Sunday, February 24, 2013

Addictions of a Sex Demon Bloghop & Giveaway!

Today, the Romance Reviews is proud to be a part of the Addictions of a Sex Demon Bloghop & Giveaway, coordinated by the remarkable Tasty Book Tours.

Jaye Shield's Sex Demon Trilogy is fun, sassy and completely sizzling, and Addictions of a Sex Demon is a wonderful addition to the series.  The two leads, though driven to find each other by physical needs, are surprisingly emotionally complex, and when they come together, there is no stopping the sparks that flare between them.  Though their world is one where demons can roam freely, they are never free from danger, both paranormal and human--but together, there is nothing that Sephina and Axel cannot accomplish.  Dark, funny, sexy and fiery, this is definitely a book--and a series--to enjoy!

One lucky commenter will win a copy of Addictions of a Sex Demon (your choice .pdf or .mobi available).  Just leave a comment below and the winners will be contacted on Friday, March 1, 2013.

Keep reading for a summary and excerpt:
Sephina is about to trade one addiction for another—and his name is Axel.

Sephina Antara has gotten into a lot of trouble as a sex demon with a drug addiction. Moving to a new village was supposed to help her get clean. But when she relapses, it comes with a side of hot dragon man.

Axel Stavros may be a drug dealer, but he's also the town healer. Half-human, half-dragon, his blood can cure just about anything, but it has some erotic side effects for its user, as the new beauty in town is about to find out…

Content Warning: graphic language, hot foreplay, and even hotter sex, including light bondage and some girl-on-girl action.

Axel reached out and touched the soft flesh of the woman. He'd been given the gift of a hellion with the face of an angel. Her cheek fit perfectly in his palm as he cupped her face. Her eyes flickered in response, shifting from a playful, yellow glow to a deep, primal, amber hue. He drew his finger down her shoulder and observed the heated silk of her skin.
"You're hot enough to be a dragon's mate." He spoke gently, afraid to spook her.
Her dainty hand swatted him away. "A sexual demon like you doesn't need cheesy pickup lines."
He frowned. "Your skin is very warm, woman. What are you?"
"I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours."
Axel appraised her and was happy to note that her climax had helped stop the trembling of her hands. But it would only be a matter of time before the effects of the withdrawal continued. "My name is Axel Stavros, one of the few quetzalem in this realm."
He searched her face for a reaction, but found none. Instead, the firecracker ran a hand through her electric pink hair, mussing it up so that she looked like she'd just rolled out of bed. He groaned at the thought.
"Quetzalem, huh? Well, that explains the tasty BBQ smokehouse quality of your skin."
He frowned. There was no detecting how this woman truly felt about his intentions. "You are familiar with my breed then? Perhaps you know that once a year we go into heat for twelve hours, and during this time we need constant climax to fan the embers of the brimstone lacing our bones. If we do not, our brimstone dries. Never more can we get it back once the cinders turn to ash."
"Well, it's a good thing you found the sex demon in town, isn't it?"
Of course. He should have guessed. She was too damn hot to be anything else; it was her young, innocent face that had convinced him otherwise. He'd already experienced the fire coursing through her veins like liquid passion, and he knew her claim to be more than true. It was an understatement.
He motioned for her to follow him. "Come to my home and I'll give you what you need."
That perked her up. No doubt she thought he meant the fae wing. "You know, sex demons can sympathize with your little problem. Except we have it worse. If we don't get climax on a regular basis, we can weaken, and even die."
"I doubt you've ever had a problem with this." His gaze raked over her sumptuous, goddess-like body. He instantly regretted the words when her yellow eyes swarmed with a deep orange and flecks of brown. She'd gone from carefree to tormented in only the breath of a sentence.
"I haven't, but my sister Zahra nearly died just last month. She was tortured by someone who knew this information. Not everyone likes sex demons. Surely you can appreciate this, dragon boy, since your kind has been hunted to near extinction."
Axel looked upon the woman in a new light. She wasn't just a sensual hellion. She'd seen enough things in her obviously young life to be a woman who knew how to take care of herself. Contemplating what kind of hard times would have led to the thick skin she possessed fueled his veins with rage. Thinking of anyone hurting this beautiful woman brought a haze over his vision. Remembering her current condition, he took her hand in his, but she jerked it away. He'd held it just long enough to realize the shakes had returned.
He'd seen enough withdrawal to know her insides probably felt as if they were soaked in acid, being pickled in bitter liquid need. Her mind would only be half-registering his words. The other half would be an evil mantra teasing her with the desire to make this itching of her skin and pain within her body go away.
"I'd been clean for a month, but I had a slip up the other day." Her gaze flickered with disappointment. "My sister still doesn't know. We left our hometown mostly on my behalf." She
laughed, but it escaped in a bitter, desperate cry. He searched her face for tears, but found none. "Gods, why am I telling this to my dealer?"
"I'll be more than your dealer soon."

Author Info
Jaye Shields holds a degree in Anthropology from San Francisco State University with an emphasis in archaeology. Her previous claims to fame include being a bass player for a grunge band called the Hymens, being mistaken for Britney Spears while in Tokyo, and commercial model. She insists the commercial still counts even though her lines were cut.
 When she's not flying the skies as a flight attendant for a major airline, she spends her time writing sensual paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Thanks to her grandmother, she's been reading romance novels since she was ten years old. Jaye sprinkles her love of history, mythology, and the occult into flaming hot reads. Visit her

And don't forget to check out the other fabulous stops on this bloghop:
Tour Stops
Feb 20th-TBQ Book Palace
Feb 23rd-The Jeep Diva
Feb 28th-Angie Derek

1. You must be a follower at this blog.
2. Post a comment on this post--have you enjoyed other books by Jaye Shields?
Contest Deadline: Friday, March 1, 2013

Winners Selected and Contacted: March 1, 2013
Two winners will be selected via

Congrats to our winner, Joanne!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

"Forever thine, forever mine, forever us..."

I talked last year about how I miss the art of the love letter.  This year, I decided to investigate perhaps one of the most famous love letters in history—one that has been the subjects of countless books and articles and studies, in part because of its famous author.  The other reason is because no one can say for sure who the intended recipient of the letter should have been.  For over a century, people have debated the identity of Ludwig von Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved”, and though one of the theories is discussed a bit below, I think the significance of this letter is really in its impact through history. The love in his letter will live forever—such is the strength of romance and the power of the written word.

Beethoven was never known to be a very charming individual.  He suffered from chronic stomach pains from his early twenties and began going deaf at about age 26, and both conditions made him quite short-tempered.  He was known to stop performances in the middle of a piece if he thought the audience was not giving him the attention and respect he deserved.  His patron in Vienna, Archduke Rudolf, had to make an announcement that the composer was not to be held to the general rules of proper society, so that he could still show his face in court.  Nevertheless, Beethoven had the soul of a Romantic, and history is still trying to uncover all the secrets of his love affairs.  Für Elise, perhaps one of his best known pieces, is believed to be a audible love letter to one of his students (who rejected his marriage proposal).  You can listen to the piece here.

The Immortal Beloved letter was discovered among Beethoven’s papers after his death in 1827.  His secretary kept it for the remainder of his life, and it was sold to the Berlin State Library in 1880 and the speculation began.  Tests on the watermark of the paper in the 1950’s indicate that the paper was made in 1812, which means the letter was written while Beethoven was staying in the Czech city of Teplice.  Why the letter was never sent is still a mystery, but that is nothing compared to the fact that the only name Beethoven gives to the recipient is "Unsterbliche Geliebte", or “Immortal Beloved”.  There have been debates for over a century as to who the lady was who captured the composer’s heart so thoroughly, but it is generally assumed the real recipient was Josephine Brunsvik.

Beethoven, around the time he met Josephine Brunsvik
Josephine and Beethoven met in Vienna when she was 20 and he was 29 and he was hired to give piano lessons to her and her sisters.  Six years later, he wrote of that meeting to her: "Oh beloved J., ... when I met you for the first time - I was determined not to let a spark of love germinate in me...” The endeavor was useless, as Beethoven was clearly in love, but Josephine was forced to marry an exceptionally wealthy count nearly twice her age.  Though he died of pneumonia five years into the marriage, Josephine wasn’t free once she was widowed. Because Beethoven was a commoner, marriage to him would have forced Josephine to relinquish custody of her children.  As she explained to him in a letter dated sometime in the winter of 1806/7: “I would have to violate sacred bonds if I gave in to your request – Believe me – that I, by doing what is my duty, suffer the most…”  Clearly heartbroken, Beethoven ended a reply with the wrenching phrase “I love you as much as you do not love me".
Josephine, around the time of the Immortal Beloved letter

About a year later, Josephine was pressured into marriage to Baron Christoph von Stackelberg, her children’s tutor.  It was a disastrous marriage, and the baron left her two years later.  Desperate for money, Josephine set off to see a family friend in Prague—which was a stop on the way to Teplice, where Beethoven was destined.  That potential meeting may have given Beethoven the inspiration to write his legendary letter, if indeed Josephine was the intended recipient.  Here are some excerpts below (you can read the full text of the letter here).

6th July, in the morning.
My angel, my everything, my very self. – only a few words today, and in pencil (with yours) - I shall not be certain of my rooms here until tomorrow – what an unnecessary waste of time - why this deep grief, where necessity speaks - can our love exist but by sacrifices, by not demanding everything. Can you change it, that you are not completely mine, that I am not completely yours? Oh God, look upon beautiful Nature and calm your mind about what must … if we were wholly united, you would not feel this as painfully, just as little as I … If our hearts were always close together, I would have no such thoughts. my heart is full with so much to tell you - Oh - There are moments when I feel that language is nothing at all - cheer up - remain my faithful only darling, my everything, as I for you, the rest is up to the Gods, what must be for us and what is in store for us. –
your faithful ludwig -

Monday evening, 6th July.
You are suffering, you my dearest creature … you are suffering - Oh, wherever I am, you are with me, I talk to myself and to you[,] arrange [it] that I can live with you, what a life!!!! as it is!!!! without you … However as much as you love me - I love you even more deeply, but - but never hide yourself from me - Good night – as I am taking the baths I must go to bed.
oh go with me, go with me Oh God - so near! so far! Is not our love a true edifice in Heaven - but also as firm as the firmament. –

Good morning, on 7th July.
While still in bed my thoughts turn towards you my Immortal Beloved, now and then happy, then sad again, waiting whether fate might answer us - I can only live either wholly with you or not at all…never can another own my heart, never – never – O God why do I have to separate from someone whom I love so much, and yet my life in V[ienna] as it is now is a miserable life - Your love makes me at once most happy and most unhappy - at my age I would now need some conformity[,] regularity of my life – can this exist in our relationship? – Angel, I have just heard that the mail coach goes every day – and thus I must finish so that you may receive the letter immediately. – be patient – only through quiet contemplation of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together – Be calm; for only by calmly considering our lives can we achieve our purpose of living together.- be calm - love me - today - yesterday - What yearning with tears for you - you - you my life – my everything - farewell - oh continue to love me - never misjudge the most faithful heart of your Beloved
Forever thine
forever mine
forever us.

The rest of the story, however, is not a happy one.  Josephine and Beethoven drifted apart following her second marriage.  Though there is speculation that they arranged a secret meeting in 1816, there was very little communication between them, and Josephine died after a long illness in 1821 at the age of 42.  Whether she was the intended recipient of the Immortal Beloved letter, Beethoven composed a piece of her early in their relationship that is still referred to as “Josephine’s Theme”.   For those fans of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth, Josephine’s Theme is the piece being played when Darcy gives Elizabeth his Look. 
His final Piano Sonata, written just after her death, is a heartbreaking, haunting requiem, echoing that Theme, as Beethoven bid farewell to the woman who may very well have been the love of his life.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Is the Book Dying? by Margaret Daley

I wrote this blog below almost five years ago and I'm still wondering the question: is the book dying? A lot has changed in that short time. Kindle has evolved into the Kindle Fire. We have the Nook and iPad now, too. We have tablets and iPhones to read books on. Best of all, the price for these devices has come down to where it is affordable for a lot of people. Writers now have a choice of going with a traditional publisher or self-publishing. The ebook share of books being sold is growing in the past few years rapidly. So what is the answer to the last question at the end of the blog?

Is the Book (Paperbacks, Hardbacks, Trade) Dying?
By Margaret Daley

For years we have been hearing people predicting that the book was dying—on its way out the door. In the future people will read books on the computer or some kind of handheld device like the new Kindle at Amazon (which I do think is neat but way too expensive). I do think those devices will gain in popularity, but at least for the near future the book is alive and well—holding its own.

I read an article in an airline magazine on my way to Fort Lauderdale about a project that Microsoft was involved in.  It's the high school of the future. The library doesn't have books that you can hold in your hand. Everything is on the computer and all the students have their own laptops. They don't have textbooks.

For the most part things are going along okay, but the students and teachers are complaining there are no books around. They must research on the Internet. Teachers go home and spends hours adapting work from the Internet to present to their students. They miss not having textbooks to supplement their teaching.

Now I don't know about you but I can't sit at the computer all day and especially read on top of that a story on my computer. I think my eyes get tired from the light on the computer. Don't get me wrong. I love my computer and what it can do, but I also love a good old-fashioned book to hold at the beach. So I'm hoping there is a place for both in the future.

What do you see happening in the next ten or twenty years?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Character Study - Buttercup, from Sonata by Blair McDowell

I can't begin writing any new book without first writing background character studies of the people who will inhabit my story. Somehow, in my mind, my stories always begin with place, and, after place, with characters. My stories evolve from the settings and the people.

But even I had to laugh at my preoccupation with character studies when I found myself writing one for a dog.  Of course Buttercup is not just any dog. She's Vancouver Police Detective, Michael Donovan's dog, and she plays an important role in Sonata.

What she's like and how Michael came to have her are vital elements in the story.

Below is the first draft of my character study for Buttercup. Initially, as you will see, I made Buttercup a male, but somewhere during the writing of this novel she told me she was female. My characters have a way of changing on me sometimes—although not usually gender.

Buttercup—Michael Donovan's dog.  

Michael rescued the dog when a drug bust went bad. He found the dog, only a puppy at the time, malnourished and shivering with fright under the bed after its owner had been killed. Michael took him to a vet and then home. Fed him up and ended up with a dog who would gladly give his life for Michael if it seemed needed. Physical description— Malamute and St. Bernard cross, but somewhere in his lineage is a wolf—(other indeterminate ancestors as well). This is one BIG, fierce-looking animal, with a sugar sweet disposition.

The odd name? I haven't figured that out yet, but it is his name. Maybe because of a bright yellow patch under his chin.  Brown and white fur, soft and thick.  Face, white with brown freckles from the top of his head to his nose. One blue eye and one brown eye. Buttercup is a real coward, afraid of his own shadow. Hides under the bed when anyone new comes into the apartment. He stands high enough to eat off the dining table without any effort.


The following excerpt from Sonata shows something of the relationship between man and dog:

Michael fitted his key into the lock of his apartment door and swung it wide. A huge fuzzy mass leapt at him and the two, man and dog, rolled over and over on the carpet.

"Okay. Down, Buttercup." Immediately the beast backed off and sat expectantly on its haunches, tongue lolling, tail thumping on the floor.

"Buttercup, this is Sayuri. Sayuri, Buttercup." The dog lifted a paw the size of a small ham and Sayuri, after hesitating only a moment, shook it.

"How do you do, Buttercup," she said, gravely. Then she turned to Michael in total disbelief. "Buttercup?"

"It's a long story. I'll have to take her out to the park for a quick run before I start dinner. Just make yourself comfortable. There's wine in the fridge. Pour us both a glass. Be right back." With that, man and dog disappeared out the door.


As they went down in the elevator and across to the park, Michael spoke to the dog, "So far so good. We've got her in my apartment. I expect your full cooperation tonight. Whatever happens you are not to climb on the bed, should I get so lucky, or slobber all over Sayuri. If there's any slobbering to be done, I'll do it. Got it, buddy?"

Buttercup wagged her tail furiously, nearly knocking over a passing pedestrian.

"Sorry, ma'am."

Michael thought about how Sayuri had looked when she answered the door. So cool and composed. Delectable. Good enough to eat. Down boy, he reminded himself. Don't blow it now. You've got her this far.

Taking a deep breath, he muttered, "Keep it cool." Then he looked at his dog. "Okay, Buttercup, do your thing so we can get back up there."

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