Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Kinky Boots

 by K D Grace

After a sizzling encounter in DEMON HEELS, a quirky all-night shoe store, with the store’s hot owner, FINN MASTERS, JILL HART walks away in the most gorgeous boots ever. Her new boots come with an unexpected bonus, a sexy demon named ELEANOR, who’s looking for a good time. All she lacks is a body, and Jill’s will do nicely.
Jill quits her dead-end job and, not knowing what’s come over her stops by the nearest pub intent on doing tequila shots until she falls off the stool. Instead she does FINN MASTERS in the beer garden, unwittingly participating in her first ever threesome. The boots were the bait, the timing was right and Eleanor has new digs. It’s Finn job to prevent Eleanor’s misbehaving. His failure means he’ll have to ride shotgun and do damage control until Eleanor moves out at the next full moon.
With Eleanor in residence, Jill’s bolder, sexier, willing to take risks. But is she a whole new Jill, or is it just demon courage? And how will Finn feel about her when she’s just plain Jill again? Will the maddeningly magical ménage make Jill’s dreams come true, or will it break her heart?


At home, Jill showered and dressed. The search through her closet revealed the basic elements for a bolder, sexier look. The urge had always been there. She’d just not been brave enough for bold or sexy until now. She chose a short flip skirt that was candy-apple red and an oversized white silk shirt barely buttoned over the plunge of an ivory lace bra.

After a feast Eleanor enjoyed as much as she did, she made a backup of the recording of her boss from the BlackBerry and drafted a letter to Human Resources, with Eleanor adding her advice as she felt the need. She was just about to answer yet another text from Vivie when there was a
knock on her door.

‘That will be Finn,’ Eleanor said. ‘He’s worried about you, and he’s horny as hell.’
Jill nearly dropped her BlackBerry before she threw it onto the coffee table. On her way to the door, she undid another button on her blouse.

Eleanor giggled. ‘I don’t think seduction will be necessary, hon.’

From the open door, Finn glared at her, arms folded across his chest. ‘You could have at least left me a message,’ he said. ‘I was worried.’ She smiled to herself as his gaze dipped instinctively to the barely buttoned front of her shirt.

‘I couldn’t find a pen,’ she replied, motioning him in and shutting the door behind him. ‘And I didn’t have your mobile number. I figured you’d guess I went home. I needed a shower and some clean clothes.’

He grabbed her by the lapels of her shirt and pulled her up onto her toes and into a deep hungry kiss. ‘You can’t just go off without telling me,’ he said when he put her back on her feet. ‘I know you and Eleanor are best mates at the moment, but you’ve got to trust me, she’s unpredictable, and she’s not vulnerable to the hazards of humanity like you are.’

‘You mean like being tied to a bed and having my brains fucked out, those kinds of hazards?’ When he didn’t smile, she shook his shoulders gently. ‘I’m joking, Finn, just joking. Last night was amazing, really. I’m still trying to get my head around it but otherwise –’

‘I need you, Jill. I need you bad.’ He grabbed her by the wrist and guided her hand to rest against his fly and she caught her breath.

‘Jesus, Finn, how did you even get up the stairs?’

‘I was motivated.’ He rubbed her hand against his crotch. ‘Very motivated.’

‘I don’t have any ropes,’ she said.

He held her gaze. ‘I told you I’ll use your panties if I want to tie you up.’

‘Fuck,’ she whispered.

‘Does it make you hot thinking about alternative uses I might find for your underwear? Shall I find out?’
With one hand he grabbed her by the lapel of her shirt and pulled her to him while the other scrunched and worried the hem of her skirt on the way to bare skin. Then he wriggled the crotch of her knickers aside and pushed into her with an upward thrust of two fingers. She practically came off the floor at the sudden but not unwelcome invasion.

‘I was right,’ he said, holding her gaze. ‘Are you ever not ready for sex, Jill Hart?’ He pulled his hand away and licked his fingers. ‘First I want to eat you, then I want to fuck you until you can’t stand up.’

She took his hand and led him to the over-stuffed chair crowded next to the sofa. At first she thought it might have been Eleanor instructing her, but it felt more like instinct as she stepped out of her panties and sat on the chair with her legs wide apart.

As she scrunched up her skirt, he stood watching, his fist rubbing up and down against the bulge in his jeans. She took her time, she didn’t rush, in spite of the tingling need that snaked up between her legs, the muscle memory of her sex that made the anticipation of another orgasm at Finn’s hands almost unbearable. When he groaned and cursed under his breath, she knew he could see her heavy need. Then she shifted her hips so he could see her whole cleft. With two fingers she spread herself, then dipped and swirled in and out of her pout while she thumbed her clit.

Finn dropped to his knees and pushed her open. The muscles that joined hips to thighs protested slightly after being tied up last night. ‘You sore?’ he asked, when she winced slightly.

‘Not too sore for what you have in mind,’ she replied.
He lifted her bare feet onto his shoulders and dived face-deep into the swell of her, tonguing his way up the smooth path of her perineum, parting her and dipping deep into her. The wet sounds of arousal accompanied the duet of their heavy breathing, and gasps of pleasure punctuated the Sunday morning quiet of her lounge. Licking and laving, he worked his way up until his pursed lips encircled her clit and he suckled and licked alternately. She held him against her, fingers curled tight in his hair, shifting and undulating against the delicious efforts of his tongue. Over her heavy breathing she heard the zip of his fly and felt him fumble to release himself without missing a beat, licking and suckling, licking and suckling.

‘Jill, I need you now,’ he said, pulling her onto the floor.

Buy Kinky Boots Here:                                                   
Amazon UK                                                                      
Amazon US

Where to Find K D Grace:
K D Grace’s Website:
Grace Marshall’s Website:         

Monday, 28 January 2013


Five tips on how to write erotica from Emerald:

1) Schedule writing time
While this sounds obvious, for me it’s tended to have a particular importance. Rather than just trying to “fit it in when I can,” it’s helpful to me to schedule time that’s to be purely devoted to writing. For me, this is internal as much as external--I have to firmly tell my psyche this is what I’m doing for this period of time and that it does not have permission to distract me with other things. Given my psyche’s tendency to do this, it’s both grounding and freeing to have specifically delineated periods when I am not obligated to do anything but write.

2) Invite stream of consciousnessI'm a big proponent of writing things down to allow them out of our consciousness. In my experience, once we do so, our mind doesn't feel such an urgent need to hold on to or keep track of said things anymore. If you're feeling stuck in writing or your creative process, start writing/typing whatever comes into your consciousness. Let it clear out. I see this somewhat like the writing equivalent of warming up before exercising. Even if a literal story idea or such is not generated, the very process may clear out something that was blocking your attention without your even being aware of it.

3) Take care of yourselfThis may not seem to have to do much with writing, but in my experience, it affects it profoundly. If I am not properly fed, energized, and rested, I don't concentrate as well, and if nothing else, this tends to make the editing phase(s) more challenging--and ultimately lead to a piece being less than what it could have been. When I’m on deadline, of course, such self-preservational considerations tend to fly out the window, which is all the more reason I find it helpful to attend to them when I’m not--if I’ve taken care of myself up until go-time, I might have more adrenaline and energy reserves to carry me through those short periods of ignoring eating, sleeping, and most other concerns until a deadline is met.

4) Allow space in the editing processI admit I have often not allowed time for this (see prior tip), but I have repeatedly found that if I allow time--days, weeks, months, or at the very least hours--between when I think I'm done with a final version of something and when I submit or publish it, I'm in a much better position to view the work as a reader would rather than as the writer does. The passage of time allows the attachment I feel to the piece to relax so that I can see things about it I tend not to when I've been working on it for the hours or days immediately prior.

5) Respect non-writing timeI have been known to make the mistake of chastising myself for "not writing" whenever I'm not. But sometimes ideas take a while to come to fruition. Just because you're not sitting at your computer doesn't mean nothing useful to your writing is occurring. A character may just be introducing her/him/themselves to you in your subconscious, or a twist or turn of events may be sprouting in your imagination but need more time to marinate before allowing itself to be seen. Spend the time you're not writing consciously and openly (rather than in frustration or berating yourself for not writing enough), and know that your receptivity is allowing the creativity in you to develop and flourish at its own pace. An apple ripens only when it's ready to.

Emerald is the author of many pieces of fiction including 'Who's on Top?' in Alison Tyler's anthology G is for Games. More of Emerald's work can be found by visiting:

Friday, 25 January 2013

What do editors look for? Pepper Mason

 Pepper Mason is an up-and-coming artist, author, and editor of high quality erotic short stories. She began writing as a hobby in 2003, but began self-publishing as an independent author earlier this year in hopes of one day cultivating the hobby into a full-time career. She has edited several works of friends and colleagues off the books, and all of her personal work, services and contact information can be found at

1) I cannot stress this enough. Independent authors should never publish a book without letting at least one (preferably more than one) other person proof read it. No matter how many times you read your own work, there are bound to be errors that you’ll miss. Even if you can’t afford editing services, have a friend or colleague read over your manuscript for you. (Other independent authors on a budget may be willing to trade proof reads. Just ask!)
2) Microsoft Word's spelling and grammar check will never be able to replace human comprehension. It can’t tell you when something is written awkwardly, and it doesn’t cover the entire gamut of punctuation misuse. It will also oftentimes miss words that are misspelled, when those words end up being spelled correctly but with a different meaning. Never assume you’ve corrected all of your errors with a simple run of this or any spell/grammar checking program.
3) Be careful with continuity. If your character is slowly pushing up the silky green fabric of her lover’s shirt to expose his washboard abs, please make sure he wasn’t shirtless in the prior scene. Things like this are easy to miss when you’re plowing through plot like a person possessed.
4) Repetition. I have found this to be a common plague amongst the writing community, even within the work of professionally edited and published authors. Be careful not to use the same phrases and words over and over again. You have a thesaurus at hand any time you’re connected to the internet; you can find another word for ‘walked’. Try ‘moved’, ‘trudged’, ‘cantered’, ‘stalked’, ‘slouched’, ‘stomped’, or ‘marched’ instead. It sets the tone for how the character is moving, instead of simply informing the reader that he is, in fact, moving. Also be careful with the infamous “He did this, he did that” repetition. Characters can be addressed in a number of ways, and not always at the beginning of a sentence. You can replace ‘he’ with things such as the character’s name, ‘the blonde boy’, ‘the young man’ etc, etc.
5) Plot. Even if you’re writing a four-thousand word short erotica, plot is important. It holds the entire story together. I always recommend creating a detailed outline of your plot before beginning to write. Even a loose plan can help you organize your plot, and keep your story from dragging on or becoming nonsensical. Make sure your plot makes sense and flows smoothly before you put a single word in that .doc file. It will save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run.

More of Pepper Mason's work can be found at

Monday, 21 January 2013

Jeremy Edwards

Five tips on how to write erotica from Jeremy Edwards:

1) Be aware of the wealth of options at your disposal regarding vocabulary, sentence structure, imagery, etc. Exploit this decision-making aspect of the writing process, so that you're really *crafting* your story, making deliberate choices so as to utilize the literary building blocks that you think will work best.

2) Keep your ear on the rhythm of your prose. All writers are poets, in a sense.

3) Try to give the reader descriptions and associations that he or she wouldn't have thought of without you. Make the reader need you--*your* words, *your* voice. Stay in the driver’s seat as far as vocabulary is concerned: don’t automatically go with the first word that comes to mind. Is there a better word to plug into a particular sentence? A more precise or more evocative one? A less overused one? The impact of your scene will be greater if your words surprise, stimulate, and delight the reader with the fresh images and ideas they convey, rather than plodding along predictable paths.

4) Make your details count. Some well-written scenes have a rich carpet of thoughtful detail, and other well-written scenes play out in a sparser or more impressionistic style. If you’re doing the former, make sure your narratorial voice clearly guides the reader along, so that the lushness points somewhere rather than becoming a jungle to get bogged down in. If the latter, make sure those choice few details pull their weight in terms of their effectiveness. With either approach (or anything in between), watch out for detail "weeds" that can distract from detail "flowers."

5) Master the conventions of your art's technical aspect, but be wary of too many "don'ts" and "nevers." Writing--especially fiction writing--is a creature that needs room to breathe, stretch, and strike its pose. The paramount rule for a creative writer, or any artist, might be stated as "Do what works."

Jeremy Edwards is the author of many pieces of fiction including Rock My Socks Off. More of Jeremy's work can be found by visiting:

Friday, 18 January 2013

What do editors look for? Treva Harte

Treva Harte became co-owner and Editor-in -Chief of Loose Id in 2004. She holds a English Literature from University of Arizona (high honors), a M.A. in English Literature from University of Virginia and a J.D. from University of Virginia. She is a member of the Virginia and D.C. bars. From 1988 until 2008 she was a Trademark Examining Attorney for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Treva is also multi-published with several e-publishers in print and e-book, is a member of EPIC, RWA, including the Passionate Ink and Rainbow Romance Writers Chapters, has been a member of PAN, and was winner of the CAPA 2003 award in the "Erotic Fantasy Romance" category.

1) Put your email addy on your manuscript.  Things can be separated, even in cyberspace, and definitely on paper.  It’s incredibly frustrating to read a ms. and then try to figure out how to contact someone.

2)      Read the guidelines if you want to up the odds of it being read by the editor.  Read some other books by the company to up the odds of it being accepted by the publisher. 

3)      Like what you write. Like the genre you write in. Those who do tend not to burn out.  Editors can tell you’re unhappy as you slow down and get cranky about edits.  Slow, cranky authors are no fun.

4)      Be proud of what you write.  If you’ve done the best you can do with it, don’t waste your time apologizing or picking apart mistakes that have been made.  Learn and move on by writing the next book.  Editors love to see authors getting better at their craft. 

5)      Don’t demand validation from your editors—or anyone else.  Editors may or may not give it and if they do, it might not be in the way you want.  Readers may or may not respond to your work.  If you do get nice reviews and fan squee, there will be plenty of people waiting to tear apart any praise.  On the other hand, getting feedback from your editor about strengths and weaknesses in your writing and what you should be working on next is useful for you and your writing career with a publisher.

To find out more about Treva Harte, Eic Loose Id, visit or (Loose Change, a blog Treva sometimes maintains that includes writing and publishing tips).

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Under My Skin - Sommer Marsden

House bought for a steal online when it turns out there’s a damn good reason—check.

Malicious ghost with a body count to his name—check.

Sad, lingering female spirit pining for her still living (but currently dying) fiancé—check.

What’s a widowed medium to do when a departed soul asks to ride piggy back in her body?

To share her space and get under her skin? Juliet Bale does the only thing she can do—with her twin sister’s good counsel—she lets Lanie share her body to help her dying beloved Elijah cross over. The problem is that with all the reuniting, and sharing one body, things get seriously intimate and Juliet can’t help but see exactly why Elijah Rivers was so beloved.
It’s so wrong to sorta kinda fall for a dying man, and yet—check.


Excerpt from UNDER MY SKIN
By Sommer Marsden

It’s always in the attic, isn’t it? The Nancy Drew books taught me that. Various other old mystery movies and books and shows, too. I wasn’t sure if it was too much Murder She Wrote or just common sense, but in the morning, when my heart had stopped fibrillating from my late night visit with the man I could only assume to be the former owner of Montgomery House, I went into the attic.
His attic…
“My attic, thank you very much!” I called out in case his energy had put that thought into my head. “I live here now. This is my home.”
Another twist of dark fear worked through me because it felt like the house was laughing at me. Mocking me.
Three girls…
“I’ve dealt with too many spirits—good, bad and ugly—for you to scare me,” I whispered, spotting an old trunk in the corner. “But trust me,” I sighed. “You take the prize for ugly.”
I snickered at my own joke, but then a lamp crashed to the unfinished wood plank floor, and I almost peed myself. I refused to acknowledge it, though. I just kept on course and stood before the trunk, blowing off about six inches of dust.
I found it amazing no one had opened the trunk while showing the house. No one had ever been tempted to—then I touched it, and my body recoiled. I felt sick and clammy and like I might throw up or die…maybe both. So this was why no one had disturbed it. It was like touching death and despair and chaos all at once. Even a layman, someone not sensitive to energy at all, could feel that. They might not recognize it for what it was, but they’d feel it and react.
“This must have been yours, then,” I said. I shut my eyes, took a few deep breaths and made myself go still inside. I pictured blazing white light all around me like I was wrapped in it, then I opened the trunk. My hands were still shaking, but I felt more in control.
Another murder mystery moment—the trunk was full. Stuffed to the gills with a man’s items. An old-fashioned shaving cup with the boar’s hairbrush, a straight razor. That made me shiver. A neatly folded pile of dark-colored trousers filled one corner. A pair of suspenders, a Bible, piles of papers that appeared to be about the house then what I’d been hoping for.
“Aha,” I sighed.
A book stuffed with newspaper clippings.
Loose women…whores…every last one.
I heard the terrible thought in my head and shut my eyes to surround myself with white light again. This guy was oily and evil and disgusting even after death. What the hell had he been like alive?
“Are you why this house has been empty and abandoned for over fifty years? Your residue is like oil smoke. Dark, dirty and intrusive.” I said it in my boldest voice but had to admit this particular sprit unnerved me.
I flipped open the book and rifled a bunch of news clippings from the fifties. The first one that caught my attention was from nineteen fifty nine. MAID OF RICH FAMILY SLAIN. POLICE HAVE NO LEADS. The pictured estate was my current home. It had happened here.
No leads, that was laughable. You only had to look as far as the owner of the house—my new house, Montgomery House—to spot the culprit.
“But you were either too tricky or threw enough money at the investigating detectives to avoid being fingered as the killer. You killed her. Because you thought she was a loose woman?” I asked aloud. More to myself than to him, but another lamp fell, and I grunted.
I had to stop talking to him; it was giving him power.
I scanned the article and finally spotted it. Chadwick Montgomery. That was his name. His father made his fortune in property, and he’d made more by investing it wisely. He looked stern and mean and just as startling in the picture as he had in my dream. Next to him stood a homely mousey woman quoted as being mistress of the house, Penelope Montgomery. Sad looking creature.
Below the brief article about the maid found dead in the garden “strangled and possibly assaulted”—their way of saying raped—was a picture of the victim. Annabel Smith. Tall, willowy, so pretty she appeared ethereal. It was a black and white picture, but in my mind I saw her with sharp blue eyes and dark auburn hair. Pretty girl. Nice girl. My internal image of her glowed showing me a good soul.
“Poor thing,” I sighed.
I heard a deep bonging and took a moment to place it—doorbell. “Saved by the bell.” I scurried out of the attic, escaping its cloying energy and hurried down to the foyer, still clutching the book.
I opened the door and something in me—something foreign to my own energy—twisted with sadness and leapt with joy, simultaneously. “Oh, hi…I wasn’t…I mean, I’m sorry, who are you?”
His smile was easy and friendly and though I found him attractive enough, I recognized the sudden urge to kiss him wasn’t mine.

Copies of Under My Skin can be bought from:

Resplendence Publishing:


Coming to other vendors soon!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Sommer Marsden

Five tips on how to write erotica from Sommer Marsden:

1) Write every day. Okay, nearly every day. If your body, mind and soul are screaming for a break, by all means take one. But make it short!

2) Read your work aloud to check for errors. Especially important in explicit love scenes. Sometimes you will find you've written in an extra hand or...other bit.

3) Put yourself in the mood, even if it's just mentally, before writing a sex scene. You might be sitting there in ugly pyjamas with a cup of coffee but in your mind you need to be all about the sex.

4) Talk to other writers. Even if it's about non-writing things. Just find other writers and talk to them. It will save your sanity and possibly your marriage (providing your spouse is not a writer).

5) Get up and move. Believe it or not that's super important. You are a writer but you can't be ALL about writing. Getting up, moving around, finding hobbies, dicking around, watching movies, talking to your family, meeting a friend for a drink are all crucial things to being a well rounded writer. Be a writer not a body in a chair.

Sommer Marsden is the author of many pieces of fiction including 'The Student' in D L King's anthology, Sweetest Kiss. More of Sommer's work can be found by visiting:

Friday, 11 January 2013

What do editors look for? Brenda Knight

 Brenda Knight is a twenty-year publishing veteran, starting at HarperCollins and authored American Book Award-winning Women of the Beat Generation, Rituals for Life and Wild Women and Books. Knight has worked with many bestselling authors including Mark Nepo, Phil Cousineau, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, and Paolo Coehlo. Knight volunteers for the American Cancer Society as a counselor for the newly diagnosed and leads writing workshops “Putting Your Passion on Paper.” Founding editor of Viva Editions, a division of Cleis Press, Knight lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

1) Don't "over write." Less is more.

2) In fiction, the best trick is to make the reader intrigued by leaving something unexplained. Explain towards the end.

3) Erotic fiction is easy to go overboard into "purple prose" so let the anticipation build.

4) Truly, the art is in the details—the great Vladimir Nabokov said to fill the eye of the reader's mind with details that create a picture.

5) Stay fresh by reading a lot, especially the greats.

Brenda Knight is an associate publisher of Cleis Press,

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The Next Big Thing - Lisette Ashton

I've been tagged in The Next Big Thing by fellow writer Nikki Magennis (website: whose last novels, Circus Excite and The New Rakes, are published by Black Lace.

I’ve also been tagged by authors I. G. Frederick ( and Madeline Moore ( so it’s obvious that this has been a popular meme.

Anyway, I'm instructed to tell you all about my next book by answering these questions. So here I go!

What is the working title of your next book?
The working title was Dragon Horn. It’s now been published under the title  Dragon Desire: The Quest for Satisfaction.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was writing a short story for Mitzi Szereto’s Thrones of Desire anthology and got hooked on the fantasy worlds of guys with swords and women dragons. My original short story was almost like a taste of what happens a generation before this story begins. There’s an island of dragons, some beautiful maids, a mage with powers of magicks, and a powerful aphrodisiac drink that can melt the clothes from a young maid’s bosom.

What genre does your book fall under?
Erotic fantasy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
There would need to be parts for Eliza Dushku, Emma Watson, Johnny Depp and Robert Pattinson. These are attractive characters and they deserve to be played by attractive actors.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A seer, a charlatan and a mage are on a quest to secure the ultimate aphrodisiac and not even a dragon will come between them and their goal.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The book came out December 20th and is published by Mischief Books. It’s available here in the UK and here in the US

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
This took nine months. It was one of the longest periods I’ve ever spent working on a novel. I think this was partly because it involved a lot of research to make the period seem convincing. I was researching pre-medieval history (an era that’s notoriously hard to study). I was also trying to ensure that language used by the central characters reflected the period, so each draft involved a heavy reliance on dissecting the etymology.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I don’t think any writer can approach fantasy without acknowledging some debt to Tolkien. Also, there’s no denying I’ve been influenced by the atmosphere in George R R Martin’s Game of Thrones titles. I’ve also had a lot of fun discovering more about the genre by reading Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth stories and Terry Brooks’s stories Wishsong of Shannara.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
As a writer, I always challenge myself to write something outside my areas of comfort. If I’m writing the same thing repeatedly I get bored and lose interest. This was a challenge that kept me interested because it was so far removed from my usual milieu of contemporary erotic romance.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
I’m hoping that readers might be interested because it’s been written by the same author who produced the collection of short stories Twisted, or the novels The BloodLust Chronicles, Faith, Hope & Charity, amongst many other titles.

My thanks to Nikki Magennis, I G Fredrick and Madeline Moore for tagging me.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Shanna Germain

 Five tips on writing erotica from Shanna Germain:

1) Write all the time. As much as you can. Make time for it.

2) Read all the time. As much as you can. The first time for pleasure. The second for education.

3) Find a great first reader, one who understands what you're attempting to do and can articulate both your strengths and weaknesses as a writer.

4) Remember that when you read a published book, you're reading the equivalent of someone else's feature film. Don't compare it to your own blooper reel.

5) Don't sway to the marketplace. Trust your voice and vision.

Shanna  Germain is the author of many pieces of fiction including 'All About the Girls in Rachel Kramer Bussel's anthology Tasting Her. More of Shanna's work can be found on:

Friday, 4 January 2013

What do editors look for? Alison Tyler

 Wait. What time is it? Can you believe that I’ve been editing erotic books since the early 90s? Holy fuck, how did that happen? Over the years (and the 50+ anthologies), I’ve become fairly adept at knowing right away whether a story is going to work for me. How? Simple.

1)     Catch me with your opening sentence. I’ve noticed that some writers take a few paragraphs to get started. Check your piece to see whether your true opener is lurking halfway down the page. 

2)     Proof your work. Not only for errors, but also for sloppiness. One of my biggest pet peeves is the use of word repetitions. A well-known writer subbed me a 2,500-word story in which “slip” appeared 14 times (slipped, slipping, slippery).  Nothing is that wet. 

3)     “It” is another of my sticking points. Look for “it.” Replace “it.” Grab a thesaurus if you don’t know another word for “it.” 

4)      Are your characters shouting, giggling, chortling, whispering, moaning, groaning, howling, whispering, or grunting too often? Ask yourself in the rewrite. “Said” can go a long way. 

5)     Kill me with your closure. Your last line is as important as your opener. Make me sit back and sigh with your brilliant culmination.

Now, back to the grind, at

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Coming Together: In Vein - edited by Lisabet Sarai

Helping Vampires to Save the World

Let's face it. Vampires are sexy. Something about the undead stirs up our juices. Perhaps it's their irresistible power. Even when we know the danger, we're so very tempted to surrender to their all-consuming lust. Maybe we want to comfort them, to save them a lonely, bloody eternity. Maybe we secretly crave immortality ourselves.
Vampires are frequently portrayed as evil or at least amoral, viewing humanity from the jaded perspective of centuries. Now, though, vampires are doing their part to save the world.

Coming Together: In Vein is a brand new collection of vampire-themed erotica and erotic romance edited by Lisabet Sarai. All sales of this novel-length volume support Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières). MSF works in nearly 70 countries providing medical aid to those most in need regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation. Right now, despite being barred from the country, MSF doctors and nurses are in Syria, working with patients from both sides of the civil war. They're performing surgery in caves and sneaking into refugee camps to distribute desperately needed medications.

You can help MSF in its life-saving mission, simply by indulging your passion for vampires. Buy a copy of Coming Together: In Vein in ebook, Kindleformat, or print. Enjoy! Then help spread the word! Every copy we sell has the potential to save someone's life.

The listof contributors includes many names you'll recognize. Every one of these authors has provided his or her work free of charge, to support the charitable aims of the project. Furthermore, the editor is giving away a free copy of her short story collection Body Electric  to everyone who buys a copy of Coming Together: In Vein. (For details of this offer, clickhere.)

You'll find an excerpt below – just to whet your appetite.

Sink your teeth into Coming Together: In Vein. Help our vampires save the world.


From “The New Normal” by Jay Lygon

I went to the doorway, but of course could not enter. That lanky shadow could only be Zoran.

“Is that really you, Dusan? You’re alive?” Clearly, he doubted.

“I’m not exactly dead.” Truth might have been be the first causality of war, but sometimes it refused to go gently into that good night—until some politician staked it through the heart. Like me, my version of the truth had one foot in the grave.

“You’ll be shot if you stand out in the open. It’s too dark to see the sniper warning, but this street is dangerous. Come inside, please.”

Zoran was still a foolish boy. Didn’t he think about where he was standing? After all, he was the one who studied folktales and myths at university. Back then I hadn’t understood how important that knowledge could be in the modern world, but since things had changed, I could have told him how the doorframe—splintered as it was—protected him from things far worse than snipers. The threshold was a place of powerful magic that divided the realm of the supernatural from the human. Two years ago, such an idea would have seemed laughably medieval, but conditions in Sarajevo had spun back to that point in time. Electricity and peace were the new fairytales.

The threshold was also the symbol of the body, inviolate. The old sicknesses could still kill you, as there were no hospitals or doctors left to speak of, but there were new diseases out there that were worse. Invite anyone to come inside at your peril. And yet, he pleaded with me.

Inside the foyer, Zoran immediately grasped me in the embrace I’d long dreamed of, but with a different sort of passion. I closed my eyes and wished the desperation was lust, not fear. With stiff arms, I hugged him back and murmured words of comfort. Yes, it’s me. No, I’m not a ghost. I’m sorry I didn’t say goodbye. Yes, I missed you.

He pulled back to shake my hand and kiss my cheeks three times. His face wasn’t exactly as I’d remembered it. It was more gaunt than before, and his brown eyes had lost some of their puppy dog openness. He tried to glance away from my stare, but couldn’t. He shouldn’t have looked into my eyes. I could have held him there forever. I could have compelled him to do things with his mouth that he’d only done in my fantasies.

That was an old hunger. It gnawed at me when I’d had my fill of blood and the rest of the night stretched before me. Regret was a terrible thing when it seemed it could haunt me for all eternity. Sentiment, or more likely pride, stopped me from commanding him to his knees, but I still took a kiss. Like the old days, he laughed and pulled away, but he didn’t push. Instead, he grasped my arm. A ropey blue vein crossed the back of his hand to his knuckle. It twitched with his pulse. Before my hungers overwhelmed me, I had to look away.

The foyer walls met at odd angles. Some artillery blast, maybe the one that destroyed my apartment, had knocked his building sideways. It made me feel as if I were falling even though I knew I wasn’t.

“Come on upstairs. Everyone will be so glad to see you again.” Zoran bounded halfway up the staircase before stopping to look over his shoulder at me. It was if we were in a different time, before the siege began, when we’d staggered into this foyer late at night. He’d jog up the stairs, sure I was behind him, while I held back and wondered if I could stand to watch him turn into someone else for his family. Reluctantly, then and now, I followed.

 His butt flexed under his jeans, a mesmerizing sight as I followed it up the three flights to his family’s apartment. At the landing, he said, “You look hungry,” and I tried not to laugh. Did he have any idea what he was saying?