Monday, December 29, 2014

I'm not very good at this

I tried to wait two weeks, I really did.

I lasted eleven days.

The first draft was finished on the 14th of December, which means I should not have looked at it again until yesterday. Yeah, that didn't work. I started the first read-through this Saturday past (the 27th) and finished it this morning. Although, if you want to be picky, I did the comment read on the 22nd, so perhaps it wasn't even twelve days?

The first time I go back to a manuscript (mss), I take a look at all the comments I've left myself and deal with those first. For this mss, that meant finding street names for some of the locations as well as double checking some information. Concerning the street names, there's a wonderful map of the city that's recently been released and I used it often for reference. Not only has the shape of Manhattan changed as the city has been constantly re-invented over the centuries, but most of the street names were dropped after the Revolutionary War, replaced with more patriotic ones (Queen's Street, for example is now Pearl Street). I used the original names, so if you, like me, like to reference a map as you read, you'll have to use the above link, not a modern-day map of the city.

So that first pass, back on the 22nd, just involved finding information and taking care of those margin notes. Not really an edit, more of a "filling in".

But on Christmas Day, after all the presents were unwrapped, the dinner enjoyed, the merriment shared, the house quieted and I came upstairs with the intention of putting away boxes and wrapping paper.

And then it called out to me from the depths of my computer. "Look at me," it called. "Come, see what you have wrought."

I caved.

This read is primarily for continuity. For example, I have a minor character who comes in about halfway through the book and has some small action in several scenes. First he was Tommy, then Bobby, then Billy. Mostly in that order, although I did go back and forth between the two B names for a while. Reading it through this time, I decided on Tommy - and made all the appropriate changes.

I'm really not good with character name continuity. When I started, I wasn't sure of the proper address for a Baronet, so I often had people call him "Baronet St. James." Nope. Should be "Sir Christopher." I think I could even get away with the occasional "my lord," although I chose not to. Despite their loyalty to England, these are Americans after all, and it seemed some of the formality might have started to wear off. So those got changed.

Mrs. Galloway (a busybody who has lots of news to bring) was Jane to begin with, then Grace when I learned she really existed. The book is a mixture of real and fictional people, so making sure I stayed true to their names was important. Elizabeth Floyd, our heroine's best friend, for example, is a real person. Her story is partly told in this book (I'm thinking the rest of her story might be my next book - there is a fascinating tidbit about her in the footnotes of history. Don't look it up if you don't want spoilers, though!). But those historical footnotes alternately call her "Elizabeth" and "Eliza". So I made it so our heroine call her by her nickname and everyone else by her more formal name. Or by "Miss Floyd" if they don't know her well at all.

So you can see, the naming conventions alone were enough to warrant a separate read-through just to make sure I got them all. And that's not even including the military ranks of several characters who come and go toward the end!

In the process of this read, I also found places where more action or description was needed. I'm not a linear writer, so now that the story is done, I found the places where a reference could be made that set up something later in the book. Likewise, I found places that needed setting up, and wrote lines or, in one case, an entire new scene that did just that.

The first draft came in a 75,760 words. This second draft (finished this morning) stands at 76,750 words - which is 990 words longer. I took out words, sentences, sometimes entire paragraphs, and added others but the result is a slightly longer novel. At this point. We'll see what happens during the next several passes.

And what's in store for those? Habit words, I think. You can see the original counts in my last post. I'll do a second pass at them for comparison's sake before I start, but I doubt there will be any significant changes.

Off to edit!
Play safe,

Monday, December 22, 2014

Okay, I looked!

No excuses except: I have the time, so I peeked.

I know I said I wasn't going to look at REVOLUTION until next week, but I find myself this morning with time on my hands. I don't want to start a new story until I've put this one to bed, my Christmas presents are all wrapped, the house is clean...what else is there to do but edit?

First step was to go through all the comments I'd made myself and deal with them. This morning I spent looking up small details I wanted to include but needed historical references. In other words, I spent about a half an hour looking up things like, "What did young women read for pleasure in 1777 New York?" and "What is a good dock for a smuggler to use?" Fun stuff!

I had already created my Wordle, but I have other habit words I know I'm overly fond of using. So my next step today was to go through and do a quick word count of each one so I know if I actually succeed in getting rid of any instances of these words.* The counts are somewhat alarming:

was - 729 instances (includes "wasn't" but not "Washington" - which would make it 10x worse!)
back - 183
just - 191
hand - 141 (my char. are always using those darn appendages!)
one - 353
know - 149
man - 259
way - 110
thought - 151
see - 133

LOTS of editing needed here. Nothing like seeing the words in a visual format to alert you to your laziness!

I haven't highlighted the words in my mss yet. I'll do that later, after I've done a read-through for continuity and plot holes.Might as well fix those first, then go back - these word counts could get a lot worse before they get better. :(

But I like having a baseline. I'm all about the data, so, for me, this is part of the picture of the story in it's first iteration. Painters use brushes, knives, paints to create art, For me, comments, Wordles, word counts, even the story outline are all tools I use to work on my art (the manuscript).

Not going to do too much more. I'm sure there's something around the house that needs cleaning...

Play safe!

* If you want a quick tutorial on how to use Microsoft Word's feature that lets you do this, click here - the directions are in the second part of the post.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Don't look at it!

That's what I have to keep telling myself. Don't look at that manuscript for at least a week. Two weeks, if you can stand it.

I finished the first draft of REVOLUTION four days ago. The very next day I did the story board/chapter analysis and found the holes and imbalances that need to be addressed. Today I did my Wordle to look for my habit words...gee, you think I got some work to do? :)

If you've never used Wordle, you should. It finds the most-used words in your text and makes them quite large, as you can see. Obviously, I like the words "back," "just," "hand," "one," "know," and "man" the most. They're my habit words and, in one of the several passes I'll take over the next few weeks, I'll get those words to be a lot smaller. I always print out a first Wordle before I start editing so I can see just how far I have to go.

NOTE: one of the features I like about the Wordle website, it that it lets me delete all the names and titles, reorganizing the remaining words and adjusting their sizes. Since I refer to my characters by name all the time, "Clara" and "St. James" were the biggest words on the thing!

But for right now, I'm putting it away. Giving myself at least a week away from it so I can come back to it with fresh eyes. It's a technique I recommend for everyone. When you haven't looked at something in a while, you are more objective - and that's what I want. Right now I'm too close to the story, to the characters and all their foibles. I know what I meant when I wrote each sentence.

Distance, however, will tell me if I actually SAID what I meant.

And, if I'm being honest, the timing for this is perfect this time around. Not only are the holidays here, but I'm having arthroscopic surgery done on my knee tomorrow. I'm counting on those pain meds to keep me loopy...and one never wants to edit when one is not entirely in touch with reality. :)

So, the analysis is done, the first Wordle complete. Now I'll stay away from the manuscript. You have permission to slap my hands if I don't. 

Play safe!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Writing The Black Moment

Welcoming Lexi Post to the blog today. She's got a great piece of advice for those of you struggling with The Black Moment! Here's Lexi...!

I have to chuckle to myself for choosing this topic. As my critique partner will tell you, I dread The Black Moment when writing a book.  Sure, as a reader of romance, I enjoy living through that terrible time when it looks like the hero and heroine may not make it together as a couple. That’s because as a reader, I have complete faith in the author’s ability to bring these characters through to a glorious happily ever after made much better by having gone through the worst of times. Maybe that’s why I love epilogues, because The Black Moment makes them so rewarding.

But as a writer, I dread The Black Moment. Unlike my lovely critique partner who is very good at torturing her hero and heroine (emotionally, that is), by the time I come to that part of the story, I have so fallen in love with my two main characters, and so want them to have a wonderful life together, that it kills me.  Okay, obviously I’m still alive, but it does wipe me out. For me, The Black Moment is many nights of anguish at the computer.

In an effort to handle this significant obstacle, I have developed some tools for tackling this part of my stories. If The Black Moment is a tough spot for you as well, these may help. I’ll use some of my books as examples.

First, since The Black Moment is the most difficult piece for me to write, I make sure before I start writing that I know what it will be about. For plotters, this is a no brainer, but I am 90% pantser. This is one of the key elements of the other 10% that I must know before I begin, so I can write toward that dreaded moment. All my characters’ goals and motivations must direct me to that one point in time. For example, in MASQUE, I knew ahead of time that my hero, Synn, would betray my heroine. I know! That’s how I felt. But having determined that would happen, I then had to figure out how to still make Synn honorable and his betrayal somehow understandable. In the end, his goal was incredibly worthy, to help 73 souls cross over, his motivation solid, and even if the reader didn’t agree with him, Synn’s 150 years of guilt certainly made him sympathetic.

Second, I have learned to have faith that I will figure out how the characters come through the darkness and into the light. That’s right. I don’t always know how I am going to get my two characters through The Black Moment when I start writing. If you can determine how to overcome the dark for the good of the couple ahead of time, you are in a lot better shape. For me, as I’ve written more and more, I have learned to trust myself that I will figure out how they will overcome in a legitimate way. Basically, if we can get them into this emotional mess, we can figure out how to get them out. In PASSION OF SLEEPY HOLLOW, the hero looks just like Katrina’s past fiancé, so when she calls him by her late fiancé’s name, he has had it. I knew that would happen when I started the book, but had no idea how the two would come back together. In this case, Katrina had to let her past go. Of course, that’s easier said than done when she still lives in the 1790s and the hero lives in present day :-}

Third, I find that it is important to determine if the cause of The Black Moment is going to be an outside force, an inside force, or a combination of both. What I mean by an outside source is something like the villain forcibly marrying the heroine, or the hero is shot, bleeding and no one can find him, or the evil witch changes the lady into a hawk. These can cause some significant angst on the part of the main characters. On the other hand, I consider an inside source one that comes from the characters themselves, be it his honor refusing to forgive her, her loyalty to her family trumping their love, or his duty to the Grand Wizard making him give her up. I think this inner force is truly gut wrenching for the reader.  A real roller coaster of emotion can occur when both outside and inside forces come together at that pitch black moment in the story . In PASSION’S POISON, the outside source of conflict is Bea’s condition. When she has sex with a man, she releases poisons that make him sick but if she doesn’t release her poisons, she will die. If she has too much sex with one man, she will kill him. The outside source in this black moment is critical because when she almost kills the hero, she discovers she loves him too much to go back to one-night-stands (here the inner source comes into play). Not a good position for her to be in.

Fourth, whichever source for The Black Moment is chosen, it is important that the moment and its consequential outcome be significantly emotional. If the fact that the heroine is now a hawk has the hero simply becoming determined to find a way to break the curse, it is not enough. He must feel to the depths of his soul the loss of the woman he loves.  He must be willing to do whatever it takes, including losing his honor, to restore her. He must be devastated by the turn of events. He must do and say things he has never done before nor ever thought he would do, but will now because of his lady love. In CRUISE INTO EDEN, an erotic ménage, The Black Moment is partially internal and partially external. This occurs when the heroine discovers Nase and Ware are responsible for her celibacy for the last 11 years. This discovery after she has fallen for them is devastating for her. However, it is also devastating for them and they turn on each other. In the end, they approach the situation in the complete opposite way than they do anything else in life as they will do anything to get her back.

Fifth, and last, thankfully, (even writing about The Black Moment is exhausting for me), is the timeframe. I find this to be extremely tricky. How long to leave the two estranged lovers in anguish?  If the situation is rectified too soon, then it doesn’t appear to have been truly black and more of just a grey moment. Leave the two separated and hurt for too long, and the reader loses patience.  In my most recent release, COWBOYS NEVER FOLD, Wade is faced with the woman he loves planning to go nude at her nudist resort. For him, this is a core, though unexamined value and it is so deeply rooted in his upbringing that he can’t reconcile her action. This means he can’t just have a change of heart. Something must convince him or her, if they are to have a happily ever after. Oh yes, and then the villain must intervene as well. Can’t have the happily ever after come too easily, now can we? So it takes a number of scenes and outside influences to get Wade to come around. Inside sources for The Black Moment tend to take longer to resolve than outside sources to make a truly satisfying happily ever after.

And that is the reward, is it not? The happily ever after? The blacker the moment, the brighter the finale. The more trials and tribulations our characters go through to find and hold on to love, the more rewarding for our readers. Wow, after all this talk of The Black Moment, I think I need to read one of my epilogues again. Did I mention I love epilogues?

Author Bio:
Lexi Post is an award-winning author of erotic romance. She spent years in higher education taking and teaching courses about the classical literature she loved. From Edgar Allan Poe's short story “The Masque of the Red Death” to the 20th century American epic The Grapes of Wrath, from War and Peace to the Bhagavad Gita, she's read, studied, and taught wonderful classics.

But Lexi's first love is romance novels. In an effort to marry her two first loves, she started writing erotic romance inspired by the classics and found she loved it. Lexi believes there is no end to the romantic inspiration she can find in great literature for her sexy love stories. Her books are known as "erotic romance with a whole lot of story." In 2014 she won both the Aspen Gold Readers Choice Award and the Passionate Plume Award.

Lexi is living her own happily ever after with her husband and her cat in Florida. She makes her own ice cream every weekend, loves bright colors, and you will never see her without a hat (unless she is going incognito).

Website        Lexi Post Updates      Facebook    Twitter    Amazon Author Page   Blog  Email

 Whew! Methinks I need to revisit some of my epilogues as well! Play safe, everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Using a story outline...or not

Yesterday I finished my NaNoWriMo novel. The working title is still REVOLUTION, but that's really a description of the setting rather than the action. It takes place during the American Revolution but the conflict is really between two people who each have their own agenda and secretly conspire to use the other as a cover for illicit activities.

I'm a pantser. I've confessed to that many times (here and here, for details). One of the things I learned during this intensive month and a half of writing is that, perhaps because I'm a pantser, I do not write in a linear fashion. I write, think of a scene or part of a scene I want to insert to set up the current scene I'm working on and go do that, then come back and move forward again. Sometimes I even write a scene totally out of context and then write "bridge" scenes to get the characters to that point.

But I don't write in a straight line, and that's something the NaNoWriMo focus on getting the story out promotes. Write the entire novel, in thirty days' time, from start to finish. I'll tell you, it was an interesting experiment.

What I found, in writing that way, was that I'd leave myself a lot more notes in the margins ("Insert Comment" became my best friend in Microsoft Word) about: 1) things I needed to look up because its a historical and I didn't want to stop the flow of writing to remember a street name; or, more often, 2) scenes I'd need to insert later or a loose end I'd have to deal with once the first draft was done. Now that the draft is finished (YAY!), I have those notes to deal with.

But I also found I started to lose the characters partway through. Not that they changed a lot, just that I gave them feelings/thoughts/ideas, that I hadn't set up in any way. Traits and sometimes words that came out of the blue. Not so much for me, because I knew what they meant. But the reader would look at that speech and say, "What? Where did THAT come from?" By the time I got near the climax, I found myself just writing stuff down to get finished so I could go back and fix all those notes. They were hanging around in the back of my conciousness, pestering, asking when I would get to them. "Fix me! Fix me now!" they would scream at me until, sometimes, I ignored them so long I totally forgot what needed fixing.

And so, late last night I started a story plot. The voices in my head kept me awake until I gave in, got up, and started it. If you're a writer, you'll understand. If you're not, you probably think I should be committed by this point.

Now, I've never done a full story plot for any of my books. I have notes on scrap paper, doodles to myself to remind me of something, but no full, honest-to-goodness, story plot. Axl Rose developed one he shared at Romanticon 2014 and, since it was in Excel and I'm good with that program, I decided to give his a shot. I didn't use all the pages he developed, only the Timeline By Chapter. He broke the timeline down into several categories, including a synopsis of the chapter, the character conflict, the story conflict and a line for a subplot.

After plotting out four chapters last night, I realized I needed another row: Main plot (romance). The sub-plot was the revolution and their secret activities. I also added a row for characters that were introduced in that chapter, more as a reference point than anything else. I tried to add a page numbers row, but Excel gave me fits at that point and kept changing my numbers to dates no matter what I did to clear the formatting of the cell, so I added those afterward by hand (more on that in a bit).

To plot out the entire 75K word story, took me about five hours. An hour last night, followed by four this morning. And what did I learn by doing this activity? Plenty.

I learned I changed the names of some of the minor characters (there's a servant who goes from Tom to Bobby to Billy. I like Bobby and will edit to fix that).

I learned I introduced characters and then let them drop without another reference. Likewise, I had characters show up out of no where who need more of a set-up.

I learned I have a bit of a timeline problem right near the end. It's clear on my calendar (yes, I downloaded a calendar from 1777 and have kept track of the action on it to keep it straight), but I don't think it's as clear in the story as to what happened to a pair of days. They didn't just disappear. Honest.

I learned that, by taking the time to go back and look at story and character arcs, I can tell where I need work on smoothing them out. Something I teach but don't always practice (slaps own hand).

I learned that I didn't write even chapters. Usually my chapters are between 10-14 pages. This book the chapters are between 6-18 pages. A little out of balance for my tastes. Will look and see if some re-dividing is necessary.

I learned that I stayed pretty even between action regarding the romantic plot and the political plot, but I do have some parts that are solely focused on one or the other. Will revisit those chapters to determine if I need to beef up one plot or the other in that area.

And I learned that, despite all the holes I found that need fixing, the story is in much better shape and is far more consistent than I thought it was. A positive! When I write without stopping, I CAN still keep most of the story in my head and stay true to characters.

Overall, this is a tool for revising more than editing. I know I tend to use those terms interchangeably, but editing is more about keeping the same character name, the same hair color, the right spelling, punctuation and grammar. Revising is more about character and plot arcs, about the organization of the story, and the balance of the action (i.e, the chapter length). While this did alert me to some editing that's needed, it really has shone a light on the revising I have to do.

So, a full, 75,000 word novel in six weeks for the first draft. I'd say that was a good use of time. I'm expecting to take about a month with the revision/editing process and then it'll be ready for my beta readers. As to the publishing? Still haven't made decisions, but I thank those of you who sent me ideas. Keep 'em coming! This is NOT an erotic romance, so EC is not the right venue. Self-pubbing is an option, but I'd like to hit a wider audience with this. Keeping an open mind!

I'll post more about using a story outline/ story board, as I go through the revisions. Suffice it to say, I learned a lot just by creating it!

Play safe,

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I won NaNoWriMo!

Okay, so we're ten days past the end of NaNoWriMo and I'm just finding time to write about it. Why? Because the writing habit started in November has carried over into December...just as I hoped it would. While it actually takes longer than 21 days to set a new habit, my hope was that I'd see the fruits of my hard work and want to keep going. Or that the story I started in November would bug the heck out of me until I finished it. I was fine with either excuse as long as I could keep up the writing habit.

Because ultimately, that's what writing is for me. A habit I don't want to break. I can't *NOT* think of stories, so I might as well write them down. Then edit them. Then decide what to do with them.

I actually wrote just over 52,000 words on REVOLUTION (the working title for my current work-in-progress) during November. Today I broke the 70,000 word mark and I'm thinking it'll come in somewhere between 75-80K by the time I'm done. There's only one problem.

It isn't an erotic romance.

I tried to make it one. The suggestive glances, the appreciative stares...and the characters rebelled. Both the hero and the heroine informed me, in no uncertain terms, that THEY weren't like that. THEY were a proper lady and gentleman and, though they might occasionally have thoughts of that nature (him more than her, since she's barely aware of how babies are formed) neither of them are into BDSM of any sort.

And yet, I still managed to write a novel that's over 70K - without a single sex scene! To be honest, I usually count on my sex scenes to go for three to five thousand words. Put four sex scenes in a novel and it's half written right there. Characters have always been of primary importance to me, rather than plot, so it's probably not really a surprise that I can turn them loose in the bedroom and watch the fireworks happen. The windows get steamy, but I don't care - I'm in the room with them and we're all having fun!

REVOLUTION, however, has turned out to be a more traditional historical romance. A "sweet" romance, if you will. And therein lies my problem...

Where in the world do I publish it? Diana Hunter readers expect BDSM scenes -- and there aren't any. Mystic Shade readers expect very naughty scenes of hard bondage and pain -- and there's none of that, either. So maybe I publish under a different name entirely...although Diana Allandale hasn't had a lot of success with her short stories (in fact, I pulled them at one point, intending to write a few more and repub it under Diana Hunter, but I got busy with other stories...).

So NaNoWriMo was a success for me. I wrote (am writing!) a novel of over 50K - and, let's be clear here, I really, really like this book. Christopher St. James and Clara Simpson are two very independent people who have an incredibly strong attraction to one another, even though each of them is hiding a secret from the other. I've had fun doing the research, fun learning about the British occupation of New York in 1777 and fun getting to know these two and their many friends.

Here's the most current blurb for the book:

Baronet Christopher St. James provides the perfect cover for Clara to slip a note through enemy lines and to her brother in the Continental Army. The man is such a fop, with his lace sleeves and fancy bows, he'll never realize how he's been used.

But the Baronet has problems of his own, and using Clara Simpson to worm his way into the elite echelon that is New York society, gives him the perfect way to spy on the Loyalist enemy, right within their very own parlors....

So, after years of trying, I finally wrote a book in a month...and a half. By this time next week, it'll be done and ready for edits.

And then I have to decide where to publish it.


Play safe!

Monday, December 01, 2014

Cyber sale!

Read all about the Diana Hunter titles on sale this well as sales on Mystic Shade and CF Duprey!

And while you're there, join the newsletter to get advanced notice of new releases and other sales.

Play safe!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Welcoming Jane Leopold Quinn to the blog today as a guest writer for the writing workshops. She has some wonderful ideas for writing those hot, hot, hot! sex scenes. Enjoy!

© by Jane Leopold Quinn

Let me tell ya', writing the hot, sensual, erotic, pulse-throbbing, limb-numbing love scene is only slightly less fun than participating in one. Writing it might be better because there are usually no miscues, no unseemly noises, no falling asleep right after it's over.

Actually, I like to write a scene that doesn't quite make it. I love to frustrate my hero. He becomes embarrassed in his "failure" and then obsessed with making it up to the heroine. I love a man who tries harder.

In truth, who can live up to what we come up with in our imaginations? The kind of love making we write primarily takes place at the beginning of a relationship and/or during some dangerous or suspenseful situation which is often hotter than it devolves into as the years go by. That's what makes it a romance novel. The initial pulse-pounding excitement of new love, whether it's graphic or more sweetly written.

And I'm not saying that love making down the road in a relationship can't be pulse-pounding, limb-numbing sex, but generally, romance novels are about the dawn of love.

Let me list a few guidelines that I use — certainly not a complete list — for writing my love scenes:

1.  Pretend I'm the camera circling around my couple, viewing them from all angles.

2.  Close my eyes (most of us are probably touch typists), go into my "zone," and run the scene through my imagination.

3.  Choreograph my characters' actions step by step, knowing where their hands and legs and lips are at all times.

4.  Use a delicate flick or brush of a fingertip to focus attention in a particular place. This makes the love scene, which is already a personal thing, even more intimate and focused.

5.  And, not least — I sometimes use humor to give the scene another dimension.

I'll use some of my own favorite scenes/examples to illustrate my points.

* * * * *

From HOME TO STAY, available now at -

a bit of humor
…Hank falls asleep…

Panic. It's too fast. He bent to kiss her. He nudged his hips between her thighs, spread them, canted up her knees, his lips covering hers, consuming her mouth, and with no more preliminaries, no more foreplay than that, he plunged in. She uttered one low, continuous moan. It felt glorious. God, he was big, expanding, filling her unused muscles, forcing them to accept his length and breadth. He stretched out over her, straight-armed himself up again, and started to withdraw.
"Christ. Christ. Oh…damn." He was wild-eyed, shaking his head, hot breath puffing out like a steam engine.
She whimpered a no at what she thought was the loss of him. Then, he dipped in, did a little something with his hips, a little swirl just inside the entrance to her vagina. "Yes…yes…yes…" She squeezed her eyes closed at the delicious feel of him, arched up to meet him.
Balanced on one arm, he hooked her leg and pulled her knee upright, sliding inside further.
"God," she wailed and raised her other knee. Now, he was in all the way, filling her deeply, stroking every little nerve ending. "Oh, God!" It had been months and months, she was extremely sensitive, and he was magnificent.
It couldn't have been more than five thrusts, and he came. He stopped, buried as deeply as possible and nudged at her.
She moaned and tossed her head, felt the throb of his ejaculation. Any second now he'd do it again, and she'd come. God, he's heavy. No longer straight-armed above her he was crushing her chest. She opened her eyes and really looked at him. Still inside her, he groaned, a self-satisfied sound, his eyes closed, his face nestled against her ear.
Goddamn. He's asleep. The son of a bitch is asleep!

* * * * *

More from HOME TO STAY -

 focused attention…
Hank suggested a certain purchase to Nickie…

He thought he might bawl. His head spun. Bare. Naked. Skin. "Damn," he rasped into her mouth. "You bought 'em. The thong." He pulled her tighter against his hard, pulsing cock. "Goddamn." High on her hips, he sought the elastic band from the top of the T stretched across the shallow indentations above her ass. His forefinger delved down, tracing the path of her crack. "Jesus Christ, Almighty," he intoned reverently.
Neither breathed now.
He wanted inside her. Wanted to push her down and thrust inside her. His palm caressed her pussy, his fingers led him to her wet heat. Closer and closer. He inched the elastic aside. Dizzy with lust and hope, he lightly pinched her folds, slicking through the moisture. She seemed to be as lost as he was, moaning softly, continuously, and shimmying on his hand, pushing, urging him, pulling him into her heat.
She was so wet, so hot, so ready. He wanted to take his time, wanted to do this slowly, wanted the maximum pleasure for both of them. And, he didn't know if he could take it slow. Almost terrified at the intensity of his feelings, he knew he was in this too far to stop.
His lips skimmed over her face, her moans and soft pleas rasped in the night air. He circled the softening entrance to her body, the scent of her arousal drawing him in deeper. His thumb nudged her hot, stiff clit. "I owe you," he groaned.
That was all the permission he needed. He thrust two fingers inside her, filling her; his lips took the sound of her guttural growl as she arched into him.
Hard thrusts in, slow, dragging pulses pulling out. Over and over until she was stretched as tightly as a bow. And he was the arrow. She was wet…so hot…tight. On the verge of coming—he could feel the rippling contractions on his fingers—she panted and ground against him.
"Oh, God," she whimpered.
He placed his lips at her ear. "Come on, baby. I'm here." Slow and easy, he slid his fingers in and out. In hard, out slowly.
Her body shuddered.

* * * * *

From VALENTINE'S DAY, available now at -

…focus and choreograph…

"Oh, God, do it."
"Do what, Val?" He made his voice ingratiating, as if he didn't know what she wanted. I know what I want. To push her knees apart and thrust his cock as far in as it could go. Restraining his wild need, he gazed directly into her eyes. "What do you want me to do, sweetheart?"
"Unh, you know." She arched her back, thrusting her breasts in his face.
Her gem-hard, little nipples rasped on his cheek. His voice went low and whispery. "Tell me what you want me to do," as his lips caressed the outer curve of one breast.
"Say it." He lapped a wet path down her center, then nuzzled his nose into the fold under her breast. "Tell…" Nip. "…me." Lick. Nip.
"Put…your…mouth…on…" She was obviously in shivery agony, her quick breaths joggling his head.
"Where?" Rafe's mouth hovered over a nipple, letting his hot breath bathe her. Letting her anticipate. Torturing himself in the process.
"Nipple." She stretched the word out, a shrill order.
With a loud, snorting, flumping sound, Rafe obeyed and engulfed as much of her breast as he could get into his mouth.
"Oh, Jesus."
He heard her, knew it was more than she expected, and chuckled inwardly. Then he drew his lips up and suckled her in earnest. Suckle. Swirl. Suckle. Nip. Lap. Her head rolled from side to side. She'd drawn her knees up on either side of his hips and knocked them frantically into him.
"Rafe," she begged.

* * * * *

From A PROMISE AT DAWN, available now at -

…choreograph and humor…

"I haven't had an orgasm, other than self-induced, in years," she whispered.
He cocked his head. "Pardon me? Years? You mean since your husband died."
She rubbed a hand over her face, pinching the bridge of her nose.
He threaded his fingers through the hair at her temple and smoothed it back. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to pry."
"Ken, my husband, was ill the last few years of his life." She didn't want to say any more, hoping Gil would understand.
"I'm sorry," he said again. "You had a rough time of it."
Tears gathered in her eyes, but she blinked them back. "I don't want to talk about that right now," she whispered.
"Okay, honey. Let's talk about this."
He brushed gentle fingers over her cheeks, against the corner of her mouth and covered her lips with his. She forgot the past. She concentrated on how wonderful it felt to be in his arms, to touch his skin, to curl her fingers around his muscular shoulders. His pony tail dropped over his shoulder and tickled the side of her face.
In the recesses of her consciousness, she heard dogs barking and tore her mouth away from his. "Gil, someone might be coming."
He nuzzled the hollow of her throat, eliciting a responsive moan from her.
"Gil." She gave his shoulders a little push. When he pulled up, she immediately missed the blanketing warmth of his body. A breeze cooled the heated perspiration coating her skin, making her shiver.
He got the message just as two greyhounds loped up to them, stopping short to cock their heads at the humans. Pulling the sides of her sweater together, she hastily buttoned it leaving her bra undone. Gil grabbed his shirt and slipped it back on. The dogs were soon followed by their owner.
"Hello, Mrs. Smithson," she greeted the older woman, hoping her smile didn't look like that of a guilty teenager.
* * * * *

From JAKE AND IVY, available now at -

…focus and choreograph — literally, choreograph…

He didn't know exactly why but one dancer, eyes downcast, drew his gaze. Her feet slowly tapping a pulsing rhythm, she raised her skirts above her ankles, white frothy petticoats contrasted against her deep red gown. Then she hiked her skirts further, the ruffles cascading down her side. He stared at her narrow stamping feet, her long slim legs encased in black stockings. Her free arm sinuously, gracefully waved above her head. At the same moment his gaze touched her face, her head snapped up and her dark eyes met his.
And all hell—and heaven—broke loose.
Frozen in place, his arm, whiskey glass in hand, arrested as it rose to his lips. He clenched his other hand into a tight fist. Holding his breath, aware of the heat blanketing his chest and flaring through his belly, he heard a buzzing, like dozens of bees all fighting a range war in his ears. Blinking once, slowly, and realizing his mouth was open, he closed it with a snap of teeth. Grasping the warm stone arch next to him helped recover his equilibrium.
Turning her face away, she twirled around tapping out a beat echoing in every thud of his heart. Young innocent eyes, wide eyes, locked on his again. As she moved, bending and weaving her graceful dancer's body and arms, her sensuous Madonna smile teased him. After every spinning turn, she unerringly found him in the crowd. His body, after its long deprivation of female companionship, reacted to the messages sent down by his brain. Heat radiated from his trembling middle like too much whiskey on an empty stomach. Except this feeling was a hundred times more joyous and a hundred times more terrifying—and baffling. The heat washed over him warming his cold lonely heart. Sweat broke out over his upper lip. Nothing existed except this moment—no future, no past. Just this. He had lusted before certainly. But this was more.
And he knew it. Down deep.
He knew.
I want her. He hoped he hadn't said it aloud. I need her.
No! Panic-stricken, he argued with himself. Damn it. I don't need anyone.
The girl was a fine dancer. The footwork was simple enough but her arms and hands were the focus of her movements. Her long slim arms demonstrating the push-pull of the lovemaking of the flamenco hypnotized him. His lips pursed in a silent whistle. He wanted to wrap his hands around her lean supple waist and caress every inch of her. He wanted to trail his mouth all over her too—very slowly.
It was almost painful to watch her face, her amazingly changeable face. She looked sweet and innocent as a kitten one minute, the next she became sensuous and pouty, eyes flashing, hair flying. Her dark eyes and red full lips contrasted startlingly against the white of her face. His throat ached with the rapid beating of his heart and he passingly wondered why a Mexican girl's skin was so pale.

* * * * *

From ANCIENT TIES, alas, not available at the moment - coming soon!

…focus, choreograph, and circling like a camera…

©  "Take it off me," she countered.
His breath caught in his throat. Aroused beyond what he thought possible by her demand and the low rumble of her voice, he roughly jerked her tunic to her waist. Her bare breasts swollen and quivering, his mouth watered at the compelling sight of their cherry red tight nipples. Groaning, he bent his head and closed his mouth around one, suckling hard, massaging her with his tongue. Sweet woman. Salty from sweat and tasting of desire. He curled his big hands around her middle and pulled her up, wanting her closer. She squirmed and wiggled, cried out, raked her fingernails on his shoulders. Arousal building to the bursting point, he drew on her breast and rolled her nipple with his tongue until he heard her shrill moans over the pounding of his heart.
Abruptly, he released her and dragged his bare chest across her soft breasts. Gripping her cheeks, he angled his head and took possession of her lips. Parting them, he swept his tongue roughly in, greedily invading every corner the same way he wanted to shove his cock into her ripe pussy.
The tunic clinging to her hips had to come off. Reaching behind his neck, he grabbed her wrists, pulling her arms above her head, pinning them to the wooden door.
"Yes," Janney growled. The man he'd fought, it had been the man from last night.
This was a different Marek. The primal warrior she'd only glimpsed last night. His breathing, harsh and loud, puffed on her face and neck as he kissed her hard. Her breasts bobbed with her choppy breaths. He roughly palmed them, cupping and squeezing then together in one large hand. Groaning gutturally, she arched into him. He jerked her tunic down. She twisted her hips, frantic for him.
The soft material of his leggings barely restrained his taut erection. She wanted that. Wanted his thick cock. Inside her. She rubbed her pussy against his thigh and panted, "Fuck me!" Hot and ready, begging. "Please…"
Two quick shoves and his leggings came off. Kicked away.
She was dizzy at the sight of his jutting cock, as hard and feral as he was. His muscles glistened—bulging shoulders and thighs. He was huge, overwhelming, overpowering and she wanted him to master her. To surround her in his potent heat.
His eyes glittered savagely and he raked his gaze over her body from her confined wrists to her bare scrunching toes. He ground his cock on her belly, his body slipping and sliding with sweat against hers.
She hissed in carnal excitement.
With an answering growl, he released her hands, roughly gripped her bottom and lifted her. "Spread your legs."
He thrust. Deeply.
Triumphant, she tightened her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist.
Belly to belly. Chest to breast. He was in. Her slick pussy closed around his heat, taking him home. "God, yes…" The cry tore out of her. She rocked, felt her interior muscles fiercely massage him, tighten around him. Started coming.

* * * * *

Here are a few questions that have been asked about erotic writing. These are just my opinions, so anyone else should jump in here too:

1.         What makes erotic romance good?

If it turns you, as the writer or reader, on then it's good. What's the point of it otherwise? Warm and fuzzy, hot and bothered, or you need to run into the other room for your partner or a device — whatever — that's the point of erotic romance. Whether there's a story or not, if it doesn't turn you on, then it's not erotic. Sweet or mild sex may turn you on, but erotic must!

2.         Do you write only what appeals to you or cater to the marketplace?

You write both. You can do both if you're creative. Readers expect certain acts from certain authors or certain publishers. I've had to creatively write to that without sacrificing how I want my scene to be. If there are scenes or sex acts or words that you do not want to write, then look around for another publisher or publish the book yourself. There's a heat level for every taste out there.

3.         Do you incorporate scenes toward the male audience?

I think we primarily write for women. I think romance novels are a primer for love making. They show men how women like things done and what women like. They should be "required reading" for the male population.  *;) winking

4.         What appeals to males?

I cut out an article from Cosmo a couple years ago called, "101 Hot Sex Tips from Guys." I thought it would come in handy. There were some very interesting and surprising things listed from the very obvious to the very specific. For example:

Say my name.
Nibble my bottom lip.
Never knock your body.
Watch me go in and out of you.
Wear high heels.
Suck on my stomach right below my belly button. (Now, that's pretty specific!)

* * * * *

Bio for Jane Leopold Quinn
Sensual fantasies were locked in my mind for years until a friend said, "Why don't you write them down?" Why not, indeed? One spiral notebook, a pen and the unleashing of my imagination later, and here I am with more than a dozen books published. The craft of writing erotic romance has become my passion and my niche in life. I love every part of the creative process — developing characters, designing the plot, even drawing the layout of physical spaces from my stories. My careers have been varied — third grade school teacher, bookkeeper, secretary — none of which gave me a bit of inspiration. But now I'm lucky enough to write romance full time — the best job in the universe!

My Books
Ellora's Cave
Lost and Found
Valentine's Day
His Hers & His
The Keeper
Soldier, Come Home
Winning Violetta
A Promise at Dawn
Jake and Ivy
Wooing the Librarian
Home to Stay
The Long Road to You (coming soon)
Undercover Lover
Mercenary Desires
I'll Be Your Last

Jane Leopold Quinn
My Romance:  Love With a Scorching Sensuality

Monday, November 17, 2014

Welcome to Mystic Shade!

Did you notice the new tab at the top? I've finally gotten around to giving Mystic Shade her own page here at the website. Check out the page by clicking on the tab above (or click here if you are on a mobile).

But be warned! Mystic's books are not for the faint of heart!!! She's not writing romances, she's writing erotica that is sometimes dark in nature. Remember, she writes,

...for the shadier sides of our desires....

Play safe!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Second life workshop

I'll be in Second Life in about an hour, giving a workshop for NaNoWriMo on "Building the Novel of your World." It starts at 2 PM SLT time (Pacific time to the rest of us). :)

You can find the SURL here. Just scroll down the page a little to today's date. The Virtual Writers have a great site, so take a look around it while you're there.

Hope to see you inworld!


Monday, November 03, 2014

A little learning is a dangerous thing...

I need to share something I’ve learned in my research about the American Revolution that absolutely has me stunned. Because my story focuses on the British occupation of New York, I’ve had to delve deep into the Loyalist position.

Now understand this…I have always seen myself as a patriot. I’ve visited Boston and walked the Freedom Trail, I’ve gone to Philadelphia and put my hand in the crack of the Liberty Bell. I’ve watched 1776 more times than I can count and I’ve gone to Valley Forge, Monticello and Mount Vernon…some of them more than once. I like Benjamin Franklin and Jefferson, would probably fight with John Adams and be a little bit shy of George Washington. If you asked me the woman from history I’d most like to meet? Hands down, no contest…Abigail Adams. I have so many questions I’d love to ask her!

Because I so closely identify with the side of the rebellion here, I have never really understood the Tory side. Those who called themselves “Loyalists” always seemed blind to me. How could they want to remain with the oppressor unless they were 1) evil or 2) stupid?

Well, of course, they weren’t the first. With the exception of a few who advocated for what today we call a “scorched earth” policy (New York’s own Governor Tryon among the worst of that lot!), most of the British officers felt they were in the right to punish malcontents who disrupted the peace. And make no mistake…the rebels had their share of nasty characters. Tarring and feathering is painful – and often deadly.

And my research is showing me the Loyalists weren’t stupid, either. Most shared the rebel’s opinions concerning the wrongness of the taxes, the abandonment of civil rule for martial law, and the quartering of British soldiers in their homes. That is what has stunned me. Loyalists felt the same way as the patriots did.

So why didn’t they join the rebellion? That had me stumped for quite a while, but I get it now. The key lies in the phrase “Unnatural rebellion.” There’s a book by that title that provides a wonderful, balanced presentation of opinions by Ruma Chopra and I highly recommend it. She’s not the only one to explain it, but she’s the one who helped me understand it the most.

To the patriots, separation from the Mother Country was the only logical step left for them. They’d tried all the legal means and Parliament and the King refused to acknowledge the depth of their grievances. The men of the Second Continental Congress understood and were grateful for all the help England had given the colonies over the years, but the reality was, we needed to grow and they didn’t understand that. Separation was the only alternative.

But to the Loyalists, separation was anathema. It wasn’t legal. It could never be right. Yes, Parliament didn’t understand the needs of the colonies, but they only needed the right words, the right speaker and they would understand. The British military forces were the greatest in the world—why would one not want to be a part of that? Oaths of loyalty had been taken to King and Country – those were not to be broken.

So even though New York was under martial law starting the day after the Howe brothers sailed into the harbor, Loyalists flocked to the city from all over the colonies not because they felt the British were in the right, but because they felt the Patriots were in the wrong.

It’s really an Erasmus/Martin Luther situation. Those two were great friends, both of whom chafed under what they saw as corruption and wrongdoing in the church they served as priests just a century and a half before the Revolution. Erasmus counseled for change within the system. Martin Luther felt a more radical approach was needed, finally listing the ninety-five things that needed addressing and going very public with them.

We know the upshot of that little list. Because Martin Luther wouldn’t back down, despite his friend’s pleas to stay with in the church and work with the other priests, he was tossed out and his followers started a new church.

Of course, this led to others taking that step as well and the single church now became many. Those who stayed the course needed a name for their religion to distinguish it from all the others and chose the word “catholic” – a word that means “universal.” Those who left were “protest-ants” because they were protesting the wrongs within the church. Hence, they became the “Protestants.”*

I’m sure there are many more examples throughout history, but the point is, I’m getting it now. When people are stomped on and their rights taken away, when they are not paid a living wage and are starving and hungry, some will go outside the law and rebel and others will work within the law to change the situation.

I just realized something else. Tomorrow Americans head to the polls to vote for Governors and state representatives. Some of us also have law proposals on the ballot that we need to make decisions about. It is our chance to work within the law to make changes we feel strongly about.

Am I still a patriot? Yes. Breaking with the rulers who didn’t understand was the right thing to do then. Am I a rebel today? Less so. I feel my vote counts and am willing to stay within the system to make a change. Does that make me a Loyalist? I’m beginning to wonder…

Play safe, VOTE, and thanks for listening :)

*A simplistic telling of events, but you get my point. I hope.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014

I know. Every year I say I'm going to do this and every year I fall apart (here, here and here). Why? Because I taught high school and, here in New York State, grades are due for the first term the second week of November. I'd have great intentions, then get flooded with term papers to grade, tests to evaluate, projects to assess. Anyone who still thinks teachers work only 40 hours a week is living in the stone age.

Besides which, November, for me, is also the lead-up to Christmas. My family usually hosts Thanksgiving, which is a minimum of two full days of preparations. The day after Thanksgiving is decorating day when the entire family is put to "work" and the house is transformed. Christmas carols play for the first time and leftovers abound. And the next day, the Saturday of that long weekend, is baking day. Christmas cookies and, increasingly, Christmas candies come forth from the kitchen while the TV watchers gorge on Christmas specials.

So what makes me think this year will be any different? For one, I'm not teaching. Well, not in that schedule, anyway. I'm adjunct at the local community college, but have no grades due in November. At all. Yay!

For two, we're not hosting Thanksgiving this year. That means the decoration boxes can come down Wednesday night and we can start decorating when we get home on Thursday. We've done that a few times over the years and like the relaxed feel. Of course, my son no longer lives at home, so we'll be one set of hands short, but I think we'll be okay. We've repurposed one of the downstairs rooms over the summer, so it'll be fun to find new places for traditional decorations. Saturday will still be baking day. I think I'd get lynched if I dropped that. :)

All this means more time to actually spend on writing come November 1st.

I've been working on a fantasy for the past few months and had originally decided to make a huge push on it in November. I've changed my mind. There's a historical romance (that will undoubtedly end up erotic in nature) that's niggling at my brain. I'm spending the next two weeks doing historical research so when the clock starts ticking, I'm ready to go. I've already thrown some spaghetti, but need to immerse myself in the world a little more before I can come up with something that sticks.

Speaking of immersing oneself in the world of one's story, I'm doing a workshop in Second Life on that very topic on November 9th. Not sure of the time yet, but probably 1:00 or 2:00 SLT. If you're around, come join the fun! I'll post more details and a SURL when I have it.

If you want to sign up at the official NaNoWriMo site, go ahead. I did this year. Because this year, I'm going to make it all the way to 50,000 words in one month. Honest!

Play safe,

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mark your calendar!

So on Sunday, I got to the Romanticon bookfair to set up my signing area and ten copies of this book are sitting at my spot. Talk about a wonderful surprise! Print copies were done up just for the convention so attendees got sneak peeks at what's coming.

Isn't this a great cover? I love the starkness...the arrangement of positive and negative space with the title (and my name!) so clearly defined.

Slated to be released on November 14th, this print book contains four, count 'em...FOUR of my shorter works:
Love in the Afternoon, Promise for Now, Hooked and Stitches in Time.

Two of these stories were in print in the past. Stitches in Time contains one of my favorite characters, Seamus O'Brien, a leprechaun of love-making nature. Originally written for the Irish Enchantment anthology, this novella is still one of my favorites (don't tell my other books that!).

Hooked was first a novella released in ebook only, but then was bought by Penguin when they were thinking of getting into the erotic romance market. As one of the books they bought, it was included in the Getting What She Wants anthology, along with stories by Scott Carpenter and Chris Tanglen. I always liked being sandwiched between two men! Hooked is the story of Tania and Jim. One likes it fast and hot, the other prefers slow and sexy. I think you might be surprised which one likes which.

Love in the Afternoon and Promise for Now are both Quickies that pack a lot of heat into a shorter read. The unnamed characters in the first story enjoy a full afternoon of sensuous activity whereas Carol, in the second story, realizes that her recent divorce now gives her permission to explore her options with her sexy neighbor. ;)

Get out your calendars and mark it down...November 14th, this compilation of four stories goes on sale!

Sidenote: the books at Sunday's sale had a misprint on the back cover of the book. Only three of the four stories was listed (Stitches in Time was inadvertently left off). So those of you who bought the book then, hang onto it! There are only ten of the misprinted covers in existence - and who knows? They might be worth something someday! :)

Play safe...and go mark those calendars!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Romanticon 2014 - with pictures!

Well, there we are...the Original Cavemen and me. These two guys are so incredibly professional (and gorgeous, but that's stating the obvious!). You can tell I'm relaxed with the two of them and don't feel the need to be anyone other than myself.

I will tell a little secret about this picture, though. As we were getting ready, I took in a deep breath and sucked in my gut. I said to CJ, "Don't want to show my belly!" He chuckled and said, "I've got the solution to that!" and he took my hand, holding it so my stomach would be covered. When Rodney reached his hand over as well...the effect was complete!'re a pro, for sure!

Of course, I got to see old friends, as well. That's Tara Nina in the middle and Cait Miller in red. We're all three members of The Sizzlin' Scribes...a group we formed years ago for the express purpose of combining our money for promotional ads. Somewhere along the way we all became friends and I love getting to see them!

And here we are Blinging our Badges. I have no idea what point I'm making, but I'm doing it with vehemence!

And, of course, RT is also about meeting new people. I sat beside Laurann Dohner for the booksigning on Sunday...she's a wonderful lady and a great author. Thanks to her husband for the picture!

Unfortunately, I didn't get pics of a lot of others I met for the first time. Confession time: I still have a slide phone and it takes crappy pictures. Perhaps by next year I'll have joined the 21st Century and have, not only a smartphone, but one that takes decent photos!

I hope you all can come next year...we can take LOTS more pics! 
Play safe!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Romanticon 2014

I haven't been to Ellora's Cave Romanticon Convention since 2010. Not because I didn't want to come, but because getting time off from my day job became extremely difficult (got a new boss who saw no educational value in bringing back information regarding the changes in the publishing world to my Creative Writing students. 'Nuff said.).

But I'm here this year and have to say, its been a lot of fun seeing so many familiar faces. I'll give a special shout-out to my Scribes sisters, Tara Nina and Cait Miller, but I've enjoyed catching up lots of other authors as well as seeing so many of the EC staff. Sat next to Raelene Gorlinsky last night, have had several conversation with Patty Marks and finally got to meet Jose in person!

Of course, one cannot discuss Romanticon and leave out the Cavemen. Rodney and CJ are two of EC's original Cavemen and both were on hand to meet and greet authors and readers. I have a great pic of me with them and will add it to this post when I get home (it needs to be scanned in and I have no scanner here at the convention). Rodney is ever the wonderful host and CJ is just as handsome as ever!

The young bucks who make up the current crop are, of course, also wonderful eye-candy. DeAngelo was the reigning Alpha Caveman -and it isn't hard to see why. He's the tallest of the Cavemen, but its his beautiful blue eyes that catch your attention...that and he's one of the few with hair long enough to run your fingers through. Perfect for a hero of romances!

This afternoon is the book signing from noon 'til 4:00 pm. After that, I head for home. Will upload pics soon!

Play safe,

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Write the book you want to read

That was the best piece of writing advice I got and I no longer remember who gave it to me: Write the book you want to read.

That's why my current work-in-progress is a fantasy. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed writing erotic romance, and I may go back to the genre in the future, but my first choice, go-to books have always been fantasies. J.R.R. Tolkien, Katherine Kurtz, David Eddings, Diana Gabaldon (which might be more historical fiction than fantasy, but then again, the whole time-travel thing...). My son's turned me on to Brian Sanderson and my daughter to Tad Williams. It's what I read when I want to escape and find adventure.

My first novel was a fantasy. It's called Discoveries and is sitting on my computer at just over 95K words and isn't finished. It's close...probably another 45-50 thousand words will do it. Why haven't I published it? Because it was my learning novel. It needs a rewrite. Badly. If there were mistakes to be made, I made them.

I also didn't finish it yet, because Ellora's Cave bought Secret Submission. That was a book I wrote because I really wanted to explore the idea that a Master/slave BDSM relationship could also be a loving one. At the time, EC wasn't publishing anything but erotic romance, so...that's what I wrote. Yes, I read it as well, but they were "beach reads" - books I could read in an afternoon. I liked them, they made me feel just a little bit naughty and writing them was fun.

But the books I wanted to read, first choice, were still fantasies.

I started writing another one, the Companion series, about ten years ago. The pitch line:

Stuck in a partnership neither wanted, an Earth Mother and her Companion discover a pillaged farm and must find a way to work together as they defend their country from an invader who has powers they don’t understand.

Avon was interested in it at one point, but ultimately passed. Probably a good thing. I didn't have the story structure down then. I do now, thanks to Lynn LaFleur who let me bounce ideas off her long-distance and who has suffered through reading the first draft of the first third of the story.

There is some sex in it, but it isn't the primary genre at all. There's action, adventure, themes of the greater good and of Power vs. what's right to do...all the components of a good fantasy. Now that I finally have the story's structure down, this is the book I'll be working on for the next several months. It's the story I want to read.

Along the way, I'll be republishing a few stories that have been out of circulation for a while as well as putting together a new anthology of short stories (just in time for Christmas!).

Oh! And the current free stories of the 12 Days of Christmas (the even numbers) are going to be 99 cents, just like the others, come November 1st. It'll still be cheaper to buy them bundled together into one volume (that book price will remain the same).

Off to write! Play safe,