Monday, December 26, 2011

Mechanical Hearts & Fairytales

This morning I'm enjoying some strawberries and homemade whipped cream. Yum. For some reason it had me thinking about fairy tales.

I love writing fairy tales. I love the concepts involved in steampunk stories. And I love melding the two into storytelling. In "The Forever Heart," Valentina Peacock is a hearthealer, she is someone who is skilled at mending broken hearts. A heart, be it human or mechanical is a very fragile thing--sort of like clockwork, it takes a very steady, firm, yet delicate hand to tune such a complicated instrument. In "The Forever Heart," there is also a bit of mystery surrounding Valentina's past. There are those who fear for her, who love her enough to want to protect her from painful memories.

I like my happily ever afters, too. And "The Forever Heart" is a happily ever after fairy tale that involve the human heart and the mechanical heart. Two men, one woman, a mystery, and love and possibilities.

Valentina Peacock of the Kingdom of Hartfall is a hearthealer guilder; her lover, Flavio, is an automated man with a ruby heart. Valentina's past is lost to her and her craft of mending broken hearts and her lover at her side are all she needs or wants. Suddenly her calm, well-ordered world is shattered when Flavio brings her a summons from the heart-king--it is a royal command to attend his court. Will a journey to court bring back her memories of a passionate forgotten love? Or will it shatter her finally and forever?

ISBN: 978-1-60272-641-3

An Excerpt:

“I would say you’re working at optimum levels,” she said as she slowly unwound her legs from around his body. Her bare feet met the hard, cold surface of the cobbled red slate floor of her workroom. She stepped away from him and then straightened the folds of her skirt to cover her nakedness.

Yet he was still bare, hard, rippling muscle, fashioned perfect and handsome. Not a line misplaced. His was a body that it seemed she had known forever, fashioned to conform perfectly to her. She reached up to stroke his thick, wavy hair. He caught her hand and brought it to his lips, crushing a kiss to the palm.

“What is it?” she asking, sensing things were amiss. She knew there was something he had to tell her.

Releasing her hand, he walked across the room to his long, blue woolen coat that hung on the heart-shaped hook beneath the narrow window. As Valentina watched he removed a white envelope, then he turned back to her.

“From the newly crowned king,” he said as he held it out.

Something nudged at the back of her mind. She didn’t want to know the contents of the envelope. But she found herself reaching out to take it. Then she looked at Flavio.

“He means to take you from me, doesn’t he?”

He didn’t answer her, and somewhere in the vicinity of her golden heart, a sharp pain twisted and then shafted through her chest, bright and fierce as being struck by a lightning bolt. It wasn’t possible, of course. That type of pain was only a memory from when within her chest had nestled a truly human heart. It was only remembered pain of loss, not something she could truly experience with her gold heart.

Her fingers whitened as she gripped the white envelope emblazoned with the regal gold seal. She looked down at the small square of bright white etched with a bold hand.

Flavio turned his back to her and began dressing, offering her some privacy in which to peruse the missive. She wanted to have Flavio again—to forget the majestic monarch who had written the note encased inside the envelope.

Her heart ticked faster. She smoothed her fingers across the flap, then broke the seal and opened it.

Read another excerpt at my website.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mixing It Up

Recently, to help out my granddaughter to work toward her Brownie badge, I ordered several new-to-me magazines. The first one, which started to arrive last month, was "Whole Living," an interesting healthy living sort of magazine. Apparently you can find them on Twitter at @wholeliving.

So nearing the end as I browse through the issue I received today, and it being just before dinnertime after a nicely productive writing day, I'm glancing through a short article, "Character of Your Content," more or less about shaking up the brain pans. Nice to know someone agrees with sort of my thoughts on things when it comes to types of reading material and stuff to watch to keep the creative juices flowing.

Such as --

--when it comes to apps and newsletters, rather than toughing it out because you think you "should" read them, so they hang around for no good reason, or you sign up out of some sort of duty-thing, it's time to pass on it and let it go when you dread the thought having to read it. Re-energize your brain with sort of what excites it, not bores it.

--Expose yourself to new books and magazines - [and I really like this and follow it - who knew it was a really good idea in like this general sense of things? As a writer, I guess it's just something I do] - shake it up - different words and ideas get the brain moving and - and this is what I love - encourages creative thinking, Yes, thank you, ma'am. Gina Rudan, author of Practical Genius, says, "You don't know where your next project or idea will come from, and you may find it where you least expect it." You betcha!

--And when it comes to the television and DVRing - shake that prime-time rut up. Don't keep on the same hamster-wheel programming. Mix it up. Jump-start the brain, don't keep using the TV as a mindless time filler. [Personally, I don't watch a lot of regular programming, though I will say I'm enjoying "Once Upon a Time," and "Grimm." And I love "The Good Wife" -- that show just keeps getting better. I digress. I try not to be religious about it. Like last weekend I surfed around and found some cool stuff on the Discovery Channel. And believe it or not, it really was in line with a story I'd just finished writing. Now that caught my attention.]

Anyway, think I'm going to be checking out the book, "Practical Genius" by Gina Rudan.

And that article I read? It's on page 113 of "Whole Living." Did I mention this is a new-to-me magazine? Yeah, love when I feel like I'm running a little ahead of the game. That's cool.

And by the way, there's a very nice article on p. 116 entitled, "What's the Best Way to Give Criticism?" Three folks responded to that question -- A Buddhist, a Career Coach, a Writing Instructor. Interesting stuff.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pumpkin Walnut Bread Recipe

I did some baking this weekend and though I'd share the recipe for my pumpkin bread. I love my orange veggies-pumpkin, sweet potatoes, squash. I made some sweet potato soup several weeks ago that came out very good, and it's not a cream-based soup. Lots of flavor. Today I'll share the pumpkin bread recipe, perhaps you'll find it useful.

"Pumpkin, nutmeg, and walnuts combine to yield a moist, tangy and slightly sweet bread with an indescribably good flavor. Serve partnered with meats or cheese, or simply lightly buttered." I tend to leave out the walnuts. I'm fond of the buttered slice and a cup of coffee perhaps flavored with eggnog. Sitting in the dark, the house quiet, thinking about the progression of the next story I'm working on perhaps. How would my protagonist spend Christmas?

This recipe adapted from "The Cook's Encyclopedia of Bread" by Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter.


1 1/2 cups pumpkin
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg, grated
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup walnuts chopped (optional)

1. Grease and neatly line a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 d F. (I don't line the pan)

2. If using fresh pumpkin (use 1 1/4 lbs. pumpkin, peel, seeded, and cut into chunks), place the pumpkin in a saucepan, add water to cover by about 2 inches, then bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin is very tender. Drain well, then puree in a food processor or blender. Let cool.

3. Place 1 1/4 cups of the puree in a large bowl. Add the sugar, nutmet, melted butter and eggs to the puree and mix together. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a large bowl and make a well in the center.

4. Add the pumpkin mixture to the center of the flour and stir until smooth. Mix in the walnuts.

5. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until golden and starting to shrink from the sides of the pan. Turn out on to a wire rack to cool.

(If fresh pumpkin is not in season, canned pureed pumpkin in the same quanity makes a fine substitute. (I use 1 small can of Libby's pumpkin).

Christmas Eve will find baked ziti, garlic bread, merlot wine, chocolate pie with homemade whipped cream. Perhaps a bit of anisette in the coffee.

Christmas morn is when you'll find the pumpkin bread on our table, along with strawberry omelets, bacon, orange juice, cinnemon rolls, and coffee.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable holiday.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Fertile Imagination - Creating the Midnight Pearl Brotherhood

When I started writing "The Exile" series, it began with a certain premise and that was a 19th century secret society called "Brotherhood of the Midnight Pearl." I "met" Alonzo, and he intrigued me. Took me a bit to get some of his secrets out. I began to write some backstory for him, and so the world building began. I felt there was so much more to tell.

The biggest problem is having an imagination that doesn't quit. So, I wrote a couple of "The Exile" stories, then created the website to collect some of the shorter bits and pieces of backstory because I really liked Alonzo and the world I was backstory.

I began to play around with the hierarchies, the personalities, the men of authority, the initiates, and it just sort of gained a life of its own.

I love fantasy and I love research, and I love combining the two. We deal with real life on a day-to-day basis, we need fantasy, we need HEAs, we need freedom to let our mind explore other realities. The Brotherhood of the Midnight Pearl is one such exploration into the sensual erotic world of the men who love and care for each other, challenge each other in their own way, and find a certain level of communion on the island of Mannos.

This is where it starts, we're back at the beginning - more or less. Meet Alonzo Smith, who comes to the island looking for something, finding more than he thought he would. Writing in the erotica genre is more than about the sex, this series is about how these men relate to each other, and the things they learn about themselves, and what they need from each other, from themselves. But intimacy is a huge part of the process. And they are free to explore in a fantasy environment with no limits.

Join Alonzo, and meet the men of Mannos, and experience a world far removed from civilization and societal constraints, a place with its own set of rules, its own hierarchy. It is a place fashioned of gods and of men. Forged with the fire of passionate natures.

A little about the first story in this gay erotica series...

Shy boys, well...they are members of a very select secret society after all. But now they're out and ready to play and to share their world with you.
Hot young men, in need of training, in need of loving, in need of each other. Good boys with bad boys, boys needing freedom, boys needing discipline, boys needing a fine immortal master to show them the way to have a spanking good time.
Alonzo has just arrived. He's an intelligent young man and so very eager. The captain of the ship knows how eager he is. And Squire, Alonzo's first trainer, meets him at the dock ready to take him in hand. Alonzo and his fellow newbloods are about to be challenged in a way they never have been before. Some will make it, others won't.
Fantasy Island as you've never experienced it before. Eager young men and their raging libidos, more than willing to take a chance and embrace a whole new way of life offered only to a select few--only to those of that mainland secret society, The Brotherhood of the Midnight Pearl...
Welcome to Mannos...

Tales of the Midnight Pearl Brotherhood: Newblood Initiation (#1)
by Adrianna Dane

ISBN: 978-1-61124-148-8 (electronic)
Genres: Fantasy Gay Erotica
Publisher: Amber Quill Press/Amber Allure

Midnight Pearl Website:



The ancient myths of the Brotherhood of the Midnight Pearl tell of an island formed from the depths of the ocean, in the midst of a sea of mystical, sapphire beauty. It is an island paradise built on love and devotion to a common belief, a society made up entirely of handsome and desirable men. And Alonzo Smith is on a journey to discover his place among them. Here begins the path to Alonzo's destiny. He enters this world as a newblood, a young man who will give his all in service to someone special. But just as Goldilocks sought the right bowl, the right chair, the perfect bed, so Alonzo is in search of the right master. And perhaps the right collar to embrace his neck. Thus, upon arrival on the island, Alonzo's sensual journey begins with service to Squire, and his introduction to the hierarchies, laws and boundaries of the Mannos Society of Men.

To purchase or to read an excerpt from this story visit the Amber Allure website.

Read another excerpt at:

Watch for these currently scheduled blistering hot M/M stories in this series:

Camaraderie (#2)...Alonzo becomes closer acquainted with the other initiates. An unexpected interlude of erotic passion among initiate brethren ensues... (Available - August 2011)

Trailmaster Phelix (#3)...Alonzo is presented with new challenges–a dangerous jungle and demanding service to Master Phelix... (Available - September 2011)

Primordial Impulse (#4)...Alonzo becomes acquainted with his "wild man" soul and the possibilities afforded by primordial jungle abandon... (Available - October 2011)

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Public Lives, Private Pleasures Nominated for Best in Erotic Romance (Non-Traditional) - EXCERPT

I was very excited to receive word yesterday from Carole at The Romance Reviews that Public Lives, Private Pleasures has been nominated for Best Book of 2010 in the category of Erotic Romance (Non-Traditional Lifestyle).

Word is that voting will end March 31st. Find out more, and read the review, at:

And just to get your morning off to a steamy start here's the blurb and an excerpt from Public Lives, Private Pleasures.

CAUTION! Never underestimate the power of first-kiss attraction...leading to hot male menage, naughty voyeurism, dance-slide-and-moan choreography, spank-me sex...And the endless possibilities of a once-in-a-lifetime romance.

That didn't stop you? Okay, then. Read an excerpt from my hot contemporary gay erotic romance, "Public Lives, Private Pleasures," now available from Loose Id.

Public Lives, Private Pleasures
by Adrianna Dane

Publisher: Loose Id
ISBN: 978-1-60737-872-3
Purchase Link:
Author Website:
Genres: Erotic Gay Contemporary Romance
Length: Short Novel


Forbidden desire. Sex walking and talking. Francisco "Frankie" Raphael is every secret wet dream that Adrien Langtry ever had. Yet accepting the sexy dancer's invitation could destroy not only Adrien, but Frankie as well.

Descended from an old, very influential Virginia family with conservative views, and forced to hide his gay identity, Adrien has no desire to carry on the family's political tradition. But his younger twin brother, Marsh, is the one to take up where their father, Senator Douglas Langtry, left off. And with his brother's budding political career in jeopardy, there's no room for mistakes no matter how much Adrien hates living a lie.

It's not until Adrien meets sexy Latin choreographer, Frankie Raphael, that his lethargy evaporates, and Adrien questions his personal sacrifices that now seem unacceptable. Beautiful, passionate Frankie offers Adrien a glimpse into a world he'd only ever dared experience through the safety of the lens of his camera.

Dare Adrien jeopardize Marsh's political aspirations? Will Forces beyond his control slam the door shut on a life he's only ever dreamed of? Will public lives be forever altered by the shocking revelation of their private pleasures, ultimately altering the lives of these men?


It was as he was washing his hands that he happened to glance up in the mirror and then stilled as a pair of blazing green eyes captured his attention. He wiped his hands on a brown paper towel, tossed it, and then turned. For the moment the bathroom was empty except for Frankie and the man with the gorgeous green eyes. And the black silver-tipped cane.

"We’ve met before," Frankie said. Yes, he was familiar, but if it hadn’t been for the cane, Frankie might not have recognized him. Long black hair that was now slightly disheveled and hanging loose about his shoulders almost hiding his face. Black mascara and liner that emphasized his eyes, pale complexion. Tonight he wasn’t wearing a conservative suit, but a pair of black jeans and black T-shirt that showcased his trim physique. The jeans outlined the thick bulge of an erection. The shirt was tight enough for Frankie to glimpse the outlined temptation of pierced nipples. God, he was even more tempting than the other night. He had to have this man. "Tad," he said.

Tad’s eyes widened. Frankie could now see the green was ringed with gold, and he stepped toward the man. "You remembered," Tad said.

Frankie smiled. He reached out a hand to trace a nipple through the fabric of the T-shirt. He gripped it with two fingers, twisted lightly, heard Tad suck in a breath. His pretty pupils dilated, almost obliterating the gold. "Yeah, I remembered." He tugged, and Tad staggered forward. "God, I love your eyes. I’m surprised to see you here. I wouldn’t have thought it was your sort of hangout."

He kneaded the nipple rhythmically, watching Tad’s expression, saw his gaze grow heavy with lust. But still he made no move.

"I-I come here now and then."

"Do you? I don’t recall seeing you here before." He released the tit and slid his hand suggestively down the front of the shirt to rest at Tad’s narrow hip. His fingers splayed at Tad’s waist, slid around to cup Tad’s sweet, tight ass, pulled forward until they were groin to groin.

"Oh, God," Tad said and released another shuddering breath. Music pulsed in the background, making Frankie’s body throb.

"Do you want me?" Frankie asked. "Because I want to fuck you. Come home with me." He led, his hand gripping Tad’s more firmly, leading into a slow grind. The cane clattered to the floor, and Frankie took Adrien’s weight easily. Feet slid across the floor, away from the cane, circling slowly, undulating to the music. Frankie felt Tad weakening, the rise in his body heat, the smell of arousal permeating the air in the bathroom, blending with his own scents. "I-I can’t."

"Do you want to, Tad?" Frankie pressed him closer, both his hands now cupping Tad’s ass. "Do you want to do it right here? Right now?"

"W-what about your boyfriend?"

"Boyfriend? Oh, you mean Kurt?"

The one you were—"

Frankie peered closer at Tad. "Were you watching us, Tad? Is that it? Do you get off watching people?"

Frankie saw the red flush creep up Tad’s neck and flood his face. "You were watching us. Which would you prefer—the handjob or the blowjob? Or maybe both."

Suddenly Tad jerked back. He stumbled and righted himself, drew in deep breaths, and then turned to face Frankie once again.

"You don’t know the first fucking thing about what I want." There was so much pain attached to the words that Frankie almost winced. Pain dripping with desire.

Frankie leaned back against the sink, studying Tad. He narrowed his gaze. "Who are you, Tad? That’s not your real name, is it? What are you hiding, I wonder?" He tugged the black leather billfold out from his back pocket and pulled out a card. He replaced the wallet and then moved to Tad. First he bent down and snapped up the cane and handed it to Tad. Tad leaned heavily on the cane. Then with one hand Frankie pulled at Tad’s waistband. With his other hand he slipped the black and silver business card down the front, fitted it snugly between the moist, hot flesh of his abdomen and the rock-hard penis. Frankie took his time about fitting the card into place. He stroked a finger slowly along the veined erection, over the ridge of Tad’s glans. He smeared the liquid of preejaculate across the head before removing his hand. God, but he wanted this man so damned bad. He was a tenacious hunter, and he had the scent.

Read another excerpt:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Across the Back Field and Perspective

I have to say when it comes to writing, I'm somewhat of an adventurer. I can't help myself.

We each look out at the world and see things just a bit differently. That's why there are so many interesting ways one can approach storytelling. And the story changes, deepens, twists and turns and we interpret what our creative mind reveals to us.

My husband called me outside the other night to see the sky. There are moments that can't be put off. No matter what I was doing, it was a time to drop everything, which involved cooking dinner at the time, grab the camera and head outside. What each of us sees in that moment, be it me, my husband, my son (who is visiting us), or even our dog, Marley, is often vastly differing, even as writers approach an idea, a theme, a plot, we see things through a different lense. And, by the way, I didn't burn the dinner.

Some may see the broader picture--a panoramic landscape--and a novel will be born. Others will focus in on one object, one small glimmer of idea, one thought, that will blossom into a short story, a poem, a novella. Or maybe it will be the atmosphere--dark, light, stormy, calm--a color, a season, a time of day, a location...a memory, a mood. We all take something different away from the image of our mind's eye tempered by our individual thought processes. Maybe it's an impression, a reminder, a fear, a pleasure, a spark that infuses a creative idea.

Take time to meditate, to explore. Maybe it's not time to write the full story just at this hour, but catch the thoughts within the butterfly net, or a journal or notebook, maybe a computer program set up to capture ideas. Words that incite that feeling. Words to invoke the image. Take that picture in your mind, on the screen, on the paper, play with it, shape it and reshape it, stretch it and then stretch it again. Make it come alive in a way only you can do. Give it the flavor only you can give it. Step into your world and be prepared to absorb every corner of that world. Watch and listen and learn. For that space of time let it consume you. Don't let fear stop you from appreciating this new environment and those beings, vegetation, or other entities that populate it. This isn't the moment to think of style of writing, of publisher guidelines, of readers, of reviewers.

This is the moment to assimilate information, to allow stream of creativity to flow unbridled. This is that most exciting moment when a new world unfolds before your mind's eye--the storyteller's vision.

Perhaps your mind's eye isn't even seeing the landscape of this world that's right in front of you. Perhaps it's another place, another time, another dimension. Make what you will of it. Break down the boundaries, and let your imagination and creativity have it's way with you. There is a moment when you know you've passed that comfortable boundary, where you're in a new place and you've reached farther than before. When you might just think you're crazy, and you're absolutely certain you can't do this--you shouldn't do it. There's a tingling that starts low in your belly, an excitment tinged by fear. It slowly spreads.

That moment when you say to yourself, "I've never done this before, I can't do it. I shouldn't do it." That moment when all the rules you've learned, that have been hammered into you about the right way of doing it and the wrong way, try to force you back into conformity. And yet, in this moment, you turn your back and step into an amazing new reality. You've locked the editor away in a back room of your mind, pocketing the key until you need it. And you break free of the boundaries of constraint. This is the art of storytelling.

I must do it!

You are at that place when you've passed your safe borders, that minute when you reach for something more, outside your comfort zone, moving from shallow to deep waters. Because you're a writer and you must take that leap. This is the place of excitement, adventure of the mind, of imagination. This is where you were meant to go--as a writer, a storyteller, an artist, a photographer, an adventurer of life.

This is where you soar!

I have a habit of beginning research and discovery far ahead of the actual writing of a story. Sometimes it takes months, sometimes years for a story to achieve that certain temperature when I'll actually begin the writing. Until that moment I gather information, jot down notes about characters and story and just let things percolate. In my research for an upcoming story, I unearthed a National Geographic article titled "Kayaking the Amazon" by Piotr Chmielinski. Things to remember, not so different from writing.

"No one had done it before...Much of the area was unexplored and unmapped...We had to make a deal with the Amazon, to accept its power...We had to keep moving, to take that next step...For some it had been adventure enough...I pushed on..."
In approaching a new story idea how better or more exciting to come at it than from the mindset and perspective of an adventurer willing to risk all for a dream?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A New Year and Symbols

Last year seemed to fly by and now I'm scrambling to get ready for 2011. Being very fond of Brian Froud's artwork and often using and feeling particulary connected to "The Faeries' Oracle" cards created by Brian Froud and Jessica Macbeth, for Christmas I picked up the new "Heart of Faerie Oracle" cars by Brian and Wendy Froud.

To help me become more comfortable with the cards, I starting the year out by choosing one card each day.

Today's card happened to be #61, The Temptation which refers to enticement, wise choices. To me, that sort of means stop procrastinating.

"The Heart of Faerie Oracle" books suggested choosing a second card to help establish what the temptation might be with an eye toward being able to better deal with the situation. So, the second card I chose turned out to be "The Hero," #25. Strength, courage, unconditional love.

I found this interesting as just a few days ago, I did a yearly layout from "The Faeries' Oracle." In the first or twelfth position, depending on how you call it--instinct told the pull was meant to be read backwards--I pulled #4, He of the Fiery Sword. This card refers to action, will, movement, force, fire, illuminates truth, dispels non-truth.

I'm not sure where these symbols will lead me just yet, but I'm open to the signs and trusting my instincts.

I took a moment to pull out my symbol reference, or one of them at any rate )(An illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols by J.C. Cooper) and found a lot of info on the symbil of the sword.
"Power; protection; authority; royalty;leadership; justice; courage; strength; masculine principle, the active force, and is phallic with the sheat as the receptive feminine. On the metaphysical level the sword is symbolic of discrimination; the penetrating power of the intellect; spiritual decision; the inviolability of the sacred. It possesses supernatural powers, either on the earth, under the earth, or under the waters and is associated with giants and supernatural beings such as the Lady of the Lake; it is also wielded by the cosmic or solar Herom, conqueror of dragons and emonic powers..."

And on New Year's Day, just across the street from the house, a young eagle granted us with his presence and so I had to look up that symbol as well.

"Solar; the symbol of all sky gods; the meridan sun; the spiritual principle; ascension; inspiration; release from bondge; victory; pride; contemplation; apotheosis; royalty; authority; strength; height; the element of air. Thought to be able to fly up to the sun and gaze unwaveringly upon it and to identify with it, the eagle represents the spiritual principle in man which is able to soar heavenwards..."

I think it's going to be an interesting year. These seem to me to be some pretty powerful symbols. Guess I better keep my eyes open and my instincts honed.

I've added a new wallpaper to my computer just to remind me of the beauty and breathtaking imagery that's all around me.

The new year has just begun and already I have an additional two new story--no make that three new story ideas percolating. Going to be a good one I think!