Coffee and Ritual

As most of you know, I recently spent a week in Croatia, in Zagreb. I used to live there a hundred years ago. It was there that I learned to love coffee, strong, thick Turkish coffee with the grounds at the bottom of the cup. It’s still my favorite. I can’t go to Croatia and not think of coffee, and not take every opportunity to partake. Since that time, coffee has always been much more to me than just a caffeine fix. Coffee is a ritual, a symbol of hospitality, friendship, creativity, laughter and all that makes our connection with each other such an important part of our lives. For in introvert, that’s sometimes a difficult connection to make. Coffee definitely makes it easier.

 

 

When I was in Zagreb this time, I was reminded once again of just how much of a ritual sharing coffee still is. Croats can linger over coffee for ages. It’s an art form. It’s a national treasure. It’s a way of making time for what matters in a world that doesn’t do that nearly often enough. That ritual was one of the first things I learned when I came to Zagreb all those years ago, long before I learned my way around, long before I learned the language. A part of being welcomed into anyone’s home was always the serving of coffee poured from a jezma into demitasse cups. To this day it just feels wrong to drink coffee from a paper cup.

 

 

Sitting in the sun on the terrace of a coffee shop near St. Catherine Square taking in the city below, I found myself listening to people chatting over coffee. I felt a sense of continuity, something unbroken that connects me to the girl I was, the girl who came here so many years ago. When I met friends and made new friends it was over coffee, coffee that we lingered over, coffee made all the better for the laughter and the good company.

 

 

There are many things that connect me to those years in Zagreb. There are some memories that hurt bone deep even now. But there are so many more that make me smile, make me so glad for my time there. That coffee tradition is one that I took with me, a ritual that evolved and changed became my own wherever I’ve lived since.

 

I dated my husband over coffee in Croatia – long lingering cups of strong coffee with whipped cream. We still have quality time over coffee – cold brew now, or Italian mocha. My early mornings are always best with coffee in hand before I set down to write. I equate coffee with opening the creative gateways inside me. I equate coffee with preparation for amazing things.

 

 

On the long cross-country walks Raymond and I have done, no matter the weather, we always carried a flask of coffee. I equate coffee with sitting on the top of a high fell admiring the breathtaking view below with a biscuit and a shared cuppa.

 

I equate coffee with quality time spent with my sister, who has always loved coffee. Even when we Skype, I make sure to have coffee at the ready so we can share that experience, even if we are half a world apart. Come to think of it, I equate coffee with quality time spent with many of my good friends. The two seem to go hand in hand.

 

 

I equate coffee with quality reading time stolen in quiet coffee shops. In those times I make it a point to embrace the Croatian practice of lingering, making my Americano last as long as possible so I can steal just a few more minutes lost in a good book.

 

Friends, laughter, conversation, creativity, love, adventure – coffee has come to be associated with all of those things in my life. For me there are no coffees to go, no coffees gulped mindlessly. There are other drinks for that, but never coffee. It’s not a drink to be rushed. It’s an experience to be savored, an experience rooted in memory at the heart of me. A week in Zagreb brought it all home to me again – something that is so much a part of my life, something that is one of the best gift I took away from those years in Croatia – not the coffee itself, but the depth and the vibrancy of what it represents to an entire culture and what it has come to represent in my every day life.

 

 

Magda Agrees to Cover Shots: New Covers for Medusa’s Consortium

 

The Medusa’s Consortium series is getting a new look! AND the lady herself finally consented to do a cover shot. Not sure how she managed it without her glasses, or without turning the photographer into stone, but the Queen of Scary has her secrets, and I’m happy to say that both photographer and cover designer are safe and still in the flesh. Though it was touch and go for the novelist there for a little while.

 

 

And what did it take to convince Magda Gardener/AKA Medusa to appear on the new covers of the stories of her Consortium, you may ask. Well I’m still flesh and blood, so she got over her huff with little damage done. However, she did say it would cost me majorly, something along the line that my arse is now hers. As if it wasn’t already. It didn’t hurt that she got on well with Emmy Ellis and the lovely folks at Studeoenp. I think I actually heard that she and Emmy are having coffee together sometime next week.

 

 

I have no idea what the cost will be in the long run. Magda Gardener has a way of calling in debts when you least expect it. She always gets her pound of flesh with interest. Still, I think it was worth it, don’t you? I’m willing to pay.

 

 

Erotica Collection Classic Felthouse by Lucy Felthouse Now Available in Audiobook Format! #audio #audible #audiobook

Classic Felthouse: Stories from the Archive is now available in audiobook format for your listening pleasure. Listen anytime, anywhere (though probably not so other people can hearits HOT!) as Elizabeth Crain delights you with her fabulous narration of these five incredibly sexy erotic stories.

Blurb:

Fancy a blast from the past? Then dip in to five short stories from the Lucy Felthouse archive. A handful of her earliest published tales have been polished up and presented to you in one seriously hot collection. Enjoy a sexy soldier, a buxom babe, erotic daydreams, filthy phone sex and a language barrier, and see where it all began for this prolific author of erotica and erotic romance.

Available from:

Audible UK: http://adbl.co/2yWaN5c
Audible US: http://adbl.co/2ylqUvZ
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2xPpmah
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2xVjCxD
iTunes UK: http://apple.co/2hJBy8O
iTunes US: http://apple.co/2xQ2hEF

eBook buy links here: http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/classic-felthouse-stories-from-the-archive/

Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uks 100 Modern Erotic Classics That Youve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller), Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Cafs Best Mnage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller), The Persecution of the Wolves and Hiding in Plain Sight. Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 160 publications to her name. She owns Erotica For All, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. 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

Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.

 

 

H. D. Thomson Anxiety — Complete Series Tour and Giveaway

 

 

Anxiety

Complete Series – Episodes 1 through 6

by H.D. Thomson

 

H.D. Thomson is giving away a fabulous prize package during the tour. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

 

ANXIETY BLURB:

Jake Preston is on borrowed time.

 

If he doesn’t stumble upon a miracle and soon, he’ll end up dead. And even if he does, he still might end up dead with a clever killer hounding his heels. He believes that the one miracle and antidote to save him is in Margot Davenport’s house, across the country and miles away from Boston. Somewhere locked in her home is the key to reversing an experiment that is killing him with each breath he takes.

 

Margot doesn’t particularly care if she ends up dead.

 

She’s lost everything she’s ever cared for. A divorce and the loss of her job as a corporate lawyer has left her with little faith in herself or in anyone else. Most importantly, she’s lost the one person on this earth she’s looked up to and cherished–her brother, Johnny. His death in a car accident has devastated her, and she can’t find the willpower to pull herself from the chasm she’s fallen into. Her only solace is at the bottom of a wineglass. Having moved back to the small town in northern Arizona where she was raised, she’s made a point of isolating herself both mentally and physically from everyone other than a few chosen friends. Little does she know that her life is going to explode into chaos.

 

 

 

BUY LINKS:

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

 

 

 

 

Anxiety Excerpt:

 

She opened her mouth to scream.

“It’s me, Jake,” he said from the darkness, holding onto her arms to steady her.

She let out a long, shaky breath. “What was that?” she asked in a hushed voice. “You must have heard it. It sounded so awful.”

“It was your cat.”

“Marmaduke?”

“Yeah.”

“But I could have sworn it sounded more human than—”

“I stepped on his tail.” He cleared his throat. “Scared the hell out of both of us. He took off somewhere. Sorry about getting you out of bed.”

“I’m just glad I found out what it was. But what are you doing up?”

“I couldn’t sleep.”

Relaxing, she glanced up, only to be blinded by the night. Thick, black and total, it draped over Jake and everything around her. His hands, warm and strong, grasped her upper arms. She grew conscious of the coolness of the house, of the silk of her nightgown against her skin, but most importantly of Jake, of the deep woodsy scent of his after-shave and how his hands, minus the gloves, were now slowly sliding up and down her arms. Her toes curled beneath her. He smelled like what she envisioned a man should smell like. Desire lapped against her skin until it seeped through her flesh and took hold of her body.

He slid a hand up her arm and over a shoulder to cup her throat, while the other curled around her waist to press against the small of her back, inching her closer to the heat of his body. She met his lips halfway, opening her mouth beneath his. The kiss deepened, demanded and took. She raised a hand to feel his own against her throat. He had a long fingered, strong hand, the skin smooth and flawless over the tendons and knuckles. She touched his face, his neck, his shoulders. Against her palms, his skin was satin over hard muscle. He was all male, all power.

He hauled her closer, pressing her sensitized breasts against his chest as his tongue mated with hers. His desire thrust against the shallow hollow of her hips. The thick, hardness of him scorched through the material of her gown to her belly and turned her legs to liquid. She slid her hands over the sleek texture of his naked back, over the muscles and tendons, down across the indentation along his spine and lower.

She froze.

He was entirely, absolutely, completely naked, every male inch of him. She whimpered as her breath came out in short, shallow pants, and desire slammed against her, painful in its intensity.

Margot stiffened. Oh, God. Had she completely lost it? Where was her sanity, her morals? She hardly knew this man.

“No!” She dragged in a lungful of air. “This is all wrong!”

 

 

 

About H. D.:


H.D. Thomson moved from Ontario, Canada as a teenager to the heat of Arizona where she graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Business Administration with a major in accounting. After working in the corporate world as an accountant, H.D. changed her focus to one of her passions-books. She owned and operated an online bookstore for several years and then started the company, Bella Media Management. The company specializes in web sites, video trailers, ebook conversion and promotional resources for authors and small businesses. When she is not heading her company, she is following her first love-writing.

 

 

Find H. D. Here:

Website Link: http://www.hdthomson.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/H.-D.-Thomson/e/B0069DZ1KG

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorhdthomson/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HD_Thomson

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+CarolWebbHDThomson

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5780414.H_D_Thomson

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hd_thomson/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/hdthomson/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hd_thomson/

Contact: thomsonbooks@gmail.com

 

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Regulating our Fantasies

(From the archives)

This little post about safe sex in fiction is one that I’ve shared several times because it’s always relevant. A big part of my switch to more and more paranormal and urban fantasy fiction is because no on questions whether sex is safe with a vampire or a demon. Unsafe sex goes without saying. PNR and Urban fantasy are wonderful ways to explore our more dangerous desires in story. Plus I love writing it. Enjoy the post and whatever you’re reading at the moment, enjoy it with abandon.  — KD xx

 

The topic of safe sex in erotic fiction comes up all the time amongst writers and readers. I recently had a run-in with
someone who was disturbed by the fact that the characters in my novels, and most of my short stories, don’t wear condoms. It’s true. They don’t. They don’t because they live in the fictional world I’ve created, an erotic world designed to play out my fantasies and, I hope, those of other people as well. The truth is that never once have I had an erotic fantasy that involved the use of a condom. I have written a couple of stories in which condoms are used, but in those stories, I didn’t use condoms to make a statement nor to assume that my readers needed reminding that in the real world, safe sex is a must. Rather, condoms played a role in the development of the story.

 

My stories are my fantasies, entirely and completely the product of my imagination. I’m a firm believer that my readers are intelligent and savvy and very aware of the world around them. I also understand that some people prefer their fiction and their fantasies more realistic. Fair enough. Fortunately for them, there are writers who prefer to write that way. I don’t happen to be one of them.

 

It’s ironic that the stringent rules and regulations that apply to erotic fiction do not apply to other kinds of fiction. I understand that some of those guidelines in erotica have to do with the publisher knowing the target audience. But In other types of fiction, subjects are covered all the time that are completely forbidden in most standard erotic guidelines for submission, and yet no one expects that readers of non-erotic fiction should need to be reminded that guns are dangerous and murder and rape are wrong.

 

I have written stories for which the submission guidelines demanded the use of condoms in all scenes involving penetrative sex. I gritted my teeth and wrote what the guidelines dictated. But it seems to me that the message such guidelines send is two-fold. First of all that because erotica is about sex, it’s automatically more dangerous than other types of fiction, and secondly that readers of erotica are just not as smart as readers of other types of fiction and they must have extra instruction and guidance to equip them for the reading of such dangerous material.

 

Do we really believe that people are more ignorant where erotic literature is concerned, and more likely to cause themselves and others harm than they are if they read any other kind of literature? Do we really believe that if the character in a story has a gang bang without the use of condoms that the reader will automatically think this must be what sex is all about, and go out and try it for her or himself?

 

Erotica is, by its very nature, the place where the reader can experience for him or herself what would never be considered safe in the real world, what, given the opportunity to do in the real world, given the opportunity to participate in, her or his response would be an unequivocal ‘No thanks.’ Is it any different than a thriller or a horror story, or an adventure novel?

 

The whole point of a novel is to live vicariously a life that one wouldn’t have the opportunity, and more than likely wouldn’t even want to live, if one did have the opportunity. Commercial fiction is all about vicarious thrills and vicarious experiences from the safety of our own home. That’s why reading is so much fun.

 

I believe readers should be given credit for discernment, credit for being as savvy about the differences between erotic fiction and reality as they are about the differences between other kinds of fiction and reality. I’m not saying that fiction can’t be didactic. And indeed part of the beauty of fiction is that it offers the inadvertent opportunity to learn something new. What I am saying is that I tell stories. I tell stories for fun in a world that, I think, could use more fun. If there are lessons taught, they come about inadvertently while I’m having fun telling a story. But I don’t feel a deep burning need
to tell my readers to do what they already know to do, what they’ve been aware of every moment of their lives from the
time their old enough to understand that the world is a dangerous place. And sometimes the world adults must live and function in can be a boring place as well. If they’re like me, and I assume at least some of them are, that dangerous world, that boring world, is a very large part of the reason they enjoy fiction so much.

 

And they enjoy it while they continue to stop for red lights and level crossings, while they continue to treat their fellow person with respect, and while they continue to practice safe sex, all without having to be reminded that these things are for their own good.

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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