I love books. I love to write. But sometimes (a lot of times) I need a break, and with all the innovative programming out there right now, need turns into want. I want to break from the Kindle and escape to a Chicago 5-star hotel with a client, or a competitive New York City ballet school, or a charming diner in Montauk. Here are 5 sexy shows I've recently binged—some of which inspired the novel I'm working on now. (Psst...let me know in the comments what I should be watching next!)
Flesh and Bone only made it one season, and it might not be considered sexy in a traditional sense, but if you have an appreciation for ballet and its dancers' lithe, flexible bodies, you'll understand why it's #3 on my list. The cinematography, setting, and main character, Claire Robbins (played by dancer Sarah Hay) add a level of sensuality you don't often see on the small screen. And for fans of stepbrother romance (I know you're out there), there's a creepy-intriguing incest storyline with Josh Helman (X-Men, Mad Max). Catch Flesh and Bone on the Starz network, or it was recently added to Amazon Video.
I found this show so well-written, so intriguing, that it was one of the inspirations behind Slip of the Tongue, my release earlier this year. If you've read my books, you understand my fascination with adultery. When I first saw a spot for The Affair, I stayed away. I was afraid they'd botch the subgenre I love, and the premise hit a little too close to my debut series. But this show is different and captivating in a different way. It has it all: Sex. Murder. Mystery. Betrayal. I found myself rooting for the wrong couple...and then, suddenly, I wasn't. The premise plays with unreliable narrators Alison and Noah (the brilliant Ruth Wilson and Dominic West, The Wire) and will leave you questioning what you thought you knew. Rounding out the exceptional cast is Joshua Jackson (Dawson's Creek) and Maura Tierney (ER). Of course, this grabs the #2 spot on my list because forbidden sex is the best kind, and there's plenty of it packed into both seasons. Luckily, the show returns this Sunday (11/20) for a third season. The Affair is available via Showtime, and on Hulu and Amazon Video.
With a title like The Girlfriend Experience and the premise of a law student-turned-high-end escort, it's no surprise this show oozes sex. FFS, episode titles include "Crossing the Line," "Access" and "Provocation." This show, a series based on Steven Soderbergh's same-titled movie, is binge-worthy, but I recommend doing it slowly, just to let the after-effects of each episode settle. Its cold, clinical feel is cultivated by Riley Keough's detached performance, a gray-ish pall to the cinematography, and the Chicago setting—all sharp-edged, reflective surfaces. Despite all that, the sex scenes are mesmerizing, from an office affair to the clients Christine Reade won't allow herself to connect with. The sex is uncomfortable. Sometimes cold—and often times hot. If you don't believe me, just watch the trailer and tell me you don't get chills. Weeks later, and I'm still not sure how to feel about The Girlfriend Experience, but I do know if you're a fan of erotic-romance, this is right up your alley. Watch it on Starz (subscription required).
Agree? Disagree? Have a show I should be watching? Let me know in the comments!
Come Undone was my debut novel, written in 2013, and is book one in The Cityscape Series. (That's not one of the things. Hopefully you already knew that.) Below are 12 tidbits that might make you smile!
Night Fever Serial Extras
The first few songs of the Night Fever Serial playlist (←click to follow along) are on Spotify! And I'll be adding more over the next few weeks as release day gets closer. Keep scrolling for the Pinterest inspiration board and first teaser.
10 Books That Have Impacted Me
I've been nominated by a few people to list 10 books that have both impacted and stuck with me over the years. Not exactly an easy task. Different books affect us in different ways, depending on where we are in life or what we're going through. Sometimes you just need a good escape, and sometimes a story strikes something deeper. It might be that a book has even changed the course of your life the way Fifty Shades of Grey opened me up to a whole new world. So without further ado, in somewhat of an order—although, when they're this high up, order doesn't mean much—here are my top 10:
1. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell—over a thousand pages of gold, this sweeping story took a week of my life captive and it was completely worth it. Fact: I read this a few years ago when I lived in New York City and I'd never seen the movie, nor was I familiar with the story. The ending caught me completely off guard.
2. The Bronze Horseman Trilogy by Paullina Simons—a contender for the #1 spot, this epic love story wrung every emotion possible out of me. I never wanted to leave Tatiana and Alexander, and since I only recently read this, they haven't left me yet. Don't think twice, don't even bother with the blurb—just buy this book.
3. The Dark Duet Series by CJ Roberts—what can I say about Captive in the Dark, Seduced in the Dark and Epilogue? Perhaps: this series is not for everyone. It is an exploration of the dark corners of your mind and only for those brave enough to go there. Over a year later, it sticks to me like glue, but I don't mind one bit.
4. The Adults by Alison Espach—quirky, insightful, laugh out loud funny, but most importantly... teacher-student relationship. As a fan of the forbidden—both reading and writing it—that was what sold me. For me, it delivered, but it was about more than the risqué storyline. I fell in love with Emily Vidal as she took me along on the roller coaster journey of her youth.
5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy—a woman in a loveless marriage struggles with her attraction to another man and ultimately gives in to an ill-fated love affair. Can you handle it? If it sounds familiar, this is one of the books that inspired The Cityscape Series. I found this epic novel on a book exchange shelf when living in Costa Rica in 2007.
6. Remember Me by Christopher Pike—I read this as a child and never, ever forgot it. I've thought of it many times over the years and even re-read it when I started my own writing career. When Shari Cooper is pushed off the balcony at a party, she is stuck between here and the afterlife, trying to solve the mystery behind her death. Poetic and beautiful, it will have you pondering your own views on life after death.
7. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James—as I said above, this trilogy allowed me to explore so much more than just the riveting relationship between young Ana Steele and the incomparable Christian Grey. EL James pushed boundaries and as a result, broke down walls for many of us behind her. It changed the course of my life, and for that I owe this series and its creator a great deal.
8. Tully by Paullina Simons—gritty and real, this was my first taste of the romance genre when I was younger, and as many will tell you, that's something that always sticks with you. The characters' layers, Tully especially, are masterfully developed, making it a truly emotional read of heartbreak, success, disappointment, love, and everything in between.
9. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway—I fell in love with Spain while reading this book, and (for me, anyway) that's a mark of a good story. I even visited Pamplona (left, me at Cafe Iruña, Hemingway's favorite hangout) and San Sebastián last year, both settings from the book. Hemingway's writing style is unique, but I undoubtedly responded to it, and the imagery and reading experience will stay with me forever.
10. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King—slightly out of place on this list, I admit... but this manual, I believe, changed me as a writer. I hope there will be many more of these experiences to come, but this was the first one that opened to my eyes to the growth I'm capable of. Recommended for any author, aspiring or otherwise.
There are undoubtedly many more that deserve recognition, including some of my indie favorites (hmm, maybe that should be its own list). What books would make it onto your top 10 list? Let me know in the comments!
Everybody wants somebody to stay.
If what you want isn't best for the person you love - the person you can't live without - do you find the strength to let them go?
When there's a crack so great it could swallow you both, do you run, try to push them away before it does?
Or do you ask them to stay anyway?
Here's a song that goes with a scene near the end of Come Together. It's part of The Cityscape Series playlist that will debut on The Book Wranglers blog tour stop in September.
No Ordinary Love
a sneak peek at a guest post I'm working on: The Cityscape Series playlist. this song has always been one of my favorites, and i think it suits david & olivia well.
the scene i have mind is from Come Together. it has to do with finally taking the time to appreciate something you've been wanting for a long time; maybe by the fireplace, backdropped by the skyline...
"Don't move," he said. "I want to memorize everything about this moment."
interview with a writer
If you need a Cityscape fix while you wait for book three, see below. Some of my favorite blogs have interviewed me this month about my inspiration for the series (including David Dylan), why I chose to write about adultery and even what you can expect from the third book in The Cityscape Series. They are all lovely ladies, and I enjoyed chatting with each of them!
ILoveRomanticFiction - Author Interview
Foxylutely - Spotlight On...
A Love Affair with Books - Seven & Seven Questions
You can also "Like" my Facebook author page to see interviews, reviews and updates for the series.
The ladies have also reviewed either Come Undone, Come Alive or both! So if you want even more, explore their blogs a bit.
Book Two Update: Come Alive
I started writing Book Two the moment I finished Come Undone. The story just sort of flowed from my brain to my fingertips, often without interruption for hours. At times, I couldn't type fast enough. When I hit my goal for Book Two, the story wasn't nearly over and I could not... stop... writing.
And thus, Book Three was born. I had never intended to write a third book, but I couldn't do the characters justice in only two books. The story is far more complex than I ever anticipated.
(Side note: in case you haven't gathered, I do no write off of an outline. I did not know how the story would end when I started or even published the first book. Risky? Yes. I wanted it to be as organic as possible.)
But not to worry.
Book Two, entitled Come Alive, is due out early Spring 2013. Book Three will be out shortly after, maybe even as soon as a month. I want the story to flow for you as much as it has for me, which is why I am publishing the next two books within 3-4 months of the first.
I'm Jessica, an author in my late twenties, who lived in fabulous New York City up until a few months ago (which is where I started my first book, Come Undone). I've recently moved back to California, where I grew up, but miss the east coast a great deal. Traveling is one of the things I partake in and I recently returned from a Spain/Croatia/Montenegro solo-ish adventure - loved! (Left: hiking Plitvice Lakes in Croatia.)
Traveling influences me because it gives me at least two invaluable things: open-mindedness and a great, multi-cultural group of friends. Without these two things, I don't know if I could call myself a writer. People truly fascinate me and I aim to write stories about real people in real life situations. I like a little fantasy, sure, but I try to keep my characters' reactions and dialogue realistic, even if it means things get a little messy for them.
At the end of the day, my greatest inspiration comes from music, which pretty much dictates my mood. What I listen to has a huge impact on what I write - sometimes I have to go back rewrite a scene because I was too caught up in what I was listening to! Usually this is a good thing, but not all the time. If you want a sample of what I'm listening to as I write each book, check it out here.
I've been wanting to blog my progress for some time, but I have been giving all of my writing energy to Book Two in The Cityscape Series so that I can continue the story of Olivia Germaine. More on that soon.
If you haven't read my first book, Come Undone, it can be purchased for Kindle here! Enjoy!