The Appeal of Historical Romances by @LaynaPimentel #ASinfulEducation #giveaway

Today, to finish off my week of some of my favorite authors, please welcome my long-time critique partner and wonderful friend, Layna Pimentel.

Guest Post

The Appeal of Historical Romances

by Layna Pimentel

Before I get started, I just wanted to say a quick thank you to my host. Jessica has been an amazing friend and critique partner of the years, and without her, I’ve no idea where I would be today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The appeal of these romances I think in general, is more of the escape it provides us from our daily obligations. I’ve always been fascinated with historical societies and ancient civilizations, so why wouldn’t I want to read about something as fantastical as a period romance. I love costume dramas, and I fancy British accents and Scottish brogue.

Medieval romances taking place in the Scottish Highlands whisk me away to a time where it was just as brutal as today if not more, and the landscape was breathtakingly beautiful. Untouched by modern innovation and refreshing. Romance settings in historic London tend to either lean toward the aristocrats, or some of the more unfortunate boroughs of town life. Yet, it doesn’t matter where the romance takes place, the trials and tribulations of two people—or sometimes three—is what sets the scene and pace.

In my Pleasure Garden Follies series, I tried to incorporate a balance of high and low society. Unfortunately, by its completion, most of my characters were of the aristocracy. But make no mistake, my antagonists were horrible, mean spirited folks. As for my hero and heroine…Lord! They made writing this book all the worthwhile.

Today I’ll share with you an excerpt from the second book in my series A Sinful Education. I hope you enjoy!


A Sinful Education by Layna Pimentel


by Layna Pimentel

Lord Charles Avonlea has evaded marriage over the last year, but his mother is determined to find him a wife. Far from consenting to any of her choices, he sets his sights on the one woman unavailable to him, his best friend’s younger sister. With no regard for the law or her impending nuptials, he is determined to make Lady Emily Thompson his bride. The only trouble is, he’s stumbled upon dangerous information and hopes he can get to her before it’s too late.

Stunned and dismayed at discovering the arrangement between her mother and the Duke of Downsbury, Lady Emily Thompson searches for a way to break the marriage pact with the duke. She longs to be with the only man who indulges her curiosity, yet finds herself in the middle of a scandal that will crush her dreams forever.

Will she find a way out of marrying the duke, or will she find herself in the same predicament as the previous duchess? Which was dead.

Enjoy An Excerpt

How would he perceive her after tonight? Would he deem her the most incorrigible female ever bestowed upon London? Or, would he call her a minx and throw her out of his room? Her only desire was to learn, to educate herself in the ways of pleasure for when her time came to be a wife. To become a wife in name was not an option, nor did she want to play second fiddle to another woman. Yet, the truth be told, Emily desired to get closer with the earl.

Suddenly, the image forever engrained upon her mind of a woman’s mouth wrapped around a manhood seemed more of a challenge. The kind of challenge that would certainly scandalize any respectable female. But she desired to know the intricacies of said intimate moments. Perhaps Charles would find it as pleasurable. Emily shook her head and pulled off her covers.

She rose from the bed and put on her slippers and robe. Using the utmost discretion, she opted to leave behind the candlestick and left her room in the dark, knowing all too well it was only the two of them in this side of the house.

Emily gently closed her chamber door and swept down the hall, pausing outside of his room. The glow of the fireplace danced across the floor under the door, but all was silent. Perhaps he was reading from the privacy of the curtained platform bed or standing in the window, basking in the view the west side of the manor offered.

She quietly opened his door and closed it behind her.

No one stirred, nor made a sound.

She took a step forward, parting her lips to call for him.

A soft moan caught her attention and uncertainty crept up her spine. She should not have proceeded, but went on to appease her curiosity. Stealing further into the room, she paused in the corner.

She caught sight of his lordship through the break of the curtains. Charles’ eyes were closed, chest exposed as his hand moved beneath the sheet barely covering his waist. Lord, he’s a sight to watch, but what exactly is he doing?

Emily moved closer, but could not make head or tails of his motions. That is, until he called out, “Emily.”

He moaned then kicked off his sheets.

Good heavens, the sight of him was impressive. Dark, curly hair dusted his chest. His muscles so refined that the creases begged her to touch them. Dampness settled between her thighs again. What the hell is wrong with me? Did he just moan out my name?

She could see clearly now as he stroked his manhood.

Emily gasped and stepped back, bumping into a chair. Drats!

Avonlea opened his eyes.

She lost all sense of what she had stumbled upon. She should not have been there, no matter how glorious or how beautiful he looked with his eyes closed, or how impressive his body appeared. She would land straight in purgatory for this sin and many others, but she stood at the edge of the platform still.


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Layna Pimentel is giving away a $10 Amazon eGift Certificate.
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About the Author

Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Layna discovered her love of reading at an early age. When she isn’t devouring salacious romance novels or writing, she enjoys losing herself in researching ancient history and mythology, weaponry, and hiking. She lives in Northern Ontario, with her husband and two daughters.

Layna is a member of the Romance Writers of America, and is a monthly contributor at 69 Shades of Smut. For updates on her upcoming releases, or to leave her a comment, you can find at:




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The Post-Apocalyptic “Information Age” in THE OPHELIA PROPHECY by @SharonFisher #sfrb

Please welcome another of my favorite authors to the blog. Sharon Lynn Fisher has two science fiction romance books published with TOR books. I’ve read and loved them both. They’re books I will never part with. I want to read them over and over. And if they come to the big screen *fingers crossed*, I’ll be first in line to see them.

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The Post-Apocalyptic “Information Age”

Guest post by author Sharon Lynn Fisher

Someone recently suggested in an interview that the importance of information to the humans in my post-apocalyptic biopunk romance, THE OPHELIA PROPHECY, was an amplification of our relationship with information in the digital age. The interviewer was correct in surmising that was what had inspired me to incorporate this element into the story, and I find the topic so interesting I thought it might make a good guest post. (Thanks for having me, Jessica!).

For those who haven’t read the book, the heroine’s city, Sanctuary, is the last outpost of humanity after a plague engineered by the Manti — a race of human/praying mantis transgenic organisms created by human scientists — wipes out almost all of the humans on the planet.

When I was writing the book, I thought about what would motivate a small pocket of humans to survive once life and society as they’d known it had ceased to exist. I could imagine one motivation would be to recover what they’d lost. And if they still had access to computers (and power to operate them), they’d do all they could to preserve information about their history and lost culture.

The “Ophelia” of THE OPHELIA PROPHECY is a scientist who predicted the downfall of humanity. Before her prediction came true, she became obsessed with collecting data. Afterward, the data was preserved in an archive by the survivors. Asha, the heroine, is one of the archivists working to sort out the mess Ophelia made as she dumped data onto drives in a frantic and haphazard fashion.

I think it’s fair to say that we digital age citizens have become information junkies. From blogs posts on topics we’re interested in to the frequent micro-updates we receive from friends and family via social media. And just like an addiction to any substance, once our relationship to information shifted from casual to obsessive, that relationship became dysfunctional. (FaceBook suddenly becomes fascinating when I’m freaking out about a deadline. I can’t sit at a traffic light without checking my email. Etc.)

I thought about how this might play out in the future, and specifically in my post-apocalyptic setting. Could an obsession with information evolve into something like a religion?

The humans in Sanctuary have devoted themselves to preservation of information about the past. The mission statement of their archive is “preserving the past for the future.” They believe if they lie low and wait for their opportunity to challenge and defeat their enemy, they can use information to resurrect the past. This is where the dysfunction comes in. By clinging to the past, they fail to move forward into their new reality. They lock themselves into a cycle of regret and unrealistic hope. I think that’s something we’ve all experienced at times in our lives.

Asha pinpoints the problem in the following passage:

The longer she spent away from Sanctuary, the more she felt sickened by their complacency. The fact they’d all survived was important, but was it enough? Quiet lives and quiet deaths. Living in a kind of stasis, focused on preserving the past. Unmolested by their enemy because they presented zero threat to them. It had begun to seem weak and pointless.

Am I suggesting information obsession is a fatal societal character flaw? No. But it’s fun to speculate about it! Now if we consider what might happen were we to suddenly lose connection to all the computers and networks that store our information … well, that’s a speculation for another day.

The Ophelia Prophecy by Sharon Lee Fisher

The Ophelia Prophecy

by Sharon Lynn Fisher

A thrilling new sci-fi romance from the author of 2013 RWA RITA finalist Ghost Planet

Our world is no longer our own. We engineered a race of superior fighters — the Manti, mutant humans with insect-like abilities. Twenty-five years ago they all but destroyed us. In Sanctuary, some of us survive. Eking out our existence. Clinging to the past. 

Some of us intend to do more than survive. 

Asha and Pax — strangers and enemies — find themselves stranded together on the border of the last human city, neither with a memory of how they got there.

Asha is an archivist working to preserve humanity’s most valuable resource — information — viewed as the only means of resurrecting their society.

Pax is Manti, his Scarab ship a menacing presence in the skies over Sanctuary, keeping the last dregs of humanity in check.

Neither of them is really what they seem, and what humanity believes about the Manti is a lie.

With their hearts and fates on a collision course, they must unlock each other’s secrets and forge a bond of trust before a rekindled conflict pushes their two races into repeating the mistakes of the past.

Click to read An Excerpt


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About the Author

Sharon Lynn Fisher

A Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist and a three-time RWA Golden Heart Award finalist, SHARON LYNN FISHER lives in the Pacific Northwest. She writes books for the geeky at heart—sci-fi flavored stories full of adventure and romance—and battles writerly angst with baked goods, Irish tea, and champagne. Her works include Ghost Planet (2012), The Ophelia Prophecy (2014), and Echo 8 (2014). You can visit her online at

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Take a trip to beautiful Mauritius with author @ZeeMonodee and the #IslandGirls

It’s a week of some of my favorite people. Yay! Please welcome my critique partner and good friend, Zee Monodee to the blog.

Guest Post

Hey everyone! Thanks Jessica for having me over today!

So, when Jessica asked me over, she told me that I’m always talking about Mauritius, but that people don’t really know the island – most of them would want a visual to go along with my rambling about my beautiful country.

Today thus seemed like the perfect opportunity to showcase Mauritius and go beyond the “white sandy beaches & turquoise lagoons” postcard image.

On today’s trip, I’m taking you inland to show you some of the natural and man-made wonders of the country.

Let’s start with Nature – check out this collage of locations

ZM Places 1

We’re going clockwise from top left:

The 7-colour Earth from Chamarel – this is located in the south-west of the island. A marvel of geology, the earth flows in dunes of seven different colours in this spot. Something in the volcanic composition of the land has turned it, over the years, into this kaleidoscope.

Rochester Falls – south of the island. Basalt rocks – formed when lava solidified – form the major rock composition of the land all over Mauritius, but these falls prove a marvel of natural origin. The hard basalt has been ‘cut’ into blunt, step-like shards over the years. This spot is accessible only by foot, after a long trek through woodland and steep ravine-type descents.

Trou aux Cerfs – this one is almost smack inland, and actually just a few miles from my house. Mauritius is of volcanic origin (exactly like Hawaii), and of course, we have volcano craters. This is one of the 3 craters on the island, the only one not filled with water, and all of them have been dormant for centuries (thank goodness! LOL). This one here is almost 2,000 feet in height, located in the coldest area of the country, aka my town, Curepipe. See the trail all around the crater? It’s been converted into a health trail for the town – hubby and I often go jogging there in the afternoons.

Salt beds in Tamarin – west coast, and where I have located the plot of Light My World. Tamarin is a coastal village known for its almost-year-round sun and low humidity. Consequently, salt is “harvested” there. These are enormous, shallow beds of rock where salt water is left to evaporate and a hard crystal layer of sea salt remains.

Let me now take you to the North, to one of our most visited locations – the Sir Seewoosagar Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens in Pamplemousses.

ZM Pamplemousses Garden

The castle here – depicting typical French colonial architecture – is called Le Château De Mon Plaisir and was built in the 18th century, and was the residence of French governor (and the main architect of Mauritius as we know it), Mahé de Labourdonnais. His intendant, a man named Pierre Poivre, decided to turn the castle’s grounds into a sort of world garden at the time. So he sourced plants from all over the French colonies – especially spice plants – and planted them all over the grounds. Combined with endemic species and other rare flora, the gardens remain one of the top botanical spots in the world to view hundreds of plant species all in one place.

The gardens are mainly known for the giant water lilies in its ponds (top right of the pic), and the ordered, peaceful grounds also carry the ruins of what used to be a sugar mill, as it was used back in the 18th and 19th centuries (bottom right of image).

Last but not least, I want to make you take a trip down the heritage houses we have here. I make a veritable tribute to them in Light My World, and one such house is the setting and backdrop for much of the second half of the story.

ZM Colonial

I based myself a lot on this dwelling – the Domaine des Aubineaux. It is actually located inland (stone’s throw from my parents’ place!) but for the sake of the story, I transposed it to the West coast.

Most of the houses of the upper class and “richer” landowners in the past used to resemble this one – of typical islander colonial structure, with a wide patio in front and at the back, tall French windows/doors opening onto the verandas, wood planks all over the house, and the decor and furniture something of a throwback to a forgotten era….

This house was built in 1817, and has been restored into a tea route museum (after being the family seat of a wealthy white family in the area) to better depict the forgotten age of colonial Mauritius.

ZM Colonial Interior

More and more of these beautiful, heritage dwellings are going into derelict states or worse, getting torn down to make space for concrete. It’s something I believe we must preserve – I had the chance to know one such dwelling, which belonged to my maternal grandparents, but sadly, my kids will never get into one of these unless it’s been turned into a museum. A real shame…. Soon, they’ll be all forgotten, but I hope some memory of them will live on in my story….

So there you are – a quick tour of some ‘unheard of’ spots in Mauritius. I hope you’ve enjoyed the trip!

From Mauritius with love,

Light My World by Zee Monodee


Book #2 in the Island Girls Trilogy

by Zee Monodee

It is a truth universally acknowledged that to find a prince, a girl has to kiss a few frogs along the way. But what happens when a modern-day princess comes across…an ogre?

So what if a girl has to kiss a few frogs to find her prince?

Tired of her Indian-origin mother’s relentless matchmaking, Diya Hemant is determined to find her Prince Charming on her terms. Armed with a definitive list of requirements, she is sure she’ll know her man when she meets him…

But looking and finding are two different things, especially on the tiny island of Mauritius…

When her path crosses surly British widower Trent Garrison’s, it’s hate at first sight. And though fate keeps pitting her against him, she’s certain he can’t be turned into a frog let alone a prince.

Can this modern-day princess overcome her own expectations and see beyond the ogre to the man beneath?


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Enjoy An Excerpt

The four of them walked in, and he reached out to press the ground floor button. She’d reached out, too, and their fingers brushed when they tried to hit the keypad.

A jolt went through his hand, and he jerked. She also pulled back, and her wide eyes met his, before she spun away. Her shoulder-length hair followed the swift move of her head, shielding her face. He thought he caught a hint of a blush on her cheeks, but couldn’t be sure.

Trent shoved the image of the faint rosy glow on her smooth cheeks out of his mind. What did it matter if she’d blushed?

She stepped to a corner of the wide lift carriage, and started to brush her fingers in her dark locks as she peered at her reflection in the mirror on the back panel.

She stood taller than Matthew today. Strange. He trained his gaze over her tiny figure, and noticed the stiletto heels on her shoes. Women’s lethal weapons. Those pointed ends could probably skewer a man’s guts with a single kick.

He slowly peered up, along her bare legs and the sheer layers of fabric in the clothes she wore. Her skirt, with its uneven edges, seemed shorter on the right side than on the left, baring her legs from the knee down. Her sleeveless blouse resembled tiers of something light and gauzy assembled in a haphazard way. Almost like a fairy costume. Chunky beads and metal jewellery ran around her neck and on her earlobes, and a large, metal-and-beads belt hung low on her hips.

From time to time, when she raised her arm to fiddle with her hair, the blouse ran up and bared a hint of her belly, the light in the elevator catching on something metallic.

Blimey! She had a navel piercing. He’d never have pinned her for such kind of hoodlum. And today, she’d dressed like a…. He didn’t know what, exactly.

“Sure is hot today,” he said under his breath. Maybe she’d dressed thus because of the humid summer weather. Women wore skimpy clothes on this tropical island, from what he’d gathered.

She whirled around to face him, her eyes narrowing as she inspected him from head to toe. “Not the ideal weather to wear a stuffy jacket and tie.”

He peeped down at his suit and trousers and frowned. They were his work clothes, for God’s sake. What did she expect him to wear? A flower-printed, open shirt baring his hair-speckled chest for every woman and gay man to ogle? She had some nerve to comment on his clothing, when she wore next to nothing.

“Isn’t it a little early for a party?”

She pursed her full, pink lips, and balled her hands into fists at her sides, as if she were refraining from slapping him.

Like she didn’t give in to the urge. He still remembered the slap from the day before.

Interesting perspective how a passionate woman lurked underneath the brash exterior. And that would get him where, exactly? Get a grip, Garrison.

“I’m on my way to a business appointment, if you must know,” she said, breaking through his internal conversation with his libido.

Business? And dressed like a…a woman out to snare a man? Yeah, right. He raised his eyebrows. “Doesn’t exactly scream professional wardrobe, if you ask me.”

“Well, who asked you?”

Point taken, he granted, and winced, careful not to let her see he’d conceded here.

She seemed oblivious to his reaction, and from the flush highlighting her face with a golden glow, she’d fired up for an argument. Bloody hell, did the girl ever let a quarrel drop?

She shrugged her hand in front of him, as if swatting his words away.

“A stuffy Briton like you wouldn’t understand. It’s about image. We look just like our company. Young, trendy, and not afraid to take risks.”

Trent swept his gaze over her again, and noticed the many earrings on her earlobes, and the diamond flashing on the side of her nose. “It’s a metal detector that’d take risks with you, with so many piercings.”

She huffed and clenched her jaw.

The movement offset the delicate line of her jaw and her cheekbones, and the anger in her dark, coffee-brown eyes made them sparkle—

“This is fashion, mate. You’re too old to understand.”

Really? She had to have another think coming.

“What I don’t understand is this,” he said. “Did they run out of fabric when they made your skirt?”

Her face went red. “You—”


The little voice brought him back to earth, and he peered at his son.

Trent blinked. The boys stood in the parking lot, while he and Diya were still in the opened lift, his foot blocking the door.

Stunned silence had descended onto the carriage, which jerked him out of the sparring verbal duel he’d engaged with his spunky neighbour. How to bring back some semblance of courtesy between them now? He nodded outside. “After you.”

They locked eyes for a brief second, before she stormed out, ignoring his attempt at peacemaking. He moved out of the way when it seemed like she’d grind her pointed heel into his shoe, and watched with amusement in his heart while she stomped her feet repeatedly on the asphalt as she walked toward her SUV.

“Careful,” he said. “You might break a heel.”

About the Author

Zee MonodeeZee Monodee ~ Stories about love, life, relationships… in a melting-pot of culture

Zee is an author who grew up on a fence – on one side there was modernity and the global world, on the other there was culture and traditions. Putting up with the culture for half of her life, one day she decided she’d stand tall on her wall and dip toes every now and then into both sides of her non-conventional upbringing.

From this resolution spanned a world of adaptation and learning to live on said wall. The realization also came that many other young women of the world were on their own fence.

This particular position became her favourite when she decided to pursue her lifelong dream of writing – her heroines all sit ‘on a fence’, whether cultural or societal, in today’s world or in times past, and face dilemmas about life and love.

Hailing from the multicultural island of Mauritius, Zee is a degree holder in Communications Science. She is a head-over-heels wife, in-over-her-head mum to a tween son, best-buddy-stepmum to a teenage lad, an incompetent domestic goddess, eternal dreamer, and an absolute, shameless bookholic. When she isn’t penning more stories and/or managing the Ubuntu line at Decadent Publishing, you can bet you’ll find her with her nose in her tablet, ‘drinking in’ a good book.

Blog/Site  ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter ~ Divas At Work 

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