Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Floodland


Writing is a curious occupation.

Seriously, I'm constantly baffled by how it can be the easiest and most difficult occupation in the world. Take last night for example. There I was, doing my best to actually get some words down on one of the numerous ongoing projects I have, and all I really managed to do was tweak a few sentences. I knew something came next but I was buggered if I knew what.

Cut to this morning...

For no apparent reason I'm suddenly drowning in ideas. Scenes and characters are all splashing about, snapshots of about seven different books are forming a horrific montage in my brain and all I seem able to do is run about frantically trying to catch the torrent in a tea cup.

Please send larger tea cup!

Maybe it's the snow! Or the fact that I'm kind of excited about the fact that 2008 is ending. It hasn't been a great year. There have been good bits, but mostly I seem to have spent a lot of time wading. Here's to 2009. Let's hope it's a good one.

HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL

Bedtime Reading 2008

  • Beautiful Samurai, White Tiger, Sedonia Guillone
  • Les Bijoux Volume 3 Eun-Ha Jo & Sang-Sun Park
  • Les Bijoux Volume 2 Eun-Ha Jo & Sang-Sun Park
  • Les Bijoux Volume 1 Eun-Ha Jo & Sang-Sun Park
  • Swallowing Darkness, Laurell K Hamilton
  • A Lick of Frost, Laurell K Hamilton
  • The New Rakes, Nikki Magennis
  • The Movie, Louise Bagshawe
  • Dark Embrace, Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • Dark Prince, Christine Feehan
  • His Beautiful Samurai, Sedonia Guillone
  • The Raven Prince, Elizabeth Hoyt
  • Red Angel, Makoto Tateno
  • Reckless, Saskia Walker
  • Seven, Momoko Tenzen
  • Lord of Scoundrels, Loretta Chase
  • Darkside Blues, Hideyuki Kikuchi
  • Everything Forbidden, Jess Michaels
  • Indiscretions, Elayne S Venton
  • The Silver Cage, Mathilde Madden
  • Lover Enshrined, JR Ward
  • Nicholas, Elizabeth Amber
  • Black Knight volume 1, Kai Tsurugi
  • Return to Me, Julia Templeton
  • Let Dai Volume 6, Sooyeon Wan
  • Let Dai Volume 5, Sooyeon Wan
  • For Her Pleasure, Maya Banks
  • Let Dai Volume 4, Sooyeon Wan
  • Glamour, Louise Bagshawe
  • In Too Deep, Portia da Costa (beta version)
  • Sin, Sharon Page
  • Loves Strategy, Samantha Kane
  • All About Passion, Stephanie Laurens
  • Cantarella Volume 1, You Higuri
  • Possession, Mathilde Madden, Madelynne Ellis & Anne Tourney
  • All About Love, Stephanie Laurens
  • Love Under Siege, Samantha Kane
  • Courage to Love, Samantha Kane
  • Gerard & Jacques, Volume 2, Fumi Yoshinaga
  • Gerard & Jacques Volume 1, Fumi Yoshinaga
  • The Vintner's Luck, Elizabeth Knox
  • The Rules of Gentility, Janet Mullany
Yay, 42 books, not bad for me, especially as this is discounting all the various beta versions and short stories I've read. Guess it's time to start a new list.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Burn

Last post for a bit as I'm off visiting family from tonight.

No. 5. Is another opening. This one from my Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Demon/Gothic Madness, otherwise known as The Bloody Book, or the follow-on to Broken Angel.

Much as I love writing historical fiction, sometimes, I love the freedom of the fantasy genre. It's nice to let my imagination run wild, and not to have to check every last detail for accuracy.

*****

The sky was dark except for the blood red of the moon.

Blaze Makaresh stirred in his bed as someone walked their fingers up his thigh. Irritably, he batted at the annoyance, only for the caress to climb to his stomach and trace the intricate loops and flourishes of his tattoo. Higher still, it lingered over one nipple, before settling over his heart.

Here, the skin was raised and mottled, an ancient sigil burned into to the otherwise smooth flesh.

‘Asha,’ he sighed. ‘Asha, is that you, my love?’ His eyes fluttered open, in time to see her join the sigil burned into her own palm tightly to the one on his chest. Energy pulsed between them. It rushed upwards out of his chest, leaving his body cold. A faint purple-edged glow twisted around her arm, until it almost reached her throat. With flame-like fingertips it licked at her bared collarbone.

‘Blaze,’ she purred, the word so much like a caress he felt it stroke across his loins—soft, pleasant, so different to the bite of her nails upon his chest.

‘How are you here?’ he asked.

‘You tell me, Demon Prince. You’re in control of this mess.’ Her eyes flared green, strangely luminescent.

Blaze struggled to free himself of her hold, suspecting some form of subterfuge, but all he succeeded in doing was making her laugh.

‘Sex and flesh, isn’t that the demon way?’ Her nails continued to bite, making ruddy half-moon impressions in the skin. ‘Isn’t this what you wanted from the start? To have control.’ She lowered her head and licked a line up the side of his throat. The hungry caress ended by his ear. She nuzzled against him, warm and soft, though no breath tickled the sensitive lobe. ‘Or at least the illusion of it.’ She nipped his earlobe with her teeth, hard enough to draw blood, which tickled as it rolled down his neck and onto her tongue. ‘Surely you didn’t expect to steal my soul and give nothing in return?’

‘I expected nothing. If I’d known…’ He reached a hand towards her, cupped the gentle curve of her cheek. ‘Oh, Asha.’

The sound of her laugher rippled across his senses, a tinkling uneasy sound that shattered the glass by the bedside. He turned his head to avoid the splinters, but one still struck his temple, leaving a bloody nick.

Asha grasped his wrist and pinned it tight to the side of his head. ‘I’ve borne unimaginable pain for you. It’s your turn to know that agony now.’ She tore her hand from his chest, ripping the two sigils apart and cutting the flow of energy between them. Suddenly, light-headed, Blaze sagged into the mattress. ‘Submit to me, Blaze.’ She slid her palm down over the firm contours of his abdomen to the sensitive place between his naval and his groin. ‘Just submit.’

As if there were anything else he could give her. He was hers already, had been since the moment they’d met. He found her cool poised indifference more entrancing than any obvious erotic display. He’d let her allure cloud his reasoning, become slaven to his need to be with her, and let the fire raging between them drive events when control would have served them better. Still, he couldn’t undo the past, and nor was he entirely sure he wanted to. He didn’t want to lose that passion.

Even now, the scent of her, so close, and her presence above him coaxed his already taxed senses. The demon within demanded satisfaction. He growled at the slow undulation of her body against his. Sweat beaded across his body. He felt it even in the gaps between his toes. Mine, his heart screamed. My love. My soul mate. My queen.’

The heat rising from his skin steeped them both in sweat. It beaded across her brow and brought the faintest hint of colour to her pale cheeks.

‘I love you, Blaze,’ she whispered, into his mouth just before their lips met. ‘But now you have to burn. Set the world alight…’ Her palm closed around the length of his shaft where it lay sandwiched between their near naked bodies. ‘Burn.’ Her thumb traced a slow circle around the flared head of his cock. His pulse raced. Each touch was pure sweet agony. He already burned, with his need for her, the desperation he felt to bury himself inside her.

‘Burn.’

He stopped thinking in terms of black and white. His vision skewed. A blood red vision swam across the inside of his eyelids. Explosive orange splashed across blank white walls. Her smile became a flash of purple that melted slowly into lilac.

‘Stop,’ he pleaded. ‘I don’t want to hurt you. I’ve already hurt you enough.’

The coaxing of her hand didn’t stop. Every nerve in his body leapt as she swept her thumb over the delicate slit. It wept tears. ‘Burn, Blaze. Burn.’ Her teeth slid into the soft flesh of his neck. Exquisite agony. Perfect pain surged through every neural pathway. The sound of two heartbeats pounded like duelling drums. Fever enveloped him, but even as he welcomed the bittersweet cloud of release, his body tensed at the sense of encroaching darkness.

‘Burn…’ Her whisper faded from his ears.

The sky was no longer black… but yellow and grey. Ash swirled in the breeze, as pretty as the blood-speckled snow that covered the roof tiles. Blaze stared at his bloodied hands in dismay. Everything he thought he had was gone. Nothing would be the same again.

Forked lightning pierced the sky. A blue streamer poured along the apex of the cathedral roof and into him. It surged up his spine, filling him with uncontrollable energy.

Across the city, the Birdcage was alight. The entirety of the eyrie lit up like a warning beacon. Screams and clash of arms filled the streets below.

‘Asha,’ he called, bewildered by all that flowed around him. He stretched out his hands, but nobody took them. Nobody offered him comfort. He was utterly alone. ‘A..sh..a!’

His dejection found no end. Blaze closed his eyes. The licking flames inside his eyelids grew higher.

He snapped his eyes open again, coming to attention, as a single word passed his lips, ‘Burn.’

Sheer desperation



Snippet No. 4 is the opening of Desperate Measures. One day, I might even get round to finishing this novel. Somehow other things always seem to sneak ahead of it in the to do pile.

‘No! Put it back. Put it back.’

The sound of her shriek echoed down the grand staircase, to silence the mob below. Thea stared over the balcony at the sea of unfamiliar faces, the rough clothing and dirty boots. What were these people doing here? Where were the servants? Who’d let them in? The pair of ruffians eyed her warily as they removed a cumbersome portrait of herself and her husband. Had the talk of rebellion on the wind grown so strong that it had overtaken them as they slept?

No. These were not men-at-arms. They were a shifty rabble of thieves and scoundrels. She turned her attention back to the pair balancing her wedding portrait and scooped up a convenient candelabrum. ‘Get out.’ She rushed towards them, looking she realised, like some wild harridan off the moors. She was dressed in only her chemise and stays, with her long wavy hair flowing loose down her back. There’d been no maid to dress her, and the commotion outside her door had grown so loud that she’d been unable to ignore it any longer.

‘How dare you. Put that back.’

The pair jerked away from her, dropping the huge portrait in their haste. It toppled forward onto the stairs and slid down the carpet like an enormous pie tin. At the bottom, it crashed on to the marble tiles with the percussive force of military band. The echo of its landing throbbed in her ears as the two ruffians scrambled down into the safety of their brethren. Twenty or so faces peered up at her from around the fallen gilt-frame.

'Get out, all of you,’ she screamed.

Ignoring the response, she crossed the landing. Where in hell was her husband? ‘Phillip!’ There was no sign of him in his bedchamber, although his bed was rumpled. At least he’d come home. That was a good sign.

His day clothes were laid out, but missing the trousers. The rabble had obviously woken him. She’d find him abroad somewhere, making sense of this mayhem.

Was this how her grandmother had felt, she wondered as she headed towards the backstairs to the kitchens, when Cromwell’s men had ransacked her home in search of royalists? Why was it happening now? They couldn’t think them Jacobins, surely. No. But there’d been too many rumours of dissent recently, to brush off anything. She needed to dress, and she needed help. One woman against the mob was never going to achieve much. Presumably, there’d be someone below who knew what was going on. Someone must have let them in.

There was a rustle of fabric as she approached the linen closet. Thea wrenched open the door to find the dainty between-maid trying to conceal herself beneath a pile of bed sheets.

‘Lucy?’

The girl lurched to attention, and dropped a hasty curtsy.

‘Where’s Mr Roche?’

‘Begging your pardon, ma’am, but he’s gone. The bailiffs dragged him off about a half-hour ago. Said he owed too much, and that people wanted paying.’

‘What? They’ve taken him where?’

‘The gaol house, ma’am. It’s where they send them what can’t pay. They rest they send up to Durham.’

Impossible. They had money, didn’t they? Only last week he’d bought her a set of rubies. There was a mistake, had to be. How much was he supposed to owe that they needed to strip the house? Is that what the mob were, bailiffs?

Thea moved back onto the landing overlooking the hall, with Lucy at her heels. ‘What happened to the rest of the servants?’ There was a lump of fear in her throat now, a ball of rising panic.

‘Most of them have gone. They scarpered pretty quick once Stark and his men turned up. Nobody wants to stand up to him, and there didn’t seem much point in staying if there weren’t going to be anything left. Will we get our wages, ma’am?’

‘But you stayed.’

‘The village is a canny walk, and the owner’s coming down. I thought I’d hang about long enough to see if he needs any housekeeping staff until there’s a new tenant.’

Tenant! She wanted to scream in the girl’s face. Phillip’s family owned the property. It was theirs as part of the marriage settlement.

The girl curled her fingers into Thea’s shoulder. ‘Your trunks are still in your room from your visit to York. Not meaning to be forward, and all, but hadn’t you best go and pack? Stark’s known as being a nasty brute. He’ll turn you out as you are.’

‘Trunks,’ Thea mumbled. ‘Packing.’ Bewildered, she grasped the banister and headed back towards her room. The mob were still circling below. They’d stripped the furniture and furnishings from the entrance hall and they were now bringing things out from the adjoining rooms. Who was responsible for this? Her husband had friends. Where were they? Tears prickled behind her eyes. She sniffed, and blinked them away. No matter what, she’d keep her dignity. She’d hold her head high.

‘Mrs Roche.’ There was a blond man heading towards her up the stairs. Lucy ran, fleeing into the darkness of the servants’ passage like a rabbit bolting for its burrow. Thea held her ground and watched his approach. Unlike the ruffians below, he seemed refined, polished, of her class. He was dressed a la mode in a full-skirted coat, and knee breeches, which he’d tucked into his white stockings. ‘Mrs Roche, I’m Thieftaker Stark. Your servant.’ He bowed low over his beribboned cane.

‘My servants seem to have deserted me.’

‘Aye, so it would seem.’ He lifted his head.

Thea jolted away from him, though wished she hadn’t when a smile of satisfaction spread across his ruined visage. The skin across his left eye was creased into a web of red and silver lines. The eye itself was milky, while the rest of him was undeniable handsome. Once he’d have been painted, admired, celebrated, but the fates had turned a cruel hand. Thea clasped her fist to her chest. Stark turned his head to one side, then the other, showing her his flawless profile, then ruined one. The widest of the scars was the same breadth as her finger. It overwhelmed her with such a terrible urge to touch. Damn him, but he knew he was making an impact.

'Have you a message for me, Mr Stark?’ She dragged her gaze down to the square toes of his buckled shoes.

‘I do. As of eight o’ clock this morning, my men have taken your husband Phillip Roche of Frosterley into custody.’

‘On what charge?’ She fought to keep her voice neutral.

‘Substantial gambling debts, and an inability to provide any means to settle them or his accounts with tradesmen of the county.’

A bit of Pure Folly


When I set out writing Pure Folly, it was meant entirely for my consumption, just an exercise in reminding myself what I love about writing. I'm still surprised in the interest it drew from other people. Hope you enjoy the sneak preview. It's currently slated for release May 09.

Barely through the privy door, Alastair tore open the front fall of his breeches and shoved aside his cotton drawers freeing his cock.

At last!

His hand closed tight about the stem, as he drove his cock through the ring of his coiled fingers and thumb.

The room was large for a privy, and pleasantly dark and cool, as were the bricks against his back.

That was good. That was better.

The tension in his groin didn’t ease exactly, if anything it grew. Intoxicating tingles swept down from his glans as he felt the familiar tightening in his balls. “Jude…” he sighed. Eyes closed he let his mind wander back to the room above.

Generally even in the midst of his fantasies he was careful, but this time the images weren’t to be stopped. Jude squirmed beneath him, protesting as his hand fisted in Jude’s hair. He held him down, arms pinned above his fair head, as he ripped his breeches down to expose his loins. He wanted to be gentle, wanted to smooth the silken strands curled around his fingers, but Jude wouldn’t keep still. He had to force him into the depths of the ruptured mattress, so that the spilled feathers dappled their bodies like snowflakes.

Time slowed as he exposed the almond-coloured skin of Jude’s arse. Still holding him fast, he kneed his legs apart. Alastair lowered his head and rubbed his cheek across the taut muscle. He stuck out his tongue and licked into the crease between the globes. Tasted him. Wetted him, ready for what came next.

He wanted to get inside him, feel the heat of him around him. Needed this so…damn…much.

Jude’s fear, his reluctance just added piquancy to the fantasy. This wasn’t how he really wanted it. He wanted them to be equals. Mutual attraction. But the desire to push deep and draw back slowly, cruelly tested him. It made him long to fuck Jude hard, and drive himself over the edge.

Sweat broke out across his body. He felt it across the planes of his back, and the creases of his armpits. The linen at his throat strangled him, making him gasp for breath. With his free hand, Alastair tugged at the knot, but being free of that silken swathe wasn’t enough. He pushed his hand up inside his shirt and worked his palm over the rigidly knotted muscles of his stomach. He pinched his own nipples, as he imagined Jude’s skin beneath his palms again. This time he held the firm globes of his bottom apart so that the delicate pink wrinkled hole winked invitingly up at him. He pressed the head of his cock to it, battered against it seeking entrance as Jude pushed back against him in turn. “Yes,” his lover murmured. “Yes, do it. Impale me. Bugger me. Fuck me, Alastair. Fuck me. And do it hard.”

How could he resist such an offer?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snippet no 2


This one's from the Dreaded Contemporary. It's a little glimpse of Kit from Ross's perspective.

Ross held her, and kept working his hips even as she sobbed into his shoulder. Just the tip of his little finger teased her arse, had lit up all the nerve-endings there so that her orgasm pulsed and pulsed. So many times he’d teased her. Told her he was going to fuck her there. Stick his nice hard cock into her voluptuous arse. The mere suggestion of it was enough to set her writhing.

Only who was he really tormenting—himself or her?

He got hard just imagining pressing his cock to her dark hole. Except, at this moment it wasn’t his cock that he was imagining filling her. No, in fantasyland he was right where he was, deep in her cunt, feeling the crazy flutter of her muscles squeezing his shaft.


Kit stood in the kitchen doorway, his eyes as black as tar, only a million times more luminous. His black hair fell in a jumbled shadow over his face, partially concealing his expression, but when Ross looked into his eyes, he saw the shape of things to come, and things as they’d once been. For a split second, he wondered if he’d been wrong to invite Kit to stay. Not that he’d ever been able to say no to him. As teenagers they’d done a hell of a lot of fucked up stuff, experimenting, pushing boundaries. He’d never managed to turn his back on Kit.


Kit had been there the first time he’d lain with a girl. Sharon, her name was. Older than him, already self-assured at the grand age of twenty-three. It hadn’t been pretty, just seedy really, looking back. Sandwiched together out the back of some nightclub, wedged between a drainpipe and a car exhaust. He’d felt like shit afterwards, but he’d stuck around, watched while Kit had her too.


Their gazes locked across the space of the living room.

Evie lay sated and lethargic in his arms, her head nuzzled into the crook of his neck, still crooning to herself.

‘Come,’ Kit whispered.
One word, not even firmly spoken and his body leapt to do Kit’s bidding, just as it had always done. Breath ragged, Ross hid his face in Evie’s shoulder as his balls gave up their load.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Snippets

Well, I did intend to only post from one of my projects, but then I thought, what the hell! It's Christmas. So, I'm going to post several snippets from various projects.

This one is from Fortuna... A little way into the novel, and Fortuna is finding out a bit about some of Giles Dovecote's friends. :-)

The splintered remains of her teacup and saucer still lay strewn across the hall tiles. Fortuna crept to the bottom of the stairs. There was no sign of Dovecote or his man to ask for a nightshift, but Lord Darleston stood in silent repose against the wall by the drawing room door. His eyes were closed, while his long hair lay fanned across the shoulders of his dark coat like rich seams of copper.

Fortuna warily approached. She reached past him to open the drawing room door, only for his hand to close on top of hers as she clasped the doorknob.

“I shouldn’t if I were you.” His whispered words hissed against her cheek, sending a zing of fear and excitement through her insides.

“Why?” She jerked away from his touch, and rubbed at her hand as if she could remove the impression of his palm.

He was more powerfully built than Dovecote. Taller, his shoulders broader, hips narrower, and his mouth far more sultry. She recalled how he’d crowded her mother, and made her blush. How he’d spun her about the dance floor, his agenda hidden behind a fa├žade of civility.

“Giles isn’t in there.”

A streak of danger hung about him that piqued her interest in a way that she dared not explore. She couldn’t imagine Darleston offering to protect her in the way Giles had.

He moved ever so slightly, so that his thigh brushed her skirts. “Do you believe in free love, Miss Allenthorpe?”

She blinked up at him uncertainly. “Free love?” It sounded like something a rakehell would enjoy and that she ought to faint over.

“It’s what you’ll find in this room. So, best be certain of what you’re seeking before you enter.” He tweaked the knob and let the door swing inwards.

In the bronze glow of the hearth, Neddy and Lady Darleston lay entwined. The latter wore only her stockings. The remainder of her clothes lay strewn across the furniture. Neddy, to her shock, was completely naked. The firelight licked pleasing shadows across the broad expanse of his back. His upper arms were thickly corded with the sort of muscles she’d seen on farm labourers and navvies. Not the sort of evidence of work she expected to see on a gentleman. Lower, his legs were equally firmed and covered in thick golden hairs. His bottom was comprised of two firm globes, which in that wild moment, she could imagine digging her nails into so they left red half-moon indents in the flesh.

Fortuna could count on one hand the number of real kisses she’d seen. She’d never seen real people engaged in a sexual act. Her breath became flighty as she watched them arch together. Lucy’s hand lay curled around Neddy’s thick and ruddy staff, while his fingers dipped repeatedly into her slit.

Curiously light-headed, Fortuna took a step back from the doorway.

“Do they excite you?” Darleston’s words intruded upon her wayward thoughts. His gaze fixed upon her face.

“Your brother... Your wife...” she gasped. How could he stand by and tolerate the adultery?

Teh hot man sex is taking over!

There's just no escaping it. Kit is just too damn hot to leave alone and not smooch all over. LOL! Still, it means I'm making progress, even if it's not entirely in the direction I want it to be.

Who says I get to decide what my characters do?


I tell you, they have minds of their own.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

And another...

Reviews, that is. This time for A Gentleman's Wager over at JERR. You can read it here. I particularly like the fact that she says it reads like a movie because I strive to make my visuals cinematic.

Other stuff:

I'm seriously bogged down in all the seasonal stuff at the moment. Lots of activities that are demanding my attention and take me away from getting any writing done. I keep promising myself that I'm going to settle down to it in the evenings, but it never seems to happen. I'm just wa-ay too tired. The other problem is that I have far too many projects on the go, and I can't seem to settle on one of them long enough to really get into it. I guess this is what happens when you're sitting around waiting to see if editors will bite.

Fortuna is still out at various places... sigh... so nobody hold their breath over when that's going to be available. I'm also waiting to hear about the Dreaded Contemporary.

Meanwhile, my projects list looks something like this:

The Dreaded Contemporary (It's contemporary so much harder to settle to. Mind keeps wandering to all the hot monkey sex the guys are NOT having.)

Desperate Measures (I don't know why I'm not working on this, cause actually it's rather fun.)

Yon paranormal (Problem here is that I need to get in the zone to make any progress on it. The style is somewhat different to the other projects, and it's quite complex. Lots of characters with their own Machiavellian motivations.)

Darleston (I could work on this, but I feel I ought to place Fortuna first)

AGW3 (see Darleston... Since the books are related.)

m/m novella (Only got added to the list last night, when I realised that an idea I've had tumbling around my head for aeons is actually a workable story concept. Must not get distracted by this, and choosing a title and character names.)

Two short stories (Deadlines fast approaching. Gah, I'd much rather work on something longer.)

So-oo, that's me!

Oh, nearly forgot. Cast your votes in the sidebar, and I'll post an offering from one of the aforementioned projects.

Monday, December 08, 2008

New review and an update

Let's start with the good bit, the lovely review of Phantasmagoria posted on ecataromance. Who said... Captivating, passionate, enthralling and beguiling, Madelynne Ellis’s turbulent tale of love, loss, passion, obsession and emotion is simply erotic romance at its superb and unforgettable best!

You can read the full review here.

I love it when I find nice reviews, they make the day a bit brighter.

As for everything else. Well, Lust Bites ended, and I don't feel as if I was really around much to appreciate the finale. Life plain got in the way over the last week or so. I've hardly been around online and I've done next to know writing. Wish I could say I've been lounging around watching TV or reading or something, but actually, I've just been tied up with personal matters that needed sorting out. Of course, things aren't likely to improve much now as we're into the Xmas season and all that entails.

Right now I off to pick up one of my many ongoing projects and see if I can get back into the swing of writing. Wish me luck. Hmmmm, which one to choose...

--
Recently watched: Survivors
Currently listening to: Jesus by Gackt
Currently reading: Swallowing Darkness by Laurell K Hamilton