Archive for May, 2010

Magenta Starling – Coming Soon!

What a beaut of a cover! I absolutely adore it. Thanks, Dar, you super woman, you!
We’re hoping for a July release of Magenta Starling. It has gone off to final line edits, God bless it, well on its way to going out into the world by itself, Mummy no longer there with the umbilical cord attached. It was fun to write about a demon meeting a ‘normal’ woman, and I loved dipping into the past, sending Morgan and Dion into a world where things happen differently to ours. And of course, the evil Jistin was a delight to write—gotta love a baddie!
So here is the excerpt for Magenta. Hope you enjoy, my beauties!
By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.

An Excerpt From: MAGENTA STARLING

Copyright © NATALIE DAE, 2010

All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

At anchor in the deepest part of the bay, Morgan’s large yacht, The Magenta Starling, bobbed intermittently on languid evening waves. Morgan stood on deck, leaned on the prow rail and took in the lit shoreline, a pitch sky the backdrop to golden lights. The ocean crept up the beach as though unsure of its welcome, yet retreated just as slowly. Music filtered from the bars and clubs, a cacophony of mingled beats, unrecognizable as any individual tune. A carnival atmosphere raged ashore, the same as every other summer night—nothing unusual for this part of the world, where holidaymakers partied hard and spent their cash fluidly.

Morgan smiled. If only they knew what their cash could buy here.

A taxi-boat chugged toward her yacht, the tall floodlights illuminating white foam in the smaller vessel’s wake. Morgan made out two occupants—the captain and her client. He’d telephoned earlier and requested an evening appointment, but she’d been fully booked this sultry Friday. As soon as the call had ended, her cell rang again—her last evening client cancelling. She’d contemplated another night alone before a rush of abandonment gripped her. She’d contacted Dion and informed him of the free slot.

Now she released a harsh laugh at the pun. She hadn’t been filled in a long time. Unwilling to give herself to just anyone, she rebuffed any offers from clients wishing to include sex with their spankings. No. She wanted a genuine relationship, not men who visited her for what they couldn’t get at home.

Morgan sighed and ousted the dismal thoughts. Tonight she would once again play a part. The role of a woman in total control. And revel at being in Dion’s company.

The boat drew nearer, so she straightened and smoothed the front of her dress. Unusual for a client to request a little black frock that wasn’t made of rubber, but Dion always did. Still, she wasn’t complaining. Her normal attire would have been hell to work in tonight. The heat still lingered despite the cooler breeze, an almost stubborn refusal to be gone and give respite. She wiggled her toes in strappy black sandals and peered at the boat as it chugged alongside hers with a splutter-chug-burp. The captain waved and smiled, his gap-toothed grin dull in a face tanned deeply by the merciless sun. Dion stood, his back to her, hands in suit trouser pockets. The cut of his jacket appeared expensive, as did that of his blond, wavy hair, and Morgan deduced he’d had it trimmed since she last saw him.

“All right there, missus? I’ll be back at eleven then?” the captain shouted, the engine noise and burble of the ocean from its propeller muffling his words.

“Yes, thank you.” Morgan smiled, though her gaze remained on the man in his boat.

Dion turned in slow motion and revealed his profile, one she had seen in her dreams day and night since he’d first set foot on her yacht. He faced her, his skin bronzed, white shirt open at the neck. Tawny chest hairs peeked through the gap and set her heart racing.

God, I want to fuck him.

He gave a lazy smile and stooped to pick up a picnic basket, his gaze remaining on her. Excitement fluttered in her stomach and she swallowed to wet her suddenly dry throat. He walked toward the side of the taxi-boat and Morgan leaned over the rail to relieve him of the basket he held aloft. Though curious as to what lay inside, she stilled her tongue and placed the basket on deck.

Dion turned to the captain. “I will call you later. I may not be ready by eleven.”

His voice, so cultured, reminded her of olden-day gentry. The captain saluted and Morgan frowned. For all Dion knew, she had another client booked after him. But in truth his audacity heightened her desire.

Dion held the rails of her yacht ladder and Morgan stepped back as he hauled himself aboard. His aftershave wafted in the humid air and she inhaled as deeply as she dared without alerting him to what she was doing. Undertones of bergamot and lemon assailed her, images of him naked and at her mercy dancing through her mind. Her cheeks heated and her pussy grew wet. Dion eyed her, his brown eyes harboring…lust?

Morgan swallowed again and clasped her hands in front of her. The taxi-boat sped off back to shore, and she bent down and gripped the basket handle. Dion’s hand covered hers and he lifted the basket between them. Dion’s palm was warm against her fingers and Morgan stared up at him, into eyes that set her clit to throbbing, and wished, wished…

“Good evening, Morgan.”

His smile, a slight tilt of his head and a wink jellied her knees.

Damn him for making me feel like this when I can’t have him!

“Good evening, Dion. What’s in the basket?”

She began to lift the lid but his free hand pushed hers away, their fingers entwining. Heat rushed to her face and she cursed the telltale stain that would surely alert him to how she felt.

“Oh, just a few things.” He uncurled her fingers from the basket handle.

“Things?” She quirked a brow.

“Yes. Shall we?” He motioned to the steps that led below deck. “Or would you rather play outside tonight?”

Her stomach churned and excitement swirled through her. She glanced around—no other boats in sight—and said, “Oh, outside should be fine. Besides, if anyone approaches, we’ll hear their motor.”

“And if anyone watches us through a telescope, we will be none the wiser.”

Morgan stifled a gasp and Dion laughed, loud and hearty, quelling the momentary flare of panic inside her. She shoved the thought of Peeping Toms from her mind and breathed deeply, willing herself to take command. Without her tools, though, she floundered, hands by her sides.

“I’ll need to go down and get—”

“I told you,” he leaned in and whispered beside her mouth, “I’ve brought some things…in the basket.” He kissed her lower lip.

Startled, she jumped back and a high-pitched “Oh!” escaped her. Dion had never crossed the line before, had never kissed her.

Does that mean…?

“Right,” she said on a ragged sigh, heart skipping a beat, legs lust-addled. “Let’s have a look insi—”

“I rather thought we would reverse roles tonight. I want to take charge.”


My Best Friend, Nat

My daughter and best friend, Nat

I’m constantly amazed by the beauty inside my best friend, Nat. She is one of life’s angels. She has endured a lot in her nineteen years, and if anything can go wrong it goes wrong for her. Yet she ploughs on with a happy face and sees things through to the end. She’s determined to succeed in her profession to give her son the best life she can, and although inside she’s sometimes anxious and scared of what’s ahead, no one would ever know. She comes across as super-confident, happy, and that nothing can get her down. She’s a lot like her mother. Maybe that’s why we get along so well. We both have immense empathy for those less fortunate than ourselves. We both worry about things going on in the world. I use my life to touch people with my words. Nat uses her life to touch people with her presence and knowledge. She’s training to become a social worker—one who will do everything she can to make life better for others. She has worked with young children and the elderly, giving her time and patience, her caring and just her beautiful self. I love her.

She visits me every week, and every week I tell her my woes, and every week she fixes them. If she can’t fix them she talks to me until I find a way to fix them myself. This week she fixed me, took a little weight off my shoulders, and today an envelope arrived in the post from something she had done that took the weight completely away.

What did I do to deserve such a terrific person in my life? One who stands by me whatever the weather, metaphorically holding the umbrella if it’s raining or giving the sun cream if it’s hot. Providing the glue to mesh my frazzled nerves back together or healing the blisters I’ve acquired from walking hard and long.

I wish her a life of beautiful sunsets, where every moment is as pretty and calm as the setting of that sun, where nothing hurts and nothing is too difficult, where she can live a life free of angst and full of happiness.

I thank my lucky stars every day for my best friend, Nat.


Out Today! Reverse Blackmail

Rob is settled in a great relationship with Stuart, but his past catches up with him in a startling way. Photographs of Stuart engaged in sexual acts arrive in the post, sending Rob into turmoil. Stuart denies cheating, so who is the man in the pictures? Rob aims to find out, discovering someone from his past has a side to him even Rob finds hard to swallow.

The two men turn into amateur detectives and soon realise they have stumbled into something far more sinister than they could have imagined.


Out Now! Book 5 of The Unusual Series

Lee and the policeman meet up for their much-needed night out. On the way home, they walk past the scrubland, where one of the murders took place. Scuffling noises sound, and the policeman leaves Lee on the sidewalk to investigate. The killer’s ire is up, and his desperation at having Lee all to himself surges to the fore. When will this madness end? And will Lee come out of the ordeal with his mind intact?


Debut Day!

Today is my debut with Ellora’s Cave (too exciting!) and I’m typing this with a hair dye on my head. Oh yes, I could have done a number of more exotic things to celebrate, but to be honest, when I woke I got a case of the jitters. I’m a multi-published author in other pen names, but this name is special to me because, well, she just is. Also, being with Ellora’s was a long-time dream of mine, and to know my first book is out today is a little overwhelming. Okay, I’ll admit I cried this morning, then took myself off to a friend’s house to take my mind off the release.

So, my daughter just said, “Why’s your hair going purple?”

Purple? It’s meant to be burgundy. I looked in the mirror, and sure enough it looks a tad purple. No matter. So long as it covers the grey streak I don’t care. What’s a bit of purple among friends? And that grey streak down my parting had become so unsightly… I read the instructions to see how long I needed to keep the dye on for. It said: If they grey is abundant…

Cheeky buggers! How did they know? And yes, it’s abundant all right. And the dye is burning my head. I can only hope my hair doesn’t fall out. Now wouldn’t that be something to remember this day by?

“How did your release day go, Nat?”

“Great! I went bald!”

If you buy Soul Keeper, I really hope you enjoy it. Two more of my books are coming soon—Magenta Starling (novella) and His Beautiful Wench (novel). My editor is looking at a new novella, Come Find Me, and I’m writing another novel, so hopefully I can give you a range of books to choose from, if you so wish.

Well, I think it might be an idea to see if that abundant grey has disappeared. Though let’s pray the hair hasn’t, eh?


Happy Release Day Natalie Dae!

Carrie Marsh anxiously awaits her online lover of two years, pacing the station in her stylish red coat with nothing but luxurious black lingerie underneath and stilettos on her feet. Will Rob Edwards really be on the train from Scotland? Will the attraction still exist in person? Can she even stave off the first anticipation-induced orgasm before he arrives? Excitement spirals through her, for Carrie has planned a night to remember.

Rob is shy, and Carrie intends to show him how to unleash his sexy side during a series of sexual encounters. But once he arrives, she can’t wait until they get to the hotel, let alone a bed. No. They hardly make it to the first tree, where anyone could spot their antics.

One unforgettable evening of passion leads two virtual lovers to a lifetime as each other’s soul keeper.


New Release from Tory Richards

Lilly has been in love with her brother’s best friend Blake for years. She lost her virginity to the oil driller on her eighteenth birthday, only to wake the next morning to find him gone. After he pulled that stunt twice more, she swore never to see or talk to him again. But now he’s back for her brother’s wedding, and he’s as irresistible as she remembers.
Blake thinks Lilly’s even sexier than ever. Unable to resist one another, they don’t make it out of the airport parking lot before taking up where they left off. As the two rediscover their passion for each other, nothing and nowhere is off-limits!

Happy Release Day Tory Richards!

Lilly has been in love with her brother’s best friend Blake for years. She lost her virginity to the oil driller on her eighteenth birthday, only to wake the next morning to find him gone. After he pulled that stunt twice more, she swore never to see or talk to him again. But now he’s back for her brother’s wedding, and he’s as irresistible as she remembers.

Blake thinks Lilly’s even sexier than ever. Unable to resist one another, they don’t make it out of the airport parking lot before taking up where they left off. As the two rediscover their passion for each other, nothing and nowhere is off-limits!


New Release for Mari Carr

In high school, Lily was too shy to do anything about her feelings for her best friends, Justin and Killian. Now she’s ready to put to rest her regrets with a proposal that might shock even her oversexed friends—the three of them, together, one night, multiple positions.

K and J are more than a little surprised to see Lily at their ten-year reunion. The plain Jane they remember is now a stunning woman—who wants to have sex with both of them. Who are they to deny her? Even if Killian suspects they might be treading on dangerous emotional territory.

The night stretches into the weekend and, as K suspected, none of them want it to end. But he and Lily know people live in pairs, not trios, and they call a halt now, before it’s too late.

Justin, however, knows a good thing when he sees it. He’s ready to fight for what he wants…what they all need. He just has to convince Lilly and Killian that unconventional can also be extraordinary.


Happy Release Day Mari Carr!

Wild Irish, Book Four

In high school, Lily was too shy to do anything about her feelings for her best friends, Justin and Killian. Now she’s ready to put to rest her regrets with a proposal that might shock even her oversexed friends—the three of them, together, one night, multiple positions.

K and J are more than a little surprised to see Lily at their ten-year reunion. The plain Jane they remember is now a stunning woman—who wants to have sex with both of them. Who are they to deny her? Even if Killian suspects they might be treading on dangerous emotional territory.

The night stretches into the weekend and, as K suspected, none of them want it to end. But he and Lily know people live in pairs, not trios, and they call a halt now, before it’s too late.

Justin, however, knows a good thing when he sees it. He’s ready to fight for what he wants…what they all need. He just has to convince Lilly and Killian that unconventional can also be extraordinary.


Book 4 in The Unusual Series Out Now!

The murders take on a new twist, and Lee continues to cope with being the recipient of macabre gifts…

Lee and Nathan’s relationship reaches a new level, but the killings continue. This time it isn’t anyone Lee knows, but news of the murder still hits him hard. He braces himself for another of the killer’s ‘gifts’. The policeman leans on Lee again, the case a difficult one for him to cope with, and they arrange an evening out to de-stress. However, the inevitable gift arrives, shaking up the small town’s residents once again.


New at Ellora’s Cave!

One kiss was all he wanted. And one kiss was the only thing she denied him.

Dragon shape-shifter Ricardo wakes in a sweat, knowing he has telepathically contacted a woman in trouble. The same trouble he got into a year ago. With the help of STORM, he tracks her, the latest victim of the evil Dr. Bennett.

But Kristen is no pushover. A bodyguard for the first openly Talented senator, Ricardo’s brother Sandro, she’s used to looking after herself and doesn’t wait for someone else to rescue her. She escapes, and Ricardo finds her naked and shivering on a crowded New York street.

Need sparks between them; they can’t resist each other. They set the night on fire and Kristen loves Ricardo’s sizzling passion, even as she resists loving him. But Bennett wants her back…which means the lovers could lose everything.

Cursed with unusual abilities, orphan McKenna Fulton has always been different, an outcast. But she’s been Chosen. More accurately, she is one of the Chosen. Eight individuals—four women and four men—selected at birth to guard slices of crystal. The Heart of Fire.

The whole thing is more than a little farfetched. Kenna can handle the part of getting down and dirty with the bad dude. She’s even okay with guarding a crystal. But losing her free will and being stuck with some guy, her destined mate, uh-uh. Not happening.

Local mechanic Ryker Thomas is more than he appears and has his own set of abilities. Kenna wants nothing to do with the Southern charmer. So what if he has a matching crystal and the damn thing hums and vibrates whenever they’re close together. That doesn’t mean she’ll toe the line.

He can’t be the one she’s supposed to be with. Fate wouldn’t be so cruel as to send her a cowboy when what she wants is a bad boy.


Two New Releases from the Cave

Cursed with unusual abilities, orphan McKenna Fulton has always been different, an outcast. But she’s been Chosen. More accurately, she is one of the Chosen. Eight individuals—four women and four men—selected at birth to guard slices of crystal. The Heart of Fire.

The whole thing is more than a little farfetched. Kenna can handle the part of getting down and dirty with the bad dude. She’s even okay with guarding a crystal. But losing her free will and being stuck with some guy, her destined mate, uh-uh. Not happening. 

Local mechanic Ryker Thomas is more than he appears and has his own set of abilities. Kenna wants nothing to do with the Southern charmer. So what if he has a matching crystal and the damn thing hums and vibrates whenever they’re close together. That doesn’t mean she’ll toe the line.

 He can’t be the one she’s supposed to be with. Fate wouldn’t be so cruel as to send her a cowboy when what she wants is a bad boy.

 

Book 4 in the Ecstasy in Red series.

One kiss was all he wanted. And one kiss was the only thing she denied him.

Dragon shape-shifter Ricardo wakes in a sweat, knowing he has telepathically contacted a woman in trouble. The same trouble he got into a year ago. With the help of STORM, he tracks her, the latest victim of the evil Dr. Bennett. 

But Kristen is no pushover. A bodyguard for the first openly Talented senator, Ricardo’s brother Sandro, she’s used to looking after herself and doesn’t wait for someone else to rescue her. She escapes, and Ricardo finds her naked and shivering on a crowded New York street.

Need sparks between them; they can’t resist each other. They set the night on fire and Kristen loves Ricardo’s sizzling passion, even as she resists loving him. But Bennett wants her back…which means the lovers could lose everything.


I’m Human

I’ve wondered whether posting blogs like today’s is something I should do in my profession, but at the same time I feel it’s my blog, somewhere to speak my mind, and just because it isn’t to do with writing, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t post. I’m still human, with needs and wants and ups and downs in my life, and to pretend different is plain stupid.

Having things taken out of your control is an unsettling experience. Having your personality perceived as something other than what you are can go two ways—it bothers you what people think or it doesn’t. There have been a couple of times where someone has thought me capable of doing something that is so far removed from who I am that it’s laughable. One person didn’t know me that well, and coupled with how they saw things, they came to a conclusion about me that wasn’t me at all. There is nothing I can do about that. If a person feels that way, I can’t change their mind if their notion of me is firmly cemented. It’s their opinion—who am I to expect them to change it if they believe what they do? The other person knows me well, but not the stronger person I am today, yet thought I was capable of doing something I didn’t. Of course, when it was explained that in order to do what he thought I had done meant I had to give a shit about him, well, he realised it wasn’t me.

I could get a little sad about how people see me. I could try and fight to change their minds, but really, the people who mean something to me, who are important in my life, are the ones that matter. They know who I am, know I wouldn’t do certain things, so that’s what counts. What also counts is I know me—I know I didn’t do those things.

This theme rolls over today with regard to a meeting I have to attend at the school. My son hates it there and in certain lessons, with certain teachers, he misbehaves. At times he is downright rude, which makes me cringe because he hasn’t been brought up to act that way. At home he is pleasant, polite, funny, and a stand-up guy. Okay, he’s a grotty shit in the morning—takes after his mother—but he’s seen as happy-go-lucky.

Now, some members of staff don’t see him this way because he hasn’t allowed them to. He’s unhappy there, and couple that with entering his teens, he probably feels a whole lot of fuck you. I try and put myself in my children’s shoes when they’ve done something, taking into account their age, hormones, their standing in the family, their personality, and remember being the same age so I can gauge how best to deal with certain situations. I remember being the same ball of angst at school that my son currently is. Everywhere else I was happy. A quiet, if somewhat zany child at times, who was kind and thoughtful and helped anyone when I could. But at school…yeah, I felt a whole lot of fuck you too. I had masses of it.

My son was heard swearing and was excluded from school for the day yesterday. This was probably the last straw for them because he’s been disruptive for a while now. Frustrating for me because it’s like he has two personalities. People are shocked when I say it’s him who has done this or that at school, looking at me as though I have two heads. No, not him. He’s a nice boy. Well, at school he isn’t. I feel upset at the fact that if he can behave everywhere else, and we all see the kind of young man he really is, clearly something at school is making him unhappy in order to behave the way he does. I think some teachers have grown to dislike him because he’s been acting up—which is understandable…who wants a bugging kid in class?—and they have shut down any desire they may have had at one time to get to know him better, to see the real side of him.

I understand how they feel, but it goes back to the theme above. People seeing people as something they’re not. I received a letter informing me of his exclusion, and in it were things that made me feel like CRAP. Like a parent who couldn’t control my child. It mentioned I might like to contact Children’s Services for advice. It mentioned that if I didn’t attend a meeting with the school today, my absence might be noted by a magistrate and may result in a parenting order being presented to me.

I thought: This makes us all sound like a delinquent family. People are assuming we need help. People are assuming we are something we are not. People are ASSUMING full stop.

Understandably it got me down. We are just a regular family, one who wants the best for all our children, who treat our children with respect, love, honesty, and okay, a soft approach. We don’t like getting nasty or coming down on them—and yes, I know sometimes that’s the best thing to do, blah blah blah—but I’ve tried it and hated it. We just want the best for our kids.

So now I need to leave shortly for a meeting where I know time will be short and I won’t be able to get everything across that I would like. I can’t expect every person to love or even like my children. Can’t expect every person to love or like me.

Personality conflicts occur everywhere, and you can be the nicest person on the earth, but someone out there will dislike you or see things in you that aren’t even there. My son needs to suck it up and just get on with his remaining school years in an acceptable manner, he knows this, but when that big ball of fuck you rages inside, it proves for a miserable school life. It sounds like I’m making excuses for him again, and maybe I am, but, due to his own decisions and behavior—which I really do wish he wouldn’t do—my boy is being seen as something totally different to who he really is.

And it makes me want to cry.

 


Another EC Acceptance

I have seen some truly beautiful prose and wished I could write like that. I have been through the self-doubt mill too many times to count, analyzed my many ‘voices’ and tried to capture that something that makes my work unique. I hope I’ve achieved it, but the beauty of writing is that there’s always room for improvement, always something new to learn. It makes this profession interesting, keeps me on my toes, and makes me strive to do better.

I received another acceptance with Ellora’s Cave and, apart from being stupidly excited to the point I felt sick, I was bowled over that my editor likes my work. I’m not complaining, but because I’m so hard on myself it makes it difficult to believe it when a contract is offered. I actually wanted to run around the house screaming, but my poor husband wouldn’t have known what to do so I settled for stamping my feet several times on the spot and letting out a pathetic squeak.

I’ve been writing a loooooong time. I’ve had ups and downs, times when I thought I should give up, but something inside pushed me forward to where I wanted to be—Ellora’s Cave. When your dream comes true it’s hard to take in. Surreal, and the term pinching yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming was in effect the day I walked into the Cave. I still can’t believe it. Still can’t get to grips with the fact my debut book comes out this month. Still can’t get over seeing my name and book cover on the Coming Soon page of the place I used to visit with the words: Oh God, I wish my name was there in the author list.

Recently, I visited the site to look at the author list. My name was there, but it was like I looked at someone else’s name. No, my name can’t possibly be there because things like that don’t happen to me. It has, I know that, but when you’ve dreamed of something for so long and you finally get what you’ve wanted, it takes some getting used to.

I used to be scared of EC. Scared of how huge it is, how many authors are there, of the sheer ‘bigness’ of it all. But it isn’t like that at all. Scary, I mean. I wanted to let people know that EC staff are the most kind, polite, lovely bunch of people and submitting to them shouldn’t fill you with dread. Submit. Go for it. If you get an acceptance you’ll be embraced by a fabulous family.


Yer Book’s Crap!

I get frustrated by the affiliate book sites where they have ‘poor’ ratings, but not for the reason you might think. It doesn’t upset me when people rate my books as poor—not in the sense that I think everyone hates me and I should give up writing—because there’s no feedback or reason to help me fix whatever made the book ‘poor’ in future works. I’m a level-headed woman. I realise not everyone is going to like my books, but to know why would be a major bonus. That someone took the time to rate them at all is brilliant—not everyone who buys them does that, do they?—so if there was a place they could write their thoughts, I think that would help me and readers. If one person’s ‘bug’ is another’s, then it saves a reader wasting money on buying something with their ‘bug’ in it. I’m all for people having an enjoyable read and I don’t like the thought of money being wasted when they could have bought something more to their satisfaction.

What to do? I doubt the affiliate sites will change their structure.

I’m also the kind of person who doesn’t get offended by constructive criticism. Other eyes on your work are a must because all writers know they miss things in their own work, being too close to it, having read it too many times. It would be cool if more people expressed their feelings in places like Goodreads, though recently I saw someone did and an author took exception. I can understand being prickly about a negative review, but isn’t it better to know how a reader feels? Providing they’re not being nasty for the sake of it, that is. That happens sometimes, and it’s obvious when it does what the reviewer is doing. Snark is the new way to go apparently, and that’s fine if that’s what floats the reviewer’s boat and brings readers to their sites, but not every author is able to shrug off spite and move on. Some feel the need to retaliate, to defend themselves, and then it turns into something ugly. I prefer to remain silent on any bad reviews I have received. I take the information in, have a look at the book in question to see whether I can improve in the future, and move on with that new knowledge firmly in place.

You know, we must be a crazy bunch. We spend time writing our babies and unleash them on the world in the hopes they will be well-received. We risk ridicule, hate, spite, bad sales, people saying things about us in a personal manner that shouldn’t even come into it, yet still we write and begin the process again with each new book.

Gluttons for punishment or just doing what we love?

How do you feel about negative feedback? How does it affect you? Do you use it for the good and to your advantage or do you get swallowed up by self-doubt?

I remember my first bad review years ago. I felt sorry for the reader having wasted an hour or so of her time reading my crappy book—well, from her review, it sounded like she would dearly love to call it a bunch of crap—but she did list everything that bugged her, and I took her information and made sure I didn’t repeat the same ‘mistakes’ again. After browsing the affiliate sites this morning, I see certain books of mine are considered ‘poor’, so I know there are still things I need to fix, but without written feedback I have no idea what they are.

Piddle!


Out Now! The Talisman

Part Three of The Unusual series. M/M paranormal.

Body parts keep arriving at Lee’s bar after every kill. How many more gifts will he receive?

After the shock of receiving yet another body part in the post, Lee gains news of the latest murder. The rumours are still rife that a large dog is killing residents, but with the arrival of werewolf hunters in town, Lee is forced to contemplate the absurdity that the killer is a man and a wolf. The head hunter gives Lee a talisman for protection, and Lee becomes the shoulder for the local policeman involved in the case, who needs to talk about his burdens.


KB Alan – Bound by Sunlight

Bound by Sunlight
KB Alan

Kyriana Price has spent nearly a year trapped at her evil day job. And she does mean evil. Her boss is a mage bent on power and lets nothing stand in the way of his quest to gain more of it. When she sees Connul Graysn wielding a flogger at a BDSM club, she formulates an escape plan that will require his considerable skills—as a mage and as a Dom. Going to another mage for help might not be the best plan, but it’s the only one she’s got, and at this point, she’s willing to try just about anything.

The last thing Connul expects when he finds an intruder in his house is that he’ll soon have her chained in his bedroom, her lovely body marked by his paddle. But she’s begging for his help—how can a gentleman refuse? As they learn to trust each other, he begins to realize that the only thing he’s not willing to do for her is let her go.

Excerpt

“You’ve never been bound?” he asked, picking up the straps of her tank top.

“No.” It was more of a breath than a whisper, but he seemed satisfied with her answer. She felt a soft spark against her shoulders and looked down. He’d severed the straps of her top, which were left to dangle above her breasts. Magic. He’d used magic. A tiny niggle of fear tried to work its way through her. He seemed to know and brought his warm hands back to her face, tilting her head up enough that she knew she was supposed to meet his eyes. Why did she find that so difficult? She forced herself to follow his unspoken demand.

“I will not harm you tonight. Not with magic. Not with anything else. I will bring you pain, but only as much as will pleasure you. Do you understand?”

She saw patience and assurance in his eyes, wondered what he saw in hers. Shame washed through her now—that she had come to him so unprepared, unworthy. He shouldn’t have to deal with a novice when he was used to those at the club. His fingers on her chin tightened.

“Do you understand?” he asked again.

“Yes.”

He knew there was more, she could see it in his face, see him trying to figure it out. As long as he didn’t ask, she wouldn’t have to admit to her insecurities. He cocked his head as he studied her.

“What distressed you now?”

She wanted to look away. The feeling of easy surrender had vanished. But she had to answer him. Had to keep meeting his eyes. Not just because of the compulsion, but because she had asked for this. Asked him to help her. He deserved to have as much of her courage as she could muster.

“I’m sorry. I’m not very good at this. I don’t know what to do.”

“You don’t have to know what to do. That’s what I’m here for. You’ll do what I tell you, when I tell you. Won’t you?” His voice was hard, uncompromising.

“Yes.”

“Then there’s nothing for you to fail at. It’s my responsibility to make sure this goes right, not yours. Your only responsibility is to tell me if I go too far.” He stepped closer, allowing his heat to envelope her. She felt moisture gather in her pussy and it got a little bit harder to draw breath.

“Let’s start over.” He pulled her chin up higher now that he was closer to her. Her neck ached a little at the strain. It felt…good.

“Do you believe that I won’t harm you, even though I have every intention of bringing you pain?”

“Yes.” She didn’t know why, and it might be foolish, but she believed him. It was the reason she was here.

He rewarded her with a small kiss to her lips. She opened for him but he drew away. She sighed.

“Do you believe that I will bring you pleasure?”

“Yesss.”

This time he smiled as he kissed her. She tried to chase his lips, but his hands kept her in position.

“Do you understand what you’re supposed to do?”

Uh oh. What was she supposed to do? Hadn’t he just told her—oh.

“Yes.” Another kiss, she wanted another kiss. A real one this time, damn it.

“Tell me.”

“Whatever you tell me to do.” She parted her lips in preparation. She would have to be fast this time.

“And?”

No kiss? What was he doing to her?

“And…umm. Oh, and use my safe word if you go too far.”

“Good girl.” He met her lips with his, but it wasn’t gentle this time. He thrust his tongue into her mouth, taking what she had tried to take, giving what she needed. She whimpered when he pulled back.

“Tell me your safe word again.”

She didn’t want to, didn’t want to ever say that word again. He seemed to understand.

“Choose another word. It doesn’t need to be that one. Shouldn’t be something you don’t want to say.”

“No, it’s all right—”

His fingers tightened against her skin again, reminding her who was in charge. He wasn’t asking. He was telling.

“I, maybe…Snowball!” God, all she could come up with was her childhood cat’s name. Was he smirking at her? She narrowed her eyes at him but his face had gone expressionless again. He leaned down and gave her another quick kiss. Then he let her go, stepped back, taking his heat with him.

“If you use your safe word, I’ll stop what I’m doing so we can talk about it. Don’t be afraid to use it, it doesn’t mean I’m going to send you away.”

She managed to nod her understanding.

“You have a lovely body.”

She didn’t. Her size eight curves weren’t quite proportioned the way she’d like and—

He smacked her ass and she jumped as much as the chains would allow, which wasn’t much at all. Why she should be shocked she had no idea, but she looked at him for an explanation.

“You.” He put his hands on top of her head then ran them over her face, rubbing her eyebrows, exploring her cheekbones, tickling her ears and caressing her chin.

“Have.” Her skin tingled as his hands moved down her neck to her now heaving chest.

“A lovely.” His fingers molded to her breasts, giving a sharp, barely painful squeeze before continuing their journey.

“Body.” He reversed his hands so that his fingers led the way over the curve of her stomach to the juncture of her thighs. He folded his hands along the curve, careful not to touch the part of her that needed touching the most.

“Oh,” she managed to whisper. Her whole body shuddered at his intense look and careful caress. The desire in his words and his eyes did more to relax her than anything else he could have done. She didn’t realize how worried she’d been about the fact that by presenting herself to him, rather than having him choose her, she would have a hard time believing he wanted this, even a little bit.

She looked down at her top. He was running a finger down its center, from neck to hem. As his finger slid past, the fabric parted, splitting down the middle. It was almost like a breath of heat, but maybe she was imagining that. It didn’t take long for the whole top to fall away.

Her naked breasts were damp with sweat, her nipples somewhat swollen. He ignored them and brought his finger to her pants, performing a similar magic to remove them in less than a minute. He took a step back, observing her dressed only in plain cotton panties. It looked as if he was fighting a smile. She tried not to blush and failed. Why hadn’t she dressed up for him? She had the clothes, had been provided with the types of outfits that were supposed to entice him. Black leather, lace garters and more. Much more. It wasn’t that she didn’t like them, but she would have felt like a spy wearing them, like a fraud. So she’d come in the most Kyriana-like clothes she had.

He walked behind her, hooked a finger in the waistband and snapped the elastic against her skin. It didn’t hurt, but it startled her. She hung her head as she tried to fight off the shame and misery working their way through her.

“Just checking to see if your name was embroidered in the back.” His teasing words were spoken against her neck. She choked on her laugh as his lips moved down her neck to the top of her spine, where he bit, hard.


Bound by Sunlight by KB Alan


Bound by Sunlight
KB Alan

Kyriana Price has spent nearly a year trapped at her evil day job. And she does mean evil. Her boss is a mage bent on power and lets nothing stand in the way of his quest to gain more of it. When she sees Connul Graysn wielding a flogger at a BDSM club, she formulates an escape plan that will require his considerable skills—as a mage and as a Dom. Going to another mage for help might not be the best plan, but it’s the only one she’s got, and at this point, she’s willing to try just about anything.

The last thing Connul expects when he finds an intruder in his house is that he’ll soon have her chained in his bedroom, her lovely body marked by his paddle. But she’s begging for his help—how can a gentleman refuse? As they learn to trust each other, he begins to realize that the only thing he’s not willing to do for her is let her go.

Excerpt

“You’ve never been bound?” he asked, picking up the straps of her tank top.

“No.” It was more of a breath than a whisper, but he seemed satisfied with her answer. She felt a soft spark against her shoulders and looked down. He’d severed the straps of her top, which were left to dangle above her breasts. Magic. He’d used magic. A tiny niggle of fear tried to work its way through her. He seemed to know and brought his warm hands back to her face, tilting her head up enough that she knew she was supposed to meet his eyes. Why did she find that so difficult? She forced herself to follow his unspoken demand.

“I will not harm you tonight. Not with magic. Not with anything else. I will bring you pain, but only as much as will pleasure you. Do you understand?”

She saw patience and assurance in his eyes, wondered what he saw in hers. Shame washed through her now—that she had come to him so unprepared, unworthy. He shouldn’t have to deal with a novice when he was used to those at the club. His fingers on her chin tightened.

“Do you understand?” he asked again.

“Yes.”

He knew there was more, she could see it in his face, see him trying to figure it out. As long as he didn’t ask, she wouldn’t have to admit to her insecurities. He cocked his head as he studied her.

“What distressed you now?”

She wanted to look away. The feeling of easy surrender had vanished. But she had to answer him. Had to keep meeting his eyes. Not just because of the compulsion, but because she had asked for this. Asked him to help her. He deserved to have as much of her courage as she could muster.

“I’m sorry. I’m not very good at this. I don’t know what to do.”

“You don’t have to know what to do. That’s what I’m here for. You’ll do what I tell you, when I tell you. Won’t you?” His voice was hard, uncompromising.

“Yes.”

“Then there’s nothing for you to fail at. It’s my responsibility to make sure this goes right, not yours. Your only responsibility is to tell me if I go too far.” He stepped closer, allowing his heat to envelope her. She felt moisture gather in her pussy and it got a little bit harder to draw breath.

“Let’s start over.” He pulled her chin up higher now that he was closer to her. Her neck ached a little at the strain. It felt…good.

“Do you believe that I won’t harm you, even though I have every intention of bringing you pain?”

“Yes.” She didn’t know why, and it might be foolish, but she believed him. It was the reason she was here.

He rewarded her with a small kiss to her lips. She opened for him but he drew away. She sighed.

“Do you believe that I will bring you pleasure?”

“Yesss.”

This time he smiled as he kissed her. She tried to chase his lips, but his hands kept her in position.

“Do you understand what you’re supposed to do?”

Uh oh. What was she supposed to do? Hadn’t he just told her—oh.

“Yes.” Another kiss, she wanted another kiss. A real one this time, damn it.

“Tell me.”

“Whatever you tell me to do.” She parted her lips in preparation. She would have to be fast this time.

“And?”

No kiss? What was he doing to her?

“And…umm. Oh, and use my safe word if you go too far.”

“Good girl.” He met her lips with his, but it wasn’t gentle this time. He thrust his tongue into her mouth, taking what she had tried to take, giving what she needed. She whimpered when he pulled back.

“Tell me your safe word again.”

She didn’t want to, didn’t want to ever say that word again. He seemed to understand.

“Choose another word. It doesn’t need to be that one. Shouldn’t be something you don’t want to say.”

“No, it’s all right—”

His fingers tightened against her skin again, reminding her who was in charge. He wasn’t asking. He was telling.

“I, maybe…Snowball!” God, all she could come up with was her childhood cat’s name. Was he smirking at her? She narrowed her eyes at him but his face had gone expressionless again. He leaned down and gave her another quick kiss. Then he let her go, stepped back, taking his heat with him.

“If you use your safe word, I’ll stop what I’m doing so we can talk about it. Don’t be afraid to use it, it doesn’t mean I’m going to send you away.”

She managed to nod her understanding.

“You have a lovely body.”

She didn’t. Her size eight curves weren’t quite proportioned the way she’d like and—

He smacked her ass and she jumped as much as the chains would allow, which wasn’t much at all. Why she should be shocked she had no idea, but she looked at him for an explanation.

“You.” He put his hands on top of her head then ran them over her face, rubbing her eyebrows, exploring her cheekbones, tickling her ears and caressing her chin.

“Have.” Her skin tingled as his hands moved down her neck to her now heaving chest.

“A lovely.” His fingers molded to her breasts, giving a sharp, barely painful squeeze before continuing their journey.

“Body.” He reversed his hands so that his fingers led the way over the curve of her stomach to the juncture of her thighs. He folded his hands along the curve, careful not to touch the part of her that needed touching the most.

“Oh,” she managed to whisper. Her whole body shuddered at his intense look and careful caress. The desire in his words and his eyes did more to relax her than anything else he could have done. She didn’t realize how worried she’d been about the fact that by presenting herself to him, rather than having him choose her, she would have a hard time believing he wanted this, even a little bit.

She looked down at her top. He was running a finger down its center, from neck to hem. As his finger slid past, the fabric parted, splitting down the middle. It was almost like a breath of heat, but maybe she was imagining that. It didn’t take long for the whole top to fall away.

Her naked breasts were damp with sweat, her nipples somewhat swollen. He ignored them and brought his finger to her pants, performing a similar magic to remove them in less than a minute. He took a step back, observing her dressed only in plain cotton panties. It looked as if he was fighting a smile. She tried not to blush and failed. Why hadn’t she dressed up for him? She had the clothes, had been provided with the types of outfits that were supposed to entice him. Black leather, lace garters and more. Much more. It wasn’t that she didn’t like them, but she would have felt like a spy wearing them, like a fraud. So she’d come in the most Kyriana-like clothes she had.

He walked behind her, hooked a finger in the waistband and snapped the elastic against her skin. It didn’t hurt, but it startled her. She hung her head as she tried to fight off the shame and misery working their way through her.

“Just checking to see if your name was embroidered in the back.” His teasing words were spoken against her neck. She choked on her laugh as his lips moved down her neck to the top of her spine, where he bit, hard.


Does it Make You Feel Old?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SON!

People ask, when my kids turned eighteen, whether it made me feel old. My eldest daughter is 19, my eldest son turned 18 today. I also have 3 other younger children and a grandson. The answer is no. I’m only 37, so have no reason to feel old. My kids keep me young anyway, but isn’t it weird how we still feel the same whatever age we are? Okay, we gain more maturity, but we still get scared, find stupid things funny, and worry about things. Maybe not to the same degree, because with age comes wisdom and the knowledge that things really aren’t as bad as we thought they were years ago, but all the same, we have identical emotions.

Today I have memories of my son’s birth, obviously, and the way he was born breech—but foot first not bottom—and how it got dangerous at one point for both me and him. Luckily, after the epidural and being told I’d have to have a caesarean, my son decided to make a rapid entry on his own. They had to cut me to get him out (TMI?), but hey, I escaped the op. When they took him away and placed him on a breathing monitor, though, it scared me shitless. No one told me what was going on, and after a bit of a frightening labour, I thought the worst was about to happen. It didn’t. He breathed fine by himself, had a dislocated hip for his trouble, I got myself a nice set of stitches, and all was well.

My memories move on to him as a child—a naughty little bugger who tested my patience to the maximum. Looking back, the things he did were funny, but at the time they weren’t. Not when his big sister and younger brother needed my attention too.

The most vivid memories I have of Sonny is whenever I bought a new box of washing powder, he thought it was great fun to pour it on the kitchen floor and make ‘mountains’. Or when he sprayed a whole can of air freshener outside and came back in to say, “Mummy, go out in the garden. It smells lovely out there.”

I even hid the air freshener and washing powder on top of the kitchen cupboards, but he was the kind of child who thought nothing of climbing up on the side and getting those things down. You might ask what I was doing at the time that allowed him to do this. He was quick—too quick—and by the time I’d got in there the damage was done. He’d wait until I was occupied with his brother or sister and disappear. The indication he was up to no good was his silence.

Ah, like I said, funny to look back on now, but back then I couldn’t imagine that child reaching 18. And now here he is, a man.


Deary Me…

Yesterday was one of those days. Today may well be the same. I just made a cup of tea, raised the cup to sip, and sneezed. My nose went in the tea.

Now, yesterday we went swimming, as usual. I decided to try the front crawl. I hadn’t done it since my youth, so, goggles on—yes, I wore my new goggles, complete with rainbow lenses that make me look like a fly—and off I went. Gosh, it’s rather more exertion than good old breaststroke, isn’t it? By the time I got to the other end, water went down the back of my nose and I choked. Looking like a complete gimp, I coughed and spluttered. A man stared at me as though to ask if I was all right, and I said, “Fuck me!” by way of explanation.

Of course, I didn’t mean it literally, and I doubt very much he’d want to do such a thing to me anyway, and my goodness if he did I’d clout him around the face, but he looked at me like I was a complete weirdo and swam further away. Bless him.

We arrived home, and I decided to clean up a little. Grease from a dirty baking tray had spilled on the floor, and I slipped. Then, when Hubby had left the room, I slipped again … Later, I ran out of dishwashing tablets and decided that squirting a tiny amount of washing-up liquid in the machine wouldn’t be a problem. When I went into the kitchen to remove the cinnamon buns from the oven—which, incidentally, ended up sunken and resembling biscuits—I discovered foam spilling from the dishwasher door and the space between the dishwasher and washing machine crammed with it. I pressed pause to find a washer full of foam, completely hiding my dishes. Lovely. I won’t be doing that again.

As is usual for a Monday morning, the school run never goes as smoothly as other days. By the time I dropped little one off, I heaved a sigh of relief and walked to our local shop to withdraw some cash so I could buy some Diet Coke and dishwashing tablets. The damn ATM was out of service. Hmm, I thought. Do I walk into town or not? Deciding not, I stomped at a fast clip along the path and saw a neighbour.

“You all right?” she asked.

I explained my annoying morning and ended up walking into town with her and another neighbour. Pleasant time spent drinking coffee in a pub—ooerr, and people do drink beer at 10 in the morning!—then into the supermarket to buy what I needed, except I forgot the damn Coke.

“That’s okay, I’ll have tea,” I said to myself once home. And then the aforementioned nose-burning incident occurred.

 Now, do I remain in one place all day, keeping away from anything that can do me harm, or do I go about as usual and await any mishaps that may be lurking? I only plan to do laundry and write. Hmm. Let’s just hope I manage that and come out the other side unscathed.


Out Today! Book 2 in The Unusual Series

News crews descend on the town, and one reporter befriends Lee for inside information. Another corpse is discovered, and Lee wonders what ‘gift’ he’ll receive next from the warped killer. He turns to his friend, Nathan, for support, and their relationship blossoms. However, the killer isn’t happy, and one person has trampled on his last nerve… Part two of The Unusual series.


Coming Soon!

After receiving two great reviews of Blinded, I decided to write a series of books featuring Lee and Ryan. Glimmer – Lee: The Beginning tells Lee’s story up until he leaves home. Burning – Lee: Moving On explores Lee’s time of self-exploration and settling into his new home. Ryan keeps in contact via phone calls, texts, and instant messenger, and all the while Lee grows stronger, accepting his past and embracing the future with a lighter heart. Inferno – Ryan & Lee: Together is the book after Blinded, where Ryan moves to Biddingford. Wildfire – Ryan: Acceptance deals with Ryan experiencing opposition from some villagers who frown upon the fact he lives with Lee, one half of a gay couple, and Shimmer – Ryan & Lee: Bound sees both men’s points of view as they realise that no matter what happens, they will always be together. More books may follow in the future, because I’ve grown fond of these two characters!

Glimmer – Lee: The Beginning: 

Lee and Ryan, eighteen-year-old men, admit the love they have shared since childhood is more than just friendship.

Lee still lives at home with his domineering mother, who makes it quite clear she’s anti-gay. Since Lee’s father left the marital home, Lee’s mother has punished him physically and mentally, ensuring he keeps his love for Ryan secret. One night, when Lee’s mother goes out, the two young men explore one another in Lee’s room.

After an explosive revelation, Lee leaves home, the need to sift through his past and come to terms with who he is paramount. Someone makes it clear Lee must never come back to town, frightening Lee into agreement. The only problem is, he’ll be leaving Ryan behind…