Friday, May 30, 2014

Shira Anthony is here talking about her mermen

I was tooling around on my website a few months ago, checking out the cool Google Analytics thingy, when I stumbled onto something that made me grin. The #1 search string that leads people to my website? “Merman sex.” Yep. Not that I can blame people searching for that. I had a few questions about how mermen do “it” when I started writing the Mermen of Ea Series.

When I started writing the Mermen of Ea Series, I knew I wanted the two main characters, Taren and Ian, to have sex in their shifted form. I’ve never been very shy about writing explicit sex in my books. Let’s face it—men in love (or lust) have sex. In all of my books, I write explicit sex, in large part because I see it as a way to develop the emotional relationship between my characters. Rarely will I write a sex scene just for the titillation factor. So when I decided to write merman sex, I knew it needed to be more than just “insert tab A into slot B” sex. It needed to have a visceral connection to the characters and to the ocean they inhabit when in their shifted forms.

The mermen of Ea (Ea, pronounced “Ey-ah”, is the name the mermen give their race), are powerful beings in their shifted forms. Broader and more muscled than when in their human forms, they are also highly sexual when they transform. For the two main characters in the Mermen of Ea Series, Ian and Taren, the sex comes out of their deep, enduring connection (they are reincarnated lovers who find each other again).

So, let’s get down to basics. How does merman sex work? I based my mermen not on fish (let’s face it, fish just aren’t that sexy!) but on dolphins, since they’re mammals like humans. So the sexy bits are really the same, regardless of their form. The difference is that, in their mermen forms, Taren and Ian have sheathed penises, rather than external ones. Just like dolphins, a little arousal coaxes the penis from its fold in the merman’s tail (dogs are similar in this way). So that’s the basic premise. But the fun part (in my opinion), comes in the way mermen have sex.

Mermen, much like dolphins, have a mating dance or ritual. Yes, I studied dolphin sex videos on the web! You’ll find lots of them because dolphins really like to have sex, and parents like to video their kids at aquariums (which can make for some awkward moments when Little Johnny points and says, “Mommy, what’s that thing that just popped out of the dolphin’s tail?”). Back to the dance, though….
So mermen, like their dolphin cousins, swim in circles around each other in a mating dance. They nip playfully at each other, brush their lips against each other’s skin, and even use the sharp barbs at the end of their wrists to gently scrape at each other and arouse their mates. And, my favorite part, borrowing a bit from whales: mermen sing. Yes, sing. Their heartsong can’t be heard above the water, but it’s a beautiful and haunting melody that adds to the romance of their sexual contact.
One last bit to share about merman sex? Mermen communicate telepathically under the water, since sound doesn’t travel easily there. And added benefit of this? When one merman climaxes, his partner experiences the orgasm as if he himself is climaxing. Double the fun.

I’ll leave you with a partial NSFW merman sex excerpt from Chapter 2 of Into the Wind, the just-released sequel to Stealing the Wind (yes, there’s more to the scene, but you’ll have to read the book to see how it ends!). In this scene, Taren and his soul mate, Ian, play underneath the water in a moment of calm before the storm.

The Mermen of Ea books are high fantasy and high romance set on the high seas (and beneath them!). I hope you’ll join me on the epic journey of Taren and Ian, as they fight for their own future and the future of their people, the mermen of Ea. Oh, and I think you’ll find mermen are damn hot. –Shira

Blurb (Stealing the Wind – Book One): Taren Laxley has never known anything but life as a slave. When a lusty pirate kidnaps him and holds him prisoner on his ship, Taren embraces the chance to realize his dream of a seagoing life. Not only does the pirate captain offer him freedom in exchange for three years of labor and sexual servitude, but the pleasures Taren finds when he joins the captain and first mate in bed far surpass his greatest fantasies.

Then, during a storm, Taren dives overboard to save another sailor and is lost at sea. He’s rescued by Ian Dunaidh, the enigmatic and seemingly ageless captain of a rival ship, the Phantom, and Taren feels an overwhelming attraction to Ian that Ian appears to share. Soon Taren learns a secret that will change his life forever: Ian and his people are Ea, shape-shifting merfolk… and Taren is one of them too. Bound to each other by a fierce passion neither can explain or deny, Taren and Ian are soon embroiled in a war and forced to fight for a future—not only for themselves but for all their kind.

Blurb (Into the Wind – Book Two):  Since learning of his merman shifter heritage, Taren has begun building a life with Ian Dunaidh among the mainland Ea. But memories of his past life still haunt him, and as the threat of war with the hostile island merfolk looms ever closer, Taren fears he will lose Ian the same way he lost his beloved centuries before. Together they sail to the Gateway Islands in search of the fabled rune stone—a weapon of great power the Ea believe will protect them—and Odhrán, the pirate rumored to possess it.

After humans attack the Phantom, Taren finds himself washed up on an island, faced with a mysterious boy named Brynn who promises to lead him to Odhrán. But Taren isn’t sure if he can trust Brynn, and Odhrán is rumored to enslave Ea to protect his stronghold. Taren will have to put his life on the line to find his way back to Ian and attempt to recover the stone. Even if he does find it, his troubles are far from over: he and Ian are being stalked by an enemy who wants them dead at all costs.


NSFW Excerpt from Chapter Two of Into the Wind:
Taren flicked his tail to propel him around so that he and Ian swam toward each other, arms extended, then moved upward as they laced their fingers together and floated perpendicular to the sea floor. They kissed and their tongues entwined. Ian tasted of the ocean and of the promise of Taren’s new life. Their former incarnations, Treande and Owyn, had been equals in everything. Partners, friends, lovers. Taren both relished and feared the power of his connection to Ian and the unexpected turn of fate that had brought them together, as well as the revelations of their past.
With a grin, Taren spun around so that he faced Ian’s tail. He rotated his arm so that the sharp tines that ran from his fingers to his wrist grazed the slick surface. He’d learned how to retract the barbs so they would not injure; he’d also learned that if used properly, the gentle scrape of the barbs was a sensual treat Ian could not resist.
“Goddess!” Ian shouted in his mind. “Is it your wish to render me completely helpless with lust?”
Taren repressed a chuckle as he continued to stroke Ian’s body. He might not be able to best Ian with his physical prowess, but he knew he held a stronger power over Ian. He relished the thought that he possessed Ian’s heart and soul, for it made his own uncontrollable hunger to be near Ian bearable.
Ian moaned as Taren slipped a finger inside the opening at the base of his tail to coax forth his member. When it emerged, hard and proud, Taren took it in his mouth, ran his tongue over its veined surface, then swallowed it until his lips met the base. As he pulled and teased, he pressed a finger in Ian’s other fold. Ian keened to meet the intruder and begged Taren for more as Taren slipped a second finger inside to Ian’s stuttered gasp. Taren knew Ian loved it when he directed their lovemaking, although Taren preferred to take a less aggressive role. It sometimes surprised Taren, though, how Ian was able to cede control to him.
For Taren, the balance of power between them felt familiar. Taren guessed that he and Ian had tangled like this before, shifted in and out of dominance in their relationship as well as in their mating. Taren knew his prior life guided him, but much of what he shared with Ian still felt new and exciting. As he often did, Taren gave himself over to the memory and allowed his body to dictate his movements. He reached around Ian and clasped the place where his buttocks would have been had he been in his human form. The skin there was smooth and slippery, so Taren dug in his nails just deeply enough to maintain his grip. Ian’s rumbled pleasure was an added incentive.
“Taren!” Ian writhed under Taren’s ministrations, his movements propelling them forward and making them spin.
Tiny bubbles effervesced over Taren’s sensitive skin, tickling and caressing, adding to the hypnotic mating dance, stirring his desire. He sucked harder and slipped a third finger inside Ian.
Ian’s climax washed over them both. With each gasp, with each shudder of Ian’s body, Taren felt the thrill of Ian’s release as if it were his own. He wondered if he’d ever get used to the sensation of sharing in his lover’s climax or if it would remain one of the great wonders of his dual form.
“Fuck me,” Ian gasped as he convulsed once again. “Do it now.” Rarely did Ian ask Taren to take him, although this also felt familiar.
Taren caught his breath and pinned Ian against the sand by his wrists. Ian’s eyes were glassy from his release, his breathing shallow. Taren sucked and bit at his nipples, then smiled broadly as he felt Ian’s heart race at the contact.
“Please. Taren,” Ian begged. “Take me.”

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Our Booyah Books For The Month Of May

Can you believe we’re already heading into the midway point of 2014? And with that, we’ve got a list of some of our favorite books to share with you from the month of May. It was another one of those months when some of us ::coughs:: me ::coughs:: had a hard time narrowing our choices down to just one, but we’ve managed to come up with some excellent reading recommendations for you once again.

So, without further ado, here they are, our top reads for the month of May:


Tina – The Perfect Place by Kol Anderson

“I will not spoil the end of this story. I am dying to share how it ends, but I want everyone who reads it to be as shocked as I was and to love it every bit and as completely as I did. It is an ending that had me saying, out loud, “What. The. F**k!?” That was the e-mail I sent to Kol immediately after I read this wonderful gem of a book. It is a finale that would make M. Night Shyamalan proud. As an avid reader, I am usually able to see surprises coming from around corners. Well, I couldn’t have found these corners with a map and compass.

Read this book. It will make you smile and laugh, all the while breaking your heart. It will make your head spin. It will make you curse Kol Anderson for his brilliance and his willingness to, no, his glee at, tightening the screws on our thumbs. You won’t be able to look away, he won’t let you. I expect nothing less from Kol.”

Full Review and Buy Link HERE

Jackie  – Love You Forever by Amelia Bishop

“Amelia Bishop has done a fabulous job showing how “forced” closeness can eventually push two people apart, no matter how much they love one another. As human beings it seems that we need free will, even in love, if we expect any relationship to grow and prosper. Cole and Rick find this out the hard way.

This book truly caused me to stop and think about how two people in love can grow apart yet find their way back to each other. It is a true example of letting someone you love go and knowing they will find their way back if it is meant to be.

I have to say this is one of the best books I have read so far this year, and I am going out on a limb and calling it a “must read” for 2014. I don’t believe you could read this and not cry for these two, as well as celebrate the full circle of their relationship.”

Full Review and Buy Link HERE

Lynn – Spring Affair by B.G. Thomas

“I am absolutely in love with this book. The reader is thrown into the lives of the two main characters, Sloan and Max. I loved being inside both of their heads, knowing what they were thinking throughout the story. I really enjoyed reading the journey these two men take together. Their deepening friendship as the story progresses is beautiful and endearing. The self discoveries are at times earth shattering, but necessary.

The secondary characters were phenomenal. It was interesting to watch their interactions with each other, and read their dialogue. At times they were hilarious and other times just downright aggravating. You’ll know what I mean when you read the book. Max’s wife started out being the typical bitchy character we come to expect in this genre, but she turns out to be someone who will surprise you in the end. I’m told the author is planning for some of these characters to have their own books. I will definitely be reading those. I’m hooked.”

Full Review and Buy Link HERE

Lana – Spinning the Top Anthology by Torquere Press

“While all the stories were exceptional, one stood out in my mind because my mind started to fill in between the lines of what was not written!  A Taste of Sin by Kassandra Lea was just that and more. The story is about the Archangel Samuel, who can’t stop himself from visiting a demon named Flynn, and giving himself over to him. The dynamic between Samuel and Flynn was perfect. Samuel is the powerful warrior who commands other angels. He’s always in control and obviously, works for God. Flynn is the demon who is also powerful and commanding, but works for Satan. We’re not told what kind of demon Flynn is. But Flynn is not all bad; there is some goodness in him, and love. Oh, how I wanted to know more about Flynn! For some reason Samuel trusts Flynn to give him what he needs, he gives up control and power to Flynn, and Flynn takes that power and protects it.”

Full Review and Buy Link HERE

Kim – Dirty Kiss (Audio) by Rhys Ford (Narration – Greg Tremblay)

“What I found interesting was Jae himself, his culture, and his sense of family. It kind of reminded me of that saying “it takes a village to raise a child”. I may not have understood his obligations to his family, but I, too, like Cole, had to respect them.

Again, Greg Tremblay did an excellent voice characterization for Jae and surprisingly, Scarlet too. I wish I could have heard more of Scarlet singing.

So, if you loved the book, you’re going to love the audio version of  Dirty Kiss. I’m giving it a high 5 star rating, and I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment, hoping that Greg is the man for the job!”

Full Review and Buy Link HERE

Sammy – Stranger on the Shore by Josh Lanyon

“A good mystery keeps you on the edge of your seat and has you silently rooting for its heroes. Griff, while reluctant to wear the mantle, is every bit a hero. He settles down amidst a company of players and an opulent world that is both so familiar yet so foreign to him and his rather strange and humble upbringing. So many things about little Brian Arlington’s disappearance haunt Griff. He feels driven to find out what happened to the boy so keenly that when “Brian” suddenly reappears, Griff fears he has immersed himself so completely in the pursuit of answers that he has tricked himself into believing he is somehow a part of the very mystery he is investigating. With every turn of the card, Josh Lanyon pulls us more deeply into Griff’s psyche and, in doing so, invests us emotionally in Griff’s well being.

With an amazing cast of secondary characters and the coolly aloof yet intensely smoldering love interest, Pierce Mathers, Mr. Lanyon once again produces an intricately woven plot with mayhem and murder afoot that captures your imagination and leaves you breathlessly racing toward the finish.”

Full Review and Buy Link HERE

Jules – The River Leith by Leta Blake

“I absolutely love how Leith’s discovery of his feelings for Zach is handled. His brain “itching” at certain smells, looks, feelings. His gradual realization that the relationship is much more, at least for him, than friendship. And, the scene in the hospital garden…THE scene – when you read the book, you’ll know the one I mean – could not have been more perfect. Their connection and chemistry are amazing, and I’ll tell you what… Leta Blake writes some beautifully steamy sex scenes.

Honestly, the writing style overall just really spoke to me. I could say so much more about how much I loved this book, but I’ll let you all, discover it for yourselves. I will say, though, that I’ve been looking for a long time for a book to recommend as a first time M/M read to one of my best friends, and I think I might have finally found it. I highly recommend this book, folks. And, I plan to rush out and get Leta’s other stories!!”

Full Review and Buy Link HERE

Traci – Chase in Shadow (Audio) by Amy Lane (Narration – Sean Crisden)

“Of course, Sean Crisden (my fav) is the narrator, and you could not have picked a better person to tell Chase’s story. Sean makes you feel every one of Chase’s emotions and choices throughout the story. He plays the fake, happy Chase, the apathetic Chase, the cocky Chase, the scared little boy Chase, sad Chase, and finally, the at peace Chase. He does an excellent job with the other characters as well. Tommy became one of my favorite characters, and I loved his voice throughout the audio. I wanted to skip work to finish this audio, so plan to listen to this in one sitting.

I have read, probably, all of Amy Lane’s books, and I have to say this is my favorite. I love this series and will definitely buy the whole series on audio. You will not be disappointed. Again, it has my two musts: an interesting story, along with great narration that made me not want to stop! Enjoy and bring tissues!”

Full Review and Buy Link HERE

Me – Necropolis (Whyborne & Griffin #4) by Jordan L. Hawk

“In Percival Endicott Whyborne, Jordan has created the perfect narrator because he’s both reliable and unreliable, and we know when to trust him and when to scoff at how very un-self-aware and blind he is to his worth where Griffin is concerned. There are some powerfully emotional moments in Necropolis that bring a lump to the throat, all while you’re trying to catch your breath from the Indiana Jones style action that delivers a promise of death if Whyborne, Griffin, and Christine can’t stay more than a few steps ahead of it.

As has become the norm with Jordan L. Hawk’s books, Necropolis isn’t anything so simple as a book filled with words that tell a story.  Necropolis is a book filled with imagination, with love, and with the bonds of something powerful. There’s so much imagery in this installment of the series to fill in the shadows of your own headspace that it draws you in and makes your heart beat just a little faster as you bask in the fear and embrace the romance between these two men.”

Full Review and Buy Link HERE


And that does it for the month of May. Until next time, happy reading! 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

I'm off to New Orleans!

So I'm off to RT! Well, I'll be off early Monday because I'm brilliant and mixed up the days so I'm going a day early. Calendars are good things to make use of. Ugh. But I'm looking forward to seeing New Orleans, a city I have never been in and only know from watching four seasons of Tremé, reading Anne Rice and seeing The Princess and the Frog with my kids many years ago. So of course I am going to be looking for vampires, witch doctors and anything else even vaguely paranormal. I am dying to got to Café du Monde and have beignets. DYING! I will report back on the yumminess. They are open 24 hours a day. Coffee 24 hours a day. Heaven on earth.

I'm not signing books at RT, I didn't get a spot this year, but I'll be walking around so if you're there, stop me and say hi. I'll be at the Fan-Tastic Day Party that DSP is sponsoring as well.I hope everyone has a great week and let's all hold a good thought that I don't get lost in New Orleans. Although that woudl probably make a great book. :)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sale at DSP

  Just some quick news, DSP is having a sale, 40% off of all books and then the rest of the specials will be:
May 1-3 - 40% off all books by authors who published with DSP during year one.
May 4-10 - 35% off all books by authors who first published with DSP during years two and three.
May 11-17 - 30% off all books by authors who first published with DSP during years four and five.
May 18-24 - 25% off all books by authors who first published with DSP during year six.
May 25-31  20% off all books by authors who first published with DSP during year seven. So May is going to be great at Dreamspinner Press and I didn't want anyone to miss out. :)

We Sprung Into Spring With Some Great April Reads!

Hi again, everyone, and welcome back to another installment of Booyah Books!

Once again we at The Novel Approach have compiled a short list of our most memorable reading experiences for the month of April and are bringing them to you to make sure you don’t miss out. The selection process is never easy, and we, all of us, almost always have more than a few books that could make the list for any number of reasons, but these are the books that made the final cut:


Jackie’s selection this month is K.A. Mitchell’s Bad Influence:

“There are so many books out there that talk about growth and learning from our mistakes, but very few, if any, have made it real like K.A. Mitchell does in this book. We get to see Jordan/Silver grow from an impetuous sixteen year old to a man with goals and commitments that he actually keeps. Zeb also experiences growth in this book. He realizes that he has to forgive himself before any offered forgiveness will matter.

As a couple, these two men start out a hot mess, but they end up just plain old HOT. This is the fourth book in the series, and I believe any of these could be read as standalone titles, but really, you need to read all of these books. Ms. Mitchell has created some wonderful characters, and the way they interact and overlap is wonderful. I couldn’t recommend this book any more if I tried.”

You can buy Bad Influence HERE

Lynn read and loved Kol Anderson’s The Escape:

“Wow, Kol Anderson has done it again. What a phenomenal ride this author has taken me on, and I’ve enjoyed every bump, twist and turn. This is the final episode of the Broken series. I suggest reading the first two installments for this one to make any sense.

I went into this with high expectations, and Mr. Anderson certainly delivered. This author has a way of grabbing your attention with engaging words and never letting go. Although this isn’t quite as dark as the previous books in the series, it has dark elements. Aaron’s drug addiction, thanks to Vincent, night terrors, fear of going outside, fear of touch; he’s left with damaging scars, emotionally and physically. Seeing Aaron struggle through the aftermath was heartbreaking but so necessary.”

You can buy The Escape HERE

Tina was completely infected by Amelia C. Gormley’s Strain:

“Amelia C. Gormley artfully creates a cast of supporting characters to guide Rhys and Darius in the right direction. Sometimes they provide a gentle nudge, other times a swift kick in the ass. The way the soldiers all come together to protect and care for Rhys helps them find hope themselves. The way Rhys and Darius come together foretells a future for mankind. If these two men can find their way to one another, anything is possible.

I’m so glad I chose to read Strain to rediscover my love of science fiction. I recommend that you infect yourselves immediately.”

You can buy Strain HERE

Ruslana loved AR Moler’s Personal Protection:

“I love reading about tough, alpha male, ex-military, no-nonsense bodyguards protecting a sexy scientist, actor or witness. This formula is pretty standard, with the inevitable happening: crazy sexual tension and then the bodyguard falling for his charge.

Personal Protection is a solid short story that may not hold many surprises, but was hot, entertaining, and will leave you wanting more. I did.”

You can buy Personal Protection HERE

Kim doesn’t hesitate to recommend Cat Grant and LA Witt’s The Only One Who Matters:

“Warning: Do not read books out of order, because after reading The Only One Who Matters, I wanted MORE! Luckily for me, I was able to scoop up the first one, The Only One Who Knows, right after I’d finished reading The Only One Who Matters. Cat Grant and L.A. Witt make a fantastic writing team!
In spite of the fact that I started off with the second one in this series, my interest and heart was soon captured and won over by the two very alpha type MCs, David and Josh. But out of the two, David stood out the most. Damn, I love a strong man! Because whether David realized it or not, he’s a survivor even with all the obstacles that had been placed in his way.”

You can buy The Only One Who Matters HERE

Sammy sings praises to Shira Anthony’s Blue Notes:

“Trust me when I say that my two-paragraph synopsis barely touches the many facets of this novel. Blue Notes by Shira Anthony is a lyrical song of finding faith in oneself and allowing love to blossom for the first time. While this novel could be categorized as a gay-for-you trope, one would be so mistaken to pass it off as just another common story. There is such intensity about these characters from the very start. Jules is such a mixture of light and shadow. His wide-eyed enthusiasm for every adventure is contagious, and you simply want to wrap him up in your arms and hug him close. His back-story of abuse and abandonment tears at the reader’s heart and makes this young man not only genuinely vulnerable but also compelling to read about.”

You can buy Blue Notes HERE

My choice is the unforgettable Jordan Castillo Price’s Mnevermind: Forget Me Not:

“Jordan Castillo Price has created a world in which subjective and objective reality collide, a world in which it’s not always clear what’s truly happening and what’s being manufactured in a mnem, that alternate reality landscape which allows people to manipulate fact into fiction for their entertainment. What she has done so brilliantly up to this point in the series has caused the reader to question every single scene and to wonder if everything that’s happened has happened as a fact of existence within the construct of this world, or if it’s all a figment of the imagination—not the authors imagination but that of the characters she has created. In short, this series is one hell of a mindbender, and it’s brilliant in the telling.”

You can buy Forget Me Not HERE


And that does it for the month of April. Until next time, happy reading!