Monday, July 6, 2015

“Evidence” comes in many sizes


... usually in a skirt that walks out on you with a smile.

Clay Cross began in a small bedsit. It had a bed, a chair and a table, and a blue carpet that coughed dust when you walked on it. It saw the birth of a long and enduring love affair with two unlikely men: two word-mangling gumshoes who used metaphors like shrapnel and lived in a haze of bourbon and dames.

Shell Scott was created by Richard S Prather, a man who must have dreamt books in his sleep. He was one prolific guy, and over the years I acquired his collection in Five Star paperbacks. I mean, what wasn't there to like with lines like:

Constanza Carmocha was unarmed – that is, she didn’t have a gun. She didn’t need one either. She had all the weapons that have ruined men from time immemorial – or time immoral…She was surrounded by a guy who resembled a shaved ape and looked as though he could pick himself up with one hand.

Or

Death is just around the coroner when your name is Shell Scott and you’re a private detective with nose for trouble and an eye for dames.

The other man was Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer. He just hit me in the face. I loved the genre, I loved him. He was politically incorrect before the term was invented. He had no time for ugly dames and he hated commies.

He hated...

It was hard to work out who Mike Hammer hated most: reds, ‘yellow bastards’, fags, pansies, or getting hit on the head. He got hit on the head quite often. For the film Kiss Me Deadly, a black and white classic, I bought a bottle of bourbon just to get in the mood. Every time Hammer had a drink, I'd have a drink. Every time he got hit on the head, I'd …have a drink. Problem was that the film condenses a week's worth of alcohol and concussion into 90 minutes and I was thoroughly pissed by the end. I vaguely remember a black box and a sizeable explosion.

From that moment on I walked the mean streets of Newport, wearing my invisible trench coat and fedora pulled low. (I’d learnt the art of soundless dialogue from unmoving lips as a child when my fantasies centred on cowboys and Nazis.) I was Mike Hammer, war damaged, crazy music in my head, the lot. Magic lines from book after book whispered their magic:

I could feel the madness in my brain eating its way through my veins, chewing the edges of my nerves raw, leaving me something that resembled a man and that was all. There had been pleasure in all that killing, an obscene pleasure that froze your face in a grin even when you were charged with fear. Like when I cut down that Jap with his own machete and laughed like hell while I made slices of his scrawny body then went on to do the same thing again and again because it got to be fun…I enjoyed that killing, every bit of it. I killed because I had to and I killed things that needed killing…

Feeney tried to say ‘no!’ but my hands had his throat, squeezing . . . slamming his head to the concrete floor until he went completely limp. I rolled on top of him and took that head like a sodden rag and smashed and smashed and smashed and there was no satisfying, solid thump, but a sickening squashing sound that splashed all over me.

Where as Shell Scott was jokey, Mike Hammer bordered on the psychotic, and the two of them were now duelling banjos, playing their lines in my head, and creating…Clay Cross. Actually it's Clayton Z Cross, anglicised from Clayton Zacrowski because, hell, he was no Iron Curtain commie.

To get more fully in character I sent off several letters to the local newspaper, ‘The South Wales Argus,’ as Clayton Z Cross. The idea was to create the mindset of a bigoted cold war warrior, vulnerable, decent, even well meaning, but possessed of a terrible certainty. To my astonishment they were all published. To my even greater astonishment people took them seriously, some answering back incandescent with fury. To my alarm, a few even agreed with him.

One letter compared the Welsh Nationalist movement, a perfectly respectable organisation, to the Vietcong and communist subversion. There were howls of outrage. By then I knew I was on to a good thing. More letters followed in which he vented the most outrageous ideas in the voice of a misogynist, homophobic Cold War warrior circa 1951. And then he went into cold storage as I couldn't for the life of me find away of bringing a creature of the 1950's into the late C20th without the support of a Zimmer frame, oxygen bottles, and care assistant.

He was resurrected on the pages of an online magazine called On Fiction Writing where he interviewed a host of some very generous writers, with the help of his sidekick, the lascivious and kinky Sheri Lamour. The two of them were outrageously rude, and when the enterprise ended neither agreed to be put back into their respective coffins.

It was a whisper in the dark. Sheri I think, or perhaps April Dawn. Either way a solution was found, and both Cross and Lamour were plucked from their natural habitat and plonked into the centre of Newport, South Wales, in the late C20th. Here they ran amok - and continue to do so--- oblivious to political and cultural sensitivities, and appallingly rude to anything that moves.

I hope you enjoy them.


The excerpt below shows Clay Cross coming into existence. Roy is the tragic figure in a rather dark comedy. He is the comic book writer who gradually finds himself trapped in a comic book world.



Nothing was his any more.

The thought brought excitement, and with it melancholy. Nothing was his any more. Even the voices weren’t his.

They found me kissing earth, the kind that buries a man when he’s done with life, much like I was done with mine.

The night would make one hell of a shroud, only there wasn’t much of it left and it was getting shorter by the minute...”

Roy forced himself still. The voice wasn’t in his head. Could he be sure of that? The music was in his head but it also came from somewhere else. Like the voice…between the kitchen and the door to the apartment…He wouldn’t look round.

“…A car screeched by and then stopped. A door slammed shut and I heard the high clicking of heels…a dame, preferably one with a drink in her hand and lips that would make it all go away. She called my name but it made no sense. Jeez, who the hell was I? Had they taken that away too?” The voice lost its monotone confidence, rising into almost a wail.

Roy swivelled round. A face glared back at him and then vanished. He held the image in his mind then projected it to where he’d last seen it. Nothing. The ghost was outside of himself, real and possibly dangerous. He poured himself another drink. Bourbon was good. He stared for a moment at his Smith-Corona, half hidden in shadow, then sat down, pulling the battered type-writer close enough for his fingers to stroke the keys.

The voice came from the window, sounded more confident. Roy turned, slowly, afraid of startling him out of existence.

She was packed with enough fissionable material to blow the place sky high…and she was looking at me. Maybe I should have been excited, given her some kind of dopey smile and whisked out some flowers from behind my back, but this dame was trouble. A man had been beaten to death because of her and now she had me in her sights. Me…? I’m…I’m…”

Again the vision faded and this time Roy called out.

Clay Cross! You’re Clay Cross.”

About the Author

Michael Keyton has cooked in hospital kitchens, worked in some of the dirtiest hotels in Wales, and played for a time in a semi-professional ceilidh band. He taught history in a warm and challenging school, where he learnt the importance of 'story' and developed an abiding love of Newport. You can find him on his blog, Record of a Baffled Spirit (baffledspirit.blogspot.co.uk)

Competition Time!

The photos below illustrate the attraction of Clay Cross. Just vote for the one picture that does it for you. All the people who vote for the most popular photo will be put into the 'randomiser' and one lucky person will either win a pdf of the book, or a piece of art that adorns Clay Cross's office.

Queen Elizabeth and Clay Cross


Vladimir Putin and Clay Cross

Winston Churchill and Clay Cross

Queen Victoria and Clay Cross

Charles I in three positions, with Clay Cross

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sunday Snog #181: Making Memory

This week’s Sunday kiss is from “Making Memory”, one of the stories in Her Own Devices. On back road in Maine, on the way home from visiting her Alzheimer’s-afflicted father, Nicole’s car  blows a tire. She’s forced to take refuge in a weather-beaten country inn perched above the sea, as the guest of the middle-aged proprietor who has endured losses of her own. Although there’s a bit of sex in this tale, it’s one of the sweetest things I’ve ever written.

When you’re finished with my snog, head over to Victoria’s place for more weekend lip-locks.

And while I have your attention—if you haven’t already completed my reader survey, I hope you’ll do so. Every respondent gets a coupon for a free erotic romance book. Furthermore, I’m giving away a $50 bookstore gift certificate to one lucky participant.

To take the survey, click here:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JGNFVY8

Here's the snog!






I must have slept, for I was wakened by the creaking of my door hinge. I turned from the window to see Maggie standing barefoot in a pool of moonlight. Her hair floated loose around her face. A simple, sleeveless cotton nightgown hung from her shoulders. She looked young, and somewhat confused, as if she was not sure how she got there. She took another step into the room. I rose to meet her.

"I couldn't sleep," she whispered, as if there were others slumbering in the house. "I kept thinking about Jack. And about you."

Then, as if we had wanted to do this from the beginning, we kissed. Neither of us took the initiative. It was a spontaneous impulse, a reuniting of two halves into the glorious whole. A drawing together, like magnets, or lightning pulled to water.

Her lips were sweet on mine, shocking and yet strangely familiar. Her hands traveled under my shirt, seeking my breasts, which she cupped and kneaded like bread dough. Her touch ignited me, recalling hungers that I had tried hard to forget. I brushed my fingertips over her nipples, poking stiff and girlish through her gown. She sighed, a sigh so deep it seemed that her soul was escaping her body.

Entwined, we stumbled to the bed, prostrate in our mutual need.

She smelled of fresh bread, flowers and the sea. Her skin was velvety soft, warm and welcoming as clean sheets dried in the sun. I shivered when she touched me, all my senses newly wakened as if from a long sleep. She moaned when I touched her, half-animal, half-human, arching upward, offering all to me. 


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Smut with a Smile

By Delores Swallows (Guest Blogger)

Hi, I’m Delores Swallows. Or at least that’s the name I use for the stories I write.

I started writing dirty stories about fifteen years ago, and I did it for my own amusement. By that, I don’t mean I’d sit in the dark and type one-handed. I mean I enjoyed the process of having a dirty thought, thinking up a scenario where it could actually happen, and then writing a piece of fiction to show it happening between characters in a way I hoped was a believable and arousing.

I kept all the stories in a computer file and decided I’d give myself a pseudonym to use as a label on the folder. I chose Delores, which to me is a kind of exotic name. Sometime later I joined an on-line forum for aspiring authors of erotica, and decided to add a surname. The name ‘Swallows’ occurred to me, and I giggled.

I’ve used the name for the on-line forum ever since, and tell people that if I ever write non-erotic fiction, I’ll do it under the pen name Millicent Spits.

Late in 2014 I was encouraged to try and get some of my stories published, so I submitted two stories to different publishers and got two acceptances. Then I was faced with the decision—should I choose a more appropriate pen name? Would people actually be interested in reading anything by someone with a stupid name like Delores Swallows? Well, I suppose the answer to that is ‘of course not’—because I now have twelve stories published and I still don’t own a Ferrari.

But by the time I’d got a publishing deal I’d found my own style of writing, and the tongue-in-cheek name seemed pretty appropriate. And to be honest, I kind of like the name now.

In my real life I use humour a lot. I’ve known from a young age that I have the ability to make people laugh. At school I used to get into all sorts of trouble because I’d blurt out my quip without thinking if it’d be the appropriate thing to say. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried to learn how to pass a remark through my brain a second time for a ‘review’ before I let it escape from my mouth. Doesn’t always work. During volleyball last week, a young German woman who’s working in the UK for a few months asked me if I was scared of her (she shouts at everyone if they make a mistake). I said ‘Of course I’m scared of you – I’m scared of all big women’. I don’t think it was the reply she wanted….

I like to think a lot of my stories tend to contain a fair amount of humour. But I think sex and humour are a good mix. Sex can be funny, and fun can be sexy.

Humour and sex tastes are both subjective, so all I can do is write what works for me and hope readers like it. I write about things I find arousing, and include humour I find amusing. I don’t think I’d be able to force myself into an alien pattern in either area. I’m probably not that creative.

I try to introduce most of the humour in the dialogue. I don’t use the ‘double entendre’ type of humour from the old British Carry On films, where any phrase that can be misinterpreted is followed by an exclamation of ‘Oh, Matron!’ To me, that’s more in the realms of ‘pun-ography’.

But I like to make my characters say the sort of things to each other that I say to my friends in everyday life. Some stories are much more aligned to humour than others, but I think any story can be lightened (and improved) with a few funnies. My novella, Closest Strangers, is a pretty dark erotic thriller based in a seedy world. Unpleasant things happen to people, but there are still moments where the characters use humour as a pressure-release valve. I think it happens in real life a lot – I know I certainly do it.


Another story of mine, In the Shadow of The Riot, has a lot more humour. It’s based around a tour of four punk bands in 1979. I was actually a guitarist in a punk band around that time, but the fact I’ve written this story means I can give ‘Historical Romance Author’ as my occupation if I’m ever arrested.




Jag liked the look of the bass player. She was tiny, about five-two and really petite. As she played the bass she bounced about the stage, never looking at the audience. It was Mindy’s fellow guitarist who stepped up to the mic and took lead vocals.

I woke up this morning in a stranger’s place
I was wet between the legs and had a smile on my face

The crowd cheered. Muzza leaned over to shout into Jag’s ear over the noise. “Why can’t you write classy lyrics like that?”

How about I woke up this morning in a stranger’s bed, I was sore up the arse and had a bag on my head?

Muzza laughed out loud. “Yeah, I can just see Wood singing that.”

x x x


My latest story is a little different in one fundamental way – all my others are meant to be ‘believable’. By that, I mean I have always tried to make the stories I write appear like they could actually happen in real life. My latest story is called Stranger than Fiction, and it doesn’t follow my usual pattern. Here’s the blurb:

James writes erotic fiction. His latest story describes the adventures of Ruby, a happily-married woman in an open relationship. When James writes a sex-scene which leaves Ruby unsatisfied, she turns up in his real life to demand more from her encounters.

Ruby's presence starts to impact on James's relationship with his wife, with embarrassing consequences...

To my mind, this story is perfectly set up for all sorts of fun, simply because there are so many ways Ruby can get James into trouble. Here’s an excerpt:


The lights were off and Sally was in bed. James faced the wall as he undressed but when he turned around, in the faint glow from the clock, he could make out Ruby kneeling on all fours on the bed. She was naked except for her shoes, running one hand over her backside.

Want to do me doggy, Diggy?”

James worried Sally would hear if he replied, so said nothing. Ruby wiggled her ass a little, and James lifted his hand towards her. She wiggled again, and James’s hand touched her. The skin was cool and smooth. He let his hand move slowly over the swell of her bum cheek, down the outside of her thigh. Ruby moaned quietly as his hand slid around the back of her leg and upwards along the inside of her other thigh. As his hand reached higher he could feel the slickness of her juices. He slid two fingers easily inside her wet sex. Ruby groaned and James finger-fucked her slowly. He inserted his thumb into her anus and Ruby offered vocal encouragement and rocked herself back to meet his hand.

James?”

Suddenly the light came on, and Sally looked up at him with a puzzled expression. Hair flattened on one side, eyes getting used to the light, she stared at him.

James looked at himself. He stood with his hand held out, two fingers and thumb protruding like a child pretending he had a gun. He saw Sally’s gaze wander down his body, and James saw with horror he had an erection.

What are you doing?” Sally was understandably curious.

Er, sorry. I started to get a bit of cramp in my arm, so I was stretching it a bit before I got in bed.” James knew how lame his excuse sounded. “Probably a keyboard-related thing.” He tried to laugh, but it wouldn’t come out. “The pains we writers put ourselves through.” James shrugged, embarrassed at his own inability to be creative.

x x x

Ruby is one of my favourite-ever characters, and she’s relentless in her wish to get James to write her a better sex-life. She wants to feature in threesomes and gangbangs, and is trying everything to convince him it would help his sales:

x x x

Look, Ruby, the thing is—”

Oh I know, I know, it’s not my story.” Ruby used finger quotes. “But let’s pretend—for a minute—you were going to try and write an erotic story containing something slightly erotic. Can you pretend to do that for me, Diggy?”

James crossed his arms and exhaled loudly, letting go of the breath he was going to use to voice his reasons for not using the scene. He waited patiently.

Ruby stared into his eyes and he saw the flame of anger there slowly dissipate.

She let out a breath of her own, pushing her hair back behind one ear. “Thank you. Now, where was I? Number five has gone to the bar, and I’m standing next to the big guy with the rest of his crowd. There’s maybe half a dozen of them, all men in tight shirts and bulging muscles. But the big guy’s obviously their leader—the alpha male. You could put that term in your keywords, Diggy. Maybe increase your sales.”

Yeah, why don’t we make him your billionaire stepbrother who’s also a were-giraffe as well? That way we can tick a few more boxes.”

Ruby frowned. “Be sarcastic if you want, Diggy, but your books aren’t exactly flying off the shelves. And it’s werewolves or werebears—they’re the shifters the ladies like to read about, not weregiraffes.”

James smiled mischievously. “Ever seen the tongue on a giraffe?”

x x x


So there’s a lot of humour in this story, but there’s also quite a bit of heat, too. Hopefully I’ve managed to get the balance of the two about right, and people will enjoy it. I had a lot of fun writing it, but not as much fun as I’d have driving a Ferrari…

Giveaway!

You could win a copy of any of the books I’ve mentioned in this post. Just leave me a comment that includes your email, telling me which title you’d prefer. I’ll pick two winners, next Saturday. 

About Me 

Delores Swallows has many dirty thoughts, and during his free time he writes them down in the form of stories. Born and bred in the northwest of England, he has a commoner’s accent and a bit of a crush on his future queen. His stories often feature petite brunettes, high-heeled shoes and voyeurism. He claims he didn’t realise these were obsessions until someone pointed out how often they appear in his work. His latest release is called STRANGER THAN FICTION. It’s his thirteenth publication, but he thinks it’s bad luck to be superstitious.

Website: http://www.deloresswallows.com

Free stories and numerous photos of ladies in high heels!


Friday, July 3, 2015

Sneak Peek: Shared by the Highlanders by Ashe Barker

[Oh my! This historical erotic ménage sounds delicious! ~ Lisabet]



Blurb

After she becomes lost in a thick mist while hiking near the borders of Scotland, Charlene Kelly is shocked to encounter two men on horseback. To her horror, the pair—both of whom are dressed in Scottish tartans—accost her and won’t let her go. Though the men speak with accents so strong they seem to come from another era, Charlene is able to gather that they believe she is a thieving boy. Unsure what else to do, Charlene plays along.

When Will Sinclair and Robbie MacBride discover that their captive is in fact a woman—and quite a beautiful one at that—there is only one thing to be done. She must be punished for her deception, and punished thoroughly. A switch applied to her bare bottom does the job well, and soon enough the two men are comforting Charlene as she nurses her bright red, sore backside.

Upon learning that the highlanders are hand-carrying an important message from Elizabeth of England to the court of Mary, Queen of Scots, it finally dawns on Charlene that she is no longer in her own time. Though she is desperate to find a way home, Will and Robbie are both unlike any man she has ever met, and their unabashed dominance awakens in her a powerful need to submit. Soon enough, she finds herself blushing with shame and quivering with desire as she is taken long and hard by two rugged highlanders at once. But can these hardened warriors keep her safe from the perils of a world far more dangerous than the one she left behind?

Publisher’s Note: Shared by the Highlanders is an erotic romance novel that includes spankings, sexual scenes including threesomes, anal play, elements of BDSM, and more. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.

Excerpt

"You'll do as you're told, lass. Which brings us to the next matter we need to address." Robbie glances around, his gaze coming to rest on a small stone building about hundred yards from us. Beside it stands a sturdy oak tree, already tall enough to be spreading its branches over the solid looking roof. He turns to Will. "That should do fine, do you think? That bough sticking out to the side?"

Will nods. "Good choice. Best sling a blanket over it though. We don't want her getting all scratched, after all. Striping her arse is punishment enough I reckon."

"What? What are you talking about?" I so do not like the sound of this. Any discussion of my arse and punishment surely heralds disaster.

As Will peers into his saddlebag, presumably in search of the blanket he mentioned, Robbie continues the explanation.

"Well, lass, there's the matter of honesty. And truth, you understand. We set high store by it, and we will have it from you. Always. And from your argumentative tone I daresay your obedience is soon to become an issue too. It's time for you to learn what the consequences will be when you lie to us, or if you fail to obey an instruction. With luck, and if you prove to be a fast learner, it may not be necessary to administer another punishment spanking for some time. But right now, we have no real alternative."

"Spanking! No way. You are not spanking me."

Robbie grins, his expression unrepentant. And determined. "We are, lass. Right here and now. See yonder oak beside the stock shelter there? You'll be bent over the branch that stretches out to the side, your wrists and ankles tied together to make sure you don't shift from where we place you. You'll be naked of course, your arse tilted up for easy reach. Then you'll take six strokes of the switch. From each of us."

"No! No, you can't do that. That would be... it would be - assault."

"Aye, you could call it that I daresay, since you'll not be acquiescent by the sound of things. Don't look so stricken lass, it'll soon be done with and we can all be on our way."

"You promised I wouldn't be hurt. Last night, you said that."

"I think what we actually promised was that we would do you no harm. And we won't. A little firm discipline though, now that's another matter entirely. I've yet to meet the woman whose disposition was not the better for a well administered paddling. And most are truly thankful for it too, in the fullness of time of course."


Buy Links

Author bio


I’ve been an avid reader of fiction for many years, erotic and other genres. I still love reading, the hotter the better. But now I have a good excuse for my guilty pleasure – research.

I tend to draw on my own experience to lend colour, detail and realism to my plots and characters. An incident here, a chance remark there, a bizarre event or quirky character, any of these can spark a story idea.

When not writing – which is not very often these days - my time is divided between my role as resident taxi driver for my teenage daughter, and caring for a menagerie of dogs, rabbits, tortoises. And a very grumpy cockatiel.

I have twenty four (at the last count) titles on general release with publishers on both sides of the Atlantic, and I have several more in the pipeline. All my books feature BDSM. I write explicit stories, always hot, but they offer far more than just sizzling sex. I like to read about complex characters, and compelling plots, so that’s what I write too. Strong, demanding Doms are a given, often paired with new submissives who have a lot to learn.

I have a pile of story ideas still to work through, and keep thinking of new ones at the most unlikely moments, so you can expect to see a lot more from me.

Author links





Thursday, July 2, 2015

Be a Winner! Free Books for All and a Chance at Fifty Bucks!



Greetings!

As an author, I want to understand what you like and what you want. So I've created a fairly short (about 30 question) survey, here:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JGNFVY8

Everyone who completes the survey will receive a coupon for a free erotic romance book.

Plus, if you include your email address, I'll enter you into a giveaway for a $50 bookstore gift certificate.

Why wait? Give me your answers today, and get your free romance!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JGNFVY8


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Arousal of the Imagination

By Holly J. Gill (Guest Blogger)

Inspiration comes when you least expect it. You never know when the idea is going to take hold and lure you in, giving the characters the chance to talk and develop their story. For me inspiration comes from everything around me, hearing a tune, watching people, seeing something on the TV, reading a book, pictures, overhearing a conversation, reading an article. The list is endless, but for me, with my latest release Innocence it appeared fate took over.




I am fortunate enough to live in the UK and it’s a two hour drive to the destination I used for Innocence, based in Yorkshire, a county in northern England. Yorkshire is best known for its Roman and Viking heritage, as well as its Norman castles, medieval abbeys, Industrial Revolution-era cities and two national parks. The county town of York, founded by the Romans, has a 13th-century Gothic minster, Tudor houses and medieval walls. The interactive Jorvik Viking Centre recalls the area’s 9th-century occupation. The famous street called The Shambles has old 14th century timber-framed overhanging buildings. I love Yorkshire. Visiting the area for a day’s outing is always a blessing, just giving me time to reflect and admire the rolling hills and the beautiful setting. 

I first started writing Innocence back in November 2013. I wrote the first four pages of Kacey on the verge of ending her life, by jumping into the flowing river below her, only much to her annoyance a young man appears while taking a stroll. Angry, she wanted him to go away, but he wasn’t going to do that. Ideas kept creeping into my mind, but weren’t good enough. It didn’t drive me. So I allowed the four pages to sit and wait.




When writing a later novel, I found myself compelled, loving a privately owned estate with a grand hall. The surroundings blew me away. I spent endless hours googling the hall, not only the exquisite style of the hall itself but also the vital river running through the land. Now due to the hall being for sale, I had a great chance to admire the outstanding property, which kept some of its extravagant period features. The landscape left me jealous, so picture perfect, situated in Yorkshire, set in rolling countryside on the edge of the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and adjacent to a small yet attractive village. This estate lies 14 miles from York. I longed to use the same location in a book. Then suddenly the four pages that I’d started months previously had their setting, leaving Calvin and Kacey from Innocence to start telling me their story. I re-started the book in April 2014, and I carried on writing the series until it finished four books later.

Now, as I mentioned, the start of the story had already began at a river. The estate and its surroundings were ideal. Kacey was in a bad way, unsure where her life was heading, having no hope, certain that ending her life would be the only answer. While she walked dazed, scared, and lonely, she came across a river bridge. She looked down to the river and decided to walk onto private land down to the river to find the ideal spot to end her miserable life. That private land was Calvin Edward’s parent’s home, which had been in the family for generations.

I have been fortunate enough to visit and get up close to the hall and explore the landscape, getting the real feel of its idyllic surroundings. I have walked the pathway where Calvin found Kacey, so quiet and relaxing, hearing only the sound of the river and the birds singing. Of course being an author I changed a few things around, like the fact that on the land there is a mill that has been restored in recent years. Much hard work and dedication has been put into the mill to have it working in its original state. Another feature that I changed was the barns. In reality, the barns that had once been used by the owners of the hall have been sold to a local developer and renovated into homes. The barn in Innocence remains as a barn and owned by the hall, again this being used as a landmark throughout the series. I also visited the local village where Kacey had grown up and had a meal in the very pub I used in the story. This helped me get a real feel for the atmosphere, as well as letting me enjoy one of their delightful meals and taste their guest ale.

I was excited and got quite emotional, visiting the very place where I had set Innocence. The story itself is powerful, heart-wrenching, tear-jerking, yet the novel is funny at times. As I approached the bridge, where Kacey originally stops and looks down to the fast flowing river, I could feel her, sense her state of mind, her anguish, painnot thinking clearly, seeing nothing but red. This for me was a heart-stopping moment that made the trip extra special.

As for the characters, you cannot help but fall in love with Calvin Edwards, for his sweetness, his fresh faced good-looks, and the way he gives Kacey a chance, help, desire and more importantly courage. The fact that he’s only up north visiting his parents when really his life is down in London working for his father’s real-estate company doesn’t deter him. Although his life is elsewhere, he wants nothing but to make sure Kacey stays safe, and that she knows she has a friend who cares.

Kacey Richards, after a good childhood growing up in the village and educated at an all-girls school, leaves home when she’s sixteen. We pick her story up ten years later, at age twenty six where she has lost everything. She’s heavily pregnant, scared for her future and her unborn daughter. She has no money and no home. Her drug-addict boyfriend has dumped her and she can only see one direction, misery, with her daughter being taken from her and a life in the slums.

Using this hall inspired me, giving me so many opportunities to to develop the story. The land, the hall, the barn, and the stunningly breath-taking countryside that surrounded them, were perfect to arouse my imagination. I never imagined the story leading where it does, and how Calvin longs to help Kacey, get her back on the right path, giving her the stability and importantly someone who would listen to her, a shoulder to cry on. Only Calvin never imagined discovering what he does, turning his life around.

While writing this series, I had to tread carefully. I had to do research, to make sure everything was correct although unfortunately the way things are done in England is different from the way things are done in the States, as I discovered when my wonderful editor and proof-reader got their hands on the book. Thankfully through personal experiences I knew my information in UK was correct and stuck to it.

For me writing this novel gave me a challenge that changed my genre and tested my ability. While I wrote the first book of the series I had many moments of crying. I had to stop writing to calm down, before my return. This story pulled severally on my heartstrings and as reviews are saying‘unique’ ‘heart-wrenching’ ‘a page turner’for me Calvin and Kacey have achieved what they drove me to write.

Giveaway

Thank you so much for reading this post and thank you for having me as a guest to celebrate my latest release, Innocence. I’m giving away a PDF file of the book. Just leave me a comment telling me where is your favorite place to read. Don’t forget to include your email address.

The Innocence Series

Innocence
Innocence of Love
Breaking Innocence
Return To Innocence

Blurb
Innocence (Book 1)

Calvin Edwards has everything he could dream about— perfect lifestyle, running the family real-estate company back in London. He takes a holiday up north to visit his parents only to find a young pregnant woman attempting to take her life. Wishing to help, Calvin becomes a friend to her, only fears he’s out of his depth. Just when he thinks he can do this his past resurfaces, sending his life crashing.

Kacey is pregnant and her life is out of control with nowhere left to go. She descends on her mum for one last chance for help, only to have the door slammed in her face. At her wits end, she is alone, scared, and helpless until Calvin comes along. He becomes a dear friend giving her kindness, something she thought no longer existed in the world. Only she finds what she’d pushed to the back of her mind through selfish pain is back. Her past with all its mistakes has come back to life!


Excerpt

What the heck has she been telling you? Honestly, that girl wouldn’t know the word truth if it hit her in the face. She is after money, no doubt to take back to her drug dealing boyfriend.”

Calvin stepped forward needing to correct the evil woman. “She finished it, and she isn’t with him. Instead, she is scared and looking for someone to love her, but clearly the word ‘love’ means nothing to you. What mother,” he said, marching forward pointing his finger in her face. “Would allow their daughter at her most vulnerable state to leave her to walk the streets, how can you not care? No shame? She is frightened and yet, she is the one holding the grudge with you…yet you have turned it onto her. She is broken, has no-one and nowhere to go and yet you…you.” He gritted his teeth.

Calvin,” he heard his mother’s voice from behind as she touched his left shoulder. “Step back.”

No,” he growled. “She,” he said, pointing to Rosalind, “What she has done. I saved your daughter. I,” he said, thumping his chest. “I stopped your daughter from jumping off the bridge. I saved her. I was the one who coaxed her down,” he screamed.
Tears ran down his cheeks and could feel his mum holding onto his shoulder for comfort. He had to do it. He had to make her see how weak her daughter was and her mental state.

Rosalind widened her eyes glaring at him.

Yes, I saved her, I stopped her,” he said lowering his voice in heartache. “All she needed was someone to reach out to and help her take care of her. She has nothing…nothing. You imagine feeling that lonely,” he said, glaring deep into her eyes through the tears.

I have spent a few days listening to your daughter trying to help her, guide her, get her the help she needs, but as my good friend keeps telling me! She isn’t my problem, but I have made her my problem. I want to help her, and no, it’s not just because she’s expecting your grandchild,” he snarled. Calvin didn’t want anyone assuming that, but they would, of course they would, and he’d be the first to admit when he saw her bump, he had to do what he could to get her down from the bridge.

Calvin,” his mum muttered.

No, Mum,” he said, turning his head to glare at her. He watched his mum gulp. “Even you would admit you were fooled into the real reason why she left the village.” He turned his head back to meet Rosalind’s eyes. “Weren’t we?”

Rosalind still looked gormless, frowning like she had no idea what he was talking about.

Don’t you care your daughter was about to jump into the river and take her and the baby's life?” he sneered.

She stared at him, shocked, like she had no idea what was going on with her daughter, the puzzlement across her face and her eyes roamed all over the room, like the walls would give her answers.

I’m sorry.”

He shuddered.

Sorry! Is that all you can say. Sorry,” he heightened his voice. “Well, you're saying it to the wrong person, but then why would you wish to waste your breath on your daughter, when she is the one who has disgraced you. I mean heaven forbid she would turn out to be the little angel you had wished for, but noooo, she had to get herself knocked up, didn’t she?” he roared.

About Holly J. Gill

A wife and a mum to three grown up children, and lives in the UK. Holly J. Gill is a romance writer, her main genre being erotic romance. She has recently been exploring new channels, including paranormal and contemporary. Holly has been writing since being a young girl, having characters talking to her, and longing to get their stories written. Finally, her dream came true two years ago, when getting her first contract with Secret Cravings Publishing for her Desires series. In Holly’s spare time she loves spending quality time with her family, seeing friends for lunches and sharing her new potential ideas for books. She enjoys listening to music, watching movies and travelling around England visiting the beautiful countryside.

Writing is where Holly’s heart is… 

 

Where to find Holly









Where to find Holly’s books