Sunday, August 26, 2007
Champagne Rules by Susan Lyons
Awesome Foursome series: BOOK 1
Foreign rights to Champagne Rules have been sold in Germany and The Netherlands. The German edition, Haut wie Samt, was released in March 2007.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
What do you do when the best sex you ever had was with a total stranger, four years ago in a cave on Crete?
Suzanne Brennan’s gal-pals know the answer to that one: Find the guy! And so, aided and abetted by her friends, she goes online as outrageous69 and tracks down her caveman.
Neither she nor Jaxon Navarre are looking for a “relationship” – just some wild, crazy sex. And so they set up the Champagne Rules. Anything goes, at least anything that’s not conventional or mundane. Can't have those bubbles – or anything else – going flat on them!
There’s just one problem with rules. They can be awfully hard to stick to. And sometimes, the real fun is in breaking them…
(Warning: Excerpt contains adult language)
“So, tell all, Suze.” Jenny leaned forward, elbows on the table, pink flamingo earrings dancing. “What’s the best sex you ever had?”
Around their outside table at Las Margaritas restaurant, three flushed female faces grinned at Suzanne.
It was Jenny Yuen who’d launched the topic, with her description of hot sex in her boyfriend Pete’s double Jacuzzi. “It was the best sex of my life!” she’d exclaimed, brown eyes flashing. “I swear, Korean men beat Chinese, hands down.”
“Ssh,” Suzanne had said, used to the fact that Jenny’s personality was twice the size of her petite body, but wishing she didn't always have to be quite so out there.
She wished she’d kept quiet, though, when Jenny turned the question on her.
“I, um…” Best sex? Suzanne barely suppressed a nervous giggle. That would have to be with her dream lover.
Jenny rolled her eyes, turned a pink sweatshirted back to Suzanne, and said to Rina Goldberg, “So, what's the best sex you’ve ever had?”
“Not with Marty, that’s for sure.” Tonight, at the Awesome Foursome’s regular Monday dinner, Rina had already told them she’d called it quits with the man she’d been seeing for the last several months. Her heart definitely didn't seem broken.
“The best sex,” she murmured. Looking like a gypsy with a fringed burgundy shawl over her usual black clothing, she pulled a wayward lock of curly black hair behind a multi-ringed ear as she sipped her second margarita and considered the question.
The others waited, munching from the platter of nachos locos — laden with everything yummy and fattening you could possibly imagine — and working on their own second margaritas.
Rina began to smile, and nodded her head firmly. “Yeah, I know exactly. The summer I turned eighteen, I went to a music school in Banff. There was this other student, Giancarlo, from Italy. He was a pianist and he had the most awesome hands.”
The others ooh'ed and aah'ed as Rina described the things Giancarlo had done with his hands, including making her come three times in a row atop the grand piano in a student rehearsal room.
Somewhere during the recitation, a third round of margaritas got ordered for everyone but Suzanne, who had a strict two-drink limit.
When Rina finished, Jenny turned to Ann Montgomery. “Your turn,” she said, talking around a guacamole and sour cream-laden chip.
“You know I'm a conventional gal.” But Ann’s eyes were twinkling. “I'm not much into Jacuzzis or pianos. I like big, comfy beds. And a man who wears a tie.”
“A tie? Bo-ring,” Jenny scoffed.
“Not when there are four of them, all silk, and they’re tying you to a four-poster bed.”
“Bondage?” Suzanne frowned. “Ann, that’s — ”
“No, no!” Ann held up a hand to stop her. “I totally consented. And they were tied really loosely. He made slow, beautiful love to me, and all I could do was respond.”
Jenny gave a skeptical frown. “I can't imagine you surrendering control to anyone. You’re the control freak to end all control freaks.”
Ann stuck her tongue out, then shrugged. “Okay, I concede your point. And yes, it surprised me too.” She smoothed her short brown hair and straightened her shoulders inside the jacket of her navy suit. “I’ve never come so hard in my life. It was a little…scary.”
As Suzanne glanced around the table she thought how lucky she was to have found these women. They’d met last year at an introductory yoga course. The bonding began when, after the second lesson, they decided food, chat and alcohol were far better tension-relievers than contorting their bodies into pretzel shapes. The four didn't have a lot in common, but that made the conversations even more stimulating. Strong ties of friendship had formed, and now the Foursome members were deeply loyal to each other and their Monday nights.
She stopped feeling lucky when Jenny turned to her with an evil grin. “Didn't think we’d forget you, did you, Suze?”
Oh God, after her friends' sexy tales, how pitiful to have to confess that her own sex life ranged between boring and nonexistent.
Except for her cave-sex lover.
The thought sent a thrill of excitement coursing through her. She slugged back the last of her second margarita and took a deep breath.
“Remember me telling you how I treated myself to a week package deal on Crete, after second year university?” They nodded. “Okay then…” She closed her eyes, letting the scene form.
“It’s my last afternoon. I'm walking along a beach and this man comes toward me, and it’s like we’re both struck by lightning. Immediate chemistry.”
She opened her eyes, saw she had their rapt attention. “Did I mention” — she paused deliberately — “that this is a nude beach?”
“Smoking from page one, Champagne Rules is a hot, yet touching erotic romance.”
-- Cheryl, Joyfully Reviewed
“…a heartwarming romance topped with steaming hot erotica.”
-- Kelley, Coffee Time Romance (Read the full review)
“This is a keeper and one I recommend to anyone wanting a steamy story with depth and romance.”
-– Thia McClain, The Romance Readers Connection (Read the full review)
“The author has a charming writing style that will have the reader reluctant to put the book down. This story is a perfect blend of the love story and erotica. ”
-– Tewanda, Fallen Angel Reviews (Read the full review)
“Author Susan Lyons dishes up hot steamy sex, best girlfriend bonding, and a strong romantic conflict in a compelling story.”
–- BooksForABuck.com (Read the full review)
“I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy wickedly hot sex and a story line that grabs you and doesn't let go until the last word.”
-– Cyn, TwoLips Reviews (Read the full review)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Susan Lyons writes contemporary romance that’s intense, passionate, heartwarming and fun. Her Awesome Foursome series from Kensington Aphrodisia features four twenty-something friends who laugh, cry, bond – and find their own very sexy romances. Her award-winning books have sold foreign rights to Germany, The Netherlands and Portugal. Her short fiction has been published internationally.
Susan has studied psychology, sociology, anthropology, counseling and law, and enjoyed careers that include perennial student, grad school dropout (twice), project manager, computer consultant, and legal editor. With a background like that, what else could she possibly do except pursue the best career in the world – writing romance and women’s fiction. Visit www.susanlyons.ca for excerpts, discussion questions, writing process notes, articles and give-aways.
You can visit with Susan at www.susanlyons.ca
Why did you become a writer? Was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
As a kid and a teenager, I wrote, but for some reason I never thought about it as a career or even as an adult hobby. I rediscovered it when a friend gave me a wonderful book by Natalie Goldberg called “Writing Down the Bones,” and told me I was a writer. Seems he knew me better than I knew myself, because he was right. And once I started writing fiction, I knew I’d found my bliss.
What do you love about being an author? Is there anything you dislike?
There’s so much to love! It’s okay to hear voices in my head and play with imaginary friends! I love working at home and living a flexible, self-directed life; I’m a person who hates routine and gets bored easily. I love writers and readers - they’re the best people in the world. And it’s absolutely amazing to walk into a bookstore and find my books on the shelves, and know that people all over the world are reading and caring about my characters. What do I dislike? The uncertainty. This is a hard business, in terms of never knowing if you’re going to sell another book, worrying about reviews, scrambling to try to make a living.
How do you balance your personal and writing time?
Not brilliantly, but not too badly. I’ve pretty much always, through school and various jobs, been a self-motivated, independent person. So I’m not bad at time management. What I do is, put together a “do list” at the beginning of each week, including writing, promo, day job (I do some contract work) and personal goals. Making the list is the practical, analytical part of the process. Once that’s done, something kind of zen-like happens and things fall into place so I manage to get most of the stuff done. I’m not disciplined about writing a certain amount each day, but I usually do hit my writing targets for the week.
How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story?
How do I write? God knows! By some magical process that even my analytical legally trained brain can’t figure out. No, seriously, it’s different with each story. Sometimes it’s characters, sometimes it’s a phrase, sometimes it’s a concept. I don’t plot books out ahead of time. With some books, I do have a vague idea of how the story will progress and with others I have very little idea. For me, the fun in writing is finding out what happens as my fingers type and my muse plays. If the characters take over, I’m thrilled to bits and just follow along behind them.
What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
I love writing about character growth. I like characters who are spunky and have a sense of humor - though some of them may be going through some angst. I like transition points in lives - and often, in a romance, the transition point is meeting a love interest who makes you reconsider what you thought you wanted out of life. As for genres, I write pretty much the whole range of romance and women’s fiction, but right now I’m focusing on two areas. My sexy contemporary romance novels are published by Kensington Aphrodisia, and I also write sweet short romances.
What is the biggest misconception about being an author?
That we’re rich! And also, that writing a romance novel is easy.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
They’re never based on any single person, but bits and pieces come from everywhere: me, people I know or have known, real people I’ve read about, characters in books and movies, etc. etc. One of the greatest things about writing is when a character I’ve just started to get to know really comes alive for me. Like, with my September heroine, Ann. She came alive when I realized she has an internal voice (her mother’s) always criticizing what she’s doing - and she talks back to this internal voice. Once I knew that, I had so much fun writing Ann and her story. Romantic Times Book Reviews commented on the “laugh-out-loud inner monologues,” which was nice validation.
Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
I think it’s always the characters I’m writing at the time. It’s like they’re my best friends. That’s why it’s so nice to have books published and let other readers get to know my special friends.
If you were writing a script for the big screen, who would you want to act in your movie?
If I was casting my Awesome Foursome, I’d probably go with Kate Hudson for Suzanne (the right hair and a nice personality), Sandra Oh for Jenny (even though she’s not Chinese, and she’s much bigger than Jen - but she has the right attitude), Jennifer Aniston for Ann (she’s lovely but can play klutzy and insecure so well), and America Ferreira for Rina (even though she’s not Jewish, she has the right looks and she too is great at playing insecure). But I’m certainly open to other suggestions
What would you want readers to take away from your books?
A little personal growth and a better understanding of, and sympathy/empathy toward, other people. My books have messages about things like interracial relationships, respecting parents versus finding your own path, balancing career and family, learning to love your own imperfect body, finding and honouring your sexy side, and the value of friendship and different opinions.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book?
Do it. Then, if you love the process, go get some books on writing, take courses, join writing groups and learn about the craft and the business. But don’t do all that stuff first - the most important thing to start with is the writing itself. If you’re not passionate about the process of writing, you won’t have the motivation to persist and become published. It’s a very tough road, but also a very rewarding one.
Who are your favorite authors?
The ones that come to mind right now are Barbara Samuel, Kristin Hannah, Luanne Rice and Susan Wiggs.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished “My Summer of Southern Discomfort” by Stephanie Gayle and “The Shoe Queen” by Anna Davis, both of which I really enjoyed. I’m currently reading Luanne Rice’s first book, “Angels All Over Town,” which has stood the test of time very well. Next on my list is “The Hindi Bindi Club” by Monica Pradhan, which I’m re-reading for my book club (I’d read the book and liked it so much I proposed it as the next book club choice, and now want to read it again).
Champagne Rules by Susan Lyons
Genre: Erotic Romance
Release Date: February 1, 2006
$11.01 from Amazon.com (paperback)
$7.99 from www.kensingtonbooks.com (ebook)
Purchase Champagne Rules by Susan Lyons HERE!!!