Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Blog Tour: Guest Post by Ember Leigh, author of Carlos & Casey and When In Rome

I'm thrilled to have Ember Leigh stop by today to chat about researching novels. First a little bit about Ember and where to find her online:

Ember Leigh has been writing erotic romance novels since she was far too young. A native of northern Ohio, she currently resides in South America with her Argentinean partner, a detail she uses to justify her Bachelor's degree in Latin American Literature. In addition to romance novels, she also writes travel articles, maintains three blogs, and continually attempts to complete a mildly-gripping short story. In her free time, she practices Ashtanga yoga, travels the world, and eats lots of vegetables.

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Guest Post by Ember Leigh

Good research is the difference between a character spending a believable humid summer in Ohio and a laughable trip to the oceanfront resorts of Cleveland. Writing research matters, and we all know this…yet, sometimes, the muse wants us to get the draft written before we’ve done our due diligence. Here are some research tips for those in the middle of a work-in-progress, culled from my own recent blunders and mishaps.
1. Remember the children in your scenes. I submitted one of my forthcoming novels, The Last Resort, to a critique group and nearly every single reader had the same complaint: “Does your main character have a miracle baby, or is that kid drugged?” The baby in that story never cried once in my first draft. In fact, I hadn’t even realized that the baby was basically sleeping in every single scene, or eating calmly with the protagonist without messing up even a single shirt. How is such a thing possible? A little mixture of author oversight and childlessness can add up to a pretty glaring research error. My subsequent drafts had more appropriate child-related events, such as dinner disasters, fussy fits, and plenty of cutesy giggles and bonding time…aided by asking my with-child friends plenty of age-specific questions about feeding, bathing and night time routines, as well.
2. Google Translate doesn’t actually speak any language fluently. Now that I am fluent in two languages, I can see first-hand the pitfalls of using online translators. It’s immediately obvious when people ask me to edit or check their work from Spanish into English if they’ve used a machine translator. There are so many nuances to language, and if your novel or story calls for a different language at some point, you better be sure to research it thoroughly—from a fluent or native person directly. Otherwise, you can say some pretty hilarious things without meaning to. In my latest addition to the short story series, my main character Alexandra hooks up with a sexy Italian guy outside of the Coliseum. I avoided using long strings of Italian in the piece for this exact reason: because if I were to defer to an online translator, the Italian hero would have undoubtedly been whispering something along the lines of, “Your buttocks are attractive” instead of a sexier “I love your ass”.  And if a reader knows Italian and picks up on that…well, the sexiness goes down a few notches.
3. Check maps.  My short story series, Erotic Destinations, features different characters in all corners of the globe. And while I’ve been to a lot of places that are included in the series, I haven’t been to all of them. So that means double-checking country borders, regional topography, and the names of lakes/rivers/oceans is of the utmost importance…because there’s nothing as embarrassing as referring to the ocean when it should be a gulf (I’ve done this), or confusing the capitals of two countries (also have done this) just because you forgot to do your homework.

Join two ex-lovers, four years after their last romp. When a work trip brings Casey back into Carlos’ territory, she knows she’d have him right there in the airport parking lot. But Carlos doesn’t seem so eager. Unsure of herself post-divorce, Casey knows only one thing: she wants this man as much as she did the last time she saw him. And she’s more than ready to relive every saucy adventure they had together. Can the sparks be salvaged, or has time left them behind?

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do”…right? Alexandra is a travel junkie and foreign air aficionado. When she finally decides to do Rome, she never thought it would involve a hot Italian, too. What’s a girl to do when a desire to see the world and instant lust collide in the middle of one of the most popular touristic destinations in the world? Just DO the Roman!

TURKISH DELIGHT:  All the female staffers go wild for Kadir when he arrives in the USA to compete in a reality dance competition. A Turkish soap opera star with eyes that could melt snow, he’s got the women clawing for his attention— except Jenna. She wants no part of the hullabaloo. Though she can’t help wondering if tasting this sexy Turkish Delight might be worth bending the rules a little...

Kadir emerged from behind the curtain of his dressing room in a skintight black suit with a startling array of bright blue sequins. It was like a futuristic space suit mated with the gaudiest of show tunes. He grimaced as her gaze fell on his costume.
“I can’t wear this on stage,” he said, sneaking a glance in the mirror. “I’ve never worn something so overtly gay.”
Jenna bit her lip as she looked him up and down. He was right, the costume was laughable. Though it might look spectacular under the lights and grandeur of the stage, up close it was a hilarious mess.
But it wasn’t all bad. Kadir was sculpted, a fact that wouldn’t go away no matter how much she tried to dodge the issue. And it seemed every way she turned, his biceps or an errant brush of his hands was waiting for her, tugging at her resolve.
It didn’t help that his cock was perfectly showcased in this get-up, caressed by the strange black satin in a way that made it impossible to look away. She cleared her throat, working hard to keep her face neutral and breathing even. He must be huge under there. Probably bigger than her favorite vibrator, the one she’d been using over the past few days as she entertained lurid fantasies about him.
“It’ll look great for the cameras,” was all she said. And every woman in America will be dying to put your dick in their mouths.
He watched her, a strange smile on his face. Without a word, he kicked the door closed behind her. “Can you help me out of it?” His dark eyes gleamed with mischief.
She jerked her head into a nod. “Of course. That’s what I’m here for.” And if you need me to touch any parts of your body, or use my lips in any fashion, please let me know.
He turned around. The wide expanse of his back still commanded her attention despite the glittering array of sequins. She reached for the zipper, tugged it down the length of his back. It stopped just above his ass, and the unexpected glimpse of his ass crack made her heart flutter. No underwear. None at all. His butt looked smooth, unexpectedly white, and even more round and firm-looking from inches away than all the distant gazing of recent times had suggested.
He faced her, grinning like a devil. He pulled his arms out of the costume, revealing a wide, fair chest dotted with dark hair. Her gaze followed the fabric as he removed the clothes— two dime-sized nipples, a pleasant convergence of chest hair into a happy trail, washboard abs.
Kadir paused when the costume was at his hips. “I can keep going, if you’d like.”
The moment hung heavy and confused before clarity burst through like sun after a rainstorm. “Yes. Please.”