Monday, February 28, 2011

Laura Tolomei and the First Kiss

Karen: Laura Tolomei is the author who pens interesting, mind-boggling, erotic tales of the heart. Let's give her a warm welcome. Feel free to ask her questions or just say hi. She would love to hear from you.

Now for what you've been waiting for. A sneak peek into Prince Duncan Caldwell and Lord Christopher Templeton's life. Take it away Laura.

Laura: First kiss, first passion…the phase and the Virtus Saga

How about if, instead of a boring fact*filled blog, I told you a story, an intriguing one about first love, first awareness, first kiss?

Fans of my Virtus Saga know all about Prince Duncan Caldwell and Lord Christopher Templeton love, but they don’t know how it started or when they exchanged the first kiss, so here’s an exclusive sneak preview from my coming soon The Pledge.

PG M/M unedited excerpt

Childhood friend and neighbor of the Caldwell’s, Carl Strepton belonged to one of the families Prince Charles had included while building a carefully selected network of nearby relations as if wanting to establish his son as the centerpiece of a strong frame of reference. But Duncan had never liked Carl, no matter how many times he had visited him and perhaps the fact he was a selfish, arrogant, disagreeable, egotistical bastard had something to do with it.

Carl was always right, the others always wrong, placed at the center of the world, everyone else good only to satisfy his needs, which of course had the predictable result of ostracizing neighbors and acquaintances. Apparently, only Duncan tolerated his swinging moods and pretensions without ever coming to an open confrontation, except for that one time he remembered still today with a mix of pleasure and dread.

The timing could not have been worse, not with the phase at its first stages and relations between Chris and Duncan strained, neither knowing exactly why, only feeling strangely ill at ease with each other for the first time. The prince still remembered the confused signals his body sent him, a yearning so deep to touch his blond angel, mixed with the fear to do so or of the consequences, and even more he could not or did not want to interpret. He fantasized about doing things to and with Chris, wild scenes playing in his mind every time he caught sight of the blond head, not daring to put his thoughts into actions and turning his eyes away before the blue-gray ones could read the truth in them.

Conflicting emotions raged like thunderstorms just waiting to unleash their fury on someone, anyone. On the one hand, he wanted to spend every single moment with the fiery angel, yet the same fierce attraction he felt for him, was also what kept him distant. And having guessed it was the beginning of the phase did not help either, especially since he had no one to talk with, no father to help him understand and certainly he could not ask his mother for advice.

As for Chris, he had later confessed he had felt equally confused if not more given the age difference, responding immediately to Duncan’s moods and physical awakening, their connection much stronger than any age division. Yet, Duncan felt it as a barrier and Chris seemed unable to tell him it did not matter at all, so tension increased, making the prince more nervous each passing day spent in endless, pointless quarrels. It was probably that, more than anything else, to make the prince decide to take Chris along when Lady Strepton invited him to spend the rest of the summer at Belleview, believing a change of air could only do them good. Well, he had not taken Carl into account.

As soon as he arrived, Duncan knew it was a mistake. Carl, already in his phase with a servant’s son, could not take his eyes off Chris literally, trying to seduce him at every turn, his goal obvious even to an inexperienced Duncan. Of course, he saw how flattered Chris was by the attention and sometimes looked at the prince as if expected the same treatment from him, but since he did not, having Carl providing it instead was a perfectly acceptable solution. Always vain at heart, now Chris seemed to take pride on the new conquest, parading it around Belleview, making the prince jealous for the first and only time of his life. He hated Carl, but more than that he felt betrayed by his blond angel.

The situation strained relations between them even further until the fateful night Duncan would ever forget. Dinner had been a sorrier affair than usual, Carl blatantly making love to Chris at the table, embarrassing the other guests, of which he could care less as always. Unable to take any more, Prince Caldwell had left the room, expecting Chris to follow, which he did not, furious with himself and his inadequacy to take some sort of decisive action that would keep the angel at his side. So he brooded in front of a blazing fire, alone, unable to fall asleep, torturing himself with pictures of Chris and Carl in various lascivious poses as he stirred the burning logs, trying to find some peace in the flames and ignore the scorching jealousy tearing him apart. And had Chris been present, he would have done something extreme like taking him in his arms and kissing, in spite of the fact his angel did not relish being touched. But he would have run the risk and the consequences be damned. And his only option now was to challenge Carl into returning what was his, had been his from the beginning, so he rose and was about to leave the room when he heard his door open. Turning around, there was Chris leaning at the door, an indefinable look in those blue-gray eyes daring him to take him.

Anger, jealousy, rage all mixed together in a painful jumble that risked to explode right there and then, Duncan took a step forward. He wanted to shout, to slap that arrogant stance, to punch out that challenging look, to grab him and shake him until…the prince was not sure what should happen, but tension inside was unbearable, so with one leap he was at the door. “Had fun?”


“Then why didn’t you stay with him?”

Chris was at a loss and Duncan knew he had been lying. “I wanted to see how you’d take it.” And though it was another lie, his lips curled in a cruel twist.

“You bastard!” Enraged, hurt, confused, Duncan’s hand, as if provided with a will of its own, went to Chris’s throat and the impulse to close on it was almost irresistible. Amazingly, Chris did not twitch or move away as if Duncan’s touch was not fastidious, rather the contrary for his body begged for more, arching to meet Duncan’s powerful frame pinning it to the door. Seeing the reaction, the prince changed his mind about the treatment to apply. Without being aware, the hand grabbed Chris’s head and pushed it closer to Duncan, the prince’s lips finding Chris’s mouth and closing on them. And it was the beginning as his senses filled with Chris’s, completely, totally drowning in the sweetest honey he had ever tasted, his tongue darting hesitantly to sweep what he already considered his, then getting more daring with more forceful sweeps to possess the whole of his belong angel, yielding to him without questions and pressing a hungry body against Duncan’s to show how far his need for surrender went. So the prince took it all—body, heart and soul—in one blissful night, repeated over and over during the long summer ahead, sealing their destinies forever, the kiss opening the bottomless pit of feelings, the vortex of desire and longing.

And if this book is not available yet, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until later this year, you can start with the other three releases by eXtasy Books.

Virtus Saga RELEASES

The Sex Book 1

GENRE: GLBT, Gay, Fantasy, Paranormal, Ménage, m/m, m/m/f, m/f

HEAT LEVEL: 4 flames


If Sendar stood a chance perhaps it would be thanks to the arbitrary twists and turns of a blind destiny. Or maybe someone would discover the truth about the ancient ways and compromise our peaceful existence forever. Either way, people needed a hero to shed new light on the age-old mysteries. And he was just about to answer their prayers.




AR - Romance at HeartTRR - Goodreads


eXtasy, Amazon, ARe, Fictionwise, Ebookwise, Mobipocket

Read more about The Sex on my website

The Game, Book 2

GENRE: GLBT, GLBT, Gay, Fantasy, Paranormal, Ménage, m/m, f/f, m/m/f, m/f, m/m/m, m/f/f

HEAT LEVEL: 5 flames


From now on, I’ll treat you like a slave, a mere thing men and women will use for their pleasure alone. And you are to service whatever player I choose for I want to see how far I can take you, how much you’ll yield to sex for the sake of sex. Because you’re just an object, something they’ll discard as soon as they come, your body useless once they get exactly what they want from it.




AR - Romance at HeartTRR - Goodreads


eXtasy, Amazon, ARe, Fictionwise, Ebookwise, Mobipocket

Read more about The Game on my website

The Festival, Book 3

GENRE: GLBT, m/m, m/m/f, f/f, Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror.

ISBN: 978-1-55487-614-3

HEAT LEVEL: 5 flames


Prisoner of their whims, it was impossible to resist them further. With a shock of pleasure, she realized they were her masters—not just one, but both—to which she surrendered herself, body first, juggled upward and sideways, until she had no choice but to ride their tide, swept along with their passion, swelling uncontrollably as they drove her into bliss, her convulsions sucking them to the balls and squeezing them dry.




Romance at Heart - Goodreads


eXtasy, ARe

Read more about The Festival on my website>

Laura Tolomei

My Website




Goodreads Friendship requests


Monday, February 21, 2011

Interview with Z.A. Maxfield

Z.A. Maxfield is a mother of four and still has time to write. She's here today to tell us about her new release, The Pharaoh’s Concubine. Let's give Z.A. Maxfield a warm welcome.

Why don't your start by telling us about yourself.

I’m a suburban housewife and mom with four kids. I always wanted to write, but it wasn’t until my kids challenged me to try it that I really gave it a shot. When your kids are watching you and you want to be a role mode there are no excuses. You have to practice what you preach. And I preach the philosophy that if you follow your heart and work hard, success is within your grasp.

What’s funny is that since I picked gay erotic romance as a genre, and used a mix-up of my sons names as an pseudonym, I’ve become this odd neighborhood mom my kids are proud of in a way I doubt they would be if I wrote standard genre romance.

Your new release is The Pharaoh’s Concubine. Without giving too much away, tell us about the story and the turf wars and the gangs involved.

The book begins with Dylan being kidnapped by a clique led by William Escobar’s older brother on their father’s behalf. Their father, who runs them from the penitentiary, is looking to start a full scale war with Mosko over the drug trade in Vegas.

Tell us about the pampered Dylan Anderson. How did he end up with Mosko? What kind of man is he? What does he look like? What’s his first impression when he meets William? What does he like about William? What doesn’t he like?

Dylan was raised in a Mormon household, and he’s used to people having high expectations. He’s used to doing what others want and seeing to their needs before his own, and he sees that kind of self-sacrifice as a truly worthwhile principle. When he meets William, he gets it in his head that if he can somehow change the path William is on, the suffering he’s experienced at the hands of the kidnappers will be meaningful. He’s reminded of the person he used to be before he allowed Mosko’s money and the easy life he’s got with the mobster to change him.

Tell us about William “Memo” Escobar. What kind of man is he? What does he look like? What is his first impression when he meets Dylan? What does he like about Dylan? What does he not like?

When William meets Dylan, his first impression is that he’s soft. William is the product of a tough environment, and he sees Dylan as the type of guy who has everything handed to him. It isn’t until they get to the resort and Dylan starts doing odd jobs to pay for their room and board that William realizes there’s more to Dylan than meets the eye. He likes Dylan’s work ethic, and how he relates to people. He’s mistrustful because of Dylan’s looks and his former lifestyle.

You write erotica romances between men. What inspired you to write for this genre?

I guess I just like writing male characters. I wanted to write romance and mystery featuring same sex couples and men were an obvious choice for me because I often find myself gravitating to romance novels where there’s a particularly strong male pov. I think of Laura Kinsale’s early novels, The Prince of Midnight and The Shadow And the Star. When I was reading those I didn’t realize that what attracted me was the hero’s POV… Of course, she’s a damned good writer. I’d read anything of hers.

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

Writing is such a personal thing. The reward is in the process. Finding a sentence that sings to me, or getting a contract. There are tough things as well, but I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

What are your current projects and works in progress?

I have three projects in the works, St. Nacho’s 4, All Stirred Up (the sequel to Stirring Up Trouble), and one I’m tentatively calling Fitz’s Story (which has ghosts…)

Tell the readers where they can find you:

You can always find me at My email addy is My books are available all fine booksellers everywhere (LOL, but you’ll probably have to special order them in your local independent book store.)

Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers?

I just want to say thanks again for the support you’ve given me as an author. I’m so grateful that people take the time to read the books. I’ll keep writing as long as you want to read them! Thanks a bunch!



After fumbling in Lazlo’s pockets for the key to the shed, Dylan opened it quickly, starting a count inside his head, thinking that if he’d timed this correctly, he’d get the boy out and both of them away, and if he didn’t, he’d be joining Memo in that shed by morning.

He toggled the light switch. “Memo.”

Not a sound.

“Memo, it’s me.” Dylan made his way to the cot and put a gentle hand on the boy’s arm. “You have to come with me, there’s no time to waste.”



“My name is William.”

“Argue with me later. I figure we have about three minutes before neither of our names will matter except in the obituaries. Come with me.”

“I can’t, man. I can barely even move.”

“You have to. I didn’t do this to leave you here.”

“I can’t.”

“If I pick you up, it’s just going to hurt you more. Don’t make me do that.”

William tried to roll over and it was obviously agony for him. Dylan’s heart sank. “Here, let me help.”


William bit his lip. Dylan didn’t ask this time, he just took William’s arm, pulled it over his shoulder, gave him a moment to get used to that, then hauled him to his feet. “No time to be gentle. It’s either this or a fireman’s carry.”

“This.” William groaned. “You sadist.”

“Yeah, well.” Dylan didn’t disagree. Once they left the shed behind he hugged the perimeter, scraping his arms on the rough bushes where the ambient lighting from the street and the moon didn’t penetrate the shadows. “Next time kidnap a nicer guy.”

They made it unseen to the row of cars belonging to the guards. Dylan ducked behind the last one, Andreas’s nondescript Honda sedan. He held William steady, close and quiet, even though he stank like raw sewage. It took all of Dylan’s concentration to keep William from falling over onto the ground while he unlocked the car with the key to avoid illuminating the headlights. He helped William in and made his way around to the driver’s side, getting in quickly, praying the dome lights wouldn’t give them away.

“Now, we wait,” he told the boy.

“What are we waiting for?”



Dylan chewed his fingernail. Did he set it high enough? He’d scorched and burned microwave popcorn before, filling the house with acrid smoke when he wasn’t even trying. He’d been so sure that it would work, but as seconds ticked by he doubted himself, and his heart started to sink heavily. What if he just brought more suffering to the kid?

Nothing happened, and Dylan was ready to start the process of hauling the kid back when sirens filled the air and the front floodlights blinked to life, bathing the entire house in blinding white light.

In the commotion no one noticed that Andreas’s car started. Smoke had already begun to fill the first floor as the two remaining guards pulled the front doors open. Protocol required that Yves’s men search for him inside the house, while Andreas checked to make sure the fire department received the alarm. Andreas was supposed to open the gate for emergency vehicles when they arrived, but Dylan hoped he would be sleeping quietly, draped over his monitors, as blissfully unaware of everything as the three temazepam capsules Dylan had emptied into his coffee could make him.

His plan was for the two men inside the house to split up, one looking for him, and the other for Lazlo, to see why he hadn’t responded. That left Dylan and William with only a brief window of time to make it to the guardhouse, open the gate, and then leave without being seen.

He approached the guardhouse cautiously, pulling up right alongside it. If Andreas hadn’t drunk his coffee, or if the drugs hadn’t taken effect yet, there’d be hell to pay. If one of the guards looked out front or found Lazlo too soon…

Sick dread covered Dylan with sweat.

A quick glance found Andreas slumped in his chair. Dylan put the Honda in park and jumped out to activate the remote.

It seemed like the massive wrought-iron gate took hours to open, sliding slowly on the track while Dylan’s heart clattered in his throat. It wasn’t hard to imagine what punishment Yves would mete out to a lover who betrayed him. If he were spotted now, it would be nearly impossible to get away.

A low groan came from William, reminding him why he had to try.

“Fasten your seat belt, Memo.”

William.” Awkwardly, the kid did as he was told.

“Remind me when we’re not about to die.”

When the gate finally opened enough for them to slip out, Dylan glanced in the rearview mirror.

I’m leaving. I’m really leaving Yves. There was no time for grief. If he thought about what he was doing, he’d surely freeze in his tracks. He punched the accelerator and worked the manual transmission.

William shifted to look behind. “No pressure, but we should probably go faster.”

“What?” Dylan sure felt pressured. He pelted out of his driveway and headed east. “What do you mean, no pressure?”

“I mean about my name. No pressure to remember.”

Dylan shook his head. “I’m lucky to remember my name right now. Much less how to drive a manual transmission. It’ll come back to me—like riding a bicycle.” Dylan winced when the transmission gears made a telltale grinding sound, then tried to shift again.

“I hope that means you know how to ride a bicycle…”

“Yeah.” Dylan made a sharp right turn and it threw Memo into him.

“What happens now?”

“I don’t know. I only thought this far ahead.”

William accepted this, or else he was in too much pain to argue.

Dylan’s heart stopped racing when he’d driven several miles and as far as he could tell no one followed them. He wet his dry lips and slowed down. They’d made it. He didn’t want to say it out loud, he didn’t have the nerve to count on it, but it was entirely possible he’d gotten away with it.

While they were stopped at a red light, he glanced over at William and allowed himself to hope. The kid looked like he’d been hit by a train. Dylan cursed. The real work—the hard part—was just beginning. He had to keep William safe until he healed, and that meant they needed a place to hide where Yves couldn’t find them.

If such a place existed.

Monday, February 14, 2011

All Things Romantic!

Importance of Valentine's Day Romance

Everyone likes a little romance in his or her lives. It gives us the feeling of togetherness. It makes the relationship stronger and gives us a possibility of experiencing our first breathtaking kiss all over again. Romance is warmth and understanding, a bond of trust and love. Valentine’s Day gives us a chance to charm the one person we care most for.

Authors let’s celebrate with our romances. How would our characters celebrate Valentine’s Day? Share a scene of their first kiss. Share your blurbs or a short excerpt. Don’t forget to supply links to your website or where to buy your book. Have fun! (Please let the readers know the rating of your story. I do ask you keep your posts PG13 so all may enjoy the day! Thank you so much!)

Readers celebrate today by telling us about your favorite Valentine’s Day or what you think is romantic. Is it a stroll along the beach? Movie night? A nice bubble bath? If you want, share you favorite romantic couples of all time. I love Claire and Jamie in Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Rules of Engagement

Cynthia Vespia is the author of character driven suspense fiction. Her Demon Hunter series is a trilogy of terror. It was nominated Best Series of 2009.

Life, Death and Back is her new paranormal suspense novel where death isn't the end but only the beginning.

Let's give Cynthia a warm welcome as she shares her rules about writing. Feel free to ask question or just say hello. She'd love to hear from you.



It was recently brought up in a chat forum about what the rules are for writing. First thing that came to my mind was that there are no rules! What a blasphemic word that is for a writer. Then I got to thinking, there are certain “rules of engagement” that are expected from the reader.

For instance a thriller needs to be fast paced; a romance novel has to be heavy on the passion; fantasy is expected to be otherworldly; and erotica...well, you get the point.

There are just certain elements that go into different genres that make fans continue coming back for more. It has been that way since the dawn of time, or at least as long as novels have been around. So as a writer we may as well embrace them as facts. However, it can also be said that rules are meant to be broken. To quote Bruce Lee: "Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own."

In other words there are basic elements from which all stories springboard. But what gives each story and each author its own unique voice is taking those elements and making them your own. Don't be afraid to experiment. I've been known to compile almost every genre into one story...and y'know what, it works! It's called life. And whether that life is seen through the eyes of a Demon Hunter, or a guardian angel, or a female gladiator it is still life and it is painted with many different colors of emotion. Romance, suspense, comedy, horror, and yes even fantasy are all a part of our daily living so why wouldn't we include them in our writing? Readers are more apt to enjoy a story when it is relatable. Emotions are relatable.

Back to the rules. Half the fun of writing is that we get to create our own rules. We create different worlds, populate it with different characters, and watch like puppet masters as they all interact with each other. Maybe that's why I like The Sims so much.

Rules are there as a starting off point. If you're a writer just starting out I suggest you learn the rules of the genre you are writing in, but then as Bruce pointed out, add your own take on it. Whatever is uniquely you will shine off that page so don't be afraid of it. If everyone wrote in one certain style it would be a very boring universe in bookland.

Life itself has enough rules and I don't know about you but I'm tired of being regulated. In any event trust your instincts. When something is telling you to go down a different path than you may not have planned for just go with it. I remember following my character Bryan from LIFE DEATH and BACK down a weird and winding road all the while telling him to go back, that this was not the path I'd chosen for him. Fortunately I allowed him to take the lead and at the end of the road I wound up pleasantly surprised thinking “oh, that's why he did that!”

This is a metaphor, of course. I'm not that nuts. I don't see visions of my characters on random street corners. They only show up at odd hours to have a cup of coffee or maybe catch a movie.

So write what you are passionate about, kids. Don't censor yourselves too much. Have fun with it. Everyone is too damn serious these days and they forget to enjoy things. Writers and readers alike make sure you enjoy it. Enjoy the story for what it is, rules or not.

Since most readers inevitably become writers, and most writers started out as readers, let me pose this question to the group: Do you have a ritual...not necessarily a rule...that you have before beginning a new novel?

Cynthia is the author of character driven suspense fiction. Her new paranormal thriller

Life, Death, and Back is available now. Find out more at