Saturday, April 16, 2011

Guest Author Janne Lewis

Please join me in welcoming sexy, sassy guest author Janne Lewis!  Take it away, Janne...

I was delighted when Gemma asked me to contribute a guest post to Killer Fiction. Though all my romances feature sexy heroes and savvy heroines, they have different casts of characters and settings, even time periods. Recently when I was taking my dog for a walk and thinking about what I was going to write next, I had this funny revelation about my stories. All of them have something in common—all of them have a character that loves being near the ocean. Of course, this revelation came to me as I was walking on the beach, smelling the salty tang carried on the breeze, listening to the rush of the water and the cries of the seagulls, watching the color of the sea change from blue to green to gray with the change in the color of the sky.

Some people find comfort in the desert, some in the mountains, some gazing at the glass-like surface of a lake. I love the sea. Years ago when my husband and I took our children on a trip through the western part of the United States, we agreed that as beautiful as the desert was, we missed the ocean—the sound and smell and look of it.

The recent news has been full of the deadly results of the tsunami in Japan. I don’t want to suggest in any way that the victims of that awful event are to blame for their suffering. Yet, every person who makes his or her home within sight of the ocean knows there is some element of risk. Those waters that barely move one day, with waves rising and falling like the flank of a sleeping animal, can the next day turn into a ferocious, raging destructive beast that will smash wood, fracture concrete, twist steel, grind rocks into gravel. I remember when the “Perfect Storm” made famous in the book and movie swept along this coast and altered some of our local real estate. All along the New England coast there are houses perched near the Atlantic. When I see those houses, I shudder at the risk their owners take, but envy their view.

The threat of this danger is part of the ocean’s allure. Want to see a crowd of people on the beach in a blizzard? Tell them there’s a danger of flooding at high tide. Despite the cold and snow, a crowd will gather to watch the water. When the waves rise high up and crash with a boom over the sea wall and spill unchecked into the street, people shout and share their excitement.

Maybe this love for the sea is like the romance heroine’s love for the so-called bad boy. After all, the original Siren lured sailors onto rocks with her singing. I love to write about passionate bad boy heroes who have their tender vulnerable sides, like the hero in my recent release for Ellora’s Cave’s “Ahoy!” series—“Pleasuring a Pirate.” And I love to write about heroes and heroines who have heard the Siren’s call and feel some connection to the sea.

I’m not a sailor, though I do venture out onto the water in a kayak when the air is still and the waves are low. I get seasick when the waves get high, but I never get sick of the sea. What about you? Have you fallen victim to the Sirens’ call, or are you a lake lover or desert dreamer?

Thanks again to all the members of Killer Fiction for inviting me to post!


Janne Lewis’s most recent release is “Pleasuring a Pirate” an erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave. Here’s the blurb for the book:

When Jenny Miller’s widowed mother becomes engaged to the father of Jenny’s ex-lover, Jenny is torn. She knows a renewal of her affair with Robert, her soon-to-be stepbrother, could jeopardize her mother’s marriage. But Robert was the sexiest, most commanding lover Jenny has had, and though he has a reputation as a heartbreaker, she yearns to get him back in bed.

When Robert plays the role of Pirate Blackwell in a video production, and Jenny plays the pirate’s wife, Robert’s passionate on-camera kiss sends Jenny’s libido into overdrive. Jenny is a dedicated lawyer who has prided herself on her self-control. But resisting the irresistible Robert? That’s a whole other case.

Want to read more? Here’s an excerpt from Chapter One:

Jenny Miller clutched the fabric of her long dress as she carefully walked down the steep stairs from her second-floor apartment. She was determined to get through this day without disaster, despite the too tight costume and the uncomfortable shoes and the awkwardness that lay ahead. She reached the door to the street, opened it, stepped onto the sidewalk, let the door slam shut behind her and realized she was stuck. She looked behind—a clump of fabric at the back of her dress was trapped by the now locked door.

“Damn!” She rummaged through her shoulder bag until she found her key ring, took it out of her bag and promptly dropped it. She bent to pick up her keys, her breasts nearly popping out of the low-cut dress. “I must look like an idiot,” she muttered. She fumbled with the keys until she found the one she needed. She inserted the key, but it wouldn’t turn in the lock. Was there something wrong with the lock? That was all she needed this morning. She pulled out the key. She was using the wrong one. She took a deep breath, inserted the right key, unlocked the door, freed her dress and turned once again to face the day. Relax, she told herself. Everything is going to be fine. You will not make a fool of yourself in front of him.

The sun shone in a cloudless blue sky. The leaves on the maple trees that lined the cobblestoned length of King Street glowed greenly in the bright spring light. She had planned to drive the mile from her apartment to the beach at Perkins Cove, thinking she would feel ridiculous walking through town in her 18th century costume. Now she reconsidered. She could use the walk to steady her nerves. She needed to be in control of all her emotions if she was going to get through this day without embarrassing herself. She set off down the street.

At the corner of King and State Street, Agnes Hopewell came out of her antiques store. In her hand she held one end of a leash, the other end of which was attached to the collar on Jo-Jo, her pony-sized black Newfoundland. “Hi, Jenny!” Agnes said. “Where are you off to, dressed like that?”

“I’m acting in a promotional video for the Chamber of Commerce.” Jenny stepped off the sidewalk to the street. She wanted to protect her costume from the string of slobber hanging from Jo-Jo’s enormous mouth. “We’re doing the Pirate Blackwell story.”

Agnes snorted. “I don’t care what the History of Stoneyport says—it’s a made-up myth. There may have been a privateer named Blackwell in the seventeen hundreds, but he didn’t bury gold here!” She followed Jenny into the street. Jo-Jo trotted behind.

“I’ll be sure to tell our director that,” Jenny said.

“Who’s the director?”

“Susan Goodman.”

“How nice!” Agnes said. “Your mom must be pleased you two have become friendly. I know how hard Susan took it when her mother died. It must be tough for Susan to have her dad engaged to your mom. Though Carol is a real sweetheart. Caring for your dad all those years. A real angel.”

Jenny picked up her pace. Agnes’ business was selling antiques but her hobby was gossip. Sometimes Agnes’ gossip hit painfully close to home—Susan deeply resented her father for marrying Jenny’s mother.

“I can bet who Susan got to play the pirate,” Agnes continued, undeterred by having to jog to keep pace with Jenny. “That bad boy brother of hers. Jimmy Chang told me Robert is back in town. Saw him at the Barnacle last night. He’s quite a character but handsome as they come. Probably left a string of broken hearts all over the world. Have you met him yet?”

Ouch! Direct hit! “Got to hurry! Don’t want to be late for my film debut!” Jenny started to run. Fortunately Jo-Jo spotted a cat and took off in the other direction, dragging Agnes with him.

Jenny hurried up the steep hill as fast as she could. When she reached the top, she stopped. She gasped for breath. She glanced behind. Agnes had not followed. Jenny’s breasts ballooned over the top of her bodice. Why on earth had Susan picked this costume for the pirate’s wife? It made Jenny look like an 18th century hooker. She yanked the top of the bodice as high as she could.

Damn Agnes! She’d named the very source for Jenny’s anxiety that morning—her soon-to-be stepbrother and one-time lover Robert Goodman. For weeks Jenny had been dreading seeing Robert at her mother’s wedding. Last night, Susan had called to instruct Jenny one more time about the shoot and casually mentioned that Robert would now be playing the part of Pirate Blackwell. The guy Susan had asked to play the part had broken his arm and Robert had offered to come home early and help her out. Jenny had to disguise her shock at the news with a fit of coughing. Susan, of course, did not know about Jenny’s fling with Robert. Nor did Susan’s father or Jenny’s mother.

Down below, at the base of the hill, several people were walking along the paved path that led between 18th century row houses to Perkins Cove. Jenny was still too far to decipher faces, but even after more than nine months of not seeing him, she would know Robert’s body.

1 comment:

Magdalen said...

Janne -- It's funny you should mention that visceral (tidal?) pull of the ocean. My mother's family vacationed in Maine on the beach for 6 consecutive summers when she was a small girl. Decades later, she packed up the kids (she was pregnant with me) to return to the same beach. My parents ended up buying property, building a vacation house, then rebuilding that as a retirement home. My siblings and I inherited it.

But when I married, my then-husband and I decided to get property in a very hilly rural area north of Philadelphia. We came up every Friday night and returned to Philly every Sunday evening. For the first couple of years we'd use the Maine house for a portion of the time I was entitled to, but I missed my Endless Mountains weekend place. (And the Maine house, while not spectacular real estate, was right down by a pristine beach that doesn't even get crowded on hot summer weekends.)

Despite having it in my blood, the ocean doesn't call to me the way I expected it would. I ended up selling my share of the house to a sibling, and I've not missed it at all. And, as it happened, I divorced Brit Hub 1.0, married Brit Hub 2.1 and we ended up living full time in the country.

I took him to see the beach in Maine once and it was completely fogged in. Quite symbolic!