SHHM Feature: Dee Tenorio

My goodness this year has been flying by! Technically yesterday was the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, but ALBTALBS doesn’t do Monday posts. >.> To kick off this new celebration of Smithsonian Heritage Month I got the wonderful Dee Tenorio to come visit! I really loved this post and I hope you’ll chime in. :)

What Culture Means To Me

My mother and I were discussing culture the other day, as one of our local grocery stores was having a sale for “Dia De Las Patrias”. Now, I didn’t remember that being a holiday and neither did my mother and she was a bit confused. Allow me to explain. My mother is a Native American and in California, that often means she speaks Spanish, because that’s the language the Indians were allowed and it’s kind of stuck. Now, me? I mangle my father’s language horribly. I can understand it to a degree (especially Spanglish), but I read it a heck of a lot better than I verbalize it. Between the two of us…yeah, we didn’t know what that was. It translates to “Day of The Homelands”, which seems to be a very sweet reference to the Mexican Independence celebrations going on down south. To which my mother asks, “Why are we celebrating that here? It’s not OUR independence.”

Much to my surprise, I had a good answer: Because it’s their culture. Your culture is part of you no matter where you are.

I’ll be honest, being brown in Southern California has had some serious drawbacks in my time. (It was worse before my time, but that’s a different story.) So a lot of my sense of being Hispanic is wrapped up in my sense of being rejected because of it. Folks get it in their head what Hispanic means and judge accordingly, whether that’s good or bad or blasé. Being born Mexican didn’t make me automatically a “wetback”, it didn’t mean I would magically know the language. I didn’t have a mental blueprint for cutting lawns and I wasn’t inclined to clean houses or serve. That’s what it means to a lot of people here.

For me, being Hispanic—being Mexican—is a lot about food, lol. It’s about my Grandmother’s kitchen and the music she loved to listen to. It’s telenovelas starring actresses with fabulous hair sobbing streaks of make up down their cheeks while we peeled potatoes and stared in awe, demanding Grandma tell us what was going on. It’s about the sound of my grandfather speaking Spanish so fast no one could tell where any words ended. My mom teaching us Cumbias and and the utter glory that is pan dulce, fresh from the bread man’s truck. And, yes, it’s a lot about tortillas. There is a sound that not a lot of people recognize anymore—the sound of a metal rolling pin hitting the wooden cutting board with this perfect “ting” every time it comes down and rolls the masa into a perfectly circular shape. That’s the sound of being Mexican for me, a chime that encapsulates the smells and voices and memories of my childhood.

We talked then, about how culture isn’t just where you are or even where you come from. It’s about the experiences you have with your family and the traditions that you share with the ones who came before and the ones you bring up. My kids all know the sound of the tortillas being rolled out. They know the smell of the beans and deliciousness of menudo. But I think the best thing we’ve been able to share with them is the togetherness we feel when we sit at the table together and create memories they can share with their children. Hopefully memories filled with laughter, spices and commitment…and maybe a little cumbias on the side.

About the Author: Dee Tenorio has a few reality issues. After much therapy for the problem—if one can call being awakened in the night by visions of hot able-bodied men a problem—she has proved incurable. It turns out she enjoys tormenting herself by writing sizzling, steamy romances of various genres spanning paranormal mystery dramas, contemporaries and romantic comedies. Preferably starring the sexy, somewhat grumpy heroes described above and smart-mouthed heroines who have much better hair than she does.

The best part is, no more therapy bills!

Well, not for Dee, anyway. Her husband and kids, on the other hand…

If you would like to learn more about Dee and her work, please visit her website.

ConvictedThe only thing more dangerous than passion is the truth.

Retired Marine and new Sheriff’s Deputy Cade Evigan is hanging onto his damaged soul—and his personal code—by a thread. His current mission? Weed out a violent motorcycle crew from a small mountain town. The problem? Katrina Killian, a woman standing firmly on the other side of the law, smack in the middle of the gang he’s there to destroy. She may get under his skin, but the sultry biker has criminal written all over her. So why can’t he see her like any other convict?

For two years, Katrina has been a DEA agent hiding in plain sight amidst a pack of killers, working to put an end to the gang that has terrorized her hometown. The last thing she needs is to fall in love with a man who could blow her cover—and her heart—to pieces, but Cade’s become an addiction she can’t break. Unable to risk either of their lives with the truth, she plays both ends against the middle to keep him safe. But lies can only last so long, and Katrina’s time has just run out…

Sound good? You can get a copy here! :D

SHHM is Smithsonian Hispanic Heritage Month

Hello darlings! The plan this year was to celebrate all the Smithsonian Heritage Months. We’re still in the process – and who knows, there might be a repeat. But! I just wanted to let you know what “SHHM” stands for because you’ll be seeing it in front of all the posts from September 15 – October 15. Which, actually, is when Hispanic Heritage “Month” is. (I don’t get it either.) Anyway … Yay Hispanic Heritage Month!!!

I also wanted to let you know that I’m basically coming out of a 4+ month hiatus, so fingers crossed things will finally look up and stop being so crazy!

Thanks so much for sticking with me – I miss you all! <3

Birthday Girl: Erin McCarthy

Hello my darlings! You’ll never believe it, but this post was more than a year in the making. And then, in the way things are, it happened last minute. XD [My fault :X] I want to say this is the first time Erin McCarthy has a guest at ALBTALBS, so everyone please give her a warm welcome! Don’t let her regret being here! ;)

So without further ado… our birthday girl! The lovely and talented author Erin! (Which incidentally, is her twitter handle :D )

ShatterSeptember 13 is my birthday and while I have that natural reaction of “how in the hell has another year gone by??” I love to celebrate… who doesn’t, right? The timing is such that Shatter, book 4 in my True Believers series just released and the heroine, Kylie, is pregnant on her 21st birthday. True story, I was pregnant on my 21st birthday. While I wasn’t anything like Kylie personality-wise, I was that twenty year old puking my guts up, trying to make it to class, and watching all my friends party while I was preggers. That 21st birthday is such a milestone and I remember thinking what did it matter anyway, as I’d already reached adulthood the minute morning sickness hit and made me aware my entire life was changing. Forever. And ever. And then some.

Funny how that baby of mine is now 21 herself and all those years of birthdays have zipped by, from the time she had a raging fever at 3 and missed the preschool field trip to the pumpkin patch to when I cried at her 16th birthday party when the DJ played “Sixteen Candles.” My birthdays became less important than her birthdays and now as I celebrate my own birthday this year I am reflecting on my empty nest, a life well lived, and how with my baby grown, my books have become my babies of sorts. Well, and my dog. She is stuck to my leg as thoroughly as any self-respecting toddler.

I also have a pregnant heroine in my September 25 release, Let Me In, book three in the Blurred Lines series. I think it’s safe to say I have been thinking a lot about my own experiences at that age and infusing those intense emotions I felt into my New Adult books. So I hope that you’ll enjoy reading them knowing they’re legit and from my own experiences. I’m going to spend my weekend with my man and my cake and candles. All 42 of them. :)

Cheers,
Erin

Don’t you think I’ve forgotten the book info! :D (And yes, I know the post is about Shatter but … I like how Sweet looks, so don’t you think it looks nice up there?) :)

ShatterKylie Warner prides herself on being optimistic, but after finding her best friend in bed with her boyfriend and flunking chemistry, her upbeat attitude has taken a dive. Even an impromptu hook-up with her sexy new chemistry tutor only brightens her mood slightly. After all, it’s not like she’ll ever see the tattooed scholar again…

While he’s a whiz at complex equations, Jonathon Kadisch has trouble when it comes to figuring out women. So when Kylie tells him that she’s pregnant after their night of passion, he’s at a complete loss. He’s prepared to be a good father—unlike his own deadbeat dad—but he’s less prepared to fall for the genuine and alluring blonde bearing his child.

With emotions running high, Kylie wonders if Jonathon’s devotion is out of growing love or looming obligation. And when heartbreak threatens to tear them apart, Jonathon will have to fight for the only girl who’s ever made him feel whole…

And remember to wish Erin a very happy birthday! <3 … Also you should be nice to her cuz she very well may be a vampire. <.< 42. Pft. Clearly she is aging in reverse. You could also give Erin the birthday present of ordering her newest book here! ;)

Guest Jill Sorenson: Sexy vs. Erotic. You Choose.

I’m back! We’re back! Or, trying to be. And I’m happy to say that kicking it off will be ALBTALBS friend author Jill Sorenson! I really hope you’ll chime in. :)

The Dirty Scale: Sexy vs. Erotic

Hello Limecello & friends! I’m a little nervous about my upcoming release. While I was writing Riding Dirty, I wasn’t sure if the story would be erotic or just really sexy. I left it open, letting the heat level develop naturally. I’d plotted the character details and suspense elements, but I hadn’t planned a specific number of sex scenes. I ended up with 6, about 50 pages out of 320, which is roughly 15% of my story. Sexier than my other books, but does it qualify as erotic romance? Let’s discuss.

One of my favorite romance novels is Liberating Lacey by Anne Calhoun. It’s very sexy. The hero and heroine get in on in the bar parking lot, against a stranger’s truck, shortly after meeting. They continue to have steamy encounters, but the sex is mostly vanilla and I don’t think it’s the primary focus. There’s a lot happening between these characters outside of the bedroom.

What She Needs

(This is not the cover for Liberating Lacey, but let’s pretend it is.)

Victoria Dahl’s Looking for Trouble is another great example. The hero and heroine have an intensely erotic hookup early in the story. There are several detailed sex scenes with words like pussy, cock and cunt. Is it dirty? Absolutely. Is it an erotic romance? I’m not sure. I think the characters’ emotional journeys and family issues take precedent. The non-sexual moments in the story are just as important, if not more.

Looking for Trouble

In both of these novels, the ways the characters relate to each other sexually is integral to the storyline, but the sex isn’t the main course. Just an extra-yummy dessert.

I’ve heard that an erotic romance won’t make sense if you can take out the sex scenes. I’ve also heard that the sex must be edgy to qualify. Anal, ménage, bdsm—this is the stuff of “real” erotic romance. Some authors insist it’s about language used, not about type of sex or quantity of sex scenes. Cock is ubiquitous in almost all heat levels, but pussy and cunt are seldom seen in the mainstream.

This is RWA’s definition of erotic romance:

Novels in which strong, often explicit, sexual interaction is an inherent part of the story, character growth, and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These novels may contain elements of other romance subgenres (such as paranormal, historical, etc.).

Riding Dirty doesn’t probably qualify as erotic based on quantity. I don’t think it qualifies under the “without the sex, the story falls apart” standard, either. But the language is definitely graphic, and the sex isn’t what I’d call vanilla. Maybe instead of “sexy” (which can mean almost anything) or “erotic” (which indicates a central sexual journey) we can coin a new term for the in-betweeners: Dirty Romance.

What do you think makes an erotic romance? The number of sex scenes, type of sex, language used, sexual journey? Something else?

And since I’m sure you’re dying for more … here’s Jill’s book info :D

Riding Dirty He’s her weapon of choice

Psychologist Mia Richards wants revenge. Her new client, tattooed Cole “Shank” Shepherd, provides the perfect means. She just has to manipulate the felon-turned-informant into eliminating her husband’s killers—members of Cole’s rival motorcycle club. The first step, seducing Cole, is simple. As for walking away before she falls hard—it’s already too late…

Dirty Eleven practically raised Cole, and he plans to double-cross the cops rather than sell them out. But smart, sexy Mia is an irresistible distraction. While she’s evaluating his mind, all he can think about is her body…until he discovers her true intentions. Walking a fine line between desire and betrayal, they’ll have to outrun her past, his enemies and the law for a love that’s dangerously real.

Guest Author & A Giveaway Teaser Tuesday Edition: Rain on Me by Eden Conner

You guys, it’s Tuesday, dammit, and that’s what I’m sticking to. We’re all going to say it’s Tuesday, and I’m on top of things, and breathing, and it’s ok. Right? Right?! … Anyway, now that Ms. Eden Conner has had this neurotic intro, let’s get to her post before anything more happens on my part >.>

My latest release, Rain on Me, began as a question posed in a writer’s group. Someone asked, “What’s been missing from the novels you’ve read lately?” Although there were some hilarious responses, my answer was ‘weather’. Apparently, it’s always sunny in other authors’ imaginations. Then, the gauntlet was thrown: Write one scene using the missing criteria. The scene I wrote eventually became the second chapter of Rain on Me. The story is written from two, first-person points of view, that of a widowed mailman and practitioner of the Japanese art of sexual bondage, Ray Casey, and a determined, younger, detective, Zinnia Jackson. In the scene I’m sharing today, Zin fears her sister’s impending death, yet she spurns Ray’s attempt to comfort her. And a Dom denied is a Dom determined to show his little sub who’s the boss.

Rain on MeIf every heart’s a package someone else has tied in knots, how did bondage unravel mine?

I’d sleep with the devil to nail the source of illegal poker machines pouring into my district. It’s personal between me and those one-armed bandits, but when my captain asked me to go undercover as a sexual submissive to catch our suspect, my gut said “Hell, no, even I can’t tell a lie that big.”

Enter Ray Casey, shibari master, who spent two weeks showing me the world of erotic bondage. I fell hard for Ray, but the outcome of our affair was preordained; duty above all.

When the unthinkable happened, where could I turn when I couldn’t trust my brothers in blue? My instincts lead me back to Ray, but he wants me to submit to something harder than a little BDS&M….

~Zinnia J. Jackson, Det. 1st Grade, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division

 

RAY

Tying, for me, is foreplay.

My ties weren’t elegant tonight. They didn’t have to be, to accomplish my purpose. This little poser thought she’d use sex to hold intimacy at arm’s length?

This is my game. And she was about to learn how well I played it.

“Only the Dom initiates sex,” I explained. “For you to try and manipulate me like that… well, I think perhaps you need to learn who’s in charge here.”

Leaning forward, I pressed my lips to her navel. Feeling under the table for the leg, I lashed the limb to the sturdy taper.

Her eyes were wide when I moved to the other side and repeated the action.

It was such a shame she couldn’t see me pick up the chopsticks.

I knew she felt the pressure when I placed them, one on either side of her inner folds, pointing from head to toe, because she drove her heels against the table and her back bowed.

“It’s the right, and the responsibility, of a Dom to comfort his submissive.”

Her pupils were blown, and it wasn’t lost on me that she didn’t argue. There was such a supple give to her hands, arms, and legs—a lack of fight that spoke volumes. “To refuse to be comforted….”

The twist ties I save from bread loaves were within reach, so in moments, I had the chop sticks bound together, pinching her most tender flesh.

I left her there to retrieve a couple of condoms, a bottle of lube, and a hank of thicker rope.

Returning to the kitchen, I stood by her head, where she could watch me twist the rope into an elongated knot and drop it into one of the condoms. Her tummy hollowed when I lubed the latex. Did the little minx lift her ass to help me seat the knot? Goosebumps appeared on her inner thighs when my hands brushed her skin.

Standing between her splayed thighs, I screwed the knot into place, taking my time, enjoying the sight of her dusky skin against the golden oak table, and eyeing the glistening pink of her slit.

ZIN

His fingers were slick with lube. They pierced my channel without effort, a forceful thrust he accompanied by dropping his free hand over my eyes.

I sensed his anger, but if I’d wondered, the fierce way he plunged inside me removed any doubt I’d offended him. I had no time to worry about my sin. Every time he pressed into me, his wrist struck the end of the chopsticks. Each rough blow jostled my clit and delivered a searing burst of pleasure. Each retreat left me with vibrating strips of bamboo that seemed to pinch more tightly with each strike. Desire coiled inside me.

He set a hard rhythm.

Just as I grew accustomed to the feeling, he changed direction. Rather than sliding in and out, he curled his fingers and changed his motion to an up-and-down stroke. His fingertips strafed a spot that sent flashes of heat streaking through my veins and his callous force took my breath.

Now, I longed for the closeness I’d spurned outside. Ached to be held, to have my arms free so I could hold him. His scent flooded my senses, overlaid with the smell of sex—my sex.

“This,”—he growled, nearly yanking my ass off the table now—“this is the Dom’s dominion, his temple, his sanctuary, and his rightful place.” He gave his fingers a fierce twist, so I had no doubt he was talking about my channel. “You may neither offer nor withhold sex. Understand?” He renewed his up-and-down thrusting, faster than before.

What I understood was that I was on the verge of coming. “Y-yes,” I panted, an instant before unbearable pleasure suffused me. Streaks of heat sizzled through my veins and I climaxed with such force, I screamed.

“Yes, Sir.” His tone was detached. I ached to see his face. To be denied that ability while he brought such intense pleasure seemed unfair.

I managed to swipe my tongue across my dry lips. “Yes, sir.”

Ray’s hand didn’t cease moving, but he returned to the in-and-out motion. Meaning he slammed into the chopsticks again and again—agonizing, delicious torture. Another orgasm flashed through me, bowing my back. Talons of pleasure pierced me, holding me rigid, while inside, I shook helplessly. Ray kept thrusting, driving into me with such force, the table legs rattled against the floor.

My nipples felt like scorched earth. With every thrust he made inside me, my breasts shook, and in turn, the motion jostled my fingers. That movement tightened the ropes pinching my nipples, sending a sizzle of pleasure through the sensitive peaks. The knot inside my anal canal was pressed between the table and his fingers, adding a decadent layer of sensation as it rolled and twisted inside me.

In short, every erogenous spot was being touched, and all he used were two thick fingers. Recognition of that masculine power gripped me, shoving me over the edge again. Tears leaked from the corners of my eyes, and I shuddered through another orgasm.

My juices smeared my inner thighs and I felt them running down my crack. I’d never felt this kind of pleasure. The orgasms kept coming and coming, flooding me with heat, with wetness, with a white-hot thrill that bordered on pain.

I tried to grip his fingers with my muscles, to still them, but the harder I clamped down on his hand, the more aggressive his thrusts became.

I screamed. I cried. I begged him to stop, and all that did was persuade him to change directions again. There was something so brutal about the up-and-down motion, and yet, the act turned me to mush inside. I couldn’t help but respond to the rough treatment with another burst of wetness. I fought for enough breath to scream out my pleasure. Or beg for mercy.

I crested, fell, crested again, and still he forced his fingers into me. I sensed he bent his head by the warm breath sliding across my belly.

The soft stroke of his tongue warned me before he bit down on my clit. His fingertips dug into that sensitive spot inside me I hadn’t known was there.

Pain sizzled inside the small nub, a sharp but tiny pain, more unexpected than brutal. Bright colors burst behind my eyelids and the incredible pleasure was so intense, I lifted my hips, forcing his face into my mound. I’d never gushed so hard.

Then, my darkness became absolute.

I was vaguely aware when he let the ropes loose. Knew when he pulled the knot free, but I was too dazed to respond. I could barely wrap my arms around his neck when he lifted me, but when he laid me in the bed, I couldn’t let him go. The pounding in my veins gradually slowed to match the languorous rain beating the roof. Distant thunder blended with the strong beat inside Ray’s chest. I was basted in bliss and his cock was hot and hard against my belly.

His lips on my neck felt like a blessing, and forgiveness.

He slid out of the bed. I heard the water run in the bathroom. He brought back a cloth. Where was my shame? I let him pry my legs open and marveled at his gentle touch with the cloth, but the soft swipes made me shudder and wrung another tiny orgasm from me.

“I’m sorry.” I couldn’t stop crying. I thought he’d take me, roll me to my back and fuck me, but as soon as he came back to bed, his breathing slowed and his hard-on gradually subsided. My last thought before I drifted off was that he’d given me pleasure and yet taken nothing.

The realization took more than I’d meant to give.

I’m giving away one e-copy of Rain on Me. To be entered in the contest, all you need do is post your e-mail address and answer the same question that spawned this story: What’s been missing from the novels you’ve read lately? I’ll e-mail the winner to ask their preference of either Kindle or ePub format. (Please note: I do not offer the .pdf format.)
Thanks for reading!

~E
About this author

Eden Connor graduated from Converse College with a degree in Psychology so long ago, her sheepskin is chiseled in stone. She’s been a graphic artist, a bridal photographer and an antique restorer. Since the death of her true love, she raised two children to adulthood and now has the time to return to writing. She writes primarily contemporary erotic romances, the odd bit of erotica and an occasional paranormal piece. Most of her writing is set where she lives, in South Carolina, so expect the handsome stranger to come equipped with a slow drawl. Addicted to hazelnut creamer, baseball and cranberry glass, she likes the music of Motown and when not writing about adults behaving badly, she takes a stab at the occasional needlepoint canvas.

Yay giveaway! Yay exclusive excerpt! What’d you think? :D

Special Guest: Birthday Girl Sonoma Lass!

Hello my friends! It’s birthday month, and a Saturday, which must mean it’s time for a reader post. Beyond that, today is Sonoma Lass’s actual birthday – so everyone please wish her the happiest and best of birthdays! I also hope you’ll answer her question, because I’m curious as to what you have to say as well. <3

In looking over the list of books I’ve finished on my Kindle lately, I see less genre romance than I expect. I’ve started and then abandoned more than I care to admit, and I’ve put my head down to finish a couple because I wanted to review them. And I realized, somewhat belatedly, that the problem I’m having is one that I almost never mention in the reviews I write. So here it is: I am tired of beautiful people.

I know that one aspect of romance is the fantasy – two people overcoming obstacles and finding true love, in a way that many people in real life never manage. Depending on the sub-genre, a lot of those obstacles may be ones that most readers will never face. And I have heard reader after reader say that they want to read fantasy characters in their romances – beautiful, talented, extraordinary people falling in love.

BUT I have also heard readers say that they wish for more variety in the genre – including older main characters, fat main characters, and others who aren’t beautiful in the conventional way. And I do see some of those books, but mostly I see beautiful people. And that’s getting dull.

Now, some of these beautiful people don’t realize that they are beautiful – we get ugly duckling storylines, or books where the heroine has low self-esteem and doesn’t know that she’s gorgeous. But in the end, these are still books about beautiful people. Not what I want.

I myself am not beautiful. I’m not “ugly,” and when I was younger I had a conventionally “good” body, facility with make-up, and reasonable fashion sense. So while I’ve never been “the pretty girl,” I’ve never felt repulsive either. The key thing is, I have never felt that a man was interested in me based on first on my looks. But the men who have loved me have found me beautiful TO THEM; they love me, and they love my face and my body because they are the package in which the woman they love is wrapped. The handful of times in my life that I’ve felt really “in love,” that’s been part of it, and certainly is in my current long-term relationship.

My partner is a good-looking guy. He’s not a “hottie,” a hunk, or matinee-idol handsome, and he’s put on a few pounds since turning 50, but his is the dearest face in the world to me. I can appreciate conventionally attractive men, but they don’t make my heart flip over the way he does. Because I’m in love with him, and so however he looks is how the man I love looks, if that makes any sense.

In my mind, that’s a much greater thing: loving someone so much that whatever package they come in is dear to you. That means that if they gain weight, go bald, get sick, have surgery, or just plain get old, they don’t have to worry that you’ll stop loving them, because conventional, external beauty wasn’t a big part of the picture in the first place. I want to read about that kind of love, because that’s the kind of love that I can believe will really last.

It’s not that I never see these stories; just not enough of them lately. So what do you think – do you prefer beautiful main characters? Are there particular books that you think are relevant here? Do you have recommendations for me???

[Fabulous post, thank you! And happy birthday SL!!!]