Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Snog #167: The Eyes of Bast

It’s Sunday Snog time once more. As you might expect, I’ve got a sensational, sensual kiss from my new release The Eyes of Bast.

When you’re done with my snog, head back to Victoria’s place for more amazing kisses from your favorite authors.



Before I could stop him, he was standing in front of me, looming over me. I had no sense of threat, though. I caught the heady scent of male sweat, woven with the sharpness of crushed vegetation. I felt the warmth radiating from his body. I felt his power, sheathed, hidden, bubbling beneath the surface.

You’re blocking the door, Shaina. You’ll have to move if you want me to go.”

Wordless, lost in the storm of emotion swirling through me, I stepped aside. He flipped open the deadbolt.

Goodbye, beautiful one.”

No…”

I didnt intend to speak. The one-word plea emerged without any conscious decision. I reached for him, grasping his arm to hold him back. Some part of me knew that I shouldnt, couldnt allow him to leave.

Electricity shot through my arm, sizzled down my spine and ignited in my sex. I gasped.

You feel it too, dont you?With one finger, he tipped my face toward his. His eyes were emeralds set in ebony. They were so familiarI knew this strangerrecognized him at some fundamental level below rational thought.

Heat hummed through me, rippling out from that tiny spot on my chin where our skin met. I was acutely aware of my bare flesh under the thin cotton, my nipples gathered into tight, throbbing knots, my thighs damp with fluid leaking from my cleft.

I held his gaze, allowing him to see the raw need he inspired. I was totally naked, open, silently inviting him to take me.

He bent to me. His breath warmed my cheek as I held my own in anticipation. Then his lips met mine and reality exploded into a riot of lush sensation. Colors flared around us, scarlet, vermillion, grass-green, velvety jet. A thousand scents teased my nostrilsthe sweetness of fallen blossoms and ripe earth, summer-baked hay and rust-tinged water running over smooth stone. Sparks danced across my skin and burrowed beneath, racing through my blood to swell and soak me.

Just the chaste press of his closed lips had this effect. When he opened to slide his tongue into my mouth, a fever swept over me. I grabbed him, wrapping my arms around his back, plastering my body against his, mashing my hungry breasts against his solid chest. I wanted total contact. The parts of me that weren’t touching him felt lost, abandoned. A rigid bulk prodded my belly. I squirmed against him, thrilled by the promise of that hardness.

His tongue flicked across mine, rougher than I’d expected. He devoured me as though he was starved, gnawing on my lips then plunging deep inside. I felt every move in my pussy, as if that agile tongue rasped over my pulsing clit instead of my palate. My nipples were so tight they hurt. I ground my pubis against him, already trembling on the edge of orgasm.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Magic Matched: Betrothed

By Lola White (Guest Blogger)

Witches, Wiccans and Pagans are not exactly the same thing, though many who don’t belong to either of these groups might use the terms interchangeably—but no! I’m not listing every modern ‘witch’ community here because this post is about MY witches, and they are fictional.

But even fiction needs to be based in fact, so—armed with a liberal-arts education in politics and religion, some real-world experience and the knowledge shared by several Wiccan friends—I did my research. Not on general neo-paganism, but on witchcraft, and what I could make of it.

We all know tons of witchcraft history. Witch hunts and witch trials, burning at the stake and drowning in the rivers, pacts with the devil or born with a natural talent, casting spells or raising the dead, flying on broomsticks or transporting their spirit through astral projection, hags and sorceresses… or simple village wise-women striving to combat disease with herbs. Religious texts of nearly every faith share some opinion on witchcraft, which proves that the concept is one of the oldest known to mankind—which isn’t that surprising, really. Even today, witchcraft is something mystical, magical, fearful…

Uppermost in my mind, when I set out to write about my witches, was the day I arrived in the African village I called home for years. The villagers beheaded a woman for ‘bewitching’ someone. As far as I know, that was the only death sentence passed down while I was there, but there were many other cases of witchery brewing (pun intended?) and some were fantastical—a man claimed to have been turned into a dog for years by a witch, children were exorcised and blessed to stop them from being witches… I could go on, but I won’t.

My research of witchcraft naturally led to researching witch hunts. With my first-hand experience urging me on, I found out that a lot of places are still actively pursuing witches—who are still predominantly thought to be women, though men are not completely excluded. For the purposes of my story, I narrowed my focus to Europe, North America, Africa, India… and then threw in some Japanese mythology.

I took pieces of many traditions and beliefs and mixed in real history and politics. I created a society that exists amidst modern-day reality—hidden, of course, to prevent more witch hunts—and constrained by ancient rules. With so much focus on female witches, my society originated as a matriarchy, but I twined fictional events with real history so that men (males) waged war to gain power, and now the witching world is divided into matriarchal and patriarchal covens. In my witching society, magic and politics are the only things that matter, and marriages are arranged for advantage rather than love.

Magic Matched is a four-part series that follows Silviu Lovasz, a patriarchal witch, and Georgeanne Davenold, a matriarchal witch, who must open their hearts to each other in order to unlock their full magical potential. They both have rare talents, which prompted their families to reach across the divide between the covens and betroth them as children, with the hopes that the pair could attain positions of power in their society.



Betrothed is the first book in the series and weaves together two stories. After a ten-year separation that left Georgeanne distrustful of Silviu, and Silviu hungering for Georgeanne’s return, they reunite in Poland, at Silviu’s sister’s betrothal celebration. Georgeanne is the key to Silviu’s rise to power, but she is fighting to gain her own power, in her own coven and he is a threat to her personal ambitions.

Ileana Lovasz is a pawn, with a string of broken betrothals to prove it, and she’s willing to use her body to escape her manipulative grandfather, and gain an edge for Silviu’s political goals. Eliasz Levy has every intention of forming an alliance with Silviu and marriage to Ileana is an ideal way to get what he wants. But when the new couple meets, emotions they never expected change everything.

Ileana, Eliasz, Silviu and Georgie must build an alliance that will help them all get what they want but, with too many lies and too many enemies, the game they’re playing turns deadly. When the two women come under attack, neither Silviu nor Eliasz knows which is the target. They only know they will protect the women their hearts have claimed as their own, even though that means defying the traditions of witching society, risking every goal they hold dear and confronting the dangerous members of their own families.

Betrothed is now available for early download through Totally Bound and will be found everywhere else on April 24th. Enter the witching world and follow Silviu and Georgeanne as they gather allies for their cause, and learn the true strength behind their magic.

My name is Lola White, and I write any story that happens to haunt me at the time. You can find me at my website, www.lola-white.com and get Betrothed at https://www.totallybound.com/betrothed

Thank you Lisabet for letting me be your guest, and congratulations on your own release, The Eyes of Bast, also through Totally Bound.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Out Today! The Eyes of Bast (comment and win!)

My shapeshifter erotic romance The Eyes of Bast is finally available for early download from Totally Bound. This may be the purest romance I’ve written. It’s got a fabulous villain, too. 


 

Trust your heart. Follow your dreams.

Shaina Williams' grandmother bequeathed her that wisdom, along with a old pendant from the Islands, carved from an ocelot's tooth. When instinct tells Shaina to visit the feral cat trap she'd set in Central Park, she listens to that inner voice, She discovers she's caged a magnificent black tom, but the cat inexplicably vanishes after she tends to his wounds. Seeking the errant feline, Shaina encounters instead a handsome stranger whose slightest touch sets her body on fire. As the day dawns after a night of ferocious passion, her mysterious lover is forced back into his true shape - the tomcat she'd rescued.

Born a cat, Tom was transformed into an unwilling shape shifter by a sorceress who craved a human plaything to satisfy her perverse lusts. Centuries old and irresistibly powerful, Delphine Montserrat will stop at nothing to find her runaway familiar. Shaina vows to do whatever is necessary to defeat the vicious but seductive witch and save the man she believes is her soul mate – even though it might mean losing him forever. 

* * * * 

I’ve got an excerpt for you below. Leave a comment telling me what you think and I’ll enter you into a drawing for a free copy! Don’t forget to include your email address so I can find you.

Excerpt

Tom finally broke the kiss and leaned back with a sigh. “Ah, Shaina! I should never have allowed you near me. But I was so very lonely... I wasn’t thinking straight. Now I’ve put you in danger too.”

Danger? What kind of danger?” I reached over to flick the switch on my reading lamp, so I could read his expressions. Then I seated myself cross-legged at his feet and clasped his hands in mine. “Tell me, Tom. Tell me everything.”

You will not believe me.”

How could I not believe after – after what I saw this morning?”

His brows knotted together. “I never wanted you to see – I was careless...”

But I did see. And now I know, at least something about you. But I don’t know enough to help you out of whatever trouble you’re in. Tell me the whole truth. I promise I’ll keep it private, if that’s what you want. And I promise I won’t be shocked.”

Tom’s lush mouth twisted in a grimace of disgust. “You might not be able to keep that promise. But never mind. You’ve asked. I’ll tell you.”

He stared off into the distance, above my head. “I was born in a small town in coastal Maine, about seven years ago.”

Seven years...?”

I was born a cat.”

I choked down my cry of surprise. How could it be...?

Yes. I was born under a wharf. I spent the first six months of my life as a black kitten, a stray living off the scraps from the fishing boats and clam shacks. Then she caught me and made me her prisoner.”

She?”

I don’t even want to utter her name. There’s danger in the very word. She is a witch, centuries old, a practitioner of the darkest arts – the epitome of evil. Out walking one evening along the rocky shore, she caught sight of me and wanted me as her familiar. It was easy for her to lure me into her clutches.

At first she just used me to facilitate her spells. The rumored powers of black cats are more than just legend. Before long, though, she began to experiment.”

His ominous tone sent a chill through my naked body. I pulled the towel around me.

You see, her advanced age hadn’t diminished her lust. Quite the opposite. She wanted a sexual plaything, someone she could use to satisfy her perverted desires. A male body she could own and control. So she delved into her books of magic, seeking a spell that would turn her poor innocent feline familiar into a man – at least when she wanted him that way.

Her first attempts failed.” Tom shuddered at the recollection. “She barely managed to save my life. I guess she’d grown fond of me at that point – in her own twisted way.”

Oh, Tom...”

Finally, she found a ritual that would change an animal into a human during the hours when the sun was banished from the earth. I’ll never forget the terror of that first transformation, when I found myself wobbling on two legs in front of her naked body. It was even worse than what came after.”

What was that?”

Oh, Shaina – I was human, but scarcely a man. I was barely thirteen.” 
 

Get your copy of The Eyes of Bast today!


And don’t forget to enter the contest!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Taboos

By Lacey Reah (Guest Blogger)

Today, I’m honored to be a guest of the sultry and eloquent Lisabet. I only hope that what I have to say is deserving of this spot. Today I reflected on the whole notion of taboos and I was thinking that it is a writer’s duty to tackle them. What are taboos?

These are things that are forbidden. We aren’t supposed to utter them, yet they exist and because we are not allowed to talk about them, they shall always exist in darkness.

Taboos find power in silence. You don’t talk about them because to mention them would take away someone else’s power. Whether it’s the blue code of silence, the disapproval of union workers to let their bosses critique their productivity, the inability of a subordinate to critique his boss or the threat of an abuser not to tell anyone else, silence protects someone else’s power.

Sometimes a taboo is the elephant in the room no one is allowed to acknowledge. Other times, it is a turn on that can’t be mentioned lest it incites us to discover our passions. And we all know what society thinks of unbridled and uncontrollable passion. Lord forbid, a piece of writing or work of art uncovers a deep part of the psyche that makes us dream, makes us desire or drives us to act. The last thing our captors want is for us be moved by something. Best we not mention anything that takes us out of our conditioned, mundane world.

Tackling taboos is the greatest purpose of reading and writing. We must always bring out what is hidden and expose the truth, the lies, or even the great depths of our imagination. There is something enslaving about a culture that thrives on silence, that preaches political correctness and puts boundaries on how and what is to be said. Such a culture is one that wants us to be robots and can’t accept that we are who we are.

Bene Brown said,“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor - the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant "To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart." Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences -- good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as "ordinary courage.”

According to the dictionary of etymology, the word was initially used in Middle English for “’what is one’s mind or thoughts, hence ‘bravery, but also ‘wrath, pride, confidence, lustiness,’ or any sort of inclination.”

When we tackle taboos we are freeing our readers from isolation. We are letting them see the light, allowing them to be themselves and giving them the “courage” to tell their own story, in any way they see fit so keep writing and reading whatever compels you.

Fireflies by Lacey Reah

Blurb

Linda is a calculating, career-driven woman whose perfect world is shattered when she is seduced and transformed by a vampire-like creature called a nymphomite. Linda becomes a beast, feeding off the energy of orgasmically-charged blood. Convinced that her humanity has faded away, Linda adapts to her new instincts of hunger and sex. She hunts women primarily, for their longer and more frequent orgasms, and becomes a master of prolonging and intensifying their pleasure. But she never expected to find a woman like Jesse, and Linda's decision to spare her life instead of feed off her leads to a shocking turn of events that will make Linda question her beast-like identity and the humanity she thought she had lost.



Excerpt

Okay, show me,” I say. I’m in the mood for some kind of adventure. I feel the full moon on me and I am restless and alive. I am not as anal as Pierre thinks I am. I’m quite daring when I see an opportunity, and Natasha is an opportunity. An opportunity for something new, something to add to my sexual experiences.

Not that I am dissatisfied at all with my love life. Pierre is the quintessential Latin lover. He’s funny and smart and interesting and thoughtful and romantic. He has the best body. Sure, he has the usual bulging biceps and toned chest that we expect in a good-looking male, all due to fifteen years of playing soccer nonstop since he was five years old. He has a uniquely well shaped ass that cannot be compared to any other. He has a thick penis with a full head that gives me hours of pleasure. He can pound and thrust and gently glide it. He can shoot it like a machine gun and he gives the greatest oral pleasure I’ve ever had. Pierre serenades me with romantic songs in three different languages, just like Julio Iglesias. If I’m cranky, he brings me chocolates and provides me with endless massages. He is never angry, but can be feisty enough in bed to bring out my wild side. Yet he can be soft and sensuous, teasing and sultry. He is loyal. He worships me. Pierre’s well, perfect. Ugh, that word again. Maybe I want to rile things up a bit. If I bring in another woman the result may not be as hot as I have imagined it. It might add strife to our perfect world. Maybe that’s what I want. It would give me something to work on, something to fix.

We walk together, through the many paths of the park. After a while, I have no clue where I am anymore so I rely on her to lead the way. Pierre will be worried. No, Pierre has probably fallen asleep by now. I can imagine the look on his face if I actually succeed in taking Natasha home with me. It would be worth the wait for him, and the thought of seeing the look he will give me urges me to trudge on and not look back.

Up here,” she says and proceeds to climb a series of rocks up a hill. She is wearing nothing but flip-flops yet can spring from rock to rock with the grace of a mountain lion. I feel awkward in my cloggy sandals and the little black dress which I threw on just for my night walk. “Over here,” she says as she waits for me to catch up.

I don’t see anything,” I respond.

They are only attracted to certain things. Sit down with me and I’ll show you how to call them over.”

She pats the rock next to her and I awkwardly lower myself onto the seat she has made for me. I feel awfully close to her and can actually feel the heat and energy emanating from her muscles. Suddenly, I feel her grab my silky hair and pull my lips towards her. Her lips are full and luscious, like two of the softest cushions I have ever felt. Her tongue is long and slithery as it probes every section of my mouth. I cannot resist her. Am I cheating? Pierre is nowhere in sight. She’ll meet him eventually. This is a good thing.

She skillfully runs her strong soft hands over my breasts, arousing me in that sensitive area. I find myself moaning, surrendering to the dexterity of her fingers. My nipples grow harder and she pinches them in a way I have never felt before. Where am I? I don’t know where I am. She has me trapped here. What is going on? “I thought we came here to see some creatures,” I gasp.

They are coming. They only respond to this. Surrender. Surrender. I can take you to places no one else has ever taken you. I will shatter your world,” she whispers, almost hissing in her intensity.

She kisses me aggressively and presses me against her round, free breasts. Her right hand creeps down my abdomen and down my inner thigh. She rubs it gently and reaches higher and higher. I feel myself pushing my hips towards her, wanting to rub myself against her in any way I can but she shoves me hard against the rocks. She gently sneaks her hand into my underwear and inserts her finger inside me. I immediately squeeze my walls around her. She removes her wet finger and starts to pinch and rub my clitoris. I can feel the wetness of her finger. It is soothing and hot. I feel the heat rising in me and I start to throb within as she rubs me faster and faster. My eyes are closed now but when I open them, I am in the midst of an orgasm. She is glowing brighter than ever. Maybe it is just the result of my state of sexual climax that makes me think so, but I swear she is glowing. She is in some kind of trance as I throb uncontrollably. It won’t stop. I want more. I can orgasm hundreds of times while having sex. I know it’s a girl thing but I’ve been told that I do it more than most women.

In the midst of my moaning I do not hear them, but now I see them appear. They also glow with pale flawless features. Their red eyes are wide with hunger. They gaze at me but keep their distance. Natasha looks up fiercely. She hisses at them and they step back. They are beautiful with wild hair and they all move like she does. I climax harder as I witness the sight of these women. They all look highly aroused but they hesitate to come close.

Then I look up at Natasha and I see the flaw, that unknown flaw that has teased me since I first saw her smile. She opens her mouth and I see her razor-sharp canines, but before I can think anything else, she sinks them into my neck. I flinch at first but my love for her overrides my fighter reflexes. The pain of her bite only fuels my throbbing organ and I can feel the wetness drip all over my thighs as she rubs me. Just when I think I have climaxed, she brings me even higher and I stay here, lost in a world of psychotic bliss. I am screaming now and the others approach. She is busy drinking my blood, sucking with all her might. She continues to rub me enthusiastically as I come and come again and again.


About Lacey

Lacey Reah has worked as a teacher, a fitness and yoga guru, a healer, an actress and a writer. She has traveled the globe, living in major cities such as Manilla, Sydney, Los Angeles and New York; working odd-ended jobs such as retail sales and being a paid physic. Wherever she has gone, she has taken every opportunity to track every key point of her life and document it. So much has happened in her life and with heavy bouts of sleep apnea that it is difficult to discern the reality from the fantasy. She is on a lifetime search for truth.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What is it about werewolves that makes us squirm?

By Naomi Bellina (Guest Blogger)

Paranormal romance is a popular genre. Those who read it love everything from vampires to angels, from demons to fairies. Bring on the supernatural hotties. Why do we crave these mysterious creatures and their worlds? For me, it's nice to think there are beings out there, other than boring old humans. Life can get dull and often painful and at the end of the day, it's nice to escape to a whole different world where anything can happen. Yep, that's right. In a paranormal story, the laws of reality don't apply. Which is one reason it's so much fun to write! The only limit is my imagination.

I'm working on a series about werewolves and werecats and I wondered, why do we find these beasts so sexy? There must be a reason we're so drawn to these creature who are human but can shift to a wild animal. Here are my top five reasons to love werewolves:

1. We can be as wild as we want with a werewolf. Since they run around on all fours and hunt small animals, anything we do will be tame compared to that. Leaving our underwear on the floor, burping, yelling across the house to each other, letting the leg hair grow long in the winter, all okay.

2. We don't have to pick at our food or have perfect table manners when eating. In fact, werewolves enjoy a woman with a good appetite and an extra few pounds on her. More to love.

3. They're powerful. Women are drawn to strong men because we know they will protect us and our offspring. As long as the guy doesn't go overboard with macho-ism, strength is sexy.

4. Some of them are tortured. They don't want to be a creature of darkness. When we love them, we help them accept themselves for what they are.

5. They do it like an animal. Yeah, like an animal.

My hero in Ruled by the Moon, Dylan, fights his animal nature since he has a difficult time controlling his wolf during sex and he's harmed a woman once while trying to make love. Morgan has a way to help him, if he'd stop being so stubborn and let her.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Ruled by the Moon.


Blurb
A psychic vet, a secretive werewolf, a menace stalking the shifters. Welcome to Nocturne.

Dylan is a werewolf with a problem. He shifts at the new moon as well as at the full moon. He was born a werewolf, not made like most shape-changers and due to these unique traits he's avoided joining a pack and has given up hope of having a normal life. Morgan is a veterinarian, ready to be on her own for a good long time after leaving a cheating, spineless husband. She has a plan for her life that doesn't include a bossy, furry man.

Both are drawn to Nocturne, a town filled with magic due to a strong convergence of ley lines in the area. Morgan and Dylan recognize a connection when they meet, but neither one is looking for romance. After a harrowing encounter with a panther shape-shifter, they must combine forces and work together to uncover a menace that threatens the town. If they can learn to trust each other and let their guard down, they have a chance to solve the mystery and open the door to love.

Excerpt

You really should get that lock on your door fixed.”

Morgan stood in the kitchen, leaning casually against the counter, not looking overly concerned to have a shotgun pointed at her.

You really should knock and not sneak up on people.”

I did knock. No one answered. I came in.”

He lowered the weapon. “I leave the door unlocked a lot. Most people around here do. It’s not an invitation to enter my home.” Dylan’s heart pounded. She looked unbelievably hot. The air in the room danced with electricity and a shiver of wanting ran through him.

How about that bulge in your pants? Is that an invitation?”

Aware that his cock was standing at attention, Dylan called up every ounce of self-control he possessed. The very worst thing in the world that could happen right now was for him to be close to this woman.

Morgan, you need to leave. Now. It’s not safe for you to be here.”

Smiling seductively, she walked toward him. He backed up until they were both in the dining room. Her eyes sparked as she undid the tie on her coat and dropped it to the floor. He moaned. The reality of her naked body was better than his imagination. Full breasts, with brown jutting nipples, a little roundness to her belly and hips that begged for his hands to hold them. She didn’t shave herself bald, revealing the hair on her head to be her true color.

Look, I know you think this is a bad idea, but I’d really like a chance to prove it’s not. I know you want me. There was enough fire in that kiss to ignite a volcano. Come on, let’s give this a whirl and see what happens.”

Smiling, she walked to him and brushed her breasts against his chest then leaned her pelvis close, rubbing against his pants. The silk material was so thin, he could feel her coarse pubic hair on his stiff cock. Dylan closed his eyes. He knew he needed to get the hell out of that room but he couldn’t move. His body ached with desire.

Please, Morgan, don’t do this.”

How about I do this, then?”

Reaching through the opening of his pants, she grabbed his cock and slowly stroked it with her fingertips.

Damn, you feel good. I’m so ready for you.” She put his hand between her legs.

He could feel her heat and almost taste her wet juice in his mouth. Saliva formed and a powerful rush of energy roared through his body. Don’t, don’t, don’t! His mind told him to push her away and run like hell, while every cell in his body longed to take her.

Just a little, I can have just a little. I can control it.

Calling up every ounce of strength he possessed, he pushed the animal back and wrapped his arms around her, buying his nose in her hair. That smell! It was more intoxicating than his whiskey. As his body made contact with hers, heat seared through him in a path right to his soul. She fit perfectly, as though she were designed for him. His heart leapt, and for just a moment, he thought it was going to work. He was going to make love to this enchanting woman. He was going to see his hunger reflected in her eyes, was going to feel her move with him in that ancient dance of desire. He was going to wake up to her smile in the morning.

Then he brushed his hand across her bare back and his nail dug into her skin.

Morgan yelped and pulled away from him.

Ow! That hurt!”

Shit. It was not going to work. He couldn’t hold it back, he was going to change.

Get out of my house, now!” he ordered

Morgan backed away slowly. “Why? What’s going on?”

Get out!” He turned his back to her.

He stood, panting, trying desperately to stop the shift but it was no use. In a few moments the beast would be in control.

Buy Links for Ruled by the Moon:

Liquid Silver Books: http://bit.ly/1FjkVls
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1uRHgn1
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1v3ptb6
All Romance: http://bit.ly/1pg3ZIr

About Me

Naomi lives in sunny Florida with the love of her life and a magical calico cat. She writes for various fiction and non-fiction markets but is drawn to romance because her characters insist on canoodling and falling in love. So she lets them. Her interests include dancing, motorcycle riding, drumming and creating healthy meals. She takes the opportunity to play whenever possible. Her motto: Never pass up the opportunity to have an adventure!


Where to find me (I play around at Pinterest, Goodreads, and other places too)
Naomi Bellina
Provocative tales of love, lust, passion and magic


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Review Tuesday: The Marketplace by Laura Antoniou

The Marketplace by Laura Antoniou
Luster Editions, Circlet Press, 2010

If you had a friend who was interested in BDSM, but who didn't have much experience, what fiction would you advise her to read? What books belong to the BDSM canon? The Story of O, certainly. Maybe A.N. Roquelaure's Beauty trilogy (although if the real author were not Anne Rice, I wonder if those books would get as much attention as they do). Perhaps Molly Weatherfield's Safe Word and definitely a couple of Rachel Kramer Bussel's D/s-themed anthologies such as He's on Top, She's on Top, Yes, Sir or Yes, Ma'am.

One book that would make almost everyone's list, I think, is Laura Antoniou's The Marketplace and its sequels. I've been hearing about these books for years – no, decades – ever since I joined the ranks of BDSM readers and authors. Although I'm a devotee of D/s fiction and to some extent practice, somehow I never got the opportunity to read any of the series. One reason was the fact that despite their acclaim they have received, the books keep going out of print. The Marketplace was originally published by Masquerade Books in 1993. A new edition was released by Mystic Rose Books (also responsible for the wonderful primer Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns) in 2000. Now Circlet Books, renowned for speculative and scifi erotica, has created a new imprint call Luster Editions to bring The Marketplace books back for today's readers. When I was offered the opportunity to review the first volume, I jumped at the chance.

The Marketplace introduces a world where an elite cadre of dominants train, sell and buy willing slaves. The secrets of the Marketplace members are jealously guarded. In the everyday clubs and dungeons, BDSM afficionados trade rumors about the shadowy cabal of slave owners and their human property: the rigors the slaves must undergo, the enormous sums of money exchanged, the contracts, the collars, the decadent resorts, the beauty and the power of the masters and mistresses.

The Marketplace introduces Grendel and Alexandra, traders and trainers of premium slaves. Both are expert dominants. The book is deliberately vague about their relationship. Four would-be slaves apply to undergo the Marketplace training regimen at the hands of Grendel and Alex and their major domo Chris. None is a true amateur. In fact, all four consider themselves to be accomplished submissives. Almost immediately, the dominants strip the four of their illusions and show them how far they are from being Marketplace material.

Brian is a gay bottom who loves to be beaten and “forced” to suck cock. Despite his claims to being submissive, he is manipulative, sarcastic, cynical, rebellious and far too garrulous to be a good slave.

Sharon is used to holding men in thrall as she eagerly offers herself as a sexual object. Like Brian, she believes that being a slave is all about sex.

Robert has been feminized by his former mistress to the point that he has no self-confidence and hates his own penis. Although he is intelligent and well-educated, he becomes helpless and incompetent under pressure.

Finally, shy, virginal Claudia can act the part of the sweet, submissive French maid to absolute perfection, but that is the limits of her repertoire. Her mistress offers her to Alex and Grendel out of frustration and boredom, hoping that they can make her braver and more sensual.


Grendel and Alexandra devise customized lessons and trials for each of the aspirants, seeking to teach them the reality of being a slave in the Marketplace world. Sharon is assigned to muck out the stables and study diction and opera. Brian is made to wear ribbons and bells and deprived of sexual satisfaction. Robert studies martial arts and is forbidden to shave his hated body hair. Shrinking violet Claudia is required to take responsibility for the entire household while the normal housekeeper is on vacation and to severely discipline the other aspirants.

Although many of the stereotypes in BDSM erotica may have started with The Marketplace, the book itself is fresh, original and engrossing. It considers the nature of D/s relationships with rare depth and insight. In the Marketplace world, submission (and in fact, dominance) is about far more than sex. For the first half of the book, few of the lessons imposed on the would-be slaves involve sex at all. They learn to obey without thinking, to take responsibility for their successes and their mistakes, to trust their masters and each other. Over the course of the novel, each one changes, approaching the perfection required of Marketplace slaves – though how that is defined will vary for each one.

I loved this book. For one thing, despite its fantasy premise, it has a realistic, down-to-earth feel. The characters are complex and their interactions nuanced and believable. The Marketplace is the exact opposite of the kinky fairy tale world of the Beauty books – even though they share activities and physical elements.

I also appreciated the recognition of the deep sense in which the slaves' servitude is consensual. The aspirants' most cherished desire is to be accepted as worthy by the Marketplace. The most terrible punishment that can be threatened is for them to be sent away, to be released from the training and set adrift in the shallow world of BDSM “play”.

Finally, I resonate with the view of D/s as something more than just a game, as something that can transform one's soul. To quote one of my favorite passages:

To be thrilled by the touch of leather, aroused by harsh words, or satisfied by the security of rigid bondage is the mark of a lover.

To be thrilled at the opportunity to provide useful service, aroused by a pleased nod, and satisfied by the proverbial job well done, is the mark of a slave.

It may sound severe. Almost anti-erotic. Until you see two people, owner and owned, existing in a complementary relationship where each suits the other like balances on a delicate scale. Until you feel the energy of their rapport, you cannot understand how they fulfill each other, take and give in ways no negotiation could possibly express.

Then you will understand the singular intimacy that drives such people on their search for perfection. It is beyond orgasm. Beyond love. It can almost be called rapture.

If these words speak to you the way they do to me, you must read this book.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lisabet's March News

Young man on a couch
Care to join me?

Welcome to my March Newsletter! No, I'm not above bribing you to read by offering you some eye candy... but I've also got lots of exciting info to share.

New and Upcoming Releases
 
Since my last newsletter, less than four weeks ago, I've released two new books in very different genres. And I have a full schedule stacked up for the next six weeks!

Witches Cover

Right now, I'm celebrating the publication of my very first single author F/F book, The Witches of Gloucester. This story (about 12,000 words) was originally written for my upcoming F/F collection Her Own Devices. I wanted some variety, since most of the stories in that book are realistic, contemporary pieces about couples. In contrast, Witches is a paranormal fantasy piece with a light-hearted tone, and features a threesome of delicious heroines. The publisher, however, felt that Witches would do better as a stand-alone title. Perhaps she thought it was too different from the rest of the stories. Anyway, it's out now and available at all your favorite bookstores. For a full list of links, go to the LadyLit site. You can read a spicy excerpt here.

Duos3 Cover

The third volume of my D&S Duos series is also available now. This book includes two female-dominant stories, "Be Careful What You Wish For", and "Layover". You won't find stereotyped harsh mistresses in corsets and stilettos in these tales, though. My heroines wield more subtle forms of power—and the heroes love it.

And that's just the beginning. Here's a rough schedule of my releases coming up:
  • March 27 - Early download release of The Eyes of Bast from Totally Bound (M/F paranormal erotic romance)
  • April 3 - D&ampS Duos Book 4 (M/F BDSM erotica)
  • mid April - Her Own Devices (F/F erotica/romance)
  • April 24 - General Release of The Eyes of Bast
  • April 24 - Release of The Gonzo Collection by Daddy X, edited by me (over-the-top erotica)
  • late May - Coming Together: Outside the Box, including my M/M story "To Boldy Go"

I will be doing a blog tour for The Eyes of Bast the last week in April, with some fantastic prizes. Also, I'm working on a collection of paranormal short stories which should be out by May.

Oh, I have one more publication credit this past month. If you like to hear your erotic romance tales read out loud, check out Nobilis Reed's podcast site. He's featuring my steampunk story Green Cheese. To listen to it, go to the link below. You'll need Flash-enabled web browser.

http://nobilis.libsyn.com/episode-320-green-cheese-by-lisabet-sarai

Free Reading and Other News

This month's free read is one of my oldest BDSM romance stories, and one of my favorites: Wednesday Night at Rocky's Ace Hardware. Dominance and submission well-sweetened with love—check it out.

Speaking of free (and BDSM...), I also have links on the free reading page to a brand new book of kink entitled Beyond 50 Shades. This 200-plus page book, edited by award-winning D.L. King, includes fifty extended excerpts from the best BDSM erotica and erotic romance available in the market. You'll recognize lots of names—including, of course, mine. The book's available in pdf, mobi and epub formats.

While we're on the subject of awards, Cheyenne Blue's wonderful lesbian anthology Forbidden Fruit: Stories of Unwise Lesbian Desire has been nominated for a prestigious Lambda Literary Award. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

The best way to stay informed about all my releases and contests, is to join my VIP email list. Just send an email to lisabet [at] lisabetsarai [dot] com. Every month I run an exclusive contest for my VIP readers. For my March giveaway, the winner will have a choice of any two books from my backlist. I'll be announcing the contest next week, so if you want to sign up, do it now!

Lisabet's Pick of the Month

My March pick of the month is Big Ed's Place. Big Ed Magnusson is one of my colleagues from the Erotica Readers & Writers Association. Ed writes ferociously intelligent, consistently arousing erotica, often touching on difficult subjects like addiction and loneliness. His site is a joy to navigate; the wonderful manga-style art work is a bonus. (He also has an explicit photo gallery with images of his characters.)