Thursday, August 1, 2013

Irresistible Reads Book Tour & Giveaway: His Wicked Games by Ember Casey...

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His Wicked Games
Title: His Wicked Games
Author: Ember Casey
Release date: June 11th, 2013
Genre:  Erotic Romance / Steamy Contemporary Romance
Tour: Irresistible Reads Book Tours

Trapped with a billionaire in his mysterious mansion... Can she beat him at his own game?
Lily would do anything to save the Frazer Center for the Arts—even take on the infamous billionaire Calder Cunningham.

The Cunninghams have long held a reputation for being eccentric—and secretive. When Lily breaks onto their estate, she only wants to find and reason with Calder. (All right, all right, she wants to punch him in the face, too, but that's Plan B.) The Cunningham family was the Frazer Center's largest benefactor for years—until Calder took over the family funds and broke the pledge contract without warning. Now the Center is on the brink of closing, and she's desperate to save the institution her father founded.

Calder is willing to consider her pleas—but for a price. Lily must indulge his whims, play along with his sexual games—all while confined to his mysterious mansion—or she'll never get the funds to save the Center. But there's more to the arrogant billionaire than meets the eye, and the longer they play cat and mouse, the more Lily begins to question her own feelings of hatred for the man.

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It started with a fairy tale.

I’d been working on a Young Adult novel for a couple of years. It was a retelling of a story called “The Black Bull of Norroway,” which is a Scottish variant of Beauty and the Beast (which has always been one of my favorites, in all of its forms). I was working diligently on the novel with my writing group. I had a basic plot in place, and my critique partners seemed to enjoy my writing… but there was one teensy little problem.

You see, I was going for a very moody, atmospheric tone—something dark and romantic and sensual—but it went wrong somewhere. The conversations at my writing group meeting often went something like this:

Patient Critique Partner: “Uh, this description sounds a little too… sexual.”
Ember: “What are you talking about? That paragraph’s about the sky!”
Patient Critique Partner: “Exactly.”

Apparently my attempt at “sensual” was a little more “adult” than I intended (maybe because I was struggling to create romantic/sexual tension between a girl and a hero who’s literally a BULL for most of the novel. I couldn’t figure out how to squeeze that sensuality into their relationship without it veering into creepy territory, and apparently all that sexual energy had to go somewhere).

Finally, completely frustrated, I decided to start a side project--just a quick little steamy romance story to get it out of my system. Seventy thousand words later, my original novel was long forgotten and the first draft of His Wicked Games was complete.

Now, His Wicked Games wasn’t supposed to be a fairy tale. There’s no magic, no fairies, and (thankfully, for my sanity) no “curse” that requires our male lead to be furry for the better part of the novel. But even though it’s solidly contemporary, it’s removed just enough from reality that I believe it still retains that fairy-tale-esque something. (Though if there’s a reality where I can get trapped in a mansion with a billionaire, sign me up!)

I believe that, at its heart, classic genre romance is full of contemporary fairy tales. I mean, it’s practically a requirement that romance novels end with a “happily ever after” (at least according to the RWA definition of the genre). Romance is its own kind of fantasy (*wink wink*), and if you think about it, the curses and trials and witches that appear in classic fairy tales often pop up in modern romances—in slightly different forms, of course.

So I ended up writing my fairy tale after all. Sometimes it takes the wrong project (in this case, my still-disastrous YA attempt) to plant the seed for what you’re really supposed to be writing (in this case, billionaire smut—though the Beauty-and-the-Beast-esque origins are still pretty obvious). Maybe I was just trying to find my true genre.

For now, in the wake of my very first book release, I still feel very much like Cinderella at the ball (geez, that sounded a lot less cheesy in my head). And if, somewhere down the road, my carriage decides to turn back into a pumpkin… well, I’ve always loved pumpkin pie.
About the Author:
Ember Casey is a twenty-something writer who lives in Atlanta, Georgia in a den of iniquity (or so she likes to tell people). When she's not writing steamy romances, you can find her whipping up baked goods (usually of the chocolate variety), traveling (her bucket list is infinite), or generally causing trouble (because somebody has to do it).

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