Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Whips, Wax and a Wicked Confession

By Jasmine Hill (Guest Blogger)

Hello everyone! I am delighted and privileged to be here at Beyond Romance today and I would like to give Lisabet a big thank you for inviting me. I am thrilled to announce that I have recently published by debut novel From Leather to Lace through Total-E-Bound publishing.

Entering the world of publishing has been a very exciting time for me, complete with various learning curves. I have had to venture into the confusing (and to me, seemingly limitless) domain of social media. I have also had to learn how best to establish and promote my pen-name and book, and cut my teeth on blogging and everything involved with that aspect of public sharing and posting. All that being said, I have decided to share with you today, an experience of mine that has provided, in part, my novel inspiration and interest in BDSM.

BDSM has always intrigued me. I think it’s a combination of things – the lifestyle, the toys, the Dominant/submissive aspect and of course the naughtiness! I can spend hours on the Internet studying BDSM paraphernalia and BDSM websites – all in the name of novel research of course!

Dominant heroes also give me a thrill. You know the type – the quintessential alpha male. The hero with the brooding, dominant and possessive qualities all wrapped up in one yummy, handsome and masculine package!

A number of years ago, in Sydney CBD there was a nightclub called The Black Market Café that on Thursday evenings became The Hellfire Club. One Thursday evening I decided that it would be a good idea to check this club out. So, outfitted in suitably sexy attire and with a number of friends along for encouragement, I ventured into the bowels of Sydney’s BDSM scene.

Well, it was an eye opener! It is difficult to adequately describe everything that could be found within the walls of The Hellfire Club. Of course, it was the epitome of what one imagines a BDSM club to be – dark and sinister with an abundance of scantily clad staff and patrons. Black leather and latex were the textiles of choice, with a “less is more” attitude –suddenly in my boob tube, jeans and stilettos I felt woefully over dressed. Never one to shy away from a challenge however, I took all this in my stride – head held high and oozing with the confidence that only a few pre-night-out drinks can produce.

Dotted throughout the club were numerous, what I can best describe as, pens – small enclosures featuring various BDSM scenes in action. There were pens containing benches and people receiving spankings, pens featuring animal play and others still showcasing mind boggling sexual acts. I quickly realised that I had left the ordinary and entered the extraordinary.

It wasn’t long before I met Matthew, one of the Hellfire staff members – a young, bare chested guy, with great abs, dressed in black leather chaps. He informed me helpfully that I could tap him on the shoulder at any time and he would gladly whip me! Well, that was an offer too good to refuse and after some enthusiastic encouragement from my girl friends (less so, from my male friends!) I headed into the main area of the club. This was a large, central area, in the middle and at the front of which, was a cordoned off space, separating the patrons from the BDSM equipment and play. Outside the barrier, people were crowded, six deep, drinking and watching the BDSM arena with interest. Before I thought too deeply about what I was about to do, I caught the eye of my sexy Dominant male, Matthew, and within a blink of an eye I was surfing across the crowd, to be deposited within the BDSM circle.

What followed was largely a blur, although I do recall the salient points. First of which was the fact that Matthew gave me three hand signals to use regarding the force of the whip strikes which I was to use to indicate milder, harder and stop. He then requested that I remove all of my clothing apart from my G-string panties – I still can’t believe that I did this whilst standing in front of a crowd of curious onlookers – must have been an adrenaline rush to the head! When I was naked but for my G-string, he bound me, back facing the crowd, by my ankles and wrists to a St Andrews Cross. Then he started whipping me.

I must admit that it didn’t hurt as much as I initially anticipated and in fact, what I felt most keenly was exhilaration, and an odd sense of freedom. I lost count of the lashes Matthew carefully administered to my back and butt (the following day however I was left with very definite red welts marking the whip trajectory). Then he was undoing the bindings and spinning me around to re-bind me with my front now facing the crowd. This position was a little more confronting for me but I quickly pushed aside my anxiety, after all, it wasn’t that much different from going topless at the beach – right? All thoughts fled my brain however when Matthew affixed clamps to my nipples – WTF! He pre-empted his actions with a raised, questioning, eyebrow but I sill gasped in shock as the cold steel pinched my tender flesh. After the initial sting, a dull throb set in that wasn’t exactly painful but all the same, I couldn’t forget the fact that I had clamps attached to my nipples.

Next came the hot wax, which Matthew dripped across my chest and stomach. It wasn’t hot enough to burn but it was hot enough to produce a very warm, tingling sensation wherever it hit my flesh. He was thorough and not one part of my chest and abdomen was spared the hot wax treatment, with some serious tweaking of the nipple clamps thrown in for good measure.

I can’t forget the noise of the crowd packed around me and the shouted comments and encouragement. The whole experience was quite bizarre but exciting at the same time. I guess that started my fascination with BDSM and my interest in injecting a little (or a lot) of BDSM into some of my novels.

I do hope that you have enjoyed this recount of my wicked confession and I hope you enjoy the following excerpt of my novel, From Leather to Lace.  And if you leave me a comment with your email address, I will enter you in a drawing for a $25 bookstore gift certificate.

Happy reading everyone…

Will her deception threaten her first chance at love?

Sarah Maddox is a beautiful, intelligent and sexy journalism graduate – she is also Mistress Kitty the Dominatrix. Sarah loves her Dominatrix role at Fantasy – the exclusive Sydney BDSM club. Only her best friend knows what she really does each evening and her secret is safe until she meets the charming, handsome and successful Maxwell McIver who turns her world upside down and has Sarah questioning her priorities and wondering – has she finally met the man for whom she would be willing to compromise?

Handsome Maxwell McIver at thirty five is one of the richest men in the country – sophisticated and powerful, Maxwell is accustomed to getting what he wants and after meeting Sarah at a party, he decides that he wants her. He has always avoided serious relationships but Sarah has captivated him and once their romance starts to heat up he decides that he doesn’t want to let her go. But like Sarah, Maxwell is also hiding something, a secret that will threaten their newfound relationship and have Sarah reeling with indecision and uncertainty.


Sarah Maddox zipped up her thigh-length stiletto boot and stepped back to study her reflection in the floor-to-ceiling mirror. She looked pretty damn good. She had piled her dark hair on top of her head and the eye mask she wore made her look almost cat-like, her full scarlet lips a startling contrast. A leather choker was around her neck. Below the choker her cleavage spilled out of a corset tied gaspingly tight. The black leather mini she wore barely brushed the tops of her thighs. Two inches below started her stiletto boots.

“Perrrfect,” she purred. “Goodbye, Sarah. Hello, Mistress Kitty,” she said to her reflection.

She removed her mask and tucked it into her handbag and after donning a full-length black coat she left her apartment. When she arrived downstairs the car was already waiting.

“Hello, Monty,” she greeted the driver as she slid into the back seat.

“Good evening, Mistress,” he replied as he pulled away from the kerb and smoothly merged with the traffic.

Her place of work was normally only a ten-minute drive from her apartment if the traffic was light, and about eleven minutes later Monty pulled to a stop in front of an understated multi-storey building. After parking, he made his way to the back door and assisted her out of the car.

Kitty thanked him, punched in the security code and entered the building through a discreet doorway. As she did so, she stepped into Fantasy.

From the outside the building looked identical to many others and could have been a typical office complex but on the inside it looked magical. Glittering chandeliers hung from the high ceilings, the walls were adorned with mirrors and expensive pieces of erotic art, plush lounge suites were expertly scattered to ensure privacy, and crystal glasses and expensive bottles of champagne and liqueurs adorned mirrored tables to be enjoyed with caviar and oysters. A selection of Venetian-style masks was also provided in which the clients could relax anonymously. Music was piped in through discreetly hidden speakers—never obtrusive, the music was selected for its mood-enhancing qualities.

Another very important detail about Fantasy was that all clientele were assured absolute privacy and discretion. No real names were used and no contact details recorded. Madam Boudica followed a strict booking system and, whilst convoluted, it ensured that a customer’s privacy was guaranteed. Clients booked under an assumed name that was used for all subsequent bookings. Another assurance against identity exposure was the wearing of masks. There was also one particularly important rule—no sex with the clients.

Mistress Kitty made her way over the plush carpet to the office to check her diary. Each of the girls had their own diary listing their clientele for each evening. The left-hand column recorded the client’s pseudonym, the middle column listed the particular fantasy the client wished to indulge, while in the right-hand column was recorded any particular requests or special instructions. She ran a manicured finger down the list of clients. All were regulars except for her first client of the evening—a Mr X.

Get your copy of From Leather to Lace today!

About the Author

Jasmine’s alter ego lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband and their Border Collie. She enjoys cooking, travelling with her husband, outdoor activities and skiing.

She loves reading all genres but in particular she enjoys erotic romance novels and thrillers.

Jasmine loves writing and is always looking for new ideas for stories that will provoke inner passions, stimulate the senses and ignite the imagination.

She has won some short story competitions but now she is excited to be publishing her first novel, From Leather to Lace through Total-E-Bound publishing. Later this year, Total-E-Bound will bring out Jasmine's second romance, Serena's Submission.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Channeling the Cat

It's almost a joke – the common association between authors and cats. I haven't done a systematic survey, but I would estimate that at least 75% of the authors I hosts as blog guests mention feline companions in their bios. I'm no exception. I currently have two cats who traveled with us from the United States to southeast Asia ten years ago, and who have settled in quite comfortably. Here's a photo of polydactyl Mr. Toes as a kitten (you can see where he gets his name!).

And here's our elegant Blackness.

Of course, many famous writers (of whom I have hosted very few) were renowned for their close relationships with their felines. There's Colette.

Papa Hemingway

Jean-Paul Satre

Ray Bradbury

I sympathize with Alexander McCall Smith. Mr. Toes loves to climb around on my back, often with his oversized claws embedded in my clothing – or my flesh!

The woman who inspired my erotic writing career, Portia da Costa, is a huge cat lover – that's one of the things that forged a bond between us – but she's so shy I couldn't find a picture of her and her cats together.

Many explanations have been offered for the feline-author affinity. A cat doesn't need to be walked, so we can spend our time at our desks as opposed to trucking around on the street scooping up their business. Cats are mysterious creatures with many layers of personality – rather like effective characters. Cats have an elegance and precision of movement we writers might use as a model for our prose. Many authors have cited their felines as sources of inspiration. Noted Canadian writer Robertson Davies once said “Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reason.”

The other day, I was suddenly struck by a new theory. I was thinking about the fact that so many authors report hearing “voices”. “I just listen to my characters, and write down what they say,” one of my guests commented. Writing sometimes feels like something driven from outside, beyond our conscious control. Well, what if that's true?

What if it's not our characters who are dictating the story? What if it's our cats?

Ridiculous, right? But Mr. Toes sits behind my monitor most days I'm writing. He pretends to be asleep, but if I should get up for a bathroom break or a drink of water, he stirs and gives me a look, as it to say, “Where are you going? The story's not done yet!”

I grew up with cats. I grew up writing fiction. When I went off to college and then grad school, I left the felines behind, and although I wrote lots of poetry during that period, I didn't pen a single story. Then I met my husband, a confirmed ailurophile, and filled my life with felines once more. Next thing you know, I was a published author.

Ever tried to write when your cat was sick? Tough to concentrate on the tale, isn't it?

And wouldn't this explain why our characters are larger than life? Why they have so much vitality, such powerful passions, such intense adventures? How could a mere human imagine such creatures? Cats, though – they have superhuman abilities. Just ask them.

Of course to really test this, we'd all have to get rid of our felines and then see if we could still write.

That might be informative. It might restore our self-respect. But it's simply too painful to contemplate.

If I'm channeling my cats, I'm okay with that (though they have surprisingly dirty minds). As long as they don't want their names on the cover.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Apropos a little bit of everything....

By K.S. Augustin (Guest Blogger)

I feel particularly neighbourly to Lisabet as we both live in south-east Asia. Having said that, we don't swap emails or compare opinions nearly as often enough as we should. The problem is, as I'm sure you are all aware, Life intervenes. Besides which, any time spent scrolling through Lisabet's site will show you that she's an indefatigable worker, almost chained to her desk by the sounds of things. I break into a sweat just reading about her upcoming releases!

Me, I'm a different kind of person. My writing speed is moderate, but I've also recently put a brake on my productivity by running a small business. Naturally, it has to do with publishing. :)

Sandal Press opened its doors almost two years ago, on the first of August, 2011, with the release of a lesbian space opera called War Games. I was actually offered a print contract with an established small press for that book, but turned it down because the contract clauses were ghastly. I knew it was a gamble at the time (it's still a gamble), but I didn't want the rest of my career hobbled just because of one book.

Then I started an urban fantasy, the CHECK YOUR LUCK series. I knew this one wasn't going to fly in traditional publishing circles because it's set in south-east Asia and only has one white recurring character in the entire 227,000 words. And he's dead!

As you can see, I was off to a great start! In the intervening two years, I released a number of stories through Sandal Press. I have two contemporary short stories set in south-east Asia, Yellow Fever and Steel & Skin; and a no-holds-barred travelogue of a trip to Poland, It's 10 Am, Why am I Still Sober? That one cracked the top thirty Russian travel books at Amazon! I'm still not sure how to feel about that.

The rest of the releases are science-fiction romance - The Pirate's Grand Plan, Balance of Terror, Quinten's Story and the novella Overclocked. (a cyberpunk romance). A few books, like the Samplers, The Check Your Luck Agency (the first in the Check Your Luck series), and Collateral Damage are even free, and will remain so for as long as Sandal Press exists.

If that sounds like an interesting line-up, thank you for thinking so. And no, I haven't made skillions of dollars like a lot of other indie authors you may have heard about. Which is kinda why I'm here, hanging out at Lisabet's for a little while.

Next week is Sandal's second birthday and the board at Sandal Press (hubby, me, and the dog) decided to do a week-long promotion. Here's the deal: for one week, from the first to the eighth of August, all non-free releases at Sandal Press will be 99-cents. So if that urban fantasy series appeals to you, you can go pick up all the books in the series for less than four bucks! Want to read that lesbian space opera I was talking about? 99 cents! Want to have a crack at a "future historical"? The Pirate's Grand Plan is also 99 cents! Never tried science-fiction romance before? Now's your chance!

The retailers involved in this promotion are: Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords and OmniLit/AllRomanceEbooks. Just go to, decide on which book you'd like to try, and links will take you to the appropriate etailer page. And thanks for your support. With your help, I might even start making a living out of these books!

To whet your appetite, here's a bit from Overclocked.  

Overclocked by K.S. Augustin

In a new world, there are new challenges, new dangers…new ways to die.

Basement Five’s first cybernaut is lost in a universe of bits and bytes. Was it an accident? Deliberate? Dr. Tania Flowers is about to find out


“C’mon Tania, tell me you don’t like it.”

His breath tickled her ear, his voice pitched low. She remained silent.

“We’ve been working so hard,” he repeated. “Surely we deserve a break?”

He was right on so many counts.

They had been working too hard. For months, they’d been manoeuvring with each other, against each other, in a high-tech hothouse environment. Trying to prove that each was better than the other. That she was faster than him. That he was more adaptable than her. That they were both more focused than any other human beings on the planet.

After eight weeks of the final trial phase, Tania was exhausted. If she or Carl had managed to win victory cleanly, it wasn’t apparent from the daily status meetings they attended. And time was running out.

“We’re not machines, Tania,” Carl whispered.

Tonight, in the soothing darkness of her room, with Carl’s mellow voice whispering in her ear, Tania wanted to be convinced by his seductive pleas.

“We need time to enjoy life. Drop out of the rat race for an hour or two.”

Deliberately relaxing her shoulders and neck, Tania let the pillow take the weight of her head, settling back into the mattress with a sigh. Tania felt a pair of lips touch hers and she stifled a groan. Why was it that the man she felt most affinity for, the one who was able to light her up like Christmas fireworks, was also the one most adept at pushing each and every one of her buttons?

When she was consumed by lust for Carl, as she was now, there wasn’t a thing he could do wrong. When she wasn’t, there wasn’t a thing he could do right.

“You’re thinking again, aren’t you?” he asked. His breath stroked against her throat for a moment, then moved down to her collarbone. “That’s your problem. You’re always thinking.”

She felt his hot mouth taking in a nipple and sucking on it. He wasn’t gentle and she…liked it. Noisily, he suckled as if wanting to draw the erect nub down into his throat. Tania arched her back and groaned again, clawing at his head. She could feel her sex, throbbing and soaking wet, by the time he decided to move to the other breast.

“Nope,” he softly declared from a spot halfway down her torso. Tania’s fingers stopped their frantic questing through his hair to listen more closely to what he was saying. “This isn’t working. Not the way I want it.”

She felt his body lift away from hers and fought a pang of sharp loss. Then hands rested on her hips and she found herself flipped onto her stomach.


“Hush, Tania. Just go with the flow. Okay?”


Thanks, Lisabet, for having me here. Congratulations on the release of the Tied to the Billionaire anthology, and best of luck with Rajasthani Moon. It's on my TBR pile!

KS Augustin's website:
Twitter: @SandalPress

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Snog #88: Challenge to Him

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Today I have another kiss from my newest release Challenge to Him to share with you. The title is available now as part of the Tied to the Billionaire anthology. Get your own copy here!
When you're done reading my kiss excerpt, do click back to Blisse Kiss central, for more luscious snogs!
All the wealth in the world can’t buy willing surrender.
Andrew MacIntyre, heir to a vast empire of railroads, mines and mills, is the second or third richest man in America, and by far the most eligible bachelor among the society folk summering in Newport, Rhode Island. His mother has filled their opulent mansion with marriageable daughters of bankers and industrialists, but Andrew knows none of these callow young women can satisfy his perverse sexual needs. No respectable girl would ever consent to being bound and beaten, to serving and obeying him the way he craves. His money gives him the freedom to purchase anything except his heart’s desire—a submissive partner to share his life.
Independent, progressive and well-educated, labour activist Olivia Alcott has dedicated herself to improving the lot of the workers who toil in the factories that have made Andrew and his class so wealthy. The strike she organises triggers a confrontation between her and the handsome billionaire. Although their disparate backgrounds and values make them natural foes, something stronger draws them to one another—an intuitive recognition of complementary fantasies. Andrew offers Olivia a bargain—better working conditions for the mill staff, in return for a weekend of her unquestioning obedience. Olivia will help him deflect the attentions of the potential mates assembled by his mother, as well as providing more intimate services. Given Olivia’s origins, a more enduring relationship appears impossible—but Andrew is not the sort to give up something he wants.

Her lover—her master, at least for the moment—stirred and moaned. 
By God, Olivia! Are you trying to kill me?”

She struggled to suppress a giggle. “Of course not, sir!”

He clambered off her, then circled around to plant an energetic kiss on her lips. “You’re an amazing woman. I had no idea…”

I thought you said you knew, when you saw me…”

Minx!” He leaned over to pinch a welt. “You’ll pay for your insolence. But let’s get these ropes off first.”
Her muscles screamed in protest as she brought them down to her sides. Her fingers and toes were numb. Shaking his head, he chafed her wrists and ankles to stimulate the blood flow. “My apologies. I should not have kept you tied for such a long time.” His manner was almost tender as he boosted her body onto the bed. She rolled onto her side to spare her wounded ass the friction from the bedclothes.

I didn’t mind, sir.”

It’s my responsibility to see that you come to no harm.”
He stretched out along her body, facing her. Caressing her cheek, he searched her eyes. “You really didn’t mind, did you?” She heard wonder in his voice.

No, sir.” Olivia swallowed the lump in her throat. Honesty was the only alternative. “Actually, I liked it. I liked it all—the rope, the belt, the teasing, the roughness—the way you acted like you owned me.”

What about the Russian?” Andrew’s voice caught, a signal of unaccustomed uncertainty.

Dmitri is the past. That was more than four years ago. And I should never have trusted him. After six months together, he simply disappeared one day—taking most of my money with him, I should add.”

Did you—did you love him?”

Olivia had the feeling her companion didn’t want the real answer, but she felt compelled to tell the truth.

I did, at the time. He was the first person to see—well, who I am. What I want. When he left me, I thought I’d die. I spent more than one night leaning on the railing of a bridge over the Seine.”

The bastard didn’t deserve you, Olivia.” Andrew gathered her to his chest and took possession of her mouth in a kiss that brooked no refusal. Not that Olivia had the slightest inclination to refuse.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


By Sheila Claydon (Guest Blogger)

I’ve just returned from the past and what a journey it’s been. No, I wasn’t in outer space, nor did I travel through a time portal. All I was doing was re-reading the books I wrote more than a quarter of a century ago because a publisher wants to reprint them under a Retro Label.

Now before I go any further you have to understand that I’m talking about sweet romance…the ones that were mostly published in paperback and read avidly by women who wanted to escape from their mainly domestic lives for an hour or two. There were other books and other genres, so don’t think this was all that was available, but I wrote the sweet romantic fiction that was popular at the time. I loved it…it was my escape from my own mainly domestic life, and I sold to two different publishers. It wouldn’t have mattered if I’d sold to another dozen, though, because the rules were always the same:
  • Macho hero meets heroine early in first chapter (usually page 5)
  • Feisty (virginal) heroine is instantly attracted to hero but fights it
  • Macho hero kisses heroine against her wishes, usually after an argument
  • Feisty heroine fights him off and then spends time regretting it
  • Macho hero becomes moody and troubled
  • Feisty heroine tames macho hero
  • They marry and live happily every after
Okay so that’s a bit of a caricature but it’s close enough. So has anything changed over the years? Well not that much and yet everything.

The protagonists still meet in the first chapter, and yes, they are still usually instantly attracted to one another. 

This time around, however, the heroine doesn’t always fight it. Sex is allowed even without the surety of marriage at the end of the book, and even in a sweet romance.

The hero is a lot less macho though. Now he’s much more of a metrosexual: good with children and animals, kind, thoughtful, caring. He’s nice to old people too and he has some of the softer skills as well. For instance he might be able to produce tasty meals, take care of someone who is sick, deliver a baby (I’ve just finished reading that one!) or be a sensitive son of the soil. He’s good with his hands too, and that’s not a double entendre. If he doesn’t know how to build and repair things then he can forget all about being a hero and settle for a secondary character. And if he doesn’t know how and when to restrain his baser passions then he can forget about it altogether. He’s even learned how to tame the heroine (yes, she’s still feisty) without resorting to a forceful, uninvited kiss. Nowadays he shows more respect. He can still be moody and troubled of course, and lose his temper, and behave irrationally…but so can the heroine.

She’s a real person these days. Unlike her sisters from the 1980s, she is no longer half a person searching for a man to make her whole. Instead she is independent and self-sufficient, and she is often far too preoccupied with her own worries to think about men at all. When she does find him it’s because he just happens along and she is frequently the one who resists the growing love between them, often because she’s been let down in the past. (That hasn’t changed!) Today’s heroine expects more than just a hero. She wants her career as well, and she wants someone who will support her dreams. Marriage, finding her soul mate, loving someone…they all have their place in her life but they are not the end of the story.

And here’s another thing; when I re-read all my books from the 1980s I discovered something unexpected. I like my modern heroes much more than I did the macho men of old. Somehow the development of all those soft skills has made them far more desirable. Even though the heroines are not holding out for marriage and children any more, somehow they are ending up with men who are a much more interesting and attractive proposition. The hero of today is someone who I’d be happy to meet at the breakfast table every morning, and the fact that he might just be able to whip up a berry and buckwheat pancake for me is an added bonus.

I truly didn’t realize how much relationships had changed between the sexes until I re-read those books. I was expecting the hero and heroine to live in a time warp because it was before cell phones, before the Internet, even before home computers. In the UK in the early 1980s, typewriters were commonplace, people wrote letters, and meetings were arranged via landline telephones. The food was different too, much less cosmopolitan. An Italian trattoria was the height of sophistication. Now though, along with modern technology, equality has crept in. Twenty-five years ago the hero would have kissed the girl and worried about the consequences later. Now, he waits to be asked…well maybe that’s a bit of a stretch because this is romance after all, but he usually waits until he’s sure he won’t be rejected, that it really is what the heroine wants…and you know what…I like that.

And if this is before your time, well look at the covers of my book Golden Girl for some proof. In those days I used the pseudonym Anne Beverley. Due to be republished by Samhain in August, it is the story of an ingénue who is persuaded, against her better judgment, to model a range of cosmetics. In the 1980s cover she looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck, whereas in the modern version she is quite obviously a young woman with spirit who is enjoying the effect she is having on the men around her.

Then, for even more proof of how times have changed, look at the cover of one of my latest books, Pathway to Tomorrow (Books We Love). On this the heroine is not only very obviously sexually turned on but she is also fully prepared for some alfresco loving while, in the background, the horses that play such an important part in her life and her career, are never far from her thoughts. And what about the hero? Is he another modern man? I think so…he’s sexy that’s for sure, but is he metrosexy? What do you think?

Blurb for Pathway to Tomorrow:

When musician Marcus Lewis buys the derelict farmhouse next to Jodie Eriksson's riding school he doesn’t know whether to be amused or irritated by her angry reaction to his plans. Then her sister Izzie visits him and makes things a whole lot worse…or is it better…because now he has an excuse to see Jodie again. Although, when he sees her, it’s not exactly a meeting of minds, they do discover they have one thing in common; they both believe they know what’s best for Izzie, and for Marcus' son Luke.

It turns out they’re wrong. The children they thought they were protecting need to be set free. It’s Jodie and Marcus who have the problem; but can two broken hearts make one whole one? The battle lines that were set when they first met have long since been breached but the war won’t be over until Jodie learns how to trust again, and until Marcus allows himself to believe in his son.


Later, they pulled one another up a wooded slope, leaving the lake behind them as they searched for somewhere to sit and enjoy the spectacular scenery. Long before they found it though, Marcus tumbled Jodie into a grassy hollow that was hidden from view by the green fronds of new fern and the black skeletons of dried heather.

“I thought walking by the lake would be enough, but I was wrong,” he told her, supporting his weight with his hands as he leaned over her.

She smiled up at him, her eyes dark as sloes in the shadow of the ferns. He felt his breath hitch in his throat as he claimed her mouth. This wasn’t how he’d imagined their first time but he wasn’t strong enough to fight it, not when she was so eager and willing and the sun was so warm on his back. With a muttered oath he sat up and pulled his T-shirt over his head.

The touch of Jodie’s fingers as she stroked his shoulders was the final straw. He covered her hands, stilling them. “Only if you’re sure Jodie. It doesn’t have to be like this.”

“Yes it does,” her voice was soft as she pulled her hands free, sat up, and unbuttoned her polo shirt.

He helped her take it off and then he unhooked her bra, releasing breasts that put his imagination to shame. 
He didn’t touch her though. Instead he removed the band at the end of her plait and gently unwound her hair until it tumbled down her back in blue-black waves.

“I’ve wanted to do that ever since I first saw you,” he whispered, tangling his fingers in the thick skeins and pulling her towards him. He took his time after that, savoring her lips and the soft curves of her body before lying down and lifting her above him so the thick curtain of her hair screened them both from view. Then he took her nipples into his mouth and kissed them from pink to a moist, beckoning red.

Lost to everything around them they didn’t hear the voices until a small black and white dog burst through the ferns and started barking. Ignoring the angry commands of its owner, it darted at them, trying to nip them with its sharp little teeth.

With a muffled exclamation Marcus struck out at it. A lucky blow sent it yelping back to its master, and moments later they heard laughter as a group of hikers speculated about what sort of animal it had disturbed in the undergrowth.

PATHWAY TO TOMORROW is Book One of my Pathway Trilogy. It is available via Amazon at and Smashwords at

Book Two: PATHWAY TO SUCCESS will be out later this year.

You can find me at on my blog at Also on twitter, facebook and at Books We Love

About Sheila Claydon

In the 1980s Sheila Claydon wrote a number of romances under the pseudonym Anne Beverley. Then a busy career and family life got in the way and before she knew it, she had turned her back on the characters who were begging to be liberated from her imagination.

Now she is back to writing fiction again and, considerably older and no longer shy, writes under her own name.

Her motto is a quote by author Ray Bradbury: 'First, find out what your hero wants. Then just follow him.'

She starts with plots, chapter outlines, characterization; she knows all the rules and faithfully follows them each time she starts to write a new story. Then the hero takes over and she follows him instead.

Although family remains central to her life, she still finds the time to read, to write, and to travel. Many of the places she has visited feature in her books. Her fans say that reading them is like buying a ticket to romance.

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Few Lines from... Hazel Statham

A Few Lines from His Shadowed Heart by Hazel Statham

The shadows of the remaining light played across Caroline’s sleeping countenance and he smoothed a lock of hair that had strayed across her forehead. He knew the desire that his lips should follow his finger’s
course, but even in his state of inebriation, he knew this would be foolish.

For several minutes, he watched his wife sleep, eventually placing his head upon the pillow beside her. His lips curved into a loving smile as his eyes drank in her sleep-softened countenance and he felt her breath caress his cheek. The longing to hold her became an almost physical thing and his arms ached with the suppressed desire.

Eventually she stirred, muttering incoherently in her sleep, and he raised himself up. What foolishness is this, he thought. I am acting like a callow youth, and immediately he was on his feet. Snatching up the light, he went quickly out of the room, closing the door quietly behind him.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sex, Death and Taxes

By Margaret Tanner (Guest Blogger)

Everyone has to pay taxes; no government on earth is going to let their citizens get away without paying taxes. Taxes on your salary, business tax, death taxes, you name it, they will tax it.

In romance novels, we don’t talk about taxes. I don’t recall ever having read anything about tax collection.

Sex – yes in all its forms, sweet and tender, just a kiss or two. Hot and spicy, no shutting the bedroom door here, and the steamy, red-hot erotic novels that I don’t write, but I do commend the talented authors who do, and pull it off so successfully.

Death – In novels, I consider death to be a great tool in creating emotion and upping the drama. I don’t mean having the hero and heroine die, but the villains and secondary characters.

I have been thinking about this in regards to my stories. I write historical fiction with romantic elements, so death is probably easier to include in these stories. Harder to justify in contemporary romance, unless it is some villain who is hell bent on harming the heroine and to save her life, he has to go.

In bygone days, death in childbirth was quite common. People died of snakebite/disease/illness because they were miles from medical assistance or could not afford to pay for it. Bank robbers, stage coach robbers, cattle rustlers etc. - the sheriff could quite legitimately shoot these criminals down without fear of reprisal from their peers, or condemnation from the public.

In war, on the field of battle, soldiers die or are wounded, so we happily accept this in historical romance. We probably shed a tear or two for the gallant warrior and the staunch heroine who waits in vain for him to return. We wouldn’t throw the book against the wall because of this. We just sigh with contentment when another dashing soldier rides into the life of our heroine and she finally gets her happily ever after ending.

I have to confess that in all my novels there is some sex of the medium to hot variety and someone must die. Never a main character, of course, but someone invariably has to go, usually a baddie, but not always so.

As for taxes, I never mention the word in my novels unless it is to say – the heat became very taxing.

Margaret Tanner

3rd in the 2013 International Digital Awards contest hosted by the Oklahoma RWA.
Raw sexual emotion, revenge and redemption. If you want a sugar-coated romance, Savage Possession is not for you. In colonial Australia it took hard men like Martin Mulvaney to tame a harsh land.
A sweeping tale of love's triumph over tragedy and treachery in frontier Australia.

A mistaken identity opens the door for Martin Mulvaney to take his revenge on the granddaughter of his mortal enemy.

An old Scottish feud, a love that should never have happened, and a series of extraordinary coincidences traps two lovers in a family vendetta that threatens to destroy their love, if not their lives.

Amazon UK


What the hell? Martin Mulvaney stirred himself from the kitchen fire. His head thumped from the numerous whiskies he had indulged in during a session of whoring at the Black Stallion bordello. He always paid women to relieve his sexual hunger,easier and safer for everyone concerned.

God, he hated living in this house. I ought to burn it to the ground and rid myself of its terrible aura once and for all. The wind shrieked and moaned outside, rekindling memories of Emily Parsons and what had happened to her here. Taking another swig from the whisky bottle, he tried to blot out the guilt that had tortured him for more than twenty years. I could have saved her but I didn’t.

He rubbed his hand across the bristles on his chin. The sound of the front door knocker being slammed against the wooden door thudded into his fogged up brain. He would have ignored the noise, except the continual banging made his headache worse. God Almighty, how the hell had he found his way home? If he didn’t stop this kind of behaviour it would end up killing him. And good riddance many would say. “Stop that damn noise. I can't come any faster.”

Wrenching the door open he peered out into the blackness. Something made him glance down, and on the step lay a dark shape. The soft object moved when he prodded it with his foot, so he turned the lamp up and took a closer look.

A girl knelt on his doorstep. A damp curtain of silver blonde hair tumbled over her shoulders. Glancing up, he half expected to see a hole in the sky where this angel had fallen through. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. God, he must be drunker than he thought.

“Help me. Please. Have mercy.” Her desperate plea pierced the fog swirling around in his brain. When he lifted her up she swayed and almost fell. Swinging her up into his arms he kicked the door shut, and strode back inside.

“Who the hell are you?” He dumped her on a chair in the kitchen, grabbed the whisky bottle he had slugged out of minutes earlier and forced some of the liquid down her throat. She coughed and spluttered before turning her head away. “I’m Martin Mulvaney. Who are you?” he persisted, mesmerized by the bewilderment in her blue eyes.

“I…I don’t know.”


“I…I can’t remember.”

He took a long slug out of the whisky bottle.

Her rain-washed skin glistened like white marble, and a graze on her forehead oozed blood. He lifted her chair up closer to the fire and watched her trembling hands reach towards the flames. Small and dainty, a little work roughened, but no rings adorned her fingers.

His anger turned to pity. “You’ll have to change out of those wet clothes.” He inwardly cursed the fact his housekeeper was away tending her sick sister. Of course, he had planned to spend most of his time enjoying the whores at the Black Stallion. Pure chance found him home tonight.

Forced by the howling wind, rain lashed the window panes drowning out the girl’s whimpers. He strode towards the stove to lift the kettle off the hob.

“I’ll make you a cup of tea.” He tried to sound kind as he sloshed boiling water into the teapot, but it was hard when he hadn’t shown concern for a woman in years. He used them for sex, was never physically abusive and always paid them handsomely for their services. Not like his father who used to delight in punishing and humiliating women. He clamped down on the bitter memories and the fear dogging him for years that he would one day turn into a woman beater like his father “I could do with some myself. Might clear my head.”

He stared into the girl’s face as he handed her the tea. “Come on, drink this, it will help warm you up.” Her eyes seemed enormous and he could have drowned in their haunted, pain filled depths.

Fear contorted her pretty face. “Who am I?” Frail and ethereal, like an angel in a religious picture, she looked the epitome of everything beautiful in a woman. Untouched, untainted, the perfect bride for a man who wanted marriage, which he didn’t. He tried travelling down that road once before and it had cost him dearly.

About Margaret

Margaret Tanner is a multi-published Australian author. She loves delving into the pages of history as she carries out research for her historical romance novels, and prides herself on being historically accurate. No book is too old or tattered for her to trawl through, no museum too dusty, or cemetery too overgrown. Many of her novels have been inspired by true events, with one being written around the hardships and triumphs of her pioneering ancestors in frontier Australia.

As part of her research she has visited the World War 1 battlefields in France and Belgium, a truly poignant experience.

Margaret is a member of the Melbourne Romance Writers Group (MRWG). She won the 2007 and 2009 Author of the Year at Her novel Frontier Wife won the Best Historical Romance Novel at the 2010 Readers Favorite Award, and another novel, Wild Oats was a 2011 Finalist in the EPIC awards. In July 2013, her novel, Savage Possession, came 3rd in International Digital Awards contest hosted by the Oklahoma RWA.

Margaret is married with three grown up sons, and two gorgeous little granddaughters.
Outside of her family and friends, writing is her passion.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lisabet's July News

Tied To The Billionaire cover

New and Upcoming Releases

Jeez! What happened to June? Oh, I remember. I spent all month blogging about Rajasthani Moon and giving away prizes. No wonder I forgot to do my newsletter!

Anyway - my big news this month is the release of the fabulous anthology Tied to the Billionaire, which includes my historical BDSM story Challenge To Him. The book is available now from Total-E-Bound - just click here - with general release scheduled for the 16th of August. But why wait? You can get the book at a 10% discount from TEB this very instant in whatever format you prefer. And they can send it directly to your Kindle or Nook, just like the big guys.

By the way, I've finally put an excerpt from Challenge To Him on this site. Just click here.

To celebrate the general release, the anthology authors - Amy Armstrong, Sam Crescent, Tanith Davenport, Cheryl Dragon, Willa Edwards and yours truly - are planning a fabulous blog tour entitled "Meet the Billionaires". Each of us will have an interview with our fabulously wealthy hero. One lucky commenter during the week will get a $50 bookstore gift certificate. A second winner will recieve an ebook from each author's backlist. The fun starts on release day, August 16th, and runs through the 23rd. Keep your eye on my blog for details, or join my Yahoo group, Lisabet's List.

I'm waiting eagerly for the release of Coming Together: Girl on Girl, the new charity anthology edited by Leigh Ellwood and benefiting the National Center for Lesbian Rights. The book includes my F/F BDSM tale Sundae, Bloody Sundae. For a quick snippet, click here.

Meanwhile, I just submitted a new paranormal Lust Bite entitled Rough Weather. It's a sort of prequel to my tale Hot Spell, about the Water Elemental Ondine and the Air Elemental Marut. I'll let you know as soon as I hear whether it has been accepted.

Other News

I've posted Chapter 7 in my free cat-shifter serial Cat Toy, my cat-shifter serial. You can read the latest installment, in which the villain makes her appearance, here. Or to read the entire story so far, start here

In mid-August I'll be participating in Victoria Blisse' amazing Smut Al Fresco event. In fact, I'll be posting my excerpt of outdoor loving on the 16th of August, the same day the Billionaire tour begins. No rest for the weary!

Al Fresco button

You read the button right. We are giving away a Kindle, plus 50 British pounds worth of TEB credit to fill that baby up!


I only received two entries to my last contest, so rather than drawing a winner, I'm throwing those entries in with this month's contest. You can win a pack of two autographed print books from my back list. All you have to do send an email to contest [at] with the subject line "Series Contest". In the email, tell me what you think is the secret to a great series. Should each book in the series feature the same characters, or do you prefer a series set in a single world but where each book focuses on different characters? How important is it that you be able to read the series in any order? How long should a series be?

Each email counts as an entry. I'll announce the winner in my next newsletter, in the second half of August.

Lisabet's Pick of the Month

My pick of the month for July is Melissa Snark's blog, The Snarkology of an Erotic Romance Author. Melissa was one of my hosts for my Rajasthani Moon blog tour, and I realy liked her site, which features a lot of information about her and her causes, as well as some great cartoons.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Shades of ... Purple?

By L.M. Somerton (Guest Blogger)

As a relative newbie to the publishing world and the wise comments of my editor, I’ve got accustomed to her references to IBPs, zombies and distracting rhymes - too many references to the ‘tube of lube’ are apparently not advisable. However, I have never been accused of the dreaded purple prose… until recently, when one of my phrases was singled out as being ‘tinged with purple – suggest reword’.

I browsed the web and found loads of blog posts talking about the topic, some of them with brilliant, hysterical examples. I’m never going to forget the line “Lash me to yer throbbing purple yardarm, Hop’n jack me, Whip the pony, butter the biscuits, take me if you must, grease me with deck-wax, pin me flat and ravish me on your thick commanding masthead.” (See Redlines andDeadlines for more!) It’s reassuring to know that I am not the only writer who has strayed towards the melodramatic. But couldn’t one person's purple prose be another’s vivid description?

It's subjective – a colourful debate between editor and writer. But do erotic story writers ‘get away with it’ more? Sex scenes are hard to make original. I write MM and it’s difficult to avoid making descriptions too clinical or too crude. So, whilst waving the rainbow flag, must indigo and violet be avoided at all costs? Personally, I think my readers would laugh themselves silly if I started talking about ripe globes and straining manhood. Fortunately BDSM doesn’t lend itself to prosaic self-indulgence, but just occasionally I might see if I can’t sneak something colourful past my beady-eyed editor. Surely a delicate shade of lilac is better than grey?

Check out the lack of purple prose in my latest release, Reaching the Edge.


Joe Dexter leads a complicated life. In one world he is a consultant criminal psychologist; in another he runs The Edge, a successful corporate training company. He’s also an active Dom in the London BDSM scene.

A social call to The Underground, a club owned by an old friend, turns into much more when Joe is introduced to a prospective sub. Falling hard for the boy’s tumbling blonde curls, huge blue eyes and desperate need for protection Joe carefully coaxes him out of his shell. By the end of an intense weekend, unbreakable bonds have been forged and Joe is well on the way to becoming Olly’s master.

Joe knows that there is trauma in Olly’s past, but it is not until his professional and private lives collide that Joe discovers the truth. He knows he shouldn’t have let Olly out of his sight but it’s too late – Olly’s old master is back on the scene and he’s not in the mood to forgive and forget.

With Olly’s life on the line, Joe risks everything to save him. Has Joe found his perfect submissive only to lose him in a horrible twist of fate, or will love win the day? They’ve reached the edge and there’s no avoiding a leap of faith.


Angel was slim, his body smooth and firm. The short leather kilt he wore sat low on his hips and emphasised the gentle curve of his arse. Joe judged that he must be around five feet ten. Apart from his spectacular eyes, his hair was his most remarkable feature—a tangle of unruly, loose golden curls that cascaded onto his neck and around his face. No wonder his nickname was Angel.

Joe knew that he must look intimidating and tried to move slowly. He reached out and tackled the buckle that held Angel’s kilt closed. Angel didn’t move, but there was obvious tension in his stance.

It’s all right, I’m not going to hurt you.”

With the buckle undone, Joe allowed the scanty strip of leather to slip to the floor. The tiny net thong that held Angel’s dick was doing a very poor job of containing his burgeoning erection. Joe allowed himself one more circuit, drinking in the sight of a perfect arse, before he headed across to the cupboard and pulled out a big, fluffy robe.

He wanted to test Angel’s willingness to be naked in front of him, so he ordered him to remove the thong. There was no hesitation, but as Angel clasped his hands behind his back again Joe could detect the trembling he was trying to control. Angel’s cock bounced just a little, then settled into position, jutting firmly from his body. His chest was completely smooth and hairless, his cock and balls in perfect proportion to his body, nesting in delicate golden curls.

Beautiful.” Joe handed over the robe with some regret. “Put this on, Angel, and take a seat.”

Angel looked at the robe in his hands as if it were a totally unfamiliar object. “I don’t understand, Sir.”

It was a simple instruction. Do as you’re told.”

The firmness in Joe’s voice did the trick. Angel looked almost relieved at the tone of command. He slipped the robe on and wrapped it around himself, then took a seat on the sofa as far away from Joe as he could get, tucking his bare feet beneath him in an attempt to make himself as small as possible.

Relax, Angel. You haven’t done anything wrong.”

Big blue eyes glistened with tears. “Do I displease you, Sir?” His voice shook.

Joe gave a small smile. “Quite the opposite, I can assure you.”

Buy links:

You can buy Reaching the Edge today from Total-E-Bound at:

It’s also available on general release at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance Café etc. just search for the title.


L M Somerton lives in a small village in the English countryside, surrounded by rolling hills, cows and sheep. She started writing to fill time between jobs and is now firmly and unashamedly addicted.

She loves the English weather, especially the rain, and adores a thunderstorm. She loves good food, warm company and a crackling fire. She’s fascinated by the psychology of relationships, especially between men, and her stories contain some subtle (and not so subtle) leanings towards BDSM.