Cover reveal Forbidden Fruit

I’m happy to announce that we have an equally pretty cover to go with that fabulous table of contents. Hats off to the wife, who made this one as well. Feel like munching on an apple now? ;-)
Forbidden Fruit

In other news, today is my last day in the office. On Monday we’re flying off to Belgium for three weeks, where I will meet the newest addition to my family for the first time (and, to say it in my sister’s words, be my two nephews’ au pair when the day care centre closes for the summer.)

Earlier this morning, just in time before my ‘holiday’, I finished the first draft of the very first Harper Bliss full length novel. Getting through this first draft has not cost me any blood, quite a bit of sweat (because it’s so bloody hot in Hong Kong these days), and a whole lot of tears. It is, by very, very far, the most emotional story I’ve ever written, and I can’t wait to share it with you. (That being said, it will take quite some time before it’s ready for publication.)

Chances of me blogging while I’m away are fairly slim, but I wish all of you a great summer with lots of stimulating beach reads. ;-)

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NEW RELEASE: Stormy Weather

Stormy WeatherI wrote Stormy Weather after finishing French Kissing and before launching into the first draft of the novel I’m still working on (almost done!) and, between long projects, it’s always such a joy to create something short and sweet (especially for someone with a short attention span like me.)

I got the idea for the story after returning from Da Nang in Vietnam, where I spent five days with my wife and mother-in-law under threatening skies, wrapped in warm sweaters, drinking too much (and playing pool) because, in a place like that, there’s really not much else to do.

What if two strangers met in a rainy resort? Those were the exact words in my notebook (i.e. Evernote, because who actually still writes things down in notebooks that don’t even light up in the dark?), and bam, a new story was conceived of.

Here’s the blurb for Stormy Weather:
Nic’s soul-searching getaway at a Vietnamese beach resort is turning into a rain soaked disappointment… until she meets Charlie, who teaches Nic that the storm raging inside of her doesn’t have to last forever.

And you can get it from these retailers:
buy
Direct from author
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon DE
Amazon CA
Smashwords
All Romance

Add it to your GoodReads shelf >>

If you’ve read any of my books, you know I’m a big fan of using storm metaphors for (approaching) climaxes and this story allowed me to take that to the next level. ;-)

Also: special thanks to my wife who designed the cover.

Enjoy!

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Table of contents Forbidden Fruit

Cheyenne Blue, the tireless editor of Forbidden Fruit: stories of unwise lesbian desire, and I have been e-mailing back and forth for a few weeks now, ooh-ing and aah-ing about the amazing line-up for this Ladylit anthology. There are some impressive names in this TOC, and the (for now) lesser-known ones have delivered equally hot forbidden tales of lesbian lust.

I’ve read all the stories and, well, as far as beach reads go, this one may be ideal (as long as you have a cool body of water nearby to bring down your core temperature.) Much more on this anthology closer to its release date (set for late August). For now, I’m just very happy, a little bit proud and extremely grateful to Cheyenne for bringing together such a talented group of authors in this anthology.

Table of Contents for Forbidden Fruit: stories of unwise lesbian desire
Our Woman by Rebecca Lynne Fullan
Hands Off by Ava-Ann Holland
Shelter by Jean Roberta
Ungodly Ours by Allison Wonderland
The Rules by Rachel O. Esplanade
The Further Adventures of Miss Scarlet by Emily L. Byrne
Sunset, Sunrise by Sacchi Green
The Clinton County Horse Thief Society by Axa Lee
Freedom by Harper Bliss
Ascending Amelia by Erzabet Bishop
Bachelorette Party by Beth Wylde
Thanks to Irene by Nicole Wolfe
Ash by Niki Crow
The Law of Reciprocity by Laila Blake
The Shallow End by L.C. Spoering
The First Stone by Lisabet Sarai
Out for the Count by Cheyenne Blue

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French Kissing Fantasy Casting: Stéphanie Mathis

Full credit to my wife, who fantasy-cast Cécile de France as Steph. It works out well in so many ways! Most importantly, she has that boyish charm and effortless, nonchalant elegance. I can just see her holding court at the bar at Les Pêches, possibly sneaking into Le Noir… Or, perhaps not entirely as planned, on her way to Dominique.

Admittedly, it would also be a bit of a disgrace to not fantasy-cast (is that a verb now?) anyone French in a serial called French Kissing set in Paris. Not that I have with Cécile de France, because she’s from Belgium. Ha! Okay, that didn’t make any sense. Although Cécile de France is from Belgium, she is super famous in France and might as well be French. (There is no work for her in Belgium, anyway.) (And her surname is ‘de France’.) Either way, no matter where she’s from, she would make an excellent Steph.

Cécile de FranceIf she thinks she can summon me… oh, what the hell. Taxi! Palais Bourbon, s’il vous plaît!

Cécile de FranceBack in the day, when Steph just started at Barbier & Cyr…

Cécile de FranceI know, I let her top me again…

This concludes the fantasy casting. Truth be told, apart from Steph, the names of these actresses appeared next to the names I gave my characters back when I was making my first notes months ago. All five of them have been in my head, doing all the things they do in French Kissing, for quite some time. For those of you who follow my blog, it may make for more interesting reading in Season Two! ;-)

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French Kissing Fantasy Casting: Dominique Laroche

Yes, I’m keeping Steph’s fantasy casting for last (but only because she seems to be the hardest to pin a face on.) So, let’s do Dominique first. As you can see, the character of rising political star Dominique Laroche is based on an almost-real politician: Birgitte Nyborg.

At Casa Bliss, during that week about a year ago when we binge-watched all three seasons of Borgen, all we talked about was Birgitte Nyborg (and Kasper and Katrine… do yourself a huge favour: watch Borgen!) I may even have chosen to insert a bit of politics in French Kissing just so that I could have a character inspired by Birgitte Nyborg (and, yes, sometimes I do wonder if I shouldn’t just write fan fiction). ;-)

Sidse Babett KnudsenI’m conservative, but not that conservative…

Dominique LarocheOh god, what have I done? (And when can I do it again?)

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French Kissing Fantasy Casting: Nadia Abadi

It’s not because I have a serious soft spot for Juliette that I don’t recognise that Nadia is the real hero of their relationship. Maybe it’s unhealthy, or co-dependent, or just very lesbian, but Juliette needs Nadia. In fact, most characters in French Kissing need Nadia. She’s not free of mistakes—no one is—but she’s not afraid to speak her mind and, e.g., set Margot straight. (I won’t go into detail to avoid spoilers.)

Who better to portray such a wise, warm, righteous woman with a hidden dominant streak than Saul’s wife? I know, it’s a disgrace that I didn’t even know who Sarita Choudhury was before I swooned every time she got a few seconds of screen time on Homeland (but I’ll definitely be watching Kama Sutra this week!)

Sarita ChoudhuryYou can’t exactly tell by looking at her, but we all know what she’s thinking (about doing to Juliette…)

Sarita ChoudhuryOh Nadia, I, too, have tried to give up wine numerous times and have never once succeeded. 

So, now that I’ve revealed both ‘my’ Juliette and Nadia, how do you feel about their last sex scene in Episode Six? ;-)

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French Kissing Fantasy Casting: Juliette Barbier

I love all ‘my ladies’, of course, and I hope they all come across as complex and interesting as I intended them to be, but as far as understanding of and compassion for a deeply flawed character goes, I’m firmly in Juliette’s camp.

Based on reader reactions after the first two episodes, Juliette was the least favourite character, because she does have a sense of entitledness about her and she does make the wrong choices and, more often than not, says the wrong things to Nadia. On an emotional level, half of the time, Juliette has no clue what she’s doing, despite being a control freak. But she has a big heart and she means well, she’s just not very good at expressing it most of the time. This probably makes her the most ‘real’ character I’ve written.

Oh wait, this is a fantasy casting blog post, not an ode to Juliette Barbier. ;-)

For me, Juliette = Gillian Anderson.

Gillian AndersonI’ve had dreams about Juliette & Claire, but it was always crystal clear that it could never work out. ;-)

Gillian AndersonMost likely NOT discussing work again at Barbier & Cyr…

These fantasy casting blog posts are so much fun. Can’t wait to introduce you to ‘my Nadia’ tomorrow… ;-)

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French Kissing Fantasy Casting: Margot de Hay

Honestly, it only just now occurred to me that Ming-Na Wen used to play a doctor on ER. Anyway, it doesn’t matter, because in Margot’s case, the character was very much inspired by another fictional character: Melinda May (aka the only valid reason to waste time on watch Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.) Emotionally guarded. Tough as nails. Smoking hot in leather. Always ready to kick your ass (or tie you up). Ring any bells? Indeed, Margot = Melinda May!

Melinda May

You can tie me up any time, Margot.

You should also check out this Tumblr with too many amazing gifs, like this one:

Oh Melinda

And this one!


(Episode Five, just before…) ;-)

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French Kissing Fantasy Casting: Claire Cyr

When imagining a character, I have a very strong tendency to picture them as really hot famous people. It’s what makes erotica writing the best job in the world. ;-)

I know I said in an one of my earlier French Kissing blog posts that I wouldn’t reveal the physical inspiration for the characters, but I’ve been (mildly) pressed to do so and… well, I also came across this picture which simply begs to be shared. (I’ve only been staring at it all day long.)

Let’s start with Claire, because I believe that cat has been out of the bag for quite some time (due to the obvious nature of my choice/long-standing celebrity crush.) Of course, Claire = Robin Wright!

Then-Now-Robin-Wright-23

I’m so jealous of Margot.

Tomorrow I’ll be back to reveal who ‘my Margot’ is (although that one’s not really much of a secret either.) ;-p

All info on French Kissing: Season One here >>

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Goodreads giveaway of French Kissing

I’m giving away two (signed!) paperback copies of French Kissing: Season One on Goodreads! Do enter, I’ll ship them anywhere in the world.

Also, FYI, French Kissing: Episode One is not yet free on all Amazon websites (e.g. Amazon UK), but you can get it in all formats from the retailers listed here >>

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Latest releases: Stormy Weather, French Kissing: Season One and Bossy: Five Productive Tales of Lesbian Lust
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