Friday Five: Viveka Portman

1607Author: Viveka Portman
First published with Escape: 2013
Favourite romance trope: Historical
Ideal hero (in three words): Strong, masculine, confident
Ideal heroine (in three words): Interesting, clever, thoughtful
Latest book: The Journal of a Vicar’s Wife
What began your romance writing career? Why do you write romance?

I always wrote stories from a young age, and I decided to get serious about it after my good friend and fellow author Shona Husk urged me send some of manuscripts off for publication. I chose the romance genre because I think there is far too much unhappiness in the world, and I have no intention of adding a miserable story to it. Romance by definition has a happy ending, and that’s what I love about it.

Viveka (1)What is your writing Kryptonite?

My small farm usurps most of my time these days, and though I love it, I am struggling to find time to write. Which I hate. My latest work has been ‘in progress’ for over two years: fingers crossed we’re nearly there!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to research for a book?

I spent a great deal of time researching testicular injuries for my book “The Private Affairs of Lady Jane Fielding.” I am now fully versed in the appearance, and symptoms of a testicular atrophy.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

When I’m writing, my face contorts with the emotions that my character is feeling. So I’m intermittently scowling, smiling, frowning, smirking at the computer screen. My children find this disturbing.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/familiar? Do you have one alViveka (2)ready?

I love my animals from my sheep to my steers, but my mascot would undoubtedly have to be my cat Al, he’s a naughty, funny, cuddly monster who will sit on my lap, computer, desk for however many hours I stay there. There’s not better writing companion.


24497The final instalment in Viveka Portman’s sexy, sinful Regency Diaries sees an unhappy wife desperately seeking love—and her taciturn husband who doesn’t know how to reach her.

My husband, though I do not doubt his goodness, does not love nor want me. He married me for pure convenience. He needed a bride and I was the one offered to him. Thus I find my pleasures where I may…

Mrs Maria Reeves has been married for six years. Six long, lonely years. She craves love and affection, but married to a handsome but pious vicar she receives little in the way of earthly pleasures. The Reverend Vicar Frederick Reeves is a man of principle and morals, and is more likely to provide his wife with suggested Bible readings than carnal knowledge.

If her husband will not please her, then she will find a man who will.

But infidelity doesn’t come naturally to the vicar’s wife. Though Maria finds herself getting the sexual pleasure she desires, she also finds herself emotionally frayed and unhappy. To make matters worse, in the small village of Stanton there are always people watching, and Maria discovers that some secrets are impossible to keep. What will her upright husband do when he discovers that Maria has broken not only one of the commandments, but her vows to him?

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December Gift Guide: For Fiery Women!

by Viveka Portman

For the fiery feminist or woman seeking empowerment here are my three must read books:

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Warrior Women  by Robin Cross and Rosalind Miles.
This one goes through 3000 years of female courage and heroism; it covers all the greats. From the historic Amazons to China’s formidable Wu Chao, it carries across the globe right through to modern day ballbusters like Margaret Thatcher and US Military heroines from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.This book is inspirational for women and men who have the sense to know that history isn’t always made or written by humans with penises.

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Personally, I think every school girl should be made to read at least some of these amazing stories. In fact – I bought it for my own daughter.

These are the stories behind well known (and lesser known) women who wittingly or unwittingly have helped shape Australian society. From the mother of poet Henry Lawson, to Edith Cowan (Australia’s First Female Paliamentarian) to Mary MacKillop – Australia’s first Catholic saint… this book is absolutely inspirational. Some of the women in this book rose from the darkest places to make a lasting imprint on this country – whether they are remembered for it or not. Read it, be inspired by it, and I guarantee you’ll learn a thing or two about yourself in the process.

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This book is filled with the audacious exploits of some very strong and unusual women. From the strange and sad lives of early Indigenous Australian women like Mary Cockerill and Walyer, the reader discovers equally fascinating and tragic tales of early transgender women, like Miss Ellen Tremaye who later became Edward De Lacy Evans, and Marion “Bill” Edwards. This is not a book about ‘great’ women. It’s about women with hidden agendas, women who were unusual or just plain angry – but all left an indelible mark on the people who knew them. Definitely worth a look!


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If you know readers who love historical romance novels with strong, unusual women, then be sure to check out Viveka’s Regency Diaries, a quintet of brilliant regency stories, perfect for hot summer reading.

Reformed Hero: how much rake can you take?

This week’s romance trope is Reformed Hero (sigh), aka the Reformed Rake. First up is Viveka Portman, who got us thinking about how much rake is too much rake…


The reformed hero is commonly known in Historical Romance as the ‘rake’—and doesn’t he sound delectable? A little naughty, a tad forbidden, a wicked little fantasy in which to indulge.

We all a love a bad boy and I am no exception, especially when he’s dressed like Darcy in a daydream. That’s why chose to write The Wicked Confessions of Lady Cecelia Stanton using the ‘reformed hero’ trope.

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But what is a rake exactly? The consensus seems to be that ‘rake’ is a historical term for a man who is habituated in immoral conduct (particularly womanising). A rake’s habits also included wasting his inherited fortune on gambling, wine and music while incurring excessive debt in the process.

Oh dear.

He’s not looking quite so sexy now, not even if he is wearing Darcy’s dripping shirt.

My books, although romantic to bone, are realistic, and I’m not one to turn away from a challenge. Therefore, I made my hero Lord Stanton every inch the typical rake: womaniser, gambler, drunk.

He is so bad, one reviewer even went so far as to call him ‘venereal disease in a petri dish’.

Ouch. Maybe I shouldn’t have told you that.

It really goes without saying Stanton’s philandering really gets under some reader’s skin.

Not unlike herpes.

I’m kidding. I’m kidding.

Stanton is a rake in the truest sense of the word and the process of reforming him made me love this trope even more.

In all honesty I’ve never read a hero in a romance quite as rakish as Lord Stanton. I’m not going to lie—as he’s a married man, the gritty issue of infidelity raises its head and gives you a solid hairy eyeball thoughout the story. Yet, realistically, the issue of infidelity in marriage is a conflict many real-life women deal with and resolve as best they can.

The closest character I can think of would match Lord Stanton’s level of rakishness would probably be Killian Jones aka ‘Captain Hook’, in the TV series Once Upon a Time. He drinks, he gambles, he womanises and he’s unbearably gorgeous. The only difference is, he and his lover aren’t really an item (yet) and certainly aren’t married.

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This was a very challenging trope to write, and it’s subverted because not only is Lord Stanton being unfaithful, his wife (the heroine of the story) is also in love with her maid.

I’ll let you process that for a minute.

Yes, Stanton’s wife is also unfaithful with her maid.

Truly, it’s a marriage made in hell, rather than heaven.

Still, married women didn’t get property rights until about 1889, and so there was no chance that Lady Cecelia Stanton could leave her husband, let alone live happily with her maid and retain a decent lifestyle for herself or her children.

Wait, children? They have children?

Yes, Lord and Lady Stanton are the parents of four children, with one on the way. I probably forgot to mention that Lady Cecelia is pregnant during the book too.

So, both parties have very little choice but to make the marriage work, and eventually they do, albeit in a highly unconventional way.

I do like keeping a trope fresh!

Of all the books I have written, The Wicked Confessions of Lady Cecelia Stanton remains the most controversial. Many readers have loved exploring the intricacies of a very complex historical marriage, while others found Lord Stanton’s rakishness too far from the safe familiarity of the usual reformed hero trope.

All I know is that I thoroughly enjoyed writing this book, and will leave you to make up your own mind about how much of a rake is rake enough.

 


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When faced with a rakish, lusty husband, what is a proper English wife to do but educate herself in the art of bedplay?

Forced Proximity (with a twist)

The romance-literature trope of Forced Proximity was such a popular one with Escape authors that we had to start ‘forced proximity week’ a bit early to fit in all their different takes on the topic! We hope you enjoy.


by Viveka Portman

Imagine being forced to marry a man twice your age, against your will, knowing you are destined for a life that in no way matches the one you’d envisioned or hoped for.

That’s forced proximity, and it sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it?

But does it have to be?

It’s that question that attracted me to the Forced Proximity trope.

I am an unashamedly curious person by nature, and I love a challenge, so creating a situation in which horrible forced proximity could be made pleasurable was a story I simply had to write.

One of my favourite examples of this trope is in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I read this series in my late teens and early twenties, and was entranced by the development of Jamie and Claire’s romance after they were forced to marry. Naturally the romance didn’t run smoothly, but I am sure anyone who has read the books or watched the series would agree it was an exciting and decidedly erotic adventure.

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There are challenges in writing forced proximity though—like how to make it desirable and how to make it real.

When I wrote The Secret Diary of Lady Catherine Bexley, I spent a lot of time playing with the trope, and considering just how I would make the story attractive to the reader. After all, it’s about a young woman marrying an older man who, although handsome, is stuffy and a bore. How was I possibly going to make that romance work? In my opinion, it’s all to do with character development. I made my Lady Catherine a curious woman, who was learning about herself just as much as she was learning about sex at the beginning of her marriage. Her husband too was embarking on a learning journey of his own; he naturally desires his attractive young wife, but is mindful of her sensibilities—much to Catherine’s chagrin. I subverted the trope by making the naive wife the champion in the couple’s quest for happiness and sexual fulfilment. She doesn’t overly lament her situation, but proactively seeks a solution to her own sexual frustration and her husband’s repressed nature.

It was a fun twist on a well-worn trope.

There is something magic in the familiarity of reading romance. Discovering when a well-known trope has been written and twisted in a new way that thrills and titillates is one of the special things that the romance genre offers that others cannot.


diaryRegency England gets just a bit raunchy in this novella about a gently-raised lady who wants to feel like a woman…

Try one of Escape’s Rising Stars of Romance – for Free!

Apple iBooks Australia is promoting the Rising Stars of Romance for the next two weeks, and many Escape Authors are featured. The best part? You can get the first book in one of their series for free!

Most of these titles are also free on Amazon AU. So check them out!

House on Burra Burra Lane – Jennie Jones

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Just ten days after her fresh start in the isolated Snowy Mountains, Samantha Walker trips over a three hundred pound pig and lands in the arms of Dr. Ethan Granger — and the firing line for gossip. It was hardly a ‘date’ but sparks of the sensual kind are difficult to smother in a community of only 87 people. Now there’s a bet running on how long she’ll stay and what she’ll get up to while she’s in town.

Ethan has his own issues — Sammy’s presence in his childhood home brings with it painful recollections of family scandals and a bad boy youth. When the gossip around them heightens, his life is suddenly a deck of cards spread on the table for all to see. Then Sammy’s past catches up with her… and it looks like all bets are off.

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In Safe Hands – Lee Christine

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She thinks she needs him, but she doesn’t know the secrets he keeps…

Threatened with the publication of naked photographs taken in her law student days, defence attorney Allegra Greenwood enlists the help of former SAS Commander Luke Neilson, unaware of his involvement in her brother’s death in Afghanistan.

In a race to stop the photographs appearing on the Internet, Luke battles a hidden enemy, his growing feelings for Allegra, and his conscience, which demands he protect a fallen comrade’s sister. As the stakes increase and more sinister motives unfold, Luke not only has to fight to save her career, he has to fight to save her life.

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Treasured Secrets – Kendall Talbot

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From Romantic Book of the Year winner Kendall Talbot comes an adrenaline-fuelled new series with sexy characters, exotic locations, and action-packed adventure.

The last place Rosalina expected the clue to a 700-year-old mystery to lead is back into the arms of Archer, the one man who broke her heart. But neither can solve the puzzle without the other, so together they set off on a new adventure, weaving from Tuscany’s underbelly to Archer’s luxurious yacht in the Greek Islands, trying to ignore the sparks that still fly unhindered between them.

Archer desperately wants to salvage the relationship he shattered years before, but fighting for Rosalina’s love soon takes a back seat to fighting for their lives. They aren’t the only one on the trail for the treasure, and their competition isn’t bothered by ethics and morals to achieve their goals. With evil close on their trail, and Archer wrestling with the remnants of a childhood tragedy, Rosalina begins to wonder if perhaps there are some secrets that were never meant to be revealed.

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A Life Worth Living – Amanda Canham

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For lovers of Marion Lennox and Fiona Lowe comes a sweet, touching novel about secret desires and second chances, set in the intriguing world of sleep medicine.

Dr Cameron Lewis has been running from his past for a long time, so when a career opportunity opens up in his hometown of Brisbane, he takes it as a sign to move home and pick up the pieces of his life. But his vow to never have a child remains steadfast — it’s the one thing he can’t compromise on.

Nurse Stacey Carter has always craved a family of her own, and, following a bitter divorce and the death of her mother, she finally decides to make her dreams come true. She doesn’t need a man to help, but she can’t help thinking that the new doctor in the Sleep Medicine ward might be the ideal alternative…

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Bound By Her Ring – Nicole Flockton

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Luciano Morelli has perfected a plan to get revenge on his runaway wife; confronting her at the opening gala for her father’s hotel. What he didn’t plan on was the flaring of emotions the moment he sees her again.

Jasmine Anderson has no memories of her husband. Her only link to him is the wedding rings she wears. Luciano storms back into her life announcing he is her husband, demanding she join him on a business trip or see her father’s livelihood crumble.

Passion reignites as they rediscover what first drew them together. But more than just memories are lost. Can their bond be rebuilt or will secrets infect their already shattered trust?

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The Chieftain’s Curse – Frances Housden

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Nominated for the 2014 RITA Award for Best Historical Romance
Euan McArthur is a chieftain in need of an heir.

While still a young a warrior, Euan incites the fury of a witch. She retaliates with a curse that no wife will ever bear him an heir. As he buries his third wife and yet another bonnie stillborn son, Euan can no longer cast her words aside.

Morag Farquhar is a woman in need of sanctuary. With a young relative in tow, Morag flees the only home she has ever known to escape her brother, Baron of Wolfsdale, and find sanctuary in the MacArthur stronghold. Pronounced barren by a midwife, Morag is of little value to her family, but a Godsend to Euan, a lover he can’t kill by getting with child.

Years ago, chance drew them together, and tangled their lives in ways they could never have imagined. This time their destiny lies in their own hands, but it will take courage and strong hearts to see it through to the end.

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Insecure – Ainslie Paton

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The worst thing a man can do is not be with the woman he loves.

She could have him sacked quicker than licking her lips. He could ruin her reputation with an email.

Jacinta was the CEO in waiting. Mace was the geek from IT. She had an office suite on the top floor. He worked in cubicle hell.

She had power, influence, her life mapped out. He had big dreams, and an appetite for risk.

They had one hot night written all over them, except the city conspired to turn that night into a weekend of unexpected passion and deep connection.

Will love be enough when Jacinta’s star falls and Mace’s dream takes flight, or will ambition, expectation and insecurity pull them apart?

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By The Sword – Alison Stuart

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From award-winning author Alison Stuart comes a stirring historical trilogy about soldiers, spies, and the strong women that love them. 

England 1650. In the aftermath of the execution of the King, England totters once more on the brink of civil war. The country will be divided and lives lost as Charles II makes a last bid to regain his throne.

Kate Ashley finds her loyalty to the Parliamentary cause tested when she inherits responsibility for the estate of the Royalist Thornton family. To protect the people she cares about, she will need all her wits to restore its fortunes and fend off the ever-present threat of greedy neighbours.

Jonathan Thornton, exiled and hunted for his loyalty to the King’s cause now returns to England to garner support for the cause of the young King. Haunted by the demons of his past, Jonathan risks death at every turn and brings danger to those who love him. Finding Kate in his family home, he sees in her the hope for his future, and a chance at a life he doesn’t deserve.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Worcester, Jonathan must face his nemesis, and in turn, learn the secret that will change his life forever. But love is fragile in the face of history, and their lives are manipulated by events out of their control. What hope can one soldier and one woman hold in times like these?

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The Secret Diary of Lady Catherine Bexley – Viveka Portman

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In the vein of Portia Da Costa and Charlotte Featherstone, Regency England gets just a bit raunchy in this novella about a gently-raised lady who wants to feel like a woman…

“I have never seen fit in my life to divulge my secrets in a diary, yet now, after today’s proceedings, I do…”

Lady Catherine Bexley is new to marriage and the marriage bed, but surely there must be more to it than this? Her husband is proper and perfunctory — treating her with careful respect but leaving her aching for more.

When she witnesses a gentleman disciplining a maid at a house party, the ache explodes into ravenous desire. She finds herself no longer willing to wait for her husband’s stiff and passionless attentions — and soon develops a naughty plan to finally get what she wants.

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Words Once Spoken – Carly Drake

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YA meets high fantasy in this lush series debut about a girl who never quite fit in — and the reason why…

Evelyn might not love the confines of her village life, but she takes her small freedoms where she can get them. But everything changes when her parents decide it’s time for her to wed. Suddenly she loses her tunic and breeches, her bow, her horse, and gains rigid gowns, restrictive manners, and carriage rides.

The best way to escape is through her dreams, but as they become more and more real, Evelyn begins to worry that she is losing her grasp on reality. It is only when she makes two new friends that the truth is revealed: she is destined for far, far more than even she could imagine.

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King Hall – Scarlett Dawn

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A fresh, meaty, sink-your-teeth-in-and-hold-on-tight new adult fantasy series kicks off with King Hall…

King Hall — where the Mysticals go to learn their craft, get their degrees, and transition into adulthood. And where four new Rulers will rise and meet their destinies.

Lily Ruckler is adept at one thing: survival. Born a Mystical hybrid, her mere existence is forbidden, but her nightmare is only about to start. Fluke, happenstance, and a deep personal loss finds Lily deeply entrenched with those who would destroy her simply for existing — The Mystical Kings. Being named future Queen of the Shifters shoves Lily into the spotlight, making her one of the most visible Mysticals in the world. But with risk comes a certain solace — her burgeoning friendships with the other three Rulers: a wicked Vampire, a wild-child Mage, and a playboy Elemental. Backed by their faith and trust, Lily begins to relax into her new life.

Then chaos erupts as the fragile peace between Commoners and Mysticals is broken, and suddenly Lily realises the greatest threat was never from within, and her fear takes on a new name: the Revolution.

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Legend Beyond the Stars – SE Gilchrist

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Seeking redemption from a mission gone terribly wrong, Captain Alana Knight volunteers to aid a dangerous operation to transport colonists between Earth and alien traders. But on board the spaceship, she learns of a galactic war raging for power. A power that can be transformed into a terrible weapon.

When the colonists are betrayed and sold, Alana’s mission is re-defined. Nothing will stop her from keeping those in her care safe and finding a passage home. But her new captor is nothing like she expects…

Commander Tarak El Rajan is human, male and equally determined to retain his payload. With his race on the brink of extinction he is under strict orders to transport all females to the planet Isla for research purposes.

In a world of uncertainty, where the wrong decision could mean the death of an entire race, the last thing either of these two soldiers expects or needs is to fall in love.

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Out of Rhythm – Shona Husk

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They might be one of the hottest up-and-coming bands in Australia, but the members of Selling the Sun have a lot to learn about life, love, sex, and each other.

Coming off a successful Australian tour and prestigious industry award nominations, Gemma Field’s life should be perfect. Instead her parents want her to get a real job, the second album isn’t coming together, and her best friend, Kirsten wants nothing to do with her.

Falling for her best friend was never going to make life easy. After an almost accidental drunken kiss almost six months ago, they aren’t even talking. Gemma can’t even talk about it with anyone – not her family, not her bandmates, not even the one person she used to share everything with. Instead she lives in a space of indecision and pain, and it’s affecting all aspects of her life, including the band.

Kirsten Vincent missed Gemma like crazy, but did she miss her as a friend or as something more? She’s confused and Gemma is hurt, and the consequences of a bad decision will affect more than their personal lives. Will another kiss, a sober kiss, a kiss with intent, do more damage, or could it be the start of something more?

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The January Wish – Juliet Madison

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From Escape’s queen of ro-magic comedy comes a sweet, emotional contemporary romance about the pleasures of making a wish and seeing it come true.

When Dr Sylvia Greene makes an impromptu wish at the Tarrin’s Bay Wishing Festival, it’s the most out of character action she can think of. Hers is not a life of wishes. Hers is a controlled life of order, plans and preparation…of science and research and diagnosis and treatment. But her past has been weighing on her mind, and decisions made long ago have far-reaching consequences.

A week later, the daughter she secretly gave up for adoption at sixteen arrives in Sylvia’s small coastal town with secrets that can’t be shared. Between feelings of guilt, gossip, and a growing attraction to an emotionally unavailable colleague, Sylvia’s well-ordered life is soon thrown into chaos. She is no longer alone, and for the first time she feels as if her world is open to possibilities.

They say be careful what you wish for, but, for Sylvia, the unexpected consequences may be just what the doctor ordered.

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Children of the Mist – Jenny Brigalow

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An original paranormal YA about an unconventional girl, an unconventional boy, their extraordinary transformations, and the secrets of the Scottish Highlands.

When skater girl Morven Smith turns sixteen, she develops boobs, acute appendicitis…and a pair of pointy teeth. While she is stunned by her metamorphosis into vampire, her best mate, the enigmatic Zest, is not. For the young werewolf, Morven’s transformation is an answer to his lonely prayers.

But they are unable to celebrate their mutual paranormalcy for long — there are too many dangers, too much suspicion, and too many questions. It’s only in Scotland that Morven can learn the truth about her past. But she discovers more than she bargained for when she meets her birth family — an ancient feud between vampires and werewolves. They may both be Children of the Mist, but only one species can survive.

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Beckoning Blood – Daniel de Lorne

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A gripping,  blood-drenched saga about twin brothers, the men they love, and the enduring truth that true love never dies  — no matter how many times you kill it.

Thierry d’Arjou has but one escape from the daily misery of his work at a medieval abattoir — Etienne de Balthas. But keeping their love a secret triggers a bloody chain of events that condemns Thierry to a monstrous immortality. Thierry quickly learns that to survive his timeless exile, he must hide his sensitive heart from the man who both eases and ensures his loneliness…his twin brother.

Shaped by the fists of a brutal father, Olivier d’Arjou cares for only two things: his own pleasure and his twin. But their sadistic path through centuries is littered with old rivals and new foes, and Olivier must fight for what is rightfully his – Thierry, made immortal just for him.

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Feed Your Readers: New Stories! New Releases!

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The final instalment in Viveka Portman’s sexy, sinful Regency Diaries sees an unhappy wife desperately seeking love—and her taciturn husband who doesn’t know how to reach her.


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Have you taken a night shift at St Mary’s yet? She’s been offered her perfect job, but it means working with the only man she’s ever loved, and the one man she can never keep.

Breaking the Rules of Romance

by Viveka Portman

You may or may have seen this tweet from BookThingo’s ever awesome Kat Mayo.

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and possibly thought WTF.

For those who have read any of The Regency Diaries, you’d be less surprised to see the word adultery, but the biblical seduction may have thrown you.

That’s because I tend to challenge some of the romance writing norms in my books. Honestly I don’t do it on purpose, it just happens that way. I tend to get an idea, and run with it. Thus, my heroes may be sexy, but aren’t always heroic… And my heroines can be anything from pregnant and bisexual to innocent and curious governesses.

In my July 22nd release the final Regency Diary, The Journal of Vicar’s Wife, the reader will meet the very troubled wife of Stanton’s Vicar, Mrs Maria Reeves (hence the bible readings!)

During ARRC 2015, I read an excerpt from this upcoming book which was very pleasantly received… (I do recommend reading a sex scene aloud to an audience of 50+, it’s nerve wracking, but strangely liberating.)

Still I wasn’t sure how the book would be received by reviewers. After all, it contains *gasp* adultery and *gasp* bible readings and *even more hot panting gasps* sex.

Again, I sense you thinking WTF?

It challenges several rules generally held by romance writers. Adultery is a highly taboo subject in romance. I understand that totally, but I like the issues my character face to be real, and sometimes, oh so unfortunately, real means infidelity.

Mrs Reeves is terribly unhappy in her marriage. Her husband is very unloving and pious, preferring self denial to pleasure, or so it seems. The story is one of exploration, as Maria explores and breaks the boundaries of her unhappy marriage and follows her journey to understanding her husband, and achieving a marriage that will work–for both of them.

I can’t deny that this was a challenging write. Making Maria’s story sexy and steamy as well as poignant and moving wasn’t always smooth sailing, but then nothing ever is.

The Journal of A Vicar’s Wife, the final instalment of The Regency Diaries, is due for release 22nd July. 

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The final instalment in Viveka Portman’s sexy, sinful Regency Diaries sees an unhappy wife desperately seeking love—and her taciturn husband who doesn’t know how to reach her.

My husband, though I do not doubt his goodness, does not love nor want me. He married me for pure convenience. He needed a bride and I was the one offered to him. Thus I find my pleasures where I may…

Mrs Maria Reeves has been married for six years. Six long, lonely years. She craves love and affection, but married to a handsome but pious vicar she receives little in the way of earthly pleasures. The Reverend Vicar Frederick Reeves is a man of principle and morals, and is more likely to provide his wife with suggested Bible readings than carnal knowledge.

 If her husband will not please her, then she will find a man who will.

But infidelity doesn’t come naturally to the vicar’s wife. Though Maria finds herself getting the sexual pleasure she desires, she also finds herself emotionally frayed and unhappy. To make matters worse, in the small village of Stanton there are always people watching, and Maria discovers that some secrets are impossible to keep. What will her upright husband do when he discovers that Maria has broken not only one of the commandments, but her vows to him?

You Know It When You See It: Romance, Erotica, and Porn

In a post 50-Shades world (and, indeed, in a pre-50 Shades world, but let’s not quibble), one thing in romance publishing is for sure: things are getting hot in here. But not all sizzle is created the same, so when it comes down to getting down, what is the difference between romance, erotic romance, erotica, and porn?

Romance: For all its bad reputation, romance is not synonymous with sex. There are whole subcategories of romance where the characters don’t have sex. There are also whole subcategories where the characters have sex, but it doesn’t get written about. There’s also romance where the characters go at it like rabbits and all the gory minutia are shared in deep, graphic detail. This is because romance isn’t defined by sex. A genre romance novel is defined by two things: a strong emphasis on a romantic relationship, and a happy, emotionally uplifting ending. If it doesn’t have these two things, then it’s not a romance.

Erotic Romance: At it’s base, erotic romance still leans heavily on the romance aspect of the novel. Sex will play an inherent role in the story, character growth, and relationship development, and can’t be removed without undermining or damaging the story. The sex is normally frequent, graphic, and often explores varying degrees of kink, but it still needs to conform to genre romance conventions.

Erotica: Erotica is often the story of the individual, discovering aspects of themselves through sex, and this is the most significant divergence from romance, where the story is focused on the development of a relationship. Sex plays a major part in the character development, and often the plot as well. Without sex, there is no story, and even if a romance eventuates, the overall focus is on the individual.

Porn: There is no expectation of character or plot development. This style of writing is designed to titillate and arouse, with the focus on sexual gratification. Good porn can accomplish more, but that is incidental, as the focus is key.

For romance, erotic romance and erotica, sex has purpose in the context of the story: it provides growth, exposition, or plot . For porn, the story is merely a vehicle to deliver the sex.

For a quick, easy reference, I really like this short definition from Janet/Robin of Dear Author:

Pornography: the exploration of the physical body through sex
Erotica: the exploration of the self through sex
ER: the exploration of romantic relationships/love (self+other(s)) through sex


Escape publishes hot romance and erotic romance. Looking for something sizzling? May we recommend the below?

24129You’ve never met housewives as hot as these…They’re wealthy and glamorous. The elite of society. But appearances can be deceiving. Bonus four epilogues, exclusive to this digital bind-up!


22577 A guarded recluse, some dirty pictures and a spark of curiosity that leads to a dangerous attraction.


20835A gripping,  blood-drenched saga about twin brothers, the men they love, and the enduring truth that true love never dies  — no matter how many times you kill it.


9692Regency England gets just a bit raunchy in this novella about a gently-raised lady who wants to feel like a woman…

#SydneyWives – Enticing Emma

(reblogged from AusRomToday – we highly recommend you visit right now!)

Tell us a little more about your housewife, Emma:
Emma is a neurotic housewife. She’s increasingly feeling like a failure as she’s unable to have a second child, while her husband is going from strength to strength in his pro-surfing career. Basically, she’s terrified of losing him as he travels around the world surrounded by adoring fans. However, by agonising and fretting about that, she is losing herself in the process. Emma thinks she needs to give her husband carte blanche in the bedroom and follow him on his surf tours to keep a watchful eye. However Lachlan ‘Rosco’ Ross, a devoted husband and father doesn’t need a watchful eye, but rather a warm, happy wife to come home to.

What inspired Emma’s story:
Emma was inspired by all those women who feel a little lost in their marriages, lives and careers. I wanted to capture that peculiar state of emotion where on the outside everything appears fine, but really, inside everything is going wrong.

What was your biggest challenge in writing Emma’s story?
I think it was balancing the sexiness with her fears. Neurotic housewife and sexy were like polka dots and stripes at first, they just clashed! She has been one of my trickiest characters yet!

Why will we love Emma?
I think there is a little bit of Emma in all of us – maybe not exactly, but we all have fears and hurts we try to ignore and cover up. Emma’s story potentially could be any woman’s story.

The Housewives of Sydney series promises that we’ll “find out what goes on behind the doors of the most exclusive addresses in the country”. What was the appeal of joining this series? Similarly, what has been the biggest challenge?
I think it’s the thrill of looking behind the closed doors of the rich and famous and discovering that they’re human and have some quirky needs and wants! The biggest challenge for me was writing straight contemporary! I’ve never just written contemporary erotic romance before. I’ve been buried in Regency England for five books, so getting my head around a modern day Sydney socialite was quite a challenge… but one well worth it!

SLAH_Emma_Final

From the hottest writers in Australia comes a scintillating new series. Enter the world of Sydney’s elite, and find out what goes on behind the doors of the most exclusive addresses in the country…

Meet the Housewives of Sydney. They are wealthy, elegant, poised, and constantly in the public eye. But what goes on behind closed doors, in the private homes and parties where the cameras and paparazzi aren’t welcome? Delve into the most personal details of their relationships, their friendships and their lives. The only question is: can you handle the heat?

Travel, money, a gorgeous pro-surfer husband, healthy son, and a new house overlooking the ocean – it looks like Emma Ross has it all, but inside she’s torn apart by insecurities and her failure to have another child.

She knows that she’s putting her relationship in jeopardy, so to make up for their difficulties, Emma gives Rosco carte blanche in the bedroom. But is explosive sex enough to save a marriage that is falling apart from the inside?

From February with Love

23484From Jacquie Underdown comes a new adult story about what happens when you meet the perfect guy at the worst possible time.


23479From Jenny Schwartz comes a new coastal short read: She’s escaped to a tropical paradise, but her past is going to find her.


23483From Elisabeth Rose: One honeymoon, one vanished husband, one desperate wife—and the cop who is tasked to help her, but can’t seem to keep his thoughts on the job.


23303From Carly Drake, a YA fantasy romance: In Words Once Spoken¸ we met Evelyn, the normal girl with an extraordinary secret. Now we meet the men who love her


SLAH_Emma_FinalThis housewife is bright, intelligent and loves her family, but she’s also sensitive and prone to worry. What she lacks in confidence however is made up in her artistic flair, charm and hidden sensuality. She is dedicated to her man and there is nothing she won’t try to keep the fire in her relationship burning.


All titles available now from Escape Publishing!