Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tasting Fire by Shelly Holt - Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway

The Menagerie welcomes Shelly Holt to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. We're excited to showcase her latest release for her paranormal romance, "Tasting Fire".

Even better, Shelly is giving away a $20 Starbucks GC to a randomly drawn commenter during her tour, so leave a comment here today and then follower her tour to increase your chances of winning. Her tour posts are listed here.

We asked Shelly one very important question: What physical attribute do you find most sexy and why?

Forget tight asses and long fluttering eyelashes, it's all about the forearms for me. I read a book on my Kindle I purchased to help me write love scenes. It's called (Just Fuck me! what women want men to know about taking control in the bedroom) by Eve Kingsley. This wonderfully illuminating book explains why women want men in a committed and trusting relationship to take control in the bedroom. According to the book women apparently want to be sexually dominated in the bedroom. They want to be laid on their backs and ravished. Outside the bedroom, of course is a whole different story!

After reading this book and thinking about what physical attributes I find most sexy for this essay, I have to agree. I believe deep down that is why I personally am attracted to a man with strong forearms. It's an indicator of physical strength, which translates later to domination in the bedroom. Why is it so hard to admit that as a woman you want to be dominated sexually? OK, here goes, I want to be sexually dominated in the bedroom. I said it, wow! the world didn't stop spinning. In fact nobody is even looking, even my cat is still snoring. Why was that so hard? I personally just published a paranormal romance with no less that five fully explicit love scenes. I shouldn't have these hang ups at this point. Maybe I was hiding behind my characters in Tasting Fire, but here it's all about me. Maybe it's not all about sex, maybe it's really about giving up control. I'll be the first to admit, I don't like giving up control of any aspect of my life. It was why I self-published in the first place. I had full editorial and artistic control over my book. That also meant I have full responsibility to edit, proof, and publicize it too.

Romance novels, mine included are all about the alpha male. In my novel Tasting Fire, my hero Kai Tenzin is very much an alpha male and takes charge in the bedroom. That shouldn't really surprise anybody, romance novels are not about real life they are a romantic fantasy. If you wanted to read about real men you would be reading chick lit or Men's Health. I believe reading romance is a safe way for women to give up that control and be dominated in the bedroom of their minds, if not in their houses.

In the end, sexual attraction for a woman is about feeling safe with a man, feeling desired in a sexual manner and being protected after the relationship is forged. If a man has skinny weak arms, at least on a subliminal wavelength we don't feel safe. In the real world, just because a man does have strong muscular forearms doesn't mean he is trustworthy or protective, but we are discussing sexual attraction not important social issues like trust and responsibility. We are all sometimes (some more than others) at the mercy of our hormones, but that doesn't mean you let them rule you. Common sense must balance those raging hormones, but for the bedroom of the mind and the one in my house, I'll try to let go a little more and not just on paper.

Shape-shifters have always walked the earth. Shrouded in myth and folklore, hiding in the shadows, watching and waiting. Advances in modern science are now about to reveal them to the world. Kai Tenzin is the self appointed leader of the Pari people. He and his kind evolved from the most reclusive predators on earth. They live and hunt in the most fearsome and rugged terrain known to man, the Himalayas. Kai leaves his small village where the mountains touch the heavens, determined to do anything to protect his people. When he is forced to enlist the aid of the beautiful American scientist Dr. Rae Hales, the last thing he expects to find is a woman who will ensnare his heart and endanger them all. Their action-packed adventure will take them around the world to discover the truth behind the legends and reveal the future of humanity.

“My name is Kai Tenzin. I was born in a village high in the Himalaya mountains of Tibet.

I am a Pari. My people are born with the ability to transform into the animal you call the Asian Snow Leopard. The Pari have been among you since the dawn of human civilization. We have seen humanity at its worst. We have watched from the safety of our mountains, as human tyrants unleashed their destructive fury and let the blood of the innocent flow freely over the land. For centuries we have cowered in fear of what horrors the human heart would unleash upon us if discovered. We always strived to know the animal within us, but we always considered humans to be the true beasts. We feared you and did not wish to know you.

I am guilty of that crime more than any others of my kind, and yet, I personally have seen human compassion in action. When it does happen, it is an act of such profound beauty, that the darkest place in the universe, namely, the human heart, can not hide the infinite luminescence that shines forth. You have it within each and every one of you to be a shining flame that brightens the darkest night. We should have had more faith in that. I should have had more faith in your humanity and my own. Instead, I chose to help my people to continue to hide in darkness.

We stole from you the chance to know us and hid where only hate and fear can grow. For that I apologize and can only ask for your forgiveness. I stand here today, humbly begging you for a second chance. If we possess the courage, together, we can open our hearts to each other.

My name is Shelly Holt and I live in the middle of the harsh and unforgiving Mojave desert. I write my stories looking out of a window that shows sweeping desert views. Outside is a barren and severe landscape, yet inside my head lives a world filled with exotic shape-shifters come to life, pulled from the pages of myth and legend, ready to entice and seduce any reader brave enough to take them on.

It's funny, I never wanted to be a writer! In 7th grade English, we were given an assignment. We were told to write an original poem and turn it in the next day. I was determined to turn in not a good poem, but a great poem. I spent the whole night working on it instead of watching my favorite show, The Waltons. (Hey! it was 1980.) I turned it in the next day. Apparently, I succeeded a little too well and was accused of copying it from a book. (1980 remember, no internet yet). The teacher stated and I quote "this is too good for a seventh grader, where did you copy it from?" Well, I didn't write for 30 years after that. In my 40's, after a life changing move to rural Nevada as a caregiver to my father, I realized I needed a way to earn a little money on the side. I did some research on the internet and read all about a certain little book, about a certain little college student and a handsome billionaire with some ahem! (issues.) I decided after reading that book, I could do that, and Tasting Fire was born. I'll admit it's been strange revisiting a talent buried deep inside for so long, forgotten, but apparently not lost. It's been an important journey and one I am quite thankful for and excited to see where it takes me.

Shelly Holt

P.S. Mr. Jordan, I really did write that poem!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Marked by Rowan by Cutter Phoenix - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

The Menagerie welcomes Cutter Phoenix to the blog today on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions!! We're excited to showcase her latest release, an erotic romance titled "Marked by Rowan" and visit with her.

Even better, the author will be awarding a $10 Freya's Bower GC to a randomly drawn commenter during her tour, so leave a comment here today and then follower her tour to increase your chances of winning. Her tour posts are listed here.

Now, on to the good stuff!

Describe yourself in three words.

Unstoppable. Determined. Humorous.

What’s your favorite love scene from a movie?

The Dracula movie with Wynona Ryder in it. The emotion in the romance scene always gets to me. It’s a classic example of how love can transcend time.

What’s your wildest fantasy?

I’m pretty tame when it comes to such things. I’m not a thrill-seeker nor do I like danger, so I suppose it would be dancing on a bar in something sexy for my husband...well, until I tripped or slipped and fell off the countertop in a heap of arms and legs. I am a big klutz, lol.

If you were to lose one of your senses, which would you rather lose and why?

Taste would be my first choice. I couldn’t stand not hearing my kids, husband or even birdsong, and I love all sorts of music. Seeing is our main sense, and I would be lost if I couldn’t feel my husband’s touch or my children and grandchildren hugging me back. If I gave up taste, I might not enjoy food any longer, but at least PMS cravings and sweets wouldn’t get the best of me, lol.

What is the naughtiest thing you did as a kid?

I can’t really think of anything terrible as a young kid, but when I was 18 I was working at a restaurant and using my mom’s car to get back and forth to my job. Well, one night I met a cool guy [snort! He was cool until I got to know him] and I went out with him. We went to a party and hung out all night. The next morning I pulled into our drive about 6 AM. I thought my mother was gonna kill me!


Boxers or Briefs? Boxers. They’re easier to get off, lol.

Top or Bottom? Only one choice? Jeez.

Pajamas or nude? PJs all the way. I hate having my backporch swing hanging out of the covers.

Hairy chests or smooth? Either, really. It depends on the rest of the package, lol.

Alpha or Beta? I’m gonna say alpha with one stipulation—if the alpha strikes me as a controlling jerk where the woman can’t have a say in something then he can take a flying leap. After that, I’ll switch to the beta since they’re usually sweeter.

Plagued by erotic dreams and frightening images of people in the throes of ecstasy, Justin questions his sexuality and his sanity. When he is menaced by a vagrant, Justin is saved by Rowan, a strange yet attractive man who seems to be able to read his mind and sense his most intimate desires. However, once Rowan invites him to dinner, Justin's life takes a turn for the bizarre mixed with so much sex and eroticism he can barely cope with it--but oh how he tries!

Troubled by his longing for both men and women, Justin finds himself seduced by Rowan. However, his new and unexpected lover possesses powers which force Justin into a realm where few mortals have traveled and even less have returned.

Justin watched in awe, his groin so hard he thought he’d come in his jeans. Naked people lay upon cushions and furs strewn about a large room lit by glowing lamps and amber candlelight. A group of four women and five men strained against one another, their bodies slicked with perspiration, groans and sighs loud in the chamber. Nearby, a woman perched on the edge of a chair as her lover thrust into her, his hips pumping rigorously, the soft lighting glimmering on his sweaty body. The woman ran her fingernails along the man’s back, leaving trails of blood that trickled along his skin and over his white ass. She screamed out her release, followed by her companions’ grunts of ecstasy. Justin fixated on the blood. He’d never seen anything so red, so frightening and yet so erotic.

“You’ll be mine soon,” a male voice whispered.

A sharp horn blast over the loading docks startled Justin out of the vision. Heart thrashing, he leaned against the tower of boxed toys he’d just finished stacking. The erotic and often frightening dreams and visions had escalated the past week. They’d started out sporadically, but now the images and scenes came to him so often Justin worried something was seriously wrong with him.

Once his pulse had returned to normal, he punched out and made his way through the employees coming and going for the shift change. He descended the steps of a loading platform, strode across a parking lot, and out onto the sidewalk. An angry sky loomed overhead. Thunder rumbled with a promise of rain, and a moist wind blew in from the nearby river. He managed to walk half of the ten blocks to his apartment before a fine mist began. Within minutes, it transformed into a torrential downpour. Justin muttered a choice profanity and quickened his pace.

He passed a ramshackle building known as a flophouse for prostitutes and druggies. In the doorway, a gaunt, gangly built man stood leaning against the threshold. A black duster that had seen better days hung on his spindly frame. Dirty white-blond hair hung out of the hood drawn over his head and down the open front of his coat in a mass of gnarled locks. He met Justin’s gaze as he passed.

At the sight of the loiterer’s strange eye color and wide, over-slanted eyes, an arrow of unease skewered Justin’s insides. The vagrant smiled—or was that a leer?—startling Justin with a mass of pointed and broken green-yellow teeth in his broad, thin-lipped mouth. He wondered if the man was diseased. Breaking eye contact, Justin hurried on his way and hoped the rain didn’t fall any harder.

An author of dark, erotic romance, Cutter Phoenix writes heterosexual and m/m romances and occasionally erotica. Readers will discover that Cutter enjoys penning different subgenres of romance, but whether the story is paranormal or contemporary, each book is laced with dark, romantic themes and layered with noir humor. Cutter also writes as Azura Ice and F.L. Bicknell.

Besides writing, Cutter enjoys the solitude of early mornings, paints, and reads just about anything.

Fans can reach Cutter here by posting a comment anywhere on or by sending an email to

Monday, December 3, 2012

Seduction of My Proper Wife by Kristabel Reed - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

The Menagerie welcomes Kristabel Reed to the blog today on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions!! We're excited to showcase her latest release, an erotic romance titled "Seduction of My Proper Wife" and visit with her.  A very long time ago, I read one of Kristabel's stories  called "Wickedly Wanton" and it was YUM!!  If you love a hot menage set in the long ago eras, you can't go wrong with one of her stories.

Even better, Kristabel will be awarding one commenter at every stop an e-Book copy of any backlist title, and one randomly drawn commenter on the tour will receive a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card plus a copy of any e-Book backlisted title, so leave a comment here today and then follower her tour to increase your chances of winning. Her tour posts are listed here.

Now, on to the good stuff!

Describe yourself in three words.

Irreverent, edgy, classic.

Cast your book. Tell us who would play the main characters in a movie and why.

Ok, tough one, let me think. They have very different personalities, very specific so, and there are a lot of actors out there! I’m probably missing good ones, but it’s taken me a while to think up these so here goes:

Philip would be Eric Christian Olsen from NCIS:LA, but all cleaned up. He’s got that boyish charm but can be demanding if need be.

Lillian…Mila Kunis as the beautiful English lady with repression issues and a dominance streak.

Aria—Zoe Saldana. She’s beautiful, talented, and perfect for the part of the Egyptian dancer

What’s your favorite love scene from a movie?

Hmm, difficult. I like some of the classic movie sensual scenes, beautifully done with talented actors. So many of the Hollywood movies these days don’t do love scenes well! There was a very, very brief scene in Cloud Atlas, but I’m going to have to say that it’s from the (new) Thomas Crown Affair between Rene Russo and Pierce Bronson when they’re in St. Thomas.

What’s your wildest fantasy?

Chris Hemsworth blindfolded and bound to my bed for one night. *G* What’s yours?

If you were to lose one of your senses, which would you rather lose and why?

Scent. Don’t even have to think about that. Sure, it’s important but if I had to lose one, I’d rather it be that. I can live without it—I’m not a baker or cook, I’m allergic to pollen and while yes, there are beautiful smells I’d miss, it wouldn’t drastically affect my life.

What is the naughtiest thing you did as a kid?

Um…well, see…I was kind of a good kid. Really! I followed the rules, I swear. For the most part, for the naughty part. Well, there was this one time I snuck into the Christmas presents once and play with the fun stuff. But it wasn’t fun on Christmas when I opened them. Took the surprise completely out of everything!

Quickies: Oh, we’re having a quickie? Fun!

Boxers or Briefs?


Top or Bottom?


Pajamas or nude?


Hairy chests or smooth?

Caught me on that one…depends on the person and amount of hair! A little isn’t bad, but bear-like needs to go!

Alpha or Beta?


Philip Thornton adored his new bride but found she was frigid in their marriage bed.

Lillian did not know how to ease her fear of the bed until she was freed from her past.

Aria was paid to educate and entice, but what she found was more than she ever dreamed possible.

The Parisian Exposition of 1889...the world is changing and the three of them are caught in its whirl. Philip and Lillian went to Paris to save their marriage and to help Lillian overcome her fears. Aria danced and seduced Lillian, but before Lillian left, Aria found herself seduced, in turn, by the beautiful Englishwoman.

When Philip and Lillian break all the rules and escort Aria around Paris for a week, will it be the beginning of their future? Or will this seductive interlude be nothing more than a dream?

Puzzled at such a dichotomy, she allowed Philip to pull her along. They passed a pair of men sitting cross-legged on the ground. They smoked from a long tube attached to a tall, thin, glass spiral of some sort. Fascinated, Lillian tried not to stare, it was rude after all, but wondered what the contraption was called and what the men smoked from its cloudy insides.

They entered a building with beautifully mysterious music and slight tinkling sounds. When Lillian looked up, she saw the dancers. They wore swaths of sheer fabric for skirts, covered in dozens and dozens of gold coins. Their bellies were bare, but their faces veiled.

Philip, still silent as he’d been since leaving their hotel room, guided her through the crowd to the front of the stage. Lillian, almost entranced by the sight, didn’t care who saw her or what they thought, she watched, mesmerized by the way these women’s bodies moved.

It was the most sensual thing she’d ever seen, and Lillian knew she should be ashamed, but couldn’t be. The danced ended and the women filed off stage. The crowd waited, clearly waiting like she was, to see if more was to come. But nothing more happened, save the men playing their strange instruments continued to do so.

As the crowd left the room, Philip smiled tenderly down at her and she felt that same fluttering in her belly she had the first time he’d done so. Straightening her shoulders, Lillian vowed to make this work. Even if she had to…

Kristabel Reed lives on the East Coast and loves to explore the steamier side of historical romance. "There are so many sexy situations that didn't just pop up in the 21st century and my goal is to burst the myth of the prim and proper debutante."

She loves romances but historical ménages particularly which add an element of danger and discovery not seen in contemporaries. Historically speaking, unusual romantic connections put lives on the line-people were ostracized and some even put to the death.

She loves reading, watching old movies, and anything Cary Grant. And is always interested in talking about erotic romance, so drop her a line:; or Tweet her @kristabelreed; find her blog: