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Interview/Giveaway: April Vine, Author of Unbound

Please welcome romance author April Vine! Her new release from Ellora’s Cave, Unbound, is funny and sexy and full of magic. She’s graciously offered to give a free copy to one lucky commenter.

Unbound, by April VineStaid and straitlaced Michelle Stein has two thoughts fueling her mind…

1. Floor the first man to walk into her antique shop.
2. Throttle her three witchcraft-practicing aunts.

They promised her a tiny spell to fix her ridiculous inhibitions, but instead mischievously delivered a full-blown, sanity-squashing lust spell. The temporary curse apparently has no boundaries either…since the first man who walks through her door is the same man who broke her heart ten years ago. Despite Michelle’s vociferous resistance, Sebastian becomes the only man who can appease her unending physical hunger.

Thirty, heirless and restless, Sebastian Gray is drawn back home to Cape Town to claim the only girl he ever loved. What he finds in her place is a hotly bewitched erotic seductress. Now with the reparation spell her aunts cast gone awry, Sebastian might be on the losing end of a futile battle against a strength-ascending hex, no matter how hard he tries to keep Michelle satiated, alive…or even just human.

April, can you tell us a little bit more about Unbound?

It’s a sometimes funny, sometimes dark love story that unfolds when my highly reserved heroine is cast with a lust spell but in all that finds true love and accepts who she really is.

Would you mind introducing us to Michelle and Sebastian?

Michelle is staid and straitlaced. She wants nothing but rigid order to her life, something that is hard to achieve because the three aunts she lives with and takes care of practice real-life witchery. They’re constantly messing with her ordered existence but more so when they cast a lust spell on her and turned her world upside down.

Sebastian is at an age in his life where he wants to settle down. He spent time in special forces, then took over his father’s company and now needs heirs to leave his legacy to. Of course only one girl ever owned his heart and that’s Michelle, so he comes back home to Cape Town, to claim her. Only to find in her place a hotly bewitched seductress.

What’s your favorite moment in this story?

The ending. I felt Michelle and Sebastian did get their happily ever after after all so my work was done!

Will there be a sequel to Unbound?

There are two more books I plan to write featuring the three matchmaking-witch-practicing aunts. The next two will feature each of Sebastian’s friends, Zach and Nick.

How did you get started as an author, and how long have you been writing?

I can’t pinpoint a time when I started actually writing, I feel as if there was never a time I wasn’t writing. But of course marriage and babies took priority and now that my youngest is in school, I decided to write full-time. So seriously for about four years now.

I submitted a contemporary romance to a publisher and somehow it landed on the wrong editor’s desk. That editor was an erotic romance editor. She liked my voice and wanted to work with me and then recommended I read a few erotic romances to see what she was looking for. Once I picked my jaw up from the floor, I blindly dived in to writing my first erotic romance and realized I enjoyed it thoroughly.

What was the very first story you ever wrote? What was it about?

The first true story I ever wrote was an historical romance of mammoth proportions and an editor’s nightmare. I threw in everything I knew into that book and it showed in a bad way.

What are the key elements of an April Vine story?

Humor, emotion, conflict and definitely a happily ever after at the end.

How do you balance the erotic and the romantic in your stories? How do you see those two aspects conflicting or enhancing each other in fiction?

I don’t see erotic and romantic aspects as separate factors, but rather that the erotic is a bonus of the romance. There must be romance first in my opinion, for the erotic to be meaningful. So definitely erotic descriptions of a sex scene should wholly enhance the romance itself or the scene will leave me disinterested. The other way I look at it is the romance brings the emotional conflicts and the eroticism makes those conflicts hotter. 🙂

How does your family feel about the fact that you write sexy romances? Do they know?

What they don’t know won’t hurt them. 😉 No one knows what I write except hubby, who is my reason and my sanity and my pillar and even my research partner!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I read! It’s the safest hobby I could come up with. When I’m feeling brave, I bake or cook. Shoes, the beach, chocolate and lounging around are other stuff I like and do from time to time.

Who are your favorite authors?

I have met so many wonderful authors since becoming published and have read their books and enjoyed them so much, that I couldn’t name all of them. One that comes to mind immediately is you, Ms. Drake, love your books. 🙂 Others include Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Dostoevsky, Ayn Rand, Austen, Hemmingway, Coetzee to name a few.

*blushes* Thanks, April. For those readers who are just discovering your work, what other April Vine books are in print?

I have three short erotic romance ebooks out with The Wild Rose Press. Details are on my website.

What are you working on now? What can your fans expect from you in the near future?

I just finished the second book to follow Unbound and I will start working on the third one soon.

Would you mind sharing an excerpt from Unbound with us?

I’d be happy to.

Chapter One

Michelle leaped from the floral-embossed Victorian chair, gripped the edge of the walnut desk and dropped her chin to her chest. Labored breaths somersaulted from her mouth. Her heart beat with swift speed. Her skin screamed under a raging fire.

She was having an attack.

Not a panic attack.

A sex attack.

Oh how she vowed to strangle her aunts, wring their collective witches’ necks and put them on a diet of cabbage for as long as they lived. She thought they’d agreed with her terms and stipulations.

Obviously not, since they’d turned her into a raging sex fiend who without any hesitation would attack the first man who walked through the door of her antiquities shop. Not by her own doing, because how could she, twenty-six-year-old, staid, even-headed and collected Michelle Stein, sign up for such reckless sexual abandonment? Not ever.

She resisted the urge to squeeze her scorching nipples and the temptation to bunch up her cotton panties and pull them taut against her clit. She couldn’t give in. Not while her door remained opened for business.

She wobbled out of her office to the entrance of the store. Pressing her legs together, she chewed her lip in agony as the slightest movement ricocheted spasms of pleasure through her body. Her eyes fixed on the gold-plated sign hanging on the inside of the glass door meters away from her. Her mission to flip it around and keep out any possible victims until the crazy her aunts bestowed upon her evaporated.

Too late.

The door swung open. Eighteenth-century chimes hanging from the paneled ceiling danced in the afternoon breeze. Their former melodious jingle a sex-alert siren in her ear now.

She zeroed in on a musky scent mingled with the clean, self-assured aroma of pure red-blooded male. Her senses hummed. She licked her lips then swerved to a dead halt.

Bedeviled with the worst kind of heat known to any man, woman or animal for that matter, and who chose to walk into her ordinarily sedate but presently doggoned world?

Sebastian Gray.

He who broke her heart in two.

“Glitterbug.” His gravel-and-silk voice spiked and inebriated her nerves. She tore her gaze away from his killer smile and stared into his wicked green-tinged blue eyes, which teased her the same way they did ten years ago.

Only one thought shot through her mind.

Oh dear, I’m going to molest Sebastian Gray.

She stepped back—her restless hands crossed over her breasts, curled around her neck and intertwined behind her in a clammy mess. She squelched the incoherent reverberations tickling against her closed lips, afraid she’d growl at him instead.

She backtracked into her office. He followed her, his stride unhurried, lazy, unaware of the red-hot danger he seemed intent on pursuing. She held up her hand. Cease! her palm screamed at him. He closed in, his eyes narrowing at her fidgety silence.


The part of her wanting to keep him out of her office died in distress. The other part, the part her aunts had concocted wicked mischief with, purred with glee. She’d managed to lure her prey into the confined space of her office.

No, he is not your prey.

She grew up with him, fell in love with him then realized she missed his league by a mile and a half—a gap he had no intention of closing when he left without saying goodbye. She’d beat the potion dragging her hormones on a no-recourse sex fest. She’d resist him, really she would.

She opened her mouth to speak.

The will to resist him crashed and vanished. She charged, grabbed his jacket and pulled him down to her level. Her lips assailed his gorgeous face. She kissed his beautiful eyes, licked his delicious clean-shaven jaw.

Her desperate attempts to devour his face had nil effect on his balance. His chuckle, deep and sexy, ambushed her nerves. Her teeth sank into the fleshy part of his earlobe. Her long skirt tangled about both their limbs as she tried to climb up his six-foot-two frame.

“Glitterbug…whoa.” He forced an arm’s-span distance between them. Her cheeks burned. She’d never live this day down in her life. Never. “I’m happy to see you too. But shouldn’t we talk first? How are you?”

He insisted on niceties? She wanted him naked and inside her. She pushed into his chest and toppled him onto a velvet-upholstered Louis XVI loveseat. Her surge of foreign strength caught them both off guard.

“I haven’t seen you in…” His voice reverberated down her spine, setting off lively celebrations in all her nerves.

“I’m sorry.” She straddled his lap, ripped his tie apart, broke the buttons off his shirt and unfastened his belt. “I’m so sorry. I can’t seem to stop myself.”

Her hands ran up and down his concrete eight-pack. “I can’t control this. Oh, oh, oh.” His powerful thigh wedged between her legs. She ground her pussy against his contracted muscle, rocking herself, and was sure she turned a new shade of red. “This isn’t me.” Her breasts. He needed to touch her breasts. She captured his hand and smacked it against her chest.

“Squeeze.” She manipulated his fingers around her engorged flesh and licked her lips at the torturous pleasure. “I have no power to stop this.” She looked into his face and begged he’d see how useless a grip on the situation she had.

A bemused grin flitted across his lips. “Do your aunts have anything to do with your new uninhibited self?”

“Yes!” she screamed. “Yes,” she repeated, less vociferous. If anyone could understand her strange behavior, Sebastian would. He knew her three chubby and cheerful aunts, who lived in a cottage on his father’s land, practiced real live witchery. He’d understand and forgive her, her erratic, uncharacteristic conduct. “They said they would help me with a bit of flirting. In fact they talked me into it. Said I needed help in that department. I’m getting old as they put it and they thought a tiny little spell would make me less…cold and more…inviting. Look what they’ve done to me instead!”

Available at Ellora’s Cave: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-10020-unbound.aspx

April Vine writes erotic romance by night and is a professional dreamer by day. She has two precious sons who keep her sharp and one very tolerant husband who chivalrously and bravely defends her honour daily.

Writing keeps sane her, or so she says. She’s been found on more than a few occasions eyeing her laptop lasciviously, pulling her hair out in front of her laptop, smiling stupidly or cussing badly at her laptop, pacing nervously before her laptop, shoving it under the bed and more than once, she’s been seen hugging her laptop with tears in her eyes. Case rested.

She writes contemporary erotic romance and paranormal erotic romance for Ellora’s Cave and The Wild Rose Press.

Connect with April:
Website: http://www.aprilvine.co.za/home.html
Email: april.vine@yahoo.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/April-Vine/1540121433
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/April_Vine

If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Unbound, take a moment to say hi to April in the comments!


Faery’s Bargain Nominated in Preditors & Editors Poll

Last week, I learned that Blood Hero was nominated in the Paranormal Romance category of the Siren Book Reviews Best Books of 2010 contest.

To celebrate, I decided to give away copies of Blood Hero and Faery’s Bargain to five people who’ve “Liked” my Facebook author page.

This week, I’ve learned that my erotic urban fantasy, Faery’s Bargain, has been nominated in the Romance Short Story category of the Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll!

More celebration is in order.  🙂

Rather than create a second contest, I’ve decided to add to the pot that’s already up for grabs:  in addition to giving Blood Hero and Faery’s Bargain to five fans of my Facebook author page, I’m going to also give a $25 Amazon gift certificate to a sixth fan.

You don’t have to vote for Blood Hero or Faery’s Bargain to enter — all you have to do is “Like” my Facebook author page before February 1st:


Hope to see you there!


What side would you choose in the Coffee Wars?

Please help me welcome romance author Michelle Miles, author of the Coffee House Chronicles.  Her latest release, The Coffee Wars, is #5 in this hot contemporary series, and one of you lucky readers is going to win a copy!

Thanks for joining us today, Michelle!  Tell us about the Coffee House Chronicles.  What are they about?  How do the individual books in the series relate to each other?

Thanks for having me! All the books are set in and around a coffee house – The Bitter End.

TALK DIRTY TO ME (Samhain, 2006) is about Claudia, who is a phone sex operator, and Blake, a lonely doctor looking for love on the other end of the phone. A chance meeting brings the two together and Claudia realizes the hot doctor could be the sexy voice on the other end of her phone.

NICE GIRLS DO (Samhain, 2007) follows ex-stripper, Cara, on her journey to reinvent herself and gets a job at the local coffee house, The Bitter End. But things go awry when she meets bad-boy Mark and son of the coffee house owner. Especially when he and his brother, David, vie for her affections. When Cara and Mark learn the coffee house is in danger of closing, they team up to keep the doors open and rescue the coffee house.

TAKE ME I’M YOURS (Cobblestone Press, 2009) goes in a little bit different direction with Graeme, whose love is painting but whose bread and butter is designing adult websites. When Marion, the jilted bride of his ex-best friend, comes back into his life, he sees it as a chance to get the woman of his dreams—and paintings. Marion is encouraged by her fashionista best friend, Delilah.

SEX, LUST & MARTINIS (Cobblestone Press, 2010) picks up where TAKE ME I’M YOURS left off, but this time Delilah is in the driver’s seat. Meeting up with her ex-husband after a long separation makes her realize she still has feelings for him, but he’s never been the responsible type. Sam does everything in his power to make her see he’s changed…and he wants her back for good.

THE COFEE WARS is a short novella where David finally gets his turn in the starring role. He meets Lily but there’s definitely more to her than meets the eye.

All the books have one thing in common—love conquers all. Oh, and lots of hot sex. 🙂

What inspired you to write contemporary romances revolving around a cafe?  Did you set out to write a series?

It was all sort of an accident. I wrote TALK DIRTY TO ME in about six weeks and at the time, a friend encouraged me to submit it to Samhain, who was new and looking for submissions. On a whim, I did and about two weeks after submitting, I was offered a contract. The actual coffee house came from a NaNoWriMo novel I wrote in 2005 (which was dreadful). I threw everything out but the coffee house. *grin* I had so much fun with TDTM, I started writing a second one. And then a third…and the rest, as they say, is history.

Do the books need to be read in order?

Not at all. You can read them in any order. They’re all written as stand-alone.

Is The Bitter End based on a real cafe?

It’s one I made up. I wanted a place to sit and drink a latte.

How about a blurb or a summary for The Coffee Wars?

Get ready for a throw down!

Lilly owns the new up and coming, Java Perks. She’s determined to be the number one coffee house in town, crushing her competition down the street, The Bitter End.

Meeting a mystery woman in his coffee house, David immediately wants her for himself. After a hot encounter on his desk, he can’t stop thinking about her. Until he learns she’s the owner of the place trying to put him out of business.

When David confronts Lilly accusing her of using him, she throws down the gauntlet. Now the two are at war and may the best woman win!

What’s your favorite moment in The Coffee Wars?

All the sexy fun on the desk!

Do you plan to write more in this series?

I haven’t quite decided yet. I thought I was done with Delilah’s story but then an opportunity presented itself and I ended up writing THE COFFEE WARS in four weeks to submit for the Christmas line. I may have more stories to tell at The Bitter End.

I have a magic lamp, and I’m going command the genie inside it to bring one of your Coffee House Chronicles heroes to life for a night.  Tell me about each of these sexy men, so I can decide which one I want to meet.

FUN! Okay. Let’s see…

Blake (TDTM). He’s a hot, suave doctor who likes to tease. He knows what words to use to turn a woman on and how to get her right where he wants her.

Mark (NGD). Total bad boy. Knows what he wants and how to get it. He won’t let anyone get in his way (even his brother) to get what he wants. Tall, dark, seriously good-looking.

Graeme (TMIY). Mmm. I love Graeme. He’s the epitome of a passionate guy. He’s a painter, after all! He loves women. He loves loving women. But there’s only one that can turn him into the monogamous guy he’s always wanted to be.

Sam (SLM). He’s the strong silent type who tries to do the right thing. He suffers in silence and pines away for the woman he loves. He goes out of his way to do nice things for her and woo her.

David (TCW). He’s a lot like his brother, Mark, except without the bad boy attitude. He also knows what he wants and this time, he’s not going to let his brother take her away from him.

What are the key elements of a Michelle Miles story?

Sarcasm and a lot of hot sex. 😉 I really want my stories to be entertaining and fun.

What’s your favorite thing about writing contemporary romance?

Even though there’s still worldbuilding, it’s not as intense as writing fantasy. When I want to bang out something quick, it’s a nice change.

How do you balance the erotic and the romantic in your stories?  How do you see those two aspects conflicting or working together in fiction?

I really think they work well in fiction together. I like to let the story dictate how much “erotic” and how much “romantic” there should be. It just depends on the characters and the storyline.

How old were you when you read your first romance, and what was it?

Oh, I remember this vividly. It was Victoria Holt’s The Road to Paradise Island. It’s the story of Annalise Mallory who finds the diary of her long-dead ancestor with a map to a mysterious island. Her brother set sails to find it, but never returns. Annalise decides to find him and is drawn to an island in the South Seas where there is lots of action, adventure, and a bit of romance. It’s a wonderful story.

What was the first story you ever wrote?  What was it about?

Well, the very first thing I ever wrote was fan-fiction (Star Wars/Star Trek/Indiana Jones). The first full-length novel I ever wrote was a fantasy romance and clocked in at nearly 100k. It’s a story that’s still near and dear to my heart but needs a lot of work to be publishable. Maybe someday.

How long was it between when you first started writing fiction seriously and your first publication?

I got back to writing fiction seriously when I was on maternity leave with my son. That was in the fall of 2001. My first novella was released with Samhain in the summer of 2006. Before that, though, I wrote two serials for a now-defunct online magazine called Keep it Coming. One of those serials was actually how my time travel series was both (both books are available in print and ebook from Samhain, A Bend in Time and A Break in Time).

How does your family feel about the fact that you write romance?

My man thinks it’s awesome. *grin* He loves that I’m a romance writer and he gets to be the subject of “research”.

Who inspires you?

In the big-name world, Nora Roberts. To put out the volume of books she writes is amazing. In the real world, there are several people who inspire me. For one, my fabulous critique partners. I couldn’t function as a writer without them.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love to read. I also cross-stitch. I find it very meditative. And when I’m not doing any of that, the Man and I like to watch sports: football, hockey, baseball.

What are you working on now?

Honestly, nothing. I’ve been wrapped up in getting a wedding/honeymoon out of the way. *grin* By the time this posts, it will all be behind me. I’ve got plans though! I’m going to finish edits for a book I’ve been working on way too long and trying to sell, plus finish writing a time travel. I also have an idea for something that has cowboys in it. That idea is definitely still in its infancy. I have big plans for 2011!

The Coffee Wars is available from Cobblestone Press:  http://www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/books/coffeewars.htm

Getting to Know You Giveaway

I’m giving away three copies of Blood Hero!  Here’s how you can enter to win:

1.  Check out this Author Spotlight at Joyfully Reviewed.

2.  Return here and tell me about yourself by answering the either 7th or 8th question that J.R. asked me–post your answer as a comment to this post.  Be as creative as you like.  <g>

Winners will be drawn at 10 a.m. Monday, September 20th.

Win a free copy of Blood Hero!

I’m giving three of my Facebook fans a free copy of Blood Hero on August 18th!

To enter, “Like” my Facebook Author page:

Madeleine Drake Author Page

(If you’ve already “Liked” my page, you’re already entered in the drawing.)


—+An All Romance Ebooks Bestseller+—

“Hot, exotic, fast-paced and downright mesmerizing, this is one short story lovers of the erotic won’t want to miss.”

–Amanda, Rants-n-Raves

“The sex was hot…Though this was an erotic paranormal read, it was so much more. The plot was fully realized, creating a new world, new rules and an intriguing story.”

–LynneMarie, HEA Reviews

“Ms. Drake does a wonderful job of bringing action, sensuality, and passion into the story. The way she writes is intelligent and kept my attention. …Although this is the first story that I have read by this author, it certainly won’t be the last.”

–Claudia Rhyes, Manic Readers

“This is a very short, fast-paced read that left me breathless. I was hooked from the first page, drawn in by the fabulous writing and the original plot. This story is so well written it’s almost as if you can feel what the characters feel, especially in the sex scenes. The battle scene was so realistic I discovered my heart was actually pounding as I read and when Rihat was injured, I felt the pain he felt. In the final chapter I found I had been holding my breath as I read on to discover if Rihat survived.”

–Strega, The Pagan and the Pen

To read an excerpt:  www.madeleinedrake.com

Sex, Lies and Martinis Winner!

Congratulations to Brandy Blake, winner of Sex, Lies and Martinis by Michelle Miles.  You’ll be hearing from Michelle soon.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to chat with Michelle this week!  If you’d like to stay in touch, you can find her online at http://www.michellemiles.net.