Stranded in Time

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A disgruntled heiress and a sexy Scottish laird are drawn together by a determined ghost whose love—and magic—reach beyond the grave.

Siobhan Macquire looked for the right man all her life—someone who’d love her, not her money. Heiress to a whiskey fortune, she attracted a string of men out to drain her for everything they could get. Her last boyfriend was no exception. Despondent about being used—again—she goes for a walk in the Highlands to think things through, determined to alter her pick-a-loser pattern.
She wanders alone for hours with the weather steadily growing worse—except there don’t seem to be any nearby villages anymore. Soaking wet and scared, she’s relieved when someone calls out to her, and a stunning man emerges from the mist. Except when she looks closer, there’s a whole lot wrong. His kilt is way too long, and he talks with an archaic accent.
Is it possible she’s not only lost in the countryside, but also in time?
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This will be my last regular post on Love, Lust, and Laptops. I’ve made a full commitment to being an Indie author, which means I’m getting 18 books back from publishers between now and 12/31. While I’m thrilled to bits at becoming mistress of my own ship. deciding how to re-release them in a way that makes sense has taken me some time because I’m still writing new material too. All of the books I’m getting back require significant re-writing and re-editing. Obviously, they all need new cover art, so I’ll be keeping my artist very busy. Some of the series books need a last book to close out that particular world.  In any event, I have a production schedule laid out that will run me well into 2017.

The group of authors at this blog are an amazing bunch of women. Stellar authors one and all. I’m honored to have been a part of this group even for a little while.

What’s the Line Between Erotic Romance and Erotica?

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I suppose every writer has a slightly different definition, but for me one of the differences has to do with the presence (or absence) or a strong, believable plot. I see erotica as a series of sex scenes with either no plot, or a very thin one sort of tossed into the mix as an afterthought. Applying this definition, a book can have some amazingly smutty sex scenes, but still not be erotica if there’s a compelling plot that pulls the reader along. You know, something more than curiosity about what the next sex scene will look like.
I probably shouldn’t admit this, but books without plots aren’t very interesting to me. Yeah, it makes me look pretty dated, huh? Crabby, old woman who insists on books that actually have a storyline. I’ll write steamy, descriptive sex, but it has to be a normal progression of my story, not just a sex scene because we went a few hundred words without one.
Another big difference is erotica doesn’t require a HEA or HFN. All romance books do. It’s part of their timeless appeal. Digging a little deeper, for the romance genre, the romance is the story. I’ve gotten a complaint or two for some of my books that, if you took the romance away, there would still be a story. I just hang my head, blush, and mutter, “Guilty as charged.” Virtually all my books feature subplots that support the romance, but could easily exist on their own. I’m fascinated by complicated plots, different worlds, different timeframes, and mingling them into believable wholes with hot alpha men and strong, confident women.
I have several urban fantasy romance and science fiction romance series, plus a bunch of standalone novellas/novels. While I enjoy series work, romance series require a new romance for each one. Hence, a new H/h combo. Sometimes, I prefer to write a two or three part series with the same protags. It’s actually not uncommon in urban fantasy, which is mostly what I write (with a smattering of historical tossed in).
The Dragon Lore Series includes an ancient, time-traveling dragon shifter who’s been asleep for three hundred years. It’s urban fantasy, but with strong romantic elements. To Love a Highland Dragon, has an HEA. The first book in that series, Highland Secrets, has a HFN. In book three, Dragon Maid, there’s yet another dragon shifter couple with an HEA. The final book in that series, Dragon’s Dare, doesn’t introduce any new major characters, but the couple from the first book finally, finally claw their way to an HEA.
There’s a time and place for every story. Erotica has an appeal, but I think it’s different from erotic romance, or the other romance genres. What do you think? Do you have a preference when you’re hunting down something new to read?

What is it About Romance?

I have a brand new release coming on the 10th. Marked By Fortune is a dark, gritty coming of age story about a human mage raised by wizards–with a heaping side of heat and romance.

Go ahead. Tumble into a world where magic rules, and hope is hard to come by.

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“Red is the color of my true love’s hair.”
“I’ll never love blue eyes again.”
“Gonna wash that man right outa my hair.”
“Suzanne takes your hand and she leads you to the river…”

The list of “love” quotes is endless. Face it, as human beings we’re fascinated with love and sex. From an anthropological standpoint, that’s probably a good thing. It’s kept our race from dying out.

It’s only been in modern times that marrying for romantic love has become acceptable. As recently as a hundred years ago, virtually all marriages were arranged for any number of reasons from property transfers to a family needing to offload a daughter they couldn’t afford to support. At least in my imagination, many a family spat occurred around the supper table when Father told his offspring who and when they’d marry.

Yes, it was Father doing the telling. They definitely ruled the roost. The women’s rights movement is relatively recent. We didn’t get the vote in this country until 1920. Women in Liechtenstein (a principality next door to Switzerland) didn’t get the vote until sometime in the 1960s! And women in many third world countries where they can’t even go to school would kill for a say in their lives.

Whoops! Sorry about the digression. Except it really isn’t. I see a strong link between romance and women being independent. It’s empowering to know we can pick our own partner and that we can marry for love. If things go well in a relationship, that love blooms and matures and provides the very best human interaction imaginable. It’s not accidental that married people live longer. I think it’s because they feel loved and cared for and are able to love and nurture in return.

A popular subgenre in romance fiction is second time around romance. It works for the same reason people go to a high school reunion and take up with an old flame. The chemistry is still there. Of course the problems and issues are still there as well, but maturity gives us better coping mechanisms and more of an ability to empathize with our partner’s needs. Three of my novellas feature couples who found one another again. The flame truly does burn sweeter the second time around.

For those of you in relationships, what are the most important ingredients you sought in a mate? Why those attributes and not something else? Sometimes people are shy, so I’ll lead out. I wanted a man who was kind. He had to be a mountain climber so he’d be supportive of what’s been a lifelong addiction for me. He had to be honest and honorable—in other words, I needed to be able to trust him unequivocally. Lastly, he needed to want to be a daddy. Funny how those things work. Our kids grew up and now we have dogs. The same principles apply. Kids pretty much run your life!

I’d love to hear what you think. What did you want in a partner? Did it work out the way you hoped? Come on now, don’t be shy.

 

Tumble Into Myth, Magic, and Scottish Dragon Shifters

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Dragon’s Dare, last book in my Dragon Lore Series just went live Tuesday. Here’s the book description, and an excerpt!

Bloated on chaos, the Morrigan leaves the Scottish Highlands to gather power. A trip through Hell yields quite the assortment of allies tagging along behind her. Fell creatures straight out of myth and nightmare that haven’t darkened Earth’s boundaries for centuries heed her call.

Heartily sick of the Morrigan’s maneuvering, the dragons are close to shutting their world off from everywhere, Earth included. If they do, every dragon shifter bond will be broken. Horrified, Lachlan and Britta launch a desperate campaign to hang onto their dragons.

Magic may bite back, but if the dragons take their magic ball and go home, Earth will fade, along with all other worlds. That suits the Morrigan fine. War and anarchy are her favorite companions, and she collects misery like children gather beloved toys.

Arianrhod’s fellow Celts found out about her fall from grace and her half-Druid son, Jonathan. With nothing further to hide, she goes back in time hunting Angus, Jonathan’s father. Forty years apart was a steep price to pay. The world needs Angus’s magic. And Jonathan needs all the help he can get. Late to accept the power thrumming through him, he holds a key role in keeping the world from spinning off its axis. Reluctant at first, Jonathan finally gets it.

Absolute focus.

Absolute commitment.

Anything less and everyone he loves will pay an unthinkable price.

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And here’s an excerpt from Dragon’s Dare.

…Jonathan Shea cradled Britta in his arms. She was asleep, the rhythm and cadence of her breathing revealed her exhaustion. He still couldn’t believe he’d found a mate, and a woman linked to a dragon at that. Britta KilKerran was actually the Countess of Cumbria, or she had been a few hundred years back. He wasn’t certain such a title still existed.

It didn’t matter. He’d offer up his life to protect the woman slumbering against his chest. He loved her dragon too, but Tarika scarcely needed his protection. When he thought of the scarlet-scaled dragon, one of the First Born, the place on his neck where she’d marked him with a mating bite tingled. It was her contribution to his bond with Britta.

She stirred in his arms. He stroked strands of long, red-gold hair away from her face and spun a small spell to keep her asleep. They’d just come from a major battle to free Tarika and Kheladin, another dragon, from the Morrigan’s clutches. Both of them needed rest, but his heart and mind were too full to let go quite yet.

After years of never believing the rumor about his mother being a Celtic deity, he’d finally met her. He brought it on himself by calling for her when they desperately needed help, but he never believed she’d actually show up. Regardless, he couldn’t deny her existence anymore—no matter how much he might want to. Arianrhod had abandoned him when he was so young he had no memories of her, and when he cut to the bone of things, he resented the crap out of her neglect.

Jonathan shut his eyes for a moment and summoned an image of his father. Tall and rangy with shaggy, rich brown hair and amber eyes, Angus had been a dreamer. He did his best for Jonathan, but often as not, he’d been caught up in some trance state or another. Though Angus hadn’t said so, Jonathan understood his father was relieved when he grew old enough to be on his own. Once Jonathan left Ireland, Angus vanished. Their modest cabin near Inishowen remained, but Jonathan knew better than to waste time hunting for a man who didn’t wish to be found.

Had Arianrhod seen Angus all these years he’d been missing? Jonathan could ask her, but she might just stare him down with those inscrutable eyes—one gold, the other silver—and not bother to answer.

He tightened his hold on Britta, and she nestled closer. She was more comfortable about Arianrhod being his mother than he was, but then she was far more comfortable with magic in general. He blew out a breath, recognizing his life would never be the same.

Not that he wanted it to be, but he would’ve preferred finding the love of his life without having to deal with a long-lost parent. Particularly one who stirred up a welter of prickly feelings. Now if Angus were to show back up, it would be a different story…

Britta wriggled against him, and her golden eyes flickered open. She regarded him sleepily through thick red lashes. “Ye canna rest, my love?”

Jonathan shrugged and offered a sheepish smile. “Lots to think about.”

She cupped the side of his face in one hand. “Do ye wish to talk about anything?”

He shrugged again, feeling uncomfortable. What was there to say, really? He was a little old to be struggling with parent issues. Besides he’d long since come to terms with his father’s magic being too pervasive for him to spend much time around normal humans. Jonathan dealt with some level of that as well, but his job as a software engineer who designed games let him keep to himself.

Britta brushed her hand across his lips. “Whenever ye wish, I’ll be here. Tarika too. She’s verra old and much wiser than either of us. If ye canna get the information elsewhere, mayhap we can figure out what sort of hold the Celtic gods had on your da.”

“Thank you. I’ll keep it in mind.” Jonathan reached around her and snagged a bottle of Irish whiskey off the nightstand. “Would you like some? I can get us glasses.”

“Och, and I can drink from the bottle. No need to get fancy.”

She smiled, and it transformed her into something so striking he couldn’t look away. A high forehead gave way to sculpted cheekbones and a defined chin. One of his old T-shirts covered her from chest to knees, but the outline of her breasts was clearly visible through the well-aged beige fabric.

His cock stirred, and he rolled his eyes. “We made love twice after we got here. I don’t understand why I can’t get enough of you.”

“Are ye complaining?” She quirked an arched red brow.

He shook his head and drew both of them to a half sitting position against the carved oak headboard. He uncorked the bottle and handed it to her. She drank deep before handing it back.

Britta narrowed her eyes and watched him drink. “We’re far from home free,” she blurted without preamble.

“Which problem are you referring to?” He placed the bottle on a side table not bothering to cork it. He wasn’t done yet, and likely neither was Britta.

She moved away and sat cross-legged facing him, her lovely face creased with concern. “We may have permanently removed Connor and Rhukon and their dragons from the action, but there have to be other corrupt dragon shifters. We must seek them out and destroy them too.”

Jonathan shook his head. “It won’t matter unless we get to the heart of things.”

“Aye, ye’re correct. We must find a way to corral the Morrigan, or she’ll just entice more mages and dragons with promises of limitless power.” Britta caught her lower lip between her teeth. “Tarika plans to warn the dragons. She believes the dark mages want to drain their dragon bondmates’ power.”

Jonathan straightened and recaptured the whiskey bottle, taking another swallow. “I thought mages became dragon shifters because they loved dragons and wished to share their lives with them.”

“Aye and that would be true—for most of us. Power lures dark mages, though. Far more power than can be had through the normal dragon shifter bond.”

“How do you know?”

“I saw it in Connor and Rhukon’s minds afore we thrashed them.”

“You didn’t say anything.” He handed her the bottle. Maybe they should eat something, if they were going to drink much more.

“I would have. Eventually. Tarika and I needed to determine just what it meant. And if ’tis really true, or just conjecture on our part.”

He kissed her forehead before swinging his legs over the side of the bed. “I’m going to cut up a bit of cheese for us and get some crackers.” He pulled on a pair of black sweat pants, securing the waist string to keep them from falling down, and got to his feet.

“Excellent.” She grinned. “Plotting revenge is hungry business, but ye dinna have to cover that amazing cock.”

He bit back a laugh, enjoying the compliment, and made his way to the kitchen. His apartment was small enough to keep talking. “Did you discuss this with Lachlan?” he asked as he chopped cheese off a block and opened a box of biscuits.

“Nay, but Tarika and Kheladin figured out what was going on while they were held prisoner.”

Jonathan returned to the bedroom and plopped the snacks on the bed next to Britta. “How does this bondmate thing work? Would Lachlan be privy to the dark mage problem, if it’s in his dragon’s mind?”…

The wait is over!

Finally, I am organized enough to get all the bits and pieces together and let you know what’s what.

The LL&L family is so very happy to introduce you to five new members!

Please welcome (I feel like we need one of those long dramatic pauses here…)Annie Anthony, Sara Daniel, Ann Gimpel, Tami Lund, and Belinda McBride!

Annie Color Change Head Shot Annie Anthony writes lesbian fiction. Her erotic short, Blue Suede Boi, was a finalist for a Goldie in the erotica category. She lives in L.A. and loves to crochet and volunteer in the community.

Annie’s first post will be Tuesday, Oct. 20. Learn more about Annie here.

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Sara Daniel writes everything from sweet to erotic romance. She has a NASCAR hangup and a thing for squirrels (not that kind of thing, y’all!)

Sara’s first post will be Tuesday, Oct. 27. Visit Sara at her website .

Ann GimpleThe lovely Ann Gimpel is a bit of a vagabond. She loves traveling (hence all those trips to Antarctica!). Her books range from urban fantasy to paranormal romance. She’s published over 30 books to date with plenty more to come!

Ann’s first post will be Thursday, Oct. 22. Check out Ann’s site here.

Tami Lund Headshot 2014Tami Lund is multi-published, both self and with a few publishers. She writes contemporary and paranormal romance. She enjoys vacationing on the lake with her family during the scorching hot days of summer.

Tami’s first post date will be Wednesday, Oct. 28. Get to know her a bit better on her website!

belindaheadJan14Last, but only because of the damned alphabet, we have Ms. Belinda McBride. She is a speculative fiction, erotica,  and LGBTQ romance writer.  She considers getting through college without appearing in a “Girls Gone Wild” video as one of her greatest achievements. The rest of her think she missed a great career opportunity.

Belinda will start posting on Thursday, Oct. 29. Check out her site to learn more!

Please join me in welcoming these wonderful authors to our family. We’ve already been discussing what’s coming in 2016 and how we can better serve you (you can go there if you want, it’s okay).

We are so looking forward to bringing you fun, informative, goofy, and/or sexy posts. Posts about whatever crosses our insane little brains and sharing information about our new releases and upcoming events.

It’s going to be amazing, and we are all so happy you are here to take the journey with us!

Em