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My Top Five Blog Posts- Proof That Sex Still Sells

Obligatory Ab Shot

Obligatory Ab Shot

Well, it finally happened. After three years and almost one hundred blog posts, I hit the wall─I could not come up with a topic for my next blog post. Frankly, I’m surprised it took this long, proving you never know what you can accomplish until you try!

So I took a look at my stats to see what my all-time most popular posts were, hoping the muse would jump back into my lap(top), and the words would start flowing again. The results were telling, and also amusing.

Work vs. Fun

I’m no longer a newbie writer, but I never saw myself as an expert, either. So my blog posts about the writing and publishing business are from the perspective of my own journey, which I hope will help others to find their own path. In between those posts, I threw in some topics just for fun. Turns out, it’s those fun posts which have garnered the most views and shares, and continue to climb.

 

So here are the current stats on my Top Five All-Time blog posts (you can click through to read them, if you like):

 

What Is The Sexiest Piece of Clothing A Man Can Wear?                                                     2,439 views!!

Tattoos- As Important As Hot Abs on Heroes?                                                                           404 views

What Is It About Jamie Fraser?                                                                                                      373 views

Five Ways Writing Erotic Poetry Helps Romance Writers                                                        299 views

The Future of Romance Novel Cover Art- Are Hot Abs the New Bodice Rippers?               271 views

 

I’m still mystified why the first one, a light piece about men’s sexy clothing styles, is far and away the top post. There are photos of fully or partially clothed men in it, but all are tasteful. Apparently, many of you were curious about what clothes make a man look hot!

I Sensed A Theme…

There is a running theme with all five posts─sex.  Hot abs, sexy guys, even my all-time favorite fictional hero, Jamie Fraser of Outlander fame. Even the one piece specifically focused on writing skills is about erotic poetry. So, yes, sex still sells, or in this case, succeeds in gathering an audience.

More To Come…

I’m sure in the future I will have lots to say about fiction trends, the business of writing, and other important topics. But the steamy side of romance is still important to me, and it shows in my fiction work (which I hope to bring to the world very soon). So there will be also be posts like the ones above, where we just have fun and look at hot guys and talk about Book Boyfriends.  I believe balance is the key to everything!

So thanks for reading and following my blog. My goal is to be helpful and entertaining for many years to come.

And stayed tuned for the unveiling of my new Author Website, coming soon…

Do you have a blog?  What are your most popular posts?  I’d love to hear about it!

 

The Metaphysical Side of Love

pages of a book curved into a heart shape

Are you fascinated by the unexplained? Do you enjoy reading about concepts that expand your mind? I must confess, I have always been curious about the supernatural, the metaphysical, and unexplained phenomena that have caused humans to wonder for centuries now. What is even more fascinating is the fact that what was considered unthinkable as little as a hundred years ago, is commonplace now. Just take a look at your smart phone, and think about it for a minute. What would the folks in 1915 say about it?

The umbrella of “paranormal” covers quite a bit of unexplained phenomena, at least in the Romance Novel world. Vampires, shape shifters, angels, demons, witches, fairies and ghosts are only the tip of the iceberg. As I examined in an earlier post, folklore and legends abound featuring these types of entities, providing fodder for endless stories. Add to that, humans with supernatural capabilities, such as elementals or psychics, and there is no end to the variations one could write about.

So how are smart phones related to paranormal entities? One is science (technology) the other, fantasy. But wouldn’t it be cool if science and fantasy were combined?

That’s what happens when we read about paranormal situations and creatures. Our disbelief is suspended as we are drawn into the story. We get to experience what it might be like if something unbelievable were true. Add to that the relationship of the Hero and Heroine, and the result can be something truly magical.

That is the type of stories I tend to write. I have several works in progress at present, and all have some metaphysical aspect to them. All are Romances, but they have a supernatural twist to them. A Contemporary Gothic ghost story; a Fantasy family saga about elementals; and a story about a couple who can astral project together (for an earlier snippet, click here). All projects are in various stages of writing or editing, and I hope to have something ready for publication this year.

I read primarily romance, but I love science fiction, and some fantasy. I like my romances on the steamier side, so I tend to combine esoteric concepts with the erotic. It seemed to work well with my astral-projecting couple, who had some unique, metaphysically hot sex scenes!

Most of all, I want to have fun with it and maybe learn something along the way. If combining science, fantasy, metaphysical concepts and hot sex sounds interesting to you, stay tuned. I’m just getting started….

What kind of interesting, unexplained phenomena would you like to see in Romance Novels?

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Tasha L. Harrison, Author of The Lust Diaries

In Her Closet

In Her Closet

Looking for something that is not your typical Erotic Romance? If you like strong, diverse characters, plenty of tension and yes- hot sex- look no further! Tasha L. Harrison has hit the mark with her debut novel, In Her Closet, the first in the series, The Lust Diaries. I was very excited to interview this talented author!

Congratulations on the launch of your debut novel, In Her Closet. I understand this is the first in series of hot Erotic Romance Novels?

Thanks for having me! And yes, In Her Closet is my debut novel. The first novel in my series The Lust Diaries.

Will future novels in this series feature the same diverse, interesting characters? Will readers meet any new characters in the subsequent books?

The first three books will definitely feature the three main characters, Yves, Elijah and Julian. Outside of that, I only plan to write a book for Ava, Yves’ best friend.

What inspired you to write about Yves and her journey?

I initially started writing it because I was homesick. Pathetic, right? A few years prior my family and I made a big move from the Northeast to the South. Needless to say, it was a major culture shock and I missed all of my familiar haunts. Writing In Her Closet was a way to revisit them. I also wanted to explore a character that read very urban, but still appealed to mainstream romance readers. A sort of blending of Urban literature with all of its culture and socio-economic realities and Romance. I’m not sure how successful I was in doing that. I guess time and readers will tell!

Erotic Romance has gained popularity as a genre in recent years. What sets your series apart?

If I’m being honest here, the real answer is nothing. Every writer wants to believe their book baby is a special snowflake, but that’s just not true. There are no original ideas. So as a writer, my job isn’t to rewrite the great American romance novel, but to give my own spin on familiar tropes.

Having that said, I’ve been told that my stories are heavy on the drama. Still trying to decide if this is a good thing! I think this is because The Lust Diaries tackles more than just the budding relationship between the main characters. It’s definitely more about the journey of Yves Santiago and how she interacts with the people in her world than a strict romance.

Any other projects in the works?

Yes! I have another interracial romance plotted that I can’t wait to write! Hopefully, I will get to it before the end of 2015.

Where can readers contact you and/or buy your books?

My website is www.tashalharrison.com. Twitter handle @tashalharrison and Tasha L. Harrison, Author on Facebook.

My books are available here:

Kindle US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005208EGA

KindleUK:http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005208EGA?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

NOOK: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-her-closet-t-harrison/1102233221?ean=2940012448149

KOBO: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/in-her-closet

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/143564

 

Thanks, Tasha. I am looking forward to what comes next!

A BIG THANK YOU- Two Year Blogiversary!

Thank You!

Thank You!

 

I can’t believe two years have gone by since I gathered up my courage and published my first blog post. What is even more amazing is the fact that I have not yet run out of ideas! Maybe it is similar to writing novels in that respect- once you get going, the ideas keep coming. Or so I have heard, and so far it has been true for me. No dreaded “writer’s block” yet!

It was an interesting year, to say the least. I published 27 posts, on such diverse topics as Archie Comics, The Law of Attraction, corsets, A strip club for Nerd Girls to enjoy, and why tattoos are so hot on Heroes. I interviewed three up-and-coming authors – Linda Joyce, Elissa Stark, and Renee Lovins. Many of my other posts were about writing, but not what you might see on other blogs. Instead of sharing tips or giving instruction, I like to focus on the emotional aspects, and how to keep growing and improving, both personally and professionally.

So for what it is worth, here are some statistics from last year:

As of January 1, 2015, this blog has 1,104 followers, up from 638 at this time last year.

This blog had a total of 7,200 views in 2014. (I am stunned. Thank you).

The five most viewed posts were (some were written in 2013):

  1. What is the Sexiest Piece of Clothing A Man Can Wear? (this is by far my most popular post ever, with over 1,200 views to date)
  2. TATTOOS- As Important As Abs On Heroes?
  3. What Is It About Jamie Fraser?
  4. Outlander TV Series- Was It Worth The Wait?
  5. Update On Outlander Series- Sam Hueghan A Good Choice?

Hmmm…I am sensing a pattern here, besides the fact that all titles are in the form of a question. There is no doubt Outlander, the TV series now on Starz, helped with the popularity of some of my posts. But as I stated in the first post on Jamie Fraser, I have been a longtime fan of the series written by Diana Gabaldon, and was thrilled to see it come to life onscreen. If you want to know more about it, click through to the posts. I am sure we will be taking about it again in the future!

So far, 2015 is off to a roaring start, and I hope to continue the momentum. In addition to writing this blog, I am working on several novels, most in the Romance genre, and my goal is to have at least one ready for publication this year. I’ll be posting snippets later, so stay tuned. I promise to touch on more of the subjects that affect many of us, to interview some authors, and of course, talk about hot guys. So sign up to follow this blog if you haven’t yet, or catch me on Twitter, Facebook, G-Plus, or TSU, under the name Renee Regent.

Thanks for reading and for your support!

Corsets- Romantic Prop or Diet/Torture Device?

Portrait of a beautiful blonde woman over black background.

By now you may have heard about Kim Kardashian’s attempt to “Break the Internet” by baring all in provocative nude photos. How does she get such an extreme figure? Apparently she has been using a corset as a diet/training device. (It could not be Photoshop, right?) Apparently other celebrities have also jumped on the corset bandwagon, including Jessica Alba and Gwyneth Paltrow. There is even an official website for “The Corset Diet”!

The media has pounced on this fad, denouncing it as having unhealthy side effects, such as noted in this article from The Huffington Post, and this one from Radar Online. Although I doubt the “Corset Diet” or waist-training in general will seriously catch on, the corset itself has been in fashion for hundreds of years and remains a popular lingerie staple to this day.

Historians claim a form of the corset was used as early as 2000 B.C., however, most accounts place the corset’s popularity in the Western world in the 16th century. Originally used by both men and women, early corsets were made of metal to protect the wearer against knife or sword attacks. Evolving from there into a fashion item for women, the corset was designed to improve posture and achieve the ‘conical’ shape of the desired female form, and were embellished with silks, bows and other accessories. Bone, wood and horn replaced the metal, making the corsets lighter and (slightly) more comfortable.

The Victorian era was when corset fashion was at its most extreme. Lacing was used to achieve smaller and smaller waist sizes, and corsets became known as “Waspies”. This was when the health risks associated with corsets made the headlines, from fainting to liver problems. After World War 1, the corset declined in popularity, replaced by “foundation garments”, bras, girdles, etc. Besides being more comfortable, they were probably much easier to wash!

Casual corset wear

Casual corset wear

Today, corsets are used primarily as lingerie, although in the 1980’s and 1990’s, we saw corset style outerwear, bustiers, and other lace-up variations. Many bridal gowns (including mine) have corset lacing in the back, or some type of bodice. At conferences such as Dragon Con, and even some of the Writer’s cons I have attended, corsets are a mainstay of many costumes. And of course, the corset tent at the Renaissance Festival is always busy.

So gorgeous on a wedding gown!

So gorgeous on a wedding gown!

Dangers of extreme use aside, a corset makes you feel sexy, no matter your age or size. Corsets are featured heavily in Romance novels, especially Historicals, but also Erotic Romances. They may not be portrayed as much as in the “Bodice Rippers” of yesteryear, but they definitely have a place in women’s lives, and in their fantasies.

Do you own a corset? There are a few Facebook Pages that have lovely corsets available for purchase, such as Corset-Story and Corset Connection. If you don’t have one, why not? Do you enjoy reading about them in novels?

Close-up Of Slim Woman In Red Corset

 

 

 

Paranormal Romance Genre- Overdone or Just Getting Started?

Has he overstayed his welcome?

Has he overstayed his welcome?

 

Anyone who reads Romance Novels knows that the Paranormal Romance sub-genre has been hot, hot, hot for several years.  But has it begun to burn out?

Vampires have always been considered sexy creatures, even back in the “Dracula” days, so it is no surprise that Vampires (and their ilk) make up the bulk of Paranormal Romance Characters.  Two huge franchises have found success with Vampire characters- first Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles Series, then Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series.  There are uncountable other novels with Vampires or Vampire-like beings featured, and new ones are constantly being published.  The sub-genre has splintered off into further sub- sub- genres, too- Vampire novels with an Urban Fantasy bent, a Comedic bent, a Thriller-Suspense bent….and on.

I personally never jumped on the Vampire bandwagon, but I know plenty of women who still cannot get enough, even with a plethora of books, movies, and television shows…many times I thought, “surely, the Vampire craze must be winding down,” only to find more and more of them everywhere I look.

Werewolves and Shape-Shifters seem to be the runners up in the Most Popular Paranormal Creatures contest.  In fact, you can likely find a “were” creature of any type imaginable in Romance Novels today- bears, cougars, panthers, and even some you probably haven’t wondered about- snakes, anyone?

Ghosts, Witches and Wizards, Angels and Demons, selkies, mermaids/men, the fae, even monsters like Bigfoot and the Abominable Snowman (huh?!).  Supernatural beings showing up in Romance Novels (and Erotic Romance Novels, to be sure) is now quite commonplace.  But the beauty of the Paranormal genre is the fact there is no limit but the writer’s imagination.  Authors can create worlds and characters using archetypes and mythologies, and spin it with their own twist.

That may be why even the Vampire craze won’t die (pardon the pun) – authors keep coming up with creative, interesting versions of their own, so we keep on reading.  As a writer who leans toward the paranormal, I am glad there is an abundance of great stories out there, and I look forward to seeing what interesting trends develop in this genre.

So what is your favorite type of paranormal character?  What would you like to see more of?  Have you had enough of Vamps and Weres, or do you crave more?

 

TATTOOS- As Important As Hot Abs on Heroes?

Woman's hands embracing man with naked muscular torso

 

The art of tattooing has been around, well, since the Bronze Age, and possibly even earlier. For thousands of years, we humans have had a fascination with permanently adorning our bodies with symbolic or simply decorative markings. The tattoo has gone in and out of fashion throughout the years in various cultures.

Currently in the United States, tattooing is becoming more accepted as form of self- expression. A recent study estimated that over 45 million Americans have tattoos, with “Millennials”, ages 18-29, being the largest group by a wide margin. Tattoos and piercings have gained popularity over the past few decades, and are more accepted now than in past generations.

What's the story behind those tats?

What’s the story behind those tats?

Numerous TV shows like Miami Ink, L.A. Ink, Tattoo Nightmares, and Ink Masters have a become commonplace. In 2011, Mattel even introduced a tattooed Barbie doll, which caused a bit of a controversy. I guess tattoos aren’t meant for everyone…maybe the Ken doll should have had one first?

I have noticed a trend in Romance Novel covers that reflects this current shift in our culture. Many of the men (with Naked, Hot Abs, of course) on Romance and Erotic Romance novel covers are now tattooed hunks. Is there still something about the tattoo that screams, “BAD BOY”?   Even though, in reality, CEO’s, bankers, attorneys and accountants may have tattoos, there is still that stigma associated with it. But when the shirt (or pants) come off and all you see is muscle and ink, naughtiness and fun is the message coming through. Loud and clear! (Even if he wears a suit the rest of the time).

Oops! Guess he really was a Bad Boy....

Oops! Guess he really was a Bad Boy….

In my own personal experience, I have to admit my Hubby’s tats have the same effect on me. My late first husband was vehemently against tattoos, and I never really agreed with him. I feel that they can enhance a body, especially if artfully done, and symbolic in nature. Ironically, my own tattoo was a tribute to my late husband, though he would never have approved. But my tattoo really means something special to me. And my current husband (he has four) has a story and meaning behind each of his. When I met him, I found they not only made him more attractive to look at, but, yeah the ‘bad boy’ factor entered into it.

My preference, though, is tattoos as adornment. So for me, too many tattoos takes away from the overall effect just as makeup or jewelry can be overdone.

What do you think? Do tattoos on a Romance Novel Hero make you want to grab that book and read it? Does it imply to you that the Hero may also be a “Bad Boy” type? Should there be only a few tats, or cover that boy up?

Too Much or Not Enough?

Too Much or Not Enough?