Saturday, December 31, 2011

First Moon

First Moon image

Here's a free New Year's shifter story - to get you in the right mood for the holiday!

I'm good at being human. No one ever guesses the truth.

I hold down a responsible, well-paying job as HR Director for an up-and-coming biotech company. The ability to smell emotion and read non-verbal cues gives me an advantage when working with tense or angry employees. I have a handful of women friends, including Lyssa, the hostess for tonight's festivities. I join them for coffee or shopping or movies, just like an ordinary person. We complain and gossip. We talk about men. Yes, I've even had lovers, occasionally, though I have to admit they always leave me feeling unsatisfied – not necessarily physically, but in some deeper sense. Lyssa and Janine tease me, telling me I'm too much of a perfectionist, that I should compromise, that these days nobody expects to meet her soulmate. I laugh along with them, pretending to agree.

People like me, are drawn to me in fact. I'm no anti-social loner, despite the reputation of my kind. And yet, there's always a wall, keeping me separate. Tonight especially, as the clock counts down to midnight and my friends get progressively more tipsy, I'm aware of the distance between me and my fellow celebrants. It's as if I'm looking through one way glass. I sense their joys, their fears, their rising excitement, the surges in hormones triggered by the closeness of the opposite sex. New Year's Eve, a night to be a bit reckless, to take chances one can blame in the morning on too much wine. No one really sees or understands me, though. My weariness from the effort of maintaining my mask. My longing for freedom. My unending, unalterable loneliness.

Almost everyone is dancing. The loud rock music stirs my body but hurts my ears. Lyssa's condo suddenly feels stuffy and overly warm. Twenty five or thirty humans give off significant heat. I'm sweating in my velvet top.

I slip out onto the tiny deck, closing the glass doors behind me, and the noise mutes, though drum beats still vibrate the planks under my heels. Gazing across the Cambridgeport rooftops to the river, I fill my lungs with frigid December air. The cold, still night is as delicious as Lyssa's champagne.

It snowed earlier, so every surface is frosted in white, but now the sky is clear as crystal, black as my ebony hair. The moon climbs above the chimneys and my breath catches in my chest. It's barely half-full, no real challenge to my self-control, but still, the beast in my stirs and stretches. Moonlight glitters on the icy Charles. I crave the sensation of that stark, pale light on my nakedness.

“Oh, sorry! Hello!” A pleasant-voiced, even-featured man appears beside me. “It's just too loud in there, isn't it? Do you mind some company?”

“No, not at all,” I'm forced to reply, though I'd really rather savor the night alone.

“I'm Brett,” he adds, then wraps his arms over his nicely muscled chest. “Jeez, it's cold out here! Aren't you freezing?”

“Not at all.” I let the awkward pause lengthen, refusing to pick up the conversational ball and tell him my name as he expects. I stare at the moon, so bright it practically burns. “I love winter nights.”

I smell Brett's arousal, sense his frustration and confusion. “It's nearly midnight,” he says finally. “Want to come in?”

I can practically read his mind: his lips on mine as the year turns, his big hands molding my hips and pulling me close. I'm tempted for an instant, but I know how it will end - like every other encounter, flat and empty.

“In a minute. You go ahead.” He sighs, turns, leaves me to my solitary vigil.

“Five. Four. Three. Two. One.” My friends' voices are a million miles away. The moon whispers to me. Why resist your nature? Why surround yourself with strangers when what you want is the earth under your feet and the night wind in your hair?

New Year's Eve, a night to be reckless. I make my way through the crowd of laughing, kissing humans, to offer Lyssa my thanks and regrets. Nobody really notices me leaving.

My coat swung over my shoulder, I head for the river, high heels loud on the empty pavement. The deserted Esplanade gleams in the moonlight, embroidered with the intricate shadows of the bare-limbed oaks and maples.

I manage to hold off the change until I'm under the trees. The brief, familiar disorientation ripples through me, then the flavors of the night deluge my senses. The faint rustle of a few crisp leaves clinging to the branches above me. The pulsing blood-smell of a rabbit crouched under a footbridge. Tar and car exhaust, blackberries and rust, the damp, ripe scent of the ground, still unfrozen under the thin carpet of snow.

Stretching out my paws, I work the stiffness out of my spine. The moon beams down on me. My snow-dusted jet fur sparkles.

I have just enough human left in me to suppress my howl. Instead, I run.

It's effortless. I race through the shadows along the river bank, eating up the ground. The power surging through me has me drunk as any liquor. Sights, sounds, scents flash by, each one acute and distinct despite its brevity. The world does not blur as I run; it sharpens.

I head upstream, out of the city, the river winding westward into the wealthy suburbs, conservation land on either side. The trees crowd thicker here, but they don't slow me down. Sure-footed and strong, I streak between them, bounding over fallen trunks and ice-crusted tributaries that block my path. Now I let the joy rise in my throat and ring out over the countryside. My howl echoes through the blessed night. The moon approves.

The chill winter air slices into my chest. I'm miles from home, but I don't want to stop, not yet. This is too perfect, a glorious relief from the endless, everyday effort of fitting in. I don't really think about my human life, though. I don't think about anything. I merely sense and feel.

Finally, I slow to a trot, my heart pounding against my ribs. I'm exhausted, close to spent, yet excitement still sings through my body. Squatting, I loose a stream of urine to mark my passing. My nostrils twitch at the ripe warmth of my own scent. I spring to the top of snow-draped boulder, sink down onto my haunches and survey my surroundings. Gradually my pulse drops and my breathing returns to normal. A deep sense of peace steals over me.

“Grrr!” The growl drags me out of my trance of weariness. I start and emit an answering growl. A flood of maleness assaults my nose and my nether parts swell in automatic response.

He steps out of the shadows, all bristling red-gold fur and blazing yellow eyes. He's easily twice my size. When he bares his teeth, they're ivory-hued daggers that could crush me in a single vicious bite. He doesn't attack, however. Of course, I have the advantage, perched on the rock above him.

I'm terrified, but thrilled, too. I know what he wants. I want it as well. But there's a fine line between lust and violence when you're a wolf. I've just enough human left in me for fear to hold me back.

He paces back and forth below, his eyes riveted to mine. Finally, he sits, patient as a pet hound, waiting for me. Then I give in to the beast, leaping down to land in front of him.

His voice, half wail, half growl, welcomes me. He circles my crouching form, snapping playfully at my ear when I allow him to get close, raking his claws across my flank. I know this dance; it's in my blood, though I've never mated with another wolf. My body knows how to bend, how to arch, how to open as he drives into me from behind.

Our coupling is over in minutes, but feels endless. Pleasure pure and sharp as moonlight pours through me as he launches his seed into my depths. His teeth close on my shoulder. The pain simply amplifies the intensity.

When we're done, I'm shaking. The moon won't be full for two weeks and my wolf-self is fading. The male trots off into a copse of beech, obviously expecting me to follow. I limp after him, cold seeping through my paw pads and up into my aching shoulders.

Thankfully, it's not far. He leads me to a snug-looking cabin dug into a hill, half-buried in the underbrush. A few yards before we reach it, the change seizes me. My limbs liquefy and rearrange themselves. In an instant, I'm sprawled in the snow, dizzy, naked and shivering. I can't move.

The male wolf nudges me with his snout. I force myself to crawl toward the wooden structure, noting how awkward four legs can be. The door's unlocked. Inside, embers glow gold and scarlet on the fieldstone hearth.

I collapse on the cot in one corner, lulled by delicious warmth, unable to stay awake for an instant longer. The wolf crouches by the bed, as if to guard my sleep.

Buttery sunlight wakes me, streaming in the small window above the bed. The fire has died. The room is cold, but there's smooth heat against my naked back.

I turn to find him curled around me – tall, well-muscled, his bronzed skin dusted with red-gold down that matches the curls on his head. I breathe in his scent, ripe male musk spiked with a sharp evergreen edge. He's sleeping, but he wakes as I gaze on his beauty and pulls my body to his. “Happy New Year,” he murmurs, nuzzling my ear and sliding his hardness into my soaked cleft.

Joy surges through me, almost drowning my lust. Almost, but not quite. As a man, he's nearly as fierce a lover as when he was wolf. I let myself go, let him see the animal that that is my true self. I know he won't be disgusted or afraid. And I'm quite certain that afterward, I won't feel empty.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


It's only a few days until 2012 arrives, but I've been so busy with work I've hardly had the chance to think about the question. I have today "off", though, and so I'm trying to catch up - no, I'm trying to catch my breath, actually, to slow down a bit and consider what lies ahead.

Usually I don't make New Year's resolutions. I feel that I'd like to this year, though, because I'm not 100% pleased with the way I handled 2011. 'Way too much stress. Too much guilt, too, about the things I thought I should be doing. I've made my poor husband miserable complaining about how much promotion I have to do, but when he very rationally suggests that maybe I should cut back, I start to make excuses about how I can't...

I'm starting 2012 with the premise that if I'm not enjoying some aspect of my life, there's something wrong. That's an area I should look at, and change if I can. When my writing and the associated marketing become a chore, that's a danger signal.

So here are my promises to myself for the coming year.

  1. I resolve to worry less. I know that worrying is not the same as planning. It depletes my energy and makes it even harder for me to get things accomplished. Very few things are the life and death issues they might seem to me. I want to meet my commitments, but honestly, the world won't stop if I fail to blog or don't send out my newsletter on time.
  2. I resolve to complain less. Sharing my problems and asking for help is one thing - that's a practical step toward improving a situation. But just whinging about how busy or stressed or miserable I am accomplishes nothing. It just shows a lack of consideration for the person I'm forcing to listen.
  3. I resolve to be grateful for my gifts. It's so easy to compare myself with someone else and feel inadequate. I need to remember that the ability to imagine stories, write them down and get them published is a tremendous blessing. It doesn't matter how many books I've written. Every one is an accomplishment.
  4. I resolve to take more time off for fun. Too often during 2011, I put off recreation or relaxation until I'd polished off my to-do list. Frequently that meant I'd never get to have fun at all. In 2012 I'm going to ignore the inner voice calling me lazy. We all need a balance between work and play.

Notice that all of my resolutions are relative. I'm sure that in 2012 I'll still complain, still feel inadequate, still work too hard. If I can do less of these things than I did during the past year, though, I'll be satisfied.

After all, we're all works in progress.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Who is Grey's Lady?

By Natasha Blackthorne (Guest Blogger)

Grey’s Lady is the story of a wealthy New York merchant price, Grey Sexton, who falls for a poor but beautiful seductress, Beth McConnell. Yet, for all their social and economic differences, at their most basic level, Beth and Grey are very similar. This story explores how these similarities threaten to tear them apart before love can overcome the fear of being vulnerable.

Both Beth and Grey suffered isolation and emotional neglect in childhood. Grey grew up as a privileged only son, heir to Sexton Shipping, one of the fledgling nation’s largest mercantile fleets. Grey’s father was a stern businessman who did not understand his daydreaming son and held him at a distance. A child in this position might take solace in a closer relationship with his mother. However, Grey’s mother was chronically ill and unable to bear his childish energy. She kept to her chambers and died while he was still quite young. Later at age nineteen, Grey engaged in an emotionally scarring experience with a slightly older woman, something that is not covered in Grey’s Lady. All of these back story issues and more are explored in more depth in the sequel, White Lace and Promises.

In contrast, the focus of Grey’s Lady is on the immediate interaction between two wounded and self-protective people who feel an overpowering attraction to each other but who do not want to admit it to themselves or the other.

I will let my character, Beth, tell her story in her own words:


Why should men always have the power of choice when it comes to love? Is it right that we women have no choice but to sit and wait for a man decide to honor us with his declarations–usually uttered in the form of a demand? And all we as women may do is say “yes” or “no” and hope we have made a wise choice. The man still has the power to break his promises and it will be our good name and heart that bears the damage.

My mother fell into an adulterous affair with an unknown man and as a result I was created. Her husband put her out of their house. I would have been borne in the almshouse if not for the kindness of her employer. After my mother’s death, I would have gone to the foundling home without my kindly benefactress. My unknown father also had his power of choice, the choice to abandon me. How fair is it that men have all the power of choice?

Oh, you ask what about the gentlemen? Ha! The gentlemen. They are the very worst.

A gentleman once declared passionate love for me. He said this so ardently, his beautiful brown eyes shone with sincerity. I was young. I was naïve. I believed him. I trusted him and gave my heart wholly into his keeping. And as went my heart, eventually so went my virtue.

Do you what happened next? Surely, I don’t have to tell you. You know how these maudlin stories go. He married someone else. A lady. Someone of his own class. His took his power of choice. He became a respectable family man and I was left being a soiled dove. I had a good cry over it. I may have drank a little too much at his wedding celebration. What a pitiful little fool I was. But I did not wallow in my self-pity for long. So men have needs and desires? Well, I also have needs. I also have desires. Why should men have all the power of choice? Why should they have all the enjoyment in life?

I take my own power of choice now. I chose whom, when and for how long and I select only the most handsome, wealthy, and powerful of gentlemen.

Yes, I know you are asking do I not fear discovery? This is a worry and I take it seriously.

Truly I do. I live with my half-brother and his family now. He is very protective and very touchy about matters of honor. Our mother was not faithful to his father. Now he takes such matters so seriously. Too seriously. If he had his way, I would stay home all the time, working in the backroom of his cobbler shop with one eye on the children. But honestly, though I love my nieces and my half-siblings, life there is dreary. It’s all work, work and more work. Everything is shabby, everything seems to stay gritty and grimy no matter how hard I work to keep things clean. There are always more shoes to repair. I swear my eyes shall go crossed trying to sew by candlelight night after night. I never get enough sleep or time to myself. If I couldn’t go out and seek my adventures, I should go mad. I have my mother’s wild blood in me and my desires can run so high I fear they shall consume me.

I could marry a nice man and he would carry me away from all of this. I would have my own cozy home and hearth. My benefactress has introduced me to a nice young minister and to a nice young but struggling legal clerk and a nice young medical student who trembled all over and went pale when I said good morning to him. I have no interest in nice young men. It’s the wealthy, powerful, arrogant gentlemen who fascinate me. I know they will never desire me for a wife but they shall burn for me. They shall remember me.

How do I protect myself from discovery? I limit my liaisons to one single meeting. I never meet with my gentlemen again, no matter how desperately they implore me. And they do implore me. Though I am poor, the child of adultery by an unknown man and powerless in my society, I have something gentlemen desire. I have beauty, and thanks to my mother’s wild blood, I understand their hot lusts better than the women of their class. I do gain a measure of satisfaction out of leaving them burning for more. Burning for me. No gentleman shall ever forget the one afternoon he spent with me.

Today is a special day for me. Mr. Asahel de Grijs, otherwise known as Grey to his friends, is coming to my favorite bookseller to give a lecture on privateering. He is a New York man, the owner of Sexton Shipping which has a fleet of over forty sea going vessels. He is rumored to be the wealthiest gentleman in America. I know this is not true. I know exactly who is the wealthiest man in America. But Mr. Sexton is among the top three wealthiest men in our nation. He is also politically connected and quite powerful. He would be the brightest feather in my cap. I think I shall wear my shabbiest dress because it is always more thrilling when these gentlemen cannot resist the tattered, poor little bastard girl. They are slaves to their own greed for beauty.

I don’t really deride gentlemen for their focus on beauty. I appreciate a handsome face and well-made masculine form. Well, if Mr. Sexton’s physicality matches his other attributes, then I shall be entertaining a gentleman today. In private. In his carriage. But only for today. Afterwards, he shall burn for me. He will never forget me.


The entire first chapter of Grey’s Lady is available here (for 18+ ONLY).

To Purchase White Lace and Promises:

Watch the trailer for Grey's Lady,

Who is Natasha?

Emotional. Evocative. Erotic. Historical Romance from the Georgian and Regency Eras, set in both England and America. Whether they are bold or shy, my heroines' strong desires and deep emotions drive the plot—and drive their heroes to the point of no return.

I have always been a daydreamer who told myself stories of love and romance set in other times and places for my own pleasure. Eventually my story worlds became so real, they demanded to be brought out of my imagination and onto the page. It gives me great joy to finally share them with you. I hope you enjoy my story world.

I am married to my own hero and we share our life with a very quirky calico cat. I have a BA in History and I love to read, both romance and scholarly history and I listen to a variety of music from classical to reggae. But mostly I am hard at work researching and writing my next story.

Find Natasha: Author Site | Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Shelfari | Facebook |

Monday, December 26, 2011

"Taboo" on Kindle Select

Exciting news! Total-E-Bound has re-released Incognito along with Iona Blair's The Sins of Susan in a new double-sized ebook entitled Taboo. The book is available now as part of the new Kindle Select program. This means that Amazon Prime members can borrow the book for free!

Haven't read Incognito? Here's the blurb:

Shy and serious by day - insatiable by night.
Betrayed and abandoned by her first lover, shy and studious Miranda Cahill freezes in response to any sexual attention from someone she knows and likes.
During the day, she works diligently on her doctoral thesis. At night, though, she finds herself drawn into increasingly extreme sexual encounters with strangers. Her anonymous secret life begins to take over when she discovers that the masked seducer she meets in a sex club and the charismatic young professor courting her are the same man.

For a steamy excerpt, just click here.

Want your own copy? Go to Amazon and fill up your Kindle with erotic romance that will have you moaning for more!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Creating Traditions

By E. Ayers (Guest Blogger)

Thanks, Lisabet, for having me here on Christmas Eve. I thought I'd share a wee bit of my Christmas and how it got started. I've also got a little Christmas gift for all your readers tucked at the bottom of this post. Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates and Peace to everyone else.

What is traditional in one house may not be traditional in another. And how do these traditions get going? Some people put a Christmas tree up on Thanksgiving Day. Others wait until Santa brings the tree on Christmas Eve. Most of us fall someplace in the middle. But what happens when two very diverse people from different backgrounds marry and the family traditions are far from the same? It's time to decide what is important and create your own.

My husband grew up in a small city with a big French Canadian family of aunts, uncles, and cousins living nearby. Everyone went to the grandparents' house, and food was abundant. To him, Christmas Eve was everything. They all went to Midnight Mass, then returned to the grandparents' house for "breakfast" at one o'clock in the morning. Somehow, Santa came to the grandparents' house while they were at Mass and filled their stockings with treats and inexpensive toys. After "breakfast" they were allowed to open their gifts from their grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. At dawn, they returned home. There they had gifts from his parents to open. It was a non-stop party. That afternoon, they went back for Christmas dinner at his grandparents' house. The women cooked, the men did their thing, and twenty cousins played.

As a married couple, we didn't live anywhere near that family, and his grandparents were no longer living when we married, but he loved that big family atmosphere and the foods. Hmm, I had my work cut out for me learning to make a few of those traditional dishes. I also knew, I didn't want our children to stay up all night. To me, part of Christmas Eve was going to bed and listening for Santa to arrive and the long wait for the sound of hooves on the roof. Also there was no Midnight Mass to attend.

My mom always made a big meal on Christmas Eve. Her feeling was we'd just had that turkey dinner the month before so why do it again? She did a ham and then fixed things like macaroni salad to go with it. Her emphasis was on the desserts, rolls, and other baked items. She didn't want to spend Christmas in the kitchen and miss being with her children and grandchildren. I liked her logic.

But the one tradition in my family that I hated was the one that made us wait until we had eaten a good breakfast before we could open our presents. That one was tossed away. The other thing I didn't like was that Christmas didn't last very long. The tree went up a few days before Christmas and vanished Christmas night. By nightfall on the twenty-sixth, all traces of Christmas were gone.

So in the end, when we sorted out what was important to us, including the foods that we loved, we came up with our own. The first weekend in December, we decorated for Christmas. My husband's job was to help get the tree up and do the lights. When our children were little, our Christmas tree was inside the playpen. The kids could see but not get to anything, and packages were safe from little fingers.

Christmas Eve dinner was ham and a few added items from my husband's family. As darkness descended, we did everything by candlelight except for the lights on the tree and the candles in the windows. Christmas music played in the background. I allowed the children to open a specific Christmas Eve present before they went to bed and bedtime was at a normal hour or slightly later. Then it was our time to be together. It was a beautiful way to end a hectic day. We'd curl up together on the sofa and … well, it was romantic.

Since we had no fireplace to hang stockings, our girls hung them on their doorknobs of their bedrooms. The deal was that they could grab them and climb into our bed to open whatever was in their stocking. This worked perfectly as it contained them. They didn't wake each other! It also gave us time to open our eyes and fix a pot of coffee before they ran into the living room. I'd also put the tourtiere (French Canadian pork pie) in the oven to warm because it wouldn't be Christmas morning without tourtiere for breakfast. Then we'd turn the kids loose to see what else Santa had brought. When the flurry of gifts was over, we'd have breakfast. Then it was a lazy sort of day.

Between New Years and Christmas we'd take the tree down and return the house to normal. It would be almost another year before we'd do it all again. Today, the idea of family together at Christmas Eve still holds. My girls visit with their other family on Christmas, but Christmas Eve is still ours, and so is the ham and the tourtiere. Except, I no longer make it, my granddaughters are learning to make it. Their grandfather would have been so proud of them.

Tourtiere Recipe

1 pound of ground pork (I ask the butcher to grind very lean pork for me. It costs a few cents more, but it's worth it.)

2 medium boiled and peeled potatoes (Cut up fine. You want some texture but no large chunks.)

One fat slice of mild onion (or cheat with powdered onion and skip sautéing in butter.)

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of cloves

a dash of salt and little butter

pork gravy (you can cheat and use packaged gravy)

Cut up the onion into very fine pieces and sauté in butter. Add ground pork and stir until cooked. Turn stove off. Drain any excess fat. Stir in seasonings. Gently add the potatoes. You will need about a cup of gravy. I save my unsalted potato water and mix that with the gravy packet. Add that gravy to the meat and potatoes mixture and lightly stir.

Pie Crust

(I swear they are so easy to make and taste delicious. You'll never use store bought again.)

2 cups of all purpose flour

1 teaspoon of salt

2/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons of shortening

4-5 Tablespoons of cold water

A pie plate (8-9 inches)

Measure flour and salt into a bowl. Cut in shortening. Take two knives and cut until shortening seems to vanish into the flour and it all becomes grainy. Sprinkle in water, mixing until the dough begins to form a ball and pulls from the sides of the bowl. Gather into a ball with your hands and cut the ball in half. Cover the one unused half with a damp paper towel.

Don't worry about having a dough board, etc. Make certain your countertop is extra clean. Sprinkle it with flour. Be generous. If you don't have a rolling pin substitute with something that will roll such as a smooth glass jar. Sprinkle a little flour on the ball and don't be afraid to sprinkle more flour as you go. Roll the half ball into something about the size of your hand. Pick it up, flip it over, and roll it using pie slice strokes to create a round shape. (Think of a clock and roll from the center to the 12, then from the center to the 2, from the center to the 4, etc.) The flattened dough needs to be about two inches larger than the rim of the pie plate. Don't worry about ragged edges.

When I taught my children I often used waxed paper under the pie crust as they rolled. I'd let them roll it out part of the way on the counter, and then when I flipped it over, I put it on waxed paper that had been floured. The waxed paper tends to slip around so I'd glue it down with a smear of dough on the countertop. I'd let them mark the circle with a pen ahead of time so they knew how far the dough had to stretch. Then it's easy to pick the crust up, waxed paper and all, and flip it over into the pie plate. Gently peel the waxed paper off and push the crust into place. Fix cracks, etc, with a wet finger as you push the dough back together. Trim the crust slightly beyond the edge of the plate.

Fill pie with meat filling. Do not exceed the height of the pie plate. And don't try to pack it tight. (Any excess filling can be heated in the microwave and eaten on toast. Or if you have enough you can make another pie or freeze it.)

Make a top crust by rolling out the other half of the dough. Lay it gently on the pie. With luck this one will look much better. (The bottom crust was practice, right?)

If you have clean pastry shears you can cut the dough, if not use a sharp knife and remove all but an extra inch. Tuck that top layer under the bottom layer on the rim and flute it with your fingers. Or cut both crusts to the edge of the pie plate and run a damped finger between the two so that they stick together. Use the handle to a spoon and press them together or use the tines of a fork. You can make pretty fluted patterns doing it.

Cover the edges of the plate with a foil sleeve to protect the edges from getting too brown. Just wrap two inch wide pieces of alumium foil around the edge This pie needs to be vented so that the steam escapes. The quick way is to put two or three 1 inch (2-3 cm) knife slices in the center. Bake the pie at 425 degrees Fahrenheit until it begins to brown.

I remove the pie and refrigerate. Then I reheat it without the foil on the edges. And I serve with more gravy. (Thank goodness for packets of gravy! I've also seen his family eat it with ketchup on it.)

I decorate the crust and this has become a tradition. It doesn't take much skill and it's fun! It only takes a sharp knife and toothpicks. I promise it was more difficult for me to draw them with a mouse than it is to do it with a knife. Using a cookie cutter is a great way of marking the design, but don't cut all the way through the unbaked crust. Just mark it and then using the tip of the knife or a toothpick to pierce the crust in that design. Over the years trees have become elaborate things with presents under them and Christmas balls hang from pine branches. Some years the pie crusts haven't looked that great especially when my girls were learning. And lately, it's been the same with the grandchildren making them, but they taste wonderful.

This is a great multi-purpose piecrust.


A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming

A Native American cowboy and a national TV news anchorwoman have nothing in common except for their pasts. Is love preordained? An old diary from when Jessie and Clare Coleman settled on the land in the 1840's provides a history of their life. But tucked between the pages is an unrequited love between Clare Coleman and a tall Native American. Does love and land come full circle? In this season of giving, will fate reach through time to give a gift of love?

Andy Coyote settled into the job as foreman on the Coleman ranch. He's got custody of his thirteen month old daughter and the situation is perfect for both of them until Caroline Coleman returns home for Christmas and one of the worst blizzards in years hits the area. He's forced to accept Caroline's help to move a herd of cattle and mixed in it are several head from another ranch in the community. Cattle rustling still happens.

Caroline Coleman has her dream job as a Washington, D.C., news anchor for a national broadcast, but home is in Wyoming on her family's ranch. She has everything that money can buy, but the things that she really wants can't be purchased. Raised with solid, hard working, family values, she knows her life in the spotlight isn't real. She wants a man who appreciates the ranch, loves her for who she is and not what she is, and she wants a family of her own. And she doesn't like the idea of Andy Coyote taking advantage of her grandmother.


My holiday gift to all of you.

Go to

Put it in your shopping cart.

Use coupon code: DL56J

UPDATE the cart and watch the price fall to zero.

This coupon is good until the end of December 2011.


I love hearing from my readers. e.ayers [at]

I wish you all a wonderful holiday. If you have a moment to post a comment, I'd love to hear how you celebrate this season.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Living Without Winter

It's the season for snow. Every place I turn, I see gorgeous photos of evergreens wreathed in white, or delicate flakes drifting past the candles on the window sill, or kids bundled up, three or four to a sled. I have to admit, I feel a bit left out.

For the past eight years, I've resided in a tropical country where we have three seasons: the hot season, the rainy (and hot) season, and the laughably-titled "cool" season, when the temperature occasionally dips into the seventies. Thus, I've been deprived of winter for the better half of a decade. Before the move, though, I lived in rural New England for more than twenty years, so I have plenty of experience with all the joys the season brings: blizzards, ice-storms, and that nightmarish anomaly that seems to be a Massachusetts specialty, freezing rain. I remember winter only too well: power outages, snow tires, storm windows, shoveling, hauling firewood, pulling all the winter clothes out of the attic, making sure your anti-freeze is full... After spending two years in balmy California then returning to my native clime, I came to realize that winter in a place with serious weather is an incredible amount of work.

I usually go back to the U.S. once a year to visit family, but in the spring (during the excruciatingly hot season in my adopted country). Winter is a vivid but increasingly distant memory. I do find myself romanticizing a bit. I imagine the crisp, hushed beauty of a frigid night, when the stars glitter like faraway diamonds in the velvet sky. I remember the excitement of waking up to find the trees cloaked in a soft white blanket, the river frozen, the footprints of a rabbit the only sign of life in the snow-smothered world. I find myself missing the camaraderie of working with my husband to clear a path up our long driveway to the street - conveniently forgetting aching backs and frost-bitten extremities. Memories of childhood delights return to entice me: racing down a snowy hill on my Radio Flyer, digging snow houses out of the piles left by the plows, sitting on the wooden bench next to the flooded and frozen tennis court to don my cherished white figure skates. The scent of wood smoke hanging in the air - Campbell's tomato soup topped with Cheerios and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch after stripping off my soaked snowsuit - real cocoa topped with marshmallows to warm my numb fingers... I could go on and on. Yes, I do miss winter, no matter how hard I try to focus on the dangers and inconveniences it brought.

One of the side benefits of being a writer, though, is that we can use fiction to recreate what we've lost. I definitely do that when it comes to the erotic aspects of my work. The faraway sexual adventures of my youth provide seeds for many of my stories. I write partially to recapture the thrill of those heady days when I was exploring the joys and perils of passion.

In a similar vein, I can relive the experiences of true winter by incorporating the season into my fictional worlds. My holiday tale Almost Home takes place during a New England blizzard, which traps the two heroes and the heroine in a eighteenth century farmhouse (modeled after the home of one of my former neighbors). My M/M novel Necessary Madness is also a winter's tale. In one of my favorite scenes, the protagonists, driving home in a storm, stop at a closed, snow-clogged highway rest area because - well, they can't wait any longer.

When I wrote that scene, I was there. All the sensory details were clear. I could feel the sickening swerve of the out-of-control vehicle plowing through six inches of snow, hear the pines groaning in the wind and the muted splat of snow blown onto the windshield. I shivered in the bitter chill of the unheated building, the scent of disinfectant rising in my nostrils, goosebumps prickling my bared flesh. While the focus is on the sexual tension building between the characters, winter is in there in the background, a contrast to the heat of my characters' desperate coupling.

Unlike some people who move to the tropics, I didn't leave my former home to escape from winter. Life is easier now, I'll admit, but I sometimes hunger for a taste of the cold, dark, snowy season and the complex emotions it evokes - fear, frustration, comfort, awe, hope. When the temperature drops below zero, you truly appreciate warmth. When the sun sets at four in the afternoon, you kindle a fire on the hearth to remind yourself light will return. Living without winter, I write to keep those feelings alive.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mystery Writing: The Inside Story

By Tom Mach (Guest Blogger)

If a mystery is any work of fiction where some sort of crime has been committed, then I can say I’ve written several mysteries. In my novel All Parts Together, Lincoln is assassinated and although there is no mystery as to why today, there was mystery surrounding that assassination back then. Until then, no one had ever killed a President so folks in 1865 wanted to know why and my book goes into the mind of John Wilkes Booth--how he planned it and why he did it. In my short story “The Crossword Puzzle Murders,” published in a collection entitled Stories to Enjoy, a female detective tries to solve a string of murders of professional women and she finally uncovers the clue that tells her who the murderer is--but is it too late?

But switching from a short story to a detective mystery novel like An Innocent Murdered is a giant leap. Let me tell you how and why I did it. Back in 1990 I met a detective who helped me understand how a detective thinks and operates. From that, I had a more realistic “day-in-the-life-of” vision of a real detective I could use in my novel. The problem was I didn’t much care for the detective I created back then. He was a hard-nosed SOB who was great at playing “good guy’ vs. “bad guy” roles in interrogating persons of interest, and he solved cases. But to me that character was nothing more than a robot who did his job and had only one goal in life--to solve cases. Well, I put that novel aside and went on to other things. But two years ago, I went back to the novel I had written and decided that two-thirds of the novel had to be rewritten, some of the characters removed, new ones added, and a complete makeover done on Detective Matt Gunnison.

Before I continue discussing how and why I had to change him, I want to say that I was interested in writing a murder mystery concerning a priest who was innocent of any wrongdoing even though the media assumed he was already guilty--and as a result, the priest was murdered. The big question is: now that the dead priest was found to be innocent after all, how does that affect the murderer--or does it? In An Innocent Murdered I made sure that the prime suspect, Jacinta Perez, appears to be as guilty as possible. She has the priest’s blood on her boots from where they had walked on the carpet where he was stabbed; a witness claims he saw her enter the rectory; she made a threatening phone call to the priest before he was killed; the DNA on a cigarette stub found on the carpet matched her; and she had a strong motive to kill him. This was an open-and-shut case, apparently. I enjoyed writing this book because I was curious as to where this case would lead me. (Yes, I did have some clues as to where this story was going, but the characters surprised me going in new directions as I wrote the book.)

Matt Gunnison is the detective assigned to solve this case, but I had to change his persona from the one I had 21 years ago. I learned a lot about developing characters during that span of time. Matt now came alive to me as a man in his late forties who was a good detective, but he was also a man who was struggling with a horrible past (his high school sweetheart was murdered by thugs) and a messy divorce, yet he manages to show compassion without sacrificing his ability to get to the truth. I could see in my mind’s eye not only what he looked like, but how he behaved under stressful conditions, his attitude toward his coworkers and friends, his easygoing nature that hid his unpleasant past, and--most of all--his thoughts. He reluctantly accepts the fact that his intimate friend, Heather Williams, has a lesbian relationship with a woman named Cassie. But he is devastated when he learns that Heather “used” him by going to bed with him with the hope of getting pregnant so she could share the infant with Cassie.

I had to carefully plant clues as to who really murdered the priest without making it too obvious. I also had to plant a couple of women in my novel as red herrings that would make the reader believe that Jacinta didn’t commit the crime but that one of these other women did. This was a real challenge because there had to be a convincing motivation as well as circumstantial evidence for either of them to have committed the murder. (In fact, one of these women had the murder weapon!)

Many detective mysteries I see today are plot driven, which is a shame because I really want to know more about the character. Matter of fact, in An Innocent Murdered, I did not start the novel with the murder of the priest. Instead I spent a few short chapters showing the reader who the priest was, how he behaved, how he thought. There would be no question in the reader’s mind that the priest was a good man and innocent of the charge of molesting a young girl. Had I not done so, the reader couldn’t have cared less about this murder, but I wanted the reader to cry over his murder. I had several female characters in this novel, which made me work harder to be sure these women came off as being credible. Too often, a male author thinks all he has to do is throw in some descriptive information about the woman (hair color, eye color, height, manner of dress, etc.). But a woman cannot be created as a believable person unless she really behaves and thinks like a woman. I spend a lot time trying to live in a woman’s body and soul, realizing that men and women placed in the identical situation do not necessarily behave the same way.

Weaving romance into a detective novel is a challenge. An author needs to stay focused on the case but he also needs to realize that the male detective has feelings and passions and is not a detective 24/7. There are two women that Matt cares deeply about--Heather Johnson, an African-American psychologist (who loves the company of men but is a lesbian friend of another woman), and Susan Stratford, a former nun who indirectly helps Matt solve the murder case but who has a problem she feels only Matt will understand.

To make Matt more human, I gave him a sense of humor. When Susan visits him in his hotel room, they play gin and Matt cracks a joke. “I’ve had a pretty dull life in Little Rock as a kid. I remember having a crush on a girl when I was in the eighth grade….Yeah, I offered to buy her an ice cream cone but she wanted a triple decker. I got so nervous two of those decks went splat on the floor of the ice cream store.” Matt is casual with both Susan and Heather. When Susan sees his penis (never having seen one in her life) she tells him it’s quite small. Rather than take offense, he explains that Henry (the name he gives his organ) shrinks when he takes a bath. Then he tells her: “Henry, please meet Susan. Susan, meet Henry.” When he showers with Heather, he questions whether her lesbian partner Cassie is jealous. Heather acknowledges that she might be. “Well,” Matt says, “maybe she’d like to join us sometime.”

But I also let the reader know Matt is tenacious when it comes to dealing with suspects. When Jacinta insists that someone else must have killed the priest, Matt doesn’t buy her story, especially after evidence proves she made a threatening phone call to the priest the evening he was killed. “You were coming over to the rectory to do the same thing, weren’t you?” he asks her. Jacinta denies it, claiming she didn’t have a weapon with her. He comes back with another retort: “What about that Halloween mask I found in your house? It had a blood stain on it. We checked it out. The blood was Father Jim’s. How do you explain that?”

For me, writing a mystery novel is much more than finding a dead body and assigning a detective to solve the case. We need to make the detective and the people with whom he comes in contact three-dimensionally real. We need to give the detective warts and problems and heart and make him human. We want the reader to be puzzled as to who really did the murder, and we want the reader, at the end of the story, to breathe a sigh of relief and say “Aha, I see why so-and-so did it. It all makes sense to me.” Most of all, I want the reader to keep turning those pages. I think that’s what An Innocent Murdered does.


Father O'Fallon has been murdered, and police officer Jacinta Perez is arrested and charged. Detective Matt Gunnison, however, is not convinced and with the help of Susan, an ex-nun, he discovers a fascinating link between the priest's death and the death of a child 25 years ago. Will Matt be able to solve both murders?

Watch the video!

You can purchase An Innocent Murdered from:

Barnes and Noble:



Bio: Tom Mach wrote two successful historical novels, Sissy! and All Parts Together, both of which have won rave reviews and were listed among the 150 best Kansas books in 2011.Sissy! won the J. Donald Coffin Memorial Book Award while All Parts Together was a viable entrant for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Award. He also wrote a collection of short stories entitled Stories To Enjoy which received positive reviews. Tom’s other novels include: An Innocent Murdered, Advent, and Homer the Roamer.

His poetry collection, The Uni Verse, won the Nelson Poetry Book Award. In addition to several awards for his poetry, Writer’s Digest awarded him ninth place in a field of 3,000 entrants. His website is: He also has a popular blog for writers of both prose and verse at

From Lisabet: Tom is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to be given to the commenter that he feels leaves the best comment. During his blog tour. You can find a list of all his stops at: Don't forget to leave your email when you comment!

Monday, December 19, 2011

New Contracts, Free Reading, and a Super Easy Contest!

Greetings of the season! Thank you for taking the time out from your holiday schedule to check up on my news. I'll keep it short because I know you have LOTS to do. But don't miss my easy, fun cover contest!

New and Upcoming Releases

My biggest news this month is that Total-E-Bound has accepted my M/M science fiction book, Quarantine. I don't have a release date or cover yet, but believe me, when I do, you'll be the first to know! But I can share the blurb...

Love is contagious.

Dylan Moore will do anything for freedom. Seven years ago, a gay plague spread to heterosexuals, killing millions and sparking brutal anti-gay riots. The Guardians rounded up men who tested positive for the homogene and imprisoned them in remote quarantine centers like desolate Camp Malheur. Since then, Dylan has hacked the camp's security systems and hoarded spare bits of electronics, seeking some way to escape. He has concluded the human guards are the only weakness in the facility's defenses.

Camp guard Rafe Cowell is H-negative. He figures the lust he feels watching prisoner 3218 masturbate on the surveillance cameras must be due to his loneliness and isolation. When he finally meets the young queer, he discovers that Dylan is brilliant, brave, sexy as hell – and claims to be in love with Rafe. Despite his qualms, Rafe finds he can't resist the other man's charm. By the time Dylan asks for his help in escaping, Rafe cares too much for Dylan to refuse.

Dylan's plan goes awry and Rafe comes to his rescue. Soon they're both fugitives, fleeing from militant survivalists, murderous androids, homophobic ideologues and a powerful man who wants Dylan as his sexual toy. Hiding in the Plague-ravaged city of Sanfran, Dylan and Rafe learn there's far more than their own safety at stake. Can they help prevent the deaths of millions more people? And can Rafe trust the love of a man who deliberately seduced him in order to escape from quarantine?

I'm really excited about this book - and not just because it has taken so long for me to finish. It's full of action, adventure and emotion, not to mention a good deal of steamy sex. Now the real question is, how am I going to wait until it comes out?

Coming Together Presents: Teresa Lamai - edited by yours truly - is now available. All proceeds from this fantastic erotica anthology benefit Amnesty International. The stories in the collection all revolve in some way around the theme of dance, and many have BDSM flavor. Sound interesting? You can get your own copy here!

Other News

In my free reading section this month, I've added a new chapter of my feline shifter erotic romance, Cat Toy. Check it out!

If you're looking for free holiday reading, you'll find several appropriate stories, including Easy, Snowbound and my BDSM ménage, Silver Bells. Want something longer? My novel Necessary Madness and my novellas Almost Home and Tomorrow's Gifts all have seasonal themes.

I've added a new article to the "For Authors" section of my site. Mistress of Time talks about how to keep track of the timelines in your books and avoid making embarrassing errors. I discuss a variety of specific timeline-related problems as well as techniques that can help.

I've been giving away lots of books this past month, on various blogs. Want to be notified when I have a give-away? If you join my Yahoo group, Lisabet's List, you'll get all my announcements, including news on blog posts and prizes from my guests at Beyond Romance. If you only want to get mail when you can win something or when I have a release, send me a note asking to be added to my private, limited email list.


Only one person entered my "Everybody Wins" contest. Thank you, Jacki! Okay, I know you're busy... but I'll admit I was disappointed.

Anyway, my contest this month is super-easy. I've added a cover gallery to my website, with images of all my current stand-alone book covers. All you have to do for the December contest is check out the gallery and decide which cover you like the most.

Then send an email to contest [at] with the subject line "Cover Contest", telling me which cover is your favorite. The prize is your choice of a mousepad, mug or journal featuring your chosen cover, from the Total-E-Bound booty box, if you choose one of my TEB covers. Otherwise, I'll give you a US$ 15 Amazon gift certificate.

By the way, if you click on a cover, it will take you to the buy page for the book! (No pressure or anything...!)

Lisabet's Pick of the Month

My December Pick of the Month is Ginger Simpson's new "Cowboy Kisses" blog. You've got to check it out, if only to enjoy the handsome young man tipping his hat in the banner! The general focus of the blog is on western and historical stories, but you know Ginger - on any particular day, you never know what you'll find! I dropped in this afternoon to find my good friend Keta Diablo sharing an excerpt from her historical/paranormal book, Dark of the Moon. Believe me, Ginger knows how to keep things interesting!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Snog: Cat Toy

I just posted my newsletter and website update, including a new chapter of my feline shifter serial, Cat Toy. It just happens to include a pretty intense kiss, perfect for a Sunday snog.

If you haven't been there already, head over to read Victoria's snowy snog. Blissemas is winding down, but she still has lots of prizes to give away! You'll find links to other authors' sexy snogs, too.


"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."


I didn't intend to speak. The one word plea emerged without any conscious decision. I reached for him, to hold him back. Some part of me knew that I shouldn't, couldn't allow him to leave.

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

"You feel it too, don't you?" With one finger, he tipped my face toward his. His eyes were emeralds set in ebony. They were so familiar...I knew this stranger, recognized 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 nostrils – the 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 dizzy 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.

I wanted - oh, how I wanted him! - his mouth on my breasts, his tongue circling my clit, his cock driving into my liquefying depths! At the same time, I didn't want the kiss to end. He tasted of the chardonnay, sweet and spicy. He made me drunk. The world whirled around me as he sucked my tongue into his mouth then bit down until a hint of copper mingled with the wine.

"Oh..." I moaned into his mouth, only half in protest. His hands pushed the kimono out of the way and wandered over my body, leaving trails of fire. I was ready to burn.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I Love Shifters

By Raine Delight (Guest Blogger)

I love shifter books. The raw, primal feeling these guys and gals have amid the pages really has me glued to the book, flipping the pages so fast it looks like I am a NASCAR race. My favorite shifter book has to be by Deborah Cooke. Her Dragonfire novels are one spellbinding story from start to finish. When I sit down with one of her books, I am blown away by the way she created this world and populated with shape-shifting dragons.

Now who doesn’t like a good dragon story? I love them. In my Devon Falls book, Fiery Magic, I got the idea to make one of the characters a dragon and the heroine called him “pretty”. Now tell me, are dragons “Pretty”? To me they are wild, primal and pure fun as in the case of Smokey from Yasmine Galenorn’s Otherworld series. Each author makes the shifter, be it dragon, wolves, tigers or, heck, even ferrets, their own and they each incorporate something that will have the reader clamoring for more.

In Fiery Magic (Devon Falls 3) & Haunting Magic (Devon Falls 4), we met the Dracon twins; one is a dragon shifter, the other a wolf shifter; one family-many generations- who are shifters of some kind. I made my shifters a bit different, where each person in this large family, is something different. They didn’t get bitten by the animal; case in point a werewolf, but were born as a shifter of some kind. It is the magic in their blood that defines what they become. Eventually we will meet a cousin of Rod and Damien Dracon- a woman who, in this large family of shifters, has no shifter powers what so ever. What do you do if you have no powers but what god/goddess gave you? That is the question I will ask her and her hero………eventually. ;^)

My next Devon Falls book introduces a new character in Michael Barnes, who is a rare white tiger shifter who is all alone with no pride. He roams from place to place and is friends with Damien Dracon, who tries to get him to Devon Falls to no avail in years before. He was an interesting character to write about. Here you have a lonely, quiet man who has no place to call “Home”. He longs for mate, hearth and kits of his own but knows that with no pride; he is limited in his choices…….or so he thinks. We meet the woman who will knock him flat on his back and show him that home is where the heart is in Moonlight & Magic, out December 21st with Secret Cravings Publishing.

Shifters are a world where readers and authors can explore with pure enjoyment. I love reading them and hope to eventually expand on shifters as an author to include Kitsunes and others that fire the imagination. In the meantime, I am going to sit with my dragons and explore their world because Ms. Cooke and Ms.Galenorn are calling me from the bookcases. So what are your favorite shifters to enjoy? Any author you love that write about shifters?

CONTEST: One winner will win one of my five books-PDF only. All you need to do is comment on my post today and be entered to win. Make sure you leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.

BIO: Raine Delight loves to be pampered by her harem of men that exist solely for her pleasure. Wait…..that was in a movie she saw. Hey, she can dream. Raine loves to fight with her muse, attack her manuscripts and find a way to silence the many voices in her head. Inspiration hits at odd times and for Raine, a blank word document page gives her many possibilities on story ideas. Living with her two kids, a significant other who supports her every move in writing and doesn’t seem to mind she gets up at 2 am to type away on the computer. With a love for Johnny Depp, movies and 80’s hair bands, Raine finds a way to bring all her chaotic thoughts into a story that tells her readers about love and romance.


Raine’s Blog:

Author/Reader Loop:

Email me: rainedelight [at]


Secret Cravings Publishing:

Haunting Magic book Trailer:

Sneak Peek into Moonlight & Magic, Devon Falls 5 *This is a brand new story in the Devon Falls Series* Paranormal/Contemporary, Tiger Shifter Erotic Romance

Buy at

Can a tiger shifter convince one stubborn woman that she is his for all time and show her that falling in love is just as sinful as a chocolate kiss?

Michael Barnes is a rare white were-tiger and is tired of roaming around the world alone. Meeting his destined mate was unexpected as well. Dixie Sinclair is fun, sexy, and everything he feels he doesn’t deserve. The past has a way of coloring a person’s life and it’s up to Michael to show Dixie that he is the one to hold her heart.

PG13 Excerpt:

Scene set up: Dixie is miffed her friends got Michael to walk her home and is confused by her reaction to him. Here is where he kisses her for the first time…

As her street loomed ahead of them, she stopped at the beginning of it and stuck her hand out. “Thanks for the escort, but since I’m almost home and nothing jumped out in front of me, I think I can handle getting to my house just fine.”

“Nope. I am to escort you to the house, not the street, Dixie,” the maddening man said as he looked at her with a smile on those luscious lips. Gritting her teeth, she tried to keep her frustration out of her face, but damn it all, she was old enough to walk home. It wasn’t like there was a crime wave in Devon Falls. Far from it.

Miffed, she stomped forward and tried not to hit the lug behind her. Of all the men in the world, I had to have one with a streak of chivalry in him she thought as her house finally came in view.

Breathing a sigh of relief, she turned and ran smack dab into the broad, hard chest…the chest her hands wanted to caress and explore among other parts of his body. A slight “oomph” came out of mouth as she looked up and felt herself drown under his gaze. It was like watching a movie in slow motion. She saw his face lean down and her one thought before those luscious lips settled on hers was Man, am I in trouble now.


Michael leaned forward. When he finally touched those kissable lips, he felt the spark that hit him the first time he touched her turn into an inferno. Pulling her close, he felt her body mold itself around him, fitting against his, and it was pure perfection. He couldn’t get enough of her. Kissing her was like diving into fire. She was a drug he craved, and he was determined to have it.

Feeling her kiss him back had him aching in more ways than one. Sliding his tongue along her lips had her gasping. Taking advantage of that, he slipped it in and began to duel with hers. The deep kisses made him want more, but before he took her against the trees, he gathered his last shred of control. With a last, deep kiss, he took a calming breath and leaned his head against hers, his breath choppy and his jeans a tad bit too tight at the moment.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Whoo Hoo!!

Just a quick post to let you know that Total-E-Bound has accepted my new M/M sci fi romance Quarantine! I don't usually broadcast this kind of news until the contract has actually been signed, but I just have to share this. Anyone who follows my blog knows how long I've been working on this book (more than a year!) and how much trouble it gave me!

The book is a full length novel, nearly 70,000 words (a "super-novel" in TEB's terminology). It's chock full of drama, adventure, some politics and yes, plenty of love and sex... ;^). Here's the blurb:

Love is contagious.

Dylan Moore will do anything for freedom. Seven years ago, a gay plague spread to heterosexuals, killing millions and sparking brutal anti-gay riots. The Guardians rounded up men who tested positive for the homogene and imprisoned them in remote quarantine centers like desolate Camp Malheur. Since then, Dylan has hacked the camp's security systems and hoarded spare bits of electronics, seeking some way to escape. He has concluded the human guards are the only weakness in the facility's defenses.

Camp guard Rafe Cowell is H-negative. He figures the lust he feels watching prisoner 3218 masturbate on the surveillance cameras must be due to his loneliness and isolation. When he finally meets the young queer, he discovers that Dylan is brilliant, brave, sexy as hell – and claims to be in love with Rafe. Despite his qualms, Rafe finds he can't resist the other man's charm. By the time Dylan asks for his help in escaping, Rafe cares too much for Dylan to refuse.

Dylan's plan goes awry and Rafe comes to his rescue. Soon they're both fugitives, fleeing from militant survivalists, murderous androids, homophobic ideologues and a powerful man who wants Dylan as his sexual toy. Hiding in the Plague-ravaged city of Sanfran, Dylan and Rafe learn there's far more than their own safety at stake. Can they help prevent the deaths of millions more people? And can Rafe trust the love of a man who deliberately seduced him in order to escape from quarantine?


I'll let you all know (of course!) as soon as I have a release date.

While I have your attention...I'll be guest blogging on Saturday the 17th at Megan Slayer's blog (, giving away a copy of Hot Spell. Saturday's also my day at Hitting the Hot Spot, and I guarantee you'll enjoy my holiday post.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Writer's Stress at the Holidays

By Sapphire Phelan (Guest Blogger)

Writers live with stress much of the time. Whether due to a deadline or writer’s block to even a storyline suddenly going a new directions (characters can do that to you), a writer really goes into stress overdrive when the holidays show up.

Just after Halloween is come and gone, NaNo is here and writers sign up to write 50,000 words in thirty days. This could be their next novel or maybe even their first one that will sell to an agent or a publisher. But what the writer forgets when he/she starts this is the holidays are beginning—with Thanksgiving. The day after that is the first day of holiday shopping. It’s not too bad for one who is single, but those writers with families, pressure is on.

Some writers just take a holiday from writing until after the New Year. After all, January is nothing a month of freezing cold temperatures and depression. Writing would take the author aways from all that. While others set up time here and there to write. It’s for those writers who want to persevere that maybe the following tips will be most useful to take away the tension.

Take a walk. When everything gets to you, take a walk on a nearby walking path or the neighborhood. Get back to nature or view the Christmas lights on neighbors’ homes - the beauty will take your breath away.

Lock yourself in the bathroom, fill the tub full of your favorite bubble bath, place a lighted candle on the sink counter nearby, and open up a bottle of your favorite wine (hey, there’s chocolate wine now!), pour it in a glass, and take a soak.. Maybe even play your favorite music or even Christmas music. Or just do it in silence. There’s nothing like a good soak to drain away tense muscles and jumpiness.

Yoga and exercise. I have never done yoga, but I heard from others it is very helpful in tension relief and even losing weight. As for exercise, there is nothing better for getting the kinks out - besides losing weight. Plus if you start the day off with a half hour of exercise, it helps the brain matter too. Which helps the writer in story writing.

Take the time to just sit and do nothing. Go read a book or watch a favorite DVD. Sometimes, we all need to relax to put the anxiety off. When’s the last time you just start and stared at the ocean, or stood and watched a squirrel doing its things from your front door or window? Puts perspective on life, doesn’t it?

Massage. Though most times one has to go somewhere and pay for a massage, maybe you may have a friend or relative who can massage the tension from your muscles.

Stretching. I say this is good to do a few times during the day, starting when you wake up. Stretching puts years on your life. We don’t stretch enough. It makes the muscles happy with us.

Self-hypnosis. You can hypnotized yourself to lose weight, cut down on smoking and yes, ridding stress from your life.

Meditation. Just take time to sit or lay, and set your mind off somewhere else.

Breathing. Breathing exercises are always a big help. They provide convenient and simple stress relief in that they can be used anytime, anywhere, and they work quickly.

Enjoying a good game with a group of friends, or playing something relaxing online can take your mind off of your stressors, and can lead to a more relaxed state. Games are stress relievers that work well because people enjoy them enough to use them regularly.

Sex. Yes, this can be one of the biggest stress relievers around. It incorporates several other stress relief ingredients--breathing, touch, social connection, and a few others--and brings a rush of endorphins and other beneficial chemicals with orgasm.

Laughter. Just laugh out loud with a big belly laugh, or watch a funny movie or read some jokes.

Listen to music. Take the time to sit and play some of your favorite type of music. Not heavy metal or rap, but maybe something soft and relaxing.

Aromatherapy. This has proven benefits for stress relief--it can help you to become energized, more relaxed, or more present. Get some great smelling candles that are for this and set them up around your work space.

Eat a balanced meal, less caffeine, and drink in moderation.

These are just some of the tips to help you, the writer, to take the holidays and your writing deadlines in stride. Remember, view the holidays as a time of joy and balance both them and your writing, and you the writer will be a happy person.

~ Sapphire Phelan

Dark heroes and heroines with bite...sink your teeth into a romance by Sapphire Phelan today.






Blurb for A Familiar Tangle With Hell:

Tina and Charun thought it was all over and that their life would be normal—well, as normal as it could be for an immortal Witch and her demon Familiar. Except there was another prophesy, one that laid claim that if Lucifer snatches Tina and mates with her before the last chime before midnight of the new year and gets her pregnant with his son, that the real Armageddon would begin, spelling the end of life as they knew it.

When Tina is stolen away, Charun, along with Jacokb the archangel, must race against time into the bowels of Hell to rescue her. But with demons, Lucifer, and a cute demon bunny with fangs out of a Monty Python nightmare, out to stop them and Heaven not lending a hand, will Tina become the mother of the Antichrist and the start of a new Hell on Earth?

The Prologue of A Familiar Tangle With Hell:

Some days, it just didn’t pay to rebel against your father. Most especially if your father was God Himself. War was hell, especially when the rebels’ own survival mattered in winning. A terrible pit of darkness made by God to be their prison loomed at their feet. And it looked like the rebels were losing.

Glancing over his shoulder as he fought, Charun saw swirling masses of various shades of darkness. When the hem of his glowing robe flipped over the edge, some of that darkness reached up with grasping fingers to take hold, no doubt trying to pull him in. When he stepped forward, the stuff cried out, upset that it didn’t get to embrace him into its fold.

Charun should have listened to that inner psychic voice that told him not to listen to Lucifer, but oh no, he told it to shut up and just blindly followed where angels should always fear to tread. He was a stupid brat who didn’t know what was good for him.

Barreling through a plethora of angelic hosts that fell aside like pins on a bowling alley struck by a ball, Charun winged his way to Lucifer’s side, sword in hand. His leader in the revolt against Heaven was battling their brother, the archangel Michael. Charun landed beside him and immediately slipped in his own sword.

It didn’t faze Michael in the least. He hadn’t slowed down once, not even with all the wounds Lucifer had given him.

Michael said, “Give up, brother. You know you will lose.”

Lucifer bit back, “God made those disgusting hairless apes and called them beautiful—more beautiful than us. It is time we archangels took over. He is going senile. You know that, Michael, so why do you follow him blindly. Join us, brother, embrace the freedom.”

Michael turned to Charun. “Charun, why are you with him? You’ve always been one of the good ones.”

Charun retorted, “I am sick to death of being good. What did it get me? Nothing! I been to the mortal realm and seen how the mortals get to eat and fornicate. And yet, God says, do not lie with the mortal women. It is forbidden. We must follow His rules and have no free will. Yet, his hairless apes have free will.”

Sadness glinted in Michael’s eyes. “God has reasons for the rules.”

Charun spit, the glowing stuff landing by Michael. “Well, Lucifer said to try it and see what would happen. So I lay with this one virginal daughter of Man and except for her enjoying it, nothing happened. No crash of thunder or Heaven-sent spankings. Just the most wonderful feeling came over me as I spilt my seed into her.”

Michael said no more but fought harder. Soon he drove back not only Lucifer, but Charun, too. Both found themselves with the other rebellious angels at the edge of some gigantic chasm that suddenly appeared. Fighting to keep their balance, both of them watched as Michael stepped back and the other rebels, forced by the other angels, fell into the pit with high pitched screams. Charun took care not to fall as he turned around, but his sword slipped from his grasp and it spun down in slow motion into the pit.

A great booming voice thundered, “For transgressions against me, the Fallen shall be cast into the pit of despair and anguish. This pit will be henceforth known as Hell, and my son, Lucifer, will be its self-crowned prince. There will be no pity and no chances, to ever leave this place or for redemption. Only if I deemed so, can anyone leave its embrace. You all chose your Hell, now burn in it!”

Charun stared down into the swirling masses and, for the first time, wondered if he hadn’t been a teeny bit hasty in listening to Lucifer. Once shoved down into that place, that meant that he could never return to Heaven’s graces. Never see the visage of God, his Father. Never know peace and tranquility. Never know…

“Charun, you are sentenced to live your eternity in the Pit of Hell as a demon.”

Charun fell.

Buy A Familiar Tangle With Hell

About Sapphire Phelan:

Sapphire Phelan writes erotic and sweet paranormal/fantasy/science fiction romance along with erotic horror stories and urban fantasy. Her erotic urban fantasy, Being Familiar With a Witch (The Witch and the Demon Familiar series) is a Prism 2010 Awards winner and a Epic Awards 2010 finalist.

She also has done acting on stage and in films. And is a Master Costumer, costuming since 1972. For more on her, check out her website at

She admits she can always be found at her desk and on her computer, writing. And yes, the house, husband, and even the cats sometimes suffer for it!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Snog: Truce of Trust

My snog this week is from my BDSM ménage, Truce of Trust.

Don't forget to visit the original home of the Sunday Snog. Victoria's snog this week is part of Blissemas. Every comment you leave enters you to win a Kindle or lots of other great prizes. And there's a Blissemas bonus waiting for you there, too!

Some women might think Leah's existence heavenly. She shares her home with two sexy men who both adore her. Ten years married to lusty, artistic Daniel, she still enjoys the discipline and release offered by Greg. But her lovers' jealousy and possessiveness have made Leah's life a hell. Unable to bear the continuous conflict, she flees to an idyllic seaside resort to ponder her future. Gradually she realises that she cannot live without either of her lovers. If the two men can't settle their differences, though, then how can she bear to live with them?

Her overnight bag was still packed from her business trip. She pulled out the dirty things and threw in some clean underwear, jeans and jerseys. She was debating whether to bring a dress when her door opened. Stubbornly, she continued her packing.

Greg towered behind her. He put his hands on her shoulders and turned her around to face him. “Where are you going, little one?”

Away. Away from the two of you and your constant bickering.”

He started it, after all, with his claims about things being unfair.” He bent to kiss her. She turned her head away, unwilling to be mastered, but he grasped her chin and pulled her mouth to his.

Leah didn’t want to surrender, but she couldn’t help it. She was dizzy with instantly kindled lust. He nipped at her lips, probed her with his tongue. He drank her in, consumed her. Between her thighs everything melted. The room began to smell funky, as though he already had her naked and open before him.

Without taking his mouth from her, he grabbed her nipple and twisted it, hard. Her body arched against his, the familiar pain quickly transformed to shimmering pleasure. He broke the kiss and looked down at her, shaking and helpless with desire.

You’re mine,” he whispered. “You’ll always be mine. You just keep him around because you’re afraid to give yourself completely to me. Afraid of going too far. You don’t trust your own desires.”

Leah had a vision of Daniel, his wine glass filled to the brim with vodka, filling page after page with angry, aching prose. There was a wrenching pain in her chest. They’ve grabbed my heart and they are rending it into bloody pieces.

This pain had no sweet after-echoes. She tore herself from Greg’s grasp.

You’re wrong.” Her throat tightened into a sob. “I love him. It’s different from the way we are, but it’s just as real.”

If we were together, by ourselves, you’d forget him.”

No!” His arrogance, sometimes so exciting, was nothing but frustrating to her now. “You don’t understand. He’s a part of me, just as you are.”

He reached for her again. “I’d make you forget him, Leah. I’d beat him out of you.” His voice was gentle, contrasting with the violence of his words. Underneath his bravado, she could feel his need.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Breaking the Romance Rules - With a Christmas Twist!

By Bianca Sommerland (Guest Blogger)

Just for the fun of it, I’m going to take three romance rules and find a Christmasy way to break them without slipping out of the genre. Readers, let me know if I succeed.

1. The hero and the heroine must meet very close to the beginning of the book and feel an instant attraction.

Really? Let’s see . . .

Sue climbed onto the bus and shook the snow from her flaxen hair, wrinkling her frozen nose as she plunked her change into the tariff box. The bus heaters blasted warm air from all sides, stirring the scent of melting muck and salt as she quickly made her way to her usual seat, right across from the middle door.

Someone had written a note right on the light blue vinyl padded seat.

‘Mark Twain, Cinnamon rolls, and cerulean. Things we have in common. Meet me if you’d like to see if there’s more. 57483’.

Meet . . . but who had left this? And when? Well, the ‘when’ was easy. Today. She would have noticed this on her seat yesterday.

And who . . . she finished work hours before the rush and the bus was usually pretty empty. A few faces had become familiar. Like the two old women getting on in front of the Salvation Army where they volunteered. A few students.

There’s that guy.

She snorted. Right, like he’d notice her. He only rode the bus once a week and he looked like he could either be a model or a god. After he’d almost caught her staring, she’d avoided so much as glancing his way when he sat in the back of the bus. He was way out of her league.

If this is from him, he obviously doesn’t agree.

Maybe, but it was Christmas Eve. She couldn’t very well ditch the office party to meet a stranger, even if the stranger knew her favourite author, coffee flavour, and color. Even if he’d written the address of her favourite cafe, which was actually along the way.

She watched the stop approach. Stood. Took a deep breath . . .

And then sat back down. Sue Booth didn’t do impulsive.

2. The woman’s POV is the priority. (This one kinda surprised me, but if you look up romance rules, you’ll find it all over the place—apparently women don’t really care what the man is thinking).

“Hohoho!” Brian reclined in the big Santa throne and rubbed his chin under the thick white fake beard. He couldn’t believe he’d volunteered to be the mall Santa. Forcing a smile, he picked up the pee-scented toddler and perched the kid on his knee. “So what do you want for Christmas, little man?”

The kid rambled on and on, and Brian did his best to pay attention, but his gaze wondered to his helper, so fucking cute in her elf outfit. She’d complained that it made her look fat. He had no idea why. Those green tights hugging all her curves looked just right.

Okay, maybe he did know why he’d volunteered. He couldn’t give up the chance to enjoy seeing her like this tonight. And he had a few ideas for what they could do in this chair when the kiddies went home.

3. I only have eyes for you.

This is my favourite one to break. According to the rules, the hero and the heroine should never, ever want anyone else ever again. Because that’s romantic *eye roll*

“This gift is kinda for both of us.” Her husband, Paul, gestured to the great big rectangular box obscuring the tree. “It’s something we’ve been talking about and I thought—“

“You didn’t.” Astrid stared at the box, covered with silver wrapping paper which had naughty naked angels all over it. She took another sip of spiked eggnog and then licked her bottom lip. Her pulse sped up. “Are you sure.”

Paul inched closer to her to whisper in her ear. “Open it, love.”

She tore the paper and tugged at the flaps of the box. They were taped a little too well.

“Damn it!” She laughed and glanced at Paul. “Bring me the scissors.”

The box burst open. Chris, one of their best friends, stumbled out, one hand over his very erect dick. “No scissors. I’ve got it.”

And now that I’ve teased you with these little rule breaking snippets how about an excerpt from a full book that shrugs off most conventional expectations for erotic romance.


Stolen from a bright life full of colors, happiness and youth, Nicole Reed is dragged into a pit of pain and depravity where all she can hope for is a quick end. But her captors don't want to kill her. They want to use her to teach a little boy whom they plan to mold in their image.

She must free him before that happens. Only, she can't stand against those who hold him, not alone. Her only hope is Vince, one of her tormentors, who may still show a glimmer of humanity.

Or maybe that's just a trick of the light.

Vince and Nicole share a cup of coffee:

Small creases formed on his forehead and around his dark eyes. "Why are you 'fucked up'?"

Seriously? This guy was too much. "I don't know—captivity does that to me."

"You've been treated well."

My brow shot up. "Have I? Well, I guess I'm being over sensitive. I kinda take basic liberties for granted. What can you do?"

He stood and set down his cup. "I don't appreciate sarcasm."

I took another sip and smiled. Guess he wasn't as infallible as he pretended to be. "Well, I don't appreciate being kidnapped and raped. But we don't always get what we want."

"No, I suppose we don't." He traced the open collar of his black silk shirt, revealing just the top of a very hard, very well defined chest. Muscles curved in smooth slopes jumped as though my gaze was a physical touch. He chuckled and I looked up to see him watching me. "You want to hate me."

"I do hate you." I shrugged at his doubtful expression. "You're just easy on the eyes. Which I'm sure you know."

"Really." Without a twitch of warning, he closed the distance between us and took my cup. "Shall I prove you wrong?"

I skirted away from him, ducking and skidding from the bed. I might have been prepared to let him do what he would last night, but this morning I couldn't. I wouldn't. Not without a fight.

"Relax. I won't hurt you." He placed the mug on the table and then strode across the room. I swung at him and he caught my wrists. "Don't force me to tie you up."

"Don't don't don't." I whimpered as he wrapped his arms around me. Tears streaked my cheeks, gathered on my lips, hot and salty. I flattened my hands on his chest and dug my nails into his skin. "Vince . . . ."

"Shh." He pressed his lips to the top of my head and then bent down to whisper against my lips. "I want to show you something."

For more excerpts and fun stuff, visit