Monday, December 30, 2013

Erotica Reading Challenge

Because, you know, I never am doing quite enough stuff...

That being said, I want to support my writer friends and publishing sibs; and most of us seem to write erotica or erotic romance these days...

I'm going to go for a Level 1 challenge, because I have two novels to write, some short stories, a wedding to be in (not mine, and it will be over soon, but in the meanwhile, I've had two anxiety dreams about it now...) which is 12 erotic or erotic romance books in 2014...

I'll keep track either here, or on Goodreads, and write reviews when I finish them up, so keep an eye out!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Elodie Parkes; Forever Blue

Your author: So, I want to welcome back Elodie Parkes, one of my publishing sibs over at Hot Ink... she's here today with her most recent release, Forever Blue, so say hi and make her feel welcome!

‘Forever Blue,’ my December 20 release with Hot Ink Press, was inspired by the woodland near where I live. There’s a mysterious feel about the woods in autumn. It often feels as if something is watching. From the window of the room where I write, I can see across to nearby woods. I hear owls hoot at night. At dusk and dawn, there are strange mists that rise from the trees. It’s very lovely.



Claudie loves living in the countryside and close to the forests. She’s a film maker and works for the wildlife trust. One night she steps onto her patio and sees a man sheltering there. She confronts him and he runs away.

Jasper has watched Claudie for a year. He fell in love with her, but he has a secret, one that might mean he can never approach her.

Will love and fate find a way?

What secret must Jasper hide?

What’s the strange blue dust that turns up on Claudie’s patio?

18+ erotic paranormal romance


Today the main characters from ‘Forever Blue,’ Jasper, and Claudie are visiting the blog to give their take on the story and each other.

So what’s hot about Forever Blue?

Jasper: The love scenes. The way Claudie responds to me. Her courage. The love story. It’s unusual and steamy.

Claudie: The love scenes are hot, but then so is Jasper, I mean just look at him. The story is sumptuous. It’s rich in description so that you feel as if you’re in the places described, although I’d rather you weren’t in the love scenes. (smiles)

Jasper tell us about Claudie: She’s a professional, and clever. She makes films. I think she’s beautiful and smokin’ hot. She cares about the environment and the creatures in the forest. (Laughs then and takes Claudie’s hand)

What about Jasper, Claudie, tell us about him: He’s tall. He has these gorgeous muscles, that’s from working in the forest I guess. He’s sexy, sensual, loving. His kisses are to die for.

Jasper leans across to her, “Only my kisses?”

They gaze at each other for a moment.

So in just one word can you describe the story?

Jasper: Sexy

Claudie: Delicious


Jasper sighed. It was lost in the wind that whipped around the fallen leaves on the lawn. He waited until he knew she was in the upstairs part of her house and then he went to the door and pressed his face against the glass. Inside was a big square cane armchair. It looked comfy. Alongside it, Claudie had placed a cane table with a glass top. He knew she sat there to read in the afternoon sun, when it shone. Recently the weather was always wet or cold and Claudie wore thick sweaters and tight jeans. Jasper watched her as she walked to the bottom of her garden and put seed on the bird table there. He liked the way her thighs looked in the jeans. He liked the way she walked, in graceful, sexy strides.

Copyright Elodie Parkes 2013



Elodie Parkes is a British author writing romance, erotic, contemporary, and often with a twist of mystery, paranormal or suspense. Her books are always steamy, cool stories and hot love scenes.
Elodie lives in Canterbury with her two dogs. She works in an antique shop by day and writes at night, loving the cloak of silent darkness that descends on the rural countryside around her home.

Elodie writes for Hot Ink Press, Moon Rose Publishing, Eternal Press, and Evernight She has also released titles as an individual indie author.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Goals for the Upcoming Year and Some Reviews

I really don't like New Year's resolutions...

There's no particular reason to wait for a certain date to get something done, and I'm never really sure the intense pressure a lot of people feel about New Years does them any good at all...

Also, plans are what you make while life happens;

But, going forward:

First off, I plan to review every single book that I read. (I may or may not review books that I've previously read and am currently re-reading, since I do that a lot, too...)

Second, I have two novels to write this year; Blues, the sequel to Roll, and Howling Bitch, the sequel to Blood Sight. Since I did Blues as my NaNoWriMo project and I'm 54,000 words into the novel thus far, I plan to have it completed by the end of February. I'm guessing I have a little less than 10,000 words to go on the project, so it shouldn't take me that long.

Howling Bitch is going to be about the same length, so if I start writing it in March, I'd like to aim to have it done by the end of August. Mostly because I don't intend to try another NaNoWriMo-type-push... guestimating about ~700 words a day, four days a week, I should finish in six months... seems reasonable, right?

Third; Liz and I are finally finished writing and editing our collection of short stories, which underwent a project title change recently, and is no longer "Promptly" but now "Whetting the Appetite" which might be better if I could spell Appetite correctly the first time. Which I cannot. So, we're going to wait a week or so, then both do another complete read through it, make sure we didn't miss any typos and then submit it by mid-January... wish us luck.

Fourth; I also have several other side projects I want to work on. My friend Jonah's working on a collection called Local Magic and I'm hoping to get this ghost project together by January 15th for him. I also have several shorts I want to write and submit for some other collections. I have a ton of story ideas that got abandoned for other projects. Alive and Kicking, Leaving her Marke, one of these days I'm going to write the Wormwood Trade, a steampunk romance that I've had brewing for a while. (Amazing how I seem to only have one front burner, but 500 "back burners".)

I wrote a couple of reviews today, kicking off that particular goal....

Four Stars All I want for Christmas - V.L. Locey

 Let's start off with the fact that I love Locey; she's funny and sweet and her stories are intensely emotional. if I am ever disappointed in a Locey book, it'll be because I went off my medication.

Alex and Cooper are another mis-match to start, attracted to each other but each with preconceived notions that turn out all wrong. One surly painter, one optimistic do-gooder and a pair of quirky cats turn their worlds upside down.

Again, bravo!

Five Stars The Wicked - Thea Harrison

Great add on piece

I love the Elder Races, and this one was pretty fun! Great supplement to the main stories... hot grouchy alpha male, puzzled, exasperated intelligent female. Good mix.

Five Stars Dragos Takes a Holiday - Thea Harrison

More Dragos, More Pia,  and a little bit of Peanut on the side...

Cute story and every bit as fun as the rest of the series; I love the Elder Races...

Five Stars Kinked - Thea Harrison

Best one yet! I've been reading the Elder Races since the beginning, but I really liked this one a lot. Clears up some old mysteries left over from Dragon Bound and brings new life to side characters that have gotten very little attention up til this point. Also, continues to answer questions about the world, tying all the stories together. Marvelous!

Four Stars - No Good Duke Goes Unpunished - Sarah MacLean

Emotional Rollercoaster of a novel

I admit the premise is a bit weak; I spent a LOT of the book going "oh, COME ON... really?" but the love story is good, the sex is hot, and the characters are fairly typical of MacLean, which is to say tough women and tougher men.

(Note: I have not read the other books in this "series" so maybe I would have liked it more if I knew the side characters better...)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

25 Days of CHBB, What Does the Fox Say version

I have decided to go ahead and give this ornament away! If you want it, please comment here, "like" my facebook page, or follow me on Twitter. I will give bonus three entries if you go to Amazon, buy Pistols & Guns, (my cowboy short story) and email me your order number... (If you've already ordered, liked, followed and are otherwise adorable and wonderful, just let me know in an email and we'll get you some entries for being FAN-tastic.)  

Hi, everyone!

So yeah, the fox doesn't have anything to do with anything, but I like the picture... Also, I've been making these diorama ornaments for the last several days, which is fun, kinda artsy and involves no actual talent on my part whatsoever. Last year I thought I'd try to teach myself to crochet this year... yeah, like that happened. I did ACTUALLY go to a class and sort of maybe a little bit learned how to crochet a straight line, but that was totally it. Also, I found it insanely boring.... further, my best friend - recently divorced, so had all the sudden a LOT of free time on her hands - took up crocheting again... she already knew how to do it, and was just applying it to weird-geeky-art... after seeing this

that I decided Flying Spaghetti Monster did NOT want me to learn to crochet, because I would only embarrass myself.

So, I've been making these little dioramas, and really, really enjoying it.

(Also, yes, I have a weird "thing" for the What Does the Fox Say song. Don't ask... I really don't understand it myself.)

And in between all that, I've been busting my buns to finish my novel, Blues, which is the sequel to my upcoming Torquere publication, Roll, available end of February 2014. And writing a short story for another friend's multimedia publishing endeavor. Once I'm done with those two projects, I'll start work on Howling Bitch, the sequel to my upcoming Vamptasy novel, Blood Sight, available in March 2014.

Aaaaand I have a bunch of short stories that I want to do for next year. Aaaaand I have formatting to do on the collection of short stories I'm co-authoring with Elizabeth L. Brooks... (she of the somewhat disturbing crochetted elder gods)

Busy writer is busy. 

Which would be part of the reason why I'm getting Boston Market to do my Christmas dinner this year....

I'll be here all day; why not talk to me about what you're doing for Christmas (if you celebrate it, religiously, secularly, or if you're Grinching it up, or not Christian - or American, since it seems like as an American, you get kinda inundated with Christmas regardless... personally, I'm a Gravitational Absolutist...)

(If you really like my silly fox ornament and enough people ask, maaaaaybe I'll give one away.... say "What does the fox want for Christmas" in the comments...)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gingerbread Palace, a Review

Honestly, I shouldn't have bought this book. (Before you recoil in horror from that comment, allow me to explain....)

It's two weeks until Christmas, and I'm firmly in what my family refers to as my No-Buy zone, where I'm not supposed to buy anything for myself. Also, I'm on a fairly strict book budget... so, I wasn't supposed to buy the book. That being said, I managed to pull in some extra cash to my paypal account, and this was the first thing I bought with it.

So, enough about me;

The Book.

First off, I love firemen. My grandfather, my uncle, and two of my cousins are firemen, and I am both pleased at having them represented and impressed with the amount of research that went into the story.

Second, I'm a big fan of cooking and baking, so we have two of my favorite professions in the same story... also awesome.

And then there's the enemy to lover trope which is one of my favorite things, too...

Well done back stories. Enough details to keep us sympathetic without the rubbing-it-in-your-face sort of descriptions that seem a little too present in a lot of "abused kids" stories...

The writing was elegant and provocative, sweeping me into the story right away and continued to live up to an excellent start. If you're an easy crier (I am) prep a tissue ready for the last two chapters...

Buy Link


A Novella in the Delectable Series

A week before Christmas, Alex Bancroft’s bakery goes up in flames. When he runs back inside after a dog, firefighter Kevin Flint has to rescue Alex—and Quincy—from the smoldering building, endangering them and inflaming Kevin’s resentment.

Now Alex can’t create the elaborate gingerbread house he donates to a foster-kids charity each year. Fire Station 7 again comes to his rescue, offering their kitchen and their manpower.

Everyone but Kevin Flint, that is. A third-generation firefighter, he’s fearful of stepping too far out of the closet. So when his powerful physical attraction for Alex ends in a sizzling secret encounter in the firehouse, Kevin can’t push Alex far enough away, and Alex returns the cold shoulder.

After a change of heart, Kevin risks his life to prove he’s worthy of Alex’s affection, but without a Christmas miracle, their chances at sweet romance might go up in smoke.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Guest Post, A.R. Moler: A Foodie Writes

Say hi to one of my coffee-girls... There does seem to be quite a few of us m/m writers in the Tidewater area... I wonder if that says something about the area, or if it's just that Torquere seems to get a lot of word-of-mouth advertising. We got together just before Thanksgiving for a coffee and chat, which was great. I love her kids (and our children get on well, even if I will probably always call her son by the wrong name)...


When I was writing Coming to Terms I used a little of my food shopping tendencies to structure the initial scene. I admit, I'm a foodie. I'm also married to guy who's parents are British and travel extensively. We travel a lot too. I guess you could say that impacts my grocery habits. Saturday started with a trip to the local Brit shop so we could get bangers, pickled onions and digestives, along with couple of candy bars my kids adore that aren't made in this country (Aero and Flake). Then we went to an international food market and picked up nori, rice vinegar, wasabi and green tea frozen mochi as well as some pot noodles (I have no idea what flavor because I don't read Korean) and Ramune soda. Dinner was at a Turkish doner kebab place we'd been meaning to try for weeks. This is actually a fairly average Saturday for us.
This morning I rode my motorcycle over to a high end grocery store to get sashimi grade tuna because dinner tonight is going to involve trying out the new sushi roll light saber I bought a few weeks back. Okay, it's not really a light saber... think sushi roll extruder, kind of like the playdoh pasta squisher. Fingers crossed it'll work without making a mess.
Coming To Terms When Aidan Sterling has been to hell and back doing his duty to his country, who will help him come to terms with what happened?
Sometimes, inevitably, life hits a snag. What if love turns up at the same time? Aidan Sterling's life has hit one of those moments-the times when things might just change whether he wants it to or not. Outside of the inherent paranoia of his active career in covert ops, he's recovering from some serious physical and emotional trauma from a mission gone disastrously wrong. His bosses aren't sure if he's up to returning to active fieldwork---and neither is he. And Kris Jameson is the kind of guy who'll take the time to understand and care about Aiden. He's a regular guy with a large heart. Kris is a carpenter and a part-time bouncer, easy going and hardworking. But not all danger can be found overseas, and nice guys aren't always safe even here at home.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Early Release

So, this happened.

Buy Links:
Amazon Kindle (99 cents)
Amazon UK (.77 £ )

I'm pretty excited, but I'm also really busy and I wasn't expecting this to release until Friday, so in the meanwhile, have yourself some beer and enjoy...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I've got the Blues...

So there's that!

50,040 words is my "official" count for Blues. I'm about halfway through Chapter 21 and according to my outline, I have about five and a half chapters left to go... that's ish 11,000 - 13,500 more words (most of my chapters have this weird tendency to be right around 2,200 - 2,400 words. I'm not sure why, that just seems to be how it works out. (It's an average. I promise, I don't mold the chapters into that exact format.)

I've been going through my writer's list recently; just because I have finished NaNoWriMo doesn't mean I have... you know, spare time and shit.

I need to:

  • spend a few days at my dad's farm for the holidays
  • finish writing the end of Mouse Games (I left my poor characters in the middle of a fairly intense bondage scene when NaNo started)
  • re-write Down with the Ship
  • do my marketing piece for Roll
  • buy and decorate a Christmas Tree
  • have a Christmas Party
  • get my daughter new glasses, shoes, cute outfit
  • go shopping for the midwinter spending holiday
  • edit all 25 short stories for Promptly (pending delivery of edits)
  • start work on my Cover Art Request for Roll
  • write a Ghost Story, due Jan 15th
  • edit Blood Sight (pending delivery of edits)
  • Finish Blues (technically "due" sometime in summer 2014)
  • start writing Howling Bitch (due sometime fall 2014)
  • prep for Pistols & Guns release date

Yep. Busy writer is busy.

I'm still trying to block out a schedule to actually finish Blues, but at the moment, it looks like I'm going to leave the boys hanging until mid-January... my "plan" (and believe me, I say that with heavy finger quotes and eyerollies) is to claim it as "due" by February 10th. That way I don't let it sit too long... and then after that, I'll spend a few months writing up Howling Bitch. If I work on the schedule that I managed with Roll (April - August) then I should be able to get done with Howling Bitch by about July. Maybe sooner, as I'm really starting to get my feet under me in terms of production.

While I really don't actually enjoy doing NaNoWriMo, I have to say the demanding word counts do... sort of work for me. I can really produce if I feel like I have to. What I might do is set myself a three month schedule (especially keeping in mind that I wrote Roll while also producing one short story every week, which I will NOT be doing this year)

Because - annoyingly enough - The Wormwood Trade has started to get very demanding about why am I not writing it, why why why?

Honestly, I need more time and less life in my life.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Playing with my Novel

Working on Blues has been an interesting experience...

For one thing, I'm coming to the interesting conclusion that real life really doesn't have a plot, exactly. It's just a series of events that happens, and sometimes that leads to good things and sometimes not. But most of the time, in real life, that guy you snubbed back in 5th grade doesn't come back as an evil super-villain, bent on destroying you and everything you stand for.

Which is where I ended up after working on Saturday; my "bad guy" for this book isn't really bad. He's not evil, or even really all that awful. He is, honestly, pretty sympathetic.

Unlike Chris, the bad guy from Roll, who is simply a collection of some homophobic traits wrapped up with a string and named after a guy I threw out of a gaming group for having his character attempt date rape and not understanding why both the other characters in the group AND the players all got mad at him. If you've done any role playing before, you recognize that character motivation and player motivation are not always the same thing.... but in this particular case, there were five real people and five pretend characters who were actively appalled at his behavior. We became more appalled as he not only defended that character's behavior, but that sort of behavior in general.

So, Charles (and yes, I just noticed that both antagonists have names that start with Ch.... yay, subconscious...) isn't a bad guy; he's just not the Right Guy. He was raised by strict evangelical parents, who, when discovering they had a gay son, tried to put him through a sexual orientation change program. This pretty much ends with him throwing out every one of his parents' cherished beliefs, including opinions on things like monogamy. As far as he's concerned, that's all Bible crap and useless for his life the way he intends to lead it. (There might be a bit of me in there, too, as I've thrown out a lot of my parents' beliefs, and I still almost never do anything major without considering if it would piss off my dad and rubbing my hands together gleefully if I think it will. As far as I know, I've never deliberately done something JUST to piss him off that I wouldn't have done otherwise, but that might not be 100% true.)

It's amusing in some ways, because I put traits in him that I've picked up from one of my friends who finds it hilarious that I insert jealousy and monogamy into my m/m stories. Charles's attitudes about monogamy come directly from conversations I've had with this friend. He and his partner frequently had/have m/m/m encounters or m/m/m/m encounters, or swinging couples. "I can't think of a gay partnership that we haven't both had sex with. Not all at the same time. Except, you know, when it was all at the same time."

And don't get me wrong, I love my friend. And I don't disapprove of what he does. I agree with him and to some degree, even envy him that particular lifestyle, so long as that works for him, his husband, and the various partners that they hook up with. I'm pretty sure, however, it wouldn't work for me. Whether it's imposed on me by the patriarchy or my own insecure and somewhat possessive nature really doesn't matter, as far as I'm concerned. What concerns me with issues of jealousy and monogamy is that you do what you and your partner agree to. If you agree to an open relationship, great! If you set limits and rules on it and you're both okay with that, great! If you're like a particular friend of a friend I know whose view on rules is that they exist specifically for him to violate? NOT okay!

Charles is mostly an impediment, rather than a true antagonist. He's the rock that Beau and Vin need to move out of the way in order to proceed down the road. He's not bad (he's not even drawn that way!) he's just not the right guy For Beau.

So, after building him up as funny, sympathetic, and good to hang out with, I had to spend some time tearing him back down, and pointing out some of his flaws; particularly the ones that clash with Beau's values.

And the biggest one is going to be about loyalty. You don't screw over your friends. And you don't hang out with people who do screw over your friends.

Which is one of the areas where I teeter from time to time. I hate "picking sides" when people get divorced (unless, like in some cases, I hated the spouse to begin with, in which case I'm just as happy to put them in the crazy ex pile). Case in point, a little more than a year ago, some of my friends got divorced; I'd known both of them separately of their relationship with each other. I like both of them. And while I consider one of them to be "more wrong" than the other, I can see where both sides weren't happy with what their marriage had become, and while the "wrong event" probably provided the spark to the divorce, it so obviously wasn't about just that one thing.

But it does sometimes make me feel all weird and wobbly inside when I feel like I may have unfairly picked "a side."

(Especially since, in college, whenever there was a break up, I was frequently the one blamed, the crazy ex, and the one losing friends. Without the people on the outside knowing what stuff looked like on the inside. And sometimes, I didn't act as best I could have, in the situation, but I don't think anything I did was so awful as to deserve some of the condemnation I got. So, you know, reverse golden rule, don't treat people the way you didn't like to be treated.)

So, I'm putting Beau right in the middle of that situation, where his current boyfriend does something particularly rotten to his ex-boyfriend. But Charles and Vin never got along, so it's not like Charles is betraying Vin, because he's not. In fact, with the current viewpoint of people usually not liking their ex's, Charles may have considered what he did as something Beau would approve of...

It's been interesting to play with....

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Employee Reviews: Because I am psychotic!!

Conversation with the husband;

Me: So, JM has finished her NaNoWriMo project....

Him: Uh-huh....

Me: And Sommer has published something like 11 novels and short stories this year.

Him: Are we making a list of people you feel inferior to, today?

Me: Um... yeah.

Him: I thought that's what it sounded like.

I apparently have a huge gap between what I think is going on in my life and what is actually going on in my life. Also, I have like the worst time-sense in the world. God help me if I ever have to testify on my own behalf or anything. I don't remember what I did last week, much less what happened years ago.

So, I know I have had 21 stories, novels, novellas, round-robin chapters, etc, published - or accepted for publication, pending - total, in the last 30 months (give or take a day or two on either side).

But what I could not remember is when these things happened. Within the last 3 years is a pretty wide stretch of time, after all. I sort of vaguely remembered that 2011, I had three stories accepted. But that was it. So when had I done the bulk of my work?

Mostly, I guess, the problem I had was I couldn't remember if I was doing "better" this year than last year, or if 2012 had been a better year. (No, I don't know what better means. I have no real metrics to measure performance evaluations on myself.)

But I did go through and make up a little timeline. This is mostly what information I could find that was available and easy to process; when I got acceptances in my inbox. I'm not in control of when the stories actually hit shelves, and publishers all have hugely wonky different timelines. I'll get an acceptance from Cleis, for instance, and that book can not hit shelves for 6 months to 18 months later. I can get an acceptance from Hot Ink and only a month or so later, I'm looking at the sell-date. So... since I can't measure that as a predictive model... and I am apparently a lousy record-keeper as far as when I started work on a short story versus when I turned it in, and then there's a HUGE gap between turn in and acceptance (sometimes... I've had turn arounds as quick as less than 24 hours between submission and acceptance!) I decided I'd track my "accomplishments" by when I got the acceptance email.

So, here's my timeline, for your (and my) edification:

  • 2011
    • May, Golden Moment accepted into Steamlust
    • August, Shadow of Kenfig accepted into Shifting Steam
    • October, Garden Variety accepted into Lustfully Ever After
  • 2012
    • January, On the Fly accepted into ReadErotica Vol 3
    • February, Blister Effect accepted as standalone by Torquere Press
    • April, Snake Dance accepted into Duty & Desire
    • July, Deep Breath accepted into Ladies of Steampunk Magazine
    • August, Big Trucks accepted into Smokin' Hot Firemen
    • September, Dead in the Water accepted into Coming Together: Hungry for Love
    • October, W.O.L. accepted into He Loves Me For My Brainsss
    • November, Holiday Hours accepted into MILF & Cookies
  • 2013
    • January, Return of the Kings collaborative novel
    • January, Half the World Away, accepted into Cupid's Chokehold
    • June, Synchronous Rotations accepted as standalone story with Torquere Press
    • June, Every Second of It accepted into Couples' Erotic Romance
    • August, Roll, accepted by Torquere Press
    • August, Blood Cries Up, accepted for Lights Out short story line
    • September, Full Frontal Neighbor, accepted for Sexy Librarian's Big Book of Erotica
    • October, Blood Sight, accepted by Vamptasy Publishing
    • October, Pistols & Guns accepted as stand alone short story by Hot Ink Press
    • November, Tanked (tentatively) accepted for anthology to be named later
So... That's what it looks like. I have one short story still floating around, waiting for a yay or nay, a fantasy novel still searching for a home, a collection of short stories awaiting final edits and then to be submitted (One short story written, PER WEEK for January through July) and half-completed novel...

3 acceptances in 2011 (wrote a novel, not submitted until 2013, tho)
8 acceptances in 2012
10 acceptances in 2013 (of which 2 are novel-length)

So, yes, stupid brain, I am doing better this year. Take your exceeds expectations and go away, all right? All right.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Guest Post and Promo, Elizabeth L. Brooks with her novel, Foxfur

Betas Make It Better

The relationship that Lynn and I have encompasses many things. We've been best friends for more than twenty years. We were roommates for two. We've been writing partners for probably fifteen. I've been her editor for almost everything she's published with Torquere Press over the last couple of years. We've gone on vacation together, joined forces for holidays, and commiserated with each other over our crazy families, broken hearts, and screaming frustrations.

We're also frequently each other's beta readers. And I will say that Lynn is, hands-down, the best beta reader I've ever had. And I'm not just saying that because this is her blog!

(Note from your author: She totally is...)

I had written this book, see. It was pretty bad. The main character was wishy-washy and passive to the point that he didn't even react to things in his own head. The mystery plot was overblown, unlikely, and excessively predictable. The romance was weak. The sex scenes either went too far or not far enough. The resolution was infuriatingly deus ex machina, and the epilogue didn't actually provide any satisfaction -- it left the characters' futures clouded by a huge question mark.

I am often a harsh judge of my own writing (most authors are) but this was just Bad. Bad bad bad. (Lynn, having read it, didn't think it was quite as bad as I did, but she agreed that it was Not Great. And also that its noncon sex scenes made it unpublishable.)

After leaving it in a drawer for, oh, five or so years, I had an idea about how to fix it. It involved a new plot. And a new romantic interest. And a new supporting cast. Also, my main character got a major personality overhaul.

It was, in fact, a brand new story, only linked to the original by the name and profession of the main character and a single simile that I loved so much I couldn't bring myself to get rid of it.

Being the length of either a really long novella or a really short novel, it took me about six months to write. (NaNoWriMo material I am not.)

When I'd finished it, I wasn't very happy with it. And so I did what any reasonable author would do. I sent it to my favorite beta reader (that would be Lynn) and I said, "This sucks, and I can't figure out why. Please tell me, so I can try to fix it."

Lynn messaged me the next morning and said, "I opened it up just to make sure the file wasn't corrupted, and promptly stayed up until two in the morning so I could finish reading it. Now I'm tired and it's all your fault." (One day, Lynn will not be snarky with me and I'll know she's been taken over by bodysnatchers.)

(Never. Gonna. Happen.)

She sent me a more detailed email later in the week, pointing out a few things that did, actually, need some polish, and a couple of contradictions and timeline issues. Which are things that any good beta reader will tell you.

But Lynn is the best, because if it wasn't for her, Foxfur would still be in a drawer, gathering dust while I tried to figure out what was wrong with it. She always gives me the best writing advice. And in this case, that advice was: "Just submit the damn thing, okay?"

If you'd like to check out the book that kept Lynn up until 2 am, you can find it at
Torquere and Amazon


Pleasure-slave Cheng took no particular note of the red-haired woman when she purchased his services, but the morning after her departure, Cheng is taken into custody by the Emperor's own guards, a custody they tell him is for his own protection. Frightened and confused, things go from bad to worse when the investigator is revealed to be one of the rare and terrifying Chained Mages, who explains to Cheng that the red-haired woman was not what she had seemed to be, and that not only Cheng's life, but the lives of everyone around him, depend on their finding her as soon as possible.

The Chained Mage Jin does not like traveling to the country of his birth, where he is at best feared, and at worst, despised. But he can't allow his personal feelings to interfere with his mission without risking the lives of innocents. The lissa (a fox-demon) has placed a spell in Cheng, a spell designed to turn his sexual energy to murderous ends, making Jin's own growing admiration for the slave a greater risk than he's willing to admit. And worst of all, they're not the only hunters on the lissa's trail!


Masquerading by day as an uptight corporate cog, Elizabeth spends her nights concocting gleefully smutty stories. She writes erotic romances for a wide span of worlds, genres, and orientations, and is also a senior editor for Torquere Press. When she's not writing or editing, she loves a wide range of generally nerdy hobbies, including reading, photography, tabletop games, geeky yarncraft, and silly smartphone games. You can find her online at or on Facebook at

Thursday, November 14, 2013

And in Other News

Sometimes my days are a little too full.

This isn't exactly a complaint, just sometimes I feel like things are happening so fast that I don't really get time to enjoy them before I'm on to the next thing.

Also, I'm slightly worried about the "hedonistic treadmill" which is one of my favorite themes from The Happiness Project. (tl;dr human beings always want moremoremore to be happy. we suck.) The idea's not unique to Rubin, but that's where I first came across the idea that while I might suck, I suck about the same as everyone else, which is something, I guess...

My concern comes up that eventually I'll take for granted my publishing and the people I work with and the squee of new cover art...

That eventually I'll believe that I deserve all this.

Which is going to turn me into a giant asshole. And believe me, I don't want to be that way. (I've met a particularly famous person, who I won't name here, who is a giant asshat... because he's used to being treated a certain way... )

So, today (well, yesterday, now that you're reading this...) I got my new cover art.

Pistols & Guns is a short story, a western erotic romance... I got to have fun giving my heroine a truly horrible name (that might be a theme with me. Having a horrible name myself, I have a tendency to distribute them. It's a weird compulsion, like "this milk is going bad, here, SMELL THIS!")

Anyway, I recently sold Pistols & Guns to Hot Ink... and I'm looking forward to sharing it with you.

(Of course, now I also need to write a 'blurb for it... oh yay!)

And I got another acceptance in my email box. It's a pre-official acceptance (the publishing house could still nix me at the last minute, which has happened to me before...) so I can't say more about it than that... or, I could, the publishing house could nix me, and then I'd feel like an idiot. But ya know, that happens...

Today I did a little over 2,300 words on my NaNoWriMo project... so after taking two days off to cough my lungs out, I'm getting back to work...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cough, Hack

First off, there's This:

Release day for my best friend, Elizabeth L. Brooks, and her first full-length novel, Foxfur.

She's going to be guest posting with me here in a few days (Friday, I think. I've already set up the post and pre-dated it... )

The book should be up at Amazon in a few days... I'll let you know as soon as I know...

This story has hella history, which I'll let you catch up with on Friday, since Liz talked about it.

And in the meanwhile, I'll let you know that this story takes place in the same world as her older novella, Safe Harbor which remains to date one of my favorite stories. (Not my favorite Elizabeth L. Brooks' story, but it is, but one of my favorite ALL TIME stories ever.)


So, I took two days off to be completely, horribly ill. (Because OF COURSE I get sick during NaNoWriMo!!) On the plus side, I've been doing the front loading stuff and I'm way ahead of the technical NaNo goal... (Just over 29,000 words at present, and it's only the 13th)

Of course, now I'm "behind" in the reverse NaNo by about 4,000 words... my "plan" is to go ahead and write like I didn't miss those two days. I'm not going to push the hell out of myself and try to "make up" the words and I'm not going to skip ahead in my word goals... today should be 1,953 words, but I'm going to do Monday's word goal instead, 2,183... If I don't go over at all for the next few weeks, it'll mean that my last few days of NaNo are 364 and 231 instead of 116 and 1... Since I'm almost positive that once I start getting into the low 1,000s, I'll probably go waaay over... this shouldn't be a problem.

The only other problem I see coming up is Thanksgiving, that we're spending with my dad and stepmom and my stepmom's extended family, including my stepmom's cousin who works for one of the Big Six publishing houses as a submissions editor. I've never met this cousin, but my stepmom's been trying to introduce us for a while. I'm a little nervous; one because I've read so many articles from the Big Six sneering down at small and indie publishers. And two, because it's quite possible that she's one of those "ew, erotica" people. I dunno, haven't met her. But I am not about to let someone sneer at my publishing houses or the kind of work that I do, since I love my job and the people I work with...

On the other hand, my stepmom says that she is specifically looking for Steampunk writers, and I do have the outline for Wormwood Trade hanging about, so... yeah, like what I need to do is have a third novel to write in 2014.... sure. Good plan.

Also, I'm working with the lovely and talented Author Rue Volley for my cover-art for Pistols & Guns, which will be coming out at the end of the month, so lots of excitement there...

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Once Upon a NaNo

Still plodding along, making progress. I've been posting little bits of my story to my Facebook page, so if you want, you can go over there and see what I'm up to...

(Rough draft is rough.)

Today's writing was pretty emotional for me. I love my characters. Beau and Vin have been busy and active parts of my day-to-day life for eight months now. By the time I'm finished writing Blues (probably mid-December or thereabouts) I will have lived with them for nine months. If that's not all symbolic and shit, I don't know what is.

Anyway, obviously, since Roll hasn't been published yet (It will be in our hands at the end of February, 2014) most of you don't know what's happened thus far, so a shocker of a revelation that happens in the first third of Blues won't mean anything to you.

I'm trying to be a bit realistic with this novel - which is unusual for me. I'm usually a zombie/steampunk/urban supernatural sort of girl (and if that's your thing, the first in my urban supernatural series, Blood Sight, will be released in March) But you know, this one's a coming-of-age sort of thing. New Adult. A genre that some people have decried, but I'm really happy to see coming into its own. So to speak.

College and young adulthood is a crazy time that's not really covered, especially in the romance genre. Admittedly, that's because we all act like complete assholes, break ups, hook ups, screw ups, throw ups. We drunk-text old boyfriends, we sleep with our roommate's high school sweetheart. We fall into swimming pools and wake up all Goldilocks (who's been sleeping in my bed.) If we're really, really lucky, we come out at the end with a degree and a small mountain of debt.

I came out of college with divorce papers.

A few days back (really, it's not even been a WEEK yet since NaNo started) I wrote about one of the couples I established in Roll breaking up. (My editor was a bit distressed about this - but I liked <character>! she complains.) I like her, too. She's not a bad person, just not ready to cope with the realities of grad school and balancing a long-distance relationship with someone who's still an undergrad. Long distance relationships suck. Today, one of my real life friends told me she and her SO had broken up. Because of a long distance relationship. Yeah, so... that happens.

I stumble over myself a bit, in this story. Beau's a misfit from a redneck town. Someone who's smart, smart enough to know that he has to pretend to be normal in high school. I wasn't that smart, but I wish I had been. Still, he feels alienated and alone, and even now, in college where people accept him for who he is, he's still uncertain. He keeps waiting to wake up and have it all taken away.

Vin's a little more like I am now, outgoing, obnoxious, says what he thinks and sometimes thinks not at all before opening his mouth. He doesn't try to fit in so much as he adapts his environment around him; he surrounds himself with like-minded individuals and delights in being the center of attention. And just recently, he's come face to face with the possibility of rejection. He's never really dealt with it before, and his anger and pain are very familiar to me.

Today, it took a while to get my words out. I was just finishing up when my daughter got home from school.

I've been sitting here all day, staring at my pages.

Because I love these two boys, these shadows of the me I used to be. And I know that I have to hurt them, in order to have story.

But I really don't want to.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Row row row Wri Mo

Busy, busy weekend.

I did not manage to get my word goal on Saturday, but I made up for it by writing over 4,000 words on Sunday.

I am exhausted.

I feel like I'm not doing anything else, just writing and sleeping. Which isn't quite true; on Saturday I spent some time with friends watching movies and we had dinner.

On the plus side, the number goals are sliding down every single day. Tomorrow's word goal is only 2,872.

(Only, she says!)

Which is good because I have a ton on my docket for tomorrow.

I have to go vote, I need to make a grocery list, get the shopping done, stop at the Post Office (for those of you waiting for your rafflecoptor prizes, I'm sorry. We only have the one car and I usually only have the car for one day a week, and on that day, some idiot decided to try to rob our local post office. And when he didn't succeed, he claimed the box he brought in contained a bomb. So our post office was closed all day, and most of the surrounding roads were blocked off as the police chased the guy down and then brought in the bomb squad.) That totally happened, even if it sounds like the worst's most ridiculous excuse. We have a social engagement with the husband's friend for lunch. And of course, with the local elections being housed at our high school, the daughter has the day off. And she's got a project to assemble that's due on Thursday.

So... if I get anything done at all tomorrow, I'll be happy.

(No, no I won't.)

Anyway, I'm more than 12,000 words into the novel already, so it's moving along well, and I'm pretty happy with it, so far.

Friday, November 1, 2013

So So WriMo

First of all, I'm going to try this method of NaNoWriMo'ing this year.

If you don't want to go read it, it's basically a front-loading way of going about the project, to take all the energy and motivation you have at the beginning and turn it into process.

It also allows you to write a little less each day, until the final two weeks where you're writing substantially less than most "competitors." Which gives me some wiggle room in case I bork up, have real life, or whatnot.

Honestly, I'm jazzed about this novel. Not about NaNoWriMo. I already know I can write a novel. You already know I can write a novel. That being said, I did put aside 2013 as the Year of the Longer Pieces. And while I already wrote, edited, submitted, and got accepted a Novel this year, what's the harm in doing another one, right?

I'm not a very competitive sort - or, more, I am, but I'd rather not be. I don't like the person I become when I start comparing myself to other people. I don't like feeling bad about myself if I'm behind (as if anyone in the world can actually be the best at anything...) or how I feel about myself when I'm doing "better" than someone else (as if I'm actually improved as a person by beating someone else...) Bleh bleh bleh. Just... personality issues, no! I don't want to go there. I try really, really hard not to. Obviously, sometimes I fail. I see my friends who write 18 pages in a day, or over 2,000 words every day of their regular lives (not even for NaNo, just NORMAL...) and I feel like a fake. Like a poseur. I wonder if I'll ever feel like a "real" writer.

I wonder if people with real jobs ever feel like that. I mean, do librarians feel like "fake librarians"? Do accountants worry if they've got enough street cred with other accountants? What kind of fucked up brain do I have to be able to look at my bookshelf of pretty pretty paperbacks and wonder if I'm just not good enough? Seriously!

Anyway, sorry. I'm awesome! Really!

I do get a little overwhelmed sometimes; not with the realities of my life, but with thinking about those realities. I know I can write a novel. I've written three - two accepted and one still floating about in the ether looking for a home - that I consider worthy of publication and a couple of others that I wouldn't use to paper the litter box. On the other hand, knowing I have to write two novels for 2014 to be published in 2015 (or sooner!) is a little crazy-making. I mean, I know I can do it. The question is, can I do it?

No, don't try to boggle that out. You'll only get as crazy as I already am.

I like NaNoWriMo because it's pushy and crazy and eliminates all the dithering time when I spend thirty minutes looking at and rewriting the same sentence.

I hate it because the editing process afterward is So Much Worse than when I'm able to write/edit/write/edit.

I love it because I am a crazy extrovert in a field of people who are all crazy hermits. I like writing with others. As a social activity. Comparing notes. Wailing at each other when we have no ideas. It's like tag team jello wrestling. Crazy, silly, messy, frustrating, and somehow intensely sexy.

I hate it because I watch a bunch of my friends feel like they're losing at life, somehow. See this article for more thoughts on that. He's already said what I think, so I'll just let him say it, okay? Okay.

Real writers write. I'm still not positive they write every day, under every circumstance. (Hell, I don't write every day, and I've still got two novels coming out next year! So... yeah...)

I'm not sure NaNoWriMo makes any more real writers than there were. Sometimes people need a push to get going, and some people hit the bottom of the cliff and swear no more, never.

The trick always comes down to, what works for you!

I follow the 7th Sea 2nd Edition GameMaster rule in all things.

You don't need any rules. Cheat anyway.

(That being said, I wrote 3,512 words today.... so, I can't even follow my own rules...)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Before I Leave

So... I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year.

I was having this conversation quite a while ago with one of my editors, in which I was laying out my to-write list.

This year I've written Roll, revised it, and sent it in. Got it accepted, it's the first of three (maybe five... both Hector and Ann-Marie, who are side characters, are clamoring for their own stories...) novels expected out of the series, with the second being Blues, and the third being Classic.

I've also revised and finished Blood Sight, my NaNo project from 2011... and it's also been accepted. Aaaand it's the first in a series of four novels; Howling Bitch, Demon Halo, and Ghost Magic rounding out THAT series...

(Both of these novels have been accepted and will be available in early 2014, end of February for Roll and sometime mid-march for Blood Sight...)

To which my editor said to me, in all seriousness, "You realize you've committed yourself to writing two novels a year for the next two to three years, right?"

Um.... well.


Except while I knew that math, I didn't really add it all up. Just what I'd soft-committed to. (There's some sort of unwritten rule that, as a novelist with a series title, you have to put out one book in the series every year... it's not written in stone, but it may as well be, loud as some people scream - me included! - when they don't get their annual Harry Dresden fix; or Game of Thrones, or WHATEVER... )

On the other hand, I wrote a novel, a longish short story (Synchronous Rotations), edited two novels (Marked Man is still out there floating around... ), 25 short stories for the Promptly collection, and a handful of other short stories (My Girlfriend's Gun, Tanked, Blood Cries Up, Pistols & Guns, aaand I'm sure I'm forgetting something....) this year.

(Wow, that was parenthetical...)

So. I can do this. I really can.

But I do know it's going to be challenging.

It took me from April until mid-July to write the 60,000 words that became Roll. (and while I was doing that, I wrote at least one short story every week) And it took me November 2012, and most of September to write the 60,000 words that became Blood Sight.

We'll see if I complete the NaNoWriMo challenge again this year. But even if I don't, it'll give me a headstart on those two novels I need to write....

I probably won't be here on my blog much in the meanwhile. But I do post regularly to Facebook so if you want to see what I have to say, pop over there and take a peek. Also, I'll probably be posting daily word counts to Twitter for November.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The End of Your Tour, don't forget your souvenir photos!

So my little blog tour is all wrapped up... thanks to all the wonderful bloggers who hosted me and helped me out.

(There's still about a week before I wrap up the contest, so if you haven't entered, please do so... )

I've gotten to talk to a bunch of wonderful people about stuff that interests me - and hopefully you, dear reader!

If you missed any of the stops on the tour, I'll list them here for your clicking pleasure.

Torquere's Live Journal Blog

Kinzie Rose

Chris T. Kat

Elizabeth L. Brooks

Victoria Chisholm

Sommer Marsden

V. L. Locey

A.R. Moler

So, I hoped you all enjoyed the tour as much as I did... psst, enter the contest, right down there, okay? Okay!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Demoniac Codex Novels

Less than two months after announcing the acceptance of my first novel, Roll, by Torquere Press, I'd like to announce that my urban supernatural novel, Blood Sight, has been picked up by Hot Ink/Vamptasy.

Spare me your pitiful attempts at sarcasm.
One again, I'll get more details for you as soon as I have them. I'm not sure how long the acceptance to print takes; altho I've been told by my editor for Roll that we can be expecting that to be in our hot little hands by the end of February.

Blood Sight is the first in an expected four novel series called The Demoniac Codex. I've already drawn up a complete outline for book two, with features the Paracop, Nico, and his misadventures with demons and werewolves, entitled Howling Bitch.

Blood Sight, A Demoniac Codex novel

When the half-functional oracle, Rachael, discovers a vampire at her front door, she is both frightened and angry. Her emotional turmoil is made worse in that this particular vampire is her former lover, Marcus. Reluctantly, driven by new dangers - attacks by vicious magical poodles - and new enemies - the angry, jealous vampire child, Jonathon, the two band together to do what they can to save Rachael, and the crippled spirit of the Oracle inside her head. 

Aided along the way by a Paranormal cop, the archangel Rafael, and Rachael's brother, they deal with kidnappers, demons, lies and deceit, and the difficulty of flying across the ocean when one cannot be exposed to the sun to discover the true nature of their enemy, and their reluctant love for each other.  

Special thanks to The Antique Toys, whose songs "Falling" and "Follow You (Into the Dark)", I listened to over and over again while I was writing this novel. Especially thanks to my major girl crush, Annabel Adams, the lead singer, who has a small cameo role in the novel as Marcus's blood-doll.  

Also thanks to Sean McCaffrey, my model, who is the perfect Marcus. Depending on how much creative control I get with the novel cover (I don't know, never done this before) I'd like him to be my cover model... Sean is one of the creative leads at Ladies of Steampunk

If you haven't entered my contest yet, there's still plenty of time! Enter the contest!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Restricted Release; The Not Quite a Blog Tour by Sommer Marsden

Can you see me now?

I recently wrote a blog for Tabitha Rayne about the voyeurism in my new novel Restricted Release. Funny thing, though, I guess I felt the need to be fair because I put a little exhibitionism in my book to balance things out. In fact, the large (ceiling to floor) windows in the houses featured in Restricted Release could almost be considered a fourth in the sexual ménages found within its pages. They're almost another willing partner in the sexual situations.

Clara never considered herself a voyeur, but she also never figured herself for an exhibitionist...until Nadia and her toys showed up. Then all bets were off. Clara found her inner exhibitionist.

(Warning NSFW)

“How about you make her feel pretty, Nadia?” Matt said, his voice smoke and vapors.

It was in my head, his voice. In my gut and in my cunt and winding its way steadily into my heart. My soul perked up when he spoke, and when I thought of him touching me, it soared.

It was a dangerous thing, my connection with him. Too much, too fast, and yet—I craved it when I was honest with myself.

“I can do that,” she said. Her pretty slim hand found its way into my pants and she slid her finger along my slit. I was still wet from earlier and the rich musky scent of my previous orgasm filled my head.

“In fact I have just the thing if you’re game. I want you to put your hands up there on the glass. Both of them.”

I did it and prayed no one was on the roof looking down. It was really the only way for anyone to see me but for Matt. He could see all of me but for the window frame that cut the glass in half. He could see her pushed up tight against me. Her hands in my pants. The look on my face. And I could see all of him. Handsome him pulling a tall-backed stool up to the windowpane and taking a seat to watch.

“Actually, raise your hands like you’re under arrest,” she said loud enough for him to hear.

I did it.

She slipped my tee over my head, mussing my hair. It fell in a crazy halo around my face. I was bare and chilled and then she pressed my palms flat to the window again.

“Check out those perky pretty tits, Matty,” Nadia said and left the room.

I was breathing like I might cry.

“Just be calm, Clara. They really are perfect. You worry too much. You are so…spectacular.”

And then I did cry because I wanted so badly to believe him but it felt so much like a lie to me.

Aren't you glad I decided to be fair? :)

Much like I said in my voyeuristic blog, if you asked me about exhibitionism as turn-on, I'd tell you it doesn’t really work for me. Not my thing. Not for me. But when I wrote that particular snippet...I gave it a second thought.

I might have to change my opinion on the whole being seen scene.


Copyright © SOMMER MARSDEN, 2013
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

We sat in the center of his box-cluttered living room floor on a large blanket. Around us was scattered some leftover takeout, cheese, crackers, a box of lemon cookies, mixed nuts, olives, pickles and a bottle of wine.
“This should be disgusting,” he said, eating a pickle with a piece of cheese on a cracker.

“But it‘s so, so good,” I said, eating my own cracker with cheese. I ate it in small nibbles because my stomach was electric.

“Really?” He cocked his head. “Because you barely seem to be eating.” He touched my leg with his bare foot. He was warm.

“I‘m eating.” I pulled the sweatshirt he‘d draped over me close to my body. Besides his sweatshirt, I wore my white slouchy socks and we‘d located my panties.

He held out a box of cookies. “I’m good,” I said.

Matt studied me. “I‘m not as dumb as I look, you know.”

I ate the rest of my cracker and took a sip of wine. It was nice. It had that whiskey aftertaste I usually hate and yet I didn‘t this time. There was enough of a fruity burst in it to temper the oak. “I don‘t think you look dumb at all. I think you look really smart,” I said.

I hoped he didn‘t hear the mixture of annoyance and anxiety in my voice. I wanted to get past the food thing.
“So tell me, mysterious neighbor. Why do you seem to be a person who sticks very close to home? Why do you seem so…gun-shy? Is that a good description?”

I tried to nod but my head barely moved.

“I know why I‘ve been a monkish man for almost a year. Why have you been Sister Clara Barrett?”
I cleared my throat. “I don‘t know.”

He cocked his head and then cut his eyes away. He tried to make it look nonchalant, but I knew what he was doing. He was giving me a moment to consider the situation.



Matt held up a hand, looking me right in the eye so I felt totally naked. For a crazy moment I felt as if there were no barriers between what was inside of me and what was inside of him. He said, “You were bold enough this morning to straight up tell me you wanted to have sex with me.”

I opened my mouth but he kept that silencing hand up and I shut my mouth with an audible snap. His fingers slipped beneath my sock, circled my ankle and he said very softly, “Please let me finish before you throw up your security fences and barriers.”

My throat was tight. I nodded.

“You were bold enough to watch me in my bathroom. When I probably could have spotted you at any time, and I sorta kind of did at the end there. And…” He squeezed my ankle and the pressure went right to my pussy. “You were bold enough to come over here on a…” He chuckled. “Booty call.”

I made a small noise of protest but then laughed. Our laughter mingled and I felt a rightness I couldn‘t remember feeling. It scared the shit out of me.

“But you won‘t tell me what your history is, Clara?” He didn‘t say it to belittle me. I could tell he wasn‘t angry. It was simply a question to help him understand. And that made me tell him.

I finished my wine in three big gulps and leaned back on my hands, keeping my legs in crisscross-applesauce fashion.

“I was married.” I picked at a loose thread on my sock and then looked at him. His eyes were amazing. Gorgeous and kind and deep—if they were the windows to Matt Millen’s soul, his soul was a wonder of the Universe.

“I‘m going to say this in one big breath and get it over with, okay?” I said, feeling my eyes sting a little. I willed myself not to cry. I could not cry. That would be stupid. That bad part of my life was over. I needed to move past it.

“Okay,” Matt said. His hand stayed around my ankle, loose but comforting. He wasn‘t eating or drinking, but he wasn‘t poking or prodding either. He was waiting. Listening. Paying attention.

“I was married to a man who wasn‘t…nice.” I shrugged but it felt like I was being blasé about something that was anything but. So I stilled my body and went on, willing myself to be strong. “He didn’t beat me or anything. But he carved me up emotionally. My sister Cat once said it would have been better if he had beaten me.” My voice had gotten small. My stomach hurt.

His eyes flashed with anger but he kept his face schooled. “And why is that?”

I blew out a shuddery breath and whispered. “She said that if he‘d left bruises on me—broke bones—I‘d have known that it was wrong. But as it stood, he got inside my head and…” I tapped my temple. “Fucked with me. He played on my biggest fears and weaknesses to control me. It‘s like in those books where you read about demons and possession and Hell,” I laughed. “He infiltrated my brain and he trapped me with my own fear.”

Matt sighed and popped an olive in his mouth. “I‘m going to go out on a limb here, slim lady, and say one of your issues is food and body image?”

My cheeks heated and I nodded, saying nothing at all. I had to fight the urge to cover myself with his sweatshirt. To pull it down over my knees and hide myself in it. It was a war I still waged most days, even thought I was alone about 80 percent of the time.

He watched me. He was waiting.


Clara is the recovering anorexic who’s nearly become a shut-in after the end of her emotionally abusive marriage. Matt is the new boy next door. Graphic artist, nice guy, funny…accepting of Clara.  She wants him, he wants her—but Clara is afraid.

Nadia is the stand-in—Matt’s idea, Clara’s challenge to accept. A longtime friend of Matt’s, she’s a sexual surrogate intended to guide Clara until she’s not afraid of Matt’s desire for her or hers for him. Twosomes become threesomes, watching becomes touching and lust becomes love.

When Matt moved in next door, lust was the last thing Clara expected. Two lovers never crossed her mind. And the need to make a choice was something she thought she’d never encounter. But she’s bolder now, healing, and everything has changed. And a choice must be made, no matter how hard.

Inside scoop: Clara’s healing includes a hot woman who wants to show her how desirable she is, as well as f/m/f menagés.

Amazon US
All Romance eBooks
Ellora’s Cave


Sommer Marsden’s been called “…one of the top storytellers in the erotica genre” (Violet Blue), “Unapologetic” (Alison Tyler), “…the whirling dervish of erotica” (Craig J. Sorensen),and “Erotica royalty…” (Lucy Felthouse).

Her erotic novels include Restricted Release, Restless Spirit, Boys Next Door, and Learning to Drown. Sommer currently writes erotica and erotic romance for Xcite Books, eXcessica, Ellora’s Cave, Pretty Things Press, Resplendence Publishing and Mischief Books. The wine-swigging, dachshund-owning, wannabe runner author writes work that runs the gamut from bondage to zombies to humor.

Sommer’s short works can be found in well over one hundred (and counting) erotic anthologies. Her short stories have also been included numerous adult and romance magazines–both in print and online.Visit her at Unapologetic Fiction