Saturday, May 29, 2010

For Classic Vampire Fans. . . .

Did you enjoy The Lost Boys, back when it came out in the '80s? Check out my blog at Paranormalists, and tell me what you think of the original movie and its sequels.

Sleep all day. Party all night. Never Grow old. Never die. . . .

Friday, May 28, 2010

Shaved Pussy . . . and Other Cliches

She was due, past due, really.
That cat was getting fuzzy beyond control.
She’s nicely trimmed now, a nice, short summer buzz.
And I’m still wincing at the vet bill.

Boy, is your mind in the gutter. Yeah, the shaved pussy is probably the most cliché of the double entendres, but it got you here. Since you’re here, you might as well see some before and after pics:

You might gasp in horror at the site of a shaved pussy, but as strange as it sounds, my kitty loves the cut. She hates being long-haired, she hates being brushed—and she struts around like a kitten whenever she gets the lion cut. Go figure.

Since you stopped by and you've been a good sport, I’m going to share with you my double-entendre confession: I like clichés. I am a vintage sci-fi/horror fan through and through, and I don’t think there’s one overdone concept out there that can’t still be reintroduced in an original and thoughtful way. They take everything that fans love about the space opera genre, but take it all in unexpected or previously unexplored directions. My husband lovingly calls them “fun with clichés.” Strangely, I think that explains my space operas well.

I like to play with words, though. I’m a big reader-response buff, and I will always, no matter what I write, be guilty of either some kind of reminiscent tribute or hiding multiple literary “Easter eggs” for a little more dimension and flavor. I love good literature, and I love just about all genres of sci-fi, but it’s the deep, speculative sci-fi that I enjoy the most—because reading a truly great speculative science fiction novel is a double entendre all its own. The story, or the straightforward and direct storyline, has depth, but the real fun is in reading the story between the lines, the “hidden” story. An author creates this alternate story through symbols, which can come through words with multiple meanings, items of interest, or tone, among numerous other platforms. Word structure, names used, and the tone of a theme can become clues in themselves, when piecing together the messages left by pulp fiction greats, their speculations on the evils of our world and the potential effects humanity has upon itself.

What do you think? What are some of your very favorite science fiction or horror novels? What makes them your favorite?

Friday, May 21, 2010

New Interview and Review

A fun and eclectic reader-reviewer site from New Zealand has begun to review The Darkness and the Night series.

You can read the review for book I, Blood and Coffee here. PaulaZone also posted a fun and thoughtful interview here.

Thanks, Paula!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Interview with Inara LaVey

I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to interview author Inara LaVey, author of the well-received novels Ripping the Bodice and Champagne. Click here to read the New Sensuality review for Ripping the Bodice. Welcome, Inara!

1. You have a very distinct and seasoned voice to your work. How long have you been writing?

Oh jeez, I've been writing since I was old enough to string one syllable words together. I wrote my first epic, The End of the Sun, when I was five. Ahem. (clears throat). "One day the sun came out. The next day the sun did not come out. It was the end of the sun. " Hemingway should be so succinct.

2. I love it! I remember in your interview on Phoebe Jordan’s author guest show, Talk About My Favorite Authors, that you, like charming lead character, Cassandra, in Ripping the Bodice, grew up reading your mother’s vintage bodice rippers. After reading the novel, I couldn’t help but wonder if what other similarities there might be between you and Cassandra. Any you might be willing to share?

Well, first of all my mom would not forgive me if I didn't rectify the misconception that the bodice rippers were hers. They were all mine. I'd leave them in the bathroom (I come from a LONG line of bathroom readers) where she or my sister would pick them up and read 'em. I'd hear lots of giggling and "how the hell do bosoms actually heave?" As far as other similarities between me and Cassandra ... I like chocolate and wine a lot! I used to be a lot more attracted to dramatic qualities in a guy than things like common sense, which is sort of Cassandra-esque. But honestly, she is pretty much a figment of my own active imagination. Okay, I DO like to daydream a lot... but OTHER than that. :)

3. You have an amazing sense of humor in both your dialogue and your prose. I’ve also noticed that you write a variety of genres. Do you apply a similar sense of humor to all of your genres, or are some of your works more playful than others?

I suspect I’m genetically incapable of writing without humor. When I was younger (I’m not saying how much younger) I’d try and write these romantic vignettes, all serious and angsty, not a spec of humor. No fun and none of the vignettes ever made it past a few pages. Okay, my one attempt at Y/A (written when I was a Y/A myself) was fairly lacking in humor, but I was a teenager and took things very seriously. I do think some works are a bit more playful than others since some genres lend themselves to humor more readily, but even my horror tends to fall into the black humor category.

4. What genres do you most enjoy reading these days? What makes a particular work stand out for you?

I am an equal opportunity genre type of gal. I love mysteries, horror, urban fantasy, paranormal, historicals, romances, action/adventure, chicklit (waiting for someone to bitchslap me for using that term), literary fiction (as long as it doesn’t break the basic rules of English and grammar in an attempt to be hip), Y/A…

What makes a book or story stand out for me are several things: humor (not necessary, but it does immediately draw me in and keep me even if other things about the work might be a little weak); believable, sympathetic characters (nothing turns me off more quickly in either a book or movie than having no one to root for); and internal consistency within the story, especially if there are any fantasy or sci-fi elements involved. You can make me believe just about everything if you stay true to the internal logic and rules you’ve established.

5. Who do you consider to be your most notable writing influences?

For mysteries and romantic suspense, definitely Elizabeth Peters. For general ‘oh, how I wish I could write like this’ authors I currently have ‘crushes’ on: Jim Butcher, Barbara Hambly, Charles de Lint, Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris, Tanya Huff… there are more, but my brain always fails me when asked questions like this!

6. If your writing were to take off, you were the next longstanding bestseller, and overnight you found yourself filthy rich, what charity would you consider most befitting of your donations, and why? Exotic Feline Breeding Facility/ Feline Conservation Center for one. Preservation and continuation of endangered species is a huge one for me. Also I’d love to donate to existing animal rescue organizations, as well as start a rescue center of my own.

7. I love the idea of opening a rescue center. I one thing you and I share is a passion for animals (with a massive soft spot for cats). I’m guessing another is reading and writing erotic romance, which might be considered guilty pleasures by some. Would you say you have any other guilty pleasure?

I’d say watching really bad movies with friends whilst drinking lots of good wine … except I actually feel no guilt about it at all.

8. A guilt-free guilty pleasure; I like it. How about a harder question: What is your all-time favorite book?

Aieee! I hate this question ‘cause I can never think of one book that stands out above all the rest. There are so many wonderful books that I’ve read and loved over the years for various reasons, I don’t think I can pick just one. It’s like asking me to pick my favorite cat.

9. I can never give a straight answer to that question, either. There are far too many talented writers out there, and choosing a favorite work out of all of them is a difficult one. How about a slightly easier question, then: Every other week, you host a “Ravenous Romancers” chat through UK review site, Un:Bound. For those who might not know about Un:Bound and its Ravenous Romancers, do you want to share a little about it?

Un:Bound is a VERY cool UK review site run by my friend Adele (otherwise known as Hagelrat) and her team of crack website techs and reviewers. She reviewed my murder mystery MURDER FOR HIRE: The Peruvian Pigeon, and we hit it off right away. When my erotic romance RIPPING THE BODICE came out, she decided to give it a go even though she was not into romances at all because she liked my writing. Once I’d paved the way with RtB, she was ripe for romance novel invasion! Bwahahahah!!!!

Ahem. Anyway, she reviewed C. Margery Kempe’s book CHASTITY FLAME (another Ravenous Romance release) and loved it. Then she came up with idea of having a Ravenous Romance day twice a month on Un:Bound and asked me to host it. So I became part of the Un:Bound team, along with some of our more brilliant and personable RR authors, yourself included.  I love my RR gang... The quality and variety of posts have been excellent and the comment threads quite lively. It’s a lot of fun and I hope to get more RR authors to write posts for Ravenous Wednesday!

10. That’s one thing I have enjoyed about the Ravenous Romance group over at Un:Bound. There are a lot of really talented contributors, and we all seem to have similar thoughts on literary style and “prose art.” Those values are so important to me that the motto here at The New Sensuality is “Erotica for the discerning reader.” What, in your opinion as both a reader and a writer of erotic fiction, makes a work not only good, but great? What turns you off?

In order for erotic fiction to work for me, there has to be a believable build of tension between the two main characters. The buildup is often more erotic and more of a turn-on to me than the actual sex scenes (although I have read some smoking hot sex scenes!); the character interaction more interesting than who’s putting what where, and how hard, and how many times. Give me that sexual tension along with sensuality in the foreplay and sex scenes themselves and you’ve got what I consider a great erotic work.

What turns me off is when the sex comes across like a medical exam sans speculum, when too many bodily fluids are shooting, spraying and trickling hither and yon, and when words like ‘cream’ are used to describe female arousal. Like, aren’t there medications for that? Also, if the characters are wooden and I don’t believe the relationship between them, I’m not gonna get turned on by them having sex.

11. Great answer! Now for the bonus question: Why is a raven like a writing desk?

If Lewis Carroll didn’t have an answer for it, neither do I. :)

New Sensuality Review: RIPPING THE BODICE, by Inara LaVey

After dumping her mediocre boyfriend, avid romance reader Cassandra Devon goes on a week-long vacation with her best friend from college, Val. The story moves between Cassandra’s real-life antics and the daydreamed life of her “alter ego,” Cassandra Devereux (the story changing depending upon the book she happens to be reading at the time, and/or the situation at hand), as Cassandra fantasizes about finding her real-life tall, dark, and handsome.

Val introduces Cassandra to her friend, Connor, her cousin, Raphael, “the incarnation of all female fantasies,” and a few of their friends. Cassandra immediately begins to incorporate both men into her romance fantasies as the two take turns vying for her attention. Her preoccupation with romance novels almost costs her at chance at snagging Mr. Right, and when reality hits, Cassandra finally realizes that reality is much more intense, much more effort, and much more rewarding than fantasy.

Ripping the Bodice is a perfect mesh of fun, stimulating, smart, and provocative, paying playful homage to the classic “bodice ripper” romance with an effective and enjoyable approach. Inara LaVey’s writing style is polished and her voice is well defined and consistent. The sense of humor she portrays through her characters is delightful, making Ripping the Bodice a true page-turner. I recommend this book to fans of classic and contemporary romance alike, and I will definitely seek out more of Ms. LaVey’s work.

Ripping the Bodice is available through Ravenous Romance and HSN.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Please Welcome Guest Author Ryan Field!

Today, M/M erotic romance author Ryan Field joins us to discuss his novel, American Star,and the issues that can arise when one veers from highly romantic to highly erotic and from serious to campy. When an author decides to take chances with his or her work, such as Ryan Field did with this one, the author also takes chances with reader reception. I'm a big advocate for taking chances, and I admire Ryan Field for those he took when writing American Star.

Mr. Field has worked in publishing for over fifteen years. He has worked as an assistant editor and editor for magazines and non-fiction publishers. Aside from his novels, his short stories have been published in anthologies and collections by Alyson Books, Cleis Press and Starbooks Press. His short story, "Down the Basement," is part of a collection of short stories in the Lambda Award winning book, BEST GAY EROTICA 2009.

Without further adieu, I present to you Mr. Ryan Field.

When readers go to the web site to look for books, they will see an author's note for one of my books, AMERICAN STAR. Due to the fact that I truly believe it's important for readers to know what they are buying (for me, it's all about the reader), I wanted to make it clear, in this author's note, that AMERICAN STAR is slightly different from my other romances on And the publisher, Holly Schmidt, was nice enough to let me do it. There was also a slight technical glitch with AMERICAN STAR that sometimes happens when formatting digital books, which I'll explain below.

This book, so there is no confusion, is not a warm, tender romance like most of my other books. I just didn't think the plot warranted being a warm, typical romance. AMERICAN STAR is, and was always supposed to be, an adult, satirical look at what might go on behind the scenes of a TV reality show like American Idol. It's very erotic, in the true sense of gay erotic fiction, and there is romance. But not the kind of romance that will leave you with wet eyes. This is more of a modern romance, between very strong men, who do not apologize for their needs and the way they live their lives. And I drew from many of my own personal experiences as a gay man to create these characters, both emotionally and sexually.

If anything, I hope AMERICAN STAR leaves readers laughing, the same way I laughed while I wrote the book. Even the sexy scenes are satirical, campy and totally unreal compared to other books I've written, like TAKE ME ALWAYS and THE GHOST AND MR. MOORE.

And, I'd also like to explain, that while formatting this book as an e-book, there was a problem with the main character's name. This happens all the time in e-publishing (so they tell me), and from what I hear it has something to do with the process of going from Word to digital format. It wasn't a problem with editing. The book was edited very carefully, just like all my other novels and stand alones, by me and two other good, experienced editors at It's the first time this happened to me, and so far, it's been the last. As digital books grow in numbers all over, these little problems seem to be disappearing.

Ryan Field