Tara Neale

June 7, 2012

C791 by Eve Langlais

Filed under: book review,erotic romance,erotica — Tara Neale @ 7:47 am
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Title: C791

Author: Eve Langlais

Source: Amazon, AllRomance and others

Price:  around $2.99

Heat: Out of this world HOT

Rating: Cyber-freaky

Genre: Paranormal/Machines

 

When I started this blog, my purpose was to support other indie-authors. So usually I tend to review unknowns, especially first time authors like myself. But every now and then, a famous name grabs my attention. Eve Langlais was just such an author.

I first learned about Eve from one of my American homeschool friends. She buys and reads everything the woman puts out. I explained my commitment to purchase and read only indie (self) published romance this year. She told me that she thought Eve had a few of those. Then I received one of my twice weekly bulletins from AllRomance. It featured Ms. Langlais’ most recent indie release C791 (Cyborgs: More than Machines). I could not resist the chance to see for myself what my friend was talking about. And I have to be honest; I was not disappointed.

These futuristic erotic romances are the story of a war between man and machine, except the cyborgs are themselves half man. Created to be the ultimate fighting machines, all cyborgs are slated for destruction when a flaw is discovered in their programming. Except the cyborgs have already discovered the flaw which allows them to regain a portion of their humanity. Rather than be swept into the cold nothingness of outer space and death, Joe and Solus lead a revolt that marks them and their kind forever.

When Joe is captured the humans send an unusual woman to examine and interrogate him. From the moment, he sees Chloe’s generous curves Joe felt distinctly human, especially in certain groin regions. He decides that when he escapes he will take her with him. And that’s where the surprises begin.

I was impressed by Ms. Langlais’ skill at world building. In this first book of her Cyborg series, she has crafted a complex set of circumstances, settings and tensions to form a realistic future where man is pitted against his own creation…and man is the bad guy. That may not seem completely right somehow until you consider the basic core of greed and arrogance that is human nature. Is it too far a leap to believe that we could create something semi-human and then destroyed it when it no longer suited our needs?

And of course, the sex scenes lived up to everything my girl friend had told me about Ms. Langlais.  As I have admitted before, I long ago abandoned sweet and innocent for racy and raunchy. This book and the amazing mechanical sex in it are definitely that…and more.

I suppose if I have to have a complaint (and you know I do) it would be that the story could have used more development. You know me as the mother and full-time carer of a special needs child, I adore my novellas; books that I can read in a couple of hours. This is one of those, but then you are left wanting for more. The good news is…there is more. Ms. Langlais has recently released F841, the next in the series. Now I wait impatiently as that larger story unfolds book by book.

While I love supporting new authors on the road to indie publishing, one of the ways that we will all benefit more from this Brave New World is when established authors begin to explore their indie freedoms. So I hope you will join me in supporting this erotic romance author in her indie efforts. You go girl!

And next week…back to a new author…Nancy Lee Badger’s Southern Fried Dragon which is set in one of my favorite childhood haunts Charleston, South Carolina.

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May 4, 2012

Hidden Depths by Emma Holly

Filed under: book review,erotic romance,erotica — Tara Neale @ 8:59 am
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Title: Hidden Depths

Author: Emma Holly

Source: Amazon, AllRomance and others

Price: $3.99

Heat: Flaming hot…even under water

Rating: Wow

Genre: Paranormal/Multiple Partners/Gay-Bi Male

I read just about anything in the romance genre, but I have to admit a unique love for really hot paranormal/sci-fi men. Forget hunky humans…nothing beats an alien or a vampire or a shape-shifter. These guys can play by different rules. Things that would never go with a human lover can be amazingly erotic if one of these guys does it.

Emma Holly’s Hidden Depths takes that to a whole new level. Image a second honeymoon with your husband of over twenty years. You are laying on the beach thinking about how wonderful it is that after all these years you still love one another and the spark has never gone out.

Then out of the waves stalks hulking naked men. One of them grabs you while the others subdue your husband. Walking you out into the waves, your kidnapper tells you that you are his destined bride. He follows this with a breath stealing kiss before plunging you both beneath the waves.

Now add to this, an undeniable attraction to the guy. The fact that the dude is a king…of his own underwater kingdom. Court intrigue that would have done even the Tudors proud. And the king’s gay lover, best friend and chief of security. Oh and did I mention that your hubby has the hots for the king’s lover.

Does it boggle your mind? Stretch your imagination? Perhaps even ignite some curious fires in your libido?

It is an unusual combination of seemingly impossible circumstances that Emma Holly crafts and weaves into the most captivating and titillating story I have read in some time. She delves deep into the human psyche to explore taboos then turns them on their ears. She creates complex but likable characters with flaws and complementary strengths. And it works. She pulls off this seemingly impossible combination of characters and storylines creating a universe in which it all seems perfectly normal. In the end, readers are challenged to examine their own morals (and hidden desires), to consider new depths of relationships and alternative lifestyles. Kudos to Ms. Holly.

Again my only quibble with the story was some formatting problems with the Kindle edition that I read. But what the heck, not gonna let some paragraph spacing keep me from a spell-binding read. And neither should you.

So if this weekend, you want to push your boundaries…explore your kinky side…and fall in love…with not one hot hero, but three…then rush out to your local neighborhood cyber bookseller for this awesome story. Hidden Depths delivers all that its title promises…and more. (Oh and if like me you can’t get enough of this unusual combination, there is a novella called Date Night that is a sequel.)

I want to say special thanks this week to all my friends at IndieRomanceInk for the support and patient answers that they have provided the past couple of weeks as I took my own dive into this brave new world of indie publishing. It has been a steep learning curve and without their advice, encouragement and downloading/Tweeting I don’t know what I would have done. In the coming weeks, I will be featuring some of their works on this blog…reviews of other amazing stories brought to you not by the big business of publishing but by the creative (and in some cases kinky) minds and hard work of talented authors. Hope you will join me for their stories.

Next week, I am back to another of my Savvy Author friends and another unusual combination as I review Nancy Lee Badger’s Southern Fried Dragon. Don’t that name just say it all?

April 21, 2012

My Personal Journey Into This Brave New World

Filed under: erotic romance,erotica,romance — Tara Neale @ 9:14 am
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I know that I said last week that I would review Savvy Author PJ Sharon’s Young Adult novel Savage Cinderella. But several things have happened this week…bad and great. I felt that I simply could not do justice to the review. So taking my creative license (who issues these things anyway?), I decided to share the good, the bad and the ugly of my own Indie publishing road this week.

I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. The one time I got into serious trouble at school was because I was writing a fairy tale for my baby cousin…in math class. In high school, I took Creative Writing class…twice. And I even placed in a regional poetry contest.

But then life…two marriages and six children happened. And writing got put on hold. But writing is something that kept raising its head and just would not die. In 2008, I began to write again…erotica for a free website. I won a contest there in 2009 and thought…here we go. I tried submitting a few things to publishers, but while they liked the ideas they felt my writing was lacking (and when I read most of it…they were right).

In 2010, I started to take online classes at Savvy Authors and have taken dozens in the past couple of years. But again I got side-tracked with real life. But this time, I never completely gave up the writing thing, producing a few more short stories in the next year or so. Then in fall of 2011, we had to take my young daughter, Emily, out of school for health reasons. I became a full-time homeschool mom and carer for a special needs child. It is exhausting work in itself.

But I did not want to give up work completely. So I decided that with the advent of e-readers and the explosion in self-publishing that I would give this writing dream a real go. Writer became my job. I took more classes. I developed writing habits…getting up early to write before my daughter wakes. Still something kept me from taking that final step…from actually publishing something. Perfectionism? Fear of failure? Fear of success?

This month I am taking a few more classes at Savvy, one of them is…E-Publishing with Suzanne Rock. One of the assignments was to get all of our stuff up-to-date; stuff being email signatures, blogs and websites. As I did that I kept saying…Tara is a homeschool mom and aspiring indie writer. ‘Aspiring got on my nerves. Here I am preaching at all of you about this ‘brave new world’ of e-publishing…and hopefully helping other amazing writers make their dreams come true. But I was still…aspiring…waiting on the side-lines.

I decided NO MORE. I had written a short story that turned into a novella for Literotica (the site I mentioned earlier) Earth Day contest. It was doing pretty well. So brilliant me decided to edit this novella, do a cover, format it and put it on Smashwords as a free read to start building my back list.

The story was fairly clean, but I still worked on edits and adding a few bits that made it even better. I started in by downloading the Style Guide for Smashwords…which is NOT as bad as it seems. BUT then I got to the cover. So I have basic skills is design from my old job as fundraising manager.  I found some license free photos that I liked for the cover so it was a matter of merging those and adding text. Simple enough?

NOT! The trouble came in that I do not have any software other than Paint and Word so I could not do the things I wanted to do. I could not really afford to go with getting someone else to do it since I would not be making any money off this one. So I tried downloading some software…and got more than I bargained for. Something besides just the software got on my computer. I ended up having to wipe the whole thing.

Thankfully I have learned from previous mistakes and had all my files saved to disk so I did not lose any of my work. Then it get betters…I had to re-purchase Microsoft Office because my old product key did not work…and the download took forever. I also had to make several calls to their support center for help…that will appear on my phone bill too. Total cost of this book is around £100 or $150 and counting.

Lesson learned…if you are going to do this thing, you can’t afford to be ignorant. You have to be prepared to be a jack of all trades…graphic designer and computer security expert. So I made another  decision…I have enrolled in a design course at the end of this month that will teach me Adobe Photoshop and will purchase that respected brand of software (no more free downloads…they aren’t free).

But after all that…I DID IT! I finished the 3rd round of edits on Thursday morning…and since I was not sure if I had formatting correct I tried the meat grinder at Smashwords. In less than five minutes, my book was available to readers as a free read. I am now published. No more ‘aspiring.’ And it feels amazing. So far in three days, I have almost 100 downloads…and my book has not even completed the review process for inclusion in other catalogues…like Kindle/Amazon.

Now I have taken that jump…I have a new respect for everything that these amazing writers do to give us these books. Their blood, sweat, tears and life goes not just into the writing but the covers, the formatting and all that promoting. So as one indie writer to all the rest of you…THANK YOU for all you do to bring us stories and characters that we might otherwise never have.

And next week…I promise I will get back to the reviews…with PJ Sharon’s Savage Cinderella.

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