Tag Archives: Drinks

Liquid Friday with author Alice Orr

This week we are featuring a romantic suspense author Alice Orr and her book A Villain For Vanessa, (Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 4)

But before we venture into her books, let us find out what cocktail is Alice’s favorite for a Friday night.

My favorite cocktail is a Cosmopolitan on the sweet side. I’ve been informed that Cosmos are no longer in vogue, but I’ll take the chance of being un-chic because I like the way they taste.

800px-CosmopolitanIngredients:

  • 1/2 oz Fresh lime juice,
  • 1 oz Cranberry juice,
  • 1/2 oz Triple Sec,
  • 1 1/2 oz Citrus-flavored Vodka.

Preparation:

Mix all the ingredient in a shaker with ice.  Strain into cocktail glasses.  You can garnish with a lime wheel.

A Villain for Vanessa by Alice Orr

A story of tangled roots and tormented love.                                

Two families are shaken to their roots. Vanessa Westerlo must find her roots. Bobby Rizzo aliceis torn between Vanessa and his true roots. They are all tormented by love – past and too present.  Meanwhile a man has been murdered. And that is the most tormented tangle of all.

Alice Orr is known for “Delicious suspense spiced with a love story.”  She does it again in A Villain for Vanessa.

A Villain for Vanessa is Book 4 of the Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series set in Riverton, New York. This book features the Kalli family and the fortunate people who find safety and welcome at the Kalli homestead on Riverton Road. A Wrong Way Home is Book 1 of the series and A Year of Summer Shadows is Book 2. A Vacancy at the Inn is Book 3 and introduces the Miller family of Riverton Road Hill.

A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4

 

An Excerpt by Alice Orr

Suddenly, after two and a half decades of silence, Angela Kalli’s niece had decided to reappear. Bobby Rizzo’s legal training and life experience had taught him to ask one question when a person acts in an inexplicable way. What does she want? Whatever the answer might be, Vanessa Westerlo’s agenda was far down his list of priorities. He was here to protect Angela, even though experience had taught him something else too.

Family history is a tangled story with the truth nearly impossible to unwind. Many of those tangles had a secret at the center, like the secret at the center of today. He was the only person Angela had told about her niece’s arrival. She’d arrived at Bobby’s office a few days ago, more unhinged than he’d ever seen her.

“Why are you so upset?” he’d asked.

“You have to swear you’ll never breathe a word to anybody. Otherwise I’ll walk out now, and you can forget I was ever here.”

Angela perched on the edge of the chair by his desk like a frightened bird. He’d never seen her frightened, and he certainly didn’t think of her as a bird.

“If you are here as my client, I’m obligated to keep everything you say confidential.”

Talking like a lawyer to someone he cared so deeply about felt awkward, but it put her at ease.

“Then I am your client,” Angela said, settling down a little. “I need your help to bring my niece back into my life, whatever the cost may be.”

Bobby didn’t like the sound of that.

“What is it you want me to do?” he asked.

Throughout the conversation that followed, the voices of his common sense and legal judgement had screamed through his gut like a freight train telling him he was on a dangerous track. That train continued to roar as he paced the narrow airport terminal now, waiting for Angela’s niece to arrive.

alice-booksWas she coming to Riverton to continue the feud he’d heard about that day between her mother and Angela? Was Vanessa Westerlo here to take revenge? Or could she be motivated by idle curiosity? Angela cared so much. What if her niece didn’t care at all? Indifference would be the worst kind of wound to a heart as open as Angela’s.

“I won’t let that happen,” he said aloud to the empty terminal.

By the time the plane landed and taxied down the short runway, Bobby was on the tarmac and ready, his resolve as unshakable as if he were in front of the toughest jury of his career in a case he absolutely had to win. Then he saw her and something unfamiliar and unwelcome happened.

Bobby experienced a powerful ripple, like a seismic shift along a crucial fault line far beneath his controlled surface, threatening to rise and turn him suddenly less resolute. All because of a resemblance that couldn’t have been more obvious between the aunt he represented and loved like a mother, and the niece this young woman had to be.

Thick, dark hair was the first thing he saw, with a kind of life that seemed to spring from a vibrancy at the center of her. She was halfway across the distance from the plane when she turned her head quickly. Angela made that same move when she was impatient, as she could often be, even with him.

More often though, she’d been his encourager, the person who scolded him back on track when he strayed off course. Without her, he would not have won scholarships to college and law school. Without her, he wouldn’t be what he had become. He steeled himself against his first startling reaction to the striking young woman headed toward him now, who was so capable of causing Angela pain.

“Excuse me. Are you Robert Rizzo?”

ALICE ORR is the author of 15 novels, 3 novellas, a memoir and No More Rejections: 50 alice-pixSecrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells. A former book editor and literary agent, she now follows her dream as a full-time writer. A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4 is Alice’s latest novel. Here’s what readers say. “I was gripped before I was off the first page.” “After this story, I have become an Alice Orr fan.” Alice is known for “Delicious suspense spiced with a love story.” She does it again in A Villain for Vanessa.

Find out more about Alice at her website http://www.aliceorrbooks.com/.

Buy Alice’s Books at https://www.amazon.com/B000APC22E.

Follow Alice on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter.

And Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks.

Liquid Friday with author Paige Matthews

This week we are featuring erotica author and a 2016 Golden Flogger award nominee Paige Matthews and her Rocker series: Double Cross. (Crossroads and Crossover).

But before we slide into these books lets find out what does Paige recommend to go with the books on a Friday Night?

I love “screaming orgasm.” Besides the name 🙂 I love Kahlua and Bailey’s and Vodka!  What’s screamingObetter then the 3 of them combined! Best served with a few girlfriends and take them shot by shot! Multiple orgasms are always good 🙂

Ingredients: 

  •  ½oz Vodka
  • ½oz Amaretto
  • ½oz Coffee liqueur (Tia Maria, Kahlua).
  • ½oz Irish cream  (Bailey’s)
  • 3oz Half & Half (50/50 Milk & Single Cream mix)

Preparation:

In a tall glass combine ice and ingredients. Shake profusely and pour over strainer into a glass with ice

So let us kick back and relax drinking this delicious cocktail as we dive full force into Paige Matthews’ books:

Crossroads: A Double Cross Novel

Everyone finds themselves at a crossroad in their life.
Caleb Cross is not your typical front man. He is not the bad boy, parting, love em and leave em persona, although his public image states otherwise. Being the lead singer of the popular rock band, Double Cross, there are a lot of things fans and the public do not know crossroadse-1about Caleb. Sure, Caleb likes to have a little fun now and again, but after a bad publicity stunt, he is determined to shed the ultra bad image.

Katherine “Kat” Summers is not a typical woman. Not a girl who gets star struck or easily impressed, Kat is content on being herself, who she is. Kat enjoys living in the moment, in both her personal and professional life. Her greatest moment-bedding rock star Caleb Cross, a secret she holds onto to this day.

When Kat’s company is hired by Caleb Cross to rebrand him, she finds herself testing everything she has known about herself and about her life. Trying to maintain who she is against what she begins to desire, proves to be difficult for Kat, especially when she sees Caleb as he truly is.

For Caleb, hiring a new publicist to help reshape his image was the easy part, but what he doesn’t count on is being reunited with the one girl that never wanted him more than a night. Caleb is forced to confront himself and Kat in order to learn what he truly wants and who is truly is.

Crossover: A Double Cross Novel

Secrets Can Destroy. Can they overcome theirs?

Faith Maguire has spent the last six years traveling the world in an attempt to forget the secrets that she hides. After finding her fiance cheating on her in Milan, Faith crossoverheads home to Fuquay Varina, NC to lick her wounds and take some time off-until she is offered a position documenting the upcoming tour for Double Cross.

Preparing for a new tour, Gabe Cross is not thrilled to be on the road. He much rather be living it up in Raleigh. Thinking back to the one person that left him a broken hearted man, Gabe prepares for another three months of drowning his sorrows and screwing her out of his mind- until she shows up on the tour.

Faced to confront the hurt and pain six years forgotten- Gabe and Faith must learn how to move on from their pasts in order to have a future, but will their secrets prevent them from having their second chance?

Excerpt:

Once inside the room, that familiar tension was back. We stood looking at each other again. I watched as he let go of the luggage and walked toward me. I stood frozen in my spot. His hands took my bag and placed it on the couch before circling around my waist. He pulled me close and I could feel his erection against my pelvis.

“You make me so angry! And in the next breath, I want to fuck you so bad,” he said as his lips grazed against mine. All rational thoughts left in that minute. My hands found their way to Gabe’s hips as he crushed his mouth down on mine. The feel of him against me made my body weak. It had been so long since we’d been together. My lips parted and allowed him deeper penetration of my mouth. Our tongues danced with one another.

Gabe’s hands ran up under my shirt pushing it off and over my head. I heard him growl as he pulled away. I ran my nails across his washboard abs. Before I knew it, I was pinned on the couch. Gabe had one knee between my legs as he took my mouth again.

“Faith…” he moaned against my lips.

“Gabriel…” I moaned back. We were lost in the moment that we didn’t hear the knocking on the door until it became a loud banging.

“Open up man! I know you are in there.” I could hear Jax yelling from the opposite side of the door. Gabe pulled back quickly and walked to the door, adjusting himself in the process. He bent down and picked up my shirt, throwing it at me. I threw it on as he opened the door.

“What?” The husky voice barked out.

“Have you seen my sis-“ Jax stopped mid sentence when he saw me.

“Right over there.” Gabe pointed in my direction.

“I didn’t interrupt anything, did I?” He looked between the two of us.

“Nope.” Gabe grabbed his sunglasses and stormed off, leaving Jax and me alone.

I stood up and walked to my luggage.

“Are you sure I didn’t interrupt anything?” he asked me again.

“Nope,” I responded sounding like Gabe.

“Then why is your shirt inside out?” he laughed.

“Fuck you, Jax.”

About Me

What do you say about yourself? Aren’t we supposed to write these in third person? Oh well, here I go! I have been writing and reading since I was able to pick up a pen and read a book. I can’t even begin to list the amounts of book that I’ve devoured over the course of paigemy life; from the Babysitter’s Club to R.L.Stein to the classics and the novels of my degrees. I have spent countless hours between the covers of classics during my undergraduate and graduate degrees from Western Connecticut State University, resulting in a BA English: Comparative Literature and a MA English: Professional Writing.

Recently, I have been focusing both my writings and my readings in erotica, BDSM and contemporary romance. And no, Fifty Shades of Grey did not get me on the BDSM bandwagon. If anything it opened the idea up more to me, but alas I have my own opinions on the trilogy.

I am trying to focus my writings on the emotional aspects of the erotic world, the emotional bondage of BDSM. I am interested in what makes people want to be dominant or submissive, the connection, etc. But I do like to read about a good flogging and bondage story too, the smuttier the better.:)

I live in New England with a wonderful family that keeps me busy when I am not at my day job or writing. I hope you enjoy your stay.

 

Liquid Friday with author Haven Cage

This week we are featuring Haven Cage, author of an adult, dark urban fantasy novel  Falter and  the first book in the Faltering Souls series.

But before we check out her book, let us hear directly from Haven on what cocktail does she recommend for tonight.

applePieMy favorite drink is Apple Pie on the rocks:

  • 1 oz. Vanilla Vodka
  • 1 oz. Fireball Whiskey
  • 4 oz. Organic Apple Juice
  • Pinch of Ground Cinnamon
  • Brown Sugar for the rim (Grind a little finer for more successful sugaring)
  • Optional: Cinnamon Stick for Garnish
  • Ice

I found this gem on Pinterest, credit belongs to Jackie of Vegan Yack Attack…super yummy!

I’m also very partial to Lemon Drop Shots: Sugar the rim of the shot glass.
Pour favorite Vodka, Gulp it down, then chase with a lemon wedge!

falter 2

In FALTER, a dark New Adult/Adult Urban Fantasy novel, Nevaeh Richards thinks she has found a chance to leave her homeless life behind. When the spirit of the only father she falter 1knows is wrongfully taken to Hell, Nevaeh is hurled into a world haunted by monstrous demons, rogue Guardian angels, love that is beyond her control, and a soul-threatening choice between the inherent evil inside her and the faltering faith she is struggling to grasp.

Nevaeh and George have lived on the streets as father and daughter since he found her, alone and unconscious, many years ago. When they start a new life employed at Joe’s cafe, Nevaeh experiences debilitating visions and frightening apparitions. Adding to the troubling path her life has taken, George suddenly becomes ill and an Animus demon takes his soul hostage in Hell. Unfortunately, the ransom may be more than Nevaeh can afford.

As Nevaeh spirals into this supernatural world, Gavyn—the handsome café-owner—tries to convince her that she belongs to a hidden race of people with God-given gifts known as Celatum, and she may be a key player in the Celestial war. However, even after all the otherworldly events she experiences, Nevaeh continues to deny her part in it all.

Meanwhile, Archard—a stranger she feels undeniably bonded to—mysteriously wanders in and out of her life, offering none of the answers she suspects he holds.

Will Nevaeh attain the faith it requires to fulfill her fate as a Celata and take part in the Celestial fight? Or will she give into the darkness that calls to her for the sake of George’s soul and damn herself to Hell?

Falter by Haven Cage (Excerpt)

I cursed under my breath and turned to walk away. My movement reflecting on the glass revealed a smudge on the smooth, translucent surface. I’d almost missed it. The smudge shimmered under the last sliver of sunlight inching its way out of Gavyn’s apartment. Its opalescent glimmer had a touch of gold, like mother of pearl on a seashell. The small, imperfect oval of film resembled a single fingerprint, yet there was no distinguishable print pattern.

I bent over to examine it closer, spotting a single fuzzy fiber sticking out from the center. It was creamy-white and soft as silk. I plucked the fiber from the spot and rolled it falter 7between my thumb and index finger. A familiar odor rose from the fuzz, pulling me into a vague memory. The smell was fainter than I remembered. It was intoxicating, indescribable, and invoked feelings that heated my cheeks to a rosy red.

I breathed in deeply, the vagueness of my memory clearing like rippling waters smoothing to expose the depths below. It was the same aroma from the bathroom on the first night of my stay here.

I closed my fist around the fuzz trying to place where it might have come from and how it got here. I opened my hand and lifted it closer to stare down at the small white strand, waiting for an answer to pop into my head. Finally, an “Aha!” moment. Down—the fuzz resembled down feathers. A bird must have flown to the sill and left the smudge and strand of feather.

I was happy to find a logical answer to at least one of my questions, though it didn’t render a reasonable connection to the familiar smell. I held up my palm and pursed my lips tofalter 6 blow the tiny feather away, but before the breath left my lips, the fuzz began to disintegrate. It crumbled into pieces so small I could barely see them, then drifted from my palm.

I stared at my hand in disbelief, flipping it over and back again, surprised by what I just saw. How does something just fall to pieces like that? It was solid when I held it—I was sure of that. This couldn’t be another trick.

I gulped, forcing saliva down my anxiety constricted throat. “George, do you remember a bird flying in? Did you hear any wings or rustling?” My voice trembled, afraid that I could be imagining this. I glanced over at the window. The smudge was still there. Not imagining.

“No, Nevaeh. What’s wrong with you?” He squinted, looking me up and down. Worry shadowed his face when he saw me standing by the window gawking down at my open hands, flipping them back and forth like I was losing my mind. I stopped flip-flopping the second I realized he was watching me and slowly lowered my arms to my sides. I forced a small smile to ease the stress I saw growing in the tight wrinkles on his forehead.

“Nevaeh…are…are you ok?” A wheezing came from under his gruff words.

“Do you remember when Archard left?”

“No, I think I had fallen back asleep before he went. Why?”

“You don’t remember him opening the window either?” My tone was as soft and calm as I could manage.

He coughed after every other word he spoke. “Dammit, Nevaeh, what is your problem with falter 5Archard, and what the hell is going on with the window?” His voice was louder and raspier than before, emphasizing that he would yell if he could.

“Nothing. Never mind. You need to relax. You’re using too much energy talking.” I tried to settle him back down and get his coughing under control.

“Well, quit asking me so many dag-blamit questions, and quit not telling me what they’re about.” The coughing subsided when his tone lowered.

I returned my shamed gaze back to the window, scanning the roof of the building across the alley, the narrow opening leading to the street, and the ground below. I was hoping to see something that could offer even the slightest clue of what left the evidence on the window. There was nothing. No animals, no people. There wasn’t even the empty boxes or trash you would normally see in an alley.

My eyes pulled back to the filmy smudge. The subtle shifting hues of the darkening sky outside brought the shimmering print to life. The faint afterglow from the dying day shined through the print and carried the colors out into a funnel of rainbows, flickering to falter 4the floor. Dust specks twinkled like tiny sparks as they swam in the air, swirling inside the light path.

My angst and confusion stilled while I stared at the beautiful colors. It was breathtaking. Warmth caressed my hand as I held it in the beam of light and let the colors reflect off my skin. Then, I noticed that the amount of flickering colors was quickly depleting. My eyes bolted back to the glass pane. The smudge was shrinking. Something invisible was wiping it off the surface of the window. Within seconds, the smear was gone. I touched the glass to feel for anything, any sign of the beauty that was just there. The surface was smooth and dry.

All evidence was gone without a trace, just as the fuzz had gone.

What the hell just happened?

This—the little insane things—made me feel alien in my own mind. I dropped to my knees to catch my breath and keep from hyperventilating—and for God sake, stop the room from spinning.

I thought about everything that happened over the past few days: the strange dream I couldn’t remember, the hallucinations, the vivid odors, the fast-healing burn, Layla’s cut, falter 3and the strange little things that just disappeared for no reason. They had to mean something.

Then there was Archard. In the instability of my mind, he drew me in.

My insides grew numb. I realized how much energy I had recently wasted trying to understand everything. Maybe I wouldn’t ever understand. I slumped against the wall, too exhausted to hold myself up anymore.

God, why is this happening? Haven’t I had enough confusion and humiliation in my life already? Am I even supposed to figure this out? Or, is this some sick joke you’re playing to teach a lesson to someone who doubts you so much?

Buy Links

http://www.amazon.com/Falter-Faltering-Souls-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01DDQVCJK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461256470&sr=8-1&keywords=falter+haven+cage

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/falter-1

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Falter-Faltering-Souls-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01DDQVCJK

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/625043

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/falter-haven-cage/1123766464?ean=2940158096778

Other sites of availability include  AppleBarnes & Noble, Scribd, Oyster, Yuzu, Blio and Inktera (formerly Page Foundry).

Print edition is available on Amazon, or you can purchase a signed copy, as well as digital in any platform, directly from me at http://www.authorhavencage.com/buy-.html

To further learn about our author: Haven Cage, we have a wonderful interview below from Paperback Junkie:

Q:What inspires your writing?

Haven: I didn’t find my love of reading until I was around twenty-three years old. A friend gave me the first novel in the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer and was hooked. After that, I researched Mrs. Meyer and found that a dream inspired her to write. I thought, “Hey, I could do that. I have thousands of crazy dreams locked away in my mind. Why falter 8not write a book about one?” I have always struggled with my spiritual side, not so much doubting my beliefs in God, but more myself and the “man-made” side of religion. I felt like writing would be a good way to work some of those inner demons and doubts out.

After years of learning the craft, and reading new books that opened my mind to the many worlds I could escape to, I finished my first novel. Now that I’ve nurtured my mind and soul into that of a writer’s, I don’t see myself any other way. This is who I am now. Though it’s still hard for me some days, I get a little better each day.

Q: Have you always wanted to be an author?

Haven: I had no idea that I would be an author as a child. Reading and writing was something I was forced to do in school, not something I did for fun. I was more of a visual arts kind of person, using paint and pencils to express myself, but looking back now, I know that I just hadn’t found the right book to spark the yearning in me. Thank God, I did later on!

Q: Who are your favorite authors?

There are so many authors that I admire and enjoy, but Leigh Bardugo, Karen Marie Moning, and Jamie McGuire speak to my soul and inspire me to be a better writer.

Q: What would you say to someone who is starting out as a writer?

Haven: Being a new writer myself, I would advise those following me to research everything on writing, publishing, networking they can. Get a good grip on the reality of it because publishing is an intimidating industry, and if you are not serious about it, you won’t get far, falter 9unfortunately. Discouragement is an emotion you will feel often, but I firmly believe that if you are diligent, you can make it. You may not have a fat wallet in the end, but it’s better to try and fail, knowing you gave it your best than avoiding the trials of being a writer when you could have been magical.

Q: Do you ever put any part of yourself in your characters?

Haven: My characters are very much based on fears and doubts that I have all the time. I also instill my sarcasm and emotions in them pretty regularly. On the flip side of that, they represent parts of me that I can’t be, or won’t allow myself to be, in real life as well.

Q: How old were you when your first book was published?

Haven: My release day is actually the day before my thirty-third birthday. I set it up as a new year’s resolution goal, determined to get this damn book published before my birthday!

Q: What books do you have out, and what are you planning for future publications?

Haven: I currently only have Falter up for publication, however, book 2 in the Faltering Soul series is under way. I also have the beginnings of a stand-alone novel in toe.

Q: What do you hope readers will take from your books?

Haven: I hope they find enjoyment in my story while considering the uncontrollable circumstances that drive people to make bad decisions. Life is not black and white, right and wrong.

Q: What do you do to get ready to write?

Haven: I am very much a creature that needs a good atmosphere. I mostly write at a fantastic local coffee shop, listening to rock music, and drinking the writer’s drug of choice…coffee! I personally don’t plan much when it comes to preparing. I’m more of a write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal, leaving my outlining to a time after most of my thoughts are already on the paper.

Q: Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you get past it?

Haven: I’ve been fortunate to avoid the dark abyss of writer’s block. If I do happen to be in a particularly difficult time of finding words, I tend to leave the work for a few days. Sometimes a little vacation can clarify the tunnel vision. This is also when the outlining comes in handy. I start going back through the chapters and summarizing them one by one, focusing on my plot and details. This usually brings me out of the slump.

Q: What is your favorite type of book to read? Does that type influence your books?

Haven: My favorite genres are fantasy and romance, and yes, it absolutely influences my own writing. I love being to get away from reality, to escape to worlds where anything is possible. As far as writing styles, I gravitate toward authors that use a lot of descriptive words. I need to play the scenes in my mind like a movie, which makes me a slower reader, but I enjoy it so much more.

You can ad more of Haven’s interviews on Book Readers Magazine

Fun Facts/ Favorites

  1. Food- Anything pasta
  2. Color- Purple (you can probably tell by all the purple I use in my graphics J)
  3. Sweet Treat- Dark chocolate
  4. Mixed Drinks- Forget the mixing, just give me some vodka and a lemon with sugar, or a glass of Duplin wine.
  5. Favorite things to shop for- Fingernail polish (not a big shopper like most girls)
  6. Number- Seven
  7. Book- Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
  8. Movie- It’s impossible for me to answer this question…so not fair to make me choose only one.
  9. Song- I Am The Fire by Halestorm
  10. Favorite sport: Soccer

About Haven Cage

havenHaven Cage lives in the Carolinas with her husband and son. After many years of dabbling with drawing, painting, and working night shift in the medical field, she decided to try her hand at writing. Unfortunately, her love for books came later in life and proved to add a healthy challenge during her writing journey. Determined to hone her craft though, she soaks up as much information as she can, spends her free time tapping away in her favorite local coffee shop, and keeps a good book in hand whenever possible.

Years have passed since she began to write and sculpt her first novel, and now it is finally ready for debut. What began as a hobby has grown into a way of escape and the yearning to take her journey farther, her love for writing and reading deepening along the way.

 

Author Pages

Author site- www.authorhavencage.com,

Facebook- www.facebook.com/havencage/

@havencage on twitter

Instagram- havencage

Amazon-  http://www.amazon.com/Falter-Faltering-Souls-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01DDQVCJK/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29617606-falter?from_new_nav=true&ac=1&from_search=true

Smashwords- https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/HavenCage.

 

Liquid Friday with Author Taisha Demay

This week we are featuring erotic and romantic suspense novel author Taisha Demay.  She enjoys bringing complex and interesting characters to life on the page. Currently signed with Rhysworld Publishing she is the author of three books.

Through the Fire

Love, Truth and Consequences

And the upcoming: Love, Truth and Consequences: Playing Dirty

Taisha normally drinks her green tea, but when the occasion strikes you will find her enjoying a glass of Merlot.

wineMerlot comes from a dark blue-colored grape variety that can be used for both a blending grape and for varietal wines. As the grape ripens early it makes it popular to blend with Cabernet Sauvignon and is the second most popular grape variety in Bordeaux wine regions. It is also among the most popular wine grapes planted around the world due to its flexibility in wine type production.

Merlots differ in complexity and character, as well as wine type thus make excellent choices for the dinner table. The Cabernet-like Merlots go excellent with grilled meat, while softer and fruitier Merlots go great with salmon, mushrooms and greens.

So let us grab a glass of this delicious wine, kick back and relax while learning more about Taisha Demay’s  book: Love, Truth and Consequences,

Blurb:

New York CPA Holland Taylor wants revenge against her boss, Decimal Accounting Services CEO Carter Preston, a man she has damay1loved since the first day she laid eyes on him in the lobby of his company. But all that changes when she overhears him saying some unflattering things about her to another executive. Devastated Holland vows to teach him a lesson that he will never forget. Will her plan work or will it turn into something more than she had bargained for? Fall into the pages of Love, Truth and Consequences and let Author Taisha Demay show you what happens when you try to play a game that you may not really be ready for…

We can now read a little excerpt from Love, Truth and Consequences :

Later that evening Holland stopped in front of the mirror and gazed at her reflection seeing herself in a

magenta gown that clung intimately to her curves that Carter had chosen for her to wear. Somehow the person

that was staring back at her was entirely different from the woman she was three weeks ago. With her perfectly

made up face, her perfectly coiffed hair, she barely recognized herself. She had experienced so many new things

sexually with Carter, who opened her eyes to a world she probably would have never known. She would miss

being with him, knowing their time together would soon come to an end saddened her, she was going to miss

his touch, the way he made her body come alive like it’s never had before.

She recalled one evening when he’d spanked her. After telling her to remove her clothing, he smacked her

ass with his bare hand and told her to put her hands behind her back. She complied as he bound her hands with

jute rope, clenching it tight around her wrists. His hands stroking her hair, telling her he was not pleased how

she’d gone off to run several errands without permission.

“How many errands did you run?” He asked.

“Five,” she whispered, a soft tear tickled down her cheek. She felt his displeasure with her. He wounded her

heart. She knew she’d disobeyed him.

“You know you must be punished for that, don’t you?” He asked, his voice mesmerizing, soft, seductive.

“Yes,” she replied, half in fear, half in arousal.

He began spanking her ass with a riding crop. She shuddered at each hard blow, her skin turning a shade

of crimson. Striking her a few more times before leading her over to a chair then laying her over his lap to

continue the lesson in obedience, he had taken her further sexually than anyone had ever done before. She

had become someone she didn’t recognize, a weeping, pleading whimpering female who submitted her body

and soul for a brief time. No one had done that for her before. It was a culmination of two years of fantasies,

months of aching want, desperate to be treated like a precious gift.

About Taisha Demay:

Born in Jamaica Queens New York, Taisha DeMay is an Army Me.veteran, married to her childhood friend, the mother of two adult children and one grand daughter. An animal lover, she currently resides in North Carolina. Her love of writing stemmed from the love of books. An avid reader, her collection boasts of thousands of physical books as well as countless number of ebooks. You can find her on Facebook as well as Twitter and Instagram where you can learn what she’s up to.

You can find Taisha on the web at:

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00YPOQX08

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThroughtheFirebyAuthorTaishaDemay012

Facebook Blog: https://www.facebook.com/Elliesbookblog

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TaishaDemay012

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/Lovetaishademay

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TaishaDemay

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14052151.Taisha_Demay

LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/author-taisha-demay-302722bb

Email:  taishademay@gmail.com

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

WordPress:   https://authortaishademayblog.wordpress.com/blog/

Liquid Friday with Author R. L. Weeks

This week we are featuring  Fantasy and Horror Author of Into the Myth, Toad Prince and bestselling horror stories One Way Out ,See No Evil and #Yourenext  R. L. Weeks.

Her favorite drink is Sex on The Beach! So lets hear directly from our featured author:

I used to work in a cocktail bar and I just loved the combination of flavour from the cranberry and orange juice, and when mixed with my favourite sex-on-the-beachalcohol, vodka and peach schnapps (or sometimes archers instead) it’s just an explosion of flavour! Plus, it gets me pretty tipsy quickly 😛 

Ingredients:

Fill your glass with ice and add 1 oz Vodka, .5 oz of Peach Schnapps, 1 oz Orange Juice and 1 oz Cranberry juice, Garnish with a lemon wedge and Maraschino cherry.

OK, it’s time to pour a glass of this delicious sounding cocktail, kick back relaxing and read a bit about her newest release:  Beauty’s Beast (Haunting Fairytales Collection Book 2):

The Blurb:
Edward was cursed to be a beast, but the new curse had a cruel twist to it that could put Bella in danger.
beatysbeastThe beast isn’t the only thing Bella should fear that roams within the castle’s walls. The rooms all hold cursed hearts and one man who could be the undoing of them all.

The Excerpt:

Bella

James peered over the boat, looking down into the clear blue water. The top of the water glimmered in the moonlight.

‘Careful,’ Bella said and pulled him away from the edge. ‘Remember what Papa said, there are mermaids in this lake.’

‘Mermaids are nice, though, aren’t they?’ he asked his mum.

‘No, they’re really not. They lure men into the water, drown them, then eat their insides.’

He jumped back and sat at the back of the boat, looking cautiously out over the water. ‘Why are we even here then?’

‘We have a task to do. Papa is ill. I told you, I paid a witch to tell me of anything that could help him, and she told me about a magical rose that’s guarded by a monster. It’s in that castle,’ Bella said and pointed at the castle that was growing bigger the closer they got to it. It sat on top of a massive rock; it was larger than most of the cliffs they had seen on their travels.

‘Yeah, but I still don’t understand why I’m here,’ James huffed.

‘I need you to pick the rose, only one who has an innocent heart can take it from the jar,’ she replied and continued rowing. Her arms were aching, she wasn’t shy to manual labour, but she had been rowing for three hours and her arms felt like they were going to drop off.

‘Mama, when we get to the castle, will they have food?’

‘In my bag, there is some bread and butter.’

James scoffed. ‘Great.’ He begrudgingly took out the stale bread and bit off a piece. As he chewed on the bread, he spotted a tail by the rocks splash out of the water then disappear. It didn’t look that big; it was as if it belonged to a child mermaid. However, it was unmistakably the tail of a mermaid, he had seen pictures, the strange glimmer that covered the scales, the transparent tips of the fins, the golden lines that cracked their way up from the fins to the torso.

The boat rocked and shook as it sailed through the rocks. It stopped at the bottom of the weathered stone steps that wound their way up the surface. James got out first, the water sprayed him, soaking his light brown hair so it stuck around his face. He grumbled and slicked his hair back. Bella got out after and laughed, the water lapped around her ankles. They climbed a step so they were out of the water. Her pale yellow dress hung around her ankles, she lifted it up & followed her son.

‘I wouldn’t worry. I’ve heard that no one has actually seen this monster that guards the rose. I think it’s just a story made up so people wouldn’t try to steal it.’ They huffed as they climbed the steep steps, Bella helped her son by allowing him to put a lot of his weight on her arm.

‘So we will be safe,’ he asked, raising an eyebrow.

‘Perfectly safe,’ she promised. ‘I won’t let anything happen to you anyway. If there is anything dangerous in there, then you run back to the boat and leave me if you have too,’

‘I wouldn’t leave you mama, plus, if there is a monster, I will strike it with my sword.’

She laughed. ‘So where is this mighty sword?’

He looked up. ‘You see the front of the castle, where the steps stop, and the drawbridge starts?’ she nodded, smiling. ‘Just past there, to the right should be an armoury, there always is. Somewhere in there will be an enchanted sword and only one who can kill the monster will be able to find it…’

She grinned. ‘You’ve been reading my books again, haven’t you?’

‘Maybe, but, it’s true,’ he stated and climbed faster. He loved adventure; ever since his dad had died, he felt the need to protect his mother.

‘Well, we will first look for the enchanted sword, slay the beast, then grab the rose. We will be home within days,’ she said, fuelling his imagination.

‘Yes, and the beast will try to capture you. But, I will find the secret passages that are obviously hidden behind the tapestries and break you out.’

‘Oh, will you now.’

‘Yes,’ he grinned, getting excited. ‘Then the beast, I believe he will live alone. Cursed to remain at the castle. He will try to attack me, then plunge himself onto the sword which will glow brightly before he runs into it. By the time he realises that I am the one who was prophesied to kill him, it’ll be too late.’

‘You will return as a knight,’ Bella shouted. James punched a fist into the air and laughed, but wobbled a little on the step. Bella grabbed him and pushed him up further.

‘Let’s go get this beast,’ she said. She knew there wasn’t a beast, a monster, or anything in there. But, she would always play the game. He would come up with the craziest stories about men he had seen walk past, how they were cursed, how one was a dragon slayer, and she would always go along with it.

She wrote fantasy stories for children, and he had taken to reading them all. One dragon at a time.

‘So, where’s this armoury?’ She asked as they climbed the last few steps.

When they were in full view of the castle, Bella’s heart pounded loudly. Maddening screams were coming from the barred up windows, the two large doors creaked open as James approached.

About Author:

R. L. Weeks is a fantasy and horror author living in Exeter, UK. She grew up in Devon surrounded by local folklore which she incorporates into her writing.

RLWeeksInto the Myth, published by CHBB, One Way Out and See No Evil, published by Vamptasy, are available for purchase on Amazon and Kindle.

She wants to write novels to inspire and help young people in the same way that fantasy books helped her. Horror is a genre that she wants to bring people back to ‘it’s such a deep genre. It’s so much more than just scaring people, it gives them a sense of empowerment. I’m obsessed with the reality of the human condition and the darker shades of humanity. I try to tell my stories from a different viewpoint.’

 

Liquid Friday with author Susan Shapiro

This week we are featuring New York Times bestselling author of ten books and an award-winning writing professor Susan Shapiro.

Susan’s favorite drink is the Republic of Tea, Honey Ginseng tea. Are you surprised?  Of course not!  A wonderful beverage, served iced on a hot summer day from the author of self help books like:  Lighting Up, How I Stopped Smoking, Drinking and Everything Else Except Sex (A Memoir). and co-author of Unhooked: How to Quit Anything.

Honey Ginseng Tea from  The republic of Tea:

A relaxing blend combines the ancient health properties of China teagreen tea with Panax ginseng and full blossom honey. This delicious, subtly sweet tea offers a peaceful sipping experience.
Steeping Instructions:
Steeping green tea is easy. Simply heat fresh, filtered water just short of boiling. Then pour water over tea and steep for 1-3 minutes ice-tea-pitcher-iced-jug-cold-iced-drink-lemon-mint-44879245(if using a tea bag) or 2-4 minutes (if using full-leaf tea.)

Ingredients:

China green tea, linden flowers, pollen eleuthero, Panax ginseng, natural flavor.

 

So lets grab a pitcher of this amazing Honey Ginseng tea, some ice and learn a bit about Susan’s newest book:  What’s Never Said.

It’s dangerous to search for an old flame you never got over. What if you find him-and he doesn’t remember you? In her captivating new novel, Susan Shapiro explores the perils of whats neverrevisiting past passion. Lila Penn leaves Wisconsin for graduate school in the big city, where she falls for her professor Daniel Wildman. Decades after their tangled link, she arranges a tête-à-tête in downtown Manhattan. But the shocking encounter blindsides Lila, causing her to question her memory-and sanity. Switching between Greenwich Village and Tel Aviv, the saga unravels the sexual secret that’s haunted Daniel and Lila for thirty years. PRAISE FOR SUSAN SHAPIRO: “Frank, darkly funny, entertaining…” -New York Times Book Review “A promiscuously readable guilty pleasure…” -Elle Magazine “Sly, candid, disarming…” -Pam Houston “Shapiro’s voice is so passionate and honest, it’s bewitching.” -Erica Jong “Irresistible energy, winning humor… breathtakingly frank honesty.” -Philip Lopate “Unputdownable.” -Gael Greenereal

Setup: In February 1981, in Greenwich Village, Lila Lerner, an innocent graduate N.Y.U. student from a Jewish Wisconsin family, is upset when the professor she adores ignores her on Valentine’s Day. So she has dinner with a Turkish classmate, Tarik, at the Cookery on University Place.

Excerpt:

When the wine came, Tarik took a sip and nodded for the waiter to pour

“Why did you get a bottle from ten years ago?” Lila asked, wondering if it was still good a decade later, and if you got a discount for old stuff.
“A friend and wine best when old,” he said, clicking her glass.
Lila was intrigued by his accent and the way he sometimes left out connectives.

“You prefer red or white?”

“Definitely red,” she said, not mentioning that the kind they drank at home was Manischewitz.

“After graduate degree, you move home?” Tarik asked.

“No. I’ll get a job and stay here. I love the Village.” Lila drank up. The taste was growing on her.

“Your family let you do this?” Tarik poured more.

Lila shrugged. “Why not?”

“Dangerous alone. Before you marry…”

Lila finished her glass. “I might never get married.”

“Woman writer needs husband,” he insisted.

“Tell that to Sylvia Plath.” She poured a tall one she finished quickly.

He looked confused. “She had husband and two babies young.”

“Yeah, then her husband’s affairs ruined their family,” Lila said. “She would have been better off unmarried and childless. Like Emily Dickinson. Jane Austen. Elizabeth Bishop.”

“You don’t mean.” Tarik shook his head. “Something wrong with woman who doesn’t want to be wife and mother.”

“What do you mean by wrong?”

“Broken. Damaged. Not normal. Crazy,” he listed. “How you say — disturbed.”

“Why the f— would you say something so ignorant?” she asked, emboldened by the wine.

“Speak quietly,” he said through clenched teeth. “Not attractive for ladies to swear.”

“F— you!” she said louder, standing up.

He stood up too, his eyes jumpy, horrified. “Sit down,” he whispered.

Lila did not sit down. She marched out the door. She’d never walked out on a guy at dinner before. It felt totally cool, like she was the poet version of Gloria Steinem. Until she realized that she was overdressed and alone at 9 p.m. on the Saturday night of Valentine’s Day in a city of couples on dates. How humiliating.

Lila started to cry, heading back to her dorm to hide under the covers. Instead she went to Washington Square Park. Sitting on a bench, she lit her roommate Sari’s present: a red joint. Nobody noticed Lila amid the transvestites, hippies and students gathered around the fire-eater — even in freezing cold. A scraggly regular said, “Hey pretty clothes, what ya doin’ back here?”

“Dumped my date,” she said, handing him the joint. They shared it as a guitar player sang Joni Mitchell’s “Free Man in Paris.” She hummed along, tingly, dizzy, starving.

Remembering the $20 her mother sent her for Valentine’s Day, Lila decided to take herself out to dinner at Dojo. She changed into the flats hidden in her purse and waded through the hordes of bohemians and homeless men hanging out on decrepit St. Mark’s Place. It smelled of burning incense and the hot dog truck on the corner.

Lila marveled at the seedy bodega, dive bar, graffiti-lined record shop and tattoo parlor she passed. More crazy characters strolled this jam-packed East Village intersection than she’d seen in nineteen years in her hometown of Baraboo — population 10,000. She was awed by the downtown graffiti artists and foreign women selling used blouses and coffeemakers on the sidewalk — not noticing it was twenty degrees out.

All the oddballs were decked out as if Valentine’s Day was Halloween — girls in gowns with vampire capes, men in dresses, high heels and makeup. Everybody carried bizarre objects: antique chairs, bagpipes, a boa constrictor. She felt like she was floating, escaping from prison to live in this exciting drug-filled carnival.

At her favorite bookstore, St. Mark’s Bookshop, she treated herself to a poetry collection, Louise Glück’s “Descending Figure,” on sale for $2. Crossing the street, she sat inside at Dojo and read the angry female Jewish poet’s words, craving chicken yakimeshi. Sari had turned her on to this dive and awesome $4 meal. When Lila got her paycheck, she’d treat herself to this special dish. The only thing Lila didn’t like was the sliced onions. She’d pick them out one by one, putting a pile on the side.

Right after she ordered, she had a revelation. She stopped the waitress and said, “Excuse me, miss. I have a question. Can I get my yakimeshi without onions?”

“Sure, hon. No problem,” the waitress said.

Lila was amazed. Forget all her male Svengalis trying to teach her wisdom. She’d just learned the most important lesson on her own: You could order the world without onions! Just as it came, she saw Sari walking by through the window. She was alone too. What happened to her date Lenu? Lila ran outside and called out to her. “I left Tarik at the Cookery and smoked your joint alone in the park.”

“Lenu bangs me four times last night, then blows me off Valentine’s Day. It’s a stupid motherf—ing Hallmark holiday,” Sari muttered, then started crying.

Lila held out her arms, which Sari fell into. “I’m so glad you’re here. Come hang out with me.” Lila led her inside.

Sari sat down at her table, blowing her nose with Lila’s napkin. Then she stuck her fingers in the yakimeshi, picking out chicken and some carrots, plunking them in her mouth.

“Tastes different,” Sari said.

“I special ordered it,” Lila told her. “You can just order life without the onions!”

“Nice metaphor,” Sari said.

“Right? I know!” Lila cracked up, then asked the waitress for another fork, thinking she wound up with the exact right person she loved most on Valentine’s Day after all.

 

That was really good!  If you enjoyed what you read, we have another excerpt for you:

Scene: Lila Penn is standing in line at Barnes & Noble, nervously excited to see her old professor — and former flame — Daniel Wildman, who just a won a Pulitzer Prize. She whats neverhasn’t seen him in three decades. She knows it’s risky to be there, since they’re both married, and Lila never really got over him.

Excerpt:

Jittery all day, Lila had left work early to get her hair done, having her highlights frosted ash blond, her original color. She’d put on the black silk dress and Prada high heels she’d bought at Bergdorf’s. As the line winding around the huge bookstore crept closer, she scanned all the college kids in jeans and sweatshirts, feeling overdressed. She should have worn Levi’s and loafers, to look like seeing Daniel again was no big deal. Handing him the envelope in her purse felt too dangerous.

Even half-obscured by a pillar, his chiseled face was regal. He was powerful before the grand audience, more self-assured than he used to be. As she reached the head of the line, the clerk, who’d been marking names on Post-Its to show the author what to sign, had disappeared. Lila stood before Daniel, separated only by the thin table. Her hand sweated as she held out his slender book, feeling elated, a grad student again, younger, completely unveiled.

“Thanks for coming.” Unlike the last time they’d been this close, he was serene and sober.

“My pleasure. You killed,” tumbled out of her mouth, as if she were still his coed.

“Thanks.” He looked up at her. “To whom should I inscribe it?”

“To me,” Lila said.

He tilted his pen on the page, glanced up sideways and asked, “Your name?”

What? He didn’t know? Her breath stuck in her throat as he stared at her blankly. He was near seventy now. Was his eyesight failing?

“Sign it to Lila Penn.” She stared at him, waiting for her name and face to jar his recollection.

“One N or two?” he asked in a monotone.

“Two N’s,” she answered, dumbfounded, pushing her hair behind her ear. He didn’t know how to spell her married name? She felt flushed and frazzled. Maybe he’d inherited what he’d called “the forgetting disease” that had afflicted his father.

“With that last name, I hope you’re not a writer,” he said, looking pleased with his quip, the same cheesy joke every other idiot made.

“No, I’m a teacher.” She inverted their connection, trying to trick him into a reaction. But it was a lie. She’d recently been asked to teach a class, but still hadn’t responded.

“Okay, thanks for buying my book,” he said by rote.

Her eyes fell on his inscription: “To Lila Penn, All the Best. Daniel Wildman.” As if she were any stranger. Her forehead was hot, her heart knotting up in her chest.

Had he seduced so many students he couldn’t even recall who she was? She must have overblown their relationship in her head. Could she be the one whose memory was addled? Lila’s best friend Sari had insisted she had a distorted self-image. The teenage girl next in line, who had a pirate tattoo on her arm and a metal ring piercing her lower left lip, hovered right behind her, staring. Lila felt ashamed, as if she were just exposed as a pathetic hanger-on, an imposter.

“My maiden name is Lerner.” Lila blinked back tears, not believing he’d erased her. The whole room blurred.

“My wife kept hers,” he said smoothly, no recognition in his eyes. Then he reached his hand out for Lip Ring’s book and opened it. “Who am I signing it to?” he asked the youthful interloper, flashing the same polite grin, finished with Lila.

“To my mother, Mary Jonas. She studied with you a million years ago.”

“I know Mary! You look like her.” He laughed aloud, the big, hearty full-bodied laugh Lila used to love. “Must have been at least two million. Do you have a name too?”

Lila caught her reflection in the framed store poster, focusing on the faint marionette lines around her mouth, mortified to suddenly realize she’d lost her youth and beauty. She usually still saw herself as attractive. Yet she was obviously no longer a head-turner, the woman Daniel had called “his luscious muse.” Had she changed that much? The older suitor who’d adored her, exalted her looks more than any other male she’d known, had no idea who she was. But Daniel, you were the one who accepted me, discovered me, drew stars in the margins of my rough drafts.

She shouldn’t have lied to her husband about coming. She slinked to the register, fumbling for her wallet, so flustered his book fell to the floor. The rule: If you drop a book, kiss it, sacred like the Torah echoed from her childhood. She crouched down and quickly scooped it up, humiliated, invisible. As she went to pay, Lila spied the envelope she brought in the pocket of her purse, but it was too late to give to him. She had clearly overestimated her effect on him, her place in his romantic lexicon.

Out of all the conflicting scenarios she’d envisioned for almost thirty years, Lila had never once imagined that Daniel Wildman wouldn’t remember.

 

And for the first time ever, we can also indulge a bit in the story behind the story. In an article published in New York magazine Susan Shapiro reveals a bit more:

The Line Between Professor and Predator Isn’t Always So Clear

By

“Are you okay?” I asked my 22-year-old smart, pretty student Debbie last spring during office hours. She often susanhad questions about class or the ambitious book she was working on. But tonight she’d rushed over — still in a minidress, high heels, heavy eyeliner, and lipstick — upset about a bad experience she’d just had with a famous older novelist now teaching at my alma mater, whom she’d befriended on Facebook. “What happened?” I asked, worried.

She nervously combed her long, dark hair behind her ears. “He wanted me to be his date for this fancy award ceremony tonight. I was excited, got all dressed up. It was fun. But then he asked me to go home with him. Gross. I said no way.”

“What did he do?”

“Nothing. I got the hell out of there. It was creepy. There was another girl there he was flirting with.”

All the harassment, sexual-assault, roofie, and rape cases in colleges across the country were not distant news. Many of my students had shared similar sordid encounters, which scared me. I’d sent several distraught women to school authorities, to the police to report crimes, to therapists, and to editors who’d published their stories. Because I was a female professor and outspoken women’s-rights advocate who’d championed Debbie’s work, I knew she wanted me to be angry on her behalf, toe the conventional feminist line, take her side, see her as an innocent victim, and call the guy a harasser — or worse. Yet this time, I couldn’t.   

“I’m confused,” I said. “Why go on a date if you weren’t attracted to him?”

“I admire his writing. And I hoped he’d blurb my book,” she admitted. “But that doesn’t mean I was going to bed with him.”

“Of course not,” I told her. “Yet his proposition — and taking no for an answer — sounds fair.  We don’t have to vilify every man on the planet with a functioning libido.”

“Wow,” she said. “You’re taking this so personally.”

She was right. It wasn’t her actions that troubled me. I feared I’d done what I was accusing Debbie of doing when I was her age. She didn’t know that I’d had an affair with an older professor and tried to make him the villain. The truth turned out to be more complex.

Decades earlier, as an overeager graduate student in Manhattan, I’d dressed up for orientation, excited to introduce myself to the head of my program — a brilliant,  acclaimed author.

“It’s such an honor to meet you,” I said, shaking his hand.

“Planning to finish your PhD by the end of the mixer?” he quipped. He must have seen my application and knew that I was only 20, having skipped two grades.

“Why? Are you threatened by fast women?” I’d asked, not catching my double entendre.  

“Maybe I am,” he said, smiling, pulling his hand free from my grip.

He was about twice my age and academically dashing in his beige jacket and corduroys. I’d admired his dark, hilarious books, which seemed like Philip Roth put to poetry.

I was a tall, thin-skinned Michigan girl with a big mouth, a big appetite, and big feet. Although my conservative parents didn’t know what a master’s in creative writing was, they’d reluctantly let me sell my orange Cutlass to help fund three terms in the big city. The minute I got to Greenwich Village, I never wanted to leave. I dreamed of becoming a famous author with bylines in magazines and books, just like my professor.

Showing up to his every office hour, I’d hand him stacks of poems I’d been revising until four in the morning.

“Just one,” he’d say, then unleash his full, throaty laugh.  

I morphed into a downtown New Yorker. I lost weight, donned thick, black eyeliner, low-cut, tight black clothes, and spiked black boots. My professor noticed, I could tell. At a holiday party at his apartment, he stood close to me, pointed to my heels, and joked, “You’re trying to tower over me.” I removed them to help clean up afterward. Then we sat on the wooden floor of his dusty one-bedroom, drinking cheap Chardonnay from paper cups, me barefoot, chattering anxiously.

“You talk too much, too loud, too quickly,” he cut me off. Noticing me blush, he said, “Don’t be nervous, we’re not having an affair or anything.”

I wondered if I wanted to. Did he ever think of me outside of class, the way I thought of him?  From his work I knew he was single, straight, and lonely. I wasn’t sure if the spark I felt between us was my imagination.

“Will you look at my latest rewrite?” I begged, taking a revised poem from my purse.

He pulled out a pen and marked my page with squiggles and arrows. “You have too many words, not enough music.” I loved how honestly he critiqued me, our intellectual and erotic energy entangling.

“I think I’m falling for you,” I blurted out, avoiding his eyes.  

He cracked up. Humiliated, I couldn’t hold back my tears.

“I’m sorry.” His voice grew softer. “It’s just that everybody falls for the person who fixes their work.”

“That’s not why,” I insisted.  

“Listen, I would never date a student,” he said. I was crushed. Until he added, “If only I weren’t your teacher.” Hope!

After that, he invited me to book events, introducing me to his colleagues as “a talented newcomer,” elevating me socially — and creatively. Having his ear and his eyes on my work felt  magical, mystical, enthralling. I was honored when he asked what I thought of his first drafts, thrilled when he took my suggestion to retitle a poem.

Before I completed my degree, he recommended me for a coveted position at The New Yorker,  which I took, finishing my thesis by night. I told myself I’d landed the full-time gig because I’d aced their editorial test and hit it off with my fascinating female boss, who’d been there since World War II. But without my professor’s referral, I may have landed next to my classmate as an assistant at Soap Opera Digest.

That May, I graduated and decided to stay in New York. Released from the confines of  academia, my former professor took me to dinner. At a local Chinese dive, he told me how beautiful I was. Finally we kissed. Our connection intensified. It was awkward and scary, but switching from protégée to girlfriend made me feel special. His crowd embraced me. Friends my age were a little skeptical, perhaps because I’d disappeared into his much more intellectually stimulating world. He was the oldest, wisest man I’d ever dated. He said I was the only student he’d ever touched. I believed him.

Yet the fantasy of having my professor fall for me was more exhilarating than the reality. With our feelings for each other no longer illicit, I found I was more comfortable in his classroom than his bedroom. Hearing him kvetch about his lower-back pain and receding hair was a turnoff. He  didn’t like that the job he’d found me became my priority. He rolled his eyes when I exalted Gloria Steinem and analyzed different waves of feminism. I tired of him correcting my grammar and making fun of me when I read tabloids or watched TV talk shows. I nicknamed him “Henry Higgins.” He called my new short haircut “too butch.”

“You’re too controlling,” I argued. I’d once imagined us as Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning. Were we closer to Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes?

I started smoking, toking, and drinking, all of which bothered him. He recommended I see a therapist. I refused, insisting he’d been on the couch so long, I got analyzed by osmosis.

Rushing home from a meeting one day, he announced that he’d been awarded a one-year fellowship in Israel and wanted me to accompany him. Although I was flattered, I couldn’t afford it, I confessed.

“I’ll pay for everything.”

“I already have a job that you got me. I can’t gallivant around as an appendage to a boyfriend.”

“We can get married,” he said.

Two female students I knew had wed their former professors. Yet I felt rushed and overwhelmed. I wasn’t sure I even wanted to get married. Or whether I was in love with him or the idea of him. Rather than take vows so young, I was yearning more for a mentor, a father figure. “I’m nowhere near ready for this,” I told him, honestly.   

Wounded by my cold response, he took off, refusing to return my calls. He was mortified. While I’d put the brakes on a serious commitment, I hadn’t meant to end everything. I was confused. If he saw me in our shared neighborhood, he’d rush to cross the street. I felt guilty and grief-stricken. Yet completely ghosting me — not even returning a phone call — seemed cruel.  Wasn’t he supposed to be the mature one? I’d never felt more alone or vulnerable. Breakups were bad enough, but I was afraid this split would exile me from my newfound colleagues and the literati crowd.  

Indeed, when I later became a teacher, two students reported that he’d badmouthed me, telling them not to take my class, claiming I had no idea what I was talking about. I couldn’t believe he’d publicly maligned me. I felt powerless and persecuted by an angry ex who could ruin my reputation. Freaked out, I finally did call a shrink. She reassured me that nobody would take his word over mine at this point. Then she asked what had originally drawn me to my professor. I said, “He had this great apartment overstuffed with books, and brilliant writer friends, and smart editors publishing his work …”

“So you didn’t want to marry him, you wanted to be him?” she asked.

I nodded yes, awed by the distinction.

Amid debates of older men harassing, seducing, and manipulating female students and subordinates, it was tempting to see myself as the innocent prey and injured party, another  young, impressionable protégée manipulated  by a powerful man. Yet as easy as that narrative would be on my ego, it wouldn’t be psychologically accurate.  

I realized this after my husband, a scriptwriter, spoke to my writing class about TV and film. The next day, an envelope came from one of my undergrads. Assuming she’d dropped off a late assignment, I opened it, taken aback to find her sexy headshots, body shots, and a note to my husband about how brilliant his talk had been and how she’d love to buy him a beer to discuss career options in “our biz.”

“She just wants me to help her get a job on Saturday Night Live,” he tried to reassure me.

She was sharp and talented. Yet from the vantage point of being her writing professor and his wife, it seemed to me she was blatantly flaunting her sexuality to further her career. It reminded me of the way my student Debbie had posted half-naked pictures of herself on social media,  probably what had lured the acclaimed novelist. She felt I was being prudish. I thought I was being protective.  

I wasn’t always so conservative, of course. We each harness whatever power we have to get ahead, whether overtly or subconsciously. I’d once been a hot 22-year-old using my looks to fuel my ambition. Yet here I was, wishing my students would own their roles in this clichéd, coquettish game while I hadn’t been honest either. I suddenly saw how I’d deceived myself years earlier. If my professor was drawn to my youth and beauty, I’d been enticed by his experience and status, which I wound up usurping. It was a trade-off I’d chosen, a barter that launched me, benefitting me most in the long-run.

Seeing him at a crowded soirée not long ago, our eyes met. I went over to say hello. He pretended not to remember who I was, turning away as I approached. I was shocked. Then I wondered if he’d intentionally shunned me because he was still angry. I was actually flattered to think I could elicit so much emotion all these years later.

Had he spoken to me that night, I would have thanked him. He had, after all, improved my life, teaching me to be an incisive reader and critic. He’d helped me land an awesome first job in the city. He’d inspired me to write books and teach, demystifying the process. I might have even apologized, not sure if I’d been immature back then or just a typically self-involved single player in my 20s.

Now, after two decades in a happy union, I’ve learned I can be a feminist who loves men and marriage. This involves not lumping all men into the enemy camp, or labeling someone “sexist” or “predatory” just because they express desire.  

In retrospect, my professor was not a Svengali seducing an innocent rube — or  a skirt chaser abusing his position, like other infamous men in the news. I was never victimized. He was a gentleman who’d postponed our romance until I was no longer in his class. I’d been a consenting adult who’d actually initiated the relationship. I’d wanted him, went for him, got him — and his connections. When he’d pushed for more, I set the limits I needed to, and not all that gently. Then I published a book telling my side of the story.

Ultimately, he might have been more of a victim than I was.

See the original article in NY Magazine.

 

About Susan:

susan2Susan Shapiro, an award-winning writing professor, freelances for The New York Times, New York Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, L.A. Times, Newsweek, Elle, Esquire & Oprah.com. She’s the New York Times bestselling author of 10 books, including the acclaimed memoirs Lighting Up,Only as Good as Your Word, and Five Men Who Broke My Heart, the coauthored nonfiction booksUnhooked and The Bosnia List , and the novel What’s Never Said. She and her husband, a TV/film writer, live in Greenwich Village, where she teaches her popular “instant gratification takes too long” classes at the New School, NYU and in private workshops & seminars. You can follow her on Twitter at @susanshapironet or reach her at ProfSue123@gmail.com.

 

Liquid Friday with Author Alan W. Jankowski

This week we are featuring Poetry and Short Story author Alan W. Jankowski.  Albeit Alan is known for his breathtaking 9-11 Tribute Poem, he does like to frame in words more mundane elements as well.   In fact he wrote his Dirty Martini recipe in rhyme, so lets hear in Alan’s own words:

The Dirty Martini:

The making of a dirty martini is truly an art,
Vodka and vermouth are merely a start,
But follow my advice and you can depend,
On achieving perfection in the end.

DirtyMartini_00First the martini glasses should be filled,
With a little ice to ensure they’re chilled,
Your next step as the martini maker,
Is to put some ice in the shaker.

Next pour in the vodka, a premium kind,
For the perfect martini, use the best you can find,
Just a dash of vermouth is all it should take,
For the best martini you can make.

For a drink that’s smooth and never rough,
The next step I just can’t stress enough,
Grab the olive juice and begin to pour,
And if you think it’s plenty, pour some more.

Put the lid on the shaker and give a few shakes,DirtyMartini2
Just a few seconds is really all it takes,
Now take the glasses and dump the ice,
And add a couple olives, plump and nice.

Then over those olives you can begin to pour,
And then start to savor what’s in store,
For if you follow this little rhyme,
You’ll have the perfect martini every time.

I got turned on to dirty martinis by a girl I was going out with several years back, she was a big fan…apparently she knew stuff.

Wow!  Now, we are certainly capable of making our own Dirty Martinis.  So lets grab one, kick back and relax learning more about Alan’s new book : “I Often Wonder: a collection of poetry and prose.”  It is a collection of 78  of his poems and 4 short stories.

Book Blurb:
All of the short stories and most of the poems included in this volume have been published before, mostly online, though the majority of the stories will have appeared in print in various journals and anthologies by the time you read this. When I first started i-often-wonder-93-1390224505writing stories, and poems shortly after-wards, back in 2009, the last thing on my mind was getting anything published. It was something I did for fun, and found pleasure in. I was not until late 2010 when I had over a hundred stories and poems that the idea of getting anything published even occurred to me. Since then, I’ve been published in various journals and anthologies, this is the first book of my own. I only found out about Inner Child Enterprises after entering their World Peace, World Poetry 2012 contest, but I’m grateful for the discovery, and for the support of Bill and Janet at the organization. Perhaps far more importantly than the pleasure of holding my own book in my hands is the people I’ve met on this writing journey. The people who have written me expressing how much they’ve been moved by my words. The people who have sent notes asking if it was alright to send one of my poems to their loved ones, because they could identify so closely with the words. My only hope is that this book finds you equally moved, and let my words be my gift, from me to you.    Alan W. Jankowski, June 12, 2012.
Lets listen to a wonderful poem straight from the pages of “I Often Wonder…..

We Started As Friends

We started out as a couple of friends,
Who saw each other now and then,
Two people hurt many times before,
And afraid of getting hurt once more.

Slowly we began to share long walks,
And share our thoughts in quiet talks,
And of each other we soon grew fond,
Realizing we shared a special bond.

Hearts that harbored so much pain,
They never thought they’d love again,
Secretly wishing that they would find,
Someone to give them peace of mind.

Hearts that searched so far and wide,
For the love that went missing inside,
Souls that roamed long and far,
Wishing upon most every star.

Then one day my wish came true,
I found love again and it was you,
There was a piece missing from my soul,
You were the one who made me whole.05-17-10.

Allan W. Jankowski

About the author:

Alan W. Jankowski is the award winning author of well over one alan-4-1367384557hundred short stories, plays and poems. His stories have been published online, and in various journals including Oysters & Chocolate, Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal, eFiction Magazine, Zouch, The Rusty Nail, and a few others he can’t remember at the moment. His poetry has more recently become popular, and his 9-11 Tribute poem was used extensively in ceremonies during the tenth anniversary of this tragic event…
http://www.storiesspace.com/forum/yaf_postst538_My-911-Tribute-poem-has-been-in-print-at-least-fourteen-times-in-2011.aspx When he is not writing, which is not often, his hobbies include music and camera collecting. He currently resides in New Jersey. He always appreciates feedback of any kind on his work, and can be reached by e-mail at:  Exakta66@gmail.com

We could not leave you without one more example of Alan’s genius, one that strikes close to many harts:

We Shall Never Forget (9-11 Tribute)

Let the world always remember,
That fateful day in September,
And the ones who answered duty’s call,
Should be remembered by us all.

9b97013d74e857b12fe766318712f514Who left the comfort of their home,
To face perils as yet unknown,
An embodiment of goodness on a day,
When men’s hearts had gone astray.

Sons and daughters like me and you,
Who never questioned what they had to do,
Who by example, were a source of hope,
And strength to others who could not cope.

Heroes that would not turn their back,
With determination that would not crack,
Who bound together in their ranks,
And asking not a word of thanks.

Men who bravely gave their lives,
Whose orphaned kids and widowed wives,
Can proudly look back on their dad,
Who gave this country all they had.

Actions taken without regret,
Heroisms we shall never forget,
The ones who paid the ultimate price,
Let’s never forget their sacrifice.

And never forget the ones no longer here,
Who fought for the freedoms we all hold dear,
And may their memory never wane,
Lest their sacrifices be in vain.

09-30-10a.