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Top 75 Older Woman/Younger Man Romance Novels

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ATTENTION READERS: New Romantic Fantasy, The Chamber of Curiosities is now available as e-book on Amazon. Be the first to read, review, and discuss the novel, set in a carnival in an ancient land. The gothic tale  features a a sensuous older woman/ younger man romance.

In The House on Black Lake heroine Alexandra Brighton is obsessed with charismatic Ramey Sandeley, a man she met in her early thirties, who is now, as is she, in his forties. However, it is young French artist Andre Labat, a man twenty years her junior, who teaches her about the fragile nature of love and trust, and guides her to bare her darkest secrets and desires. Another character, Luna, is well into her sixties and uses her sex appeal to allure men of all ages.

It is natural for mature women to be drawn to younger men, as they provide greater reproductive prowess, progressive knowledge, and more vibrant protective mechanisms. Society finds derogatory names for women who dare enter into these unions as there is fear by older men that they will be left alone, abandoned for young bucks biting at their heals.

Following are 75 novels featuring mature woman and younger men. Many feature minor age differences. But, I am including these unions, as the romance community (many thanks to Amazon) feel representations of age and status difference are considered unique in context of their cultural history. The list is in no particular order.

Renaissance

1. Return to Night by Mary Renault - 11 years difference

2. To Please a Lady by Susan Johnson - spinster fights against being wooed to marriage

Georgian

3. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (7/91) -- Time Travel -- Claire is older than Jamie.

4. Pleasure Me by Monica Burns - courtesan is 12 years older that 29 year old lord

Traditional Regency

5. A Promise of Spring by Mary Balogh - h is 10 years older and serious demeanor - mismatched love

6. The Ramshackle Suitor by Nancy Butler

7. The Bishop's Daughter by Susan Carroll

8. The Dower House by Carola Dunn - story of house for widows and young girl looking for new life 

10. An Immodest Proposal by Patricia Oliver - 5 years younger, less educated, charming

12. The Bumblebroth by Patricia Wynn -Widow is drawn to the man she chose to wed her daugher

Regency

13. To Wed a Viscount by Adrienne Basso - Widow sets out to marry deceased fiancee's younger brother to save house

14. Anthology: In Praise of Younger Men by Jo Beverley, Cathy Maxwell, Jaclyn Reding - stories feature mature women with younger men

15. The Stranger I Married by Sylvia Day - widow's MOC turns passionate when husband returns from exile

16.[/amazon_link]A Talent for Sin by Lavinia Kent  - three times a widow with man in early 20's

17. Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas (6/01) -30 year old finds love with 25 year old

18. Victor by Julia Templeton -Erotica - widow is 38, hero is 10 years younger.

19. The Duchess' Lover by Julie Beard - heroine is 40, hero is in late 20's

20. Sleeping Beauty by Judith Ivory - Courtesan is 8 years older

21. Rebel Baron by Shirl Henke  -h 36 - H 30

22. Brazen by Susan Johnson - h is thirty-five with children and as experienced as younger lover

Frontier - Western - Americana

23. Tiger Lil by Ellen Archer  Victorian -

24. Summer Fancy by Anne Avery - 1895 Colorado - tall, plain women finds love with young farmer

25. The Spirit Path by Madeline Baker 1872  -Hawk 25 and Maggie 32

26. Loving Mercy by Teresa Bodwell 1860s Kansas and Colorado

27. The Randolph Legacy by Eileen Charbonneau - 1810s Virginia Post-American Revolution - 9 years difference

28. Anthology: The Invitation by Jude Deveraux 1920/1930s

29. The Rainbow Season by Lisa Gregory

30. Last Chance by Jill Marie Landis - 1894 Montana

31. Courting Miss Hattie,  Wild Oats, and Simply Jess by Pamela Morsi

32. Midnight Confessions by Candice Proctor [New Orleans, Civil War] - Widow  is 30 and 5 years older than yankee marshall, who is 25 years.

33. From Fields of Gold by Alexandra Ripley (11/94) -- 1900s-1910s - woman is nearly 30 when barely 20-year-old agrees to marry her.

34. Christmas Day Family by Cheryl St. John - (A) A Western Winter Wonderland - Marvel Anne is 33 and Dr. Seth Paxton 26.

35. The Tender Texan by Jodi Thomas -German widow needs husband to claim land in new world - offers $100 to man to marry for one year - the taker is a boyish lad, but also a seasoned gunslinger

Historical Fiction - Historical Mystery

36.  Farrier's LaneThe Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Mystery Series - Late Victorian England - Charlotte's mother, 53-55 ,meets her longtime lover, Joshua, 40, in this book.


Contemporary - Romantic Suspense

37. The Last Time I Saw Paris by Elizabeth Adler. When her surgeon husband tells her there's another woman, Lara Lewis, 40-something, decides to invite a much younger man to go with her on a trip to Paris she had planned for she and her husband as they retraced their honeymoon.

38.  Convincing Silvia By Erin Aislinn - Silvia is 46 and Andy is 35. e-book short story.

39. Night Magic by Charlotte Vale Allen ( The secondary character Kitty is 10 years older than Hal. Kitty is/was the housekeeper/nanny for Marissa and Hal is Erik's personal assistant.

40. The Man in the Black Leather Mask by Evangeline Anderson - Erotica  - Attorneys Jacqueline (Jax) Emerson and Ryan Cutler: 10 yrs difference.

41. Garden of Scandal by Jennifer Blake - Beautiful recluse Laurel Bancroft hires Alec Stanton, more than 10 years younger, intelligent, talented and passionate, to help her redesign her garden.

42. Enchanted Cottage by Linda Bleser - Liz Riley discovers an enchanted cottage where time stands still. She wakes up to find her youth restored, and her passions ignited by the owner of the cottage - a man she believes is young enough to be her son.

43. Love in Another Town by Barbara Taylor Bradford- h is 15 years older

44. Ladies' Man by Suzanne Brockmann - almost 10 year difference.

45. The Defiant Hero, Into the Night, Out of Control, Breaking Point, Trouble Shooters Series -by Suzanne Brockmann -Navy seals - multiple character story lines

46. What You Won't Do For Love by Wendy Coakley-Thompson -Disillusioned Chaney Braxton 36-years-old, meets 28-year-old "tadpole" half black, half Korean veterinarian Devin Rhym, who may be young, but he's got an old soul.

47. The Object of Love by Sharon Cullars - Interracial - Sean Logan, 21-year-old white male, and Lacey Burnham, 42-year-old black mother of his deceased, but ghostly and angry, ex-best friend, Calvin.

48. The Last True Cowboy, What the Heart Knows, Night Falls Like Silk, by Kathleen Eagle by Kathleen Eagle.

49. Bound to Please by Lilli Feisty -Erotica - Ruby Scott, event planner is 37, Mark St. Crow is 29 and plays the piano, rock star.

50. Reunion by Therese Fowler - Lue Reynolds is 9 years older than Julian Forrester.

51. Confession by Elizabeth Gage - an unhappy and betrayed wife falls for the young fiance of her only child.

53. Under the Wire by Cindy Gerard -h 10 years older than h 40s/30s. She was his first and only true love and when she left seventeen years ago, she took more than his heart.

54. The Price by Joan Johnston - Secondary Romance - she is 53, he is 35

55. Love Becomes Her by Donna Hill -  he is a basketball millionaire more than half h's age

56. Leaving Normal by Stef Ann Holm - 9 years difference - Hispanic Hero

57. Romeo and Julia by Annie Kimberlin - 10 years.

58. Fallen From Grace by Laura Leone - h is 35 and author of a medieval mystery series, H is 26 and a male prostitute.

59. Call it Paradiseby Mary Jane Lloyd - successful advertising consultant has prominent attorney,as a lover. She meets younger owner of ad agency and their attraction intensifies.

60. A Minor Indiscretion by Carole Matthews -  38-year-old wife and mother of three has an affair with a gorgeous street artist 15 years her junior

61. Tim by Colleen McCullough - Mary is a 40-something unremarkable spinster, while Tim is 25-year-old mentally retarded young man who looks like a Greek god.

62. Dancing at the Harvest Moon by K.C. McKinnon

63. A Rhythm Divine by Judy Mays - 13 years

64. She'll Never Know - by Hunter Morgan -A victim of amnesia handsome lifeguard 10 years her junior. And then the first memory flashes return.

65. Bewitched by Constance O'Day-Flannery - Successful career woman falls in love with a lawyer from turn-of-the-century America. He is younger and angry for being jettisoned a hundred years forward in time.

66. Flirting With Forty by Jane Porter - divorced mother of two vacations in Hawaii for 40th birthday. Depressed with flabby middle-aged prospects poolside, she finds herself drawn to a younger, tanned and sexy surf instructor.

67. One Summer by Karen Robards - a Kentucky school teacher takes a former student under her wing after he is paroled from prison for a crime she does not believe he committed. Their love causes tongues to wag in the small town. Suspense.

68. Family Blessings by LaVyrle Spencer - a woman answers the front door to learn her son has been killed. The person offering the news is a police officer and also her son's best friend. The young man becomes a surrogate sibling to her to other children and a friend to her. Gradually their love turns to passion and when he proposes she must confront the judgments of others.

69. Anything For Love by Janelle Taylor - Widow is 47; hero is much younger ex-football star

70. Snowfall at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs  - veterinarian is ten years younger than international lawyer.

71. Anyone but You by Jennifer Crusie - light, funny playful - Woman turning 40 looks forward to new life away from stuffy ex husband and suburbs. New life in her own aparment in city brings the "puppy" she desires, and a gorgeous 10 yrs younger E.R. doc sends her hormones raging.

72. Meandar Scar by Lisa Lickel - woman's husband disappeared 7 years ago. A neighbor, nearly young enough to be her son, returns from law school and helps her with paper work to declare husband dead. Story follows process of loss, grieving, and the transformative power of love, as well as the hurdles a mature woman/younger man relationship can face.

73. Naked in the Rain by Debra Marhowitz -43 year old woman picks up 23 year old stud in bar and takes him home for the night. They become fast friends and she provides him motivation and direction while he helps her come to terms with ghosts of past. Sexy, omance, suspense, pathos.

Alternate World - Science Fiction - Fantasy - Futuristic - Vampire - Paranormal

71. Primary Inversion by Catherine Asaro

72. Ritual of Proof by Dara Joy

73. Alternate World  - by Susan Grant

75. The Object of Love by Sharon Cullars

A mature woman with a younger man is the perfect match.

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A Woman on the Wildside - A Dance of Fate in Argentina

'He made me comfortable in a manner usually signifying eminent intimacy.  Sometimes such people are guideposts, stationed by destiny to lead you to the next phase of your journey, or as agents of transformation.  On occasion, a stranger appears to offer a passionate night or two, a dance with danger, when traveling away from the homeland.'

Please Note:  "A Woman on the Wild Side" is a series of blogs chronicling author Anastasia Blackwell's experience traveling in Argentina, and features a mysterious young man named Tamerlane Rivera There are plans for the blogs to be compiled and and published when her adventure is complete..

Tamerlane Rivera removed his overcoat and used it to shield me from the torrential downpour.  He guided me from the Recoleta Cemetery to La Biela, a lovely restaurant on the square, known for the common presence of American actor Robert Duvall, whose movie, Tango Assassination, was filmed in Buenos Aires. The restaurant manager greeted Tamerlane as an old friend and offered a prime window table, with a view of the entrance to the cemetery and pedestrians passing beneath colorful umbrellas.  It was August, winter in Argentina, but it would soon be spring and the weather was mild

     Our conversation began formally, with mutual questions about our backgrounds. The chatter of guests and the soothing sound of rain beating against the rooftop afforded a homey intimacy.  He made me comfortable in a manner that usually signifies eminent intimacy. Sometimes such people are guideposts, stationed by destiny to lead you to the next phase in your journey, or as agents of transformation.  Occasionally, they offer a passionate night or two, a dance with danger, when traveling away from the homeland.

     “I followed the family tradition and went to law school,” he told me. “I come from a long line of attorneys and politicians. But, when I experienced first hand the corruption, in the government and courts, I was disgusted.  It is my opinion that there is no justice for the underprivileged in this land, or any other, from my experience.  Institutions are created to earn capital, create fear, and control the masses.

     He paused and looked out the window pane, streaming with rain.

     “Last night, as we stood facing the Tribunal, I saw in your eyes that you had suffered an injustice,” he said.

     “To be driven by fear is to ride in the trunk of your own car. You will never arrive at your destination,’ you told me.

     He offered an enigmatic smile and the reflection of something else.

      “Sometimes the courts will dole out a good result, often published it in the media.  It operates in the manner of a lottery or a slot machine, giving people hope and reinforcement that the system works to their benefit. But even then, the attorneys are the real winners,” he told me.

     “Do you still practice law?” I asked, and held his provocative gaze.

     “I occasionally take cases, to assist those who do not have access to a defense. But, mostly my efforts are centered on working with activists to create an underground social movement that operates both inside and outside the system. Our beliefs are rooted in the sovereignty of the individual.”

     "Are you a revolutionary?” 

     “I am a Transformationalist.”

     “I’m not familiar with the ideology.”

     He paused for a moment and drew a forefinger across his lower lip.

     My group organized the demonstration you attended. We provide political speakers and the trucks used to haul stage set-ups, video and audio equipment, and banners. I keep my eye on the spectators to make certain the crowd remains in control and the police are kept at bay. That’s how I found you, although you would not be hard to miss at any vantage point.” 

     I blushed at the compliment, though not entirely convinced his beguiling manner wasn’t universally administered, as heir to the machismo porteño culture.

     “I presumed your appearance was more than serendipity,” I said.

     “What path led you there?”

     “I asked the ticket seller at the train station what stop to take to arrive at Arenales and Suipacha. He told me to get out at the Tribunals exit.”

     “Then it was fate.”

     “How so?”

     “You got off at the wrong stop.”

     Our waiter, who moved like an invisible puppeteer guiding him by strings, arrived with a silver platter of steaming coffee and dulche de leche dessert, a delicious Argentinean favorite. Tamerlane switched to his native Spanish tongue and engaged the man in a banter that accented the deep melodic tone of his voice.

     A melancholy drifted over me as the pouring rain beat the window, obscuring our view. The world dissolved into a blur, leaving only the security of the present. As he spoke with the waiter I admired his impressive physical attributes.

     He had intense, soulful brown eyes, a strong jaw with a faint cleft in the chin, full lips, and luxurious dark wavy hair grazing to his shirt collar, an expressive chest straining against cotton, long legs, and muscular thighs. His high cheek bones would have made him near model perfect, were it not for the horizontal scar below his left eye socket. I wasn’t certain of his age, although he was clearly younger.  Yet, he hadn’t flinched when I told him my boys were grown.  Tamerlane reclined in his chair, raised his cup of café con leche to his lips, and observed me with curiosity, as the waiter departed.  His skin held tawny color, yet was translucent, naked, like still water - tranquil, yet teaming with life. He was clearly a man who had never experienced rejection or failure.  His eyes held keen intelligence, a radar that searched for subtext and anticipated the next move. Deeply complex and masculine, there was a hint of vulnerability lurking beneath that charged him with the illusive aura of charisma. 

     “Is your family buried there?” I asked him, looking out the smeared window toward the gates of the Recoleta Cemetery.

     “Yes.  They lie next to the murderous general.”

     “Is there no other choice of destiny?”

      “Perhaps,” he said softly, and I saw the first crack in his resolve.

     I shifted my gaze to a painting on the paneled wall of a beautiful couple dancing the tango. The raven haired beauty wore a low cut red dress, slit to thigh, and a shapely long leg was wrapped around the leg of her sultry partner. They were either drunk on love or Malbec wine, and their infatuation was tantalizing.

     “Would you like to learn to dance the tango?”  He asked, and broke into a grin that revealed an enviable set of teeth

     “I’ve heard it’s very complicated,” I answered and cut into my dessert, oozing with warm caramel and chocolate.

      For the man it’s complex.  A woman only needs to learn a few moves. The man controls the dance and the woman follows his lead.”

     “It seems women will never break free from that blue print,” I said, with a dash of playfulness cutting through my sarcasm.

     “It takes discipline to understand how to get into the head of your partner, to learn how he thinks, to understand his weaknesses and strengths, while introducing your own spice and personality.  Done properly it transcends the partners and alters the essence of the dance,” he said.

     “I’m not good at following. I like to be in control,” I said, and met his gaze dead on.

     “To be in control is to be out of touch with your instincts,” he said, and I thought he might take my hand - but instead he motioned for the waiter.

     “I call Tango the Dance of Fate.  The man defines the nature of the journey and the woman uses instinct to follow him, while introducing her own stylistic accent.  At some point in the dance, the woman begins to influence the instincts of the man, and the dance takes on a life of its own.”

      “As the couple falls in sync, they inspire each other to create moves neither would have never imagined, if left to their own volition. Art is created when that happens, and sometimes the passion bleeds into the bedroom.  But not always,” he said with a seductive flicker of his eyes.

     “I have experienced what you describe as an actress working with a highly skilled partner. It’s what drives my passion for the craft. But I view it more as a duel.”

     "Duel implies a loser, " he said

    “A duel is a game of strategy," I answered.

     He flashed a charming smile to the women seated beside us, a quartet of coifed matrons with suits buttoned to the chin, primly sipping tea and taking dainty bites of flakey empanadas, who had ceased their casual chatter to eavesdrop.

     "There is an underground club where the greatest tango dancers in the world practice for championships, away from the eyes of the gawkers and those who steal choreography. If you like, I will take you there."

     “Do you dance?” I asked, and finished my espresso,down to the last drop.

     “I used to compete – when I was a student at the university. Now, I enjoy it for recreation.”

     “In that case, perhaps you can recommend a studio for me to learn a few basic steps before you introduce me to the dance floor.”

     “The rain has stopped.  Let me walk you back to your hotel,” he said. “It will be dark soon.”

 TO BE CONTINUED . . .

 

 

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A Woman on the Wildside - Sex and the Cemetery in Argentina

"The place was tranquil, in a disturbing way, beautiful in a gothic manner of opulent splendor, a facade for darker stories - a ghost town in the literal sense."

NOTE:  A Woman on the Wildside is a series of blogs currently being written by Anastasia Blackwell, chronicling her experience as a single woman traveling in Argentina, with the purpose of publishing the complete series.

"I imagined a late night tryst beneath a full moon, bare skin against cold stone, alive in the shadows of death, a delicious shock of electricity riding spine to heart, and the drive to create new life”.  

     I strode down bustling Avenida Alvear, past the Cathedral with  open door confessionals and prayer stalls lined with candles.  The sweet smells that wafted from the bakeries and candy shops filled my senses with delight, and. I ached to stop and try the fine leather boots and jackets in the windows of upscale boutiques, but I was running late.

     Tamerlane Rivera appeared as I made my way past Our Lady of Pilar Church to the entrance of the Recoleta Cemetery, its stone façade in stark contrast to the swirl of white clouds floating, adrift in a sea of blue. He wore a black cashmere coat over a white collared shirt open at the neck, and dark wash jeans.  His embrace was firm and confident, affording a kiss to my cheek that left a trace of musk and spice.

     At the finale of the demonstration at the Tribunal he had offered an invitation to show me the sights of Buenos Aires. I had agreed, despite numerous warnings that a single woman must be cautious when traveling in Argentina. I did not regret the decision, as his beguiling good looks had the same affect in the harsh light of day as the romantic warm hue of moonlight..

     “I grew up in the barrio of Recoleta, on the street that houses many of the embassies.  Most of the wealth in Argentina is held by the people who live within the district.”

     He guided me past a vendor cooking glazed walnuts, through neo classical gates and Doric columns into one the most famous cemeteries in the world. Inside the walled gates was a city of extravagant mausoleums that housed the remains of wealthy, famous, and infamous Argentinean citizens.   

     “Most locals born to the neighborhood are baptized in the church, educated, build careers, get married, raise children, retire, and move to the exclusive city of the dead, when they pass on.  It is expensive real estate and there are no simple stones, the kind used to mark the remains of common people.”

     “No Exit,” I remarked.

     “I’m sorry?”

     “Your description reminded me of an existential Jean Paul Sartre play.”

     “He is one of my favorite philosophers,” he said.

     “Mine too,” I said, in half earnest, distracted, by the vast array of artistry used to render the essence of a human life.

     The place was tranquil, in a disturbing way, beautiful in a gothic manner of opulent splendor, a façade for darker stories - a ghost town in the literal sense.   

     The elaborate marble mausoleums were decorated with statues in a wide range of architectural styles, tightly attached, like miniature houses, decorated with sophistocated sculptures, art, and photographs. 

     A strong French influence was apparent, but pyrmids, Egyptian motifs and Masonry symbols added an eclectic flair. Laid out like city blocks, the main walkways lined with trees led to narrow streets meandering for what seemed like miles.  There were thousands of homes, and many offered clear views inside doors and windows, of elaborate, wood caskets adorned with precious metals.

     The most touching was the crypt of a young woman who had mistakenly been buried alive, and then died of fright when she awakened. She had been reburied behind glass, in case she reawakened a second time.

     “Eva Peron is buried further down this walkway,” he said, and led me along a narrow path to an elegant crypt lined with flowers and notes from her fans.”      “She would have been forgotten beneath a slab in the country had she not used her beauty and eloquence to reform the country. “

     “I read she was embalmed by her husband.” I said..

     “Yes, and was stolen by thieves after he died.  She was held as the property of his widow for a period of time.”

     "A woman’s worst nightmare,” I said..

     “Beauty and power exact a price,” he remarked, with a warm smile.

     Evita rose from poverty to become an international icon for her rhetoric, personal style, and tireless work on behalf of women and the poor.  A victim of uterine cancer, she lost her life to what created life and defined her as a woman. 

     “Is her husband, Juan, buried beside her?” I asked.

     “Her family would not let Peron lie beside her since he remarried after her death.  The crypt next door is for sale for $500,000.  Money buys position.”

     “It’s heartbreaking that she lies here alone, a spectacle to tourists, with a plot ‘for lease’ next to her, when her passion and commitment to her husband and her country were unconditional.”

     “Legacy is all that matters.”

     We passed the statue of a warrior on horseback. ”This famous general was revered for his slaughter of the local natives. A monument to genocide,” he said.

     Tamerlane paused before a broken-down crypt, with glass shattered and laced cobwebs. The dusty coffins inside could be clearly seen and a top was slightly ajar, which made the scene even more macabre.

      A high pitched cry came from inside the crypt and the wrought iron door began to open. I gasped and I jumped back, nearly into Tamerlane’s arms.

     “It’s a feline not a ghost,” he reassured me, while barely stifling his amusement.  “Cats are brought here to live when their masters are laid to rest. They keep the rodents at bay.”

     A tabby cat stepped outside and sauntered leisurely down the street to the next abandoned home.

      When a citizen dies their surviving family members are required to pay the caretakers to keep up the property.  If their relatives fall into hard times or lose interest in their old relatives, the deceased are left to the ravages of nature.”

     “Foreclosure in the cemetery,” I replied.

     A dark shadow passed overhead and the sultry scent of the aquatic permeated the air.  A shroud of black clouds threatened to flood the streets of the departed.

      Tamerlane turned to me with a mysterious smile.  His gaze lowered to my lips, my heart began to race, and for a brief moment I was lost to fantasy.  I imagined a late night tryst beneath a full moon, bare skin against cold stone, alive in the shadows of death, a delicious shock of electricity riding spine to heart, and the drive to create new life”.

     “There is no escaping Capitalism if you choose to lie with him,” he remarked, and looked deeper into my eyes as though to capture the image of forbidden love I had conjured.

     “Who owns your soul?” I asked, in a shallow voice. 

     “My soul is not for the taking,” he replied.

     “Does that mean it’s not been given?”

     “It means it has not been bought.”

     The heavy clouds began to give way to a torrential downfall.

     “Come, let’s find shelter,” he said, and took my arm to lead me outside the walls of the city of the dead.

Recoleta Cemetery

 

Recoleta Cemetary
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Anastasia Blackwell Interview on Trap of Women Who Marry for Money

In a recent interview at the Ashland Shakespeare Festival in Oregon I was asked about the character of Ruth Sandeley, wife of wealthy Ramey Sandeley in The House on Black Lake. Here are my thoughts:

 

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Anastasia Blackwell Reveals Inspiration for Novel 'The House on Black Lake'

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Author Anastasia Blackwell Interview on Taming Bad Boys

 

In a series of interviews set in Jacksonville, Oregon I was asked about the bad boys in The House on Black Lake. Here is an excerpt from the interview:

 

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San Mateo County Fair Seeks Authors for Publication in Anthology

 

ATTENTION ALL WRITERS!!!

300-Toryfinal

The San Mateo, Ca County invites you to include your work in our first published collection!

I have personally worked with the founders of the "Carry the Light" literary festival and can vouche for their passion and commitment to helping writers find an audience for their work.

Below is a description from the San Mateo county Fair Website:

“CARRY THE LIGHT” – THE SAN MATEO COUNTY FAIR LITERARY ANTHOLOGY 2012 will be published by Sand Hill Review Press.
Be part of the 2012 literary anthology and you will be a published author in a 6x9 soft cover trade paperback that will be available for public purchase at the fair, as well as Amazon.com! Every entrant will have at least one piece published; all winning entries will be included, even if a writer has won multiple awards.
NOTE: If you do not wish to be included in this anthology, you must click the designated box on the entry form.

Theme

Carry the Light of 2012 is the published anthology of short story, poetry, essay, and sponsored contest submissions. Themes range from free form poetry to science fiction short stories to personal essays, all of which tell a story. Do you have such a story to share?

Special Note

In exchange for being published by Sand Hill Review Press in a soft cover trade paperback available for public purchase, writers will authorize their work to be printed without compensation, and will retain all ownership rights. Writers are invited to participate in local promotions and book signings.

New this Year

Because we are publishing an anthology, we prefer entries to be submitted in a .doc or .docx file but you will not be excluded if you don’t have access to the Internet. See General Literary Contest Rules for all entry requirements.


Note
: We also offer a cover art contest for this anthology in the fine arts dept. PREORDER NOW! A limited number of books will be available during the fair for the special promo price of $10.00 (deadline May 9, 2012). Preorder now on the guidebook entry form or fair website to ensure your copies at the sale price; regular price will be $12.00 plus tax and shipping, and order will take approx 7-10 days.
There will be an Anthology Book Signing Event (day and time tba on our website, you do not need to purchase a book in order to attend.
Carry the Light of 2012 will be available to purchase online at Amazon.com. See similar books at www.amazon.com and www.sandhillreview.org


NOTE
: In order to print this book in time, our new entry deadline for all literary entries is April 16, 2012

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Power Exchange

A perfect  example of power play between a man and a woman can be found in "The House on Black Lake".  In chapter twenty-two, titled "The Beast In The Cage", Alexandra Brighton and Ramey Sandeley engage in a fierce power enchange that leaves each altered and prepared to take their relationship to the next level.

Following is complete chapter:

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

The Beast in the Cage

 

I watch a myriad of my reflections in the eyes of the exotic stuffed animals, as I move through the entryway.

          “Where have you been, Alexandra?”

            He moves up behind me, baring touching.

          “What are doing up so late, Ramey?”

          “I might ask you the same question. St. Agathe closes up tight by ten o’clock, unless you’ve been invited to a private party.” 

          “I was invited to a private party.”

          “Was it good?”

          “Beyond words.”

          Ramey digs his fingers into my arm and swings me around to face him. He looks dreadful, with hair sticking up in tufts, the corners of his lips caked with dried blood, and his T-shirt stained with perspiration. What is more alarming are the gray hairs mingling in the growth of stubble on his chin - the first sign of anything that has staked a claim on his perfection. A wave of repulsion rides up my spine and spikes a fit of nausea, disgust unfathomable in my former carnation. The God has fallen from his pedestal. This grim satyr looks and smells like nothing more than a filthy drunk.

          “I need to talk to you; come back to my room.”

          “Take your hands off me. Enough is enough! I don’t welcome the sexual advances of my friend’s husband, or anyone else’s for that matter.”

          “You sure rode in on a high horse.”

           “I’ve paid a high price for my freedom, unlike you. I have no respect for men who seek the safety of the cage and the thrill of the wild, but don’t have the courage to commit to either.”

          “Don’t lecture me, dear.”

          “Fuck you, Ramey.”

          “I don’t take seconds.”

          “Is that so?”

          “What’s that supposed to mean?

          “Where’s Ruth?”

          “She stayed the night in Montreal.”

          He digs his fingers deeper into my arm and guides me roughly through the house.

          “I said no! Let go of me.”

          “Quiet. You’ll wake the children,” he says, then draws me inside the room and engages the bolt lock.

           “Sit down.”

          “I prefer to stand.”

          “Suit yourself, baby.”

          He moves to a hanging chair, upholstered in brocade, with interlocking chains connected to hooks in the ceiling. 

          “I’ve seen your little warlock’s den, Ramey. What are you, some kind of wizard?”

          “I have a fascination with science and magic. Does that frighten you?” he says, and sits in the chair with legs spread wide.

          “You don’t frighten me.”

          “Did you fuck Andre Labat?”

          “Jealousy doesn’t suit you, Ramey.”

          “Answer the question.”

          I’m silent.

          He rides his hands up the chain and draws a tongue over cracked lips.

          “I’m disappointed; I thought you had higher standards.”

          “Why did you row me out to stay in the house on the island?”

          “I love a good game. Terror and Titillation is one of my favorites. I also like Pain and Pleasure. They’re goal posts on the same playing field. Rowing you out on the lake and leaving you there, was like tying you up without tethers. The thought of you alone and frightened got me off - knowing I could set you free . . . or not.”

          “You have a very sick mind.”

          “Freedom can only be attained through absolute containment. The body is a vessel for the soul and the soul is the conduit to the spiritual world. When your body is contained, your soul is released. The soul’s escape is a powerful, life-changing event. And when it happens, there is no turning back.”  

           He stops the motion of the chair.

          “Don’t pretend you don’t understand.” He gets up from the chair and moves across the room to where I stand next to the door.

         “You know exactly what I mean, don’t you? You’ve had a taste of it, haven’t you?”

           I clasp the palm of my hand against my chest to calm my wildly beating heart. 

          “It started in the house, didn’t it? And last night in the hallway, you went there with me, didn’t you?”  

           “Is this the warlock talking? Or do you worship a darker deity?”

          “Yes, it’s happened, Alexandra. That’s why you fell for the pathetic charms of Andre Labat. But giving yourself to that little worm is like a sailor dipping his cup in the sea when he’s dying of thirst. He’ll never be able to quench what I see in you.”

           He stands only inches from me now - so close a bead of sweat drops from his forehead onto my cheek.

         “I made love to Ruth the night we left you on the island and pretended she was you.”

          “Save your confessions for your satanic priest.” 

          “But you had to fuck with it and move into my basement.”  

          “Nothing matters to you, does it, other than satisfying your perverted needs?” I say, and turn to walk out the door. 

          “I didn’t give you permission to leave yet.”

          He blocks my movement to the door.

         “You stay in my house, eat my food, drive my car, and expect me to babysit your son so you can go out and fulfill your perverted needs?”

          “I refuse to defend myself. You invited me to stay in your home. I’m your guest. I will be leaving soon, so you shall be relieved of your burden shortly. And with whom I choose to share my bed is certainly none of your concern. I’m a single woman and free to do whatever I desire. I was once contained, but I had the guts to release myself. You, on the other hand, are completely contained. You wear on your hand the gold band of ownership, proof you’ve been tamed. You are no different than your marked and pierced livestock. You have no claim on freedom. You’re branded, Ramey.” 

          The look in his eyes terrifies me. They are the eyes of a killer.

         “Listen, Ramey, I’m tired and you’re drunk, and this isn’t the best time to have a discussion. We can talk tomorrow if you like, preferably with your wife present. Now, please move away from the door . . . I need to check on Sammy.”

           Ramey’s perfect teeth glimmer inside his parted lips.

          “I want you to consent to a punishment for your behavior, for being such an ungrateful houseguest. Five lashes would be fair, wouldn’t you agree?”

          “This has gone far enough.”

          “Have you ever taken a beating?” 

          “What are you saying?”

          “Have you ever taken corporal punishment from a lover?”

          “I have no idea - ”

           He gestures the bed against the wall, a four-poster bed swathed in yards of parachute silk and covered with a plush crimson duvet and lace pillows.

          “You’re acting crazy, Ramey. I’m leaving.”

           “You walk out that door and I’m taking you and your son to the airport tonight.” He spits out while grabbing my arm.

          “Get out of my way. I’m leaving this room."

          “Go . . .” he says, motioning to the door. As I turn to leave, he whisks me up into his arms and carries me across the room to throw me roughly onto the bed.

          Like a prodded beast inside its cage he paces the room. His eyes glow, dark gray eyes transformed to a vivid gold. Or perhaps the change in color is a reflection of the flames from the studded candles stationed on wood pedestals next to the bedposts. 

          “Stand up and bend over,” he orders.

          “No.”

          “There’s only one way for it to happen. We’re the same you know; we’re the same kind.”

          “I’m nothing like your kind.”

          “I haven’t slept since I met you,” he says in a chilling voice. “I wander through a maze of empty houses filled with dark shadows. When I awake in the darkest hours I want to take you into my arms and lose myself inside you. Some nights I feel I might succumb to the gloom and follow the curse of my legacy.”

           He observes me with a strange curiosity, as though he is aware I have been plagued by similar dreams.

          “We’ve been together since the first moment I took your eyes - the night you walked into the crazy house in the desert on the arm of your asshole husband. You looked like an angel dressed in white, with snow falling outside the windows behind you, and Mozart echoing in the rafters - a fucking angel sent on a mission to destroy me. I’ve waited for you a very long time - it feels like more than a lifetime, and perhaps it is. My quest is only to release you I’ll give you what you deserve, and more importantly I’m offering what you need to spread your wings and fly.”

          “You’re not listening to me. I said no! You are not used to hearing that word, so it may sound foreign to a man like you - one who has never been refused.”

          “There is no other way,” he says with calm assurance.  There’s no other way for you to break out, to crack the shell.  You say you’re free, but you’re not. You took off your ring, but you still live inside the cage. Your perfect world was never your own, and now it’s impossible to return. You can refuse, but we both know it has to happen, sooner or later.”

          “Who are you to lecture me about perfect worlds? If you were true to yourself, you’d be living in hell, or at the least in a cave instead of this castle.”

          He stops his pacing and moves to where I sit perched at the edge of his bed. He grazes his hands along the heavy leather belt holding up his jeans and begins to unfasten the buckle.

          “I could tie you up and torture you with love first, but you don’t deserve it.”

          “You’ve tortured me long enough.”

          “Well then, let’s get to it.”

          “How does beating someone free them, for God’s sake?” I ask, and avert my eyes from what is impossible to explain, ignore, or understand, for that matter, the male thing, the strength of not knowing, wanting to know, what lies beneath.

          “It’s a method used by tribes and most civilizations throughout the history of the world. When used in initiation, to help the initiates ascend to a higher level of spiritual awakening. The experience is powerful for both the giver and the receiver.”

          “How do you know?”

          “I’ve experienced it.”

          I struggle to gather my thoughts. I don’t know how to express my feelings, so I let something deeper take over and speak for me. “You may be a sorcerer, but you are neither my master nor my priest. My body and soul are not for your taking. That privilege is earned through trust and commitment. You are correct. I am not yet free. But when I am, I will only supplicate myself to a man who worships me as much as I worship him.”

          I shift my focus to gaze at a picture in a gilded frame, set on the nightstand next to a crystal bowl of fragrant potpourri. It is a photograph of Ruth and Ramey wrapped in each others arms, surrounded by their five young children, standing in front of a Christmas tree trimmed in colorful balls and ribbons and brimming with dozens of gaily wrapped packages. 

          “We’ve been conjoined by fate, and there’s no turning back,” he says, and a strangled thread of emotion seeps into these words, a mixture of sorrow and regret that makes me shudder. 

          There is a long and terrible silence, a silence like no other. It is the stillness after an upheaval, after the squeal of the tires and the sound of the catastrophe. It is the hush when you know your life will never be the same. It is the dead calm when you have crossed the line of time into a new existence. Something has changed. This interlude of sadism has changed me forever. 

          “Look at me . . . look into the pupils of my eyes, Alexandra. They are the only place in the body where you can look inside the mind and see what it is thinking and feeling.” 

           I straighten myself on the downy silk comforter, wipe the tears from my lashes and gaze directly into Ramey’s eyes.  Beyond the fading anger, I see other emotions flicker. There are nuances of more vulnerable feelings, and something else, more profound and meaningful than the vain and shallow substances floating on the surface. A shadow lurks there; a glint of the unspeakable hides beneath the wreckage of his heart. He holds a terrible secret in the unfathomable depths. It is wild, crazy, unbelievable, and eminent, yet I have no idea what it is.

           “You’re moving away from me, baby. It’s like you’ve fallen into the bottom of a well. You’re crouched down there, but I can’t get to you. I can’t save you.”  

          “Forgive me, but you are mistaken. I didn’t ask you to save me.” I stand up from the bed and move across the room.

           “I believe it’s you who’s looking to be saved. You need to save yourself, Ramey,” I say, then turn and walk out the door.

Power Struggle

 

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The Gift of Immortality on Ebay

 Holidays come and go and few remember what gifts they received the previous year, although certain unique presents are remembered for a lifetime. This season it is possible to give the perfect present, the gift of immortality. But you must act quickly as the offer expires December 27, 2011.

The First Amendment Project has assembled a group of thirty prominent authors of different genres who are auctioning character names in future projects on eBay. Among opportunities available at the auction, which can be found at http://3.ly/fapauction include the opportunity to be immortalized as a character in the next episode of the hit Showtime series, “Weeds” In addition to the character name, the winning bidder in the “Weeds” auction will receive a signed copy of the pilot script, the box set of DVDs of the first five seasons of the series and a “Weeds” baseball cap. Bidders will also have the chance to be an FBI agent or a stripper with a heart of gold in the next entry in Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series; a villain or a victim in Thomas Perry’s next entry in the Jane Whitefield series, a wounded World War I soldier or drunken Bohemian in Andrew Sean Greer’s next novel, as a character in a new musical by Janet Burroway, or a character in a cartoon series by Ben Katchor, Chris Ware or T Campbell. Young adult authors Dan Gutman and Kevin J. Anderson are offering character names in the next entries in their Baseball Card Adventures and Star Challengers series, respectively, and Anastasia Blackwell offers readers opportunity to run away with the circus in her new romantic suspense novel/screenplay.

The auction, which began on November 26, is scheduled in tiers, with final bidding on December 27th. Participating authors include Jenji Kohan, Andrew Sean Greer, Ayelet Waldman, Ben Katchor, Chris Ware, Dan Chaon, Dan Gutman, Dave Eggers, Derek Haas, Elinor Lipman, Francine Prose, Jane Smiley, Janet Burroway, Joshua Ferris, Kevin J. Anderson & Rebecca Moesta, Lorrie Moore, Margot Livesey, Mona Simpson, Nami Mun, Patrick DeWitt, Phillip Margolin, Rick Moody, Robert Mailer Anderson, Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, Stacey D’Erasmo, Stuart Woods, Suzanne Brockmann, T Campbell, Thomas Perry, Vendela Vida, Anastasia Blackwell and Walter Kirn. In addition, authors Laura Benedict and Lisa See are offering “book club packages,” in which they supply multiple copies of one of their books and make a telephone call to the group

All proceeds will benefit First Amendment Project (FAP). FAP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free legal services on public interest free speech and free press matters. FAP serves its core constituency of activists, journalists, and artists by defending those who are sued because they have written or spoken about matters of public concern, representing those seeking access to government records and proceedings and representing those challenging the constitutionality of laws, regulations or governmental policies or practices that restrict the freedom of speech. See below for the list of participating authors and their corresponding auction dates

This is the third character name auction for First Amendment Project. The first two auctions, held in 2005 and 2006, earned over $170,000 for the organization.

More information about The First Amendment Project and Ebay auction go to:

http://www.thefirstamendment.org/news.html.

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What's Love Got To Do With It?

Is love merely a chemical released when our body senses a desirable reproduction partner, or is there something more divine in the rush of endorphins? That questions in one of the principle themes of my novel.

Reproduction science tells us that within seconds we are measuring every aspect of another being to determine suitability. Overall health, i.e. clear skin, white teeth, shiny hair, clear eyes, etc. are all assessed in the blink of an eye. We also measure physical features, timber of voice, a vast array of clues to whether their DNA is a good match. Smell also comes into play, and with physical touch more information is released. The old saying "it's all in the kiss" is actually true. The saliva carries DNA that tells us the entire physical history of the specimen. We seek mates that will give our offspring the best chance of survival. The rush of love tells us that we have found a good match. Testosterone is released in the saliva of the male and arouses female to complete  act. Love lasts for a good three months, so that at least three tries are given to the quest. The feeling may persist if the act is not successful. If g succeeds, then feelings  transcend to  "love" that is actually routed in the protection of our prized reproduced DNA. This is the belief of science.

Those of a spiritual nature believe that the purpose of love is not to replicate, but to create. Two humans who find love have a far greater capacity to create than they would alone. The goal of most is to find a soul mate, one with whom  common goals and desires are shared.  This may mean the act of reproduction, but in most it means far more. For those who have finished reproducing,  have no desire to raise young, or for those who are drawn to the same sex, the drive for love is just as great, and when a suitable partner is found, the love does not nessasarilydisipate because there is no drive to replicate DNA.

The elusiveness of love remains the subject of scientists and poets. Its beauty and pain are universal. What's love got to do with it? Everything - for without it we are doomed, one way or another.

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