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Sunday, September 23, 2012

50 Shades of Candles? You decide!

Last Christmas a call went out to us Victory Tales Press for Christmas stories – all heat levels from sweet to spicy.

I write all heat levels. I can do sweet. I can do spicy. So last Christmas I wrote a spicy contemporary romance called "Feast of Candles."

The plot had my hero, Drake, traveling to Napa Valley, CA during the advent season to meet California vintner, Lily Marquand. Intrigued by her wine, he wants to meet her, and when he meets her, he wants to have a relationship with her. Drake is easy going, kind and patient.

My heroine, Lily, has been haunted by loneliness all her life, but once Drake breaks through her battlements, she's willing to take a chance for love.

I've always said this is a spicy romance, but there is a substance to the plot. Drake has to prove he's not using Lily to build a brewery, and Lily has to come to believe Drake's desire to stay is sincere.

I'm appreciative of reviews, but even I was a bit surprised to see a review that said: "It turned out to be a sex story!" Knowing stories like "50 Shades of Grey" have inspired the reading public this summer, I thought I'd found a good balance between spicy and plot with my story.

That said, I'll let you decide: Would a review that said "It turned out to be a sex story" intrigue you to read it or turn you off to reading it? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


BLURB: Drake takes the biggest chance of his life all because of a bottle of wine. Can he break through the battlements surrounding Lily's lonely heart?

Small Excerpt:

He stared into her eyes, keeping his hand on her waist. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing." She hesitated. "Everything. You..." her voice trailed off. Silence grew between them. God, what had she been thinking? Was it possible to have a future 5 with him?
5 Stars, Loves Romance Reviews:
The ending with the feast of candles is so romantic, you'll want your own.



  1. Having read the story, I'd say hot, but definitely in keeping with a romance. It is the characters that I remember most and the lovely feast of candles end scene.

  2. Steph--I know, and you know...Feast of Candles was not a sex story. I read it....I know. Yes, it was spicy, but more sweet even, than spicy. You hit the right tone.
    If someone reviews this story and makes that statement--and yes, I saw it so I know it's true--then that person has rocks for brains.
    Excuse my bluntness, but stupid people really annoy me-stupid is not a physical ailment--it's a choice.
    No, I would not buy a book that was "all about sex." I have nothing at all against an author or a reader who prefers that, but for me..no, I want more story. And I do love that cover, by the way!

  3. Helen and Celia, thank you so much for your thoughts. There's a different between and sex and spicy.

    I love the cover, too. Jimmy Thomas knows how to rock a cover!

  4. Steph, I read the novel and enjoyed it. Certainly not a sex story. I found it to be more sweet than spicy, with the right amount of sex at the end. Ignore this review. It doesn't make sense. I didn't want to read 50 Shades of Gray because I read the French book that is exactly the same according to people who read both, Histoire d'O, and I couldn't continue past chapter 3. Really degrading for women.

  5. I don't mind a little heat in a story if it fits with the story. I write sweet to slightly heated, and it depends on the characters as to where it goes. But when it comes to reader reviews? Forget it! Three kisses is too much sex for some readers. It wasn't my book, but that one had me laughing for days. Yes, three kisses! That's all they did!

    Would I read a book that was erotic? I've read several because they were written by friends. It's just not something that I care to read. Meshing body parts in the back of a pickup, on a friend's kitchen table, or while tied up isn't love. I'd rather read a love story.

  6. I'm happy to read any heat level. The story is the most important thing to me. If that's good, and the heat level makes sense given the particular characters/plot, I'll be a satisfied reader.

  7. Good idea. Let the reader decide. Everyone has different tastes. What seems hot to some is mild to others.

    Morgan Mandel

  8. Honey, I like sex in my books and I like sweet romances. I'm fine as long as the characters and readers are begging me to "let 'em do it, please!" I like sex in books as long as there is sexual tension, a need not fulfilled for a long time!

    Ignore that reviewer and hope some folks will read it out of curiosity.

  9. It's all a matter of perspective. I bet some readers didn't think it was enough sex! LOL