Writer Wednesday: Berengaria Brown and Combustion

Today we’re interviewing Berengaria Brown’s main characters from her book Combustion.



What are your names? And tell us a little about yourselves?

Hi. My name’s Xonra Gibson and I’m Vice President of Advertising for an HR company called HR Resources Ltd. I attended the memorial service for one-hundred-one-year-old MaryAnne Menzies, a family friend, and was embarrassed to be attracted to the broad-shouldered hunk squeezed into the chair next to me at the overcrowded event, Glenn Hilton. Glen is partnered to the equally yummy Morgan McLean.

How did you meet? Was it love at first sight?

It was definitely lust at first sight for all of us. I was trying to focus on the service for MaryAnne but couldn’t keep my eyes off Glenn.

Hi, I’m Morgan. Glenn and I followed Xonra back to her car. Not only did we want to spend more time with her, but also, she’d said the car wasn’t fully inside the parking space and we’d had our car wheel-clamped at the same funeral chapel only a month or two earlier so we knew her car would be in trouble. And it was. I almost died of embarrassment when she insisted on phoning my sister to check that we weren’t a couple of slave traders or ax murderers, though. It just proves what a strong and feisty partner she is.

What do you believe is your worst or most frustrating quality? What about his/hers?

Hi, I’m Glenn. It wasn’t easy to convince Xonra to come away with us for a weekend to get to know each other better. And even then she’s busy scenting a mystery and trying to solve it instead of thinking only about us. But I wouldn’t have her any other way. Morgan and I love that she has brains as well as a body that calls to us.

What is your best quality? What about his/hers?

Morgan again. I think the fact she was so determined to discover what was happening at Berisford Village only made us love her more. She wanted to help those people and it showed her tender, human side, a side I plan to find out a lot more about in the future.

If you could have one wish come true, what would it be and why?

The men have already made my wish come true, that we’ll have our own happy ever after. But I want that for the people of Berisford Village as well.


And now we’ll speak to Berengaria!

Tell us a little about yourself.

Berengaria is a multi-published author of erotic romance: contemporary, paranormal (magic, ghosts, vampires, fairies, dragons, and werewolves), futuristic, medieval, and Regency-set historical. She loves to read all different kinds of romance so that is what she writes: one man/one woman; two women; two men; two men/one woman; three men, two women/one man, three men/one woman…. Whatever the characters need for their very hot happily-ever-after, Berengaria makes sure they get it.

What makes your current offering a different and compelling read?

For such a short book, (19,000 words) there’s a lot happening. Apart from the funeral, there’s a hot and sultry ménage romance story, and the vacation mystery as well.

What’s next for you?

I’ve just contracted a new book with Ellora’s Cave, called “Four-Way Split”. We haven’t done edits yet, but I’m hoping they won’t be too far in the future.



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Three Things I Don’t Get

I generally try not to be too controversial or make statements here that might alienate readers or publishers or other writers. I’m not saying today’s post is going to be wildly contentious, because most of the things I don’t get are purely a matter of “to each his own” and “your mileage may vary”. But this is just a heads up that this post might push a few buttons.


1. Ménage books

There are so many things I don’t get about Ménage books. Let me count them:

a) I don’t get why they are called Ménage instead of Ménage à trois, given that the word ménage means “household”. People are always saying, “I wrote a ménage for my next novel”. I think they really mean they wrote a ménage à trois, because otherwise they’re saying they wrote a household for their next novel. I could almost get this if it was a four or more person arrangement, but almost all so called “Ménage” novels are actually just ménage à trois.

b) I know that poly situations exist in all permutations. Based on research I’ve done into it and the examples I’ve seen, it does appear that the most successful often are the V-shape relationship. Two guys, one girl, where the guys don’t hook up sexually but are good friends and not jealous of each other. Or two girls, one guy, same set up. Or three guys or three girls, but the same deal–two of the people aren’t fucking each other and aren’t jealous of the ones who do fuck.

Obviously, there are successful examples of poly arrangements in this world where this is not the case. So, please don’t feel the need to reply by saying I’m minimizing the options here. I’m not. I recognize that there are many, many ways this kind of thing can play out. I just…don’t get it. Deep down in my monogamous little heart, I’m boggled by even the V-shape arrangement, and have a hard time processing the plethora of stories out there which seem to focus on two guys fighting over a girl until they decide to ‘share’, or continued jealousy, or arrangements where everyone is fucking everyone else. I also kind of don’t get the appeal, but that’s the next one.

c) I just don’t get it. I’ll admit it. I have a tendency to develop an OTP (one true pairing) about characters. I tried reading a poly story once a long time ago written by a pretty well-known author who happens to be a friend of mine, and I was sick with jealousy on behalf of one of the characters, even though that character was not jealous himself. I could not even finish the entire story because it made my heart hurt so deeply to read it. But, obviously, I’m in a minority here because so called ménage books are everywhere these days. When I asked authors to do Writer Wednesdays again with me, about half the books that came back seemed to be Ménage à trois.

So, what is it that appeals to you, ladies (and gentlemen)? I know, I know, it’s as simple as two guys and their accompanying bits seem pretty hot as a fantasy. And, yes, in 99% of books written by women it is two guys and a one woman. And, sure, you know, if I’m reading straight up porn (also known as PWP), I’m totally down with threesomes and moresomes and all the holes being filled at once. But once love and romance is introduced? I guess I’m just way too monogamous to truly understand the appeal.

[BTW, because it needs to be said, I respect everyone’s right to live their life as they see fit and to have any arrangement, with any number of people, so long as it works for them, and so long as everyone is consenting to said arrangement, and adult.]

I know, I know, I just don’t get it. See the title of this post. It seems like I’m massively in the minority in terms of not really enjoying a romance book featuring more than two main lovers.

Basically, I look at this trend as a boon to those in successful and happy poly relationships, or who wish to be. They certainly have a new avalanche of books aimed at issues they might enjoy. I’d be curious how people in actual poly relationships feel about the way the situations are represented in these books.

Anyway, all y’all that love it, please go on loving it! I just don’t get it.

2. Sushi.



It’s cold. It’s spicy. It’s got a strange texture. I don’t get it.

3. Sports that involve balls and points.



I do get how they can be fun, but I don’t get the massive amount of excitement put into them, the devotion, the heart-stopping love for a team and its wins. It isn’t like a character from a tv show or a book. I can’t sink my teeth into the points earned and take my imagination on a day long ride. And I have no control over it! If they win or lose is completely out of my hands. And it’s often loud. And there are a lot of people there. And, yeah, I just don’t get it.

So, this has been my three things I don’t get. I hope you enjoyed my little revelations of odd-ballness.

Writer Wednesday: Cris Anson

After taking a break from Writer Wednesday for several months, I’m rebooting it with a new format. From now on, we’ll interview the main characters of the book and then follow up with a few questions for the author. I saw this done elsewhere recently and it really helped me know right away if I’d be interested in the book or not–much more so than a traditional author interview. Hopefully, you guys will also enjoy this change up!


Today I’ll be interviewing the main characters from Cris Anson’s book Mercy and Redemption.

What are your names? And tell us a little about yourselves?

Thanks for asking us here today, Leta. My name is Mercy Howe and I’m a Boston TV chef specializing in colonial cooking. It helps that I live in a mashup of a 1735 kitchen and an 1800s carriage house, because I test my recipes in my walk-in fireplace. I was trekking through an old cemetery in central Massachusetts looking for interesting gravestones to illustrate a book when I heard these two guys raising a ruckus around a gravesite. Turns out they found a common ancestor, so we started a conversation about the past.

Hey there, I’m Adam Connolly, a locally famous sculptor. In a recent issue, Improper New England Magazine named me Most Eligible Bachelor. When I saw Mercy, I wanted to have a horizontal conversation right away, know what I mean? There we were, Seth and me, high-fiving that we found the actual grave of a great-great-great whoever back in the 1700s and this blonde angel comes down the hill and says Hi, guys, what are you doing? And I wanted to, you know, get to know her.

Yeah, we got that. Hi, Leta. Thanks for the warm welcome. Adam and I met at an online genealogical research site. I’m his long-lost cousin, Seth Maddox, an architect near Philadelphia specializing in historic restorations. I’m not as in-your-face as he is. I believe it’s slow and steady that wins the race, if you’ve ever heard of Aesop’s Fables. Which Adam probably hasn’t, he’s so busy bedding every woman within reach. I believe in quality, not quantity.

How did you meet? Was it love at first sight?

It’s Mercy again, and I’ll be answering the rest of your questions, because these guys would just bicker all day long. No, not at first sight, but I was certainly intrigued. I mean, hunks with a capital H, both of them. And such different personalities. Can you keep a secret? The day we met, Adam and I shared more than just a kiss *blushing*. Then the next day Seth researched where I live and visited me, and darned if we didn’t share an itch-scratching as well. So yes, I guess it was love (or at least lust) at first sight—with both of them, except I couldn’t choose between them.

If it wasn’t love at first sight, what changed?

I kept getting flashbacks of a previous life, and I realized that I had known both of them back in the 1690s. That’s right, more than 300 years ago. I was intrigued by the possibility of reincarnation so I kept pushing them both, recreating scenes from my past that I remembered, hoping they’d remember it as well. And yes, that included bedroom scenes *big grin*.

What do you believe is your worst or most frustrating quality? What about his/hers?

*laughs* The guys would probably say my most frustrating quality is my inability to choose between them. Although when I approached them with the idea of a ménage, they both agreed it was a capital idea.

Let’s see, Adam’s worst quality…do you have any idea how frustrating it is to be his date at a black-tie event and see all the groupies swarming around him without even acknowledging that I’m there? And he just stands there and absorbs it without pushing them away. Seth, well, Seth needs a more-than-gentle push. He’s a quiet kind of guy and sometimes a girl just needs to take things into her own hands.

What is your best quality? What about his/hers?

Since my TV cooking show is filmed before a live audience, I have to say it’s my ability to roll with the punches. If I make a blooper, I kind of joke my way out of it. It helps in my personal life, too, such as when I shift between one man and the other and still keep my head. Never once did I mix up their names, even when I was almost out of my mind with—um, never mind. *blushes*

Seth’s best quality is his ability to have fun and find the bright side no matter the situation. Adam’s is the overwhelming force of his personality; you can’t help but be intrigued by him.

If you could have one wish come true, what would it be and why?

Other than world peace? I wish people would have more of an appreciation of the past. We have so much to learn from what our forefathers and foremothers went through, how they struggled, what they fought for. What would that forefather that Adam and Seth found think of flush toilets? Jet planes? Cell phones? So many things we take for granted, like freedom and automatic washing machines and the simple act of reading a book. Do you know there are folks in America who think hamburger comes from a machine? Who have never seen a tomato ripening on a vine? There’s a saying that those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Wouldn’t it be awful if we had to go back to living like it was 1694?

If, after reading this character interview, you’re interested in Mercy & Redemption, you can pick it up here!


Now tell us a little about you, the writer!

I’m an old broad with a young (dirty) mind. Married twice, loved them both, buried them both, wouldn’t mind someone else to love but he’d better be young enough to keep up with me. I dance like no one is watching because it’s a lifetime habit with me. I remember dancing the polka with my Dad at weddings way back when I was a kid. In fact, he and I won a polka contest at a country club one Octoberfest when it was open to guests. I met my first husband at a singles’ dance during the mini-skirt era. My second husband used to take me dancing to Big Band music with a live 12-piece band. I still jiggle everything at the writers’ conferences I attend, most notably Romanticon. Except now I have to sit down after every two or three songs to catch my breath.

It took me over a dozen years from the time I started writing in earnest to being published. Mercy and Redemption is my 12th release with Ellora’s Cave and I hope to continue writing erotic romance for many years to come. And it would be nice to have some up close and personal inspiration for those love scenes instead of just memories.

From your back catalogue, do you have a secret favorite? If so which book and why?

Of course it would be Dance of the Seven Veils. Not because it was my first Ellora’s Cave book, which by the way just celebrated its eighth anniversary of publication. Not even because it sparked a four-book series. But because it was the coming-of-age story of a 39-year-old woman, a journey to the discovery of her own sensuality. In many ways it’s my story. Because now I’m immersing myself in the BDSM lifestyle so as to write more authoritatively about it. I’m meeting so many interesting people and learning so many things about myself.

Gotta put in a plug here for my blog, Cris Anson’s Passions (http://crisansonspassions.blogspot.com/), where you can read my four-part series on the BDSM for Writers weekend I participated in, including two visits to Paddles, the longest-running BDSM club in New York, and what I experienced there.

What’s next for you?

I don’t want to give away any secrets to those who haven’t yet read Mercy and Redemption, but some of the characters from that book are being featured in the third book of that series. Tentatively entitled Redemption and Glory, it’s a doozy! As a matter of fact, the first scene takes place in a BDSM dungeon, as will a number of subsequent scenes. The characters are exploring their own heretofore dormant tendencies—which one will be the Dominant? the submissive? Or will one or both be a switch? How can they let go of all their conditioned responses and be themselves? It’s fascinating to me as I go along for the ride to uncover their true natures. And honestly? I have no clue how it’s going to turn out. That’s part of the fun.

Lastly, provide me with covers, blurbs, buy links, and where you can be found on the web! 🙂

Here’s the blurb for Mercy and Redemption:

While searching an old cemetery for likely gravestones to illustrate her colonial cookbook, Mercy Howe meets two hunks who are tracing their ancestry, and sparks fly. Literally.

When Mercy casually touches Seth and Adam, her vividly erotic vision involving all three of them feels like a memory, not a dream, and awakens long-dormant sexual urges. Their kisses are achingly familiar, and she welcomes each in turn into her body. Then she spends a no-holds-barred weekend with both men in her bed and discovers an intimacy—and a past—that blows her mind.

As memories resurface from three hundred years ago, Mercy will have to choose whether to relive the experiences from their joint past or forge a new bond with either Seth or Adam. Or both.

Inside Scoop: Contains m/m/f ménage and one doubly satisfied heroine!

Mercy and Redemption and all my books are available at Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other digital venues. You can also learn more about me at my website (http://www.crisanson.com/), my blog, and my Facebook page.

Thank you for inviting me here, Leta. It was fun chatting with you!


Thanks for being here, Cris!