Thursday, 27 January 2011


Thanks so much for having me at the BRF blog, it is always great to hang out here. For those of you who don’t know me I’m an author of contemporary erotic romance writing for Ellora’s Cave, Total-e-Bound and Xcite. I got my big break into writing by entering an erotic fiction contest. Much to my delight I won first place which gave me the confidence and the enthusiasm to continue with my naughty stories. So before I tell you about my newest release 'Mirror Music' I just want to tell any aspiring writers about the Love Honey/Filament Magazine’s latest competition, but you’ll have to be quick – closing is Monday 31st Jan.

Check out all the official details by following the link below and while you’re there sit back for half an hour and listen to a FREE podcast of ‘A Classic Wedding Night’ - written by myself and read by Love Honey’s Alice – ever wondered what Mr and Mrs Darcy got up to on their wedding night after their carriage slipped from view? Wonder no more…phew, its steamy stuff! Or if you prefer just download it for FREE in pdf version. It might give you some naughty inspiration.

So to my new release Mirror Music. It’s a raunchy story focusing on the sexy London rock and roll scene and is just out at Ellora’s Cave. It is the second in a set of three novellas and gets its name from a VERY sexy bedroom!


As Robbie Harding belts out hit song Jenny to a packed Wembley Stadium, my heart tears, my mind fudges and my insides heat to a lusty, pulsing boiling point.

Why me more than the other 90,000 screaming fans?

Because I’m Jenny—he’s singing about me.

The guy is sex on legs with a voice to match and has starred in all my hot dreams since the day boys became interesting. For three precious years, it was more than hot dreams. Turns out he wants me back in his life and his bed. How can I resist?

So with lots of naked, sweaty and downright dirty time to make up for, I wield my backstage pass, hunt him down and refuse to be starstruck by the boy next door. Seems Robbie agrees, as he insists on tuning in to my needs and rediscovering our rhythm before we even reach a bedroom.

Excerpt - PG
Copyright © LILY HARLEM, 2011
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

My stomach tightened as I followed Sylvia down a brightly lit winding corridor. Several people rushed past us and we had to flatten ourselves against the wall to get out of their way. As we moved on again I patted my bubbles of blonde hair, frizzing because of the damp evening. I wore just the tiniest hint of makeup, a thin layer of waterproof mascara and sheer gloss.
Beneath my hoody I had on a small cream t-shirt with a V-neck. Within the V sat the tiny butterfly necklace Robbie had bought me the last Christmas we’d spent together. It wasn’t an expensive piece of jewelry. Neither of us had much money then. But it had meant a lot that Christmas morning, especially when he said that he knew I needed to spread my wings and fulfill my dreams of university.
We stopped outside a shiny white door. A burly security guy stood against it with his thick arms crossed over his colossal chest. He gave Sylvia the smallest of nods and stepped aside as she reached for the handle.
Beneath my faded denim jeans, my knees turned watery. I didn’t know if I could go through with this, seeing Robbie after all this time. He wasn’t the boy next door anymore. The guy I’d lost my virginity to in the tent at the bottom of his garden. He was an international musician, known all over the world for his talent and his good looks. He dated supermodels and Oscar winners. He wasn’t “my” Robbie Harding anymore. He belonged to millions of adoring fans.
I tugged at my bottom lip with my teeth and dragged in a deep breath. I was a little dizzy, a little nauseous.
He’d lost his virginity to me too. We’d traded. We’d done it so we were even. We both wanted to be each other’s first—and last, if I remembered the conversation correctly.
Sylvia pushed open the door and took a step inside. I stayed still. Out in the corridor where the lights were harsh and the air stuffy.
But I wasn’t the girl next door either. Not anymore. I was “Dr.” Calahan and I’d just been involved in important research into the prevention of malaria. My name along with the results of my study had been splashed about several medical journals. I no longer collected butterflies in jam jars any more than he still had a snail farm in an old fish tank in his garage.
We’d both changed.
“Come in,” Sylvia called to me. “Come in, they don’t bite.”
I knew for a fact one of them did when he got carried away. In the heat of the moment he’d been known to give my inner thighs quite a nip.
I swallowed and felt the burly security man’s gaze on me. I looked up. His eyes were a piercing glacial blue.
“You okay, Miss?” he asked. “You look kind of starstruck.”
“Yes, yes, I’m fine. Not starstruck though, this is more like coming face to face with a ghost.”

If it tickles your fancy check out the first in the series MATTRESS MUSIC which is all about Nina and the sexy but secretive Ian.


Is it possible to lose one’s ability to orgasm? Nina has. Lately, her fun weekend hook-ups have been more ho-hum than hot damn! It doesn’t help that she has three flatmates and is forced to play loud music to mask the sounds of her lovemaking. Talk about distracting! Of course, there’s another reason Nina’s less than satisfied these days…she’s just having a hard time admitting it.

It’s a good thing she’s met Ian, then. Not content to be a weekend hook-up, Ian is set on giving Nina what she’s been missing while making her admit what she needs. His talented fingers—and other body parts—are up to the task. But Ian’s not admitting a few things himself. Turns out his fingers can do more than make Nina’s body sing.

When she discovers his secret, it’s time for both of them to face the music.

Coming soon, the last in the set, MÈNAGE Á MUSIC, find out who the brothers in the band have set their sight on!

Please stop by my website/blog and let me know what you think. I love hearing from readers and if you sign up for my newsletter you will be in with a chance to win my latest release. And good luck if you enter the contest - don't forget to spell check!!!

Lily Harlem x

Winner of the 2009 Love Honey Award for Erotic Fiction

Monday, 24 January 2011

Suzanne Barrett: 'In Love and War' - a novel of Ireland

Civilization is hooped together, brought
Under a rule, under the semblance of peace
By manifest illusion; but man’s life is thought,
And he, despite his terror, cannot cease
Ravening, raging, and uprooting that he may come
Into the desolation of reality
William Butler Yeats

Lindsay, thank you for having me, I’m honored to be here, pleased to be given a forum where I can tell a bit about my latest release and its circuitous journey to publication.

IN LOVE AND WAR was a concept born many years ago, an idea that wouldn’t go away. Then, a year later, I had the opportunity to spend part of a winter in County Waterford, near the town of Cappoquin. Previous visits had been in the months of May and June which just precede the tourist season. While I was prepared for the damp, I wasn’t prepared for the short days and many shop and tourist closures. However, we managed to see many sights the average tourist wouldn’t, and we found ourselves the only Americans. I spent the early hours writing, the remainder of each day gathering interviews from a variety of sources: Irish farmhouse cheeses, an Irish school in the Waterford Gaeltacht, an angora rabbit farm where they used the fur for knitted garments, even a pub that catered to Republicans. In a few short weeks I had the bare bones for my plot, occupations for the protagonists, motives for the antagonist.

I returned home, wrote the book, and discovered that my publisher wouldn’t accept a story with an Irish heroine and New York wouldn’t touch a book about the Troubles. I despaired of ILAW ever finding a home, even though it was–and is--my favorite of all the books I’ve written. Oh, people liked it–it was twice a Golden Heart finalist. But nobody wanted to publish it. Sigh.

I kept writing, sold other books, stopped writing and then returned. Fast forward to the present and voila! Turquoise Morning loved the story. IN LOVE AND WAR is about Quinn Lawlor, an embittered war correspondent who goes to his ancestral home to heal. He’s wounded in body and soul. He’s disfigured, his television career is over, and he harbors a hatred of political and religious conflict. In the tiny village of Timnagh, he rents a converted castle keep from dairy farmer Meaghann Power. Almost immediately an attraction simmers, but Ms. Power is exactly the woman Quinn shouldn’t love. She has family secrets that would ostracize her from the community she’s lived in her entire life.

County Waterford - 1993

Father Donovan returned and directed Meaghann into his study. "Now," he said, lowering his robust frame onto an overstuffed chair, indicating she should do the same. "Tell me about this boarder. I trust you're...having no difficulty?"

Meaghann sank into the opposite chair. "I've rented out the keep. Uncle Tom suggested it, and it seemed a good idea. It's working well. And Quinn-- "

The priest took the tray from the elderly housekeeper and set it on a table. "Oh, thank you Mrs. Aherne." He poured two cups of tea and offered one to Meaghann.

"Quinn, you say?" he asked after settling back in his chair. "Have I met the fellow?"

Meaghann cast an uneasy glance at the priest's piercing eyes. Clear and questioning--definitely questioning. "Quinn Lawlor. His family left Timnagh in the sixties. You might remember his father, Patrick."

"Hmmm. I'd just come down from Maynooth then," the priest mused. He took a bite from a square of cake on his plate. "Yes, of course I remember Paddy. A firebrand if ever I saw one." His brows formed a continuous line across intense blue eyes. "Not unlike his son, I'm told. A man in a dangerous occupation."

"Then you know about Quinn."

Father Donovan contemplated the cup of tea in his hand. "Just what I hear--that he's a war correspondent. I've seen a piece or two about him. Perceptive young man, so they say."

"He's writing a book, now--since his accident."

"Why haven't I seen him at Mass?"

"He's...busy, I guess."

The bushy brows rose. "Too busy to keep the sacraments?" The priest subjected her to a precise scrutiny.
"My dear girl, you realize that having a man living on your property will cause tongues to wag."

Meaghann twiddled the strap on her shoulder bag. "Tongues wag whether there's cause or not. I intend to pay it no mind, Father."

"Just so long as you know what you're inviting. I'll not see God mocked in my parish. 'Tis easy for a woman alone to be beguiled by a man such as that one."

A chilling silence settled over the room. "What do you mean 'such as that one'?"

"Read the paper, my girl. Your boarder has a fair reputation with the ladies."

Meaghann plunked her cup and saucer down on the tray. "His life is his own business, Father. Not mine."

The priest tented pudgy fingers over the black worsted wool of one thigh. "The one that wears the shoe knows where it pinches, girl. See you remember it." His fleshy lips thinned. "We don't need another Sean Foley. One fool in a parish is enough."

Meaghann sucked in a breath, then lurched to her feet. Everybody knew Con and Cait's mother had run off with a Tinker when the twins were babies and that their father, Sean, had spent the better part of a year drinking and whoring in the village until he met Sally, the twins' stepmother, and married her. Now, he was a model husband and father, but the older villagers and Father Donovan never forgot his long ago indiscretion.

"Thank you, Father," she said, her voice stiff. "I must be going."

Her cheeks tingled as she let herself out. Damned self-righteous man. Aunt Brid must have run straight to Father with the news. Brid's genetic inability to miss a piece of gossip had brought more than one set of troubles to their lives. Meaghann strode to her car, plunked herself on the seat, and lurched into the lane of traffic. The transmission complained as she missed a gear. Neither the villagers nor Father Donovan would dictate to her what she did with her life.

She braked with a squeal of tires in front of the village market. It was her life, after all. Were a few weeks of happiness too much to ask for?

But all the same, she had better be sure she wasn't making Blind Billy's bargain. After all, she was much older than Quinn. And she wasn't experienced, or educated like the women he had known. Her clothes, even her manners, were plain. Countrified. But those things, she acknowledged, were insignificant when compared to her biggest problem. As long as Quinn harbored bitterness against her people, she couldn't tell him about her family. Or herself. Certainly not about their fierce love for Ireland or their fight for freedom. He'd never understand.

She reached into the rear seat for her shopping bag, then slung her purse over one shoulder and stepped from her car to the curb.

Inside the market, Meaghann wandered down each aisle. With Quinn very much on her mind, she moved mechanically, dropping items from this shelf and that into her basket. She paused at the meat counter and selected a plump fryer for dinner.

From behind the meat case, Liam Connaughton handed her the wrapped chicken. "Hear ye've put Con and Cait Foley on full time, Meaghann." He flashed her a good-natured smile.

Meaghann nodded and made a perusal of the chops displayed in the center of the case. "For the summer at least. I'll have a bit of your sirloin as well."

"Would ye be wantin' one cut or two?"

Meaghann stared at the butcher's bulbous nose. "Why, two, I suppose."

"Thought so. My Mary says you got a fellow stayin' at your place. Would he be anyone I know?"

For an instant, Meaghann's heart stopped. She stared at the butcher, and let out a slow breath. "You don't know him, Liam. He's an American--a writer."

"Then he'd be the fellow I saw askin' around about the Fenian graves. A fine doorful of a man he is, never mind the limp."

The Fenian graves! The hastily dug graves for the village men who'd taken part in the Rising of 1867. The mention of their graves always made her eerily aware of the secret associated with that obscure plot of ground, a secret only she knew.

Meaghann eyed the butcher curiously. "When did you see Mr. Lawlor, Liam?"

"Oh, t'wasn't more'n two hours ago. He was walkin' past the shop, talkin' to old Dennis."

Talking to the news agent, was he? Gathering material for his book. Meaghann groaned. Dennis meant well, but too often he embroidered great, grand tales for the occasional tourist who happened to stop at his corner shop. Tales about the various risings and the parts played by the villagers. To hear Dennis say it, every man's forebear had been a Volunteer in one insurrection or another.

And what mad stories would he have told Quinn about her family? Meaghann shuddered. Near her great-grandfather's grave existed another, shallower grave, known only to her. Her father had discovered it, and it had changed his life. Quinn must never find out!

She felt the blood drain from her face. Taking the package of meat from the butcher, she dropped it into her basket. "Th--thank you, Liam," she stuttered. "Give my love to Mary and the little ones."

If any stories were to be told about her family and their part in the Rising, she must be the one to tell him.

* * * * *

The release date is January 24. IN LOVE AND WAR is my second book for Turquoise Morning Press and the first of five books scheduled for 2011.

In addition to writing, I am also a jewelry designer ( and an Irish travel guide at (

I am offering a free electronic copy of IN LOVE AND WAR and a pair of handmade sterling silver Celtic spiral earrings to one person who presents proof of purchase for the book.

The proof involves answering two questions about the book (answers to my email by March 1st,  please):

1. What is the name of Meaghann's cat?

2. Meaghann's brother spends a night in jail. In what town or city is the jail located?

Wednesday, 19 January 2011


I thought it was about time I did a contest. I haven't done one for ages and so what a better way to start a new year?

So, to win a ebook pdf copy of my modern romance, Hooked on You, all you have to do is leave a comment on my blog - and your name will be put into a hat. I'll ask a member of my family to pull out a winner's name on February 1st.

I'm also giving away a second prize, a ebook pdf copy of my short story, Avenue of Dreams to the second name picked, as a consolation prize.

A bit about both stories;-
 Hooked On You
Katie Edwards is 28, single, and living the life - or so she thinks. After leaving a groping boss, who enjoyed putting the personal in personal assistant, Katie lands a job as an assistant for Liam Kennedy, a sports freak.

She hates sports, and not only is Liam a sports fanatic, but he's good at everything. The last thing Katie expects is to fall in love. But he’s simply sex on legs. And the longer they're working together, the more she wants him.
Working for a sexy man sounded fabulous, but she should have been careful what she wished for, because gorgeous employers are a hazard to the heart. Now, Katie’s in lust and he thinks she’s a dizzy chick who only knows how to party.
How can she be professional when all she wants is to hop into his bed?
Will he ever take her seriously enough to see how perfect they'd be for each other? Or is she doomed to be hooked on him forever?
Hooked on You is available to purchase in digital and paperback from various outlets. The Book Depository UK (free delivery worldwide)
Amazon USA
Amazon UK

 Avenue of Dreams

Molly Daniels is summer holidaying in a small town in the country to recover from a broken marriage. She’s hurt, disillusioned and unsure of her future. She last thing she is looking for is a man.

Sebastian Lord is the town’s most eligible bachelor, a title he hates. Having given up on a successful career in the city he now owns a small farm and is content to hide away there, away from the real world that has hurt him in the past. Since his fiancé was killed four years ago, he’s refused to enter the dating game again.

They’re an unlikely pair, but Seb’s wayward dog has a habit of bringing them together. They give into their attraction and share a hot summer together, but can they let go of the past enough to embrace a future together?

Purchase for $3

Enter and good luck!!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


I am constantly asked how I get ideas for my books. Sometimes they come about quite by chance. The idea for The Favourite Child certainly did. I was working on my novel Manchester Pride in which one of my characters needed guidance on contraception. The poor girl was worrying how to stop yet another baby coming. I was telling a writer friend of how I’d discovered in my research that there had been a Mothers’ Clinic over a pie shop in Salford in the twenties.

‘I know,’ she said. ‘My mother opened it.’

So began my mission to write this gift of a story. Ursula’s mother was Charis Frankenburg, and unlike my heroine, Isabella Ashton, was a qualified nurse who had served in France during WWI. But on her move to Salford after her marriage she was horrified to discover the lack of medical help for working women on how to stop the annual pregnancy. They suffered all manner of ills as a result, or committed horrific practices in order to rid themselves of what had often become a life-threatening event. Charis Frankenburg immediately got in touch with Marie Stopes, and with the help of local politician Mary Stocks, set about the task of providing such a clinic.

The two women were subject to considerable vilification as contraception was seen as a way for women to ‘prostitute their marriage vows’. They endured bricks thrown through their windows, defamatory reports in the press, and stern lectures from the pulpit issuing severe threats to any woman who dared attend this den of iniquity. Of course, the very opposite of the Church’s intentions was the result. The more the vicar or priest insisted women not attend, the longer the queues outside the pie shop.

‘How did you hear about us?’ Charis would ask.
‘Oh, we heard about it in church,’ came the answer.
The resulting furore was even worse than that experienced 40 years later with the introduction of the pill.

The clinic depicted in The Favourite Child is based on the work done by these fine women, and attempts to be true to their aims. Salford is as real as I can make it but the characters, of course, are entirely fictitious. The book is dedicated to the memory of all the women who were pioneers in the work of birth control and improvements in women’s health care.

For anyone interested in learning more about this amazing lady, I would highly recommend they read her autobiography, Not Old, Madam, Vintage. It sheds as much light on a remarkable woman as on the noble and worthwhile enterprise she helped found.

When the book was first published it was a best-seller and received good reviews. You can now read it as an ebook. Just click on the links below.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Strong Women of History

It was Georgette Heyer who addicted me to Regency romance, but I have also always been fascinated by the strong women of history. In a time when women had almost no rights at all, every now and then a woman overcame every obstacle to guide her people.
One of those was Queen Elizabeth I of England to whom my latest book, a Regency-set erotic lesbian romance, has been dedicated:
In memory of Queen Elizabeth I of England—a woman who refused to let her gender stand in the way of achieving her hopes and ambitions, and who ruled her country better than any man of her time could have done.
Other women who come to mind are:
Marie Curie, Queen Victoria, Joan of Arc, Cleopatra, Mother Theresa, Eleanor of Aquitane, Aspasia of Miletus, Boadicea, Catherine the Great, Sappho, Florence Nightingale, and in our own day, Aung San Suu Kyi. Of course, you will all have your own lists.

In “Sappho’s Sisters”, two women aim to make their own happiness despite the confines of the Regency era.

“Sappho’s Sisters” blurb.

Lady Eustacia Lumley is the only child of the Earl of Wentworth. It is her duty to marry well and ensure the succession.
Margaret Durrell is the fourth daughter of a gently born, but near penniless vicar. She has no option but to marry a man who can provide for her and possibly for some of her sisters as well.
Best friends since their days at Miss Marcomb's Academy for Young Ladies, both young women are very interested in Sappho's poetry and ideas. One evening while visiting the Wentworth estate, Margaret has a headache and Eustacia offers to massage her scalp. This act of kindness leads them into an encounter they both find very enjoyable.
The two young women fall deeply in love, but is there any hope for them? Or will they both have to conform to the rigid rules of Regency society?

WARNING This is a PG13 Excerpt from a Lesbian Erotic Romance. If you do not enjoy these books please stop reading now.

"Sappho’s Sisters": Excerpt PG 13
After a week in Town, Eustacia was keen to return to Green Meadows, her home outside London. It was ideally situated on good farming land, a full day’s journey from the bustle of the city—close enough to make a trip to Town for shopping or parties easy, but not so close that people were endlessly arriving unannounced.
She was particularly pleased to have Margaret staying with them for at least three months. Margaret’s long-suffering Papa despaired of marrying his four motherless daughters appropriately. Both Margaret’s Mama and her Papa came from the nobility, but the Reverend Mr. Durrell had inadequate funds to launch them onto the marriage mart. He loved them and wanted them to be happy, not just married to the highest bidder.
“Ah well, he won’t need to worry about Margaret for a while,” she mused.
Although Margaret was eighteen to Eustacia’s twenty-four, they both had lively minds and had formed an instant bond in the brief year they’d both been at Miss Marcomb’s Academy for Young Ladies—Margaret’s first year there and Eustacia’s last. They both loved learning and had read avidly. Since then, they’d kept in touch with long letters and had recently been reading and discussing Sappho’s poetry. Eustacia was looking forward to talking more about it with her friend.
Sappho’s sharp imagery, her immediacy, her control, and the rhythm and almost melody of her words were immensely appealing. Not to mention some of her underlying ideas—ideas which were increasingly compelling to Eustacia.
Eustacia had never been sexually attracted to men. While all the other young ladies at school had been sighing over the dancing master and the riding master, Eustacia had only desired to learn the subjects they taught. Their male beauty stirred her heart not one iota. When she had first made her curtsy to the Ton, many handsome and eligible young men had sought her hand for that lascivious dance, the waltz. Not one of them had made her heart beat faster. Fortunately, her father, the earl, had made no attempt to push her to accept any of the three very flattering offers he had received for her hand. Even more fortunately, Gervase’s younger brother, Anthony, had three fine, strong sons to inherit the title, so there was no pressure on Gervase to marry again and produce an heir, or to marry off his daughter to ensure a grandson to inherit.
But Margaret. Ahh, Margaret did make her palms sweat and her heart beat faster. Margaret’s bright, inquiring mind and ability to converse intelligently on any topic. Margaret’s soft brown eyes and shiny brown hair. Her white skin and pale cheeks that flushed enchantingly when Eustacia smiled at her.
Eustacia had read widely about Sapphic love and was eager to experience it—but only with Margaret and only if Margaret was willing. Meanwhile, her reading had taught her much, and with the help of a handheld looking glass, she had learned a lot about the art of self-pleasure. As for the anatomist Mateo Renaldo Colombo, who claimed to have discovered the amor Veneris, vel dulcedo—“the sweetness of Venus”—Eustacia was willing to bet her late mother’s emeralds that Sappho and her followers had known about their nubbins six hundred years before the birth of Christ!

Visit the Sappho’s Sisters page at Logical-Lust Publications:

Berengaria Brown