Thursday, 11 August 2016

Finding Myself as a Writer.

I have twenty-three published novels now.
Yup.
Twenty-three... I think... if I counted them right.
I also have several unpublished novels, and numerous novellas and short stories on top of that.
You'd think I'd know who I was as a writer by now, but I'm still asking myself that question.
When I first started writing, I'd believed I would be a horror author. It was what I'd grown up reading, and so I wanted to emulate what I loved. My first couple of novels were horror/dark fantasy (The Dark Road and Underlife), but then I decided I wanted to write a vampire romance (I'd always loved Anne Rice) and so I wrote Alone. From Alone spawned a five book series which ended up being The Serenity Series.
But in the sidelines, I was also writing erotica, and over the past twelve months in particular, I've found myself publishing more sexy contemporary romance than paranormal. It's not that I don't love my paranormal, because I do, but honestly,  the contemporary sells, and at the end of the day I have a family to feed.
But even as I'm writing the contemporary, I'm finding I don't want to stop at romance. I have ideas for a couple of suspense novels, and also some paranormal thrillers I'd love to write.
The problem is that as young writers we're told that to be successful we need to discover what our readers want and give them more of it.
But what if we're not happy as a writer to write the same genre over and over again?
As a reader, I read multiple different genres - horror, thrillers, suspense, romance, women's fiction. Short of westerns, I think I read pretty much anything, so why wouldn't I want to be the same when I'm writing? I have tons of stories and characters floating around in my head, demanding to be written, but at the same time I have the whispers of doubt taunting me.
Your readers won't want to read a suspense novel from you.
Your readers will move onto someone else.
They'll be disappointed.
No one will buy your book.
I feel like I've got my publishing schedule finely tuned now, and honestly, I'm scared of doing anything to upset the apple cart. I'm not a massive seller, but I'm doing better than I ever dreamed of, and I'm terrified it's all just going to slip away from me one day.
So do I take the time to write books I'm not sure anyone will read? Or should I stay focused on the romance, either paranormal or contemporary?

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Survivor: Sparks fly when a spoilt princess and the ultimate alpha male are thrown into a survival situation.

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Saturday, 23 July 2016

Cold Nights, Hot Bodies! New Release from Lily Harlem!

New from bestselling author Lily Harlem, Cold Nights, Hot Bodies, a steamy first-time romance set in beautiful Cotswolds and a must for anyone who loves their fictional heroes. 



Back Cover Information. 

All my life I’ve been the quiet bookworm, the office mouse. It hasn’t bothered me. Immersing myself in erotic novels has kept me wriggling on the edge of my seat at work and firmly entrenched in my own fantasy world at night.  

Though one thing is bothering me—my damn virginity. If only I could find a sexy bedroom expert to introduce me to the delights of having a lover. Someone handsome and charming, who can rival the hunky alpha males in my books. I have a very vivid, very well-fed imagination—he’ll have to keep up.  

Then, one bitterly cold night, thanks to a devious, conniving, so-called friend, the perfect opportunity to rid myself of this pesky virginity problem comes along. Before I know it, the heroes in my novels have come alive in the person of Shane Galloway, who’s pleasuring me with every trick in the book and wheedling into my heart in the hottest ways possible.  

**Please note Cold Nights, Hot Bodies was previously published with different cover art.** 



Excerpt 

I stood, arms hanging at my sides, knees buckled, as he lowered his head and pressed his mouth to mine.  
It was a gentle kiss, not wet and not dry, the perfect combination of smoothness and maleness. I parted my mouth and held my breath as he delicately traced my bottom lip with his tongue, then I captured his taste—wine and water, man and musk. Pulling in air, I was treated to his gorgeous light scent again.  
“You’re so sweet,” he murmured, pulling back a fraction. “Like a little sugary doll.”  
Pushing to my toes, I pressed my lips to his, wanting more of his taste and his desire.  
This time the kiss quickly turned hotter and harder. Still he kept my face cradled in his hands, holding me just where he wanted me as he probed his tongue deeper, searching for mine with the hot, insistent tip.  
I lifted my tongue from the base of my mouth and tentatively touched it to his. He gave a small groan and slanted his head. Our tongues tangled and I reached up and curled my hands into the material of his shirt. Hung on as our breaths quickened and our mouths fed off each other. I became lost in his kiss, he was all I could think of. His taste, his smell, the way he was holding me was my entire universe. Bubbles of pleasure erupted deep within me. A crazy new need flowed like lava through my veins, settled in my breasts, seeped between my legs and spread over my skin.  
He pulled back and dropped his hands from my face.  
I opened my eyes.  
His mouth was shiny from our kiss and his eyelids heavy. “Lose this,” he whispered, sliding his fingers beneath the thin shoulder straps of my dress.  
I prayed my heart wouldn’t give out, it was beating so hard and fast. He wanted me to take off my dress. Of course he wanted me to take off my dress. We were going to have sex for heaven’s sake. The dress had to come off.  
I slid down the zip and the material loosened around my ribs. He stooped, gripped the hem and began to lift. It smoothed up over my thighs and waist and air breezed over my buttocks, which were exposed by my thong.  
He straightened, his expression heavy with concentration as he carried on peeling the dress upward. I stretched my arms above my head and was blinded momentarily as the dress brushed over my face.  
Shane didn’t drop the dress on the floor. Instead he shook it straight and laid it on the back of the sofa. Instinct made me want to cross my arms over my breasts, flatten a palm over the shockingly tiny piece of lace that made up the front of the thong Dawn had provided. But I forced my arms to remain still, hanging at my sides as he turned to me.  
“Phew,” he said, blowing out a breath and scanning my legs. “I must have been a really good boy this year to get stockings filled so sweetly.”  
I couldn’t help but notice there was a long, hard bulge straining against his fly. My stomach flipped and I quickly averted my eyes and glanced down at my legs, which were encased in black fishnet. The scalloped tops looked fine and dainty against my pale thighs. The flickering shadows from the fire caressed their outline and even I had to admit, they looked damn good.  
“You think so?” I asked nervously, trying not to dwell on the size of the bulge I’d just seen.  
“Hell, yeah.” He stepped back over. “I must have accidently found a cure for cancer or secured world peace to get such a great present.”  
A small, apprehensive giggle escaped my lips. “You like the stockings then?”  
“I’ve never liked stockings more than at this moment in time,” he whispered onto my mouth. “Promise me you’ll keep them on, even when you take everything else off. I want to feel them rubbing against my skin when you’re wrapped around me.”  
I shivered in a breath at the wonderfully erotic image he’d just created. “I promise.”  
He glanced down at my jutting breasts. “You’re beautiful, you know that.” He traced his finger over the soft curve at the top of my right breast and into my newly deepened cleavage.  
A dart of pleasure shot to my nipples, as though the weight of my breasts had doubled under his touch. They were suddenly tingly and tight.  
“You do know that, don’t you?” he said again as he traced over my left breast. “Of course you do, I’m sure you’ve been told by plenty of guys.”  
Er, no,” I said, pressing my palm over his shirt and feeling his hard pectoral muscle shifting slightly beneath.  
“No, you don’t know it or no, you haven’t been told?”  
“I…well…I…”  
His gaze captured mine and he tipped his head to the side. “Are you okay?” He stilled his finger.  
“Yes, it’s just…” I slid my hand up to his shoulder and held on for support. I had to tell him. I didn’t think I could go through with “wrapping myself around him” if he thought I was experienced and confident. I’d be sure to disappoint or let him down somehow. He deserved to know. Besides, Saffron had told Tobias, so had Felicity in Lord Morton’s Maid and Skye had left a note for Ralph in Optimum Pleasure. All my heroines told their men it was their first time. It was the right thing to do.  
“What is it?” Shane asked again, his eyes searching mine. 
“I-I haven’t, you know, done it before.”  
“Done what?” He creased his forehead into a frown.  
“You know, it, had sex.” I stared down at my dark, stockinged feet. They contrasted sharply with the golden carpet. “I’m a virgin.”  
His whole body snapped backward. It was as if he’d been electrocuted. “Jesus,” he said, shoving his fingers through the hair on the crown of his head and stretching his elbows out to the side. “What the hell?” He stared at me with wide eyes.  
I crossed my hands over my chest. “I’m sorry.” A shard of fear sliced into my heart. He didn’t want me anymore. Now he knew I was a virgin he no longer desired me. He’d wanted an experienced lover for the night, not some naïve little girl.  
“And you let it get this far before you told me?”  
“What do you mean? We haven’t done anything other than kiss.”  
He huffed. “Yeah, one hot kiss with you looking like the best damn Christmas present of my life.” He shoved his hands down his waistband and appeared to re- arrange the bulge behind his fly.  
“I’m sorry. Partly for letting it get so far and…” I paused. “And partly because you appear to be in physical discomfort.”  
“There’s no need to be sorry,” he said, glancing at the door and pulling his hand from his pants.  
“Well, clearly there is.” I was getting frustrated now. “If I wasn’t a virgin we’d be heading into the bedroom by now. Clearly my inexperience has put you off.”  
“I had that in mind actually,” he said, pointing at the deeply cushioned sofa next to us. “It’s wide and soft and by the fire. It would have done just fine.”  
I tightened my arms around myself. He’d wanted to make love to me on the sofa. Just the thought of it sent a tremble up my spine. It would have been so perfect. So sensual and sweet.  
He rubbed his hand around the nape of his neck. His dark, tousled hair fell over his ears and he cast his eyes downward.  
“I had to tell you,” I whispered, shivering despite the blasting heat of the fire.  
“Thank goodness you did. Imagine if I’d just gone for it, not knowing. It would have been catastrophic.”  
“What do you mean?”  
“I haven’t been with a woman for a while,” he said, frowning. “And you in those damn stockings and with your sexy little body.” He pulled in a deep breath. “I was just about to lose control. It wouldn’t have been the gentle initiation to sex that you deserve, Ashley, it would have left you dazed and confused and wondering what kind of beast you’d invited to your room.”  
He didn’t look like a beast, and he certainly hadn’t touched me like one. His fingertip on my flesh had been gentle and reverent. Although now he mentioned it, when he’d looked at my stockings there’d been a glint in his eye that had made me wonder how much control he had.  
“Does it change things between us so much?” I asked quietly.  
He sighed. “Of course it does.”  
“But why?”  
“Because your first time should be special, with someone you care deeply about…love.”  
“I care about you.”  
“But we’ve only just met.”  
“But I still care about you more than any other guy I’ve ever met.” I swept my hands down the exposed skin on my body. “No one else has seen me like this before.”  
His eyebrows twitched as his gaze roamed my underwear. “Lucky me.”  
I frowned. “Shane, I want to do this, with you. Tonight.”  
“But surely you want more than…” He shrugged and clamped his lips into a tight line.  
“Than what? Go onsay it. We’re both adults. We both know what we’re doing.”  
“Okay, surely you want more than a one-night stand to give away your virginity to?”  
My jaw clenched. Of course I knew that’s what this was. But having it said aloud hurt. Quickly I shoved that stupid bit of hurt way down deep. I had a more pressing matter to concentrate on and I wasn’t about to let this opportunity slip through my fingers. “I’m twenty-three, Shane, I’m still a virgin and I don’t want to be.” I pulled in a deep, determined breath. “I’ve chosen you over a bunch of losers who’ve chatted me up and asked me out over the years. It’s taken me a long time to find someone I want to have sex with. One-night stand or not, I want you to make sure I’m not a virgin when I wake up in the morning.” I put my hands on my hips and narrowed my eyes. “Do you think you’re man enough to do that?”  
“Oh, I’m man enough all right. I’m also man enough to walk away and stop you making a mistake you’ll never be able to undo.”  
“But how can it be a mistake if it’s what I want?”  
“Because you don’t know what you want. Why can’t you see that?”  
“How dare you.” I stepped up to him, poked out my index finger and pressed it against his chest. “You have no idea what I want or need.”  
He looked surprised by my sudden rise in voice and stern tone.  
“I’m a virgin not an idiot. I know about love and lust and I know there’s a difference. I also know I want to be initiated into the world of sex by someone handsome, intelligent, experienced and…and…”  
“Expert?” He raised his eyebrows.  
tutted and lowered my finger. “Yes, that will do quite nicely, expert. I want someone who isn’t going to fumble and falter. I want someone who knows which buttons to press.”  
“Buttons?” He gave a hesitant smile and a lock of hair fell over his right eye.  
“This is not funny, you know.”  
“Oh, believe me, there’s nothing funny about the ache in my pants I can’t do anything about.” He pushed his hair from his face.  
“Of course you can.” I lowered my voice, gentled my tone. “I’ve been reading up and I know what you need too, I know what you’d like, Shane. It doesn’t have to be boring because it’s my first time.”  
“What have you been reading?”  
I shrugged. “Stuff.”  
“Elaborate.”  
“Stories about sex, men and women, things they do other than just the missionary position.”  
A flicker of interest crossed his face. “Like what?”  
“Things like oral sex,” I said quietly. “A woman taking a man into her mouth, sucking and licking until he comes down her throat.” I paused, sensing his heightened attention at my words. “I want to try that.”  
“Anything else you been reading about?” he asked, shifting from one foot to the other.  
“Yes, tying up a lover and doing whatever you want to their bodies, making them squirm with pleasure and cry out for more.” I could hardly believe I was saying all this stuff.  
“You want me to tie you up?” His eyes widened.  
“Not my first time.” I silently congratulated myself on not blushing.  
“Your second?”  
“Maybe, perhaps I’ll wait ’til third though.” I reached for the first, fastened white button on his shirt.  
Opportunity. Grab it like a terrier.  
“There’s something else I want to try before that,” I whispered.  
“And what’s that?” he asked, watching me undo the button. His voice had calmedhis body was still. He was no longer stealing glances at the door.  
“I want to try it from behind.” 
“What, in your—?” His eyes snapped up to mine. 
“No, no, just from behind so I can find my G-spot.” 
“Jesus, you have been reading up.”  
I undid the next button and the next and reached for the cuffs. “Yes, I like to do my research.” I tugged his now-undone shirt from the waistband of his smart black pants. “If I’m going to do something, I like to do it properly.”  
“Me too,” he said in a quiet, calm voice.  
Shoving the shirt over his shoulders, I stepped in real close and let my breasts press into the tightly coiled hair sprinkled over his chest. “Which is what makes you so perfect for my needs,” I said, sliding the shirt down his arms and letting it fall on the floor.  
“Damn, you’ve nearly got me persuaded,” he said, lowering his head. His lips rested against my temple and I heard him swallow tightly.  
I pulled back and looked up at his dark eyes, they were thick and velvety. I parted my lips and held them a whisper from his. “Will this persuade you?” I cupped my palm against the taut material of his pants and gave his cock a firm, confident squeeze.  

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Reader Reviews 

I have read a good number of Lily Harlem books, but this might be my favorite. 

This was a great book that really showed two characters that had amazing chemistry and how the author was able to tweak them in just a way as to make the story different from all the others on the market today. 

I love this couple and the HEA was brilliant. This is the perfect story to keep you warm at night. 

Well all I am going to say is DAMN it is one steamy hot read…Loved it! 




About Lily Harlem 

Lily Harlem lives in the UK and is an award-winning author of erotic romance. She writes for publishers on both sides of the Atlantic including HarperCollins, Totally Bound, Pride Publishing, Evernight Publishing, All Romance eBooks, Stormy Nights Publishing, Tirgearr and Sweetmeats Press. Her work regularly receives high praise and industry nominations.  
Before turning her hand to writing Lily Harlem worked as a trauma nurse and her latest HarperCollins release, Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse draws on her many experiences while nursing in London. Lily also self-publishes and The Silk TieThe Glass Knot and Scored have been blessed with many 5* reviews since their release.  
Lily writes MF, MM and ménage a trois, her books regularly hit the #1 spot on Amazon Best Seller lists and Breathe You In was named a USA Today Reviewer’s Recommended Read of 2014. Her latest MM novel is Dark Warrior 
Lily also co-authors with Natalie Dae and publishes under the name Harlem Dae - check out the Sexy as Hell Trilogy - The Novice, The Player, and The Vixen - and That Filthy Book which has been hailed as a novel 'every woman should read' and is available in book stores nationwide.  
One thing you can be sure of, whatever book you pick up by Ms Harlem, is it will be wildly romantic and down-and-dirty sexy. Enjoy!  
Check out Lily’s website for details of her other books and her Amazon Author Page. Subscribe to her newsletter to get a FREE ebook and be the first to hear of new releases and free reads, and if you enjoy Facebook, hop on over there and say hi!