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Love & Lust in Space, a Sci-Fi Lover’s Dream Antho!

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I’m so excited to be promoting Love & Lust in Space on A hopeful Romantic today! I have a very special place in my heart for this anthology, edited by the fabulous Jennifer Denys. As it turns out I had every intention of writing a story for this fabulous anthology, being a huge fan of Sci Fi myself. It was only when I got about six thousand words in that I realised ‘oops!’ This has to be a novel. As it turns out, it ended up as my NaNoWriMo project this year. BUT it was most definitely inspired by the lovely Jennifer Denys and Anna Skye last year at Smut by the Sea.

All that is a long way of saying what an absolute pleasure it is to finally see the finished anthology. I know a fair few of the authors, I’m proud to say, so you can expect fabulous stories with lots of sexy, out of this world, twists and turns. With that in mind, Jennifer has put together a wonderful Round-Table sort of interview with some of those authors and all I can say is that you’re all in for a treat!

 

 

 

 

 

Love & Lust in Space

 

They say your screams can’t be heard in space… Unless you have a partner or two! Eleven authors take you on a trip where any pairings are acceptable, locations vary from spaceships to strange and futuristic worlds, and interesting and exciting objects can be used in sex play.

 

If randy astronauts, virtual reality lovers, sex in near-death situations, a commitment-phobe human and her alien lover, and reproduction in space experiments don’t do anything for you, you are clearly not human!

 

So try the stories in the alien worlds half of the anthology, instead. Here you’ll find alien Doms, a mysterious gladiator saving a stricken princess, an exotic dancer, a paid assassin on the run, an illegal sonic dilda’tor, and a pleasure booth. Space has never been so exciting!

 

 

  1. How many sci-fi stories have you written?

 

Beverly – I have written sci-fi since a young teenager. My interest grew with the advent of sci-fi and fantasy word-based adventure games in the early eighties for computers such as the Spectrum 48 and Commodore 64. Somehow, writing scenarios for these adventures transformed into writing scenes in stories. Stories to date are too many to count, but this is my first erotic short.

 

Ashe – Just a couple so far, but I’ve got the bug now and I do have a few kinky out-of-this-world ideas fermenting so there will be more to come.

 

 

  1. If you were to star in a sci-fi show would you be the captain who always gets the girl/guy, the nerd who invents a sex android, or the hands-on sex therapist?

 

Rose – I would probably be more like the sexually frustrated sidekick who’s always overlooked. But, out of these specifically, I hope I’d be the captain!

 

Dylan – I like to imagine that I’d be the captain who gets the guy but I think in reality (is there such a thing?) I’d end up being the nerd creating the sexdroid.

 

Jordan – If I were in a sci-fi show, I’d most likely by the hands-on sex therapist.

 

 

  1. If you could go to another planet what method of transport would you choose: spaceship/transporter/wormhole?

 

Ella – I would choose spaceship because a transporter might go wrong and a wormhole? Well, you might never get back.

H K – Transporter. Beam me up!

Beverley – Wormhole. I’ve never believed that travelling is part of the holiday.

 

 

  1. What type of sex appeals to you – antigravity sex/virtual reality sex/sex in public in front of aliens/secret sex/sexual experiment/illegal sex?

 

Ashe – My story in the anthology features sex in public with a crowd of aliens looking on, but I reckon antigravity sex sounds pretty awesome too. And experimental sex. Oh, and illegal sex sounds a bit tasty. Mmm, perhaps just any sort, really.

 

Ian – I like the idea of sneaky sex with a crewmate, maybe in a locker or a quiet part of the vehicle, and weightless sex is a fascinating idea

 

H K – Secret, illegal public sex in front of aliens, in zero-gravity.

 

  1. Which would you prefer to be – a pioneer colonist on an alien planet/astronaut undertaking experiments in orbit around Earth/an ambassador to an alien world/explorer of the galaxy in a spaceship/futuristic computer hacker inventing strange new worlds, new life and new civilizations…. (that line sounds familiar…)?

 

Dylan – Mmm… tough choice. Whichever one results in my ending up in an alien dungeon with a sexy alien Dom, and some wonderful and weird sex technology!

 

Jennifer – explorer, I reckon, having first contact. Or colonist trying out new planets. I’m far too forthright to be an ambassador, would get claustrophobic as an astronaut and no good at computers to be a hacker!

 

Morgan – In my dream life I might be a pioneer colonist, but I don’t think the reality would be as exciting as the idea.

 

 

  1. Would you prefer to be abducted by a hunky/sexy alien to be their mate or be the hunky/sexy alien abducting the Earthling?

 

Dee – I suspect I would very much enjoy being abducted by a sexy alien to be their mate—but [he] doesn’t have to be hunky. A sexy, intelligent, witty blob of gel? Cloud of plasma? Sure, let’s see what we can do together.

 

Ian – Abduct me baby, I won’t play hard-to-get

 

 

  1. Choose a sex toy – sonic dilda’tor/pleasure booth/orgasma orb

 

Dee – Tell me more about their features. Actually, why I don’t I try them all before I make my decision? Is there a sample table?

 

Jennifer – Have to have the sonic dilda’tor since it is the title and subject of my story! (But I want to try the others out afterwards!)

 

Morgan – Can I choose something different like a Virtual Reality Sex Simulator – or maybe that’s the same as a pleasure booth?

 

 

  1. If you could be an alien which would you rather be: a strong warrior/ a beautiful princess/an interplanetary assassin/a hunky alien Dom/a member of the ambassador’s security detail/an exotic dancer?

 

Rose – Being a Disney girl at heart, I’ve gotta go with being a beautiful princess. But I wouldn’t mind being a beautiful princess who meets some of those guys!

 

Jordan – Being an interplanetary assassin sounds fun!

 

Ella – A twist between the interplanetary assassin and the ambassador’s security detail, maybe the security detail who moonlights as an assassin? Oh the plot bunnies are endless.

 

Published by: Sexy Little Pages

 

Edited by: Jennifer Denys

 

Buy Love & Lust in Space Here:

(takes you through to the correct Amazon for your country): https://mybk.li/llis

 

 

 

Annik Petrou Talks about Falling in Love with Public Speaking

Annik & Little PonyI’m very excited to have Annik Petrou on a Hopeful Romantic today. Annik is the founder of the wonderful Pony Express, which trains people to fall in love with public speaking, and when you hear what Annik has to say, I’m sure you’ll be convinced that she definitely is smitten. Welcome, Annik!

 

K D: Tell us a little bit about PONY Express and how it got started.

 

Annik: As so often, I constantly felt that others got ahead much faster than me. People who had ideas (that clearly weren’t as good as mine, right?) got promoted faster, were perceived as more intelligent simply because they knew how to communicate and sell themselves. I then started working with different public speaking training techniques, but it only was after I got into Improvisation & Clowning that I understood that real authenticity comes from within and not from external techniques. We integrated A LOT of this experiential and interactive work in the Pony Express training and the results have proven that our training is able to take people from beginner to professional in a couple of months.

 

K D: How did you get interested in public speaking?

 

Annik: I attended one of those personal development events where I met my now business partner. He spoke on stage and I thought, ‘WOW, I wanna be as good as him.’ And obviously, all those insecurities I have about myself helped push the whole process along. I felt so out of control when speaking as the nerves took over making me look like a ‘twat’ on stage [in my perception] and I simply wanted to be more in control of the whole process and not a victim to my fears.

 

K D: If you could give only one suggestion to help people get over their nerves for speaking in public, what would it be?Annik, Errol & Little Pony

 

Annik: Start speaking before you think you are ready. The nerves calm with practice and time. People often wait for too many years or read books or watch videos instead of getting uncomfortable and throwing themselves into the cold water and on stage. Every mistake is a lesson you would have NEVER learned without getting it wrong first. So don’t be afraid to speak-up and potentially ‘get it wrong’ – be afraid of not giving it a GO. Practice makes perfect.

 

K D: What are the biggest mistakes you see people making when they get up to speak?

 

Annik: They don’t have a grounding routine before stepping on stage. Grounding techniques like power posing, breathing techniques or detachment processes help to get you out of your head back into your body, which has a massive positive impact on your presence. Another mistake is that people start with totally pointless comments like ‘Thank you for having me…’ instead of really sparking the audience up from the first 15 seconds.

 

K D: I know from my own public speaking experiences that the speaker has to connect with her audience. Any advice to speakers on how to do that?

 

Annik: Apart from the obvious like being present, looking into their eyes and not the ceiling or back wall and NOT overloading them with too many details — waffle on and on and on because you don’t have a real structure – I’d say doing a ‘YOU’ count is a great connection tool. I often hear people say, ‘I have done this, I have done that …’ I I I I! Me
me me me! Make it about them. Draw them in, for example, instead of saying, ‘I have five years of experience working in the social media industry.’ Say, ‘In five years of working in the social media industry here are three tips for you.’ You connect by making it about them.

 

K D: What is your best experience of public speaking?

 

Annik: I love the difference in people’s eyes when I take them through different processes or do a session on Annik Contribution Conference 1improvisation. It gets them out of their heads, and I feel so much more alive too and powerful. No one can deny the positive effect of realising the impact you have on others.

 

KD: Does learning to comfortably speak in front of an audience change people’s lives in other ways as well?

 

Annik: You bet! One thing I hear a lot from people doing our six-month Speaking Accelerator is, ‘I wish I would have done this training earlier.’ It’s not only the speaking bit but the certainty and power it gives you. You negotiate harder, sell more, feel more in control of your life. People gained the confidence to start their own business, got better paid speaking gigs or corporate contracts and also got the desired investment when pitching at Dragon’s Den, for example.

 

K D: How can people get in touch with PONY Express if they would like to become more comfortable speaking in public?

 

Annik: Simply email annik@ponyexpressclub.com or call me on 07734312891. We run a monthly Club Night every second last Wednesday of the month. There’s more information at www.ponyepressclub.com or our Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/ponyexpressclub. I want to hear from you and can’t wait hearing your story.

 

K D: How has coaching public speaking changed your life?

 

Annik: I am honestly a different person. I always used to be loud to mask all my insecurities, so there was no real Annik TEDx_unicornssubstance to me. Now, I am ME – ON and OFF stage. It’s such a relief.

 

K D: Anything else you’d like to share, Annik?

Annik: It’s all about taking risks. Playing small means you’re comfortable, but not memorable. If you never give it a go – you’ll never know! And nerves are part of playing a bigger game. So get nervous and start speaking.

 

 

 

Scarlet Ladies: Reclaiming Women’s Sexuality Part 1

Scarlet Ladies-logo-medium

 

Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of being included on a panel on porn and female sexuality sponsored by the totally amazing Scarlet Ladies –Jannette Davies and Sarah Beilfuss. They have a plan for world conquest, as Sarah says, it includes “empowering every women on this planet. We want to have an impact on shaping sex education in this country and every country. Basically we want to change views on how people think of female sexuality.”

 

The Scarlet Ladies host women only events in London to talk about sex with the aim of normalizing the conversation Scarlet Ladies pic Unknownaround female sexuality, its problems, pains and pleasures.

 

Theirs is a plan, I can happily support. With that in mind, I invited them to a Skype interview so that they could share it all with you. The interview was so full of exciting information and so intriguing that it will be in two parts. The first one is here on my blog today, and the second half will be on The Brit Babes Blog on Monday the 23rd of May. Be sure to put that date on your calendar. You won’t want to miss it.

 

A Scarlet Lady is a woman who is or wants to be in charge of her sexuality and her needs. She understands her needs, desires and is not ashamed to get what she wants. From her work life to her personal life she is the author of her book.

 

This is the definition of a Scarlet Lady front and center on the Scarlet Ladies website. I personally think aspiring to be a Scarlet Lady is a very worthy goal.

 

“It was actually a rant at Costas about sex that got the idea of more women sitting around talking,” Jannette tells me.

 

“Everything came about really organically — two women talking about sex.” Sarah adds. “We just wanted to give other
women the opportunity to talk about sex the way we did that day.

 

Jannette nods her agreement. “The more women we met, the more they started introducing us to other people. A few Scarlet Ladies pic 3months down the line we launched Scarlet Ladies and here we are.” At this point, Sarah’s cat, Kira, hops up onto her lap and both women laugh. Sarah says a pussy is the perfect mascot for the Scarlet Ladies.

 

Sarah and Jannette met at networking events. Sarah is a personal transformation coach specializing in burn out and fatigue, and ‘getting your BOOM back.’ She uses those skills in the group coaching environment to help women overcome sexual challenges in SLT Scarlet Ladies talks.

 

Jannette runs an online website and magazine, Chareemag to which women contribute stories as well as fashion, lifestyle, sex and relationships articles. “It’s a place for women to have their voices heard,” she says. She was a beauty therapist before that. She also worked in Ann Summers. “That allowed me to be comfortable with sex and seeing it as a natural thing.”

 

The two tell me that while Jannette was more liberated, Sarah really had hang-ups around her sex life. Jannette’s goal is to create a space where women can talk without being judged. Sarah sees her goal as supporting the kind of women who aren’t that open, would like to be more so but don’t quite know how.

 

The Scarlet Ladies have clearly discovered that women want to talk about sex; they just needed the opportunity and a safe place, but I wonder if it was hard in the beginning to get them to open up?

 

The answer is a resounding No! Both women assure me that even before there was a group coming together to talk, the Scarlet Ladies59044624women just turned up, and they just talked. “It’s an amazing release,” Jannette says. “We don’t struggle to get them to open up. The panelists lead the way to that opening up.”

 

The bigger challenge, Sarah says, is getting women through the door, because there’s lots of stigma around women’s sexuality. “Initially the reaction I got was that it was a bit smutty – ‘you just want women to go and sleep around.’ That is precisely what SL is not,” she emphasizes. “It’s about pleasing yourself. It’s about what we want. We need to learn what WE want. In promo, however, it’s still a bit of women’s little dirty secret.”

 

I ask what they think frustrates women the most about ‘the politics of sex. What frustrates them the most?

 

Jannette thinks a lot of frustration comes from how women really are and what they and popular culture think they should be. “Even though now women are more sexually ‘out there’ than before,” she says, “everything about life and society pushes women to be a certain way — the expectations of what they should be and what they need to be in their sexuality and the way they look.”

 

“While appearing not to be sexual, but virtuous,” Sarah adds.Scarlet Ladies pic 2Unknown

 

Sarah goes on to say that she thinks one of the biggest problems is gender inequality – the idea that certain thing’s are ok for men but not for women and how that inequality puts women at risk. “Our attitude that ‘boys will be boys’ is not protective of women,” she says. “We have to teach boys how to act around women.”

 

The lack of sex education is another problem they both see. Sarah states the sex education that used to be taught in the UK was barely worth having, but now even that’s not mandatory.

“Society says men always want sex, but women want it all the time; they think about it, but don’t communicate it,” Sarah says. “I think women are a lot more sexual. In the very ancient cultures the female energy is where all sexuality sits. Tantra is a good example. The loss of that freedom was to suppress women to take away their power. If a woman is at the top of her game, her vagina will be part of her.” Then she adds sadly, “Most women end at the neck.”

 

I ask what surprised the two of them most when they started Scarlet Ladies.

 

“That we’re all so different and that it’s all normal,” Sarah says without having to think about it. “For example, while Scarlet Ladies friends-966489_1920
women may like lesbian porn; it doesn’t make them lesbian. Very often women come back to us after the meeting
saying, ‘Oh, I’m normal!’ We keep it to ourselves so much that we don’t really know what normal is.”

 

Check out The Scarlet Ladies website for more about their mission and for all upcoming events.

 

Be sure to check out the second half of my interview with The Scarlet Ladies on The Brit Babes Blog Monday the 23rd of May. You won’t want to miss it.

 

 

 

 

Alice Raine Interviews the Steamy Nicholas Jackson from her UNTWISTED Novels

All covers in an arcFirstly I’d like to start by saying a huge thanks to KD for hosting me here today. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Alice Raine, the author of the Untwisted series, and I’m thrilled to say that I’ve actually managed to grab an interview with Nicholas Jackson today, the lead character in book 1 of my series called The Darkness Within Him.

Any of you who have heard of Nicholas will know that even though he’s a world famous concert pianist he’s also notoriously reclusive when it comes to the spotlight, and pretty much does everything he can to avoid interviews. Needless to say, I was hugely surprised when I received an email from his agent last week saying that he had requested me to do an interview with him, for publication in OK magazine. I don’t work for OK magazine (if I’m truthful I don’t even read it that regularly) but apparently they were desperate for an article on him and after persistent badgering he gave in but with the condition that it was moi doing the questions.

It’s now nine o’clock on Saturday morning and I’m standing on the doorstep to his rather lovely townhouse in Primrose Hill, London. In my hand are the 2 take away coffees in a cardboard tray from the posh deli on the corner that Nicholas requested I bring with me. To be honest I still don’t know why he requested me specifically, but OK magazine are paying me a pretty penny to freelance for them for the day, and I have to say I’m rather excited about seeing Nicholas again, because after spending the time interviewing him for the books I have developed a bit of a soft spot for him.

His rather smart front door is opened by Rebecca, and I can’t help the grin that splits my lips as I see her smiling face and sparkly green eyes. In the time I spent with Nicholas researching the books it was abundantly obvious that they have a special bond, this woman is clearly good for him, and I’m genuinely thrilled to see her again.

After being led up to Nicholas’ piano room Rebecca waves me towards the plush white armchair next to the piano and I set about getting out my Dictaphone and notepad when the door behind me opens again and the man of the hour enters.

Turning to face Nicholas I try to avoid staring at just how attractive he is, but even as a happily married woman it’s almost an impossible task, because as always he looks almost good enough to eat. Today his tall, broad frame is kitted out in a rather lovely pair of dark grey trousers and a black shirt and I only stop myself from drooling by focussing on pulling out my pen and looking down at my questions as he takes a seat on the piano stool.

Now my interview can really begin.

Alice: Good morning Nicholas. It’s been what? Three months since we last met up? How are you?

Nicholas: Hello, Alice. It’s been 4 months actually. And how am I? In need of a decent coffee, that’s how. Is that one for me? [jerks chin at the 2 cups of coffee beside me]

Alice: Oh! Yes. Sorry, here you go. [I hand a cup across to him, trying not to stare at his beautifully long, pianist fingers]

Nicholas: [pulls the lid from his cup, sniffs the brew and then looks at me with a raised eyebrow] You bought the Panama Esmeralda?

Alice: Yes. You said to bring you a good cup of coffee, so I choose the best on the menu. [it cost almost as much as my monthly mortgage payment for these 2 cups, but seeing as I’m handing the bill to OK magazine as expenses, I don’t care.]

Nicholas: [sips his coffee and moans appreciatively, a noise so inherently sexual that it then causes me to moan appreciatively.] Delicious coffee, Alice. Thank you.

[I clear my throat, trying to focus and appear professional before starting my questions]

Alice: Can I start by asking why you requested me for today, I mean I don’t even work for the magazine?

Nicholas: [shrugs] I like to keep my life as private as possible, but they magazine just kept on calling and my agent wanted me to accept. I didn’t want the hassle of explaining my fucked up childhood and dominant sexual tastes to someone new, so I decided if I was going to do an interview with anyone it should be you, at least you know a bit about my history. [he runs a hand through his hair as if embarrassed] Besides, you wrote it all out in a fair account in the books and didn’t judge me, I appreciated that a lot.

Alice: [I nod, a little lost for words] Ok. Well, thanks for thinking of me, and of course I didn’t judge you. We might not be best friends, but I know you’re a good man Nicholas. [A shy smile slips to his lips and I remember fondly just why I had liked him so much when I’d been interviewing him for the books] So, how are things with you?

Nicholas: Good. Really good. [nods briskly, apparently relieved about the topic change] Busy schedule of concerts at the moment, lots of charity events lined up for the next few months.

Alice: Which charity are you raising money for?

Nicholas: Various charities. I’d rather keep their names out of the papers though, the donations will be kept quiet; I just want to raise the money, I don’t want a big fuss. [Knowing a little of his history I suspect it’s a charity for abused children, but I don’t push it further] I’ve nearly raised the target I set now, and I still have 6 more concerts to play, so there should be a fairly hefty donation going across to them all soon.

Alice: That’s fabulous Nicholas. [I feel a sudden urge to hug him, but thankfully resist] You look a little tired today, did you have a concert last night?

Nicholas: No. [he smirks] I was up rather late with Rebecca. [His tone makes his meaning clear – he was up having wild sex with Rebecca – and I blush furiously, looking down at my pad to ease my discomfort]

Nicholas: Am I boring you, Alice?

Alice: [swallowing slightly nervously, I look back up at him] I beg your pardon?

Nicholas: Since you’ve been in here you’ve done nothing but stare at that note pad and doodle on it. [jerks his chin towards my pad] Don’t you know how rude that is? Even someone with the barest of etiquette knows that you should look someone in the eye when you’re speaking to them.

Alice: [I lick my lips nervously, feeling thoroughly chastised and instantly remembering his preference for eye contact] My apologies Nicholas, no disrespect was meant. Some of these questions are from the magazine that’s all. But I tell you what, I’ll just record the rest, no more notes.’[Nicholas nods his approval, sips his coffee and stares at me again. Crikey, I’d forgotten just how intimidating he could be.]

Alice: So…[I keep my eyes firmly on his this time] I’ve seen you in the papers a few times with Rebecca after your charity shows. Things are obviously still going well between the two of you?

Nicholas: They are. Miraculously. [gives a dry laugh] She’s moved in here full time now.

Alice: I’m so pleased for you Nicholas, you two are perfect together.

Nicholas: [fidgets slightly uncomfortably in his chair] Thanks. I think so too.

Alice: So now you’re officially off the eligible Batchelor list and settled in a relationships has your… umm… dominant streak faded at all?

Nicholas: [completely unbothered by my question] It’s still part of me, [shrugs] I suspect it always will be. Rebecca and I have adapted to fit into each other’s lives, but that doesn’t mean that I have intrinsically changed. It just means that instead of wanting a woman in my life for an hour or two for sex, I now only want Rebecca in my life. [shifting in his seat Nicholas leans forwards and rests his elbows on his knees so he can really stare me in the eye] Between you and me, the other things I discussed with you when you were researching your books; the paddles, hand cuffs and toys, are still part of our sex life, just not as central any more.

Alice: Right … and Rebecca’s happy with that too?

Nicholas: I believe she is more than happy with our set up. [looks rather smug] My brother always believed you were curious about our lifestyles Alice, would you like me to tell you her favourite toys? Or perhaps I could get Becky to bring some in for you to look at?

Alice: No! No! [my voice is panicky high pitched squeak] That’s quite all right. [I’m fairly sure he’s winding me up, but my cheeks literally couldn’t be any redder if I tried] Has Rebecca softened you up at all?

Nicholas: Things are still nice and hard where Rebecca is concerned, thank you very much. [I blush again, his face is completely blank, but I see a hint of a smile curl his top lip. He’s definitely toying with me, the bugger.]

Alice: The magazine wanted me to ask … [I pause, nervous of his response] … well, they were wondering if there were any imminent wedding bells in the air?

Nicholas: [sits back, crosses his long legs and gives me a narrow eyed look] Want to be first in with a bid for wedding pictures do they?

Alice: Umm … probably. I don’t really know, they just put it on the list of things to ask.

Nicholas: Tell them it’s none of their own business.

Alice: [I scribble on my pad, desperate to avoid the intense stare he’s giving me] Right. Will do.

[Just then we are interrupted by a knock on the door before Rebecca pops her blond head inside.]

Rebecca: Sorry to interrupt, but Darley is on the phone, he’s being impatient as ever, something to do with the arrangements for the concert on Thursday.

Nicholas: [his face noticeably softens when he sees Rebecca, and I can’t help but smile fondly at just how much he clearly loves her.] OK, thanks babe, tell him I’ll be two minutes. [turns back to me] Alice, I’m sorry, I’m going to have to take that call, as I’m sure you remember, my agent will wait for no man, not even me.

Alice: No problem, I think the magazine just wanted a short piece anyway, and you agreed they could come in tomorrow and take some photographs of your piano room I believe?

Nicholas: I did, I’ll give them five minutes, no more. [nodding reluctantly] I hate bloody journalists.

Alice: It was lovely to see you again Nicholas. If I think of any questions I missed I’ll email you.

Nicholas: Perfect. Thanks for keeping it short, Alice. It was good to see you again too. I really better get my phone before Darley blows a gasket. Show yourself out.

Nicholas leaves the room and I sit in slight shock at the encounter. Even after all the time I’m spent with him in my research he’s still an enigma to me. Mind you, it was good to see him again, even if he still is remarkably intimidating!

 

Thank you for reading!

Books 1 -3 of the Untwisted series are now available!

Untwisted series blurb:

If you enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You, you will love the new ‘Untwisted’ series, which follows the highly addictive relationship between devilishly dark Nicholas Jackson and book shop owner Rebecca Langley.

A dizzying, all-consuming affair with famous pianist Nicholas Jackson draws in the timid Rebecca and engulfs her with his passion and dominance, then spits her out heartbroken and bruised.

Now, Rebecca is left trying to move on from the relationship she shared with Nicholas, but just as she starts to clear her head, he reappears in her life determined to win her back.

But seeing as Nicholas has already shown once that the darkness within him is lurking just below the surface, can Rebecca really take that risk again with her heart and body?

 

As well as the Untwisted series, I also have a festive short story available in ‘Love Under the Mistletoe’, a seasonal anthology from Accent Press including stories from KD Grace, Demelza Hart, Elizabeth Coldwell and me!

Buy Links to Twisted Series:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Alice%20Raine&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank

Thanks again to KD for hosting me today, and I’d like to wish everyone Happy Holiday!

Alice xx

Alice Raine author picAlice Tells Us about Alice:

Where to start? I’m really a lot more boring and normal than my steamy books might suggest. It may disappoint some to know that I’ve never had an illicit affair with a domineering pianist, nor have I ever met or dated a man who frequented sex clubs in London… I have however, always had an overactive imagination, which may in part explain where my stories come from! My books may be fiction, but the setting of London was a deliberate choice, I was born and raised in London and as such it holds a special place in my heart which I hope comes across in my writing. Some of my best times have been spent with friends wandering the markets of Camden or sipping beers in Covent Garden.

I moved to Manchester to study, where I ended up living for over ten years. Originally I qualified as an archaeologist, but I soon realised that jobs in that sector were minimal and decided to put my enthusiasm to use by becoming a teacher. Now I split my time between teaching, and engaging my wildly over active imagination by writing. Currently I’m living abroad spending my days exploring, teaching and writing. Where ever I find myself I live with my ever suffering, but hugely supportive husband, our dog and a crazy half-wild cat who keeps the whole household on its toes.

Music is a huge influence in my writing, I listen to everything from Snow Patrol and Linkin Park to Evanescence and REM, in fact, those of you with a good memory for lyrics might even spot one or two lines popping up in my writing as you read. I enjoys writing a wide range of genres including comical real life stories and youth paranormal fantasy, but my first published novels are the adult themed trilogy series ‘Untwisted.’

Find Alice Here:

– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alice-Raine/1433662383579684

– Twitter: @AliceRaine1

– Pintrest: http://www.pinterest.com/alice3083/

 

 

 

Sex and Relationship Therapist, Sarah Berry Talks Shop, Kink & ‘What’s Normal’

It’s my pleasure to welcome Sarah Berry, good friend, sex and relationship therapist and all around fabulous person, to A Hopeful Romantic to talk about her work with us.

Sarah BerryKD: Sarah, when you and I first met, you were the editor of Forum Magazine, and you were also a very talented writer in your own right. During the time I’ve know you, you founded the Fannying Around Women’s Group and always had an understanding of what was lacking in the area of women’s sexual health and the information and sources of information that are available. Becoming a sex and relationship therapist was the logical next step for you. What was the biggest change for you?

SB: Thanks KD. I think learning to be myself was a challenge. As a journalist at events I had to be larger than life as I was competing with a lot of other journalists to get the column inches. That said, when I was interviewing people on a one to one basis, I was much happier and relaxed.

When I started training some years ago, I thought therapists had to be this blank canvas with no discernable personality. I stopped wearing colourful clothes and tried to be very serious. But I realised that being human was very important to the process and that the way I was in my journalist interviews was more the person I should be as a therapist, things fell into place.

Now I am a professional version of myself, which means I am not trying to be something I am not, so I can concentrate fully on the client. Rather than being stuffy, disconnected and serious, I am warm, empathetic and down to earth. The relationship I build with the client is a huge part of the process in person centred therapy, as is being genuine, congruent and transparent.

KD: Sarah, you recently said to me, and I quote, ‘I actually think while some (people who lead alternative lifestyles) are having the life of Riley others are confused while others assume all therapists wouldn’t understand alt lifestyles (and I hate the word alt like I hate the word vanilla).’ Could you comment on this statement and tell us how that has affected the direction your career as a sex and relationship therapist will take.

SB: The media is quick to sensationalise kinksters, assume they are all survivors of abuse or fear they are all wannabe criminals. So the kinksters defend themselves by pointing out how the BDSM scene is very well policed and their mantra of being safe, sane and consensual. So there is a “them and us” type situation.

The reality is some people have a great time, some are working out what they want, some are new to the scene, some are veterans, some are still learning, some spend their time spouting dogma about the “right way” to do things… You don’t need to label yourself as a kinkster to enjoy a spot of spanking, and you don’t have to relish pain in order to be kinky. Some kinksters have been abused and successfully use kink to work through their pain while others can harm themselves by reliving the trauma. It is complicated; things can go wrong and things can go right. I will be blogging about being kinky on my new website http://www.LondonKinkTherapist.co.uk.

Because of this difficult backdrop I try to listen to my clients and not make assumptions about what they do or how they think. Just because someone is into BDSM (which stands for bondage, discipline, dominance, submission and sadomasochism) it does not mean this is the cause of their problem. Sometimes people do use kink to harm themselves but it doesn’t mean they must eschew all kinky practices in order to have a healthy sex life. Each person, couple or group I see is different and we work out what they want and need together then we work out how to help them get there.

KD: Sarah, I know a little more about the journey that led you down the path to therapist than most people do, and it’s an amazing journey. Would you share some of it with our readers please.

SB: I think you’re meaning that I have overcome my own psychosexual issues. My struggle with vaginismus inspired me to start Fannying Around. But even though I have overcome it, I think sex is a journey for everyone – whether you choose to have it, can’t have it, are alone, have a permanent partner or enjoy a variety of partners at a time. I am always learning and open to new thoughts and ideas. If I wasn’t I think I would be a rather jaded therapist.

KD: Are there future plans for Fannying Around?

SB: I do really want to bring Fannying Around back. It was a wonderful forum and I learned a lot from the members. I will be sure to let you know.

KD: What was most difficult about your transition from editor/journo to sex and relationship therapist?

SB: I think it has actually gone pretty smoothly. I always cared about what I wrote and I had the luxury of writing for the people that I was covering – rather than being sensational. Now I am even more mindful of being inclusive of sexualities, genders and preferences which can be a bit tricky when giving quotes to heteronormative places that want you to fit into their neat way of thinking.

KD: What do you think keeps people from seeking out the help that’s readily available for them, the helpSarahBerry therapists like you provide?

SB: I think people assume you need to be experiencing real tragedy or be really “fucked up” in order to see a therapist. But everyone has stuff, and at different times this can affect our relationships, work and social lives more than others. To be in therapy doesn’t mean you are a victim. In fact I have a great respect for anyone who walks into my office.

Therapy can help you unpick a problem, work out solutions, help you improve communicating – especially if your arguments always follow the same pattern and neither one of you feels heard – or deal with unresolved issues or grief from the past.

Some people fear seeing a therapist will open a can of worms, maybe if they have experienced grief or do not want to disrupt a currently amicable relationship with a family member. But it is possible to deal with any disruption from past events by looking at what is happening in the here and now. If you do not want to relive the past you do not have to. You are in control at all times.

KD: Could you talk a little bit about ‘what’s normal’ from the standpoint of a therapist? I know this is something that is always a hot topic, and more than likely one of the main reasons people seek you out.

SB: I’m always hearing statements like: “I just want to be normal,” “I want a normal relationship,” “Our sex life isn’t normal. But the idea that there is a normal is massive misconception. Everyone is different. We all have different ideas of what good sex is or what we want from a relationship – if we want one at all. And what this idea of normal does is alienate anyone who feels they are normal; it creates freaks out of anyone who feels they don’t want a lot of sex, or who maybe has a fetish or who doesn’t want to be married. A “problem” is only a problem if it impedes your own sense of what you want, disrupts your work, social life or relationships and/or if you are causing harm to others. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to completely change yourself to fit in with the norm. It could be that you can find a new way to express yourself. Life would be boring if we were all the same, fancied the same people or had the same desires.

KD: What does the future hold for Sarah Berry, sex and relationship therapist?

SB: Well I will continue with my private practise and carry on learning about the world of sex and relationships. I would also like to do more group therapy and more writing.

KD: How can people get in touch with you?

SB: You can contact me through my website sarahberrytherapy.co.uk, via email at sarah@sarahberrytherapy.co.uk or call me on 07581 231313.

 

 

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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