Greetings from Aurelia Brain

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1263440_49661335tortureThere’s this thing my brain does. It takes a completely innocuous occurrence and proceeds to spin out possibilities year ahead based on that interaction.

The tales that emerge aren’t based on my hopes and dreams. They aren’t fantasies, per se. They just…happen. My brain likes to be prepared, so it gives me 21 possibilities for 21 steps ahead before I even realize I’m doing it.

This same quality makes my anxiety especially problematic, because it means I can tell you all the ways things can go wrong. It makes my fear of the apocalypse persistent. It offends my anti-romantic sensibilities when my brain jumps ahead and imagines me in a relationship before I even know someone, and I have to rein it in with a certain amount of disgust.

But this same quality also makes novel and series writing a lot easier. So, qualities that are maladaptive in my social situations are more adaptive in others. Take, for instance, dissociation. That’s kind of a job requirement for a writer.

Also, my sense of empathy, which inspires a great deal of my dissociation–and which also makes creating opinions on major issues and ethical concerns difficult–makes me good at slipping out of me and into my characters.

I wish more of these traits could be more adaptive in my real life instead of just my writing life.

Carousel (Arcanium Book 2) Trivia

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carousel_800I love learning movie trivia, so I thought I’d share some interesting facts about Carousel (Arcanium Book 2). As you might imagine, these might be best after reading Carousel.

1. When I was thinking about all the Arcanium stories I wanted to tell, Carousel popped up out of nowhere, with none of the established Fortune cast or the possible oddities or skill sets that I have in my list. But it took on a life of its own at the last minute. I was excited to start it.

2. Caroline is named after the main character in the movie The Skeleton Key. Whenever someone calls her by name, I tend to imagine Gena Rowlands calling it in that creepy, horror-movie voice with her Louisiana accent, even though Caroline is from Oklahoma.

3. Riley is a conglomeration of inspirations, but Colm is inspired by Julian Sands.

4. The female clown Tragedy, in look and behavior, is partially inspired by Emilie Autumn.

5. While I knew the clowns were going to be a part of Carousel, I hadn’t planned on the clowns playing quite as big of a role. That kind of just…happened.

6. Tragedy and Comedy’s names are self-explanatory. The male clown Murphy is named after Murphy’s Law.

7. Colm started out as human. Then I got bored. Changing him to demon made everything better.

8. Caroline is my youngest protagonist so far.

9. I wrote Carousel and Aerial (Arcanium Book 3) back to back, more than half a year after writing Fortune.

10. I’d really love to ride the Arcanium carousel.

Book Tour: Wild After Dark Anthology

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You Always Hurt the Ones You Love

“He kill them when they love. That’s how it is every day. That’s how it is all over the world.” –John Coffey, The Green Mile

Not the most inspirational way to start a post about an erotic romance story, I know. Sometimes I wonder how a practical, pessimistic, suspicious cynic such as myself ended up fated for the romance genre. I can’t decide whether it’s because I’m secretly a disappointed romantic or whether fiction is the only way I can have the wonderful things the romance genre promises. I suspect (and hope) it’s the former.

There are some things that cynics bring to the romance table, though. One of them is a clearer look at love. Wonderful as it feels, it’s a neutral abstract. And like most neutrals, it can go really good. Or it can go really, really bad. Love—by its very nature—makes…

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Fortune (Arcanium Book 1) Trivia

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fortune_800 (2)I have a ridiculous fondness for movie and music trivia, like when you go to IMDB and click on a movie’s trivia to see interesting little behind-the-scenes facts. So here’s some trivia about Fortune (Arcanium Book 1) – best read after the book, of course, but whatever floats your boat.

1. Fortune was originally called Arcanium and was intended to be a one-shot story. Then I thought about maybe doing a sequel with Kitty, maybe another with the aerialist boys Seth and Lars. I talked about the possibility with my editor, and she said to send in a series synopsis, which meant I had to have actual elaborated ideas. Then everything just sort of snowballed from there. Arcanium became the series, and I renamed the first book FORTUNE.

2. Actor Zeljko Ivanek inspires many supporting appearances in my stories. In the Arcanium novels, he’s Misha, the sword swallower.

3. Arcanium was partially inspired by the Wishmaster movies–among many other ‘be careful what you wish for’ tales, such as the wish episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Goosebumps book Be Careful What You Wish For, the short story “The Monkey’s Paw,” musical Into the Woods, Aladdin, and more. FORTUNE and the Arcanium series hold several homages to them.

4. The primary inspiration for the Arcanium series, though, was a dream I had of a mother telling her bad child that she’ll leave her at the circus if she doesn’t behave and the bad child saying that she would rather stay at a circus. Then she’s left behind and learns that the circus folk are actually demons. This theme gets played out even more in Carousel (Arcanium Book 2).

5. One of my most sex-dense stories ever.

6. Arcanium arose from an experiment: Can I write a story that is both horror and romance? They’re usually diametrically opposing genres. Turns out, I can. And I can make a series out of it. They’re darker than your usual romance, with some truly weird elements to them, but it’s still romance.

7. In the original novel, I had short story ‘Behind the Curtain’ vignettes of other members of the Arcanium cast, what their wishes were, and who they’d paired off with. They were interspersed between every few chapters or so. I’d intended to carry that out through the whole series. Now they’re free stories that will pop up a few at a time to promote the series.

8. This book made me question my personal declaration that I’m not a size queen.

9. Maya is of Italian and Hispanic heritage. She’s the first religious protagonist that I’ve written for an erotic novel, but she’s certainly not the last.

10. The language Bell speaks is Farsi. He hails from the area of ancient Persia. Though he’s nomadic, he’s kept up with the changes in the language because he values his roots. Being psychic helps with the language adjustments.

11. I developed my best and most efficient editing process while editing Fortune. I use that process every time now.

12. Bell’s navel is anachronistic. He was never in utero, so no umbilical cord. Fun fact.

FREE Behind the Curtain short stories

Here’s a bonus to reading Arcanium: FREE Behind the Curtain short stories/vignettes about some of the other cast members as well as extra scenes that didn’t or couldn’t make it in the books.

These are best read AFTER Fortune (Arcanium Book 1).

Torso and Tattoos: https://www.totallybound.com/torso-and-tattoos
Tumbled and Twisted: https://www.totallybound.com/tumbled-and-twisted
Lions and Tigers: https://www.totallybound.com/lions-and-tigers

fortune_emailAnd today’s Day One of my blog tour, so drop by Erzabet’s Enchantments for some details on the BDSM aspect of Fortune, a delicious excerpt, and a chance to enter Totally Bound’s May Blog Tour Sweepstakes.

FORTUNE (Arcanium Book 1) is now available!

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Welcome to Arcanium, the Circus of Lost Souls. Be careful what you wish for.

Book 1 in this erotic horror romance series, Fortune, is officially out everywhere and about half off at most vendors right now.

Totally Bound
Amazon US (print)
Amazon CA
Amazon UK (print)
Barnes & Noble
All Romance Ebooks
Kobo
Goodreads

Aurelia T Evans_Fortune_socialmedia_403_0003_finalIn addition to that awesomeness happening, I’ve been interviewed about the start of the Arcanium series by Totally Bound for their Author Spotlight and on Goodreads.

Also, I wrote a long, soul-baring post for Lisabet Sarai’s blog on why I wrote erotica about oddities, in spite of the many anxieties I had about tackling such a sensitive, fraught subject.

“A person doesn’t decide to write about a circus best known for its oddities, some of which are human and others demon, lightly—especially with erotica. There were times when I wanted to hide Arcanium and never let it see the light of day for fear of doing it wrong.

The same issue cropped up to a lesser degree while I was writing the Sanctuary trilogy, when it came to Renee’s mental illness. I drew from my own experience, adding some legitimacy to the fantasy. But did I have a legitimate claim to marvels and oddities, and if I didn’t, what did I have to do to write the subject right? I had to look at this from every mortifying angle to make sure it was the right thing to do. I’m neurotic that way. It’s not always a bad thing.

I eventually realized I was overlooking many cases of the obvious. The biggest one was that asking the questions at all suggested I was writing in the right direction.”

Read the rest HERE.

Coming up this week: free Arcanium Behind the Curtain short stories (which you shouldn’t read until you read Fortune, so dive right into the fray, loves), Fortune trivia, and a blog tour.

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Can I Write Lesbian Fiction?

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Please welcome the lovely Lisabet Sarai this month of Nostalgia. As a fellow omnisexual writer, it’s a pleasure to host her as she discusses the contentious universe of FF erotica.

1192054_72267207byobyvatelI’ve been publishing erotica and erotic romance for a decade and a half, but recently my so-called career has taken a new turn. I’ve begun focusing more on erotic encounters between women.

I’d written some short stories for lesbian anthologies over the years, and always enjoyed the process. However, the outright hostility to any sort of F/F interaction that I encountered in the erotic romance world had me shying away from the sub-genre, even when my imagination pulled me in that direction. Then I received a call for submissions from Cheyenne Blue, an author I’ve always admired, for her collection Forbidden Fruit: tales of unwise lesbian desire. Cheyenne’s theme of forbidden couplings inspired me to write “The First Stone”, about a nun working at a women’s shelter who falls for a ex-junkie whore. I was thrilled with the way the story turned out—indeed, the whole collection is amazing—and then I heard that Laura Antoniou was editing the 2015 edition of Best Lesbian Erotica. I pulled out a story idea I’d been nursing for a long time, determined to submit, though I doubted that a kink-loving editor like Laura would enjoy my rather sentimental tale about second chances in a small town. I was wrong, as it turned out. There’s nothing like an acceptance to give you a feeling of validation, right?

I started toying with the idea of collecting and self-publishing all the F/F stories I’d written over the years. When I mentioned this in a blog post, Caroline from LadyLit (the publisher for Cheyenne’s book) left a comment inviting me to submit that collection to them.

HerOwnDevices_300Motivation! Someone wanted to publish my F/F stuff! I assembled a manuscript, including a brand new 12K fantasy ménage I wrote to balance the more serious tales in the volume. LadyLit accepted the book but asked to pull out that new story, The Witches of Gloucester, as a separate publication. Witches, released in March, was my first stand-alone F/F title. Her Own Devices, the short story collection, is due out this week.

Of course this flurry of F/F publishing means that I need to get busy marketing. I have a problem, though. What should I call these books? My first impulse would be to say they’re lesbian erotica or erotic romance. But am I justified in using the term “lesbian”?

Personally, I’m bisexual, or maybe omni-sexual—not lesbian. I’m attracted to men, women and people in-between. I have lesbian friends, but I’ve little or no experience with lesbian culture, with its types and roles. And while I’ve written characters who are interested exclusively in women, I have others who are nominally straight or even (in the case of my nun) celibate. My stories often focus on women just discovering the appeal of other women, women who have boyfriends or husbands, who might very well continue to have heterosexual interactions even after their initiation into Sapphic passion. If I call these stories “lesbian”, will I be offending women who have appropriated the term to describe a more circumscribed phenomenon?

On the other hand, what’s the alternative? The term “F/F” sounds coy, maybe even exploitative. I’m not writing porn-style “girl-on-girl” scenes to titillate the male imagination (though I would hope that both men and women could enjoy my writing). “Sapphic” has a pretentious quality that bothers me. “Women loving women” covers the ground, but then what happens when I decide to write a trans character?

I hate cubbyholes and cliques and political correctness. I’d rather just say I write erotica and let my readers discover the genders of the individuals involved. In my first two novels— written before I knew anything about the tyranny of genre—I have M/F, F/F, M/M, M/M/M/F and M/F/F/M scenes. (Have I forgotten anything?) I was writing what turned me on personally, and as I note above, I’m omni-sexual. I really couldn’t have cared less about the labels.

Now, alas, I know better.

So what do you think? What should I call my recent work that features sex and love between people of the female gender? I’m taking suggestions.

(Response from Aurelia: Because of the problem of labeling something as bisexual, lesbian, gay, etc. in a lot of fiction – since they almost seem to be genres in and of themselves, and then it calls how the author identifies into question as well – I do tend to go the MF, MFM, FF route. That way, it speaks more to the actual sexual encounters than it does to identity. When I started writing erotica, I was a lesbian, but now I’m an I-don’t-know, and I never really got into any culture but the stay-at-home-alone-eating-ice-cream one. I’ve got that culture down.

If identity is important to the characters, I might label it according to orientation—as in, if being gay or bisexual is a point of plot. But so often the sexuality in my erotica is fluid and mostly not as much of an issue as who the characters are falling for, rather than what, or the orientation is too peripheral to the central plot. So I label according to who the main characters are doing rather than who they are, if that makes sense.

But that’s just personal preference.)

WitchesOfGloucester600x960The Witches of Gloucester by Lisabet Sarai

Blurb

It’s not about power. It’s about love.

The historic port of Gloucester, Massachusetts has a special charm, due at least in part to its resident witches. For decades, raven-maned Marguerite and red-headed Beryl have lived among its hard-working inhabitants, making magic and mischief. Love and sex fuel their supernatural abilities, but duality limits their power. To reach their full potential, they need a third witch to complete their circle.

Rejected as a nymphomaniac by her puritanical boyfriend, Emmeline escapes to Gloucester to work on her PhD thesis. From the moment she arrives, Marguerite and Beryl sense her erotic vitality and unrecognized paranormal talent. The platinum-haired beauty may well be the enchantress they have been awaiting for so long. Now they need to show Em that her prodigious libido is a gift, not a liability, and to persuade her that her destiny lies in the sea-girt town they guard, and in their arms.

Excerpt

In the sweet darkness, every sensation grew more acute. Marguerite deepened the kiss, sucking Emmy’s tongue into her mouth, while Beryl stroked Emmy’s back, belly and thighs. The wandering hands barely touched Emmeline’s body but everywhere they traveled, delicious heat followed.

Sparks danced along Em’s naked skin in the wake of Beryl’s fingers. Naked? When had she removed her clothing? Her eyes fluttered open. Shadows hung in the opulent room, shaped by candles that flickered on the mantel. It was nearly midsummer. How could the night have come so quickly?

Embarrassment, wonder and need warred within her.  Arousal coursed through her body in shimmering waves, so intense it was almost pain. She found herself splayed nude upon the carpet, arms flung out and erect nipples pointing at the ceiling. Her knees were bent, her thighs spread wide in lewd invitation. Moisture seeped from her exposed cleft, dampening the silky nap of the rug beneath her.

Beryl knelt in the gap between Em’s legs, equally naked, her porcelain-pale skin gleaming in the dimness. Candlelight struck glints from her coppery crown. Emmeline couldn’t help staring at the matching tangle hiding the woman’s sex. She ached to part that auburn curtain and taste the moist flesh it concealed.

The older woman grinned. Mischief glittered in her emerald eyes. “Time enough for that later, girl. The first climax must be yours. Trust us. We won’t harm you. We just want to teach you who you are.”

We. The plural made Emmeline wonder about Marguerite.

“I’m here, darling.” The lilting, cultured voice came from behind her. Em twisted backward. Marguerite knelt just above her head, thighs parted, buttocks resting on her heels. The tawny beauty’s pubic curls were mere inches from her own silvery locks, releasing clouds of tidal perfume. Flawless butterscotch-brown skin stretched over Marguerite’s lush breasts and swelling hips. Sleek muscles shifted under the smooth surface as she leaned over to brush her lips across Emmeline’s.

Even that brief contact sent lightning sizzling to Em’s cunt. For an instant she teetered on the edge of climax, before the luscious pressure subsided.

“Shall we take you, Emmeline?” Maguerite’s question wound its way into Emmeline’s consciousness, through a haze of lust. “You must ask us. The ritual requires it.”

Buy Links

LadyLit Publishing

AllRomanceEbooks

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Smashwords

Kobo

iTunes

About Lisabet Sarai

LISABET SARAI writes in many genres, but F/F fiction is one of her favorites. Her lesbian erotica credits include contributions to Lambda Award winner Where the Girls Are, Ippie-winning Carnal Machines, Best Lesbian Romance 2012, Forbidden Fruit: Stories of Unwise Lesbian Desire, and Lammy-nominated Coming Together: Girl on Girl. Her story “The Late Show” appears in the recently released Best Lesbian Erotica 2015.

Lisabet holds more degrees than anyone would ever need, from prestigious educational institutions who would no doubt be deeply embarrassed by her explicit literary endeavors. She has traveled widely and currently lives in Southeast Asia, where she pursues an alternative career that is completely unrelated to her writing. For all the dirt on Lisabet, visit her website (http://www.lisabetsarai.com) or her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com).

Loving the Villain at Amy Valenti’s blog

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fortune_800 (2)I’ve been partial to villains for most of my life, discovering my affinity first for Disney villains. The obsession only grows richer and more mature as I get older.

Of course, villains in real life suck. They’re not nearly as juicy or attractive as the movies make them seem, played by magnetic and attractive actors and actresses brimming with sexual heat, seductive with voices like velvet. I’m a very aural person. Tell me Jeremy Irons purring through Scar’s lines in The Lion King doesn’t do it for you. Or Gary Oldman accessing his deeper register for Dracula in soft-core erotic Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

It doesn’t hurt that most villains are unconventional people, typed as characters who deviate from established norms. (Take the Disney villain, who is most often a deviation from sexual and gender norms.) They also tend to be INTJs, so I can relate. Don’t worry, I’m occasionally Snapish, but I’m not villainous by nature—quite the opposite. I’m way too empathetic.

There’s a freedom to fictional villainy, though. A freedom to casting aside the chains of conventionality or caring what the rest of the world thinks of you. A freedom to living within your own set of rules instead of being a hypocrite pretending to follow the ones pounded into you since birth. Villains appeal to the frustrated nihilist in me. Living within them through the fictional worlds in which I immerse myself makes up for the meekness and obedience in which I engage in the rest of my life.

The thing about villains, though, is that they’re fun for protagonists to take a vacation from reality with, but in erotic romance, their love burns hot, fierce, and unfortunately fast before it becomes too hot to handle—love transformed into something hard, cruel, perhaps obsessive lust—what was called “love’s dark pretender” in Orton’s musical version of Dracula. The villain is always vanquished, and to the hero or heroine goes the spoils.

But don’t villains ever get the love?

Read more at Amy Valenti’s blog

Take A Ride On The Dark Side – Welcome Guest Author Aurelia T. Evans!

Today I’m welcoming back guest author Aurelia T. Evans – and my gawd does she have an awesome book to share with us!

Are you interested in horror and romance, then check out Aurelia’s, Fortune!

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What is your favorite thing about writing?

I suppose I share a desire with many writers to leave the real world behind and make one that isn’t necessarily better, but definitely in my control. Real life is so often out of my hands. When I write, I’m the goddess of my own worlds, and I can make it as spectacular as I want, enjoy things that don’t exist or wouldn’t be nearly as good in the real world, and take a short break from reality. I guess in that sense, all writers are at least a little dissociative.

What do you find is the hardest thing about being an author?

Managing writing time with real life demands.

Read more at…

Take A Ride On The Dark Side – Welcome Guest Author Aurelia T. Evans!.

Bleeding Heart (Bloodbound Book 5)

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It’s been so crazy. I’ve been editing and writing blog posts for the debut of Arcanium in less than two weeks, plus I’ve had a lot of Dayjob work, plus I had an issue with Internet connectivity. All that to say that I forgot to share the final installment of the Bloodbound serial here.

There’s still the complete serial novel and the trade paperback left to share in about a month and a half, but Bloodbound is, for all intents and purposes, completed. I hope you enjoy it, those of you who wait until a thing is finished before trying it. :)

Bleeding Heart promo 3Smashwords
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada
Barnes & Noble
All Romance eBooks
iTunes
Goodreads

For some reason, I can’t find it on Kobo. Check my serial page above in the future to see if it’s turned up.