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While you’re out on the web, stop on by The Romance Reviews and read my interview about Desire and Deception and sex siren, Izzy Ramirez.  Giveaway?

Why yes, there is!  I’m giving away prizes to 2 winners! Each set of prizes contains 1 digital copy of DESIRE AND DECEPTION,a set of Romance Trading Cards, a bumper sticker and 1 coffee mug! (US Residents only). Write a comment or ask a question to enter. Contest ends July 31.  Winners will be announced in August.

What Would You Include in a Reading Group Guide?

I have a rule that when I hear something three times, I pay attention.

Yesterday was the third time someone suggested that I should speak to her book club about my new release, Desire and Deception. This, mind you, in spite of the fact that in the interest of complete and full disclosure, I pointed out to every woman who suggested this that the book was extremely hot. As in steam your computer screens up hot. As in Body Heat hot. Undeterred, the women thought it would be a wonderful change of pace. I agreed it would be great fun. What a great opportunity to talk about my work with a group of interested readers. I was so excited.

Then, at three in the morning, I woke up and I realized I didn’t have a discussion guide for Desire and Deception.  I am sharing my DRAFT discussion questions for Desire and Deception with you, looking for feedback and input. Here’s what I have in mind so far.

1.    What are the major themes of this story?

2.    Desire and Deception is an erotic thriller. How did the sex scenes show character or advance the plot? Do you think the story could have been told without the sex scenes?

3.    What were the major turning points in this story for Izzy? For Sarah? For Sean? For Dan?

4.    Did the secondary characters (Gert, Sol, Stedman, and Jazmin) add to the storyline or detract from it? Discuss their contribution to or detraction from the story for you.

5.    What was your first reaction when you met Reverend Edmonds? Given Angie’s history, did you think his actions on his farm were justified at the time?

6.    If you thought your best friend’s husband was a killer, what would you do?

7.    Where do you see Angie and Jake fitting into Dan and Sarah’s life as newlyweds? Do you think they can have an amicable custody arrangement for Jake?

8.    The author writes, “In the end, Izzy becomes more like “good girl” Sarah–and Sarah becomes more like her “bad girl” friend.” Do you agree with this statement?  How did Izzy and Sarah differ?  What characteristics did they have in common?

9.    How do the roles of women in society play a part in this story? Is Izzy a victim or a villain? How do you think you might have turned out if you’d been born into Izzy’s crime family? What about if you’d been born into Sarah’s alcoholic family? What choices do we all make as women about our lives?

10. Did Sharon Buchbinder keep her promise to her readers that they will be affected by the story? Did you feel anxious? Cry? Become angry? Laugh out loud?

11.  Did the story have a satisfying ending for you? Why or why not.

So, my dear readers, what questions would you include in a Reading Group Guide?

(BTW, if you have a moment and have not already done so, could you please stop by my new Facebook page for Sharon Buchbinder, Romance Author and LIKE me? Many thanks!)

News Flash! Interview with Black Rose Reviews!

A chat about my stories and the writing life http://blackroseinterviews.blogspot.com/2011/04/guest-interview-with-sharon-buchbinder.html

Celebrating My New Release: Desire and Deception and a Give Away!

This week I am thrilled to report that my erotic noir thriller, Desire and Deception, is out and available from the Red Sage Press. Since this is a family friendly blog, I will post the G-rated version of the book description. For the sizzling excerpt, click on over to Desire and Deception at Red Sage. You must be 18+ to enter the site. I recommend you wear oven mitts while you read, as your keyboard might be a tad HOT.

Here’s what the story is about: Pampered princess and daughter of a Mexican crime boss, Isabel (Izzy) Ramirez is a newly appointed assistant professor working toward tenure and promotion. Driven by voracious desires, including ambition for advancement in the legitimate world and lust for her boy toy, Izzy’s house of cards is threatened when the department chair confronts her about a major transgression.  Izzy’s take no prisoners approach means she makes sure her boss can never expose her deceptions.

Graduate assistant and guy-on-the-side, Sean Richards wants Izzy to leave her sleazy husband. If she would only get away from that crook, he’s convinced that he can bring out the better woman who exists beneath Izzy’s tough sex siren exterior.  He adores his hot blooded Latina and will do her bidding–up to a point. Despite the mind blowing sex, he can’t and won’t murder for her.

As Izzy’s nosy parker friend and colleague doggedly follows an obscure trail of clues about the department chair’s death, Izzy is forced to choose between reverting to the ways of her unredeemable father–or becoming the extraordinary woman she sees in Sean’s loving eyes.

To celebrate this release, I’m giving away a free copy of Desire and Deception to one lucky commenter. So, toddle on over to Desire and Deception then come back and tell us what you think here on my blog. The lucky commenter’s name will be drawn at random from a big beautiful hat by one of my family members.

Caution: smoke alarms may go off while reading the excerpt!

You’re Invited!

From March 1 – 31, 2011

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Participating authors:

Kat Martin    Sharon Buchbinder Beth Kery    Susan Lyons    Madison Blake  Ashley March    Karen Rose Smith    LK Rigel    Gini Rifkin  Sandra Edwards    Grace Elliot    Suzanne Barrett    Jessica Chambers  Maeve Greyson   Sharon Buchbinder Sable Hunter    Josie Arlington    Tanya Stowe Laura Tolomei    Kristen Painter   Sharon Buchbinder Renee Rearden    Elaine Cantrell  Susanna Ives    Amy Corwin    Keta Diablo    Suzette Stone  Suzanne Tyrpak    TL Schaefer    Monique Martin    Kari Gregg  Susan Meier    Laura Moore    Susan Roebuck    Kathy Carmichael  Sharon Buchbinder Brita Addams    KT Grant    Winslow Eliot    Ingela F. Hyatt  Jan Scarbrough    Victoria Blisse    Sharon Buchbinder PG Forte  Bronwyn Storm    Patricia Preston    Alice Gaines    Cate Rowan  Ann Tracy Marr    Joan Beth Erickson    Tara Lain    Terri Reid  L.J. McDonald    Lucinda Brant    Eden Baylee    Sharon Buchbinder Hayley B. James  Jason W. Chan    Pat Amsden    Elle James    Linda Mooney Beth Trissel    Viviane Brentanos    Morgan Rice    Rita Hestand  Mahalia Levey    LK Below    Gale Stanley    Sarah J. Bradley  Sharon Buchbinder Joanne Troppello    Rhonda L. Print    Pamela Jackson    Jenny Schwartz  Mary Manners    Eve Silver    Jennifer Crusie    T.C. Archer  Sharon Buchbinder Jocelyn Modo    Sloan Parker    Kerri Williams    Stacey Espino  Heather Matthews    Marcia James    Cherie De Sues    Savannah Chase  Simone Eden    Lauren Fraser    Annie Nicholas    JoAnne Kenrick  E.D. Walker    Rachel Haimowitz    HP Mallory    Suzanne Rock  Andrea Speed    Elle Amery    Nichelle Gregory    Eden Bradley   Sharon Buchbinder Shermaine Williams    Berengaria Brown    Tina Donahue    Taryn Kincaid  Sharon Buchbinder Red Haircrow    Virginia Cavanaugh    Hailey Edwards    Elle Druskin  Rachel Brimble    Frances Pauli    Nancy J Cohen    Tarah Scott  Sharon Buchbinder Em Petrova    Heather Wardell    Cara Marsi     CJ Archer  Sharon Buchbinder Mary Eason    Skhye Moncrief    Jana Richards    Jill James  Alison Chambers    LoRee Peery    Gail Pallotta    Alison Henderson  Nicki Greenwood    Alianne Donnelly    Tiffany Ashley    Michael Davis  Sharon Buchbinder Gem Sivad    Stacy Juba    Tory Richards    Darcia Helle LaVerne Clark    Sibel Hodge    Ashley Ladd    Jennifer Labelle  Elaine Hopper    Victoria Howard AND Sharon Buchbinder!

Desire and Deception: The Story Behind the Story

Once upon a time the hallowed halls of medicine were considered stuffy and staid, with occasional doses of reinforcement of this image thrown in by Marcus Welby, MD. In the sixties, sexy Ben Casey began to blow that image away and now we have an abundance of sexy and naughty fictional physicians and nurses with Gray’s Anatomy and House. Having been in higher education for close to two decades, I was always amused by the perception we professors who worked within the ivory tower were staid, pedantic, yes, dull, dull, dull as dirt. While admittedly, there are some who do fit that bill and have died on the job and just don’t know it yet, there are lots of professors who defy that stereotype.

In writing Desire and Deception, I wanted to tell a sexy suspenseful tale about smart, powerful women and the men who love them. I wrote about society’s expectations of what a woman should be versus what a woman wants to be. And since the standing advice to writers is to “write what you know,” I then placed these characters into the setting of a rigidly hierarchical academic world where tenure and promotion are the duo brass rings. With Isabel and Sarah chattering at me the entire time, Desire and Deception is an erotic romantic suspense tale that practically wrote itself.

The only problem I had with the book was getting an agent, editor or publisher to give it a read because–it had “too much sex” in it.

“Seriously?” I asked, “Too much sex?” I couldn’t take it out. The sex was integral to the telling of the tale. Isabel is a man eating sex goddess on the prowl and Sarah is a newlywed trying to get pregnant. Hello? Sex, anyone? I was not taking it out. Then at the suggestion of another romance writer and friend, I attended the Red Sage Publishing session at Romance Writers of America annual meeting in Orlando, FL.

After the session, I introduced myself to Alexandria Kendall, CEO, Red Sage Publishing and said, “I have this book–but everyone tells me it has too much sex.”

Alexandria’s eyes lit up and she said, “Send it to me!”

I am delighted that Red Sage gave my story a chance and that Isabel, Sarah, Sean, Dan and all the other characters finally have a home.  Desire and Deception will be released on April 1, 2011.

I hope readers enjoy the story–and the sex!

Ought-To-Be or Naughty-To-Be? That Is The Question!

From my childhood through my young adulthood, my mother wore the mask of the “Perfect Mother, Girl Scout Troop Leader and Sunday School Teacher. But her behavior, when at home, away from the scrutiny of other adults, was anything but perfect (see post on the Allure of High School Reunions).  One of the first short stories for which I received an honorable mention from Spinetingler Magazine (yes, horror!) was called Goody Two Shoes. No spoilers here, but it was my first public foray into exploring the roles women play and the masks we wear.

Similar in heat levels to noir movies like Body Heat and The Postman Always Rings Twice, my forthcoming erotic romantic suspense novel, Desire and Deception differs from these notable noir examples because it ends on an upbeat note. In Desire and Deception, polar opposites sex siren Isabel (Izzy) Ramirez and goody-two-shoes Sarah Wright-Rosen become fast friends and seem destined to be BFFs until Izzy’s terrible secret is unearthed–literally and figuratively. Convinced that she is unworthy of redemption, because she believes she cannot be anything but the “bad girl,” Izzy goes down a take no prisoners’ path, halted only by her younger lover, Sean Richards.

For her part, having been raised by an alcoholic in a “you’re-only-good-if-you-enable-me” paradigm, Sarah discovers shades of gray in her formerly black and white world. She also learns the powers of forgiveness and love can transform not only how she sees the world, but also her own self-image. In the end, Izzy becomes more like “good girl” Sarah–and Sarah becomes more like her “bad girl” friend. Izzy is the larger than life embodiment of all that is forbidden to “good girls”: she embraces her sexuality and desires and takes control of her life and the men in it–and pleases herself. Sarah is “every woman”: she works hard, plays by the rules, collaborates and works by consensus. She believes she can only be “good” one way–by constantly trying to please others.

This binary, yes/no reasoning is faulty, but I believe many women struggle with this duality in our lives. The question is not to be or not to be, but who are we supposed to be versus who do we want to be? Our role models may or may not be good ones, depending on how healthy our parents’ upbringing was. If you come from a dysfunctional household, one with crime spoken daily, can you break out of that mold? Or are you ever going to be able to explode from those constraints? Likewise, if your home appeared to be the epitome of perfection to the outside world, but was hell behind closed doors, can you ever overcome the damages of a self-righteous hypocrite?  Izzy and Sarah discover their true selves through the redemptive power of love and realize that they can be what they want to be–in spite of their pasts.

What do you think, dear readers? Is the die cast with our gender and family roles? Or can we break the mold of Ought-To-Be or Naughty-To-Be?

News Flash! 4 Siren Stones for Bonded for Life from Siren Book Reviews

Attention shoppers! We have a 4 Siren Stone review for Bonded for Life from Mona at Siren Book Reviews! Whoo hoo! Read her wonderful words at http://sirenbookreviews.blogspot.com/search/label/Sharon%20Buchbinder