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Body Temperature and Rising, the Long Way Around

Body Temperature and Rising, volume one of my Lakeland Heatwave Trilogy, is now available in all ebook formats with most major distributors. It will be available in print in February. After a very strange, circuitous journey to completion, I’m very excited to be able to share my first ever paranormal erotic romance with the world.

Body Temperature and Rising didn’t start out to be a trilogy. In fact, it started out, three Novembers ago, as my first effort to write a novel in a month for National Novel Writing Month. (NaNoWriMo). During November, National Novel Writing Month, people everywhere of all ages from all walks of life attempt to write a novel in one month. For me, not only was it my first attempt to write a novel in a month, but it was my first ever attempt to write an erotic novel.

Considering the way it all began, Body Temperature and Rising could hardly have been anything BUT paranormal. My good friend Helen Callaghan and I decided to get the first day of our NaNoWriMo experience off to a good start by driving to Avebury to write at the pub there.

Avebury is a village set in the middle of the biggest Neolithic stone circle in Europe, a stone circle 500 years older than the Pyramids.

The Red Lion Inn. Taken on a much nicer, much less haunted day.

Because the stones are much easier than Stonehenge to access, and there is no charge, Avebury has become a gathering place for modern Pagans and other New Age folks. And our timing was perfect, as it was the day after the old Celtic holiday of Samhain and even in spite of the torrential downpour that we arrived in, we found ourselves surrounded by druids, witches, wiccans and all manner of Pagans celebrating what is essentially Celtic New Year. The people watching was fabulous, even with the drowned-rat effect.

Never mind that, Helen and I were there to write, so after a scuppered attempt at an inspiring walk in the wind and rain, we settled in at the Red Lion Inn, right in the centre of the stone circle. This 16th Century pub proudly boasts the reputation of being ‘the most haunted pub in England.’

It didn’t take us long to get pulled into the writing, so after lunch we wrote our way through numerous coffees and pots of tea, watching the super-saturated Pagans come and go in the pouring rains. There was a fire in the fireplace, and we were both in the zone.

By late afternoon, sharing leftover Halloween candy across the table while the Muse whispered in our ears the pub was nearly. Suddenly there was an enormous banging sound, like doors slamming. It seemed to be coming from the hall that led to the restroom behind us. The space that had felt toasty warm all at once felt chilled, and we were both shivering. Seconds later, one of the wait staff came running back to the restrooms looking very panicked and very pale. From behind the bar to the kitchen we heard murmurs and nervous laughter. We overheard mentions of the ghost, followed by more murmurs and mentions of supernatural phenomena when the volunteer returned unscathed to join the rest of the staff cowering behind the bar. And then the room was warm again. Helen and I ate more sweets, ordered another pot of tea and discussed our near-brush with the supernatural. Then we kept writing.

One of the Avebury stones on a nice day.

It was only as dark settled and the rain hadn’t let up even a little bit that we remembered two things. We weren’t parked in the pub car park, but in the National Trust car park on the other side of the village, a car park that closed at dark.

We quickly gathered our belongings and made a run for it, trying to hold umbrellas to protect us from horizontal rain, and struggling to see our way on the tiny, unlit path back to the car park, illuminated only by the pale green light of Helen’s mobile phone. With boots full of water and a banged knee from the metal fence post I ran into, we finally arrived at the Car Park to find it deserted except for Helen’s car, and thankfully for the National Trust Land Rover parked by the gate with a lovely NT employee waiting patiently to let us out.

Oh, and that intsy-weentsy little second thing we’d forgotten about… We’d been so busy talking on the way over to Avebury that we’d forgotten to get petrol for the car, and we were running on fumes. Avebury has a pub, several tourist shops and a post office. No garage. The next town of any size up the deserted highway was Marlborough. Everyone with any common sense was long since inside out of the horrid weather. It felt like we were the only people on the planet. We were only fifteen miles from Marlborough, but we weren’t sure we were even going to get to when we realized the Kennet River, which usually runs under the road was now running OVER the road. Thinking only of the fumes quickly dissipating in the petrol tank, we ploughed through the raging waters of the Kennet and continued on our way, a thought which still gives me a chill when I think what might have happened crossing a flooded river as we did. But only a few miles up the road, looking like the gates to paradise was a small Murco station. And it was open! We were saved! Thus began Lakeland Heatwave: Body Temperature and Rising, which at that time was called ‘Love Spell.’

During the month that I wrote BTR, a time when I already had a very full writing plate on top of the novel-in-a-month plan, the paranormal experience continued as I was magically transformed into The Bitch

Research is hard work

from Hell, a creature so unpredictable, so terrifying, so vile that only my husband, Raymond the Brave, could successfully handle being in her presence for long periods of time. The man has permanent psychological scars from that infamous November, I have no doubt.

In the meantime, I got trapped in the Eurostar Tunnel and The Initiation of Ms Holly was born, followed by The Pet Shop while BTR languished tucked away in my computer as a Word file. I just wasn’t confident enough to attempt anything paranormal. Then, maybe it was the influence of the Avebury Ghost, but I decided to propose Body Temperature and Rising to Xcite, knowing that it would need a lot of reworking because I had grown a lot as a writer. Once Xcite accepted my proposal, I found myself totally unable to continue with the rewrite. Every attempt felt like a false start, every effort felt like it wasn’t right somehow.

Just when I was about to lose heart, I took a long walk and realized that if it were going work as I envisioned it, Lakeland Heatwave would have to be a trilogy. Xcite went for the proposal and from that point on, the ghosts and witches practically wrote the story for me.

Of course with the action set in the Lake District and the first chapters set in a bad storm on the fells and in a slate mine shaft, I was forced to make several research trips to the Lakes. How I suffer for my art! I have no doubt I’ll need to do much such suffering as the Lakeland Heatwave Trilogy unfolds.

Body Temperature and Rising will be available in print in February 2012, and as is the happy tradition, will be celebrated with wild partying and raunchy reading at Sh! Hoxton.

Blurb:

American transplant to the Lake District, MARIE WARREN, didn’t know she could unleash demons and enflesh ghosts until a voyeuristic encounter on the fells ends in sex with the charming ghost, ANDERSON and night visits from a demon. To help her cope with her embarrassing and dangerous new abilities, Anderson brings her to the ELEMENTALS, a coven of witches who practice rare sex magic that temporarily allowsghosts access to the pleasures of the flesh.

DEACON, the demon Marie has unleashed, holds an ancient grudge against TARA STONE, coven high priestess, and will stop at nothing to destroy all she holds dear. Marie and her landlord, the reluctant young farmer, TIM MERIWETHER, are at the top of his list. Marie and Tim must learn to wield coven magic and the numinous power of their lust to stop Deacon’s bloody rampage before the coven is torn apart and more innocent people die.

Dale Head. The sight Marie would have seen without the mist.

Excerpt:

‘First you treat me like I don’t exist, then you go all big brother on me like I’m too delicate and soft-brained to take care of myself. Well I have news for you, Tim Meriwether, I was taking care of myself for a long time before you decided I needed looking after.’ She shoved again, and this time he grabbed her with such force that she felt the bones in her neck pop.

With her forward momentum, he stumbled over an uneven paving stone, lost his footing and went over backward into a manger full of fresh hay, pulling her on top of him.

Before she could shove and claw her way to her feet, He grabbed her around the waist and rolled, pinning her beneath the weight of his body. He gave her no time to think about it, but pulled her into a bruising kiss, forcing her lips apart, probing her hard pallet with his dexterous tongue, biting her lower lip before he came up fighting for the breath to speak. ‘I think about you a lot, Marie,’ His chest rose and fell in hungry gasps. ‘But I promise you, none of those thoughts were even remotely brotherly.’

She bucked underneath him and clawed at his shirt. ‘Then do something about it, damn it, and stop toying with me.’ Several buttons popped and flew across the stable floor. He forced her legs apart with his knee, moving it up to rub against the crotch of her jeans. She shoved his shirt open and arched up to him as he pushed her t-shirt up and manoeuvred and tugged, forcing her breasts free from her bra into his spayed hands and hungry lips.

She fumbles with the fly of his jeans, sliding an anxious hand into his boxers. He huffed a breathless grunt, and the muscles low in his stomach tense as she closed her fingers around his engorged penis and began to stroke.

He had just began the anxious efforts with her own fly when suddenly the stable door slammed shut, and the light bulb overhead exploded in a shower of fine glass plunging the two into total darkness.

Marie yelped, and Tim cursed. As they fought their way to their feet, the mare screamed, and they could hear her struggling.

Tim vaulted over the manger’s edge seconds before Marie, calling back to her. ‘Get the door. Get it open.’

Struggling to secure her jeans with one hand, Marie felt her way along the perimeter of the stable toward the door. The relief was short-lived when her fingers closed around the handle, and it wouldn’t budge.

‘It’s locked,’ she shouted above the desperate cries of the mare.

‘What do you mean, it’s locked,’ Tim shouted back. ‘It doesn’t have a lock. It’ can’t be locked.’

‘I’m telling you it won’t open,’ she yelled back, feeling an icy chill blasting her from behind. With one final tug, the door gave and she tumbled backward on her ass. The sharp knife edge of light that shot through the darkness was blinding, like a flashbulb going off, leaving a deep bruised after image dancing in front of her face, an after image of Deacon.

She cried out and crab walked backward, as he stepped toward her, unfurling his bullwhip, in what seemed like endless slow motion.

 

 

Brick Dust and Bedsprings, More Sizzle From Lucy Felthouse

Lucy Felthouse does it again, with the hot new Ravenous Romance release, Brick Dust and Bedsprings! Congratulations, Lucy!

Blurb:

There are chores to be done, but it’s much more fun to stand at the window and watch the rippling muscles and sweaty torsos of the men paving her driveway- her window sill never got cleaned so thoroughly before!

But when sexy brothers Marcus and Jamie catch their customer looking, the action rapidly moves from the front of the house to the bedroom…

Excerpt:

I heard the rumble of an engine, and craned my neck to look out of the window. Yes, they were here. My lips curved into a smile, and I scuttled out to meet them.

“Morning!” I chirped brightly. The two men turned from their van at the sound of my voice.

“Christ,” exclaimed the larger and older of the two, “I wasn’t expecting you to be up at this hour!” It was nine in the morning.

“You cheeky so and so. I’m not that lazy. Besides I had to get up to move the car. You’d have struggled to dig the drive up with my car on it, wouldn’t you?”

He winked cockily at me. “Mine’s a coffee, please. Two sugars, plenty of milk.”

“Yes, Marcus. God, what did your last slave die of? Jamie?” His brother looked up from the papers he was shuffling.

“Um, I’m alright for now actually.”

“Are you sure? I was only messing about!”

“Yeah, I’m fine, I’ll have one later.”

I sauntered back into the house and started making drinks. I’d already flicked the kettle on in anticipation of their arrival, and as I poured the milk into Marcus’ mug I chuckled to myself. I’d delib¬erately used a pink one, just to piss him off. It wasn’t exactly the most manly of mugs, as I’m sure you can imagine. Mind you, it would take more than that to rob Marcus of his masculinity. Mmm.

He wasn’t my usual type. I usually go for the more classic good-looking guy. You know, clean-shaven, nicely dressed, and all that. Marcus definitely didn’t fall into that category. He wasn’t ugly, by any means, but he’d never be on the cover of a magazine either. And you certainly wouldn’t take him home to meet your parents. But he still oozed sexiness out of every pore. Whether it was the fact that he was rough around the edges, I don’t know. Maybe I was looking for a bit of rough.

I handed him his coffee with a cheeky smile. After a question¬ing glance at the mug, he took a sip. He winced as the hot liquid scalded his tongue. He swallowed slowly. I watched his Adam’s apple contract and relax and felt my face start to heat up.

Against my better judgment I studied him: his broad chest, huge biceps, strong-looking thighs clad in denim. Christ. I felt my pussy twitch involuntarily and closed my eyes. When I opened them again, he was looking at me. Oops. A moment of charged silence, then he smiled, all the while staring at my chest. I glanced down, and wanted to die of embarrassment. My nipples were rock hard and straining against the thin cotton top I was wearing.

“Must be cold,” I blurted, not wanting him to know the effect he was having on me. Marcus looked at me, then glanced up at the burning sun. He raised his eyebrows.

“Right,” I mumbled, desperate to get away. “I’ve got chores to do indoors; gimme a shout if you want anything.”

“Anything?” he enquired.

Buy links:

http://ravenousromance.com/ravenous-rendezvous/brick-dust-bedsprings.php

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00631J2BI/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=lucyfelthouse-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B00631J2BI

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00631J2BI/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=lucyfelt-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=B00631J2BI

http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-brickdustbedsprings-627149-144.htm

Lucy is a graduate of the University of Derby, where she studied Creative Writing. During her first year, she was dared to write an erotic story – so she did. It went down a storm and she’s never looked back. Lucy has had stories published by Cleis Press, Noble Romance, Ravenous Romance, Summerhouse Publishing, Sweetmeats Press and Xcite Books. She is also the editor of Uniform Behaviour and Seducing the Myth. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Why Diane Alberts Writes Paranormal Romance

Diane Alberts has stopped by on her blog tour to tell us a bit about her fabulous new paranormal romance, Kill Me Tomorrow. Welcome Diane!

I often get asked what genre I write, and why. I have written a few, but today we are talking about Kill Me Tomorrow, and it definitely falls into that category.

One of my favorite things about paranormal romance is getting to make up a whole new world, and drawing the reader into it. Who doesn’t like to believe a world where magic exists…a world where good conquers evil no matter what…exists? I know I do!

In Kill Me Tomorrow, we meet Jasmine, a jinn. A jinn in my story is a creature who is half angel, half human. Their primary reason for existing is to fight off evil demons. Enter Gavin, a half demon-half human—otherwise known as a demi-sanguine.

Jasmine knows she should kill him—knows he is her enemy. But how can she kill him when he sets her blood on fire?

I guess you’ll just have to read it to find out.

Kill Me Tomorrow is a paranormal romance book, in Decadent Publishing’s fabulous 1Night Stand series. The series revolves around the enigmatic Madame Eve who always seems to be able to find the perfect match for that special someone.

Blurb:

Jasmine Baruch is a jinn-a supernatural being who fights demons with fire. While that’s difficult enough, she’s got bigger problems. She’s a virgin, and in the jinn culture, that is sheer blasphemy. Jinn are supposed to be passionate, promiscuous creatures-everything she isn’t. Due to marry the next day, she takes matters into her own hands by using 1NS. But, like the rest of her life, nothing is easy. The man chosen for her, though incredibly gorgeous, is a demi-sanguine; a half-human, half-demon-her enemy.

Gavin Werbato is looking for an easy night of sex. Nothing more, nothing less. Instead, he gets a gorgeous jinn convinced it is her duty to kill him. He can certainly think of better things to do with her soft hands than murder. He need only convince her of that…

Can the fire sparked when these beings collide be controlled, or will it consume their world as they know it?

Excerpt:

She’d accomplished nothing at all.

Nothing.

A weight sank beside her on the bed, and she shrieked. She darted a glance at the door, but it remained locked. Of course it did— portals didn’t hold back demons.

“Good punch.” He laughed and rubbed his nose. “Some men might hold a grudge—but not me. I heal too fast.”

Indeed he did. A glance at his face revealed features as gorgeous as ever. This sucked for the self-pity party she’d been trying to throw.

She preferred him bloody and not so devilishly striking.

She groaned and dropped her head into her hands. “Why won’t you just leave?” He caressed her arm in a lazy, seductive way, and she shivered. “Stop that.”

His hand stopped moving, but he didn’t remove it. “Why do I have to stop?” he murmured. “Why do I have to leave?” He traced an invisible path leading up to her shoulder. From there, he grasped a curl and twirled it between his fingers, as if testing its elasticity. Her scalp tingled at his tender tug, and a jolt of lightning shot straight to her stomach, causing her to bite back a moan.

“Because….” She lifted her head, and turned to face him.

His eyes were so blue they were nearly purple, which, combined with his light blond hair, made him a lethal opponent indeed. How could she resist such a gorgeous creature, knowing that it might be her last chance to rid herself of her virginity? Yet, how could she say yes? “Because you are half demon, and I am a jinn. We are adversaries, you and I.”

 “I’m not an evil demi-sanguine,” he assured her calmly. “I don’t rape, kill, or pillage. I’m unremarkably human—plus a few small details. But you are hardly normal yourself,” he drawled with a lazy grin. “And I’d like to make love to you.”

 

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_zBBjsec9c&feature=player_embedded

Website: www.dianealberts.com

Blog: https://dianealberts.wordpress.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/DianeAlberts

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Diane-Alberts/121705201245084

Buy Links:

http://www.decadentpublishing.com/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=127&products_id=378&osCsid=6c1232251c1e45744bd0b3ee7262f414

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/99753?ref=cw1985

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00608631G/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=lucyfelthouse-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B00608631G

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00608631G/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=lucyfelt-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=B00608631G

http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-killmetomorrow-625129-140.html

http://www.bookstrand.com/kill-me-tomorrow

 

Immoral Views — The Eyes Have It!

When it comes to sex, let’s face it, the eyes have it. Oh sure we have four other senses, and everyone uses certain senses more than others. No doubt sex is best when all senses are engaged. But the eyes have it. And certainly the eyes have it in the fabulous new Sweetmeats Press anthology, Immoral Views edited by KoJo Black.  And as if hot sexy stories for the eyes aren’t enough, Immoral Views takes the voyeuristic experience one giant leap further with the steamy illustrations of Florian Meacci.

I’ve always been a bit of a voyeur, so when KoJo asked me to write a story for this anthology, the voyeurism theme alone would have been enough to make me say yes. I’ve seen, fondled and drooled over the fabulous illustrations in KoJo’s sizzling collection, The Candy Box, so I was really keen on having my story illustrated. But when I found out I was going to be in between the covers (front and back, that is) with Kay Jaybee, Lucy Felthouse,  Rebecca Bond and Lexie Bay, I wasn’t entirely sure KoJo would be able to keep the pages of this super-heated anthology from bursting into flames before it hit the shelves.

In celebration of this hot new anthology, I’ve asked each of my fabulous co-authors from Immoral Views to tell us a little bit about their own versions of what I’ve affectionately come to call eye-sex, and I’ve included a blurb of each of their hot stories from Immoral Views. So tell me, my lovelies, just why do the eyes have it?

Kay Jaybee

He was sat in a cafe looking at the pictures that covered the brick walls. I was sat at the opposite end of the room, my notebook open, and my pen in my hand. I was not writing however. Nor was I looking at the paintings. I just looked at him from behind the safety of the menu I held before me- a menu I was not reading.

He was fairly ordinary. Not over worked, no horrid ‘gym regular’ type muscles peeking out from the arms of his plain t-shirt. I judged from how he was sat that he wasn’t even very tall. But his eyes!! They were wide, blue, and somehow never ending. If those eyes could have talked they would have only said one word, ‘Sex.’

Those eyes gave me the most beautiful daydream. Undressing him slowly, never taking my gaze from his gaze, telling him what to do- making him keeping his eyes open at all times…ummmm- you get the idea….

The Circus by Kay Jaybee
The line is blurred between spectator and performer in a theatre of pleasure and pain!

Lexie Bay

So what turns me on visually? Ooh where do I start with this one. I have to admit that I adore checking out gorgeous sexy men. There’s nothing nicer to look at than a strong toned forearm gripping a steering wheel or a firm bum in a pair of jeans… or what about that sexy little line that disappears into a guy’s jeans. Mmmm, yep I’m more than happy to ogle a fit bloke any day.

But I also love that secret thrill when you see something you really shouldn’t have….. and you keep watching because you just can’t tear yourself away. I don’t think women are that different to men when it comes to the visual, deep down we all love a little bit of voyeurism every now and then. I bet if you stumbled across a kinky scene you’d stay and check it out….. I know I would! Izzy, from my story Inside Looking Out definitely would, and it leads her on a deliciously decadent trail from one side of the world to the other. So keep your eyes open and give yourself a treat every now and then – you never know where it will lead you!

Inside Looking Out by Lexie Bay
Adventurous Izzy spans two continents in a search for her perverted Prince Charming.

K D Grace

I was out walking on the Downs. It had just rained. Sane people were inside where it was dry.  I had just climbed a steep stairs up to the side of the hill and stopped to take pictures of the mist clearing off the hillsides when I heard heavy breathing behind me. I turned and nearly ran in to a very wet, very fit bloke carrying his mountain bike up the steps, biceps bulging, chest heaving, dark hair mussed. His face was hard with concentration and exertion. Then when he saw me, he smiled and everything about him became warmer, softer. He said something about how the weather had cleared and how nice it was to be outside. I’m sure I must have blushed as I mumbled my agreement. Then he mounted his bicycle and rode on, leaving me feeling sexy and feminine in spite of my drowned rat hair and sweaty t-shirt.

Alloted Views by K D Grace
A nosey gardener is treated to a raunchy ritual through her bedroom window.

Rebecca Bond

There’s nothing quite like catching the attention of a stranger as you mooch about your business to give you a little flutter or giggle inside. As a city chick, the daily commute holds the most eye-fuck potential. Naturally you wanna be looking hawt, or the attention you attract could simply be down to the dark shadows beneath the eye, or the rogue globs of mascara that smatter the face. Never a good look. But whilst most people jump on and off the trains looking nowhere but their iphones, ebooks, or the daily rag, I sit back, relax and people watch like a pro. This, my friends, produces much eye-fuck fodder. Especially if a yummy tall, dark and handsome should so happen park his tushy on the seat opposite.

There is, however, danger in this sort of voyeurism. Yes, there have been moments when unintentional eye contact has been made with pure beasts and even though you know you need to look away, their ghastliness has you hooked. Just like beauty, ugliness is too fascinating too shy away from. But you must – look, look away or you might find yourself in an unexpected and utterly unavoidable mental strip-down-eye-fuck-all-out-bonkfest with Quasimodo’s twin! It’s okay though, because then the train stops, the doors open, and you never have to encounter Mr (or Mrs) No-Go again. Win!

Painted Pussycat by Rebecca Bond
An innocent student is welcomed into the Circle of Ink where tattoos, bondage and exhibitionism are all part of her initiation.

Lucy Felthouse

K D asked me to describe what turns me on visually, or something I saw that was really hot. Sadly, my answers wouldn’t have made for a very interesting blog post, so I decided to twist the question a little and let my imagination do the talking. That is, I’ve seen untold naughty things in my dreams and daydreams, and as an erotic writer, there are frequently things going on in my head that are pretty hot. And that’s definitely what was going on when I was writing my story, Caught in the Act. It took me a while to come up with the story idea, but once I did it pretty much ran away with itself. The more I wrote, the filthier it got… and it was filthy to begin with! The thought of a policeman becoming fascinated with dogging to the extent that he gets into the scene himself, well, needless to say I found the idea really interesting. There was some research involved, of course. On the Internet, I might add. There was no visiting of deserted car parks for me! So… coming back to answering K D’s question – I see things that are hot all the damn time, but they’re usually in my head!

Caught in the Act by Lucy Felthouse
A young policeman risks his reputation and his job for the adrenaline rush of sex alfresco!

Thanks, my voyeuristic Lovelies, for sharing the pleasures of the eyes and heating up my blog!

IMMORAL VIEWS

Kojo Black has compiled five titillating tales from erotica’s sultriest mistresses! Sweetmeats Press proudly presents a deliciously dissolute anthology of voyeurism – Immoral Views. Illustrated by Florian Meacci.

The e-Book versions are not illustrated (except with the pictures you provide with your nasty mind, of course)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Book Launch Extravaganza!

I’ve been anticipating the big launch of The Pet Shop forever now, and when Maxim Jakubowski and I decided to share the launch party — with him launching his exciting new novel, Ekaterina and the Night, it was a great opportunity for me to work with the King of the Erotic Thriller. We couldn’t be more different in our writing styles, and that made for intriguing possibilities.

I was actually feeling a little smug when launch day dawned bright and sunny. When I launched The Initiation of Ms Holly this time last year, I was a frightened, uncertain newbie. The Pet Shop was book number two. I was an old hand at this launch business now. I was ready for it!

There’s a price to pay for smugness. There was a broken printer, there were trains running late, there was Lucy Felthouse and the fabulous Ian stuck in traffic on the M1, there were windows shattering in the train Kay Jaybee was on, and there were problems with getting enough books for the launch.

Okay, most people think I’m the Queen of Calm (rolling on the floor laughing uncontrollably) but by the time we got to Sh! the calm had cracked, and poor Raymond, the Birthday Boy, was having to deal with The Wicked Witch of the West.

But Sh! is an oasis of love and calm if ever there was one. There were hugs all around, a nice cup of coffee, and Renee’s peaceful influence assuring me that all would be well. And I totally trust Renee!

Over at the Bluu Bar next door, where the pre-party was due to kick off, Mel Jones was already anticipating the thirsty convergence with a bottle of wine, several glasses and more reassuring hugs. While Maxim and I briefly rehearsed the reading from the prologue of The Pet Shop that we were doing together, Kay Jaybee showed up with Rebecca Bond, and more reassurance that all would be well.

Back over at Sh!, Sh! Sweeties extraordinaire, Jo Wierzbicka and Sarah Berry greeted us with hugs and congratulations, and I felt like I’d come home. The pink fizz was already flowing and the guests milled about amid riding crops and collars and vibes and corsetry. Lexie Bay and her lovely husband, Doug, arrived. In the Fab Footwear Parade, Lexie was the clear winner with ‘Sh! pink’ heels sporting a whole garden of tiny leather flowers. The competition was stiff with Jo’s ‘there’s no place like home’ ruby slippers. Not to be completely left out, I wore the leopard print Pet shoes, which bit my feet rather sharply when I moved just right. I suppose that was appropriate under the circumstances.

I was elated to finally meet Marilyn Jaye Lewis, who was here visiting from the States and will be doing a reading at the Last Tuesday Society on Friday. And it was great to have Rubyyy Jones in attendance, looking rather Pet-like herself in black and leopard print.

The party started with Maxim and me doing a joint reading of the prologue of The Pet Shop, as ‘The Boss’ and his secretary, Anne O’Kelly argue about the appropriate gift to give employee, Stella James, for a job well done. It was the perfect lead-in to my introduction of Tino, the Pet, who is possibly my favourite of all the characters I’ve ever created.

Before Maxim read, we had one of three giveaways that were spread throughout the evening. Maxim gave away two copies of the many fabulous anthologies he has edited, and I gave away two Holly/Pets coffee mugs. But the biggie, and much coveted grand prize, courtesy of Xcite Books, was a great gift package complete with gift vouchers from Sh!

Then it was time for the Queen of Raunchy Poetry, Mel Jones, to titillate us all with extraordinary filthy verse. And she did NOT disappoint. Later Mel’s partner in poetry crime, Alan Wolfson also read some steamy kissing poetry. (Alan was also in the running for the Fab Footwear Award with his truly exquisite amethyst shoes) These two lovelies co-host the Kiss The Sky poetry event every other Wednesday at the Kiss The Sky Bar in Hampstead. I have a special place in my heart for KTS because I lost my ‘appreciation for performance poetry’ virginity there. I could listen and watch for hours! Here all this time I thought I was a Philistine.

After poetry, Maxim took the stage (or in this case the pink setae) and read the gripping ending of his novel, Ekaterina and the Night. I have to admit, I would have thought giving away the ending would be a bad idea, but in this case, Maxim knew exactly what he was doing (no surprise there). This eerie, sexy, moving ending definitely made me want to read the rest of the book and find out how Maxim GOT us to such an exquisite finale.

Having finally made it through the traffic, Lucy and Ian arrived at Sh! with scrummy cupcakes in tow — none of which survived the resulting feeding frenzy. Once they had arrived, it felt like the party could begin. As the evening continued, there were questions and answers, book signings, snatches of fantastic conversation with lots of people I wish I’d had a lot more time with. There was more poetry, there were more readings and there was lots of milling around upstairs with the fabulous vibes, corsetry and books. I noticed more than a few people leaving with large pink bags of Sh! yumminess.

I thought by my second launch I’d be able to manage my time a little better, but not so. I’d had visions of photo ops with all my favourite people and quiet conversations happening in front of the collar and cuff display. What was I thinking? My lovely husband, Raymond celebrated his birthday by taking pictures and never missing an opportunity to promote me. Bless him! But what I really needed was to be TWO of me.  That way, one of me could just take in the whole experience as an observer, taking note of the things I missed because I was signing books or being so excited to see someone I hadn’t seen for a while or answering questions. I would love to have taken in the nuances, experienced the whole wild amazing evening a little less fleetingly and held it all a little more clearly in my overwhelmed memory. Because it was wonderful! My book, my baby is out there for all the world to see! Maybe I’m not as much of an old hand at this as I thought, because Wow! Okay. Just wow!

Afterward there was a very late dinner, with nine of us squeezed together in the basement of Pizza Express reliving the events of the evening and catching up with old friends. Then it was back onto the streets amid the clubbers and smokers milling outside and the street venders selling sausages and grilled onions to those with the late-night munchies. We said our good-byes near Old Street Station to friends who had to catch the tube or bus or a taxi. Kay Jaybee, Rebecca Bond, Raymond and I had hotel rooms for the night, so it was back to the all-night hotel bar for a night cap amid a raucous hen party, all bedecked  in sparkly headbands and surly looking blokes who had clearly taken advantage of the bar’s five for £10 beer special. Then, at last, it was off to bed.

I had the pleasure of having breakfast at the Breakfast Club near Hoxton Square with Kay Jaybee and Rebecca Bond the next morning. We talked writing and more writing over eggs and bacon, pancakes and hash browns and fresh squeezed orange juice. And lots of coffee! Amid the clatter of breakfast dishes and the buzz of lazy Saturday morning conversation all around us, we talked of our plans and schemed our future take-over of the world. It was the perfect way to top off a great launch.

I can’t think of the launch without feeling very grateful for all the support and good will that I felt. Thanks to Maxim Jakubowski for being a great ‘partner in crime.’ Thanks to all the people who wished me well via Facebook, Twitter, email and snail mail. Thanks to everyone who came to the launch party, and especially to those who braved traffic, exploding train windows and other hazards of long journeys to get there. Thanks to Mel Jones and Alan Wolfson for sharing their deliciously raunchy poetry. Thanks to Xcite Books for furnishing the food, drinks and give away. And a very special thanks, once again to the incomparable Sh! Ladiez! There aren’t enough hugs and kisses to express my gratitude to you sweeties!

Dozing on the train, in the unseasonably warm sunlight on the way home, I relived the highlights of the fantastic Book Launch Extravaganza once again and tried to remember more of the bright, bubbly details that rushed by so quickly. I imagine I’ll be sifting through all that lovely excitement in my head for days to come. A book launch at Sh! is most definitely the gift that keeps on giving.

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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