Beth: Welcome Juniper, to the Release Contest!
Hi Beth! Thanks so much for having me on your blog. I’m a huge fan of your work, and I’m so excited to be here.
Beth: Thanks very much. I’m very interested in hearing more about your writing, as well, and I’m thrilled to have you here.
When did you first become published and how have you changed as a writer since then?
My first book was published in August of 2009, so this is all still new to me! I have two books out right now, and I’d say the biggest change for me is learning to think more professionally. You can’t just write the book, you have to tell people about it. Promotion is fun but it’s time-consuming, so I’m learning how to manage my time so I can still write. It’s been great to see how people react to my books, what works and what doesn’t. I’ve learned an incredible amount in a short time. I’ve learned to keep the story moving, and that nothing beats a great hero.
Beth: I still think of myself as new as well, and I agree one hundred percent: there’s so much to learn.
In your opinion, what’s the most difficult thing about being an erotic romance author?
Great question! There’s the moment when you first explain what you do. That can be awkward. Either people get really interested and start asking embarrassing personal questions, or they change the subject very quickly. In terms of writing, editing sex scenes is hilarious. You get lost in it while you’re writing, but then when you put your editor eyes on to see if it works … well, sometimes I think this has to be the weirdest job in the world. And of course finding new ways to phrase things so you aren’t repeating yourself and pulling readers out of the story.
Beth: LOL. Well put, Juniper.
What’s your favorite Juniper Bell book cover and why?
I love all my covers, but I have a soft spot for the “Doll” cover. It’s so unique and eye-catching, and it creates an instant question. Who is she, and why is she turning her head away, why is she kneeling? I think the artist (Kanaxa) did a brilliant job capturing the mood and theme of the book in one simple, stunning image.
Beth: What’s the best thing you ever heard from a reader?
One reader emailed me that she stayed up all night to finish “Doll” and cried at the end. I was incredibly moved by that. The story has some intense emotions in it, but you never know how it will affect readers.
Beth: What would you like people to remember about you as a writer?
I’d like people to remember that I wrote my heart out for them. That I offered them a story in which people go through things, good and bad, and come out stronger and happier at the end. And that the story was smokin’ hot. (Smiles.)
Beth: You are not allowed to bow out of this—I can’t believe how modest authors usually are, refusing to do this part!—please give us a paragraph or two from your writing of which you are particularly proud. Why do you like this portion?
You’re right, this is so hard! It feels like boasting, but as long as you know it’s not …
I like this particular part because I love using the world around the characters as a way to convey their emotions. Chloe experiences the wind as a reflection of what she’s going through. Her inner world and the outer world interact here. It’s just a short moment but I like it.
Strange how the wind seemed to be flinging itself at the windows. As if it wanted to get in. To get to her. It sounded like a bitter roar, like Andrew when she’d screwed up every ounce of her courage and told him she wanted a divorce. You’ll never get the kids. You’ll never survive without me. You’ll never find a man who will put up with a frigid ice bitch like you. She shivered. If Andrew really wanted to keep the girls, how would she fight him? She would have to go public with her side of the story, which would bring humiliation not only to her, but also to her kids. Would it be worth it?
A gust of wind rattled the door to the balcony. She rose and went to it. When she turned the knob, the door flew open with a bang. With the salty ocean air full on her face, she stepped onto the balcony, into a world of wild darkness. The wind howled and swirled around her. Instead of attacking her, it filled her with a strange, primal strength. Andrew didn’t have the right to keep her a helpless sex doll her whole life. She’d done enough. Gone along with his strange needs. Until he’d pushed her too far.
Beth: Hmmm….Intriguing 🙂 Thanks for sharing.
What project is up next for you?
My next book is coming out on March 9, it’s called “Training the Receptionist.” It’s an erotic novella about a girl who lands her naughty dream job. It’s really fun and sexy and I can’t wait for it to come out.
Beth: Thank you for joining me at the Release Contest, Juniper!
Thank you so much for having me, and congratulations on the release of “Release!” I can’t wait to read it.
Beth: Thanks very much, Juniper. Best of luck in your writing career.
Juniper has been kind enough to offer to one e-copy of her latest, Doll, to on random commenter here. Prize will be awarded Wednesday morning and must be claimed by the winner.
“Doll” by Juniper Bell
Even a plaything can be pushed too far…
Chloe Barnes thought her marriage to a wealthy politician would be the stuff of fairy tales. Instead, he took advantage of her naiveté and used her as a plaything to fulfill his twisted sexual needs. Ten years is enough. She returns to Bellhaven Island to sell the summer cottage she inherited, hoping the money will buy her freedom—and custody of her daughters.
Fisherman Dustin McDougal never forgot the childhood crush he once had on the fairy-like Chloe. The woman she’s become has a haunted look that brings his feelings back, stronger than ever…with a mature edge. Along with all his protective instincts.
Their passion blows stronger than a Maine nor’easter, awakening Chloe to the joy of true love. Yet it may not be strong enough to free her from the past…
Warning: This title contains politicians doing all sorts of nasty things and flashbacks of male domination. It also features hot sex on a boat, hot sex in an attic, hot sex on a work bench…you get the idea.
“Have you been on your boat?” Chloe asked dreamily, as Dustin ran his hands over her back.
“Had to fix a bearing. That engine’s always making some noise or other. Sometimes I think it just wants my attention.”
“I don’t blame it.” He found the lower edge of her sweater and snaked his hand under it. At the feel of his work-roughened palm on her skin, a shudder went through her. Immediately he stopped.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes! You’re not following the rules. If I want you to stop, I’ll tell you. I don’t want you to stop. As a matter of fact—” She drew away from him. “Let’s take off our clothes. Together. At the same time.”
He looked amused. “On the count of three?”
“One…” Chloe stepped out of her skirt. Underneath, she wore woolly leggings for warmth. “Two…” She started to pull off the leggings.
“Hang on! You’re getting ahead of me.” He unbuttoned his jeans, revealing boxers and a huge erection. She felt the breath leave her body.
It was a good feeling.
She put her hands to the hem of her sweater and slid it over her head. It was quickly followed by her turtleneck. She stood in front of him, wearing only her pink lace underwear, while he unbuttoned his flannel shirt. Under it, he wore a “Save the Whales” T-shirt, which she found so endearing, she laughed.
“Am I that funny-looking?” he asked with a wounded look.
“I didn’t know you were a tree-hugger.”
“Some of my best friends are trees.” There was a twinkle in his deep blue eyes that put her completely at ease. “The rest are whales.”
“I think that might be a whale in your pants.”
He waggled his eyebrows lasciviously, then laughed, an infectious chuckle that made her answer with one of her own. Never before had she laughed during sex, or the buildup to sex. Never before had she even smiled. Or joked. Or teased. If they stopped right now, this would still be a groundbreaking experience for her. But she had no intention of stopping. “You’re still wearing boxers and a T-shirt.”
“And you’ve got the bra and panties. Not that I mind the view.”
For a moment, she stiffened. Fearfully, she raised her eyes to his. Would she see that same calculating hunger she was used to? That greedy look that reduced her to a thing, a possession, a trinket? But no. His expression was the opposite of that. Happy appreciation shone from his eyes. His smile had a touch of the devil in it, and a promise of delicious fun.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Nothing. A ghost. We haven’t said three yet.”
“If we don’t do it soon, I’m going to forget how to count.”
Giggling, she put her hands behind her back, on the fastening of her bra. He grabbed the bottom of his T-shirt, poised for take-off.
Clothes flew into the air, a flurry of underwear. Surrounded by discarded clothing, they stared at each other. Chloe felt her rib cage rise and fall with quick breaths. Without looking down, she knew her nipples were already at attention. As was his erection. It rose from a thick nest of black curls and pointed straight toward her, as if it had eyes only for her.
Suddenly, desperately, she wanted to know what he saw when he looked at her. “Do you think…do I seem like…a…” she whispered, “doll?”
“Oh, no. You’re no doll.”
What did he mean? Did he think she was ugly? Maybe he was used to a different type. She crossed her hands over her breasts.
“No! Don’t hide.” With one quick stride, he was in front of her, holding her face in his hands. “You’re beautiful. Wonderful. But you’re no doll. You’re too alive. Too sensitive. Look, I can feel the pulse beating in your throat. I can feel your skin warming under my hands. You’re a living, passionate being. How could anyone think you were a doll?” He ran his thumbs over her cheeks with a touch that seemed to treasure the very shape of her face. When he bent his mouth to hers, the depth of his kiss brought tears to her eyes. His tongue searched her mouth, as if he wanted to track down whatever sadness remained in her and soothe it away.
She let herself sink into the comfort of that kiss for a long moment. But then she moved restlessly against him. Enough gentleness. She needed heat. Fire. Stepping back, she put her hands on his and drew them to her chest. As those warm palms encircled her breasts, she let out a long moan. Already stiff, her nipples hardened even more as he filled his hands with her flesh. “That feels nice,” she heard herself say. In the past, she’d never said anything during sex. She’d become that mute doll Andrew had demanded. Never once had she asked for anything. “Can you lick my nipples, please?”
“No need to be polite, sweetie. I’ll do anything you ask.”
“Lick them, then. A lot. Don’t stop until I ask you to.”
“I wouldn’t think of it.” He tilted her face up one more time, and smiled into her eyes. Then he bent his head to the rosy nipples begging for attention. As soon as his mouth enclosed her right breast, her head fell back with a groan. Her nipples were used to being tweaked, fondled, squeezed, displayed in provocative lingerie, teased and tormented—but this was what she’d always longed for and never gotten. Long strokes of a loving tongue. Moist nibbling that sent electric jolts to her lower belly. A heated mouth tugging on those sensitive points, pulling moans from her.
And Dustin’s mouth didn’t stop. Not when her nipples had swelled to the size of rose hips. Not when she shuddered from the pleasure. Not when his erection jerked against her thigh. She wasn’t at the mercy of his mouth. No, that mouth was at her service. She could ask it to do whatever she wanted.
“Dustin,” she said in a whisper. “Go lower.”