Sophia LeRoux is the maestro behind the book covers at Kyanite Publishing. She had me by the heart when she sent me the cover for It Starts With A Kiss. The colours and style totally capture the essence of the story—it’s in space, it’s dreamy, and it expresses the simplicity of a friendship as it blossoms into love.
Here’s a little interview, in case you’re as curious as I was about the creative behind the covers. Kyanite has just launched Sophia’s own Ashes of the Fae. You’ll find the link and another one of her stunning designs at the end of this post.
JL: Tell me a bit about the style you chose. What inspired you? What do you love about the approach you took?
SOPHIA LEROUX: What’s not to love? For starters I’m super partial to anything purple and cosmic, and the figures on the front, although kind of cheeseball, captures the subtle romance that I was going for. The cover really does set a great starting point and feel for the book.
Absolutely. You express the mood so fluently. What got you into design?
SOPHIA: My love for art in general. I’ve got a vivid imagination and art was the only outlet I had to really start getting it out there. I think my life would be slightly emptier without it.
You’ve designed heaps of covers for Kyanite already—which one is your favourite?
SOPHIA: That’s a hard one. Honestly, I couldn’t pick a favorite even if i tried because I love them all for different reasons.
Good point! And I guess how we perceive a cover can totally change once we’ve read the story too. Where does your perspective come from? Any hobbies or interests that feed your creativity?
SOPHIA: Photography is a huge one. So is traveling. Drawing as well. Music, movies, and concept art are also huge driving forces for my creativity.
How about books—what do you like to read?
SOPHIA: Funny you ask, because I actually don’t read much. But when I do, it’s usually old books (early 1900s) or history books on things that are macabre, occult, or mythological. Oddly enough, the reason I don’t read much (at least of my own genre) is because I don’t want someone else influencing my voice or style.
Tell me a bit about your writing.
SOPHIA: Well, I’ve got tons of ideas, even a few under pen names that are a bit too raunchy or taboo even for me to put out there as me (LGBT or more demonic/cult-type stories). Typically though I write mythologically inspired dark romances with some thriller aspects thrown in. I love writing about love–and sex on a primal level–and enjoy bringing a whole new psychological feel to them that really makes your body ache.
I can totally see how the language in old books would lend to that too. So, what are you working on at the moment?
SOPHIA: Lately I’ve been working on some shorts under my pen name, but haven’t got a definitive timeline on them yet. Ashes of the Fae: Book One came out in June and was actually a re-release through Kyanite Publishing of the first book I ever published. Aside from Beyond the Spectra, also book one, anything else I’ve got lined up will be coming out next year and the years to follow.
It’s been a while since I last indulged in Suits, and there’s this solid craving for a lawyer story that’s gone unsatisfied. Well, imagine my delight when I learned Aussie author Liv Arnold’s new book is a romance between a lawyer and a cop. In her own words:
I’ve watched the TV show Neighbours since I was a child. I used to come home from school, get changed, have a snack then sit down and watch. I love the community behind the storylines and the more light-hearted moments. So, I thought it would be a fun idea to have the heroine and hero as neighbours, but spice things up a little.
Liv Arnold, Author of “Law & Disorder”
Check out the excerpt a little further down. I am totally OK with this.
Law & Disorder — new contemporary romance by Liv Arnold
Lawyer Juliet Jackson has come head to head with Sergeant Jesse Burns on numerous occasions in court. He is provoking. Pigheaded. Punch-worthy. They don’t get along. Not one little bit. The unfortunate fact he’s also her next-door neighbor brings her loathing off the charts. But when Juliet’s caught locked outside her home in nothing but a skimpy towel, she must swallow her pride and turn to Jesse for help. She doesn’t expect the explosive chemistry between them and can’t help but wonder if Jesse’s as demanding in the bedroom as he is in the courtroom.
His handsome face smirked before he averted his eyes and turned his head, but she could still see the profile of his face. His police uniform stretched across his chest. Wonder if that chest is chiseled underneath all those clothes.
Her ears burned hotter than chili sauce, spreading to her neck and chest. No point in putting on a mask this time, because there was no escaping this. Her fingers found the ends of the towel to cover her naked body, but her legs froze on the spot. “I got locked out of my house.”
“You got locked out of your house…naked?” A grin spread across his face, revealing the dimple on the bottom lip. She wanted to bite it but didn’t know if it was to hurt him or because of the temperature between her legs.
Scowling at his sarcasm, her fingers gripped the bricks of her house and she pulled herself up. “Yes. Why are you even here? Didn’t you have enough of me this morning?
Liv Arnold has worked as a copywriter for several global companies and now runs her own freelance business. She grew up in Melbourne, Australia, and lives with her husband and their spoiled dog, who only eats freshly cooked meals.
When she’s not writing, Liv’s avoiding the gym, devouring a cheese platter, or marathoning way too much TV. And of course, she’s a massive book addict and often reads until all hours of the night.
They had me at “soccer player”. OK, so this Scott Gillie ain’t no Olivier Giroud, but who knows? Maybe by the end of this love story, I’ll end up re-jigging my hotlist.
Meet the author:
Kyra Jacobs is an extroverted introvert who has always called Indiana home. That means she’s well versed in fickle weather, pork tenderloin patties that don’t fit on a bun, and sarcasm. Putting her Indiana University degrees in Public Management to good use by day means Kyra does the bulk of her writing late into the night. Fueled by caffeine and funny memes, she weaves tales of love and relationships, including the humor and/or chaos both can bring. Kyra’s published novels range from sweet contemporary romance to chick lit and paranormal/fantasy.
When this Hoosier native isn’t at a keyboard, daydreaming through her fingertips, she’s likely outside, elbow-deep in snapdragons or on a sideline somewhere cheering (loudly) for her sporty sons. Kyra also loves to go bowling, tries to golf, and is an avid college football fan.
For most women, working for a sexy soccer star would be a dream come true. All except single mom Felicity Shaw. She has no interest in playing personal assistant for a stubborn, injured playboy—no matter how nice his abs are. But with bills piling up and mouths to feed, she can’t say no to the job.
That’s when it gets interesting.
The last thing Scott Gillie wants or needs is a persistent and entirely too distracting PA while he’s recuperating in his small hometown. Unfortunately, it’s not up to him. Then Felicity and her son end up temporarily moving in—all thanks to his meddlesome grandmother. Now temptation is right across the hall and it’s driving Scott crazy.
When I’m busy, the first thing to go is my TBR. I’ve realised recently that the time I spend reading directly corresponds to how I’m faring in my work-addled life. I do have workaholic tendencies I need to address. They say if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.
Well, that’s bullshit. If you love what you do, you end up working all the fucking time because you can’t get enough. It’s nice in the way party drugs are nice—they’ll nice you to destruction if you don’t watch yourself.
Until I sort my shit out, here’s what’s currently awaiting me on my to-be-read pile…
This is an interesting and insightful book so far, but I struggle to pick it up again whenever I put it down. Admittedly, I find it triggering. Every paragraph seems to stir up indignation (to say the least) at what we put up with and what we inflict on people in the name of love. For all our civilisation and infrastructure, we really are a primitive species—our own worst enemies sometimes, if not the unwitting worst enemies of the people we say we care about.
I suppose that makes it extra important to finish this book. I’m gonna need a lot of sleep and chocolate to get through this.
Pia Manning won me over with her deft writing style in Star Brides: Procured. I’m not into the “hot alien men” thing, but I can’t deny the stories I’ve read have, in one way or another, impressed me. Pia has a really classy way with words. Maybe this shows how much I still have to learn about writing, but I get real courageous vibes from the way she tells her stories. Reading her blog is like getting punched in the gut, but in a good way.
I’m pretty keen to read this, and I kind of want to read this with a lot of life clearance so I can smash it out without being distracted by tasks and chores. The last time I read a Pia Manning book, I missed my train and was late for work 😬
Because how could I not? I literally laughed out loud when I read the title, and if Taken by the 8-bit Plumbers is anything to go by, I will definitely want to read this book in private so I don’t have to explain what I’m giggling at.
C.J.’s work is high steam, and I don’t know if she intends her work to be hilarious, but I’m really tickled by the inside jokes and creative license. I’m very much looking forward to starting this book.
Loved this saucy and sweet flash story by Stefanie Simpson.
OK, so “saucy” is a bit of an understatement. Have a look for yourself…
I tapped the wooden arm of the bedroom chair, clicking my nails, watching.
The nude man on the other side of the room glided an iron across a freshly washed bed sheet. He neatly folded it and set it down on the perfectly placed pile next to him.
Bored, I got up, but he didn’t lift his face and started on a blouse. I stood next to him, steam rising, the smell of heated cotton and the vague scent of him close by made me want. I palmed his naked bottom, squeezing it, but he didn’t pause.
I leant right in, still feeling him. “You’re doing a terrible job.”
“Sorry, I’ll do better.”
“You say that every time. And yet you never improve. Bend.”
He hovered, the smallest doubt in his eyes as he turned his head slightly, but he obeyed. He held the ironing board and bent a little.
His chest rose silently, and he went further. I pinched hard, making him tense.
Writing for the Capri Luxe Hotels anthology got me thinking about the different relationships dynamics people live by—polyamory, swinging, “monogamish”, timezone rules, hall passes… and more. I’ve wondered what my view of relationships would be like now, had I grown up learning about these different arrangements without the social stigma applied by the conservative mainstream.
Anyway, you can understand how this book announcement for Mia’s Wedding caught my eye. A reverse harem, I thought 😏 Yes, I want to read this, because the theme is relevant to my ponderings right now.
I emailed Lucy Felthouse to ask whether it’s better to read Book One before getting stuck in. She says yes, but after reading that story excerpt, I’m tempted to do a cheeky and read Book Two first. Elias, Alex and Thomas sound spunky as (am I showing my age here?), and I just want to know if and how Mia sorts her shit out!
*adds to TBR*
*cries because TBR is already taller than I am*
Out Now—Mia’s Wedding (The Heiress’s Harem #2) by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985) #reverseharem #whychoose
Planning a wedding is stressful enough, and that’s without a harem of gorgeous men to deal with.
Mia Harrington has had a difficult time of it lately—her father’s illness and subsequent death, then finding out she must get married if she is to inherit what’s rightfully hers. Fortunately, she’s tough and resourceful, and has emerged relatively unscathed from this period, as well as finding herself a suitable husband.
However, things are far from simple. Mia might be planning to marry investment banker Elias Pym, but she’s also having a relationship with his best friend, Doctor Alex Cartwright, and is in love with her gardener, Thomas Walker. Add to that broken dates, flashy proposals, a sexy Asian tech billionaire, and a nosey housekeeper, and you’ve got a situation hectic enough to drive even the most capable person to distraction. Can Mia juggle her men, her job, and the wedding arrangements, or is her happily ever after over before it has even begun?
Mia’s Wedding is the second book in The Heiress’s Harem reverse harem romance series.
Mia locked up and put the key in her bag, then took Elias’s arm. They walked down the steps and out into the chilly January night to the waiting black cab.
“I’m afraid,” Elias said, once they were settled into the back of the car, “Alex isn’t coming.”
“What do you mean, he’s not coming?” she squeaked.
Elias looked apologetic, but gave a one-shouldered shrug. “There was an emergency at the hospital—as their nearest surgeon, he got called in. Couldn’t very well say no, could he?”
Mia shook her head and sagged back into the seat, her heart sinking to her stomach. “No, of course not. I’m very sorry he won’t be joining us, but although we’re scintillating company, we don’t count as a life or death situation.”
He reached out and squeezed her hand, then kept hold of it. “No, we certainly do not. I hope, though, that I’ll be entertainment enough for you by myself this evening.”
She squeezed his hand back, then leaned over and kissed his cheek, pulling in the scent of his delicious cologne at the same time. “I’m sure you will. Besides, this was part of what you two meant when you were talking about being able to give a woman the attention she deserves between you, wasn’t it? Alex unfortunately can’t make it, but because I’m dating—or whatever the hell we’re calling this—both of you, it means I’m not left high and dry. I’m sure at some point you’ll be the one who has to cancel. These things happen.”
With a smile, Elias said, “They sure do. Though I don’t really get emergencies at work—and if I do, they’re all about which person gets to line their pockets the most, rather than saving lives. But enough of that!” he added brightly, clearly eager to change the sore subject of his chosen career. Though she still didn’t understand why he was so embarrassed about it. And if he hated it so much, why was he still doing it? She wasn’t going to broach that particular topic, though, not tonight. She already had one potentially hairy subject to discuss.
But then how could she, now? How could she talk about the situation with Thomas without Alex present? She stifled a sigh. Fuck it. Looks like it’s going to have to wait.
“So,” she said, “where are we going?”
“You’ll have to wait and see,” he replied with a smirk.
She jabbed him in the ribs. “Seriously?”
“Yes, seriously. Patience, woman! We’ll be there in…” he peered out of the window, presumably to check where they were, “in less than ten minutes, traffic permitting.”
“Hmph.” She folded her arms and pouted. “Guess I’ll just have to wait, then.”
“Don’t sulk.” Elias tapped the end of her nose. “We haven’t seen each other in a little while, so I want smiles and laughter, not pouting. Even though I know you’re faking it.”
She gasped. “I never fake it!”
“I should hope not,” he shot back, his grin turning wicked. “My future wife deserves nothing but the best, and that includes orgasms. Real ones.”
Her tummy flip-flopped. Bloody hell, she’d almost forgotten about that. She’d been so focussed on working up to telling Elias and Alex they weren’t the only two men to be sharing her that there hadn’t been much capacity left for thinking about her impending wedding. But then, technically speaking, she wasn’t engaged yet. They’d discussed it and informally agreed to it, but there’d been no proposal, no acceptance, no ring.
There was plenty of time left for all that, though. If she and Elias had to grab a couple of witnesses and go to a registry office at the last minute, it would still count—her father hadn’t specified a type of ceremony, thankfully. But that wasn’t how she wanted to do things, and she suspected Elias wouldn’t be too keen on that idea, either.
“Ooh, your future wife, am I?” she teased, figuring that since the topic of Thomas was off the table, she might as well put the topic of their engagement on the table, instead.
Elias frowned. “Of course you are. I know we haven’t sorted a ring yet, but we still know we’re engaged…”
She shrugged, hoping it appeared more nonchalant to him than she actually felt. “Well, not exactly. We never made it official, did we? More of a loose verbal agreement.”
Elias groaned and screwed up his nose. “When you put it like that, it sounds bloody awful. I know to all intents and purposes it’s a practical arrangement, but I want it to be much more than that, Mia.” He cupped her cheek and brushed his thumb over her skin. “I’ve missed you.”
Warmth bloomed where he touched her, and radiated across her entire face and down her neck. She smiled and placed her hand over his. “I want it to be more, too. And I’ve missed you, as well. It’s been a long month, hasn’t it?”
Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller), Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller), The Persecution of the Wolves, Hiding in Plain Sight and The Heiress’s Harem series. Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 170 publications to her name. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter or Facebook. Sign up for automatic updates on Amazon or BookBub. Subscribe to her newsletter and get a free eBook: http://www.subscribepage.com/lfnewsletter
Short erotica isn’t always an easy read. I mean, you’d think it is, wouldn’t you? It’s hot and fast and why wouldn’t you just dive in and devour it? Maybe it’s the way I’m wired, but my eyes tend to glaze over when I’m staring down even just a couple hundred words if there’s any whiff of faff or infodumping.
Thankfully, none of that applied to Spot Me, Jillian Hoff’s third Good Friend story. Each instalment features a new character’s hot, spicy and delightfully cheeky answer to the question at the core of the series: What’s the nicest thing you’ve ever done for a friend?
In Spot Me, we follow Laney, a not-so-sporty twenty-something, in her quest to do something nice for the nerdy boy she dissed back in highschool. The catch? This boy is buff af now and throbbing with the newfound confidence that comes with blossoming in adulthood.
As I’m still navigating my own hangups about sex and relationships, I love a story that can make me sizzle and giggle at the same time. Jillian Hoff has a sick tongue-in-cheek style, a great sense of humour, and makes on-point cultural in-jokes that tickle me so hard I wonder if I might actually know her in person.
I definitely recommend this book if you like the horny and hilarious mashed into a single experience.
This isn’t meant to be a book review blog, but I wanted to share one novel that really got me fired up about writing for this genre: Mated to the Jardan Warrior by Aria Bell
The writing style isn’t what I usually go for, but I was impressed at how smooth the storytelling was. Seamless from beginning to end. Every line had a purpose, which you probably know is the way good writing should go. I’m terrified of rambling too much in my stories, and boring my readers with meaningless drivel. But writing mostly non-fiction in my day job, I’m also terrified of not rambling enough, and boring my readers with dry walls of text.
So it was great to pick up this novel and find myself excited to get to the juicy bits, content to read the non-juicy bits because they were still told in a nice way, and reach a satisfying HEA ending. I just wish I could find the author on Twitter so I could give her a high five!