"A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle" - Father James Keller

Thursday, April 30, 2009



The Gratista Vampire Clan opened its doors in 2004 as an outlet not only for readers of my works, but for other authors of dark, paranormal, and horror stories to share their good news in the publishing industry among the rest of us. It was created to network, make friends, and also give members of the group a chance to submit their own stories, poetry or art to the bi-annual anthologies I publish. Although the anthologies are "members only", Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine is open to any and everyone of the genre, and also a place for authors to get a free bit of promo for their books in the "Batty Bookshelf" section of the zine. I like anything out-of-the-box, and different--the really amazing works that usually go unnoticed in the mainstream.

Christy is among several of the wonderfully talented, twisted minds behind each anthology, featuring the reoccurring works of Anton Glascow, Camille Augustine, Spider, Kody Boye, Dominic Demarco and many others in the group. Christy first appeared in "MIDNIGHT BITES", the Group's debut anthology, and again in its latest release, (just this month!) "A LOOK INTO THE MIRROR DARKLY".

You can read a racy excerpt from Christy's story, Danger Zone, which appeared in Midnight Bites HERE!

You can also read a tense excerpt from her story, The Vampire's Hurricane Ball, which appeared in A Look Into The Mirror Darkly HERE!

For authors, writers, artists, and poets that would like to know more about The Gratista Vampire Clan, click on the GV logo up top!

To know more about Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine (Which was a second place winner in the Preditors & Editors Reader's Poll for 2008!), Check it out over HERE!

Read reviews of past anthologies and watch trailers from previous works HERE!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009



For everyone visiting today, Christy and myself are giving away e-copies of our books! There will be 3 winners EACH for Christy and myself, making total of 6 lucky winners (^_^).

Just be among those lucky 6 to answer our questions, and email them to GratistaVampires@yahoo.com. Put either "SPARK GIVEAWAY" or "ABRAXAS GIVEAWAY" (in all caps) in the subject line, please. The winners will be announced on our last day here, Friday May 1st! THANKS, and GOOD LUCK!! (^_^)


1.One of Fleetwood Mac's biggest hits is also the name of one of the characters in Eyes of Darkness #2: Spark of the Wolf. Name it.

2.What famous actor hosted a three day star-studded wedding at his Aspen ranch in 2004?

3.Who turns into a werewolf in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"?

(The answers can be found at Http://BloodTouch.Webs.Com!)

1. Which actor who played played "Dracula" is my top favorite? (Hint: check the author biography section!)

2. Which ABRAXAS character isn't too fond of being in public places?

3. In what city does the ABRAXAS series take place? (Hint: for 2 & 3, check the ABRAXAS section!)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

And some interesting outlooks from Ryan and Christine of the Abraxas Clan.

For Ryan and Christine:

1 – Christine, what is it like going from under the radar, so to speak, to being titled royalty?
God, it’s too freakin’ weird. I’m still trying to get used to this. Don’t ask how long it’ll take either… I have no clue *sighs*. And I hate those goofy regal titles. I still don’t feel like I should be a part of all of this…but don’t tell Ryan that, lol.

2 – How are you handling your ready made family?
Oh, the guys are the absolute BEST, and Kiera is such a sweetheart. They ALL are! It almost feels like I’m living in one, huge, supernatural college dorm or something.

3 – I love your outlook on life. What shaped it?
My outlook BEFORE, or now? Lol. My outlook swings too much. Just when I think things are looking a little brighter, humanity proves otherwise. It’s kinda tough forming a solid opinion about that…

4 – Have you and Ryan discussed the future of the Primitives?
We have…and we’ve discovered something a bit quirky concerning the both of us since that whole fiasco with Natasha. It’s something we might not like, as it’s changed something in the both of us…unfortunately we’ll have to wait and see how it pans out…
Ryan: (rubbing her hand) We’ll be just fine, my love.

5 – Ryan, give us some insight into your background before your fatalistic run-in with Dianne.
Just your average businessman, my dear, nothing stellar or fantastic about it. I had a loving family, attended college, and earned a Bachleor’s in business education. From time to time, I’d fly overseas to take care of things there, but establishing a home office has helped immensely since my major--adjustment, so to speak. It keeps me closer to my ‘new’ family.

6 – Do you think you’ll be successful revamping (pardon the pun) city government in Philadelphia?
It might take some time, but we do hope to get it into tip-top shape. Things are chaotic enough with employment being so low and the economy so tumultuous …
Christine: Not to mention the few other jerk-offs in the other Clans being a pain in the ass about who’ll get to do it first. I mean, it’s not a friggin’ race, know what I mean?
Ryan: (sighing) Yes, my love, I know. (looking at interviewer) Tenacious one, isn’t she? (grins)

7 – Do you have plans to have a true family with Christine or is that not in the realm of possibility for a Sophisticate?
Although I would love to, I shall leave that up to Christine. I love her with ever fiber of my being, and I wouldn’t want to pressure her into something she wouldn’t feel comfortable with. The poor girl has been through enough as it is. (glances at Christine and hugs her to him)
Christine: Yep, exactly what he said.

8 – How far back in history does the Abraxas Clan lay claim to? How spread out is it?
As far as my Clan’s history is concerned, even I can’t answer that fully, my dear. The Scribes of our House would be the ones to answer that for you. Our House--the House of Arzel, is made up of four Clans--Logos, Sarga, Yazata, and mine--each clan with its own specialty, so to speak. One resides in New Jersey, one in New York, one in Media PA, and of course, my Clan in Philadelphia. Although a quarter of the House favors human enslavement, two quarters of the house believes in maintaining a peaceful balance with them, and preservation of the planet and mankind itself.


Sean and Rhiannon of


1.Was it just strictly between you two, or do all werewolves tend to be so...heady?
All of us tend to be very heady as you suggest. Our beasts tend to take over and once they do, there is no stopping them because nature takes over. It’s the alpha instincts coming into play as well. Besides, it makes life extremely interesting and heated. *wicked snicker*

2. What is the change like? Is there any physical pain during transformation?
When you change from birth, it’s as natural as walking and eating. Going through your first change later in life is painful because you actually feel the skeletal changes taking place as the transition occurs. After that, it becomes as normal as if it had been a natural instinct.

3. Rhiannon: Is sex while being pregnant more intense and sensually heightened for you?
In a word—yes. I thought it was amazing before that but... *elbow from Sean*

4. How large is your werewolf family tree? How far across the States do they extend?
It’s very extensive but as to how large, we’re still learning about the other packs in the United States, Canada and Germany. In the States alone, we’ve found packs in North Carolina, California, Vermont, Wyoming and Montana to mention a few. Every day brings a new group to our attention.

5. Rhiannon: Your school nickname was Ducky? How did you earn that moniker?
It came when I played soccer in high school because it wound up being easier to yell than Rhiannon. Now that you mention it, I don’t remember a specific reason—it kinds just happened.

6. Sean: What was the one thing that made you leave Special Forces?
It seemed to be the right time. Every time I wanted to leave, they came up with another assignment or re-enlisting bonus. I got to the point I needed to come home and put my foot down though sometimes they call me to consult.

7. Rhiannon: Will you eventually return to being a park guide, now that the danger is over?
Probably not considering how our family is growing as well as the say to day affairs of the pack here in Aspen as well as those across the country and internationally. I miss it but things here keep me very busy.

8. Although your family is a peaceful lot, Damon, however, seems to like explosives. Any idea how he developed a talent for making things go 'boom', and why?
That’s another benefit of the military. Damon went in long enough to serve one tour, learn his trade and get out though they were not happy about it at all. We we’re very fortunate with him taking on the destruction of the lab in Chicago.

9. What are your future hopes and aspirations for your four children?
We want them to cherish and protect their heritage as well as the need to live in peace with the other packs and the human race surrounding us. They have a huge responsibility ahead of them when they come of age to take over for me or if they end up with other packs like Damon and Gabriel have. We all walk a fine line and it has to be maintained. They are our future and we want only the best for them.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Be sure to stop by tomorrow and catch interviews with the characters from "Spark of a Wolf " and ABRAXAS! There's will also be a contest to win copies of our books later in the week!!!

Small talk with Cinsearae and Christy

At the same time she interviewed me, I asked her some questions as well. Here is my chat with Cinsearae Santiago:

1 – Seeing as we’re both from roughly the same neck of the woods, what’s your take on Philly Sports? (I personally love both hockey teams.) Team?
I’ve never been much of a sports nut, although I like all our Philly team mascots – especially the Phantoms one. I was completely wowed when out baseball team won the trophy and just as happy that Kalas got to announce our win before he passed away.

2 – You write using Philly as your main setting – what are your favorite places in the city?
Hm, Fairmount Park come to mind first. Spots like Valley Green, and all the park areas surrounding Lincoln Drive are awesome too. I like Rittenhouse Square also, and the more ‘historical’ areas downtown, And the Penn’s Landing along the Delaware River, but that’s about it, lol.

3 – Have you located any of your books elsewhere?
I’ve tried one time, but that particular story never saw the light of day. It just didn’t feel real enough to me to be comfortable with it.

4 – Tell us a little about “Dark Gothic Resurrected”.
Dark Gothic Resurrected is a small-press magazine I created in my mid-twenties, that I used to roll right off the printers, lol. Now with the convenience of the internet, it’s become much more professional looking, with bigger exposure, lol. I started it to give seasoned (and especially) newbie writers and artists in the Gothic and Horror genres --who have a tough time getting published--a place to call home for their works. I truly understand how tough it is out there to become known. DGR can at least get their feet wet, lol. Folks can find out more at http://BloodTouch.Webs.Com/DarkGothicMagazine.htm

5 – Your comfort food is….
Ooo, I have a couple, strawberries with whipped cream, and French vanilla icecream! (at least that’s what it is right now, lol!)

6 - Your photography is amazing. What kind of camera do you use?
You’d never believe it, but a regular Sony Cybershot, with 4.1 mega pixels & 3x zoom. I touch them up a bit on my PC using Paint Shop Pro X.

7 – Newspapers or on-line news?
Hm, I’ll say both, but more online than newspaper.

8 – Tell us about “A Look Into the Mirror Darkly”.
“A Look Into the Mirror Darkly” is the fourth collection of short stories, art, and poetry by experienced and newbie writers within my Gratista Vampire Clan Yahoo Group. An anthology is published twice a year, in the Fall and Spring, each with a unique yet ‘dark’ theme. But this fall, I’ve decided to lighten things up a bit, and create an anthology with a ‘dark humor’ theme this go ‘round. The anthologies have piqued the interest of quite a few readers. Folks can catch book trailers and learn more about the group at Http://BloodTouch.Webs.Com/ClanAnthologies.htm

9 - Your tips for a new writer.
Do NOT ever give up. Always write, and always keep a pen and paper with you--you never know when the muse will strike--I’ve learned my lesson with that!--also pay attention to your surroundings and drifting conversations. You never know when you could use something in your next story! Share your writings with folks you can trust to be honest with their critiques. Don’t take rejection hard, or you’ll never make it. And STAY WAY from troll-like people and those with a knuckle-dragging mentality, no aspirations or dreams, and with negative attitudes all-around, as those are the ones who could care less about what you do and will bring you down in a heartbeat.

My review for The Abraxas Series: Books 1-3

Philadelphia—the City of Brotherly Love—unless you’re either a Primative or a Sophisticate in the Abraxas Clan. Ryan Price has been juggling both for two years though something—actually someone has been missing from his life and that of the Clan. Upheaval comes when Christine Vargas runs afoul of an out-of-control Primative, only instead of being like her maker, she’s so much more—and not taking it lightly. Together they work to straighten out both sides while coming to terms with her new found powers, his love and need for her as well as several out-and-out nasty enemies.
I usually am not one for first person writing but once I started The Abraxas Series: Books 1-3, I could not put it down and wanted more. Cinsearae Santiago writes a fast-paced spellbinding story that pulls you in and leaves you wondering what happens next. I personally am looking forward to Book 4 because I need to find out what happens next and if it is safe for me to go into the City of Philadelphia in the near future.
Way to go and if I had a scale, Abraxas would definitely be off it—it’s awesome.


Hello everyone! First, I want to thank Kiki for having Christy Poff and myself over at her wonderful blog! (^_^) It's very much appreciated!!

I had the pleasure of reviewing one of Ms. Poff's books, and I have to say, although I usually sway in favor of Vamp books instead, I thoroughly enjoyed "Spark of a Wolf" and DO look forward to reading more of her works. And never fear, she has Vamp stories as well that I WILL be investigating! lol.

Eyes of Darkness 5: Spark of a Wolf
By Christy Poff

This book was an exciting police investigation story, as we find Detective Sean McMurray of the Aspen Police force--and former tracking and surveillance specialist for Special Forces--hunting down Adolph Gliickman, and Dustin Chyn, criminal masterminds behind a dangerous designer drug that's still a work-in-progress. Their human guinea pigs are young women in their 20's, with little to no family and loners that won't be missed, as they pump the kidnapped women with their test drug. Once dead, they toss their victims like garbage, leaving them for the police to find.

During the investigation, McMurray has disturbing nightmares of fighting a mystical wolf, which tells him of his destiny to help their kind, and to find the one--his soulmate--who can help him through this trying time, as he is one of them and destined to be their leader. Remaining in denial of this prophecy, he winds up with many sleepless nights, doing his best to drink the problem away.

The investigation eventually leads McMurray to Rhiannon Drake, a loner and guide for the National Park Service of Aspen--and a werewolf. Their chance encounter leads to heated passions as the spark between them is ignited, knowing they belong together, that they are the true soulmates.

McMurrary starts questioning his sanity when his abilities start to hit him full-force. Rhiannon takes him to Sanctuary, a hospital and reserve for people of their kind. Getting the explanations he needed from Rhiannon's parents, McMurray still tries to deny he is like them, and shuns everyone, including Rhiannon, who is now with child, which McMurray also vehemently denies. Shocked, hurt, and feeling betrayed, she flees Sanctuary, only to be captured by Gliickman and Chyn, who soon discover Rhiannon's secret and begin their heinous torture of her.

Will McMurray come to his senses, accept his lineage, and save Rhiannon and their unborn children from the evils of two madmen? Will his love for her be enough to save their crumbling relationship?

I have to admit, I read this book in one sitting, as I had to see how this would end. The criminal investigations themselves were exciting; I felt like I was watching a movie in my head. The love/hate relationship and terse communication between McMurray and Rhiannon during their spat drove me nuts, and I wanted to yell at them to stop acting so ridiculous and just get back together, lol. All turns out well in the end, and the criminals get what they deserve. The love scenes between Sean and Rhi were hot and I was glad to see everything worked out between them. If you like shapeshifter stories, this is a good one to add to your collection!

Here's also an interview I've conducted with Ms. Poff, and stayed tuned, as more cool stuff will be showing up throughout the week!!

1. Tell us something no one would ever expect about you.
My extremely deep and profound love of British Comedy plus Top Gear, Torchwood and Doctor Who.
2. What sparked the writing bug for you?
I think I’ve always had it but there was always something in the way. Finally several years ago, I just did it and here we are today.
3. What are you currently working on?
One of my contemporary romances. This time, it’s got a hockey theme and it’s titled No Deal.
4. Have your stories won any awards/ recognition?
Masked Desires finished in this year’s Preditors & Editors in the Top 10: Eyes of Darkness #4: Red Fire was a finalist in the 2006 Dream Realms competition but didn’t win; Blue Velvet was named Best erotic romance in 2005 and I’ve been fortunate to win some Honorable mentions in the Golden Rose Awards (2007) and in Stella Cameron’s Scarlet Boa contest in 2008 for an excerpt from a manuscript written several years ago that is being buffed, so to speak, to be published eventually.
5. What's your fave comfort food?
York Peppermint Patties and hot tea (the British in me)
6. What's under your bed at any given moment?
Dust Bunnies and anything that will fit underneath. We live in an apartment with limited storage.
7. Do you like to collect things?
Shot glasses from wherever we go, lapel pins and I have an extensive collection of Beanie Bears (all sizes). Does 23 Raggedy Ann and Andy’s count?
8. What do you find most rewarding about your writing?
Finding out I can finish something and get great response for what I do.
9. What are some things your hate about life?
Stop and go driving – I like to open an engine up and let it run plus I love speed; people who walk in front of me and don’t use simple manners-especially at the book store;
10. What advice would you give to a budding novelist in this day and age?
Do not let so-called experts tell you that you can’t do something because it’s not what they like. If I hadn’t listened to a theme editor from the local community college in my senior year, I wouldn’t have wasted almost 25 years not writing. If you want to do it – GO FOR IT!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Talking with Dakota Trace Part 2

This is the second half of my interview with my friend author Dakota Trace. We will look into her head to see what makes her tick, and where those interesting stories come from. Dakota, Right now, what kind of book that you haven't written do you most want to?

Dakota: If you would have asked me six months ago, I would have had to say a BDSM book. Now that I'm working on it, I haven't set my next objective as far as what kind I would like to try my hand at next. Maybe I'll get brave and try to write a historical erotic book next.

Cool, sounds like a challenge. Historical is always interesting. Inquiring minds want to know, coffee or chocolate or both?

Dakota: Definitely both. I gotta have my coffee and if Mr. Trace hides my chocolate there will be blood shed.

Same here, but we have the Java Wars where we see who will break down and brew the next pot. Then there are my English Toffee desires, ho hum. What is your fav book not by you and why is it your fav?

Dakota: Favorite book? Damn there are so many. I would have to say Awaken My Love by Robin Schone. It was the first erotic book I ever read and it introduced the Kuma Sutra and other India sexual texts to my young mind.

Sexy, and I suppose you’re young mind liked? Before I get to carried away how about you cool my jets and tell us about what’s next for you?

Dakota: I'm working on one story at the moment. I'm hoping to have it published later this year. Nisey's Awakening, my first BDSM full length novel. Nisey has been burned once by the BDSM world and is leery of stepping back into even though she's haunted in her dreams by it. When her best friend, Kalinda, suggests Nisey talk to her brother Nisey accepts but is taken by surprise by her own fierce attraction to him. Once he sets a few facts straight does she have the courage to ask him to be her teacher?

Wow, that sounds hot. I’ll be in line for that one. Last question, do you outline or have the book in your head when you write, and if you outline do you stick to the outline or go were your heart tells you to?

Dakota: Honestly I've tried it both ways. Originally I just had an idea in my head. Then I decided to outline one book to see if it would be better. I ended up abandoning it before the third chapter. I just can't seem to stick to an outline.

Bravo, me too. Far too constricting for me, like a damn corset. Dakota it’s been a great week and you are a super writer. A thanks to Kiki for having us and here are the places readers can find us. Dakota can be found at:



You can see my books at these sites.




Thanks for your interest.

Jen Campbell

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Brainpicking with Jennifer Campbell II

Hey, it's me again! I'm back with the conclusion of my interview with Jennifer Campbell. Today we're going to be talking about writing routines and a bit of everything else. So enjoy and I thank Kiki once more for inviting us. I've had a blast posting here this week.

Dakota: When you write do you have a certain routine or ritual you use? (a favorite place to write?)

Jennifer: I'm with my laptop but it could be anyplace in the house but perhaps the living room couch is my favorite place. It's usually quiet, as Jack is secluded in his office behind those thick oak doors, but I don't find noise to be a terrible distraction so sometimes I put on music. My head has to be into the story with the wheels grinding, which is why writing tired is impossible for me.

Dakota: Ah, to have peace and quiet would be a luxury. One that I just can't afford. But I can agree when I'm exhausted I can't focus enough to write. My characters would end up doing stuff that's completely out of whack if I tried. Speaking of characters,
what characteristics do you look for in your female characters? Feisty or submissive, or both?

Jennifer: There needs to be a little of both to be a good sub character. My heroines are usually unaware of their submissive tendencies in the beginning, and their submission is by force. They are initially scared and shocked, but then realize they like how they are treated. The main theme being that our society teaches that women shouldn't like to submit, or be enslaved, but some do and once they discover that their submission blossoms.

Dakota: Sounds like you know your stuff inside and out. That leads me to ask,
have you ever thought of writing any other genre besides BDSM?

Jennifer: Thought of it, yes, and I believe someday I will, but I'm a very sexual person and it seems the stories of my submission and fantasies have to get out first because right now I can't seem to sit still for non-sexual stories. I'm assuming eventually I'll get them out and then I'll write something different, perhaps even sweet, if you can believe that.

Dakota: I'm sure you'll be able to and I do look forward to reading it, you're a very talented author. By the way, what does your family think of having an author in their midst?

Jennifer: An interesting question, Mother tolerates both my lifestyle and my writing, but clearly doesn't like either. Dad I think is a closet admirer of my writing but would not say it in front of Mom. My sister thinks I'm nuts, but she's so tied up in her failing marriage and three kids we seldom see each other. As for friends I've had old girlfriends from college call me and say "you go girl", but one wanted me to be her Mistress, go figure.

Dakota: I bet that was an eye opener for you. And last question, what is next on your busy agenda? Another trip to Ranexx or perhaps another adventure for Jennifer and the Mansion crew? Or something all together new?

Jennifer: All of those. Book 3 of Ranexx, Juliana's Dream is out in June and Book 4 of Ranexx Saturnia In Peril is in final drafts, On April 27th, my blog formerly at My Space will move to my website http://www.jennifercampbell.webs.com with a new Femdom story. This is a new interest of mine and I'll be exploring it. The fourth novel of the Mansion Series is in the planning stages and will become worldwide in scope as Jennifer explores her relationship with Lionel Aldridge.

Thank you Jennifer, for letting me peak inside your head this week. I've enjoyed this immensely.

Thanks for joining us today and feel free to comment or ask any questions you'd like.

For more information if you can't wait til Thursday's post, Jen can be found on these sites.

Jennifer Campbell's Website
Jennifer's Author Page
Jennifer's Myspace Page

I can be found at these sites:

Dakota's Website
Dakota's Author Page
Dakota's Myspace Page

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

To the Naughty and Forbidden

Naughty and forbidden, now doesn't that just sound dark? Today Jen and I are going to delve into what some would consider just that, the world of BDSM. Two books in fact. Allison's Training by Jen and The Gardener, which I wrote. We'll go from a beginning foray into the world to an experienced sub's trip. First is up is the review Jen did for The Gardener and then my humble offerings on Allison's Training.

Jen wrote:

The Gardener is Dakota’s first real foray into D/s in a short story format so she asked me to read it over and give her suggestions on correcting any errors she had made, but that job was easy. As I read I was first enchanted by Dakota’s Alexa, a sweet, innocent enough nymph to be thrilled by the dominate tendencies of her hunk gardener Caleb. She draws you in with Alexa’s need and then hooks you with Caleb’s desire to fulfill her need. There is excellent beginning D/s here and Dakota earns a gold star for making Caleb a strong but loving Master. He is strong enough to make her do as he says, but loving enough to be concerned about a fledgling slaves needs.

My advice was few and far between as Dakota maneuvered Alexa through her early steps to the happiness she desired, and Dakota gained valuable experience for her novel-sized project Nisey’s Story. Nervous about her first D/s effort, Dakota turned out to be more knowledgeable than she realized and The Gardener is an excellent first effort foretelling success for Nisey’s Story.

The Gardener can be seen and purchased here along with Dakota’s other books


Wow! What high praise for a newbie writer in the BDSM scene. Good thing the readers can't see me. I curse my fair skin and perchant for blushing. Up next is my review of Allison's Training.

Dakota wrote:

Allison's Training is a wonderful tale of self journey of a, dare I say it, "bitchy" woman, who is used to having everything her own way. Until the day she throws a fit about an outfit that her lover says she can't have and makes his decision stick. This whirl wind journey starts when Allison is taken to the family "farm".

While this author has never delved deeply as Jen into the world of BDSM and "pony play", I found the journey of Allison learning her true nature an eye opening experience and carried me along swiftly to the conclusion. Simply put once I started it, I couldn't stop til I finished it. And after all isn't that the true mark of a great author?

Allison's Training can be found at this link along with all of Jen's other works.


Up tomorrow will be the second part of my interview with Jen, and I look forward to hearing all your comments and Friday, Jen will conclude our week with the conclusion of her interview with me.

Happy reading, Folks!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Chat with Dakota Trace

Thanks Kiki for inviting Dakota and I to your blog. By way of introduction let me say I am a female submissive living the lifestyle and collared by my Master Jack for the last eight years. My writing centers around my fantasies of bondage and sex and the thoughts of a submissive as they experience the things they experience. At no time am I trying to offend anyone, but my stuff is edgy and some vanilla folks take offence.

Meeting Dakota was a wonderful experience because she has my spirit of accepting criticism and improving her writing by doing so. I could tell our work on her novel Just Between Friends was hard for her, but she stuck with it and learned some new things and so did I. It’s understandable that some writers have a hard time with criticism, but as long as it’s not mean spirited accepting and thinking about it can usually make you a better writer.

Dakota’s upcoming first effort in BDSM, Nisey’s Story, has been a pleasure to work with her on, and I think her insights as a newbie to D/s will intrigue new fans for her work. I know I am a fan.

So Dakota, Which of your heroines is your fav and why?

Dakota: I would have to say that Rebekah from the Mating of Rebekah is my favorite. Her self assurance and outgoing personality is what I always wished I had. Not to mention she can kick some serious butt when it's needed.

Yes, if I remember correctly she was doing quite a Batman and Robin routine with the boys. Which of your heroes stirs your heart the most and why?

Dakota: To date I would have to say Caelan from Nisey's Awakening. He's very confident and assertive. He wears it like a second skin but still has some of the old world manners that most have lost. What's sexier than a man who will hold a door open for you one moment, and then in the next tell you strip? Yum.

Oh, a dominant gentleman, what more can a sub girl ask for? Now I’ve noticed some of your characters have some pretty crazy names, is that a trademark of yours?

Dakota: I guess so. I have an online baby book that I use when I start a new story. I want a unique name for each of them. I think of what type of character I'm writing...and then find a name that suits it. In Nisey's Awakening, the two main characters are Nisey (A shorten version of my mother's name, Denise.) and Caelan, a traditional Irish name meaning slender.

I use an online site too, http://www.whatsinaname.com and I downloaded a huge list of all the ancient Roman names they had to use in the Ranexx Series. Yet I still go with my head with my contemporary names, using the ones I feel are sexy. When you write do you think plot then characters or the other way around.

Dakota: I guess I can say I'm guilty of thinking of the plot first and then having one of my editors, say "hey, I don' t think this is how this character would act." Then I go back and fine tune the characters. Guess it's more of looking at the forest and then looking at the trees.

Once I learned it, I went totally over to character driven plots. I think it’s easier to create the character and define him or her then just answer the question in your head. “What would Saturnia do in this situation?” Okay, last question for today. Rewrites: love them because they sharpen the definition, or hate them?

Dakota: I can truthfully say I have a love-hate relationship with them. I groan when I get them and usually curse at my screen before buckling down and fine tuning the problem areas. One the other hand I love the results. The second or third run through usually are much better than the original.

Okay, confession time, I find stuff during rewrites the editor didn’t mention and I rewrite it. I think the second stage of my writing is more concise and readable than my rough drafts. A very small percentage of my rough drafts survive as they were originally written as I am constantly improving stuff.

All of you new fans can get see Dakota Trace’s writing at these sites.




You can see my books at these sites.




Thanks for your interest.

Jen Campbell

Monday, April 20, 2009

Brainpicking with Jennifer Campbell

Good Morning to Everyone, or should I say good evening...lol. Sorry my crazy sense of humor has struck once again. I'm a Vampire quite literally. I work the overnight shift and sleep during the day, and suspect I'm becoming allergic to sunlight.

Anyway I'm happy to be here today with Jennifer Campbell and greatly appreciate Kiki Howell for being generous enough to open her blog to us and think of this new creative way to take a peak inside of the mysterious author's mind. After all we have to all be a bit "touched" to come up with some of our plot lines. Some are just a bit more than others:)

I met Jennifer during my first round of edits for my novel, Just Between Friends. I was totally unprepared for the whirlwind ride I was about to take. Jennifer ripped it apart and help me put it back together, leaving me a bit dazed in the process but with a new found friend I knew would be honest with me, no matter how badly I screwed it up. So when I heard about Kiki's blog I jumped at it and dragged Jen along for the ride. Now I'm pleased to give you a glimpse inside of her mind in the first part of my two part "brain picking". The second will post on Thursday. So let the brain picking commence!

Dakota: When did you first start writing? What drew you to it?

Sadly, I wrote as a child and a young girl, but no one encouraged me and I needed someone to, so those writings were just for me. It was my Master and lover, Jack, who first encouraged my writing and then my attampts and eventual success at getting published, and now eight books later here we are.

Dakota: It sound wonderful that you have such a supportive Master/lover. Having his support must make all the difference in the world. Eight books! Wow! As ambitious as you are about your writing, how do you balance your time between work and your writing goals?

Coffee, Mountain Dew, and a desire to write. My arch enemy is the early morning shifts my job as an auditor sometimes demands of me. When I get several in a row like recently I get tired and can't write, but then I am crazy to get some sleep and write again because it's kinda like breathing for me. Also may I mention how supportive Jack still is of my writing by giving me the time to do it.

Dakota: Darn, I'm almost jealous of you. Jack sounds like a wonderful man. He's generousity even extends to your friends when they ask for feedback. Aside from helping me, have you had other authors approach you for information and help with their work? And do you enjoy it?

Yes, I've had a few mostly about BDSM, but I'll let them remain anonymous. Yes, I do enjoy it but I believe there's a hidden benefit for me in expanding my horizons. For example recently two fellow authors asked me to look over M/M BDSM books and it forced me to look at the differences between male subs and female subs as far as how they view their submission and D/s in general which was something I hadn't done.

Dakota: That must feel wonderful to have other authors come to you for advice, which leads me to my next question: Which author would you say has influenced you the most?

As far as my BDSM writing there is no question Adriana Arden's Alice Series for Nexus made me sit up and take notice. Her Alice is exactly the character I strive for every time out a girl who discovers she's a bondage and pain slut and isn't afraid to admit it.

Dakota: That sounds like a worthy goal to strive towards and also takes the reader along for an emotional ride as the character grows. But it also makes me wonder with your background a traditional happily ever after isn't the norm nor is the traditional candle lit dinner. So tell me what is your verison of a romantic evening?

It isn't going to sound romantic to most of you, but it involves Master and his imagination, chains, a cane or crop, and a powerful vibrator. The longer he keeps me on the edge the better it is to fall over.

Dakota: Sounds like he's crawled inside of your head and done a bit of picking himself...lol.

The next time I talk with Jen we'll be covering what she looks for in her female characters to what rituals she uses when she writes.

Thanks for joining us today and feel free to comment or ask any questions you'd like.

For more information if you can't wait til Thursday's post, Jen can be found on these sites.

Jennifer Campbell's Website
Jennifer's Author Page
Jennifer's Myspace Page

I can be found at these sites:

Dakota's Website
Dakota's Author Page
Dakota's Myspace Page

Now I hear my bed calling but can't wait to hear from everyone when I creep out later this evening.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Our Last Day of Blogging!

What inspires the new idea for a book?

Mary: I have had a few ideas in my head for years. So that is what I am working on now. But no way could I be as prolific as you. You amaze me! So what inspires you. Where do all those books come from.?

Jianne: Gosh, it varies so much. I’m currently working a historical thriller set in 711 AD, and I must admit the time is what inspired me. That plus the love of Viking tales.

How long does it take to start and finish a book?

Mary: I am slow. My muse is a bit retarded, I have to admit it. I think the first one took me about a year. The editing would still be going on if my editor hadn't said uncle! My second one is taking longer, some life crisis' have gotten in the way. But now I am working on it again. You seem to be able to write so fast, it's like your muse drinks a lot of coffee! The more you write, the quicker you get. How long does it usually take you.

Jianne: My first book took a year to finish, the second six months, the third three months. Manacled in Monaco took six weeks to write, yet Notorious in Nice took six months to finish. Sometimes the muse flows and at other times it simply doesn’t.

Is there any genre you favor?

Mary: You know I love time travel. Then any kind of paranormal. I admit I'm stuck on them now. But I go through cycles and I will be on another type eventually. How about you?

Jianne: Not particularly. I like being able to try all genres, to stretch as a writer. The genre I most love to read and write is romantic suspense. I like a hint of mystery in my books.

How do you pick the setting for a new book?

Mary: I love to write about beautiful rural settings. The lake in Vermont, and Stowe for example. But I will admit I have some ideas for other places I have lived. You write about the Caribbean, which I can see in my minds eye because your imagery is so wonderful. You know I am so into the imagery. If I can't picture it how can I disappear into a book? What are your favorite places to write about?

Jianne: I love to write about places I’ve visited. My mom and I did a mother/daughter Mediterranean trip a couple of years ago and that inspired me to set the Mambo series in the Mediterranean. I grew up in the tropics hence the Witchy Women series are each set in a different Caribbean island. My new one, White on White, is set in Washington, a state I loved to visit when I lived in Vancouver, Canada.

How does writer’s block affect you?

Mary: I don't know if it's writers block or just being in a bad mood. It's so hard to write when you are worried about a family member. If I am happy it just flows. I go back and read the whole thing aloud, (like you suggested awhile ago), and then the story takes me over. Have you ever had an issue with writer's block?

Jianne: I’ve learned that when I’m stuck on a book it’s because something’s wrong with a character. Either I’m not staying true to the character or the character is not developed enough. So, when I hit a hurdle, I re-read the story to that point, and try to dissect what’s working. I discard what’s not and start in again.

Mary:Thank you all for coming to read out week of blogs. I'll admit I was a bit intimidated doing this, but it worked out just fine. Jianne it is such a pleasure to have you as a critique partner. You give me so much insight and I get to read your wonderful stories before the rest of the world. Good luck with your writing my friends and never ever quit! The world needs us now more then ever.

Below is a last excerpt from Jianne.


This morning I'm posting an excerpt from my new historical thriller, Dragor. This afternoon Mary and I will be chatting on several topics. Do join us!


The blood lust of sweet revenge coursed through my veins, and I surrendered to the rage held in check these past months.

Eric’s forearms furred and with one swift breath, the iron bars which caged me melted into pools of glowing metal. The heaving orange mass littering the dungeon’s stone floor pulsed in cadence with my Dragør heartbeat.

“Stay your wrath,” my brother hissed. “Make haste, Leif, we cannot linger.”

Loath to confess the weakness which had denied me the use of my powers, I clamped my lips together and obeyed Eric’s frantic whisper. Movements jerky and uncontrolled, I latched onto an undamaged bar and levered to a standing position.

“Can you walk unaided?” Leif shot me a glance over one broad shoulder.

Nodding, I traced his footsteps. Mindful of the need for stealth we slunk forward together; shoulders brushing the slime layered brick walls. Each contact released a stench akin to rotting animal flesh, the sole light a flickering torch in the far distance.

Limbs enfeebled by days of inactivity, save the cursed orgies, had me stumbling forward in clumsy fits and starts. Drunk on the pulse of freedom, my mind fogged and veiled I drew on what little remained of my Dragør strength to lay one foot in front of the other.

Ahead of me Eric stifled a curse as he rounded a corner and halted, his drawn sword glinting sparks in the stark morning sunlight. Spinning to face me, dark brows slashed together, he wore an expression I knew only too well.

“One of the cooks I bribed drew me a map. ‘ Tis flawed.” The repressed fury in his low murmur did not deter my growing awareness of our surroundings.

Blinking to ease the ache the glare wrought in my eyes, I stifled a roar.
“Are you mad?” My stiff fingers slammed into palms coated with dirt and rat waste. I stifled the urge to howl and rail at his stupidity. “’Tis daylight by the Gods. We attempt escape in broad daylight?”

“The Caliph’s son weds tonight. The palace and city are over run with visitors, even some Norse.” Eric studied the three forks facing us.

“His son?” I shook my head. “The Caliph’s heir is long dead, lost to the cursed maze of reflections.”

“His second son Leif. Move brother, we have no time for idle discourse.” Eric pointed his sword to the left. “Arabs favor the right.”

The stink receded as we advanced. A breeze lifted the heaviness of the air and dust motes danced in the faint rays snaking through a line of decorative holes where roof and marble met high above us.

Vision still fuzzy from the darkness of the dungeons I squinted unable to differentiate a clear path in the half-shadows ahead. The hallway narrowed and we could no longer stalk side by side, I fell behind.

We came to a curve, Eric crept around a dung-caked wall and I followed shooting a glance over my shoulder to ensure no one pursued us.
I bumped into my brother, lost my balance, and teetered forward clutching air to prevent a fall. My hand found purchase on a dusty ledge; I clasped the graveled surface and steadied my feet.

We stood, hips brushing, and peered at the point where our lone corridor divided into two.

“Which way brother?”

Bells rang and a male voice chanted in Arabic. I recognized, Dhuhr, the call to second prayers. Inhaling the pungent aroma of Frankincense, my lungs ceased functioning as visions of the last forced orgy stampeded my pupils. Remnants of aphrodisiacs and opiates dulled my reactions and I faltered, my knees weakening. One hand braced against the cool wall for support, I assessed the hall’s light searching for the East.

“We go left.” A surge of energy straightened my shoulders, and I breathed in the heady scent of freedom. Pointing, I said, “The markets are that direction. Make haste. All the men will be at the mosque. 'Tis our best chance for escape. How far to the langskip?”

“We are anchored at the north end of the bay.”

The passage widened into an empty antechamber which I did not recall ever entering. A row of traditional oval air and light holes let full sunlight into the vestibule. Opposite a door faced us, one I did not recognize. A low rumble of voices came from behind muffled at first, but becoming clearer as we stood in the middle of the circular space hesitating.

When the harem master’s voice reached my ears, a momentary wave of panic rushed the air out of my lungs. Bile, foul and bitter, raced up my gullet. Before my captivity I had never known fear had a taste, had thought myself immune to the terror I so oft saw in the eyes of mere mortals. Swallowing, I forced my mind to the task at hand; escape.

I signaled my brother and he nodded acquiescence. He took the left wall, I the right, but to no avail. We found no hidden entrances, no other way out other then the door in front of us or the path from whence we came.

Gritting my teeth, I pushed open the heavy oak and opened and closed my eyes, once, twice, thrice, not certain my sight held true.

“Brother?” Eric mumbled, and the words echoed around the room, coming back to my ears, again and again.

“Odin has deserted us.” I knew not which fed my dread more, the drugs corrupting my blue and scarlet blood or the frail mortal flaws newly arisen in my mind “‘Tis the cursed maze of reflections. ‘Tis said un-bested by beast or man.”

Thursday, April 16, 2009


So Jianne you thought my book would be a movie? Ha! Wouldn't that be fantastic. I think I'd like Julia Roberts to play Keealyn and for Ryan, hmmm, Hugh Jackman. What do you think?

I think I’d take Hugh Jackman as my hero anytime.

I had no idea that erotica was so hot. Gosh I wish I knew how to write it. I learn more about sex by reading your books then I knew before. Yeah, okay laugh but it's true. Who ever heard of wining and I never heard about Carnival in Trinidad before.

Trinidad Carnival is very different than the others. I’m inserting a couple of pictures of the Children’s Carnival. The band pictures is called Lilliput and my friend, Merylle Mahabir, designs their costumes ever year.

I had to admit in my blog that until I read your books I was intimidated by erotica. How did you manage to put so much sex into those stories and still tell a wonderful tale? You know I love the paranormal stories and the fact that you are planning eleven books in your Witchy Women series would be real intimidating to me. I think I'll be lucky if this ole brain can squeeze out five or six books period. I often wonder how the heck you manage to be so prolific with a job that keeps you running all over the place. Since I retired I have a lot more time and I still can't pump them out like you do.

I wish I could write full time. It would be so wonderful to be able to devote all my energy into writing.

Well I guess it helps that your family is so supportive. Your son is the model on your website, but what amazes me most is when you told me your DH wanted you to put back into your craft a good portion of what you make. Not many men would do that. He's a great guy for sure.

My DH has supported me from day one. He found a way for me to take a month off to finish my first book. He realized before I did that I wanted to write, that I had more than one book in me.

Did you ever fell a bit hesitant about publishing by ebook to print on demand. As for myself I knew that most of the big publishing companies won't even read your query letters without an agent. So I knew that The Wild Rose Press had a great reputation and I felt so lucky that they contracted me. I never regretted it and I never will. You felt the same about Loose ID and Siren Publishing didn't you? The only thing that concerned me was the higher price of the printed book.

I am firmly convinced that eBooks are the future. I look at my three sons who are still relatively old-fashioned compared to the seven and eight year olds out there, and the way they interact with technology. Texting is an inherent part of their lives. They socialize more on the Internet than they do in a bar. The Internet has changed our life dynamics and will continue to do so. Who’d have thought ‘twitter’ would be a noun and a verb?

You have what, five books published already, you are on a roll. I can't wait for the next book in The Witchy Women series. It's gonna be about Harrie isn't it? What else do you have in the mix to be published?

Harrie’s book is on the back burner for now. I am working on a special, by invitation only, manuscript for Loose –Id, entitled White on White. It’s part of a Fourth of July release themed around red, white, and blue. White on white is a paranormal romantic suspense. This one’s very different for me as my hero is a Sheriff. Damn, I love those bad boys.!

I am working on the second in my Time Can Heal Your Heart series. It's been slow for me, sometimes life throws you curves and takes over and your muse just wants to hide. But I have started to get back into it and I am pretty excited about the premise of Keealyn's sister using the ring.

I can’t wait to read Lacey’s story. Get going woman!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Notorious In Nice

Jianne Carlo just keeps putting out one hot, fabulous, book, after another. Notorious in Nice takes the innocent, Su-Lin Taylor, on a journey of love. She has a naive and eager need to learn more about sex and her man of interest, Terrance O'Connor, who has his eyes on her from the moment he meets her. Su-Lin unfortunately is too trusting and there are those around her who don't have her best interest in mind.
Her Aunt and Uncle are not what they seem to be. Jianne weaves a story that takes us to exotic places, amongst the wealth and splendor she learns that the people she believes in are not trustworthy. Someone wants to kill her and why anyone would want to kill her is the basis for a remarkable story of intrigue. Terry arranges for her and her relatives to take a trip on his luxury boat the Glory. And the excitement is on!

Hold on to your seats and get ready for one hot excerpt.

Notorious in Nice

Su-Lin’s been dreaming of Terry for days. They’d talked daily on the phone, and she can’t wait to see him again, but sexy Texan Harrison throws her off course.

“Welcome to the Glory,” he drawled in this sexy, send-shivers-up-your-spine voice. “Harrison Ford, first mate, at your absolute disposal. I saw you on the beach in Antibes a while back, sugar. Amazing performance. Surely you’re Olympic material?”
His palm enfolded her small hand, and he brushed full lips over the throbbing vein at her wrist. Bemused by the way he said the word “sugar,” like it had no R and a host of Hs, shug-ah, her lips curved, hoping he’d say it again. She paraphrased it in her mind, shug-ah, and drew in gulps of his Acqua Di Gio aftershave as her stomach did a giddy slide into his twinkling honey eyes.
She rushed out, “I made the team four years in a row but had to drop out. Then I shot up. I’m too tall for Olympic competition.” She stifled a groan, too much information. It still amazed her how rich people conducted a conversation. They asked questions as greetings but didn’t expect answers, far less the truth.
“An itty bitty thing like you?” Liquid caramel eyes glistened sympathy beneath arched eyebrows. “Shucks, sugar, that’s their loss. I took a shot of you on my cell. Remind me, and I’ll show it to you later.”
He had taken a picture of her? This man with rock-star looks and Indiana Jones charm?
Su-Lin fell back when her uncle stepped forward.
“I’m James Lockheed, and this is my wife, Emma, my niece, Su-Lin.”
“Nice to meet y’all. Terrence O’Connor’s the captain, but he’s tied up for the moment. I know you chartered the Glory for the coming three weeks, Mr. Lockheed, but Geoff, Terry’s partner, seems to have scheduled a cruise with another party for the same period.”
“Well, I hope we can settle this mix-up quickly.” Aunt Emma started tapping her Clarks pump on the teak deck.
Terry dragged both hands through his hair and turned to face her. “We meet again. Welcome to the Glory.”
Shock kept her speechless as she realized she wasn’t welcome on board his boat, not by a long shot. Gritting her teeth, Su-Lin lifted her chin. “A most gracious welcome. Thank you.”
He had the grace to blush, although that proved poor solace for her bruised ego.
“James and Emma Lockheed, Su-Lin, meet my brother, Thomas, and my father, the Earl of Arran, Nigel Gore.” He appeared to be speaking through clenched teeth.
“Nigel, good to see you again,” Uncle James said, extending a hand.
“You know each other?” Terry asked, gaze whipping between the two men.
“Business acquaintances,” the earl replied.
“Harry, Austen, show our guests to their rooms,” Terry ordered.
The cowboy, Harrison, intervened. “I’ll show you to your cabin, Su-Lin.” He crooked an elbow. “Terry has to show his father and brother to theirs, and Austen, our bosun, is showing your relatives to the upper deck.”
“Thank you.” She refused to sneak a look at Terry and smiled at Harrison Ford. “What’s a bosun?”
“The Glory’s foreman. He organizes the other crew members and reports to me.”
“Oh,” she said. “Like a manager.”
“Bull’s-eye, sugar,” he drawled, gifting her with a crooked grin.
Su-Lin wondered if this gorgeous man had any physical flaws.
“Has anyone ever told you that you look like Indiana Jones?” A Harrison Ford look-alike without the cragginess or the crooked nose.
“Pure luck, as my mama named me after him.” He winked at her. “I even took archaeology as a minor in college.”
By this time, they’d reached the end of the stairs leading below deck, and a long, carpeted corridor faced them.
“You’re at the far end. The Glory’s staterooms are divided evenly between this deck and the upper one. Our level is separated by this entertainment area.” Harrison paused and waved a hand in the direction of a bar, a sectional curved couch, and a wide plasma screen blaring CNN Headline News.
“Where is my aunt and uncle’s room?” Su-Lin asked.
“They’re on the upper deck, as are the rest of the guests. You’re next door to the captain’s cabin.” He pointed to the left. “ Someone will bring the bags down later. Join me for a drink on deck in half an hour, sugar? Wanna get married?”
“I beg your pardon?” Shaking her head didn’t seem to clear it. “I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“Wanna get married?”
She did that back of the throat thing to clear stuffy ears and shot him a smile-grimace. “Did you just ask me to marry you?”
“Durn right, sugar. My father left me a fortune, which I inherit the day I marry. My stepmama inherits if I’m not wed by thirty.”
“Oh,” she muttered, digesting this interesting but peculiar tidbit. “I take it your birthday’s coming up?”
“Yep. And that bitch ain’t getting a cent, not even if I have to marry a freakin’ octogenarian.”
Hysteria spurred a sudden fit of giggles. “Have I just arrived in some sort of parallel universe? This must be a surreal dream.”
“I’m serious.” He winked at her again.
“You’re impossible,” she said. “Why not marry a friend and then get divorced?”
“Proof of consummation is part and parcel of Daddy’s will.”
“Oh,” she muttered. “Hold on a second, there’d only be proof if the female was a virgin.”
“One of the requirements is an untouched woman.”
“What makes you think I fit the bill?”
One forefinger traced the outline of her mouth. Their gazes tangled and he shook his head. “Ah, sugar, you radiate innocence. And you have a hunger in your eyes. It makes a man burn to be the first.”
“Sod off, Harrison. Above deck, pronto. You,” Terry barked. “Come with me.”
Everything happened so quickly, Su-Lin’s mind reeled. He scooped her into his arms and then the two of them were alone in his cabin.
“You don’t go from blowing me to screwing Harry.” Carrying her high against his chest, he toed the door closed. “Do you hear me?”

How about one more for a real thrill?

Notorious in Nice

A woman, he needed a woman. Sex, a night of thrusting and pounding like an enraged bull, and then he would face reality, deal with the burdens of the past.
Determined not to be thrown off course, his glance slid left, drawn to Su-Lin like Mars drawn to the sun. To his surprise, she met his gaze and tipped the crystal glass, her full lips curling in a trembling smile.
His for the taking.
He forgot his father, his brother, his life, and homed in on a single goal, sheathing himself in her warmth. Trying not to be obvious, Terry wound his way through the crowd mingling on the upper deck until he stood inches away from her.
As if sensing his presence, her pouty lips parted, and she sipped at the bubbling champagne, glancing over one bare shoulder at him.
“There’s a minor issue in the kitchens, and your presence is required.” He took her crystal flute, set it on table and held out an elbowed forearm. “ Shall we?”
Those searching eyes, their startling color, the absolute absence of guile, made him hesitate for a brief, imperceptible moment. A woman, he reminded himself, she was a female, a hole to be filled, nothing more, nothing less.
Before they reached the last mahogany step fronting the lower deck’s main corridor, Terry scooped her into his arms
She didn’t resist but raised verdant eyes to his. “I’m not sure.”
That was all she said, and it stabbed at his conscience, those words.
“Don’t worry,” he replied. “It’ll be okay.”
He had to squelch all emotions to make it to the secluded cabin door without touching her, without drowning in her mouth. With a gentility he didn’t know he possessed, Terry laid her down in the middle of the queen-size bed.
She rose on her elbows but said not a word, watching him dash his tie away, flick his jacket to the floor. When he tore his shirt lapels apart and buttons went flying, she put up a tiny hand.
“What, darlin’?” He could barely breathe, get the words out, and wondered if he sounded like the barbarian he felt.
Her head drooped, and she stared at the white comforter. Without looking at him, she whispered, “I want to touch you.”
He grabbed the head of his prick and squeezed so hard it hurt. He’d almost lost it, and they hadn’t even begun.
Calling on all his military training, Terry shuffled over to the mattress and sat.
“All you want.” That was all he could muster, and getting the words out almost undid him again. He took her small hand and placed it over a heart threatening self-destruction.
Her pink tongue snaked out to touch the corner of her mouth. She shifted closer.
Tacky, moist sea brine wafted to his nostrils, and not an iota of it made it to his lungs.
“I’ve never done this before,” she said, so softly he had to strain to hear her words. And then she could’ve bellowed, and he’d never have known. His heart sounded like immediate thunder in his ears, reverberations vibrating every nerve, every synapse.
She placed the other hand on his chest and breathed, “You’re so beautiful, like a Norse god.”
One finger traced the outline of his pectoral muscles, and his stomach contracted so hard his gut cramped and his prick leaked.
So close. So close.
“Darlin’ --” he began, but she cut him off by applying two fingers to his lips.
She shook her head.
“Please, no words?” And still she wouldn’t meet his gaze, and it bothered him, made him desperate for some sign of, what? Not consent. Approval, perhaps?
Terry stifled his response and waited, watching, body functions going into trained military hibernation.
With the slightest pressure of one hot little palm, she had him lying supine on the bed. Her hands flitted over his chest, lithe butterfly caresses skimming his scalded flesh.
Her touch left him wanting, impatient.
Delicate fingers flicked the right nipple, then the left, and she licked her lips when he flinched and his hips arched off the mattress.
Her gaze fixed on his arousal then, and with shaking fingers, she unbuckled his belt. Long minutes of agonizing torture followed, prolonged by her obvious nerves, her hands fumbling over his cock.

Notorious in Nice
eCard Details

A silly mistake pits a naked Terry with a nude Su-Lin in the men’s steam room. Totally smitten, Terry manipulates Su-Lin into a cruise aboard his luxury yacht, the Glory. Or so Terry thinks…
ISBN: 978-1-59632-904-1
Publisher Link

Thanks Jianne, keep um coming!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

From Newbie to Friend

Mary Ricksen and I were Florida Romance Writer newbies. I can clearly remember when I met her for the first time; she told me her name and gave me a CD that held the first draft of her manuscript, Tripping Through Time. A little bewildered as no one had bothered to inform me, we’d been paired as critique partners, I took the CD.

The following day, a Sunday, when my husband attends church on the golf course, I slid the CD into my PC. The DH came home after I had read the first paragraph.

“What’s up?” he asked.

“I can see the movie credits rolling,” I answered.

It took half an hour to explain that one line.

Tripping Through Time is a poignant, wonderful tale of an unloved child, Keealyn McCalley, who’s told relentlessly she is useless, but discovers confidence, harmony, and love in the past.

Keealyn is a child of the sixties. Lost, abused, with little self-confidence, she runs away from nursing school and finds a refuge in a log cabin on a lake with friends. A teetotaler, she’s persuaded to have a drink and ends up having one too many. Wandering away from the cabin, she attempts suicide and plunges into the comforting waters of the lake. Just before she passes out, Keealyn sees a ring lying on the lakebed and picks it up.

When Keealyn awakes the first thing person she meets is hunky Ryan Wolf.

Ryan is at first suspicious because Keealyn's wearing his mother’s Celtic ring. His mother’s told him stories of future times, of marvelous machines not yet invented in 1869, so it’s easy for him to believe Keealyn is from the future.

Keealyn is stunned to realize she’s travelled through time and soon realizes her gentle soul is suited to the social mores and graciousness of 1869. She falls in love with Ryan and his two daughters, Alyssa and the autistic, Kelsey. Having had an autistic sister in the future, Keealyn helps Kelsey cope with life. Keealyn's nursing skills come in handy when a neighbor has a breach baby. Ryan and Keealyn fall in love and he asks her to marry him. Afraid to trust any man, Keealyn asks for time to get to know him better.

Ryan leaves on a hunting trip. While he’s away, Keealyn decided to accept his proposal. But a head injury Ryan’s suffers on his trip erases his memory of Keealyn. Despondent and depressed Keealyn copes but happiness evaded her. When she saves Alyssa from a terminal fever with a bottle of penicillin that traveled through time with her, Ryan is grateful. Gradually, they become friends again and Ryan regains his memory.

Many more trials and tribulations occur in this wonderful story. Woven throughout the book is the concept of healing, both physical and mental. Having her own children heals Kaleen’s horrible childhood memories and with Ryan’s love, she comes to believe she is a vital, wonderful human being.

Here’s one of my favorite parts of Tripping Through Time:

“Okay, shoot,” she said.
“O K? Shoot who?”
“I don’t mean shoot someone. Let me explain. It’s slang, or rather colloquial speech. Okay means all right and by shoot, I mean start talking,” she informed him.
He chuckled and shook his head, spattering her with water droplets. She squealed at his antics.” We need to talk with my sister, Peggy. Hopefully she can answer some questions about the ring that I cannot remember. In addition, we’ll need to come up with a good story to explain your presence to everyone else and then we’ll try to get to know each other. What do you think? Would you like to get to know me better?
She smiled at him, hoping he would understand. No matter how nice he appeared, he was still a man and men wanted to domineer, no matter how nice they acted.
Keealyn reverted to her old nail biting habit, chewing on her thumbnail as she contemplated her answer.
“I don’t know what to think. I want to live my life as it comes. I want to see if all this magic is real. I need to find out why I am here. And I have to find a plane to live, a job.”
Ryan took her hand and helped her to her feet. Turning her face to him, he lifted her chin and gazed into her eyes. “What ever you need to do is fine with me. Let’s establish a friendship that might have a chance to evolve into something unique. You could stay here and be my daughter’s governess.” There was so much to consider in all this. “Two children are a great responsibility and a lot of things will have to change for it to work out. But if you are willing…”
“I can’t explain it but I know that this place, this time is right for me. Ryan, I’d like to give it a try. At least until something else comes along.”

Monday, April 13, 2009

D is for Desire

Jianne Carlo is my critique partner. I have to be very honest. When I started to read her first post I didn't think I could handle it. Jianne writes erotica.
In spite of my phobia I read it. It was amazing. Jianne weaves a story that was hard to put down.

D Is For Desire begins in Trinidad on Carnival Monday. I had never heard of Carnival. And at first I had visions of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. How wrong I was in thinking that. In Trinidad Carnival everyone is involved from the children to the elderly. It is a nationwide celebration, everyone gets involved.The first day people dance in the street 'Wining' against one another. Dirty dancing to the max. It's ll par of J'ouvert, a day of pure hedonism.
Jianne surprised me. This wonderful story takes you into the past, involves witches and kept me reading till my eyes almost fell out.

It's a sexy story of two people Dee, Desdemonia Bloom, and Alex Mayfield, who find themselves involved in intrigue and wonderful excitement and in the process fall in love. Jump into the mud with them and dance through the streets till you fall from sheer exhaustion. Drink tequela from someones belly button and tell me you don't feel it.

I really loved this story. I am a paranormal fan and appreciated the intricate web Jianne weaved to tell us this story, which is one of her series called Witchy Women. Each one is a story on its' own, but to read them all helps tie the whole premise together. Jianne you amaze me!

Here is a short excerpt:
The sound of rain spattering onto the French doors brought back a muffled reality. Alez tugged the blindfold off. He grinned at her and tossed the maroonmaterial to the side. "Maybe I should have used it as a gag."
'What? Why? Oh God , the balcony doors are open. Quick which side are we on?"She struggled to sit up and leand on her forearms. "Was I very loud?"
"Let's just say, your lungs are very healthy."
"Untie me." She cocked her head to one side. "How late is it? Everything's prettty quiet. Maybe everyone went home."
"There are over fifty armed men guarding the B&B sweetheart." He loosened the cotton from her feet and set his fists on his hips. "I'm certain I'm going to regret untying your hands" He did anyway and slid off the bed.
"Come on, get under the covers." He slipped the bedcovers down, picked up a fat pillow, and cuffed it int submission.
"Alex?" Dee rubbed one wrist. "What's srong?"
"You need your rest," he said. "Which side do you want? Do you realize we'e mever spent an entire night together? I have wanted to wake up with you in my arms for a long time."
He had no intentions of making love to her, she realized and all the champagne excitement bubbling inside fizzled into flatness.
"What was all that about never refusing you sex?" Dee glanced down at her swollen, protruding stomach. "It's me, isn't it? Because I 'm fat."
"God no." Alex climbed onto the bed knees first. He pressed a soft kiss on her navel. "I'm afraid of hurting you and the baby. I thinke we should see a doctor first." He tucked her head against his hard chest.
"You have a raging erection." Dee twirled a finger aroung the head of his shaft. "This is our wedding night. You promised me thirteen orgasms, and I've only had one."

Now try to put that down.
Jianne was born to an Indian father and a Hispanic mother. She grew up in a sity-by-forty Caribbean island full of cultural diversity. Jianne has a Bachelor's Degree in English and Sociology and a Master's in Management Science.
She married her college sweetheart and they have three wonderful sons, whom she is very close to. The only carbonated beverage she drinks is champagne. Yet she is down to earth and so approachable. I am pleased to call her my friend.
I am sorry I don't have the cover to post, Jianne is down with the flu. I will try to add it later if I can. For more information about Jianne's books go to her website www.jiannecarlo.com

More tomorrow!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Advance Review: "Deconstruction" by Kit Zheng

Title: Deconstruction
Author: Kit Zheng
Publisher: MLR Press (print) and Aspen Mountain Press (eBook)
Release Date: Forthcoming, summer 2009

Everyone likes something for free, right? In Kit Zheng's new book (due out this summer), you pay for one story but you get three: the love story of two men at a crossroads in their longtime relationship, in which the decisions they make, separately and together, either will strengthen and deepen their bonds or sever them entirely; a murder mystery in which our hero must try to stop a killer who is targeting male hustlers; and a man's journey of self-discovery, delving into the darker side of his desires as he comes to terms with who he really is and what he really wants. Zheng's book is not a triptych but a single story woven masterfully from these threads: Deconstruction.

It may seem crass to start this review with such blatant mentions of commerce, but that is one of the matters central to Deconstruction: a stripper by profession, Tomas is not above taking a little extra cash from customers at the club in exchange for his off-hours sexual favors. "For the gentleman," Zheng tells us of one such encounter, "it was two hours indulging appetites he could never satisfy; for Tomas, it was a car payment taken care of, one less bill to worry about." With deceptive simplicity, Zheng draws a line--one of many that will be blurred and even erased in the course of the story, between fantasy and reality, between payer and payee, between desire and action.

Although this is how Tomas and his boyfriend, Vic, met--and recountings of these private exchanges even served as foreplay for the two in the early days of their relationship--the thrill has worn off for Vic. Aggravating the tension is the string of murders that police detective Vic has been assigned to: someone is killing young men who, like Tomas, offer sex for money and who lately, also like Tomas, are blond. The resemblance may end there, but that's more than enough to escalate Vic's wish into a need for Tomas to stop doing what he does. But it's not that simple for Tomas: it's not just what he does, it's what he is, how he defines himself.

The heart of the matter, though, is not this disagreement over how Tomas lives his life and how that affects their relationship: it's the gap between what each man thinks and what he says, between what he says and what the other hears. It's everything that is spoken and even more, it's in everything that isn't. Zheng sets up the story beautifully: from the beginning, I was willing to invest in this relationship between two guys I didn't know much, if anything, about, because the emotional push and pull between them was laid out so well. From those first moments between Tomas and Vic in the bedroom, simultaneously and subtly awkward and comfortable in the way that only long-term lovers can be, I wanted them to make it. And as the narrative unfolded, I started to see why I wanted them to make it: because they need each other, and they're good for each other; they could be as close to perfect as two people can get--if only they could talk and trust. Which is no small thing, of course. Zheng walks the line of using words to illustrate their failure for these men with heartbreaking clarity.

The emotional connection between the two central characters is not only clear but compelling. In fact, it's this connection, the problems they're having and their desires to overcome those problems that kept me reading as much as the "whodunnit" aspect of the serial killings, which seem to hit closer and closer to home, clouding the judgment of both men in different ways, with different reactions and potentially disastrous effects.

The third thread, the journey of self-discovery, is Tomas's. Without giving too much away, Tomas has festishes that Vic knows about, and fetishes his lover is unaware of (except in peripheral ways). It even seems that Tomas himself is unaware of the depths of his desires. His one rule, after all, is to remain in control of situations and of himself. As Tomas becomes more involved with one of his customers, Jon (who is such a strong secondary character that I'm tempted to call him a primary one), he begins to do things that he doesn't do even with Vic; things that, by his own rules, he hasn't even allowed himself to imagine or fantasize about.

The way that Zheng entwines Tomas's desire with his shame so that each heightens the other is gorgeous, agonizing, and compulsive. It's also crucial to the story. The question brought up by the realization of these desires splits in two: will Tomas be able to accept himself, and will he give Vic a chance to accept him. During one session with Jon, Tomas wonders if "he should be enjoying this more, somehow. If it were Vic standing here instead of Jon, playing a game, just playing--would it be such a fucking turn on? Would Vic even do this, let him be this? Now he just didn't know. Might never know."

At this point in the story, we don't know if Tomas will be able to give Vic the chance to give him what he needs, or if Vic will be able to do anything with such a chance. But Zheng has painted the characters with such vivid emotions and sucked us into their lives so thoroughly that we know they need to try.

In Deconstruction, Kit Zheng has given us three stories--and three profoundly human characters, each full of hopes and fears and desires and flaws. Zheng challenges and rewards us, giving us men who might be difficult to like at times (most especially Jon, whose thoughts and actions verge on crossing the line) but who also tug at our hearts and make us think. This is provocative romance at its very best.

- Mallory Path

Friday, April 10, 2009

Review: Handle With Care by Mallory Path

Title Handle With Care
Author Mallory Path
Buy link Excessica

I've always thought that Mallory Path writes in a way that reminds me of poetry, or at least poetry as I was taught to understand it. To-the-point phrases that evoke things, the way the sound of a distant bell ringing summons the image of the bell, the tower, the walls that reflect the echoes. It's the sort of writing that begs to be read aloud, for the rhythm of the words in a phrase, the visual and aural play of repetition, combination, pause.

So I was somewhat entertained to find, when I sat down to write this review, that my notes were a little like poetry:

lyric dancefuck
charmed smile

kissing outside the lines
can i listen to your heart?

If you couldn't guess from the fact that it evokes faux found poetry from a non-poet ;), for me, Handle With Care is a shining example of the sort of prose that flows from the keyboard of Ms. Path. With carefully chosen phrases, she sketches out her two young men, Lucas and Mick. Lucas makes his entry and I was charmed along with Mick, though I think Mick didn't notice right away:

Not that there aren't fuckable guys at The Station -- but they don't come here to fuck. At least, they didn't until Lucas walked in last semester, lollipop in his mouth, the stick dangling free. It didn't make him look like a kid, though; he pulled it off with panache, which is not a word Mick throws around lightly.

We get more clues about Lucas as the story proceeds, and part of the pleasure is, as it is for Mick, in watching Lucas unfold before us. Mallory Path never spells it out for us, but she illustrates a fascinating human being nonetheless.

Then there's Mick, simply introduced in the physical sense with:

With a non-committal grunt, Mick had propped his battered, vintage Doc Martens eye boots up on the chair next to him and returned to his notes.

Which instantly puts in mind a certain kind of boy. Cleverly, Ms. Path takes that very automatic ideal and pokes at it later, when Lucas discovers that his assumptions about Mick from his hard looks may not be correct at all-- and, indeed, Mick might have assumed a few things as well.

But she doesn't let us off there. She teases us with the play between what a person assumes about another, but also with how a person presents a certain facade deliberately to another--to be sexy, to be wanted, or to simply seduce.

And let's not forget the part that you're probably all here for. Mallory handles the erotic scenes with the same imagery-provoking beauty as the rest of the story, which amps up the sensuality and makes the scenes very sexy indeed. She focuses on the lovely details:

His hands drip down his throat, down his chest, down over slick skin and defined muscle; then Mick can't see Lucas' hands anymore, but he knows they are still sliding down, down lower than Lucas' belly.

"Hey now, don't," Mick says as the first moan is vibrating up from Lucas' throat.

I know as a writer I tend to go hard, explicit detail and gritty, dirty bodily functions, but Mallory Path somehow manages to be arousing and edgy through use of whispered dirty talk and lyrical prose. And she plays, too; at one point, Mick says:

"Did you just moon me as a seduction technique?"

which sends them into an adorable exchange that left me grinning.

Handle With Care is a short story, so if I don't stop there I'm liable to give away the entire plot (although with this story, I'm not sure would completely matter--part of the beauty is the writing, the dialogue, the breathless moments). Don't get me wrong--Mallory has a gift with short stories, and you are not left wanting. She makes her point, eloquently and elegantly. Suffice it to say that I found Handle With Care delightful. At one point, Mick thinks of Lucas's aroused movements as dancing, and in some ways, I think this entire story dances. The words dance, they are almost musical; the story dances, shifting effortlessly through the events, through past and present; the boys dance, with each other, and with us.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

An Afternoon at the Fox & Ginko Leaf, Part 2 (Kit Zheng & Mallory Path)

Part One of Kit & Mal's conversational interview is here.

Can we go back to what you said earlier about watching movies in your head?


I heard another writer make a similar comment recently. My first thought was that I also see stories as movies in my head, in that I watch the scenes over and over, letting images transform into words before I start writing them down and finding the words myself. But it's not exactly like watching movies, in that I jump all around. So maybe a better analogy for me is that I put on the DVD and make frequent use of the remote control.

Then it occured to me, as we were talking just now, that this is the way I consume a lot of fictional texts. Not the jumping around, but the not starting in the middle.

Not starting in the middle? How do you mean?

Usually when someone recommends a TV show to me, I ask them what their favorite episode is and--regardless of any back story I might need--I start there. If it grabs me, I'll go back to earlier episodes for what I need.

Or there's a very famous author I won't name. I wasn't going to read the last book in her series, but almost everyone I knew was obsessed with it and so if I wanted to talk to my friends that summer, I knew I had to read it. I tried the first chapter and couldn't get into it. So I looked at the table of contents, found a chapter with the same name as the title of the book about half-way through, and started there. I loved it so much I went back and read the first half of the book after I finished.

Oh, that's so cool. I totally couldn't do that.

I think that might make some authors cry, because they start where they start for a reason. Anyhow, I guess the way I write comes from the way I read/watch/consume texts. Or maybe the other way around.

*nodnodnod* I could imagine doing that with a TV show more easily than with a book.

Now I want to do a survey of authors to find out where they start when they start writing a story!

That would be cool. *_*

Now I'm fascinated by the idea of reading a book non-linearly. I don't know why. That's super cool.

That's the only time I've ever done that with an individual book. I've done it with series, though--not on purpose, but I started with a book in the middle of the series and I couldn't figure out which order the books came in, so I just read in the order of whichever ones were at the library when I went.

I've done that with series, too, though I always have mixed feelings about it.

So, non-sequitur time: what are you working on right now?

Hm, actively or active + derailed by deadlines?

*laughs* ...Both, maybe? Or whichever is less painful?

Actively for a deadline, I'm working on revising a collaborative story with Jamie Booth which will hopefully be included in an anthology about cat-shape shifters. Our story is about a pair of misfits, who stumble into each other and realize they have a common goal, which they can achieve faster by working together--or should I say, exploiting each other? I'm not sure they know. And how that working relationship evolves into something else.

Intriguing! It sounds like there are a lot of blurred lines in that: physically with the shifting, and psychologically--maybe even emotionally--with the distinction between collaboration and mutual exploitation.

Any other pokers in the fire?

I was also sneaking in bits of a sci-fi novel(la?) which is working-titled "The Red Box," but right now deadlines have pushed that completely off the radar. I'm really in love with that story though, and am still actively researching for it—e.g. I just picked up The Dao of Pooh (as in Winnie) because there's an element of Daoism in the way these, I guess you could call them hackers, work.

How about you? You said you've got several ideas going. What are you writing on?

Well, I'm trying to do that slave world story for a May 1st deadline, which I suspect I won't make--but I'll write the story anyhow.

I have another story called "The Playground," which is about an Amish boy during rumspringa (the period when Amish youths get to experience the English world before committing to the Church) who meets the devil...but that one has been sidelined by research and realities. First, rumspringa takes place when you're 16, which makes it problematic in terms of finding a publisher. So I've found a workaround, an excuse as to why Jonathan hasn't started until he's 18, but I'm not sure I'm on solid ground. Researching Amish communities is not easy!

Oh, that is bummer about the age thing. I mean, in terms of a coming-of-age story.

Yeah. I'm considering my options, which are (1) age up the human character, (2) don't make it sexual, or (3) write it for a non-romance market. I'm leaning toward that first option.

People come of age at all sorts of ages, but I guess when you bring sex into the picture things get skewed.

Jonathan is a very innocent character in a lot of ways, and I think I can get away with making him 18 in terms of characterization. I'm not sure he would be allowed to delay rumspringa for two years, but the excuse I've come up with is that his twin sister was in a terrible accident and her rehabilitation has just finished. He got permission from the community to delay so that he could do it with her.

Good excuse.

Yeah? Hurrah!

Another of my ideas is for a post-apocalyptic novel, and it goes right back to security vs. freedom, which we were talking about earlier. I'm kind of obsessed with this concept of a "velvet apocalypse," where great transformations occur but instead of leaving devastation in its wake, the apocalypse leaves the world a better place.

So in this story the world, which is secretly being run by a group I'm calling The Faction (I'm terrible with names; everything has a placeholder when I'm writing), seems to be a nice place to live, post-apocalypse. There's a group of people who feel that too many freedoms have been sacrificed for the maintenance of this nice world; they're secretly working against The Faction.

Most of the population is unaware of all this. my characters get caught up in it, and it's about the choices they make.

I'm firmly anti-Faction, but I "met" the head of The Faction in another story I wrote recently. It was an epiphanous moment when I realized who he was, and that I was seeing this much younger version of him than the one I've come to know. So now I'm a little tiny bit in love with him. *wry grin*

Aww. That is so cute!

Does that ever happen to you? You start to flesh out the bad guy, and you realize he isn't such a bad guy?

Hmm, I don't really think of people as bad guys in my stories.

That's one of the things I adore about your stories, you know.

*laughs* Thanks.

I'm one of those assholes who doesn't think people are anything but assholes anyway, so yeah, you just get a range of assholes.

The antagonist, then, as opposed to the "bad guy"?

Hmm, yes... I think? Yet Another Unfinished Novel, The King of Salem, came from--well, it came from a lot of things...

I'd been reading a novel that shall not be named and the handling of the interaction between the protagonist and the anti-hero (not the antagonist) annoyed me so much it sparked me into writing a short story, about a priest being taunted/seduced by a demon-summoner/witch; which I then turned around and spun off into a high fantasy story that asked who really was the bad guy, this priest or the witch; which got canned and became a sorta-steampunk story about the same characters but less "who's the bad guy" so much as--actually, ideals vs. "right."

All of that happened because I grew so awfully fond of the demon-summoner/witch way back in that little short story, and the more I thought about him, the more the story grew and changed and became something else.

LOL, sorry, I'm babbling--I'm terrible about talking about my WIPs.

No, that's fascinating! I had mentioned to you before we started this that I thought we had shared thematic interests but our ways of illustrating those themes was very different. At the time, I had thought of it as different paths to the same destination, but now I feel like we have different maps of the same country. Please forgive the terrible metaphors. ;p

Not terrible at all--that's a great way to put it. I'd agree.

I guess it's time to stop writing about our WIPs and get to the actual writing of them...

Thanks to those of you who came along for the conversation! If you enjoyed yourself here, you can visit
Kit @ http://kitzheng.thatdamncat.com
and Mal @ http://mallorypath.com.

We hope you'll come back tomorrow for Mal's review of Kit's "Deconstruction," and Kit's review of Mal's "Handle With Care."

In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, Kiki Howell of An Author's Musings, would like to advise that in addition to purchasing my own books to review, I also receive books, and/or promotional materials, free of charge in return for an honest review, as do any guest reviewers.