Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Guest Post by Landra Graf

Today, I want to welcome fellow Beyond Fairytales author, Landra Graf. She's talking about her new release and a vital ingredient to writing spicy romance. (This is one of the things I struggle with the most and also find puts me off a book if it's not there.) Isn't it a stunning cover??


Once Upon A Time...

Sorella Corvino lost her brother to The Cursed years ago. Sorella is so determined to find him, she'll make any deal, rescue the outcasts and those like him, and risk flying into any port to rescue him. When her latest pirate efforts partner her with a bounty hunter who's too charming, sexy, and handsome for his own good, she knows she's in trouble.
Ian Marshall no longer believes in fairy tales…
Disowned and a marked criminal in the United States, this merchant turned bounty hunter, is one bounty away from freedom; and freedom's price is handing over one person to the most cutthroat gang in the world, The Cursed. Yet, he can't get to them without Sorella's help. Too bad she's gorgeous, aggravating, and a little trigger happy.
As the attraction mounts, the danger grows and the pair find themselves invading a skin trader den, the ballrooms of dictator-ruled Germany, and fighting battles in the sky in the hopes of getting everything they want. Only thing they didn't plan on... falling in love.

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Guest Post - The Art of Tension

Thank you Vicki for having me on your blog today! Readers, I've got a special treat for you. An exclusive excerpt, but first... let's talk tension.

For some reason tension, especially sexual, gets me going every dang time. Without fail if the author nails the tension piece I'm in it for the long haul. So, like any good author/reader I want to replicate what I love in other books in my own. But tension is hard to write, hard to drive up and up and up. When do you reach the breaking point. When is it time to cross the line and let the characters give in. Who knows? My characters tend to tell me when they've had enough.

Tension is also hard to fake. Characters have it or they don't. It plays the best through dialogue as well as actions. It typically works well in close quarters or cramped spaces. In fact, I have a scene like that, several actually, but this particular one shows the stakes being upped, emotionally and physically.  That's the job tension plays. It raises the risk, the level of play goes off of the charts. Oh, wait. You probably just want to read the scene. So I won't keep you.

He stepped through the door, filling up the space and reminding her of how small the roo really was. 

“If I recall, I never said I wanted you to off the guy.” He set the coffee cup in his hand down on the small table near the door. “Since I finished my breakfast, I wanted to talk about getting off the ship to prepare for tonight.”

“I have everything I need.”

Shaking his head, he strode closer. Instinctively, she put a hand on the balisong holder at her waist, more to stop herself from reaching out than because she feared him. “You may have what you need, but if I show up in these clothes, they’ll call the coppers.”

She took in his worn jacket, his white shirt dirtied by days of wear, his trousers in need of a wash, and his dusty brown boots. Valid point. “All right, that’s fine. Anything else?”

“Your crew is worried about our meeting with the canary...eh, the singer. They want me to agree to protect you.”

Of course, Bonita and Bastille would enlist him to watch over her. They’d avoided Germany for the last few years because the government wanted her back so badly. Her wedding was still scheduled to take place in six months. All she had to do was stay in hiding for that long; instead, the desire to find her brother had her doing dangerous things. “Did you agree?”

“No, I don’t do anything unless something is in it for me.”

Her fingers twitched, and she tapped her foot on the floor. Damn men who didn’t say what they meant. “And what do you want?”

The question earned her a smile and the presence of his face less than six inches from hers.
She wanted to kiss those lips, taste him again, and wondered if she’d taste the coffee he’d drunk earlier. “I want you and me alone in a room for one hour. I want you to tell me everything.”


“All the things you’re not telling me. Why people are worried about this ball, why that little girl thinks you’re a princess, and what you told Janken to get him to tell us about Luther and Eva.”

“You’re not asking a lot, are you?” she replied with as much sarcasm as she could muster.

He was standing too close.

“No, I’m really not because I want other things, too.”

He dared her with those words and the twinkle in his eye. Dared her to ask what those other things were. She refused to give in. “I agree.”

“With what I want or to wanting other things?” He was truly a master at manipulating words, no doubt a formidable merchant.

“I agree to tell you everything. My only condition—we won’t leave until we have a location for The Cursed.”

His turn to extend his hand. “It’s a deal, and I’ll even protect you, too.”

Touching his palm to seal the agreement was a mistake. It cost her a shiver and revealed how much he affected her. Surprisingly, he didn’t take advantage of the moment, no leaning in for a chaste kiss, no grazing her bosom, nothing more than a handshake and a release.

The fact he seemed unaffected by their momentary connection aggravated her. No sense in letting him have the upper hand. She unclasped her balisong and flipped it out, bringing the tip up under his chin. “When I want your protection, I’ll ask for it.”

She pushed him to the side and walked out. Let him wonder whether she wanted to kill him or not. She had things to do before tonight.

Ooh, I see the tension.

Author Bio

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day, and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

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