsided and he filled the cup. His thirst took over. Before long, the pitcher was empty yet the heat still burned within. To make matters worse, his bladder had reached its capacity.
Soft moonlight filtered through the wavy glass windows as he made his way through the living area and into the kitchen. His footsteps were light. No telling if the others had turned in for the night. The door creaked, and he stepped out into the chilly night air. His urgency hit him full force. Mindful of the dark, Travis headed toward the back of the house for privacy. Each bush along the barn called to him, but the very first one got the honors. Relief spread through him as he did his business. He jerked at the sound of a coyote in the distance. They were close, but nothing to worry about with him heading back inside.
As he rounded the house, something caught his attention along a small picket fence. He hurried along, the mournful howl of the coyotes ever closer.
"What in..." Lying next to a mound of dirt was Ella sound asleep. Travis scooped her up. She was surprisingly light. The moonlight framed her face. So peaceful like an angel. He took her inside. The scent of her hair tickled his nostrils. A faint smell of wood fire from cooking and the fine sandy earth from the grave lingered. She was heaven and hell all wrapped into one.
He took her into the bedroom and onto the bed. At the doorway, he hesitated. Her legs were all askew. The boots she wore had mud caked on them. He sighed and went back to her side. No sense leaving her with more cleaning in the morning. One by one the boots came off. Not content with leaving her in a dress worse for wear, he searched around her bedroom for her night attire. It hung off the side of a beautiful screen. He tossed it to the bed and lifted Ella to a sitting position.
"Ma'am? Sorry, Ella?" He brushed away the few strands of hair from her face. "I don't think you want to sleep in your dress." Her head rolled to the side. Again her intoxicating scent hit him full force. His breeches tightened, and a lump formed in his throat. Closing his eyes, he fumbled with the clasps and buttons on the back of her dress.
"Lord, forgive me," he whispered. "Wake up and save me from doing this." Ella did not respond. Continuing his dubious task, he shimmied her arms out. She fell from his arms back onto the bed. Bared in front of him were her unblemished breasts. Unable to contain his growing erection, heat burned in his veins and fueled its ascension. Yet he never looked away, much to his embarrassment. Ella was a fine sight to behold. Though she wore her tan lines well, the pale flesh she kept hidden from the world enticed him to touch, nip, and taste. He reached over for her nightgown, and guided her head through. His elbow grazed her nipple. A slight moan whistled through his lips. What wicked thoughts brewed in his head? He worked quickly to slide her arms through the sleeves. The rest of the dress crumpled to the floor.
Tucked under her blankets, she posed no threat to his aching trousers. At the doorway, he stared at her sleeping peacefully. Slumber would elude him this night. Her flesh would torment his dreams if he dared lie down. He'd form a plan to keep his distance from her so that his want to touch her soft skin would not boil over to unwanted advances. The woman had lost her husband and didn't need some stranger pawing at her.
Back in his room, Travis propped himself up against the wall trying to conjure up the image he had when he'd fallen asleep previously. Time ticked by, and the pink glow of a new day stretched into his room. Only one thing slid across the recesses of his mind: Ella half undressed resting peacefully on her bed.
"I am surely bound for hell." He jumped off the bed and headed outside. Perhaps dunking his head in the trough would clear his unclean thoughts away.

Purchase Links:

K.E. is offering a very special giveaway. She's offering up a $10 Breathless Press gift certificate, an ecopy of An Outlaw in Her Bed, and a handcrafted frame complete with a signed cover art. Just click below to enter. Make sure you follow the instructions!