28 February 2019

What Would I Invent if I were Stuck on an Island?



Week #9 Writing Challenge... What would I invent if I were stuck on an island?

I've often thought about what I would need/want if I were stuck on a deserted island. Why have I often thought this?...I haven't a clue. I'm weird. But whether or not it stems from the movie "Castaway" or from reading "Surviving Raine" by Shay Savage, I figured there are a few things that would be absolutely necessary to survive living on an island.

The logical item would be a satellite phone to call for help.

Or a boat.

But my knee-jerk answer is chapstick.  And maybe a book to keep my mind occupied. As a writer there's nothing worse than being impotent on being able to write. If I had a book, at least that would keep me occupied.

Until I memorized the entire thing and then started acting out the scenes. I'd have to play all parts, of course, and if it was a romance then it'd get kinda awkward during the sex scenes.

….But I digress.

That's not what this post is about. It's about what I would INVENT.

I'd invent chapstick, since I would not have any access to writing utensils, paper, and a printing press to invent a book. Somehow...someway...I'd try to invent something to put on my lips so they wouldn't chap. There is nothing worse (as a personal beauty thing) than having dry lips. Maybe I'd use coconuts. Or fish goo.  Or find a plant that would help. Obviously, I will have a lot of time on my hands to figure out the correct ingredients.

To see what the other Evernighties have come up with in their writing challenge this week, check out the other blog posts!

https://meganmorganauthor.com
https://katherinewyvern.blogspot.com

27 February 2019

Wednesday's Writers Block Exercise


 Got Writer’s Block?
Yeah, it happens to the best of us.  Life gets in the way and your brain is taken in another direction and before you know it, it’s been days or weeks since you last looked at that book you’re trying to write.  You’ve forgotten little details.  What eye color did you give your hero?  What town was your heroine born in?  Perhaps you need to jumpstart your creative mojo, and that's what this series is designed for. Not to explain writer's block, but to help you move in a different direction.

This one is a difficult exercise for me because I think of my strong points as a writer is dialogue. I take pride in my character’s interaction with each other and talking can give good insight into the thoughts and reasons behind actions. But I agree there is a time and place for action verses talking. 

While talking can be a good way for two characters to convey feelings, remaining silent can also give subtle clues. Think of Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights (I, personally, don’t think he’s a romantic figure at all, but this isn’t about romance). Heathcliff is stoic, angry, basically a lumbering brute. His lack of communication is an excellent insight into who he is.


#8 Stop Talking

Actions speak louder than words. If your characters couldn’t talk, what would they do?

>Imagine this moment in a silent film. How would you know what’s going on?

> If your hero could only say five words, what would they be?

> Could the story beats happen in a montage rather than full scenes? What would those moments be?



Dialogue is great, but sometimes your characters need to shut up and do something. Look for ways to take away their ability to talk, and force them to find other ways to communicate.

There are countless ways to make normal speech impossible, from stealth to equipment failure to foreign languages.

Silence can also be a choice. Maybe your hero isn’t saying anything because he’s simply done talking.



Happy Writing!



***John August designed these cards to help writers fix plot holes, spice up stock characters and rethink your themes.  They, of course, do not guarantee you’ll get published or that you’ll become the next J.K. Rowling, and of course they are only a tool to help you think outside the box. I make no monetary gain with them nor do I expect anything in return.  I do not own the contents in these cards. If you're interested in them, here's the amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Writer-Emergency-Pack/dp/B00R6ZLIOY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1502046610&sr=8-2&keywords=john+august 


26 February 2019

Historical Romance Author - Arabella Sheen on her NEW RELEASE!


Hello Arabella!  Thank you so much for visiting Written Butterfly with me today!  It’s such a pleasure to chat with you.  So tell me…

Q) How did you dream up the dynamics of your characters?

Arabella: Hi, Beth. Thanks for having me on Written Butterfly.

So…you want to know how I envisaged the subtleties and undercurrents that were meant to happen to my leading characters between the covers of the book.

Well…I had this story in my head that needed to be told. It went along the lines of: Lord Redfield needs a wife. How was he going to find her? And what were the problems he would face internally and externally before “she” (whoever she was going to be) said yes to his proposal.

And then it came to me… I would tell the story from every characters own point of view.

An individual chapter for an individual character.

Instead of changing mid-scene from the hero’s side of the story to the heroine’s take on things, I allocated them their own chapters. I also worked in the same way when it came to featuring the maids and the footmen, and other family members who also play a vital part in the story.

It made for interesting reading and lots of hot, steamy love scenes!!!

Q) Can you give a fun or interesting fact about your book?

Arabella: You might not know this, but as well as writing historical romance, I also write contemporary sensual novels. When my nine-to-five day shift is done, I then sit at the laptop and write. On average, so far, each novel I’ve written has taken me approximately six months to write. This novel, A Bride for Lord Redfield, was like butter on a hot knife. The words just seemed to drip onto the page. It took me two weeks to write. Two weeks to edit. And the rest is history.

When I sent the manuscript off to my American publisher, Beachwalk Press at http://beachwalkpress.com/, to consider, I received a reply saying: “great job” and the contract was signed then and there.

Q) What do you think is your strongest asset as a writer? …What is your weakest factor as a writer?

Arabella: I believe my strongest asset as a writer is in knowing that I can’t please all of my readers all of the time. I deliver what I hope to be a good romance that will stand the test of time and hope the reader likes it too.

Years and years ago, my debut novel, “Blinded by Desire” (a billionaire romance with a hint of passion…and more), kick started with a few bad reviews. One reader’s review said she wanted more explicit action in the bedroom and another reviewer covered the fact that there were several spelling errors.

I took these comments on the chin realizing my sensual is different from their erotic and that U.K. spelling and grammar check is different to the U.S. way of writing things.

As a consequence, any subsequent novels have been written with these harsh reviewers remarks in mind, and I think I’ve improved.

My weakest factor as a writer is . . . Marketing!!! It takes me away from the time I have to write and I dislike having to promote myself and my books into the spot light. My life is never front row seats…it’s always been back row, upper circle.

Q) Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Arabella: A bit of both, I think.

No reader wants to read the same old thing, so an original slant on the classic love story is a must. Irrelevant of the genre, or sub-genre, (m/f, f/f, m/m, mfm or any other combination), a reader wants something different…but something that still delivers the predictable and desired happy-ever-after ending.

Q) Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?

Arabella: I’m what we call in the trade…a pantser. Someone who flies by the seat of their pants. Wings it. Makes it up as they go along.

To a certain extent I plot…but it’s minimal. I sometimes draft out the blurb (info that’s found on the back cover of a book) and build the romance, tensions and conflicts from there.

Q) What are your upcoming projects?

Arabella: I never like to say I’m going to do this or that. It’s a sure way to put a jinx on things. In the pipeline is another sensual and another sweet historical regency romance, but that could all change. I could start work on another billionaire contemporary…




A Bride for Lord Redfield

Arabella  Sheen

A risqué regency romp enjoyed by both servants and masters as love and passion is discovered―above and below stairs―in his lordship’s household.

At Redfield House, everyone is busy with preparations for a ball, and rumor is rife in the servants’ quarters that the master is about to propose.

Lord Thomas Redfield realizes the time has come for him to take a wife and that this duty can no longer be delayed. The only trouble is…he isn’t sure the desire he once felt for Catherine, the woman he was previously betrothed to, is over and a new life with Rosalinda can begin.

Can Lord Redfield take Miss Rosalinda Mills for his wife, and will she agree to an engagement knowing he could still be in love with Catherine?

As the weekend unfolds and the fun begins, a bevy of illicit encounters are enjoyed between maids, footmen, grooms, and guests, while his lordship inwardly struggles with the problem of finding a wife.

Content Warning: contains passionate, sensual love scenes
Genre(s): Historical Romance


Excerpt

A Bride for Lord Redfield

Lord Thomas Redfield intended to marry Miss Rosalinda Mills, but as yet, she was not aware of his wishes.
She wasn't a beauty by any means, but she had an attraction of sorts. Refined, polished, and cultured, she also had a conversation that did not bore him. Most women he knew were chatterboxes and windbags or bluestockings and dull. But Miss Mills was neither. 
She fell into none of these categories, and after several days and evenings spent in her company, Thomas was prepared to discover more.

* * * *

"Which debutante would you have me consider? Which of your many friends will wish to parade their daughters before me?" Thomas asked his mother cynically. 
"Well, actually, I was thinking about―" 
"Enough, Mama. I'm afraid I must decline your suggestion. Your attempt at arranging a marriage between Catherine and myself was not exactly a success." He recalled with bitterness the outcome of that proposed union. The fact that Catherine and Harry had married had hurt his pride and ego enormously. "An arranged marriage that is of your making and to your liking is not for me. I refuse, especially after my enlightening experience with Catherine. My lesson, when it comes to taking a wife, has been well and truly learned, and I would be a fool if I were to repeat such an endeavor again." 
Those were empty words, and he knew it. At some point in time he would have to marry. The difficulty was finding the right woman who was malleable and compliant to tie the knot with. Someone who would obey him without question. Someone who would tolerate his illicit liaisons without too much objection. And that type of woman was hard to find. 
"But you have to try to find a wife." 
"If I do, this time, love will definitely not be in the equation." 
Thomas decided that a marriage of convenience, where he would wed and bed someone without properly wooing her for love, was his best option. And that was what he was going to propose when he offered for Rosalinda. He liked her. They got along. But the all-consuming passion and physical attraction he had once felt when betrothed to Catherine was missing when he thought of Rosalinda. 
A wife was needed, and she would have to be of good birth and excellent breeding. Someone with whom he could produce an heir. The only question was…with whom and exactly when? So far, by process of elimination, Rosalinda was the best contender. 
Having compiled a list of potential candidates from the many socialites within his circle of friends and acquaintances, Rosalinda seemed the best option. He had known her for years, and although he had never thought of her as a potential wife until recently, he was now prepared to do so. There was respect between them, and he hoped some sort of convivial relationship could blossom. It was a shame that the all-consuming love he had felt for Catherine was not there. 
"Your betrothal to Catherine was more than three years ago, and even though I suspect your heart was never truly given to her, your feelings must have recovered. Surely?" 
That just proved how little his mother knew him. Like many of his acquaintances, she thought his emotions had not been affected by Catherine's decamp. She was so wrong. His wound was still raw. 
"Mama, the subject is closed for discussion. At least for now. I have to go riding with Rosalinda and―" 
"So the servants' rumors are true. You are thinking of proposing to Rosalinda!" 
Thomas approached his mother and bent to place a kiss upon her cheek. "Don't fret. You will be the first to know if and when she accepts my offer." 
His mother's chin dropped, her mouth open with astonishment. And with that announcement, Thomas left the room and went to change into his buckskins and riding boots.


Buy Links:


Amazon Universal:  http://bit.ly/2tx1VkW  

Barnes & Nobel – Nook:   http://bit.ly/2GIyTYa


Beachwalk Press:  http://bit.ly/2NrHKhw

                       . . . and other reputable ebook distributors.

About Arabella Sheen
Arabella Sheen is a contemporary and regency romance author of sensual, passionate love stories. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and was shortlisted for the RNA – Joan Hessayon Award.
Having worked for nearly twenty years as a theatre nurse in the amazing city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, she now lives in the southwest of England with her family.
One of the many things Arabella loves to do is to read. And when she's not reading or writing romance novels, she is either on her allotment sowing and planting with the seasons or she's sitting on the sofa pandering to the demands of her attention-seeking feline.

You can find Arabella and her romance books at the following places:
Website and Blog: www.arabellasheen.co.uk


23 February 2019

Lynn Burke is Back with a new Devil's Outlaw MC Release!



Bowie’s Angel
Devil’s Outlaws 1
By Lynn Burke
Publisher: Changeling Press

Keywords: MC Romance, May/December, Contemporary, Erotic, Romance, Suspense, Series, HEA

When a barely-legal blonde with a lithe, young body shows up at the Devil’s Outlaw MC strip joint to audition as a dancer, Ian “Bowie” Davies wants nothing more than to burrow between her long legs and claim her. She's too young for his dominant side though, too innocent for the sharp edges of his darker desires. And way too hot to let another man touch her -- a thought that has his hands itching to use his signature knives against any bastard who messes with his angel.

Hannah Harris ran away from home at age eighteen, desperate to escape the prison of her strict parents. Determined to delight in the sins her father preaches against, she puts her ballet talents to work, using a stripper pole to make a living. Dancing for Bowie and his blade has her panting to explore some of the “firsts” she planned to save for her future husband.

But when Bowie and his brothers attempt extortion beyond her parent’s ten-thousand dollar reward for Hannah's safe return, she's left with a difficult choice. Offer up the evidence to put the notorious biker gang behind bars, or protect Bowie and chalk the shit-show up as a lesson learned and begin her independent life anew -- without the lying bastard who owns her heart.

Can Bowie cut through the blindfold of lies on Hannah’s eyes and surrender the truth in his heart to win her back?


*Warning: Spanking, anal sex, knife play




ADULT EXCERPT:

Too motherfucking young, but it was no wonder she’d gotten past Brewer. Mile-long legs, sexy-as-fuck flared hips, pert little breasts, all wrapped in leather that screamed sex but didn’t match what her pale green eyes revealed.

The young woman who had sauntered into my office like she had every intention of dropping to her knees if I told her to disappeared the second I’d crowded close. Close enough to drop her focus to my chest. Close enough her heartbeat thrummed beneath my thumb. Close enough I could feel the purity of her soul as though her body’s energy rippled across the inches separating us.

An inexperienced submissive for sure, and she had my dominant nature kicking and screaming for release -- along with my dick strangling in my jeans. Fuck, yes.

“Look at me.”

Her eyelids snapped up, those pale eyes letting me see right into the depths of her.

“How old are you?” I asked, my smile long fucking gone.

“Twenty-one,” she whispered.

“Liar.”

She gulped again, but held my gaze.

“Name?”

“H-Hannah.” She swallowed again as I smoothed my thumb up and down over her thumping artery. “Hannah Morris.”

“Hannah. A pure-as-fuck name for a pure-as-fuck little girl who should be with her mommy and daddy rather than in the devil’s playground,” I murmured, and she straightened, tensing beneath my hold.

“I am not a little girl.” Fire shot from her narrowed eyes as she all but spit the words at me.

I pressed flush against her body, grinding my dick against her hip. “Sassy. I like a little backbone in my women.”

She gasped, her eyes going wide. “Get off me.”

To the point words, but nothing other than desire laced her voice. She made no move to escape either, her hands grasping at my shirt as though hanging on for the ride of her life.

“Twenty-one, hmm? Got proof of that?” She shook her head, and I leaned in closer, my lips a breath from hers, so fucking ready to give her that ride. “So you came in here thinking you could get a job baring your tight body and fucking that pole up on stage without an ID.”

“Yes,” she whispered even though I hadn’t asked a question, her sweet breath jerking my dick in its prison.

“Gonna cost you.”

“Wh-what?”

“Not sure yet.” My lips brushed hers like a feather, far from a kiss, and she moaned. “A kiss?” I suggested.

She swallowed, no longer tense but trembling.

“Mmm, I think so,” I murmured when she didn’t answer, lust and satisfaction simmering throughout my body. “But where?”

I pulled back, and her eyelids fluttered open, her pupils dominating the green of her eyes.

“Here?” I asked, smoothing my thumb over her plump, glossed lips.

“Here?” I brushed my knuckles down over the swell of her right tit, my dick jerking again at the hardness of her nipple beneath my grazing caress. “Or…”

I worked my hand between our bodies, down over the front of her leather skirt until I caressed the smooth, warm skin above her knee.

“Here?” I slid my palm up the inside of her thigh.

Another shudder rippled through her, and she fisted her hands in my shirt.

I rubbed my thumb in circles just shy of her pussy, need like I’d never known taking me to the edge of my self-control, a self-control I prided myself on.

“What’s it going to be, Hannah?” Ragged and low, my voice sent a shiver over her body.

“M-my lips.”

I took her mouth in a bruising kiss, tightening my hold on her neck, tilting her head and thrusting my tongue between her lips that tasted of strawberries and cream. Not just innocent, but fucking untried in every way -- she didn’t have a clue what to do with her tongue, so I showed her, sliding alongside hers, tasting, taking until she got the hang of sucking face.

She whimpered, and beyond giving a fuck how old the little temptress was, I cupped her pussy.

Hot and soaked.

Fuck.

She tore her mouth from mine and whimpered.

I licked the sweet taste of her gloss from my lips and pressed the heel of my hand against her clit.

“Oh!” Lower lip between her teeth, she clenched her eyes shut, her brow furrowing as she bucked beneath my touch.

“You like my hand on you.”

She whimpered and ground against me even though she shook her head.

“You’ll like my tongue even more.” I dropped to my knees and shoved her skirt up around her tiny waist. Pink lacy panties -- so fucking virginal, I groaned. Goose bumps pebbled her legs, and I lifted my gaze, sliding a finger along the edge of her panties and pushing them aside while grasping her ass cheek with my other hand.

Hannah still had her lower lip between her teeth, eyes clenched shut, hands fisted at her sides.

“Look at me.”

Like a good little girl, she obeyed, and I held her gaze, flicking my tongue out.

Sweeter than any fucking cotton candy I’d licked before. Addictive honey…


© Lynn Burke 2018




ABOUT LYNN BURKE:

Lynn Burke is a full time mother, voracious gardener, and scribbler of spicy romance stories. A country bumpkin turned Bay Stater, she enjoys her chowdah and Dunkin Donuts when not trying to escape the reality of city life.



22 February 2019

Spotlight on Laura M. Baird's "Shades of Sepia"!


Shades of Sepia 
Cover Model, 2
Tasha Linthrop paved a path all her own by becoming a cover model and opening her own boutique. Marcus Everly is a veteran who isn’t ashamed to put his physique in front of the camera to pay the bills while pursuing his passion of working with other veterans.
The two have been friends, dancing around their attraction to one another, and when they finally get together, it’s explosive. But can Marcus move beyond his doubts of being good enough for Tasha? Especially when another shows interest in her? Tasha will have to decide who holds her heart.

Amazon tiny link: https://tinyurl.com/y2ru8tje


Excerpt: Shades of Sepia

“What do you think you’re doing, Tasha?” Those slowly whispered words seemed innocent enough, but she knew there was a hint of anger in them.

“Dancing,” she returned. “What are you doing, Marcus?”

“Trying to keep you from making a mistake you’d regret.” He held her tightly to his chest, never halting their movements. And just as her hands came to rest atop his, Marcus spun her around, causing her chest to plaster against his front. Tasha swallowed a gasp as he bent his face close to hers and said, “You’re not ready for what those two have to offer.”

She struggled fruitlessly against his strong hold, her temper flaring as her teeth ground together. “What the hell would you know about what I am or am not ready for? You lost your chance to find out.”

“Is that so?” Menacing didn’t even begin to describe the tone his voice held as his eyes challenged.

“That is so,” Tasha replied, lifting her chin, her gaze never leaving his. Something dark flashed between them, and she wondered where her sanity must’ve gone when she gave him a seductive smile.

Now who’s challenging?

In a split second, Marcus crushed his lips to hers, his tongue demanding entry. Tasha opened on a whimper, surprised at the intensity of this assault on her mouth. There was no escaping as he pressed firmly to her back with one hand, the other reaching for her ass, squeezing none too gently.

But Tasha didn’t want to escape, she wanted more. Rising on the toes of her shoes, she matched his raw passion, suddenly ravenous for the man as she feasted on his rich mouth that hinted of cinnamon. Pressing into him, she clawed at his t-shirt, wishing she had his skin beneath her hands. Tasha took the excitement building from their earlier encounter and let it fuel her, let it propel her to something she knew would be glorious with this man. She managed to remove her hands from between their bodies so she could clutch his head, letting him know not to move his mouth from what it was currently doing.

Marcus growled as he continued to plunder, both hands pawing her ass and grinding their bodies together. There was no doubt his body was aroused, but he pulled away abruptly, staring at her with uncertainty.

“Tasha,” he rasped, “we’re playing with fire.”

“Do you want me or not, Marcus?” She practically panted while she massaged the tense muscles in his neck.

“Do you really need to ask?” He pressed into her, the heat of his straining erection radiating through the barrier of their clothes.

“Then why don’t we do something about it?” She gently pulled his mouth to hers, kissing him sweetly now. As much as she loved the fierce and wild, she wanted a slow burn, a lasting fire with a few explosions now and then. Okay, maybe more than just a few. And it seemed Marcus did as well as his hands gently cradled her face while he returned her kisses with such tenderness she wondered if this was the same man who had nearly come undone just moments ago.

He pulled away and stared, his eyes softening, questioning. Then he said, “Let me take you home.”



Bio: Laura M. Baird
Wife, mother, former U. S. Army sergeant, and dental hygienist, I can now add published author to the list. I’m slowly transitioning out of hygiene, hoping to make writing a full-time endeavor. After writing for many years, my publishing dreams came true (at the age of 50!) in August of 2017. Since then, I’ve had the fortune to work with four publishers, connect with fantastic people, and am constantly learning on my journey.
A voracious reader myself, I strive to write stories I can be proud of and enjoyed by many; ones that are not only sexy and fun, but thoughtful as well.
I grew up on the East Coast and now reside on the West Coast, having lived in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Idaho, and Washington State. Hubby and I hope to fill our passports with stamps from many destinations, Scotland and Fiji being at the top of the list. We’ve raised two sons who make us proud. And when not writing, I’m reading, doing house projects, and simply enjoying time with hubby.

My links:














20 February 2019

Wednesday's Writers Bypass Exercise


 Got Writer’s Block?

Yeah, it happens to the best of us.  Life gets in the way and your brain is taken in another direction and before you know it, it’s been days or weeks since you last looked at that book you’re trying to write.  You’ve forgotten little details.  What eye color did you give your hero?  What town was your heroine born in?  Perhaps you need to jumpstart your creative mojo, and that's what this series is designed for. Not to explain writer's block, but to help you move in a different direction.



I utilize this card a lot. I find writing the everyday routine for my characters boring as hell, but a necessary evil to get to the next interesting point in the story. So to help offset my own hair pulling, I will skip ahead and write all the cool, juicy, adventurous stuff first. If I find inspiration for the fill-in-gaps, I’ll go back and write. Many times, however, when I’m editing through what I wrote, the little details come to me and makes the writing flow better.

Another plus point to this card is that you may stumble onto a plot twist or an idea you hadn’t had, and this gives you a chance to rewrite scenes to support your new vision.




#7 Move Ahead Three Spaces

What would happen if you skipped over the next few scenes/days/years?



>Look for ways to combine scenes and locations. If your hero needs to have an
argument and then go hiking, can the argument happen on the hike?


> List three events the reader might anticipate will happen in your story, such as Regionals, prom, or the wedding. Could you skip ahead to one of them?

> Think about transitions: Is there a natural way to make it clear that time has passed (e.g., Christmas trees, sunrise, graduation)?






Jumping forward give you a chance to re-center your characters in the story, and show the effects of their actions. Like a curtain between acts, it lets you change styles and settings and seasons.

Readers can often fill in what they missed, particularly when the overall patters are clear. We don’t need to see every week at Hogwarts, because we know how schools work.

If skipping scenes makes little impact on your story, that’s a clear sign you need to get rid of them.

 

Happy Writing!



  

***John August designed these cards to help writers fix plot holes, spice up stock characters and rethink your themes.  They, of course, do not guarantee you’ll get published or that you’ll become the next J.K. Rowling, and of course they are only a tool to help you think outside the box. I make no monetary gain with them nor do I expect anything in return.  I do not own the contents in these cards. If you're interested in them, here's the amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Writer-Emergency-Pack/dp/B00R6ZLIOY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1502046610&sr=8-2&keywords=john+august 


19 February 2019

Historical Transgender Romance from Katherine Wyvern


Hello Katherine!  Thank you so much for visiting Written Butterfly with me today!  It’s such a pleasure to chat with you.  So tell me…

Q) How did you dream up the dynamics of your characters?

I literally dreamed it. The first spark for the story was a dream I had one night, of a Victorian painter who was in love with his model, who also happened to be a prostitute (I do have weird dreams, I know). Of course the story grew in the telling, and borrowed some things from my own real life, and became a lot more complex, but the core remained almost unchanged.

Q) Is this book part of a series?  If so, can you tell us about it?

Not exactly a series, but it is part of what I call a “loosely interconnected trilogy”. This is three books (duh! Wyvern can count to three!) all featuring transgender characters, more exactly MtoF crossdressers. The first two books (Woman as a Foreign Language and Spice &Vanilla) are contemporary, and have two characters in common, although they can perfectly be read as stand alones. The connection to the third book is more tenuous… and it’s a bit of a game I play with the readers, to find those thin threads, so I will say no more. 😊

Q) Can you give a fun or interesting fact about your book?

When I was writing this story I began making some more detailed research about the life of one of my all-time favorite painters, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and was blown over to find some really strange coincidences between things from his real life, and things I had already written in my story, culminating with a sentence we both used to describe our muse’s absence… it was wonderful, and a little bit creepy.

Q) What do you think is your strongest asset as a writer? …what is your weakest factor as a writer?

My strongest asset? Possibly my voice, which is very lyrical in parts, and very… well, very “voicey”. It’s the thing people immediately remark upon. My weakest factor? My voice, again. It’s a love or hate thing. Some readers find it vivid and engulfing and  are enchanted with it. Others find it antiquated and distracting. You can’t please everybody.

Also, I write densely descriptive, highly emotional stories, and that too tends to polarize the readers.

Q) Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I really have no clue what readers want, and most popular Romance trends do not interest me much, so I am not much of a people-pleaser in that sense. But I don’t actively strike for originality either. I write stories and characters that are attractive to me, and since I am a bit of an oddball, I guess they ultimately come across as original. But I am happy to weave old tropes in my stories to if they are relevant to the plot or the characters. Good stories always bear retelling, as long as the telling is fresh, and brings something new to the theme.

Q) Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?

I am really crap at planning anything, really, especially where writing is concerned. When I began writing Muse (which took a very long time to finish) I didn’t even know if Nathaniel, the main character, was male or female. Although the original concept was that of a male painter and a female muse, once the transgender angle came in I seriously considered making Nathaniel a woman. It would have made for a very interesting story, but very different of course. Imagine a female artist painting a male model, before the days of feminist emancipation, and at the same time a partnership that could have been seen as a lesbian relationship… unless this female artist was also a crossdresser, a FtoM crossdresser... It was quite a while before Nathaniel crystalized in his final form.

There were so many possibilities for bending gender roles and expectations, and setting up really unusual plot-twists . It was really hard to settle on one set of identities.

It might be worth rewriting the whole thing just to see the fireworks!

Q) What are your upcoming projects?

I am a little burnt-out to be honest, right now, but I hope to get to work on a very thrilling sci/fi story I conceived last year (and wrote a few pages of). It was supposed to be a cooperation with my husband, but he chickened out and I am on my own now. It is a time-traveling story with a slightly heart-breaking twist on the concept of fated mate. If the muse helps I’ll try to get to work on it in the next few weeks.

Thank you so much for hosting me!!


~Editor's Pick~
"This is one of the most beautiful romances I've ever read."


London, 1884

An artist lives to create. When Nathaniel’s urge to paint died, so did his will to live.

Until the night he meets Gabrielle.

Gabrielle may be just a poor prostitute, but she has the beauty of a Pre-Raphaelite stunner and the otherworldly aura of a fallen angel. She also has a secret. Gabrielle is Gabriel, and when Gabriel’s dark past comes knocking and Gabrielle must abandon her new career as an artist’s model, Nathaniel’s whole world comes crashing down again.

Better to die than living without her love, and the breathtaking creative drive she brought him. But it’s dead easy to die for a woman. Any fool can die for love. To live for it, that takes altogether more courage, doggedness, and imagination.

Be Warned: transgender romance, queer romance, cross-dressing, m/m sex, anal sex, rape



Excerpt:

I am not sure how to touch Nathaniel. I want him to kiss me again, I want him to hold me, I want him to look at me that way he does in his studio, when he watches every line of my body and sees a woman. And at the same time, I wish he would see me for what I am, all that I am, once and for all, so I don’t have to hide anymore.

So I shed my jacket, and the blouse underneath. I shiver a little in the cold when my arms are bared, and he runs his warm palms on my goosebumps, soothing them.

Then I stand to unbutton my skirts and petticoat, and untie my bustle, and I let it all swish down around my knees, and I stand here naked, in my small chemise, and stockings and corset, and my boots.

I am still silk-skinned and woman shaped.

Except for that one thing.

I steal a glance at his face—I can hardly bear to look at his eyes, standing here so naked—thinking he will wince, or frown. Or scream, what do you know. You can never tell, with a sensitive artistic temperament.

But he does none of these things.

Instead he goes to his knees on the floor, like a man about to propose in some play, and with a sort of mute reverence he strokes my thighs and my buttocks, and the back of my knees, through the stockings. When he lays a kiss and then his forehead on the hard of my hip, where the bone pokes sharply under my skin, I put my hands on his crazy hair, and hold him there, and with the barest, lightest touch of his fingertips he caresses the front of my corset, on my belly, and then down, down.

And to my acute embarrassment, the damn thing shivers to his touch, stiffening, rising.

Well. He has certainly seen me, now. He really has.

He is not screaming.

I pull him to his feet and I step out of my puddled skirts, and gently I undress him. Jacket and shirt and trousers and drawers, socks, everything.

He is as tall as I am, which I had never noticed, because he always stands with his head bent and his shoulders slumped. He’s not muscular, but there is no fat on him either. He has well-built bones under his lumpy clothes—he badly needs a good tailor—and he would be rather handsome if he held himself straight, with his chin up, and didn’t look so much at odds with himself. He’s pale, but not as pale as I am, and there is just the merest spray of hair on his chest.

I caress his skin all over as I undress him, and he looks transfixed, as if it had never occurred to him that it takes two to dance this dance. Perhaps he thought I’d make him spend the night on his knees adoring me.

The heat of his skin is like a deep current, and it draws me to him.

We stand here mute, the only sounds the drumming of the rain and the swish of falling clothes, and gently kissing lips.

When I push him to lie on the bed, I have a moment of dread that he might want to do that to me. I cannot have it. I will not be taken that way ever again.

I’ll make my living giving blowjobs for the rest of my days, I guess.

But I am not afraid of him. I do not believe he’d be capable of hurting a fly, let alone me.

“So, do you fancy that blowjob, finally?” I whisper in his ear, smiling, but he holds me close, too close for me to slide down along his body.

“I love you,” he whispers, his lips on my ear, so that words are made into a caress, “I love you, I love you.”

“Hush,” I whisper back, bearing down on him, grinding my cock on his. “Don’t say such things. It cannot be. It can’t.”

“This night, this once, please, let me say it. I love you, I love you, I love you.” His body rises to meet mine, and I feel those tears spilling now, with joy, and grief, and pity. Pity for him, for me, for both of us, lost in this narrow garret under the drumming rain, orphans in this storm, desperately naked in this terrible iron city.

“Only this once, then,” I whisper. “Tomorrow, you must forget.”

And before he can answer or kiss me again, I slip out of his arms, and down, along his chest and belly, so he cannot see me cry.

I have pleasured so many men this way, but never one I loved, and maybe it’s the same thing, and yet it’s something altogether different. He’s all silk and warmth and heaving life and fire pulsing, and his flesh matters to mine, so that my whole body loves his.

“You—don’t—have—to do this,” he whispers at first, but then he surrenders finally, and lets the pleasure take him.

I told him, the first time we met, that I’d do him for free. Who would have guessed, then, that I would end up doing him for love?

And I don’t know if he’s a virgin—but he is indeed quick. His cock grows even tauter on my tongue, and he breathes in short, hard gasps a few times. When his body arches and heaves and his hand fumbles at my cheek, I hold him, and hold him, and hold him… He comes with a broken moan, hotly. I swallow it all.

On the street I never do. But here, now, with him, I could not bring myself to spit.

Find A Muse to Live For at Evernight:






Bio:

I have entered that age when looking at beautiful male models in their prime makes me a cougar, ahem.

Almost all my heroines are short: that’s because I look at the world from hobbit level. Being so small I am three times more concentrated (read: obsessive) than anybody I know. I am exhaustingly creative in writing, arts, crafts... Sometimes my brain gets friction burns from hurtling at such speed from one universe to the next.

I love animals, plants, and occasionally even people.

Like the Highlander I come from a lot of different places. I was born in Italy but lived here and there and consider myself simply and deeply European. I love Europe passionately, its antiquity, its diversity, its quirkiness. All my books are set in Europe, or alternate versions of it.

I have been writing since I can remember.



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