Monday, 16 October 2017

"I hate mornings, and Mondays. And working. But other than that I am entirely happy."

I've been in a real writing slump since September. I've been working on an Amber Morgan project ("working" in the loosest sense of the word, because not much work is getting done), which I really should have finished by now, but my motivation levels have been pretty much non-existent. I've been feeling low as a result - when I'm not writing, I'm not happy. It's taken me a while to figure out the problem, and it's a combination of things really, but yesterday I deleted the last 2500 words I wrote on that wip and felt much better.

They weren't bad words. They just weren't the right words. I'm confident that when I go back to the project, I'll be in a better place and frame of mind to tackle and finish it.

That didn't happen yesterday because I had the first round edits for IMPERIAL DEMONS to work on! YAY! This time last year, I was just starting work on this book. I took a break on it to finish LICH QUEEN, so it feels like a lifetime ago that I started it now. I loved getting back to Lola and Tristesse and re-reading the almighty tome that was never going to end that is IMPERIAL DEMONS. I can't wait to share it with you all, and now the first round edits are in the bag, hopefully it won't be too long before I can! I know some people were disappointed with LICH QUEEN and the switch to Dawn, but it was important for me to tell that story and wrap up that story arc in the series. IMPERIAL DEMONS and the next two or three books (haven't decided how many I'll need yet!) will focus on Lola and Tristesse, and the fallout of their time in Gehenna, and I wanted to clear the slate, as it were, before digging into that arc.

So stay tuned - release dates and cover art are surely not far away!

Meanwhile, are we following each other on Instagram? No? Maybe we should! You can find me there as naomi_jay_clark. Evernight's seventh birthday is coming up and part of the celebration is a Loop Giveaway on Instagram!



Myself and 31 other fantastic authors will be taking part on October 23rd.  Each author will have a prize to giveaway and Evernight is offering a few GRAND PRIZES, including gift certificates and prize packs. If you complete the loop, you’ll have the chance to #win at least 35 different prizes.
I’m giving away a collectible THROWN TO THE WOLVES mug, like so:
So hit me up and look out for the giveaway later this month! Following me also has the benefits of seeing silly pictures of Yuki, and you know that's the real prize.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

The Hook on the Hand

So one of the things I didn't get around to mentioning in my The Cemetery post is the use of the urban legend commonly known as The Hook. It comes up twice - once when Rick is telling ghost stories at the Halloween party* and again when Dorian is killed by the Ripper. Just before his death, Cyndi finds a hook attached to Dorian's car:


If you're not familiar with the story, The Hook dates back to roughly the 1950s, and like most urban legends, serves as a morality tale for hormonal teens, much the same way fairy tales like Red Riding Hood warned young women against predatory men of court back in the day. The quick and dirty version of the story is thus:

A young couple are parked up down some lovers' lane. The radio plays while they make out. A breaking news story announces that a serial killer has escaped from a local mental institution and can be identified by the hook on his hand. The couple decide to leave, with various spins on the end of the story following. Either they get home to find a bloody hook dangling from the car door, or for some reason the man has to leave the car, and the woman later finds him dead. Some variations see her hearing strange thumping on the roof of the car, only to discover said serial killer up there with her boyfriend's severed head. One version sees her finding the boyfriend hung from a tree over the car, his nails scraping the roof as his body swings back and forth.

However the story ends, the message is clear: keep it in your pants, kids!







Now, clearly this is a warning against loose morals and sexual experimentation, and we could even link to back to the real-life Phantom Killer case of 1946, but I'm not here to talk about horny teens and the fates they richly deserve. I'm here to ask questions. Two questions, specifically.

First - why is the killer an escaped mental patient?

And second - why the blazing hell would someone who'd been instutionalised be allowed to keep a hook on their hand?

I mean, look, I know mental health care in 1950s America wasn't the best, but we were seeing a move towards more community-based care and less underfunded, understaffed, brutally poorly-run institutions. In any case, I have to assume that even the worst asylum going wouldn't let someone with a hook for a hand just keep that hook. Especially if that patient was also a serial killer and also certifiable insane as the story implies. That's just...really bad practice, you guys.**

Also, for the record, I think a hook is probably a really inefficient way to serial-kill people.

But let's circle back to question one. Why does the story conflate mental illness with murder? Why is a mental patient automatically dangerous, or a killer?

I noted with Help Wanted and The Mummy that there is a tendency in Point Horror books to make the villains "crazy." I guess it's an easy literary shortcut - they're doing bad things because they're mentally ill! Case closed. And of course nowadays you don't have to wait long to hear "was he mentally ill?" whenever a lone white male goes on a mass shooting spree. This clearly completely ignores the fact that many of us with mental health problems never bloody kill anyone***.

We can blame it on the era. Like I say, mental health care in the 1950s was undergoing a change, but the change in treatment options wasn't necessarily followed by a change in understanding. The stigma surrounding mental health continues to this day, and the understanding of conditions evolves slowly, with social understanding tending to lag behind medical understanding, because let's face it - "sociopath" is just such a cool term to throw around.****

You would think, for a 1950s warning against whipping your dick out in public places, you wouldn't need the added "scare" of the killer being a crazy guy. We can talk about the abnormal psychology that might lead someone to become a serial killer, for sure, but there are always exceptions to the generally accepted "signs." I'm not here to say serial killers are not mentally ill, though. I'm here to say mentally ill people are not destined to become serial killers, and that the conflation of "mentally ill" with "dangerous" is itself a damaging stereotype. And it's so prevalent in the news, in literature, and even in old spoopy urban legends, that it feels worth reiterating as often as possible. Psychotic is not psychopathic. Depressed is not dangerous. Hooks are not good murder weapons.

*Even though this is categorically not a ghost story, Rick, you moron. I'm glad someone knocked you out.

**And don't tell me he could have got the hook after escaping. Where's an escaped asylum inmate going to find a hook? Like, how much effort is that kind of person going to put into find a hook they can attached to their wrist and use to kill people? There are easier ways to kill people, that's all I'm saying. 

***Even if Karen is super annoying.

****That was sarcasm, by the way.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Retro Reading - Spoopy Edition!

Well, t'is the season, right? I figured October was a good excuse to ramp up the retro reading with some Halloweeny pulp horror, starting with one of my top five Point Horror books, The Cemetery!


Also known as The Ripper, apparently? I guess that was the American edition.


Also also known as Le Griffes Meurtrieres, which is French for "The Griffes Murders," which is admittedly not as catchy as The Ripper or the Cemetery, and also has nothing to do with the plot barring murder.



Anyway! The short version of the plot is that a bunch of edgy teens have a party in a cemetery on Halloween, raise the dead or a demon or a vampire or possibly Jack the Ripper, and murder ensues. There's more to it than that, with sibling rivalry, class warfare, broken hearts, and old whaling journals all featuring, but that's the quick and dirty take, which I could have given you from heart, because I must have re-read this book hundreds of times. I remember it as being really sharp and witty, and there are lines that have stuck with me all my life, like this one:






Teenage me thought that comeback was the height of sophistication. Every character always has something clever or pithy to say no matter how terrifying things are getting. I suppose it's sort of Whedon-esque, which normally I'm not keen on, but I read this book long before I ever heard of Joss Whedon, so it passes.

I want to get to the characters, though, because I kinda love them all? Except Foy, I guess. Here's a quick breakdown of our players:

Cyndi: the rich bitch hostess of the Halloween party. Cyndi is a bad girl with an abrasive personality, tons of money, and bags of attitude. She organises the party at Point Cemetery that kicks off our slasheriffic story. Cyndi is great.

Dade: Cyndi's sort-of-boyfriend, although he's not really that into her:





Dade likes to party and possibly owns a gun. He owns an old Chevy, which isn't important at all, but for some reason I developed the impression from this book that Chevys are ultra-hip cars and I still believe that to this day even though I know nothing about cars at all.

Wills: Cyndi's ex, now dating her best friend, Lara. Wills thinks Jack the Ripper is an admirable sort of guy. Apparently his break-up with Cyndi was brutal, which leads many to suspect she set up the Halloween party to murder him in revenge. (Oh yeah, Wills gets murdered).

Lara: Lara's family owns a garden centre. She nopes out of the book after Wills dies, to be honest, because she thinks she saw the killer and sensibly decides to hide in her room until the whole thing blows over.

Jane: Jane is rich and a good girl. She's embarrassed by how nice she is, but comes out of her shell by hooking up with Dade even though he's sort-of-dating Cyndi, because these kids are just buckets of hormones.

Foy: Foy is rich and Jane's best friend. That's all I've got on him. He doesn't really contribute anything to the book.

Rick: Rick is not rich. His dad is the town mortician. Rick makes inappropriate jokes to hide his fear of dying. He seems to hang out with Foy a lot, but I don't know why. In retrospect I wondered if they were dating, but neither of them are remotely dateable, so probably not (and I also don't think Cyndi would invite guys she couldn't hook up with to her party).

Charity: Charity is awesome. She takes no shit and turns out to be the heroine of the book in a roundabout way. She hates Cyndi and is best friends with Jane.

Jones: Basically Van Helsing. Wears a cowboy hat.

Georgie: Georgie is poor. Her dad makes vodka out of potatoes, which she steals. She hates Cyndi and crashes the Halloween party with Cyndi's older brother. She performs the seance which probably raises the demon-ripper.

Dorian: Cyndi's older brother. He hates Cyndi and may have tried to kill her as a child. She definitely tried to kill him later. He's dating Georgie in the most casual sense of the word.

That's our team! The story begins with Cyndi's Halloween party at Point Cemetery. Lots of bitchy one-liners are exchanged, because basically everybody is just hear to snipe at each other and hook up with someone's ex if they can. After Georgie shows up and performs a seance, Cyndi decides they should play a game of hide-and-seek. Charity, sensing something is amiss after the seance, legs it. Everyone else hides/seeks.

We cut back and forth to different view points a lot in this book, often with no breaks to indicate it's happening, and whilst the head-hopping can be confusing, it's done well in this early section to create tension. We know something is out in the cemetery with the kids, we know it's going after someone...But who? The changes in perspective keep us guessing - is that Cyndi about to leap out on Dade, or the Ripper? Is Lara about to stumble upon Wills, or something else entirely? Who or what is Charity running from? We're kept guessing - until the screaming starts.

Wills is the first to go, which is great, because he's frankly been a dick the whole party. Our heroes, being relatively sensible as characters in horror stories go, get the fuck out of the cemetery and go straight to the police.

Cyndi is a suspect because of her nasty break-up with Wills, but despite some initial wild accusations (nobody died before Jones came to town!), everyone is quick to agree that something supernatural is at play. Charity, being down-to-earth and also open to new ideas, goes researching the history of the cemetery and finds this:



I mean, that's basically Dracula's arrival in Whitby, right? It also touches on the theory that Jack the Ripper fled to America at some point. Based on the American version of this book being called The Ripper, I assume the parallel is deliberate. We do also get some confirmation from the Ripper itself that it took the form of Jack to kill Wills (what with Wills being a big fan), but I don't really know if we're supposed to think that A) this is Jack and B) Jack is therefore a supernatural being. I don't think it matters; it's just an interesting thread in the book.

Anyway! While Charity is researching and Cyndi is driving madly around town and everyone else is making out with someone or whatever, Georgie and Dorian go back to the cemetery because Georgie thinks it'll be neat to check out a real-live murder scene, and Georgie gets murdered. Dorian abandons her to her fate, because he's a fucking asshole, and drives home to cower in the garage. After a confrontation with Cyndi, Dorian finds himself face-to-face with the Ripper, who has taken Georgie's form to fuck with him. Trouble ensues, and a fire breaks out.

I have to mention this, purely because of Dade. Up til now, Dade has been a fandom Draco Malfoy type, all smooth lines and handsomely evil, hooking up with Jane behind Cyndi's back and dismissing Wills's death as no big deal. But from this point on, Dade is the MVP of this book behind Charity. He's making out with Jane when they realise there's a fire at Cyndi's house, because of course he fucking is, and he drives over there like a bat out of hell and rescues Cyndi from the burning house by himself even though there are already firemen on the scene. Later, when a heavily-medicated Cyndi takes off for the cemetery to find the thing that killed her brother, Dade goes after her, chases her down (even though she could be the killer) and basically saves her from either tripping over a headstone in the dark and breaking her neck, or probably getting murderised by the Ripper.

Guys. I mean, he's still a cheating jerk-face who judges girls for not putting out, and I cannot emphasize that enough, but Dade steps up when the stakes are high. Maybe it's because he (possibly) owns a gun.

However, Dade is not the true hero of The Cemetery. That title goes to Charity, who actually defeats the Ripper. Sort of. I mean...this is part of the book that really confused me as a kid. Our surviving teens take off to the cemetery after Cyndi. It's dark. The Ripper is out there. Everyone is holding hands for safety, until Cyndi emerges from the dark and starts taunting them. We know by now that the Ripper can shapeshift, so...is it Cyndi? Either way, Dade takes off after her, and Jane follows him, and someone punches Rick and Foy is also there, not really contributing. And Jones and Charity, who have both read up on this shit, are left to confront the Ripper.

There are some beautifully creepy touches of ocean folklore in this book. Not nearly enough for my tastes, but hints at pacts with demons, ghosts ships, and suicides are woven together to bring the book to its climax. Its...super-confusing climax. Basically, Charity is possessed by the spirit of a woman from the 19th century who defeated the Ripper before, when it first came to town. The woman...just...like...hangs onto the Ripper while it shifts into different forms, and...that...banishes it? It's Tam Lin, basically, except much less romantic. Charity just...hangs on, until the Ripper is like, "FINE THEN! NO MORE MURDER!" and that's that.

It's confusing. It confused me at fifteen and it confuses me at thirty-four, because it's not really a resolution. I don't know why this woman's spirit can defeat the Ripper. It's hinted that she might have been a witch (and since Charity was dressed as a witch for Halloween and they have the same name, this seems to be why she chooses Charity as her vessel), but that's me extrapolating. The book pretty much ends with Charity hugging the Ripper into oblivion, then cuts to her and Jones making out. After she's asked him if he's some kind of Van Helsing and he avoids the question, which basically means yes, anyway.

It...I...I don't know? I love this book. I still love this book, but I still don't fucking know how and why Charity beat the Ripper.The answer is clearly tied to Jones. He's the new kid in town. Nobody knows anything about him. He hints at a mysterious past and clearly knows straight away that the Ripper is inhuman and can only be defeated through supernatural means. But he never tells anyone anything outright, and instead pulls the strings from behind the scenes. Who he is and what he does isn't really of interest to the author, it seems. He's just there to be silent and intriguing and guide Charity toward the answers. I feel like you could easily have Jones popping up in other books to slip you an ancient diary that explains your haunted house problem, or to leave you the mysterious locket that will help you summon the dead, idk. Jones has seen some shit. Jones knows things, man. And in the end, Jones isn't any more explained to us than the Ripper.

And nobody died before Jones came to town.

Huh.


Friday, 6 October 2017

Flashback Friday

It's that time once again, folks! Friday is upon us, the end is in sight, we've all worked hard and we all deserve two days of relaxation. Or maybe you don't want to relax. Maybe you want to be all hot and bothered. Either way, Lynn Burke is here to help with THIRD WHEEL, the first book in her Elite Escorts series! Be warned - this one's smoking hot...




Third Wheel
Elite Escorts #1
By Lynn Burke
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Art Work: Jay Aheer, Simply Defined Art
Release Date: May 18, 2017
Keywords: Erotic, Romance, Contemporary, BDSM, single parent, stalking
*Warning: Multiple Partners, Anal Play, Anal Sex, Spanking
Carpenter by day, man whore extraordinaire by night, Reid Sullivan lives every man’s dream. But, Elite Escort’s hottest third wheel longs for something more than casual sex with clients. 

Jessica Lindy's testimony helped put her ex-husband behind bars, but she can't escape his vows of revenge. A jaded single mom, she guards her heart and daughter’s life against any man. 

One fateful night with Reid, the temptation for Jessica to allow another man into their lives becomes too hard to resist. But when her past collides with the present, lives--and love--will be lost unless Jessica learns how to lower her defenses. Can the professional escort convince the wary young mom that he can be a different sort of third wheel--the one she can trust?  

Purchase Links:


~~~oOo~~~ 



Excerpt:
“Go into the bedroom and take your clothes off,” he said, stepping back, hands releasing their hold on me. “There are towels in the adjoining bathroom. Wrap one around yourself and get comfy on that big ass bed, belly down.”

Uh … oh yeah. Massage. Right.

Unable to find my voice, I nodded and tried to walk away. Damn heels near sent me sprawling on the floor.

“Here. Let me.” Reid dropped to his knees and lifted one of my feet to unbuckle the black heels Christine had insisted on.

I grabbed hold of his shoulder to keep from falling over, my gaze locked on the dark head inches away from my throbbing clit. Thoughts of him lifting my dress’s hem with his teeth brought a moan to my throat, but I bit down on the inside of my lip to keep from letting it out.

His large hand slid up my calf and back down before making short work of the clasp. My foot slid free, and he ran his hand up my other leg, catching my breath.

Get a grip, Jessica. The barest touch on my skin—hotter than any sex I could remember. My body craved more. One little lick, one little pinch on my clit, and I’d be screaming my release for the world to hear.

“Go on,” Reid said, standing and stepping back, my heels dangling from his hand.

With another thoughtless, dumb nod, I managed to make my feet move. I eyed the massive bed while making my way across the bedroom to the open bathroom door. Images of Reid’s ass clenching with each thrust into my writhing body beneath his flashed across my mind.

“G-good God,” I whispered.

Hands shaking, I all but ripped off my tight dress and restricting bra, but paused to consider my panties. A full body massage…

Another few seconds of indecision and I slid the soaked bit of silk down my legs. Just in case he wanted to knead my ass cheeks. And, nothing more than that, I told myself while wrapping a white fluffy towel around me. A peek into the bedroom revealed it empty, so I scooted to the bed, pulled back the comforter and top sheet, and lay face down a little ways from the edge, eyes clenched shut, pulse pounding through every cell of my body.

Closer than a hair to hyperventilation, I focused on slowing my breathing. Relaxed my muscles as soft instrumental music floated through the closed door.

“Jessica?” Reid’s low voice raised what little hair I had on my body. “Can I come in?”

I squeaked a reply but had to clear my throat and try again. “Yes.”

Yes. Please come … I mean, come in. Touch me. Make me come.

 ~~~oOo~~~

About Lynn Burke

Lynn Burke is a full time mother, voracious gardener, and scribbler of spicy romance stories. A country bumpkin turned Bay Stater, she enjoys her chowdah and Dunkin Donuts when not trying to escape the reality of city life.
Links:


Monday, 2 October 2017

October Accountability

What the hell happened to September? I feel like it just vanished without me getting anything done.

This may well be because I didn't get much done, really... I've been working on an Amber Morgan project, but progress has been slow. I really have no excuses except I probably needed to slow down a little bit. The day job has been crazy all year, and every time I get my head above water, another wave of ethics reports/grant reports/fire regulations crashes over me. I had a boss once who said I wasn't cut out for office work. I agreed with him at the time. Now I think I am cut out for office work, but only through some harrowing survival-of-the-fittest experiences where I am the only person who knows how to find out how to submit an ethics report to the European Research Council so my boss keeps me around forever and ever.

Anyway, it's now October! I am anticipating edits for IMPERIAL DEMONS and hoping to wrap up the Amber Morgan book (which I was definitely going to easily finish in September, no problem). The plan then is to move onto Urban Wolf 6, which I'd anticipate taking the rest of the year.

On the non-writing front, I'm trying to make daily time for physiotherapy/yoga for my poor knackered shoulders and arms. Winter weather tends to set off a lot of my aches and pains, so I'm trying to get ahead of the curve. I had an ultrasound earlier in the year that revealed no tears or inflammation that could be causing my various symptoms, so my only treatment option is strengthening my arms and back and seeing if that eases the pain. I am not one of life's natural exercisers, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. If it sees me through the long, dark, grim, dark, wet, dark British winter without the frustration and agony I usually get, it'll be worth it.

I'm planning to dig out some Halloweeny Point Horrors for some Retro Reading blogs this month if I can. There aren't that many available for the Kindle, so I may have to ~gasp~ buy some paperbacks.

I'm about halfway through my initial pass of Afterlife, which basically consists of changing a few character names and laying the groundwork for a proper, thorough going-over. I'd like to have it ready to submit by the end of the year, which seems doable (she said naively).

After that it's November, which means Anti-Nano! If all goes according to plan, I'll be working on Urban Wolf 6, but we'll talk about that later.

In the meantime, I'm leaving you with one of my favourite Tom Petty songs, because goddammit. RIP, Tom. <3


Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Ghost of Novels Past

About this time last year I was planning to self-publish AFTERLIFE and DEMONIZED by the end of 2016. I bought shiny new cover art, wrote new blurbs, and excitedly announced that this was definitely going to happen.

It hasn't happened, obviously. Mostly because I have a loooooooooong to-write list, and re-publishing old stuff has to take a back seat to writing current series. And now it's a year-ish later and I'm no closer to getting these books back out in the world.

I have a really on-off relationship with the Shoregrave/Ethan Banning books. Kinda. I love them. I love writing Ethan, I love the world of Shoregrave. AFTERLIFE was my first published novel, and even though the experiences I had with Damnation Books/Caliban Press were...um...horrific, I guess, I still believe these are good stories that deserve to be read. But Ethan is on his own rocky road - long story short, nobody buys Ethan's books - and I can never decide from one week to the next if I want to put more time and energy into series that don't sell, no matter how much I may love them. Because, as noted, I have a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong to-write list.

But. Argh. Unf. Ugh. I do love them. And the mere fact that I'm still thinking about them after all this time and all the various heartbreaks I've had over them, tells me I need to finish what I started with them.

So back to AFTERLIFE. I opened it up yesterday and started reading through. I wrote the first draft of this book in 2008. I like to think I'm a different, better writer now, and it quickly became clear to me that I can produce a better version of this book with a little time and work. I also figured out as I read that I have a solid, focused plan for the series that I didn't have back in 2008, a plan for telling Yasmin's story in a satisfying way, and that means some changes are required. I'm planning to work part-time on getting AFTERLIFE up to scratch whilst dedicating the bulk of my writing time to my current Amber Morgan wip.

After that... I want to submit it to my publisher. Self-publishing requires a skill set and a budget that I don't have, and I don't see the point of putting this book back into the world if I don't give it the best chance of being found. For me, that means working with a publisher. I hope they'll like it...If not, I guess I do still have that cover art.

As for Ethan, that's a blog for another day, I think. Still a bit of thinking to do on that guy.


Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Writerly Wednesday - an interview with Lea Bronsen!


Happy hump day! If you made it this far, treat yourself to a cup of your favourite hot beverage and relax. Unless you're at work, in which case relax whilst still looking like you're working.

Okay! Now you're relaxed, how about a chat with Lea Bronsen about her new book, viking romance TORN AVENGER? If you want dark, m/m historical romance, this is the book for you! Lea was kind enough to answer a few questions for me, as well as sharing a teaser, so read on and enjoy!



Hi Lea! Tell us a little bit about your newest release.

Hi, and thanks so much for having me! Torn Avenger is a gripping, emotional story of murder and passion where two ancient worlds collide.

As the second son of a Viking earl, Alv Gunnulfsen wasn't meant to inherit a throne or avenge a murder. But when his brother is slain during a raid and their father dies of grief, Alv is expected to take command and claim the killer's death. In a world of ruthless retaliation and strict social codes, he must also maneuver cleverly to protect a troublesome secret: his attraction for men.

Roeland van Dijk, a wealthy Dutch merchant settled in Norway, has done the unthinkable to protect his family — hacked off the head of a Viking rapist. The wrath of the blond savages will cost him his freedom, and possibly his own head… Unless he's willing to accept the love of another man.

Was there any part of this story you found particularly tough to write? If so, why?

Yes, historical accuracy bothered me a lot. I wanted to set the story in a real period in history. Alv was to represent the last of the Viking raiders and Roeland the first of European merchants to settle in Norway. I had to conduct quite the research to make sure these two strong civilizations actually met!

Also, I wondered whether the Norwegians and their European “invaders” co-lived in peace or bloody confrontations occurred. I couldn’t find any information, but thought it quite probable that some Vikings, tempted by the precious goods imported into Bjorgvin and the wealth of their merchants, raided the trading post the same way they were reputed to in the rest of the world. Why wouldn’t they? In this case, I allowed myself some artistic freedom :)

Sounds like you got really in-depth, so a little artistic freedom is probably allowed here and there! Shifting directions a bit, who are your biggest influences – they don't have to just be literary ones!

Oh, I’ve always been an avid lover of rock, from early, bluesy stuff and backstreet glam, via grunge, to industrial/alternative rock and thrash/heavy/death metal. The whole palette of rock music has had a major influence on me since I was old enough to buy my own vinyls, lol. I can’t imagine an existence without it to make me vibrate and feel alive!

On the literary side, I’m a huge fan of psychological thriller authors like Mo Hayder, Cody McFadyen, and Lisa Gardner. I simply thirst for dark, hold-your-breath thrillers that blend graphic violence and gore with the sickest forms of mental deviance. Their inspiration is evident in some of my books. *Ahem* it probably says something about me…

We have similar tastes in music! I'll need to check out some of those authors, since that sounds like my kinda thing too. Apart from writing, what are your great passions in life?

I have three lovely daughters aged 7, 15, and 17, and when I’m not busy at my day job or nose-deep in one of my stories, I try to spend as much “quality” time with them as possible. I love taking them out fishing, mushroom picking, boat/motorcycle riding, cooking, mountain climbing, and chess/card playing. Children are gifts of life and time passes very fast, so it’s important to spend it well.

Wow, I'm impressed you fit the writing in! What else are you working on right now? What's up next from you?

My next release is the dark erotic crime MMMM ménage The Audition, about a young wannabe actor challenged to comply with the film producers’ dirty fantasies in order to get a movie part. It’s hot, it’s dirty, and one of the main characters is a ruthless drug lord, so there’re elements of crime and danger, too. I really hope my readers are going to like it.

Aside from that, I’ve started work on the sequel to my debut novel Wild Hearted, a gritty inner-city crime drama that came out in 2013. Let me tell ya I’m super excited about bringing my two favorite characters, Tomor, an imprisoned gang leader, and Luz, his long-lost love, back to life in a whole new psychological thriller!

So if all that whet your appetite for Lea's stories, read on for a closer look at TORN AVENGER!
   
Clickety-click.


Friday, 22 September 2017

Flashback Friday - Time to Claim A Mate!

Hello, friends! Happy Friday! I want to do a bit of house-keeping before we get onto this week's post. I'm moving my Writerly Self Stuff from my Facebook page to my regular Facebook profile. Please feel free to come and friend me! There are cute pictures of my cat, like, all the time. Facebook's cryptic and mysterious ways mean not a lot of people see the stuff I post on my page, so I'm hoping by switching to my personal profile, we can engage and chat more.

Okay! Moving on. Today we have Jennifer Denys on the blog with a look back at her book, TO CLAIM A MATE. Gay werewolves! Need I say more?



Cole Linley is a gay wolf-shifter. In order to appease the Alpha within, he has taken up the BDSM lifestyle and become very experienced. This placates his wolf to a certain extent, but his dearest wish is to find a mate—male, of course. Except, the question is, how to find one in a city surrounded by humans where other wolf-shifters are rare. 

Then, one night, he enters Balls & Chains, a BDSM club he frequents, and immediately senses another of his kind. And not only that, it is the scent of a potential mate, Jared Gray. There is only one problem—Jared is collared by another Master. 

Jared’s relationship shows all the signs of an abusive relationship. Can Cole get him away from the other Dom and show Jared the delights of BDSM when done properly and what it means to be a beta wolf to Cole’s Alpha?

Reader Advisory: The submissive in this Gay Paranormal Romance doesn’t realize he is in an abusive relationship until he meets his true Master.



What’s hot? Making love in the forest as wolves, then in the bed as humans.


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Excerpt:

Moving on, Cole was drawn into a room which had a cross in each corner of the room with plenty of space to wield the equipment. The walls were covered with floggers of varying types, although nothing stopped a Dominant using an implement from another section.

Cole halted. He’s here.

The scent was at its strongest, practically dragging him toward a slender man in his late twenties, with brown hair the color of hazelnuts. The sub was in the process of being tied face up against a cross on the far side. His chest was bare and sleek, and he wore skin-tight jeans.

The Dom wanted to rip the man’s clothes off and devour him on the spot. So intent was he on reaching his prey, he nearly missed the Master who had finished tying the submissive and came around to inspect the restraints, standing directly between Cole and the object of his hunt.

Stopping in his tracks, Cole’s hackles began to rise. A possessive instinct rose in him to fight off his rival. Except there were rules in BDSM and it didn’t include tearing out the throat of another Master.

Andy caught up with him and saw him staring. “Who have you found? Oh, this is Master Dirk. Jared is the sub he is playing with.”

Cole took a moment to calm his inner wolf, unclenching his fists before he triggered his claws. His voice was raspy as he asked, “Are they new? I don’t recall seeing either of them here before.” Actually, he couldn’t care less about this new Master. He only had eyes for Jared.

He didn’t hear Andy’s answer, because, at that moment, he caught the gaze of the bound man. Tangible electricity crossed the room and hit Cole like a silver bullet, slamming into his heart, nearly causing him to change into his wolf in front of everyone. It took everything he knew about Dominance to keep hold of his human side and push down his animal half.

Meanwhile, the submissive’s eyes opened wide in shock, and he bit his lip. Cole’s keen wolf eyesight could detect Jared’s fierce trembling, as he tightly gripped the ropes that held him. Cole willed him to hold on and not transform in front of everyone as the two shared a look of instant attraction, desperate need, and the desire to have sex.

And yet it was more than that. So much more—an inner knowledge, assurance one has finally found one’s other half, and didn’t even know one was looking.

Taking a deep breath, Cole narrowed his eyes as he gazed on Jared, drinking in the beautiful sight before him.

He gave a slight smile of acknowledgment.

Oh yes, this is my mate. And woe betide anyone who comes between us.

Author bio:

Jennifer is a bestselling author in various genre (BDSM, contemporary, sci-fi, paranormal, with historical and fantasy in her works in progress) with several different publishers.

An Englishwoman through and through, she lives in a beautiful historical city and is game to try most things once. She’s had a tattoo done on her calf, flew down zip wires 100 feet up in the trees, and was photographed nude by a professional photographer. All of which have taken place since she turned 50!

Many of her experiences end up in her books… but you will have to read them to find out what!

Do contact Jennifer – she loves to hear from her fans. She posts to her blog three times a week and is on Facebook daily.


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