50 Shades and Red Rooms of Pain

If I'm being completely honest, I read the 50 Shades trilogy for the sex. And let's be honest, much of the books are about the sex. Story-wise, there are nuggets, but really it's about the sex.

With the trailer releasing yesterday, the lull of 50 Shades silence has been broken. Tongues are wagging, faces are being fanned, and people are watching the trailer more than once. I've done all three of these things.

Based on the trailer alone, I can see that the movie will be better than the book. The reason for this is movies have the ability to condense narrative, taking the key moments in a book and adapting them onto the big screen. Since there's very little in the books that can be adapted story-wise, a movie is the best place to elevate the romance between Anastasia and Christian.

The question now becomes which sex scenes have been adapted into the movie. According to the trailer the Red Room of Pain is definitely there. How could it not be? But what about everything else? What will hold this movie together in between sex scenes? Finding answers to these questions is one reason to flock to the theater come Valentine's Day 2015.

Let's start with some morning inspiration:


Anime Break: Bakumatsu Rock

When editing, I like taking breaks by watching anime. The episodes are only twenty minutes long. Just enough time to relax before jumping back into the fray.

This week, I find myself obsessed with Bakumatsu Rock, a music themed anime set in the Bakumatsu Era--basically the final years of the Edo period. It's an anime that combines modern concepts like rock and historical elements like the Shinsengumi. The idea actually reminds me of Samurai Champloo, an anime that combines hip hop and samurais.

Here's the plot summary for Bakumatsu Rock:

In the Bakumatsu era, at the end of the shoguns' rule over Japan in the middle of the 19th century: the Tokugawa shogunate uses the brainwashing Heaven's Songs by the top idols in Shinsengumi to subjugate the country and its people. In this Japan, writing or singing any songs besides the Heaven's Songs is a capital offence. Sakamoto Ryouma and the other rockers rise up and change the world with rock 'n' roll for freedom and justice.

I'm only two episodes in and already captivated by the story line and the humor. There are moments when the plot makes absolutely no sense, but there's something about it that pulls me in anyway. I guess it helps that Bakumatsu Rock has its fair share of bish┼Źnens. I've got to have my pretty boy fix. Nothing creepy about that at all.

If you're a fan of music-themed anime and don't mind a little bit of quirk like a drag queen owning a pizza shop who loves watching the main character chop wood (abs galore), then try Bakumatsu Rock and let me know what you think:


Sometimes A Dream Come True Can Hurt

I remember the first time I saw white Doc Martens. I grew up wearing the brand to school, but always the black ones. Mary Janes or Boots. Whatever. Just black. I didn't even think they came in other colors. Then I saw white ones and dreamed of owning a pair ever since.

When my brother needed a new pair of boots because his old ones were falling apart, my mother decided on Doc Martens. Since stores are rare here in the Philippines, we waited until our trip to Singapore. That's where I finally fulfilled my dream.

I was so happy that I wore them the next day. That happiness quickly turned to anguish. The leather was so stiff it bruised my feet and slashed the backs of my heels. Docs are famous for their stiff leather softens with time, but pain is still pain. Had I known would I still have bought the pair?

My point is, sometimes dreams that come true can hurt. We may think we want something. When we finally get it things don't turn out the way we expected. I can compare my white Docs experience to my publishing career. Lofty dreams turned out to be more down-to-earth and I'm thankful, but it doesn't mean parts of the journey didn't hurt. Would I have done things differently? Probably not.

With a new pair of Docs you have to wear them constantly--breaking them in little by little--so that they mold to the shape of your feet and the leather grows softer from use. When a dream come true doesn't turn out the way we expect, we have to ride it out until something good comes out of the experience. Just because it hurts today doesn't mean things won't get better tomorrow. Or it may get worse. I don't know.

Ten Facts about Til Death

1. If you listen to Pompeii by Bastille mentioned in the book, it perfectly foreshadows the events ahead.
2. Most of the names of the characters have a special meaning like Dillan Sloan, meaning Faithful Warrior.
3. The Illumenari insignia of three interlocking circles symbolizes Strength, Courage, Power. The meeting of strength and power is the body. The meeting of strength and courage is the mind. The meeting of courage and power is the heart. At the center of all three circles is light. Something like this:

4. Til Death uses both the point of view of Selena and Dillan, except Selena’s is in the first person while Dillan’s is in third.
5. The title Til Death actual refers to the portion of marriage vows “Til death do us part.”
6. The word Illumenari, in the Til Death universe, means warriors of light.
7. The Fall Festival is modeled after a fair I went to where I ate way too much corndogs and brazenly rode on the Tilt-a-Whirl afterward.
8. Dillan is the first son of the first son, which is an important distinction in the Illumenari.
9. Newcastle is an actual town in Wyoming, but for the purposes of Til Death it has been fictionalized to suit the story.
10. Dillan’s ’68 GT500 is actually featured in the movie Gone in 60 Seconds.

Find out more by grabbing your copy at the following:

and at a bookstore near you.


Release Day Blitz: Dark Paradise by Angie Sandro

It's my absolute pleasure to be a part of Angie Sandro's release day blitz for her fantastic debut novel Dark Paradise. She's done this for me countless times and I'm so excited to be returning the favor. I'm proud to call her my friend and critique partner. Her novels is a taste of something Gothic. It's that new adult paranormal you've always been craving. I have all the details for you below with an awesome giveaway to match. Check it out!



Mala LaCroix has spent her whole life trying to escape her destiny. As the last in a long line of "witch women," she rejects the notion of spirits and hoodoo and instead does her best to blend in. But when she finds a dead body floating in the bayou behind her house, Mala taps into powers she never knew she had. She's haunted by visions of the dead girl, demanding justice and vengeance.


Landry Prince has always had a crush on Mala, but when Mala discovers his sister, murdered and marked in some sort of Satanic ritual, he wonders if all the rumors about the LaCroix family are true. Yet after Mala uses her connection to the spirit world to identify his sister's killer, he starts to form his own bond to her . . . a very physical one. As they move closer to each other and closer to the truth, Mala and Landry must risk everything-their families, their love, and even their lives.


He looks down, and our eyes meet.
“Kiss me,” I blurt out.
“What?” His breathing quickens. “What did you say?
Oh, shit! I just propositioned him. Me, squeaky clean, cowardly Mala. Lack of oxygen must’ve given me brain damage. I take a shaky breath and straighten in his arms. “I said kiss me.” My voice cracks. “It’s okay. I won’t punch you or anything. You have my permission.”
“Your head’s not on straight.” Landry gazes off across the water … distant, cold. Oh, so sad, and it breaks my heart. All I want at this moment is to drink the pain in his eyes. Guzzle it down so it never fills him again. I know nothing’s forever. A momentary patch is about all the comfort I can give him, but maybe for now, it’s enough. For both of us.
“I know. I’m scared.” I take Landry’s face between my hands, holding tight when he tries to pull away. “Stop. Listen. Why do I have to keep dealing with the craziness of my life alone? I’m so tired … Why is it wrong to want to escape?”
My trembling fingers lightly trace the curve of his jaw. I never in a million years thought I could be so bold. I’ve always protected my heart because I feared it would get squished. Being afraid hasn’t gotten me anywhere but alone. “I like you, Landry. And … and I think you like me. At least a little bit, right? You make me feel safe … alive. Maybe … maybe I can make you feel the same way.”
His eyes, thick, black lashes outlining luminous silver, close as I trace my fingers across his eyelids. I press my lips to the angled plane of his cheekbone in a gentle kiss. His skin tastes salty from sweat and smells of grass. Rich and pungent. Intoxicating. His stomach muscles tighten against mine, but he doesn’t move. I kiss the other cheek, then tilt his head toward mine and brush my lips across his, so lightly that it’s more a mingling of breath.
My tongue caresses his lips. I taste him in small nibbles, and then, feeling bold, I pull his plump bottom lip between my teeth, gently teasing him until he finally responds.
Impatient, he threads his fingers into my hair so I can’t pull away. His tongue flicks against mine as I open my mouth to his, deepening the connection between us. I’ve heard about French kisses, in high school the girls giggled about them and rated the boys according to skill, but until now, I’ve never liked a guy enough to want his tongue in my mouth.  Landry rated pretty high on the Awesome Kisser scale. Now I understand why.
The rush of excitement chases away any lingering fear. At some point, he stretches out on the ground, and I lay on top of him. My hands caress his wide shoulders and rise to tangle in his silky hair. I rub against his chest, wishing our clothing didn’t separate us. I want to feel the softness of his skin against mine. I want to trace the tempting dimple in the small of his back and lick the faded scar to the left of his belly button.
Yeah, I totally peeked when he did his striptease in the boat. I may be the queen of denial, but I couldn’t deny myself the sculpted beauty of Landry Prince in all his glory. I pull my mouth free of his lips and slide down the hard length of his body. He sucks in a breath, stomach tightening when I run trembling hands up his chest, lifting his T-shirt to give me access to that scar. I trace my tongue around it a swirl of motion, like licking an ice cream cone. He tastes ten times better than chocolate—maybe like chocolate and caramel with marshmallow chunks—all gooey and melty in my mouth. So tasty that I want to lap him up. But I bite him instead.
Satisfaction throbs at his growl. The soft bit of flesh between my teeth almost sends me over the edge. I’m so hot … burning up inside.
I release him, licking the soft indentations in his skin.
“Mala,” he moans, quivering when I pin his reaching hands to the ground. I give him a wicked grin, then lower my head. I steadily work my way up his chest, biting and licking until I reach his pecs. I run my tongue around his left nipple, then blow across the hard nub. His hips shift, a slight jerk upward. His erection presses against the fabric of his jeans. Is it uncomfortable?
I bite my lip, scared at the bold nature of my thoughts. It’s like years of repressed sexuality screams to be set free. Too many romance novels have given me a working knowledge of what goes on. I can fake it until I make it, but I’ve got to decide right now how far I want to go. Soon I’ll be too far gone. My body decides for me. 

Want more? Then grab your copy today:

B&N | Kobo | iTunes | Amazon

About Angie:

Angie Sandro was born at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. Within six weeks, she began the first of eleven relocations throughout the United States, Spain, and Guam before the age of eighteen. Friends were left behind. The only constants in her life were her family and the books she shipped wherever she went. Traveling the world inspired her imagination and allowed her to create her own imaginary friends. Visits to her father's family in Louisiana inspired this story. Angie now lives in Northern California with her husband, two children, and an overweight Labrador.

Please visit her Blog, like her Facebook Page, and follow her on Twitter

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