April 5, 2012

Literary Inspirations for HOT Romance

Spell Cat by Tara Lain.

Thank you Kayelle for inviting me to the blog! Since we all know that Romance Lives Forever, I thought I'd talk about using an older literary work as some inspiration for a new romance novel. I've done this twice so far. The first time was for my LGBT beach romance, Fire Balls. I knew I wanted it to be a romance between a flamboyant artist and a more conservative firefighter. That was a fun premise but I wanted more complexity. I knew my artist was tiny and it occurred to me that maybe he didn't think of himself as the type to appeal to the firefighter who he loves. What flashed into my mind was the classic story of Cyrano de Bergerac who has the big nose and helps his friend Christian woo the woman whom Cyrano loves. That gave me a wonderful twist to my story as I made my artist help his friend the surfer hook up with the firefighter. Plus, since Cyrano was a great swordsman, I made my artist a black belt in karate. Presto. Just enough patterning but not so much it was a take-off or satire.
Fire Balls
Now, I'm doing it again. We all love Cinderella romances! And most authors have thought of writing a book based on Cinderella. I wanted to do something a little different. Far from a satire, I wanted to write a serious, contemporary LGBT romance based on the pattern of the Cinderella story. The result is my new release, Sinders and Ash. A poor young man, Mark Sintorella, who wants to be a fashion designer, earns money working in the housekeeping department of a luxury resort in upstate New York. There he meets a wild little man who convinces him to dress like a woman in order to show off his designs to some guest fashionistas. And Mark falls in love with the son of the fifth richest family in America--Ashton Armitage--who has to marry in order to receive his inheritance. Writing the book was terrifically fun because I got to ask the question, "What if Cinderella was real?" I got to imagine how the story might play out in today's world. As you read the book you'll see that the story stands alone but at the same time it's kind of fun to notice the parallels to the Cinderella tale. Enjoy!
And now for a CONTEST. Enter the Magic at Midnight Blog Tour Contest celebrating the release of Spell Cat on March 20th and Tara's new contemporary fantasy, Sinders and Ash, on April 1.
·        Leave a comment here with your EMAIL and you'll be entered to win a $10. GC in the drawing on April 9th
·        Want to win a poster of the gorgeous Spell Cat cover? Want to win a Volley Balls T-Shirt? Or other fun prizes? Go over to Beautiful Boys Books and enter the contest. There are lots of questions to answer and lots of fun prizes like drawstring backpacks, notepads, mirror compacts. We'll have a bunch of winners so you have a good chance of getting a prize!

Excerpt: Sinders and Ash by Tara Lain; MM Contemporary Fantasy
Work hard, stay anonymous and don't expect much. That's resort housekeeper Mark Sintorella's philosophy of life. After being kicked out of his family home at sixteen for being gay, Mark knows what it takes to survive. But how is he going to stay anonymous when he wants to be recognized as a great fashion designer? And how can he control his expectations when he's desperately attracted to Ashton Armitage, the son of the fifth richest man in America? If Ash doesn't find a woman to marry he's going to lose his inheritance, but he can't seem to resist the beautiful kid who cleans fireplaces while hiding behind a black cap and heavy glasses. And then this crazy elf of a man, Carstairs Pennymaker, has Mark running around looking like a fashion model wearing gorgeous women's clothes. The clock strikes twelve and the wedding follows the ball. Two beautiful princesses line up for attention. But one isn't interested and one isn't a woman. Who will be the bride? Will the shoe fit? Only his fairy godmother knows for sure.
Pennymaker turned and looked at Mark. "What are you working on?"
Sinders and Ash
            "Excuse me? I, uh, have to clean some fireplaces this morning. You know they keep the rooms cool just so they can use them? Makes work for me."
            "That's not what I mean, of course." He turned back to the rack, pushed some jeans aside. "Aha!" His hand shot through the garments to the dress form. He made an opening in the clothes and stepped through to stand beside the red dress. "Perfect. Just beautiful. What a talent."
            "Excuse me?"
            The little man beamed at him. "You have exceptional design skills."
            God, it was hard to not be flattered. "Thank you, sir." But how had the man known to look for the dress? Who told him?
            Pennymaker walked over to the chair and sat. Creak. Hopefully the tiny man wouldn't strain the old wood too much. "I would like to show that dress to some people."
            "Uh, who?"
            "Let's say some potential investors."
            No. He couldn't get excited. "Uh, really, sir? You're in the clothing business?"
            "I'm in many businesses, my boy."
Okay, try not to be suspicious. "How did you know I was a clothing designer?"
 The little man waved a hand. "That lovely T-shirt, of course."
"No one told you?"
"Who would tell me?"
Had him there.
Pennymaker stepped back and surveyed the dress. "Now, who is your model?"
            What? Mark cocked his head.
            "Who did you set the dress form to?"
            "Oh, uh, myself. I, uh, don't have anyone else. I'm pretty slim so it works."
            "Perfect. Perfect. When do you have to be at work?"
            This conversation was crazy. "In about an hour. This is my morning off. Unless they need me, of course."
            "Good. Put on the dress."
            "What?! Why?"
            "We're going for a little walk through the hotel. You'll be my…niece. Go on, go on." He made a shooing gesture with his hands.
            Mark shook his head. "Sir, I know I fit the dress to me but that's because I don't have anyone else. I'm not a transvestite."
            "Never said you were, dear boy. But these people I want to have see the dress will be much more amenable to taking your designs seriously if they think of the idea themselves rather than my telling them. That's how we all are, now isn't it? So I want them to see the clothes. We don't have another model and we don't want anyone else in on our secret."
            Secret? "What if someone recognizes me?"
            Pennymaker cocked his head. "That is very unlikely. You do a good job making yourself plain and unmemorable with your cap and glasses."
            Mark felt the blush. Shoot. The man had him dead to rights.
            "Besides, people see what they expect and they certainly don't expect to see Mark Sintorella in a dress. Now, put it on."
            Mark stepped behind the rack of clothing. He stripped to his boxer briefs and stopped. What the hell was he doing? He could jeopardize his job for this crazy-assed little guy with his hair-brained scheme.
The voice came from the other side of the clothes. "Do you have it on?"
            "Sir, I don't mean to be rude, but are you sure about this? I really need the money I get from working here."
            "Tut tut, my boy. Hurry. I want to make one tour around the lobby and public rooms before you start your shift. Times a'wastin'. "
            Mark pulled the dress over his head and let it fall into place. The skirt was just full enough to swing when he walked so no one would notice his cock under it. "Uh, I don't have any boobs."
            "Let me see."
"See what? What I haven't got?" He stepped out.
Pennymaker looked at him studiously. "Gorgeous. You don't have breasts but then neither do some women to speak of. I'm more concerned about the hairy legs. Go shave, quickly."
"What? Sir, I don't think so…"
"This won't be your only modeling assignment I suspect so think of it as a long-term investment. Consider that brilliant young model who walks the catwalks in both male and female shows. You're at least his equal in beauty."
"No buts. This is your future. Now go!"
Spell Cat

LR Cafe Best 2011
- - -
Tara Lain
Tara Lain never met a beautiful boy she didn’t love – at least on paper. A writer of erotic romance, mostly ménage and male/male, Tara loves all her characters, but especially her handsome heroes. A lifelong writer of serious non-fiction, Tara only fell in love with EROM in 2009 and, through perseverance and lots of workshops, had the first novel she ever wrote published in January of 2011. Then she capped off the year by being voted Best Author of 2011 in the LRC Awards and had her Genetic Attraction Series named runner-up for Best Series of 2011! A very good year. After an exotic life of travel all over the world and work in television, education and advertising, Tara settled in Southern California with her soul-mate husband and opened her own small marketing business. She paints, collages, and started practicing yoga “way before it was fashionable”. Passionate about diversity, justice, inclusion and new ideas, she says on her tombstone it will read, “Yes”.


  1. I can't wait to read this. I love the concept of the Cinderella story. The excerpt is very sweet. It's absolutely on my to be read list!

  2. Thank you, Pauline. I hope you enjoy it! : )

  3. Cyrano de Bergerac was the only play I enjoyed in high school. You don't make this easy on me, Tara, I keep wanting to buy more of your books! I really want to "see" Mark walk through the hotel in that dress. :)

    Ashley E

  4. He has a few scenes in his clothes. All very fun. Including the ball! : )

  5. This is one book I've been fascinated with since the first peek of the cover. It's too awesome. I'm glad you came over to hang out today, Tara!

  6. How fun, love this first peek at Carstairs Pennymaker. You picked a great name, Tara.

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  7. This was such a fun excerpt. Thanks for sharing.
    sstrode at scrtc dot com

  8. Loved this excerpt - really need to get the book so can read about the walk around in the dress :D

    felinewyvern at googlemail dot com

  9. Thank you so much Cathy, Sherry ans Ilona. And special thanks to Kayelle for being such a great host! : )

  10. My pleasure, Tara. ^_^ Like everyone who's commented, I have to read the walk through scene. Thanks so much for sharing the best tease!


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