Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Portrait of a Sexy Romance - Picture Perfect by Nikki Dee Houston

 Nikki Dee Houston is back! After setting us alight in places requiring the skills of ALL her sexy firemen in All Fired Up, she has now turned to the world of art for her latest inspiration. Her latest erotic romance- Picture Perfect - is the result. And when I say "erotic" - well - suffice it to say, the paint sizzles on the canvas of this hot story. Take a look at the blurb, for a start:

After being dumped by her boyfriend, Chelsea is lonely, loveless—and horny as hell. Her friend suggests she get out more—meet some new people, maybe take an art class...who knows, maybe she’ll meet someone who has what she needs. And if not, then there are worse things than having to stare at the gorgeous hunk of man candy that’s modeling for them.

 But when a new student shows up in class, the tight, white T-shirt stretched over his muscled shoulders, six-pack abs, and bulging biceps makes Chelsea’s head spin. Peter is friendly, quiet, and when the model can’t make it to class—you guessed it—Peter fills in. Chelsea nearly slips off her artist stool, her panties are so wet. But will lust be enough?

Whew! I guess we'll find out that lust certainly isn't enough. I have the feeling this relationship is not going to run as smoothly as the lines and curves she draws in class.
Oh go on then, I can't leave you totally in suspense. Here's an excerpt, but if anyone under 18 has slipped into the room, just turn around and leave. NOW. This is hot, adult stuff! I have warnings on my blog for a reason, you know!

All clear? Right. Here we go:

 He kissed her neck, the touch of his lips on her skin causing her goose bumps. He slid his hands down her back, then up, under her T-shirt. His palms felt so good on her skin. Her bra unclasped as if by magic, and he lifted her T-shirt up, over her head, and tossed it aside.

“Where’s the bedroom?” His lips, still on hers, muffled the words.

She dragged him into the dim room and he gently lay her down, fondling her breasts with his hands, rubbing her hard nipples with his thumbs. She slid her hand up inside his shirt, feeling his ribbed stomach. He let her go for a second while he whipped his shirt off and threw it. She gasped at the sight of his sculpted chest, just like she drew it in the portrait. She ran her hands up his arms, finding his impressive biceps hard as rocks.

He bent his head and ran his tongue over her nipples, encircling them. She felt desire build up deep within her. Each delicious kiss made her want him more. He moved his hands down to her short skirt, then delved under it, touching her wet thong with his fingers. He pulled the thin strip of fabric to one side, and gently fingered her clit. A breathy noise escaped her lips as he titillated her senses. He stroked her, making her wet, and causing her clit to swell with longing. With a quick movement of his hand, he pulled her thong all the way down her legs, and flicked it off her feet. 

Wow! I'm off for a cold shower. Meanwhile, here's a little information about Nikki:

 Nikki Dee Houston is a businesswoman by day, an erotic romance writer by night, and a lover all the time. She lives in an idyllic location in a modest beach shack near the sea.

Nikki loves to write Erotic Fiction - the ‘behind closed doors’ stuff, where the readers can really get involved with the characters in an intimate way. 

She believes that a good Erotic Romance story must have a strong romantic element, engaging characters, an interesting storyline, and some sizzling hot, steamy sex scenes. Nikki never underestimates the expectations of erotic romance readers and ensures she delivers on all counts.

Contact Nikki




Buy Links 

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The History of the Labyrinth...

...And Why You Should Care

I am delighted to welcome Paranormal Romance author, Erin Moore onto my blog today. Her latest - Awakened by The Minotaur - will keep you turning the pages, absorbed in the adventure and romance, that has its roots in the distant past, spanning many diverse cultures. Here, she tells us about a key symbol from her story - the labyrinth. It's a fascinating tale in itself. Over to you, Erin:

Most of us think of labyrinths as something from ancient Greece. And they are well represented there. But did you know that this symbol also appears in ancient Indian texts, as well as Native American histories and symbols? Even in ancient Egypt, we know of an amazingly complex labyrinth that Herodotus says surpassed the pyramids themselves in their complexity and awesomeness:

It has twelve covered courts — six in a row facing north, six south — the gates of the one range exactly fronting the gates of the other. Inside, the building is of two storeys and contains three thousand rooms…The roof of every chamber, courtyard, and gallery is, like the walls, of stone. The walls are covered with carved figures, and each court is exquisitely built of white marble and surrounded by a colonnade.[20]

Wouldn’t that have been amazing to see? 

The Hopi of the Southwest, too, have a history with the labyrinth. They believe that it represents the life cycle of man/woman, from birth through to death, following an umbilical cord. It also represents the connection between Mother Earth and her children. Other South American cultures also have a history of the labyrinth and the labyrinth symbol. 

(The author’s own picture. Labyrinth symbols amongst Hopi hieroglyphs in Arizona.)

This ancient pattern is still used today in churches and secular buildings for quiet contemplation or group exercises.  Why would these labyrinths have endured so long, and more, what can it tell us of the ancient cultures that used it? 

We know for sure that this pattern has been associated with the Mother and our own journey through life, and that future generations may have connected to this unknowingly, as a patriarchal and monotheistic religion gradually took over most cultures. We may also infer that the mythical minotaur was in fact a symbol of our inner demons, something that must be faced down before we can continue to the next stage (or turn of the labyrinth) of our lives. 

However we choose to think of labyrinths, I always find them fascinating. What do you think? Do you think that each of these cultures came up with the labyrinth on their own, or that this is an imprint from our original “ur-culture”?

Lara Castille always plays it safe in both love and life. But when she arrives on vacation in Crete, she is determined to enjoy herself. Old habits die hard, though. Drawn to her tour guide, the enigmatic and sexy Teo Lambros, she cannot let down her guard—until she takes part in the ancient and sensual rites at the ruins of Knossos. She dreams of the minotaur who takes her upon the altar, and wonders if it could be Teo who brought her to ecstasy.

A gray haze clouds Teo’s memory of the rites; he knows only that the bull has chosen him for his own. He fears that the land will once again need a sacrifice, as it did when it claimed his fiancée the year before. Though he cannot deny his need for Lara, he knows that protecting her from his desire is the only way to keep her safe.

As the island’s magic demands everything they have, Lara and Teo must discover what’s real and what’s imagined if they’re to survive the passionate sexuality that draws them together…

 You can buy Awakened By The Minotaur here:


  About the Author

Erin’s most recent paranormal romance features both a minotaur and a labyrinth. A regular blogger for Marketing for Romance Writers as well as Heroes and Heartbreakers, she is sadly neglectful of her own blog.

She lives in Atlanta with two little paranormal beings and one unruly husband. Find her on Twitter and Facebook. Her free short story, To Love a Shaman, is available on her website. She's also giving away a critique of a first chapter with a subscription to her newsletter

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Only In Vienna...

Where can you...

Visit an art space in a telephone box?

Live in a council flat designed by a world famous artist?

Find a waste-to-energy plant that looks like an art installation? 

Do your shopping in a gas tank?

Answer? As if you needed me to tell you.


I'll begin at the very beginning. A very good place to start. (Listen, I'm allowed the odd Sound of Music reference. Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the musical that informed a whole generation that not only did Austria have fewer syllables than Australia, it also had lots of cattle. And mountains. But definitely NO kangaroos).

The art space in a telephone box:

Its proper name is The Kunstzelle (art cell) - a former Austrian telephone box left over from the days before the fancy new models, digital phones and mobiles. Inside, artists respond to the challenge of presenting a complete installation in a confined space. Don’t ask me how or why, but it works. In the past, it has housed an adventure playground, complete with barbeque (by Gruppe Anonim), an extraordinary and prolific grass sculpture (by Katrin Hornek) and even a street theatre group - Carpa (pictured at the top). Yes, all of them, crammed in together. Health and safety anyone?

At present, there is a lovely little exhibit entitled ‘Never Walk Alone’ by Christiane Spatt, inspired by the classic James Stewart film, ‘Harvey’. I understood it was supposed to end in July but here we are in September and, at the time of writing, it is still there. Really cute.

The Kunstzelle is situated in the Werkstätten- und Kulturhaus  (WUK) Währinger Straße 59
A-1090 Wien. It’s easily reached by public transport (which in Vienna is easy, fast, reliable and cheap). WUK houses a wondrous collection of art spaces, theatre, music, in a relaxed and laid back atmosphere. It is a place to wander, meander, relax and enjoy. Or, indeed, create.

Want to live in a council flat designed by a world famous artist?

Then, join a long waiting list! But until you manage (somehow) to scramble to the top, you’ll find the house in question – known as Hundertwasserhaus – on the corner of Kegelgasse and Löwengasse in the Landstraße district of Vienna. The city countil commissioned controversial artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who collaborated with architect, Joseph Krawina, in 1977, to design a block of flats which would be a world away from the usual, featureless concrete blocks to be found all over Vienna. Hundertwasser had very firm ideas on the role of mankind on the planet, what man gives away he/she must put back. If a tree is removed to build a house, then room within that house shall be made for another tree to grow. Hence, now, these many years later, views of Hundertwasserhaus can be almost obliterated by dense summer foliage. 

Hundertwasser also abhorred straight lines, or any windows ‘without eyebrows’. Straight lines do not occur in nature, he said. So you will find the pavements (sidewalks) undulate a little, the colourful wall painting is all curves and soft edges and every window has its decoration. In fact, if they want to, the residents can add their own embellishment (within a specified measure from their window). So far, none have chosen to do so. The apartments themselves are, of course, private, but the exterior is worth the short tram ride from the centre alone. And the shops are pretty neat too.

Now, about that waste-to-energy plant...

Hop on the U4 or the U6 underground train and head off to Spittelau and you will find the most extraordinary looking thermal waste treatment plant. It was partially destroyed by fire but, by 1987, Friedensreich Hundertwasser had been hard at work again. This time designing a façade that transformed an ugly, functional industrial eyesore into a work of art visited by people from all over the world. Around 60,000 homes in Vienna are heated by this plant.

  Ready for some shopping? A bite to eat? A film maybe?  

You can do it all in one of four gas tanks. Seriously. Well, obviously there’s no gas in them now but there was once. 

 Four enormous (70 meters high) gasometers were constructed at the end of the 19 century to cater for an expected high demand from a rapidly growing city. They were the largest in Europe at the time but, less than a hundred years later, they were lying there. Gigantic, defunct monster relics of a bygone age. What to do with them? Demolish them? Plenty had been all over Europe. Or – how about doing something creative with them? 

The latter option was chosen and now, shopping complexes, cinemas, cafes, restaurants, offices, its own underground station (Gasometer, on the U3) and an event hall for 4000 people have created their own city. Sadly, it seems to have been undergoing a downturn of fortunes recently. I noticed a lot of shops closed down and an unusual, almost eerie, stillness where they used to be a buzz. Maybe it’s just the post-summer lull before Christmas. I’ve been known to do all my Christmas shopping there, but not for a few years. Memo to self: rectify that this year!

The video for Falco’s Coming Home (Jeanny Part II) was partially filmed in one of the empty gasometers, prior to renovation:

If you are a fan of the quirky and unusual, you’ll find ‘111 Places in Vienna That You Shouldn’t Miss’ an excellent guide, it’s written by Peter Eickhoff, with some super photographs by Karl Haimel. (Damn! I wish I’d thought to write it first!) You can find it here: Amazon