Thursday, September 28, 2023

Is it already time for Christmas stories? #BillionaireRomance #ChristmasRomance #LaterinLifeRomance @SadiraStone

The Billionaire's Christmas Castle cover

Yes, Christmas is coming... and so is a luscious holiday romance from one of my favorite romance authors, Sadira Stone.

Available on October 12, 2023!

The Billionaire’s Christmas Castle: A Silver Fox Holiday Beach Town Romance

His billions can’t buy what he craves most—her love.

Battling between his career and his conscience, tech investor Michael Garwood escapes the holiday madness and flees to Trappers Cove, the kitschy Washington State beach town he loved as a child. All he needs is an ocean view, a crackling hearth, and a little solitude to figure out his existential crisis. Is that too much to ask?

After too many painful snubs, Annie Scott loathes snooty rich people, not that she encounters many in her beachside antiques shop—until Michael walks through her door. When the gorgeous grump bares his human side, Annie decides that sharing small-town holiday fun is the perfect distraction from her lonely Christmas blues.

When Michael’s deluxe accommodations flood, Annie persuades him to rent a quirky clifftop castle and host a Christmas party for the whole damn town. Can a frustrated tycoon and a fiercely independent entrepreneur cross an ocean of differences to forge a love that lasts past the holidays?

Come to Trappers Cove for a holiday billionaire romance that’ll steam up your windows and warm your heart!

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He brushed his cheek against hers, the soft scrape of his whiskers indescribably delicious. His hot breath fanned over her ear. “And I’m warning you now. After our third date, I plan to kiss you.”

Sweet, aching pressure swelled in her chest, her belly, her sex.

Ah well, the new year was soon enough to launch the new Annie.

No.” She slid her hand up until she cupped the back of his neck, her fingers sliding through the silken curls at his nape.

His eyebrows rose. “No?”

She shook her head. “No. Kiss me now.”

Desire darkened his eyes as he sucked in a sharp breath. Strong arms encircled her, pressing her body to his. His thick lashes fluttered down. With a hungry moan, he captured her lips in a deep, drugging kiss.

Her lips parted on a sigh, and his velvet tongue swept inside, gliding, teasing, learning her mouth with each languid slide.

One broad palm rose to cradle her head while the other slid to her lower back and snugged her tight against him. “Annie,” he whispered, releasing her mouth to trail hot, wet kisses down her neck. His fingers knotted in her hair, tugging her into a deeper arch. His tongue traced the hammering pulse in her throat. Soft lips nibbled her earlobes, then sharp teeth nipped the sensitive flesh. Gasping, she clutched his silken hair and claimed another frantic kiss. And another, and another…

Michael groaned, gripped her arms, and broke away. Eyes pinched shut, he shook his head. “Wait. Hold on.”

I am.” She tunneled her fingers beneath his belt, toward the tempting curve of his ass.

Annie, please.” Seizing both her wrists, he clasped her hands over his thundering heart. “This isn’t what you want.”

It is,” she insisted, breathless.

No.” Darkened with desire, his penetrating gaze stilled her efforts to escape. “You said you’re done with hookups. You want more. You deserve more.” Gently prying open her clenched fingers, he rested his cheek in her palm. “I’m trying to prove myself, Annie. Give me a chance. Please.”

Never in her life had she been so sweetly refused. Dizzy with confusion, body thrumming with frustrated need, she stepped out of his embrace and turned her back.

For a long moment, the only sound was the fire’s crackle and the whoosh of their breathing. He cupped her shoulder, his touch soft and tender. “Are you angry?”

She heaved a lung-emptying sigh. “I don’t know what I am, Michael.” A bitter chuckle burbled up. “But I know what I’m not—a user. I won’t push you to do something you don’t want to do.”

Annie.” He pressed his cheek to her hair. His breath tickled her sensitized skin. “I don’t feel used. And I want you desperately, but not at the expense of what we could be together.”

About the Author

Award-winning contemporary romance author Sadira Stone spins steamy, smoochy tales set in small businesses—a quirky bookstore, a neighborhood bar, a vintage boutique. Set in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, her stories highlight found family, friendship, and the sizzling chemistry that pulls unlikely partners together. When she emerges from her writing cave in Las Vegas, Nevada (which she seldom does), she can be found in dance class, strumming her ukulele, exploring the Western U.S. with her charming husband, cooking up a storm, and gobbling all the romance books. For a guaranteed HEA (and no cliffhangers!) visit Sadira at

Visit Sadira on All the Socials!





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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

She shuddered in the stranger’s arms – #Halloween #PNR #MFRWHooks @KateHillRomance

Fin d'Espoir banner

We’re in the last week of September already. And you know what that means...

Halloween is coming soon!

I may be a senior citizen, but Halloween still kindles a very special kind of excitement in my heart. This year, I’m celebrating by participating in Kate Hill’s huge Halloween extravaganza. Every day in October, she will be featuring a different author and a different book. Each one of us is giving away a free Halloween read, and some of us (including me) have bonus prizes that will be included in her Halloween Rafflecopter.


As it happens, I’m kicking off the event on October 1st. My page will be featuring my bisexual vampire romance Fin d’Espoir – and giving you instructions for how to get a copy absolutely free!

Anyway, to whet your appetite, I’m taking today’s hook from that spooky erotic romance, which is set in Jamaica.


Bitter and alone, Etienne de Rémorcy haunts the forest around the ruined plantation of Fin d'Espoir. He has sworn to never again taste human blood. Then a fierce storm and a runaway horse bring a slender, raven-haired beauty to his lair. When she begs him to take her, he cannot resist. Her companion likewise falls under Etienne’s spell. Their love may be his last hope for redemption.

The Hook

The horse continued his downward rush. Desperate, Maddy clung to the saddle, her legs aching with the effort. It was all too easy to imagine herself broken and trampled on that rocky ground.

Impossible brilliance dawned, followed by a crash that left her ears ringing. Maddy smelled ozone and charred wood. An orange tongue flared on a nearby ridge, silhouetting towering trees before it was quenched by the downpour.

The ground became more level. Her mount picked up speed, splashing through a stream that crossed his route and showering her legs with water far colder than the rain. The underbrush thinned. They raced along through a natural tunnel formed by the branches arching overhead. Another lightning bolt crackled through the forest. It illumined what looked like a man-made structure, a few hundred yards ahead.

Hello!” she yelled, trying to make herself heard above the din of the storm. “Anyone—please—help…!” She peered into the grey-green shadows. Had she been mistaken? The rain eased slightly. The damp breeze was redolent of smoke and growing things.

She must have loosened her grip. Lightning arced through the sky, followed by a crack of thunder that rattled her bones. The stallion froze, screaming its terror to the freshening wind. It rose on its hind legs, beating the air with its front hooves and dashing Maddy to the ground.

Lightning snaked across the clouds. Like its twin, fiery pain forked in Maddy’s ankle. The horse reared above her prone body, ready in its mad fear to crush her into the muddy earth. Grimacing with the effort, she tried to roll out of the way, though she knew she was too late.

Whoa now, my pretty. Du calme, du calme.”

A man’s voice, deep and resonant, full of power. The stallion responded immediately, dropping back to all fours and hanging its head. A tall figure stepped out from behind a tree and grasped the bridle. “Good boy,” he murmured in the horse’s ear, gently stroking its muzzle all the while. “No need to fear now. Calm down.”

The transformation from a crazed beast to a docile pet was close to instantaneous. The man’s voice had a similar effect on Maddy, slowing her racing heart, even easing the throbbing in her ankle.

The stranger loomed over her, a huge man-shaped shadow. Full night had arrived, and Maddy could see nothing of the man’s features. She shivered and felt her heartbeat quicken once again. She was lost and alone, crippled by an ankle that was sprained if not broken. What could she do to protect herself?

He sank on his haunches next to her aching, muddy body. “Are you hurt, Miss?” he asked, his vowels rounded by the traces of French. Maddy’s fear melted in the warmth of that rich voice. The scent of roses tickled her nostrils. The pain in her ankle dwindled to an occasional annoying twinge.

The man’s skin reminded her of the Blue Mountain coffee she and Troy had enjoyed at breakfast, a brown so dark it was almost black. Raindrops gleamed on his smooth cheeks and pooled in the hollow of his throat. Looking at him made her thirsty. He was powerfully built, with massive shoulders swelling out from his worn denim vest. Underneath, his muscled chest was bare. A tight frizz of black hair grew in the furrow between his breasts.

As he crouched at her side, his jeans stretched taut over his thighs but hung loosely around his narrow hips. Another line of kinky curls ran down from his navel to disappear under his waistband.

His face was the visage of a Nubian king, prominent cheekbones and a fleshy nose with elegant, flared nostrils. His liquid-brown eyes were set wide apart, in deep sockets protected by the fine arch of his brows. His proud forehead rose above them, up to the tight-knit black frizz that covered his skull.

And his mouth… Maddy couldn’t stop herself from staring at those full lips, mahogany-red against his rosewood-dark face. They were parted in a half-smile that revealed the pearly white of perfect teeth. An image flashed through Maddy’s mind, that kinky head bent to her breast, those sensual lips fastened on her nipple. Her nubs tightened under her soaked shirt, their ache completely distracting her from her injured ankle.

Miss? Are you in pain?” That voice tore her away from her sudden fantasy, commanding her attention.

Uh—my ankle. It caught beneath me when I fell.”

Let me see.”

She struggled to rise to a half-sit, resting her weight on her elbows, and stretched out her right leg. She blushed when she saw how filthy she was, but her companion didn’t seem to notice.

He cradled her heel in one hand, palpating her ankle with the other. His hand was large enough to completely enclose her foot. He prodded the area above her instep.

Ay!” She winced as fiery pain raced up her leg. “Ow! Damn!”

That hurts, I gather.” He studied her flesh. “It is quite inflamed. I cannot tell if the bone is intact, but it should be bound in any case.” He supported her back with his left arm, slipping his right under her knees.

What? Wait!” A wave of dizziness swept over her. The man raised her from the ground as though she weighed nothing. The next thing she knew, he was carrying her into the darkness. “No, please…” Her helplessness rekindled her fear. She struggled against his grip. His arms were like iron bands around her back and hips. His laugh at her futile efforts was edged with mockery.

Should I leave you then, injured and alone in the forest? I think you would soon change your mind. In these forgotten valleys, there are many creatures of the night, creatures far more dangerous than I. These hills are soaked in the blood of the Maroons who fought and died to free themselves from their colonial masters. Some of them still walk, animated by perpetual hate for anyone with white skin. Not to mention the cruel gods the slaves brought with them on their nightmare journeys from Africa. They flourish here, among the memories of vengeance and death.”

Maddy shuddered in the stranger’s arms. A chill crept through her limbs. She couldn’t stop shaking. She whimpered, the denim of his vest rough against her cheek, breathing the scent of roses. Her captor—her savior?—strode through the trees, sure of every step. All at once, he stopped and peered down at her.

You are in shock, girl. Stop fighting and let me help you.” His melodious voice soothed her, calming the tremors a bit. She relaxed into his strength as he resumed his brisk pace, cradling her body against his chest.

The storm’s fury had dwindled. A warm drizzle pattered against the leafy canopy above their heads. Thunder rolled faintly in the distance. Maddy closed her eyes and allowed herself to drift.

A flash of lightning brought her back to awareness. In the momentary glare, she saw the building that had drawn her into the valley, much closer now. It was a ruin, a hulking mass of charred pillars and tumbled walls overgrown with vines. A lone chimney pointed at the sky like an accusing finger. She gasped at desolate scene.

Feeling her body tense, her captor halted. Even in the dark, she could make out the outlines of the derelict mansion.

Fin d’Espoir plantation.” His voice was colder than before. Maddy heard the echoes of anger and sorrow. “Home.”

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Monday, September 25, 2023

Finding your writing voice – #WritersCraft #Editing #CharactersVoice @Apky11162

A P von K'Ory

By A P von K’Ory (Guest Blogger)

Most of us writers, whether novelist, memoirist or nonfiction writer, have our own individual writer’s voice. It’s rather like a fingerprint. And that is why each one of us has to find the voice that sets us apart from other scribes. Each one of us wants to stand out in our crowded field. Therefore finding your unique voice is of utmost importance. You need to find it, then hone it.

The Definition of Writer’s Voice

This is the ‘tool’ that breathes life to your work and gives it your creative identity in how you express your ideas, craft your sentences, and choose your words. It’s that special ‘you’ writing that readers can identify as yours in your use of language, syntax, structure and the comprehensive impression you leave on them. It’s the fusion of personal perspectives and experiences plus the storytelling techniques that lend your work a deeper level of resonance with readers.

In other words, your writing voice constitutes the bridge between you and your audience. To quote from Patricia Lee Gauch:

A writer’s voice is not character alone, it is not style alone; it is far more. A writer’s voice lines the stroke of an artist’s brush – is the thumbprint of her whole person – her ideas, wit, humor, passions, rhythms.

Today we have mass-produced novels assisted by AI and recycled content. So honing your unique writing voice, that distinct style distinguishing you from other writers – is more important than ever.

Recognize Character’s Voice

You also need to distinguish the difference between ‘writer’s voice and ‘character’s voice’, two closely linked concepts that serve distinct and different purposes. The writer’s voice describes that quality that make an individual writer’s work unique (e.g. rhythm and pacing, sentence structure, and choice of words and turn of phrase that set the overall tone of your work. It’s the consistent distinct quality prevailing throughout the narrative.)

Choose between three to five adjectives to describe yourself as a writer. Your self-description gives insight into the type of voice you’re likely to have. I like to describe myself as ironic, playful, and conversational. I’m also drawn to writers with similar tone. The type of writers that appeal to you can also reveal the type of voice you have. We’re often influenced by the writers we love.” – NY Book Editors

A character’s voice, however, is the unique way they think and speak in your particular work. Young people think and speak differently from older people; social classes have different patterns of thinking and talking; a foreigner speaks English differently from a native speaker. Here is where writers are advised to go sit in a crowded public place and eavesdrop on the different ways people speak or to listen to own dinner guests’ speech patterns, gestures and mannerisms.

Another way to hone your writer’s voice is through reading different authors across different genres. Make notes of what impresses you, what’s distinct in their writing. What do they infuse in their works from their lived experiences that’s unique?

Here are examples from two different writers.

J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye:

Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I‘m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.

Salinger’s character’s voice reects the author’s own adolescent disillusionment and fears. He draws from his own experiences and impregnates his protagonist’s voice with authenticity that captures the struggles and complexities of youth, resulting in a deeply relatable and impactful narrative. It has resonated with readers young and old for generations, and continues to do so.

The next quote is from Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar:

The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence. I knew perfectly well the cars were making noise, and the people in them and behind the lit windows of the buildings were making a noise, and the river was making a noise, but I couldn’t hear a thing. The city hung in my window, flat as a poster, glittering and blinking, but it might just as well not have been there at all, for all the good it did me.

Plath, too, dips in the well of her own experiences with mental illness in crafting the voice of Esther Greenwood, her protagonist. Esther’s voice impacts a reader as hauntingly honest and raw. Being written in first person POV increases the impact of the writer’s voice, lending the work an emotional depth and authenticity that makes readers empathize and connect with Esther on that deeper level.

One of my own weaknesses is verbosity, which is more suitable for science fiction where you need to describe the alien world you’ve created. My editor keeps drilling me on this but I’m never satisfied until I’ve described a scene to within an inch of its death, including the dust motes.

It’s up to you as the writer to choose the style of writing voice conducive to your genre and preferences.

About the Author

The multi-award-winning author A P Von K'Ory was born in Kisumu, the capital city of Luoland, Kenya, to the Luo royal houses of K'Orinda and Yimbo. She was sent to a public (which means private, outside of the UK) school in Yorkshire, England when she was too young to say "sod off". She studied Economics, Literature, and Journalism in London, graduating with firsts as a journalist from the London School of Journalism, as well as an economist from the London School of Economics.

Love took her to Bavaria, Germany where she further studied Germanistics and German-specific Economics and Socio-Philosophy. Her most recent personal achievement is her Ph.D. in Sociology and Geo-Politics in Germany, making her total number of doctorates five. She regards knowledge as a lifelong quest of learning something new.

Writing entered her world when A P was about five and never left. Apart from her numerous and published articles, theses, and papers, A P's first novel and personal favorite, Khiras Traum, was published in 2004 in German. There followed eight romance novels, including the award-winning Bound to Tradition trilogy. Her nonfiction book Darkest Europe and Africa's Nightmare: A Critical Observation of Neighboring Continents was published in New York.

In between other jobs (e.g. working as a cleaner in a mental asylum in northern Germany - great plots there just waiting for her!) and as a freelance journalist since 1980, she gives lectures and seminars in various German, Austrian, and Swiss universities, colleges and high schools on topics ranging from socio-economy in Africa, Business English, African literature and the socio-ethnological conflicts in the traditions of Africans and Europeans in particular, and the West in general.

A P is the winner of six awards from four continents, the last one being the Achievers Award for African Writer of the Year 2013 in the Netherlands. The Selmere Integration Prize was awarded her in 2014 for her engagement in helping African Women in the Diaspora cope with a variety of domestic and social problems. The Proposal, a short story, won the Cook Communications first prize in 2010 and is published in an American anthology Africa 2012. In 2012, she won the Karl Ziegler Prize for her commitment to bring African culture to Western society in various papers, theses, and lectures. Again in 2012, her book Bound to Tradition: The Dream was nominated for the 2012 Caine Prize by the Author-me Group, Sanford, and in 2013 she was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize.

Born blue-blooded, her large extended family stretches from the Nilotes of Eastern Africa to France and the Walloons (Belgium) of Western Europe. She lectures Economics and Sociology in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. She’s migratory and – weather willing – lives in Germany, France, Cyprus, and Greece.

She may be reached at any of the following:

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Charity Sunday: Where is help needed? #Hotosm #DisasterResponse #CharitySunday

Charity Sunday banner

On the 8th of September, a devastating earthquake near Marrakesh, Morocco killed thousands and left tens of thousands homeless. Then, just two days later, torrential rains in Libya caused several dams to collapse, flooding vast swathes of countryside in Derna and once again claiming thousands of lives.

Many organizations are working together to help the victims of these two disasters. This Charity Sunday, I am supporting the work of the Humanitarian Open Street Map Team ( which focuses on creating accurate, high-resolution, up-to-date maps based on satellite imagery and other sources, in order to serve the needs of rescue teams, damage assessment personnel, and others who need to know where help is needed. 

You’ve probably not stopped to think about the importance of geographic information in a disaster situation, but consider:

How can supplies reach remote communities if we don’t know which roads are passable and which ones are flooded, collapsed or blocked by debris?

How can we estimate emergency housing needs without an inventory of building destruction?

How can we assess how many people require emergency supplies without knowing the locations and populations of affected settlements?

You can read an excellent description of the ongoing work by HOTOSM in response to these events here:

In particular, you’ll see that the data captured by HOTOSM volunteers is used by many other charitable and emergency response organizations – and that it is all available for free.

If you have some time and want to do something concrete, you can sign up as a volunteer mapper. You’ll get the training you need, learn some fascinating skills and technologies, and have the satisfaction of knowing you’re making a personal contribution to improving the well-being of victims in Libya and Morocco.

You can also donate, of course. Every dollar is welcome.

If you don’t have the time or the money – then at least leave a comment on this blog post. I will donate two dollars to HOTOSM for every comment I receive.

For my excerpt, I have a snippet from my MMF historical erotic romance Monsoon Fever. This book features a scene in which the monsoon rains trigger landslides on Jonathan’s and Patricia’s tea plantation in mountainous Assam, wiping out the local village.

To thank you for visiting today, I will give a free copy of this book to one person who comments.


When a charismatic lawyer arrives at their remote Indian tea plantation, he tempts a married couple with forbidden carnal delights.

Priscilla and Jonathan have grown apart. Anil Kumar, solicitor to Jon’s father, enchants both Priscilla and Jon with his beauty, poise and wisdom. Will the illicit cravings he excites be the final stroke that destroys their marriage? Or the route to saving it?

Find all the buy links at


Priscilla had visited the village several times, bringing sweets for the children and English soap for their mothers. She hardly recognised the scene of devastation before her now. There was no sign of the wooden huts that sheltered the workers. She saw only a vast sea of mud, with splintered planks and beams jutting out at odd angles. Half naked men dug frantically in the muck, looking like an army of demons in the shifting lantern-light. Children clung to their mothers, wailing or watching the rescue efforts silent and wide-eyed. An elderly woman, tattered sari clinging to her wizened body, crouched under a tree half-crushed by a huge boulder.

Priscilla saw Jon near the far perimeter, wielding a shovel and yelling orders to the other men. She stumbled across the former village, the treacherous mud sucking at her feet, and threw herself into his arms.

Darling! I was so worried.” she cried. “Are you all right?”

Jonathan held her so tight she could scarcely breathe. His chest was bare and streaked with dirt. His blond hair was black with rain and soil. “Priscilla! Thank God! I’m so glad to see you!”

How bad is it?”

Bad—nearly all the houses were destroyed—but it could have been much worse. Most of the villagers were up at the shrine when the hillside gave way. We think that there are only a few people buried. We’re trying to find them before it’s too late.”

Let me help. I can dig, too.” She held up her spade. Jonathan looked at her for a moment, appraising her strength, then nodded. “Take the north east quadrant. Be careful—you don’t want to slice into the person you’re trying to rescue.”

What about me? Where do you want me?” Anil had come up behind them during their embrace.

Anil! Wonderful! Can you organise the men working in the south west? I’m not sure that they understand everything that I’ve been telling them.”

Certainly, I’ll do what I can.” Anil strode off toward the group that Jon had indicated.

Priscilla waded over to the area Jon had assigned to her. The Indian men eyed her curiously as she dug her spade into the saturated dirt. The mud resisted, sticky and heavy as cement, but she refused to be discouraged. She raised one spade-full, then another, scanning her expanding excavation each time for any sign of a body.

Her shovel hit some buried wood. The impact sent a jarring shock back through her shoulders. She thought that the thump sounded hollow. Priscilla dug in again, listening more carefully. Definitely hollow.

All at once, she heard a muffled cry, a human voice. “Jon! Over here, I think there’s a partly collapsed house here, and someone’s inside. Alive!”

The men swarmed over to where she was digging. “Careful now,” Jon cautioned. “Don’t disturb the timbers or the whole place might collapse.” He showed them how to lift off the soil in layers, standing away from the hole so that their weight would not affect the precariously balanced ruins underneath. It took half an hour, but finally they pulled an old man out of the ground, crushed and bleeding but conscious.

A shout rang out from the other side of the mud field. Anil’s group had located another body. Priscilla went over to lend her spade to the efforts. Digging side by side with her husband and the Indian lawyer, she worked steadily to strip away nearly two feet of dirt. Underneath, they found the mangled corpse of a woman cradling an infant. The woman was beyond help. The baby, though, let out a lusty wail as the fresh air filled its lungs.

Priscilla bent down and took the naked child in her arms. It was covered with scratches and abrasions, but miraculously unharmed otherwise. A boy, perhaps six months old. He looked up at her with chocolate-coloured eyes and cooed, waving his chubby limbs.

Tears streamed down Priscilla’s cheeks, mingling with the raindrops.

Thanks for visiting! Please, do take the time to leave a comment!

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Join us for Charity Saturday, 24 September 2023! #CharitySundaySignup #Altruism #Marketing

Autumn Leaves

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Hard to believe, but September is a short month, and Charity Sunday is almost upon us!

Since 2017, I’ve been devoting the last Sunday in each month to a post which features some worthy cause. Often, other bloggers join me in this effort, turning the event into a blog hop. This month’s Charity Sunday blog hop will take place this coming Sunday, the 24th of September.

Charity Sunday is a meme designed to give authors and bloggers a chance to give back to the world—as well as, hopefully, to attract new readers.

How does it work? Each participant selects a favorite charity. Before
the date, you should prepare a blog post that: 1) talks about the charity and why you support it; 2) provides a link to the charity; 3) includes an excerpt from one of your books; 4) includes the code to show links to other participating blogs.

It’s fun if you can make the excerpt relate somehow to your chosen charity, but this isn’t required.

For every comment left on your post, you commit to giving some amount to the relevant charity. The specific charity and the amount to donate are up to you. You can set an upper limit to your donation if you want.

If you’d like to participate in the next Charity Sunday
on September 24th, just sign up using the Linky List below. Please be sure that the link you enter will lead directly to your Charity Sunday post, not just to the home page of your blog.

I’ve created a new banner image for 2023. You can download it from here:

For more detailed instructions, go here:

For an example
post, check out this link from my last Charity Sunday:

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

An invitation from her fellow journeyman – #Steampunk #EroticRomance #MFRWHooks

The Toymakers Guild banner

Happy Wednesday! It’s time for another MFRW Book Hooks blog hop – lots of great books, lots of opportunities for you to find your next read.

My hook today comes from my recently published boxed set The Toymakers Guild: The Complete Series. The collection is available exclusively on Amazon, free for KU subscribers. But... you can always buy the individual books from other stores!

Today’s excerpt, from Book 2, is an early stage encounter between Gillian and Rafe, the man she will soon come to love (as well as lust after).


At Randerley Hall, lust is a lubricant to creativity. Nothing is impossible. Nothing is forbidden.

Defying the repressive morality of the Victorian era, the Toymakers Guild uses advanced technology to fabricate bespoke sexual devices for the discrete pleasure of select clients. Its members are not only brilliant engineers but also sexual renegades seeking freedom from the prudish society that surrounds them.

Nineteen-year-old prodigy Gillian Smith arrives at Randerley to apply for an apprenticeship in the Guild. With her technical abilities and her lascivious temperament, she is eminently suited to join the Master Toymaker’s close-knit band of uninhibited erotic artisans. Gillian flourishes among the Toymakers, designing and implementing ever-more-outrageous carnal contraptions. Each voluptuous commission she completes, each sensual adventure she enjoys, binds her more tightly to the Guild and to the perverse, tortured genius who is its founder.

If you like brilliant, wanton women and kinky steam punk sex toys, dive into the alternate universe of the The Toymakers Guild.

The Hook

At the foot of the stairs, she almost collided with a lean, dark figure. If he hadn’t grabbed her by both shoulders, they both might have tumbled to the floor.

Why, hello, Jill!” A cocky smile lit the young man’s aquiline features. “I haven’t seen much of you lately.” He held on to her for considerably longer than was necessary to stabilise them. When he let go, she continued to feel his hands, heating her skin through the fabric of her garment.

Good afternoon, Rafe.” She brushed some imaginary dust off her somewhat wrinkled lab coat. It was true that she’d barely spoken two words to her fellow journeyman since he’d rescued her on the moors two weeks before. Half the time he hadn’t even been at the dinner table. She’d wondered if he was travelling again. “I’ve been occupied with learning my new duties. The Master has been training me.”

His eyebrows arched. “Training, hmm? I’d like to know more about just what that entails!” He ran his fingers through his unkempt black locks. “I never got any sort of training from the Master. Of course, he wasn’t around much. If I recall, he left Randerley only a few weeks after I joined the Guild.”

When was that?” She wasn’t sure how she felt about the brash, forward young man who’d stolen a kiss within half an hour of her meeting him. Well, perhaps stolen wasn’t exactly the right term, but still, he seemed to have quite familiar manners.

Two years ago last Christmas. Seems like a lifetime.”

And before the Guild?”

His expression darkened. “I don’t really want to talk about that. Anyway, I’ve got an appointment with the Master in two minutes.”

Gillian stepped back to give him free access to the stairs. “You mustn’t keep him waiting, then.”

But I’m really delighted to run into you.” He chuckled at his own jest. “Care to go riding with me tomorrow afternoon?”

I’ve got quite a lot of work—”

Tomorrow’s Saturday. Even that slave driver Featherstone takes Saturday afternoon off! Come on, Jill. Say yes!” His hand was back on her shoulder, casual, warm, maddening.

Well... I grew up in the city, so I’m not much of a horsewoman.” She had to admit to being curious about Rafe. With his loose-limbed grace and easy smile, he was definitely attractive. Shouldn’t she be focused on her training, though?

We’ll put you on Dorothea. She’s a sweet, biddable mare who won’t give you any trouble. And Samson likes her.”

I don’t know...”

I’ve got to go!” He squeezed her shoulder briefly and ran his fingers through her curls, then bounded up the stairs. “Meet you at the stables tomorrow at three,” he called out as he climbed out of sight.

But...” There was no one to listen to Gillian’s excuses. In any case, why should she object? Rafe was a fellow member of the Guild. It was only fitting they should get to know one another – perhaps intimately.

Her first loyalties, both professional and carnal, belonged to the Master. She felt quite certain though, that neither he nor anyone else in the Toymakers Guild required exclusivity.

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