Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Riptide by Amber Lea Easton (Spotlight, Guest Post)

One violent night shatters Lauren Biltmore’s life. As an anchorwoman, she's accustomed to reporting the news rather than being the lead story.  She escapes the spotlight by fleeing to her brother's home in the Cayman Islands. Haunted by nightmares, all she wants is a distraction from reality.

Distraction arrives via sexy screenwriter, Noah Reynolds. His take-me-to-bed looks mask a past ripe with scandal. He knows he should stay away from Lauren, especially when the worst night of her life unlocks his writer's block and while he's dealing with a stalker of his own, but ethics are his weakness.

Attraction sizzles beneath Caribbean sunshine. As their relationship grows, Noah's stalker intensifies her torment. Lauren wonders if her paranoia is justified or a carryover from her past. What's real? What's imagined?  Tentative trust is tested as their love is swept up against a riptide of deceit, murder, and revenge. 

Title: Riptide
Author: Amber Lea Easton
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
Length: 98,000 words
Genres: Contemporary Romantic Suspense (Adventure)
Heat Level: Steamy

Amber Lee Easton
Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published fiction and nonfiction author. For twenty years, she's worked in the fields of journalism and advertising with a brief detour into the financial industry.  Although she holds a BA in Communications & Journalism, she is a perpetual student of life who enjoys taking courses on a wide variety of subjects when time allows.  Smart is sexy, according to Easton, which is why she writes about strong female characters who have their flaws and challenges, but who ultimately persevere.

Easton currently lives with her two teenagers in the Colorado Rocky Mountains where she gives thanks daily for the gorgeous view outside her window. She finds inspiration from traveling, the people she meets, nature and life’s twists and turns. At the end of the day, as long as she's writing, she considers herself to be simply "a lucky lady liv'n the dream."

Visit Amber at:
Email -
Twitter - @MtnMoxieGirl


Guest Post by Amber Lea Easton

Steamy, sizzling...exactly how far to go when writing a romance novel?

As a romance novelist, I’m often asked about writing a love scene.  It doesn’t matter that I’ve poured my soul onto the page with character development, spent hours lamenting about plot twists, what people always want to know about is the sex.  Go figure. 

When it comes to a love scene, it’s all boils down to this question: What’s right for these characters at this time in this story? 

Yep, it’s part of the plot AND character development, whether people want to hear that or not. 

As for the steam element, I like to build that from the initial meeting of the two main characters. Flirt. Touch. Enjoy the first kiss. Create obstacles to keep them apart.  Have my readers squirming in their seats wondering when--or if--they’re going to hook up.  Like real life, I guess.  To me, the build up of sexual tension is the steam factor.

Sizzling comes when--Ka-BOOM!--they finally surrender to desire. Those words had better be burning up the page at this point! Snap, crackle, POP!  To be realistic, love scenes need to feel “right” with the audience--they need to believe that those characters would do those things at that specific time.

As far as writing graphic scenes, that’s all about the comfort level of the author and what turns us on.  After all, we need that level of believability conveyed on the page so, if we venture too far from our comfort zones, that will be evident to the reader.  Erotic authors write about bondage, menage, etcetera.  Mainstream romance writers might enjoy those things privately, but not want to put them onto the page.  Sweet romance or YA romance is even more conservative, however, they are also being conscious of their demographic. As with all writing, authors need to do what feels in line with their story and with their own voice. 

Love scenes need to have heat and intensity.  Sometimes it’s necessary to do some research--and I’m not talking about stalking the bar scene.  I’ve read books like ‘The Art of Kissing’ and ‘Being a Better Lover’ so that the love scenes in my novels don’t start to mimic each other.  If this carries over to my personal relationships, than that’s a work perk. 

No matter what sub-genre of romance, love scenes need to be emotional.  After all, it’s a story about two people falling in love and risking it all for each other, right?  Despite all the questions I get about the sex, love remains the overall goal...that quest for happily ever after. 


He toweled himself off, his thoughts centered around Lauren and their last date. It hadn’t exactly gone as planned given the dead guy face down amidst the fish. Not that he’d helped the situation with his not-so-smooth-moves-on-the-beach later. The past two days had given him perspective. He wanted her. Right or wrong, mistake or not, he needed to see where this could go. He couldn’t get her out of his mind. Maybe tonight he’d get another chance if he could track her down.
“Noah.” Lauren cleared her throat from where she stood outside the open bathroom door. She leaned against the wall in a Caribbean blue tank dress that hugged her body in all the right places, legs exposed from mid-thigh down, ankles crossed, long hair glistening over lightly tanned shoulders, gaze averted to the floor and smile playing across lips he desperately wanted against his skin. “Sorry to barge in. You left the deck door wide open.”
“No problem.” He cinched the towel around his waist and wondered exactly how long she’d been standing there. The thought of her watching him shower and dry off did crazy things to his nervous system. “I’ve been looking for you.”
“Erin told me.” She leaned her head back against the wall and dragged her gaze from his toes upward. “Heard you were on private charter for the past few days.”
He leaned his shoulder against the doorframe and let her gaze soak him up. He liked the way she looked at him as if he were dessert.
“About the other night...I’m sorry. Can I make it up to you? Dinner tonight? Etcetera?” he asked.
She caught her lower lip between her teeth, gaze lingering on his chest. “Are you sure this time? No running away when things get hot?”
Electricity zapped in the three feet separating them.
 Damn, the woman did insane things to his rational thinking. He’d decided on the boat that he needed to see her, make things right, take it slow, get tangled up in some strings. Seeing her live and in person threw common sense out the window.
“I can’t decide if you’re hotter when wet or dry...I’m thinking it might be a tie,” she said.
Oh, what the hell. With an opener like that, how could a man resist? He crossed the space between them, slipped his hand behind her neck, and kissed her on that mouth he’d been fantasizing about all week.
Her hands slid over his damp chest while her mouth moved slowly beneath his, her teeth lightly catching his lower lip. Eyes open, they smiled against each other’s mouths.
“Miss me?” he asked.
“It would be very uncool of me to answer that.” She slid her hands over his abdomen and lingered on the towel. “Are you still wanting to back off, or have you come to your senses?”
He braced his hands over her head. The only thing he wanted to do was kiss her slowly and make her beg for more. He looked into her eyes. “You’re making me forget all of the reasons this is a mistake.”
“A sexy mistake.” Her fingers touched his chest in a featherlike caress. She licked her lips.
“Good point.” He smiled. “We’re headed into the danger zone.”
“You have no idea how dangerous.” She tugged on the towel, a wicked grin in her eyes.
Oh, he had an idea about the level of danger. He’d thought of nothing else for the past forty-eight hours and ranked this situation a solid Level Red. Despite that, all he could think about was how good it would feel to have her long legs wrapped around his hips while her nails clawed against his back. He needed to pull the emergency brake. Slow, he reminded himself. Slow.
He leaned against her, enjoying the way her body arched toward his like a magnetic pull. He tangled his fingers in the hair at the back of her neck. “What do you want, Lauren? After the other night, you know I’m more complicated than I seem.”
Her gaze flicked up to his. “I know what I’m doing.”
“You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.”
“Show me. Let’s make some mistakes together. We’re both consenting adults. What the hell?” she whispered, her teeth pulling at his lower lip.
“You’re reckless.”
“Does that scare you?” she asked.
He paused a fraction over her lips and looked into her eyes. Yeah, she was scary reckless, but that turned him on more than he could say. So what if she wanted to use him for a distraction from her own demons? He knew that had something to do with it—the woman oozed intensity.
Her mouth widened, taking his like a woman starving for the taste of him. Ravenous. Her fingers fisted in the back of his hair. Her bare foot slid up the outside of his leg. Tongues clashed in a passionate dance that left no doubt about mutual desire.
He pressed her against the wall, uncaring about the slipping of the towel down his hips. This woman made him want more than he had dared want in years. His hands roamed up her sides, thumbs caressing the outline of her breasts. Closer. He couldn’t get close enough.
  She pressed her hips against his. “Five days ago I didn’t think I’d feel any emotion ever again. Now here I am making out with you. Insane.”
“A little bit of crazy is good for a person.” He wrapped his hands in her hair, holding her face close to him. “What do you feel now?”
“You. I feel you.”
“You say all the right things,” he said against her mouth. His skin rippled beneath her touch. He couldn’t explain his reaction to her...he felt like an addict in desperate need of a fix.

My Review

Riptide - A stretch of turbulent water in the sea, caused by the meeting of currents or abrupt changes in depth. Also called rip current, especially one flowing out wards from the shore, causing disturbance in the surface.

"Lauren couldn't go fast enough to drown out the doubts that screeched in her brain. Water sprayed her face as she steered the Jet Ski into a sharp turn, arm muscles quaking with the force of her grip on the handlebars as she drove full throttle. Wet hair smacked against her face and neck. She tasted salt on her lips. The sun burned her bare skin. Her legs held firm as the Jet Ski went airborne before landing hard against the surface of the crystal clear Caribbean Sea.  Every instinct screamed mistake. Taking a leave of absence after the attack had made sense, but now, no matter how she looked at it, retreating to her brother's house on Grand Cayman equalled running away."

Not often do you find two screwed up people at the center of a story, but here you have it. There's Lauren, a news anchor that after having been attacked, died and brought back to life and intent on not dealing with the aftermath, and Noah, a Hollywood screen writer who has taken to being a recluse after the high profile suicide death of his girlfriend. Sounds like a recipe for disaster and in more ways than one it is. The question throughout the book is - can they change the outcome?

"His wet hair curled against his forehead and into his eyes that reminded her of expensive whiskey. A faded red tangier stretched across his chest. Moisture seeped through at the shoulders and neckline. He resembled a pirate - the Hollywood kind that makes every woman crave the bad boy."

The book was chocked full of action at every turn of the page. There is romance, intrigue, murder, mystery, and all the trappings that come with love and disaster. I can honestly say that this book held surprises that kept me guessing every time I turned the page. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, the author threw in the proverbial wrench, and then the screwdriver and then hammer. The characters were well written and had the reader rooting for them as they tried to overcome their emotional baggage.

"...watching a droplet of water slide down his neck made her squirm and lick her lips."

"...there are so many reasons I should have walked away," he muttered. "You should have run like hell," she whispered more to herself than to him."

In addition to the main characters, there were a host of supporting characters. There was Austin, Lauren's brother and his girlfriend, Erin, as well as the best friend Larry (and just whose side is he on will keep you guessing until the end), and a few old friends from the past who show up to cause what else, but trouble.

..."if you didn't know what I did for a living, what stereotype would I fit?" He asked. Male stripper. Movie star. Construction worker. Greek God...God help me. I've finally gone crazy.

In conclusion, I would have to say that this is great book. It was truly well written and encompassed several different genres without sacrificing any of them. It had a great plot and loads of action and suspense as well as romance. It is worth everyone of the five stars that I am giving it.

Enjoy a few more quotes from the book:

Unwanted memories slammed through her brain...a shadow in the hallway, a knife against her throat, blood on her hands...

"Don't get too comfortable. I'm dancing on the edge of insanity moment to moment." - Lauren
"Who isn't?" - Noah

"The past has a way of showing up when a guy least expects it, doesn't it? And usually it's pissed off about being buried alive."

"...being within a few feet of her was as intense as being dragged under by a riptide."

"Troubled or not, the man kissed like a porn star."

"He liked the way she looked at him as if he were dessert."

"Are you still wanting to back off, or have you come to your senses?"



World of Ink Network

M E D I A  R E L E A S E

Partner & Founder, World of Ink Network
Phone: 435-625-1743
Amber Lea Easton is available for speaking and signing events.

You can find out more about Amber Lea Easton, Riptide and her World of Ink Author/Book Tour at

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  1. Thank you for hosting and sharing your thoughts on Amber Lea Easton's novel RIPTIDE.

  2. I'm sending Amber's analysis of the love scene writing to several friends who write erotica. Thanks Amber.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Jack. I am so glad you found something worth remembering and forwarding. D

  3. I write what my publisher and I call "literary erotica." I am not as concerned with making the scenes steamy or even turning the reader on, though if my work affects my readers at that level it only means I have done a good job.

    In my book I was concerned with using the sex as a metaphor for the experience of reading, and I wanted to make a point about how little sex is described in literary fiction, so of course my scenes were graphic.

    Your points are excellent in addressing sex in fiction and one of the purposes it serves when included. I know one author who is just beginning to write romances who needs to see this.

    "Despite all the questions I get about the sex, love remains the overall goal...that quest for happily ever after."

    Your breakdown and analysis of what audiences are looking for is important. Literary fiction may be less concerned with the happily ever after, but the scene still must follow what the author has set up as far as realistic character behavior. In the end it does all come down to believability, as you state here:

    "To be realistic, love scenes need to feel “right” with the audience--they need to believe that those characters would do those things at that specific time."

    " that specific time." I was trying to explain this to an author I am working with. As an editor I respect what an author is doing in their work and if they want to feature graphic sex or no sex, I will advise accordingly. This applies to what the audience sees and expects to read.

    When I coach authors I encourage them to write past their comfort levels in all areas of their writing, sex is usually the easiest to start with. If you go all the way to what scares you, you can then scale back for audience, but if you don't go there, you might never find that one detail that will really make the scene work. The example I give is Junot Diaz's short story "Alma." There are details in that story that are priceless. Priceless.

    Thanks for so succinctly summing up some of the reasons why scenes fail and reminding us that audience is so important to this discussion.

  4. Wow: Two writers hitting it out of the park here. Good stuff.


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