Thursday, 29 June 2017

Building a Book - The Music

As some of you may know, I keep a Spotify playlist for most of my series/projects, and Blood Canticles is no exception. (You can find it here if you're curious). It's something I've been adding to ever since I wrote BLOOD WITCH and there are songs for every character, every mood, every scene and some future scenes. Back in May I shared five AFI songs for Lola and Tristesse. Today I'm sharing five songs for Imperial Demons. Enjoy!

1. If I Burn - Emilie Autumn

This one's for Tristesse, and also the opening of the book.

2. Torch Song - AFI

More AFI, yes. Sorry/not sorry.

3. To Hell With You - Sleigh Bells

This was the first song I officially pegged for Imperial Demons, so I kind of think of it as the theme song.

4. Demons - Chelsea Wolfe

I just love her stuff. So dark and atmospheric.

5. Heavy Stone - Kyla La Grange

I adore Kyla La Grange, and this song is especially poignant to me. If Imperial Demons was a film, this song would play over the end credits.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Building a Book - The Books

So I'm not sharing a snippet today, because everything is now too spoilery for the end of the book and I want to keep you guys in suspense as much as I can! Instead, I thought I'd spend the next few blog posts sharing some of the stuff that's helped me write Imperial Demons, from books to music to tea! All essential factors for me, especially with this book. I always knew Imperial Demons was going to be a tough book to write. Not because of the story itself (although it has been pretty emotionally wringing at points!), but because in sending Lola and Tristesse to Gehenna, I had to create a whole new world. And I had a really specific idea of what I wanted the demon world to be like (you can check out my Pinterest board for some visual inspirations - trigger warning: blood).

But actually fleshing out that idea and building (what I hope is) a coherent world took time, and research. Which was a great excuse to dive into some historical biographies!

Robert K Massie's biography of Catherine the Great was a book I wanted to read anyway, because I'm pretty keen on Russian history, especially relating to the tzars. The aristocracy and politics of Gehenna is heavily influenced by Catherine's era, and although I've worked to put my own twist on everything, it was important for me to dig into the political machinations and figure out how to apply them to Tristesse and her situation.

I'll hold my hands up now and say I have no idea how historically accurate this book is, because nobody can really agree on the Truth when it comes to Erzsebet Bathory, but it did seem to be a balanced and level-headed approach to the Bloody Countess. However you look at her life, she's a fascinating woman, and her reputed crimes helped shape the villain of Imperial Demons. And I've mentioned earlier in the Blood Canticles series that Lola is interested in her life story, so it felt only right to educate myself a bit more on her!

Another figure from Russian history, another tyrant. Ivan's horrific rule was another inspiration for the villain of the book, whilst reading about another era of the Russian tzars helped add some building blocks to Gehenna.

It's intriguing to me that Vlad the Impaler was renowned as a folk hero by some during his lifetime whilst we generally know him today as a bloodthirsty monster. I wanted to examine both sides of that, and this was a great book for doing so. I'm not looking to redeem the bad guy in Imperial Demons, but I did want to touch on why and how tyrants rise to power. Between Vlad and Ivan, hopefully I've handled it deftly! I don't want the book to get bogged down in political meanderings, but a little political meandering was inevitable. You'll understand why once you know why Tristesse ran away from Gehenna in the first place.

So! Those were the books that helped me get my head round Gehenna. Stay tuned (haha) for some musical inspiration next time!

Monday, 19 June 2017

Music! Ballet! Kidnapping!

I am so happy to have Elyzabeth M Valey on the blog today! I had the pleasure of beta-reading BREAK ME and I absolutely loved it. If you want your romance truly dark and twisted, this is a story you must read. My post title is a little facetious, but this is one hell of a story, and I'm excited to read it again. Elyzabeth is here today to tell us a little about the music that inspired Grisha and Ayla's tale. Enjoy!

Thank you for having me on your blog today with my new release, Break Me.

Break me is a dark, twisted, erotic romance, which was fascinating to write. Grisha’s and Ayla’s life revolve around ballet and thus, I immersed myself in that world through documentaries, articles and of course, music.

Although, there were many more, below are five of the pieces which I listened to the most to help inspire me.

1.      Giselle (From beginning to end. I heard -and watched - this masterpiece.)
5.      A compilation of ballet music for dance classes found on YouTube

As it happens in ballet, behind the beauty there is more than meets the eye. Grisha and Ayla are the same, and I invite you to delve into their story.

I hope you enjoy reading Break Me as much as I did writing it.

The monster lay dormant, until it saw her...

Every few years, the beast within Grisha Vasiliev rouses, clamoring for blood. When he sees Ayla Clark dancing, her movements exuding grace, passion and joy, he knows he must have her.

Grisha kidnaps Ayla expecting the usual: resistance, tears, pleas for mercy. But when Ayla breaks the mold, his whole world spirals out of control and feelings he thought he could never have again resurface.

He thought she was perfect, but she’s the broken doll on the shelf.

The last thing Ayla Clark remembers is celebrating her performance as Giselle and flirting with the handsome Grisha Vasiliev, the owner of one of the most prestigious ballet companies in the country. Now, she’s tied up and at his mercy, begging for more of his attention, while fighting to keep her own secrets buried in the dark.

Be Warned: BDSM, knife play, whipping

Available at:
And More!

Ayla turned on her heel and raced out the door. Her bare feet slapped against the cool floor almost painfully. The glass shard cut into her hand but she didn’t dare release it yet. Lights blinked on as she ran down the hall and up a set of stairs. Tripping, she dropped her primitive weapon.
She didn’t stop to pick it up but continued until the top. She clutched her stomach. It couldn’t be. A thick metal door loomed before her. She lunged at it, screaming and crying, shouting for help, but it didn’t budge.
“Please,” she whimpered.
 “You’re going to hurt yourself. The door is pure steel, locked with a key and an electronic panel.”
She spun to face Grisha. He stood a few steps behind her, arms crossed over his chest, eyes gleaming with predatory intent. Her shoulders slumped. A lump formed in her throat.
“No. Please, Grisha. Let me go.”
 “I can’t do that.”
“Why? You’re rich, powerful. You can have anything you want. Why?” she insisted. “I swear I won’t say anything. This never happened.”
“That isn’t the way this works, sweetheart.”
“Please, Grisha.”
Her knees gave out and she slid to the floor. Her head spun. None of this made any sense. Grisha towered over her. Tears gathered behind her lids. She inched forward, hugging his left leg.
“I beg you.” 
Grisha lay his hand on her head. She looked up at him. The power of his gaze undid the well of emotions within her. She would never get out of here. Sobs racked her body. She clung to him, beseeching him.
“I’m sorry, sweetheart.”
He settled on the floor next to her and pulled her onto his lap. Ayla’s arms wrapped around his neck naturally. He caressed her back in soothing circles. She burrowed her face into the collar of his shirt, his fresh, woodsy essence entering her system. Familiar. Welcoming. Slowly, her tears ebbed replaced by confusion. Why did he comfort her?
“What are you going to do to me?” she whispered.
He caught her chin. His gaze danced over her face for an instant. His brow furrowed. The blue in his eyes darkened to midnight depths. Then his lips were on her, pressing, claiming, sparking her body alive. Her brain shut down. His tongue met hers and she opened up, eager to taste more. He demanded and she willingly gave.
Ayla was his to do as he pleased. His hands touched her everywhere, leaving behind a trail of burning need. Liquid gathered at the apex between her thighs. Her clit throbbed.
Grisha cupped her swollen breast, squeezing the turgid nub between his fingers. She moaned. He bent his head and took her nipple in his mouth, hungrily sucking. She arched, whimpering. His heavy hand slid across her thigh to her pussy. Relentless fingers probed her entrance.
“You’re soaked.” He groaned.
She turned her head, embarrassed. Grisha thrust a digit into her. Ayla sucked in air.
“You like this. You want this,” he said, his voice husky and gritty.
“Yes,” she whispered.
“You enjoy this,” he whispered, pushing another finger into her, slowly pumping them. She mewled.
“My sweet little dancer wants my cock in her cunt, doesn’t she?”
She shook her head.
“No? That’s not what this tells me.” He curled his finger across her G-spot and began to massage it. She shook from head to toe.
“What is it, sweetheart? Want more?”
Three fingers rubbed her. The pressure increased. Ayla threw back her head. Her hips swayed involuntarily. His strokes turned quick and short. Sweat trickled down her back.
“Grisha,” she panted.
“You’re going to come for me, Ayla, and you’re going to do it now.”

About Elyzabeth M. VaLey

Elyzabeth M. VaLey is a writer of sizzling, sexy romance who firmly believes in happy ever after.  From paranormal to contemporary, fantasy, or historical, she enjoys exploring her characters' darker side and writing stories about tortured heroes, strong heroines, and all that comes between them and their love. 

When she's not writing, she can be found walking in the Spanish countryside with her black Lab, exploring castles, or enjoying some tapas with her friends.  

Follow her at:
Instagram (@elyzabethm.valey)

Pinterest  (Break Me has its own inspiration board)