My New Old Desk

 

Some things just make us feel really good about ourselves. Few things make us feel better than finding a bargain we love. I love to shop at charity shops simply because one woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure – right? I LOVE a good browse about, and never more than when I’m doing some redecorating. That’s how I found my new old desk.

 

I’m very intimidated by redecorating because I live in my head so much and seldom pay attention to my immediate environment, but this time, my redecorating is all about claiming a space for myself. I’m sure every writer – every person — for that matter, understands how essential claiming our own space is. Many of you know that I’m quite tunnel-visioned when it comes to my craft. I’ve kept my head down writing hard for such a long time that I haven’t bothered to claim any space except for my end of the dining table. While tunnel vision can be a good thing for a writer in the throes of a story, it can also keep us from seeing the obvious. Neck and shoulder problems and a wonderful trainer who suggested that part of the solution would be to have a space that was dedicated especially to my work have made me realize, I need to claim a proper space. It’s not that there hasn’t been the opportunity all along, but the room that was earmarked to be my study devolved into a junk room when I had to have surgery not long after we moved into our house. The longer I put off the claiming of space, the more stuff we accumulated. Now it’s cluttered with the detritus of too many moves and the serious accumulations and hoardings of two pack rats.

 

 

God! I’m a psychology lesson happening to myself, aren’t I? As my mind clears from the mad rush to write more and more and the wild fantasies all writers have when the task is new, and the excitement comes from just having someone actually reading our books, from seeing our books in public places, I find myself seeking space. I find myself longing to hone my craft in new and different ways – paths on which my heart leads me. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that those desires coincides with the purchase of a new ‘old’ desk.

 

The desk is like my mind, a bit on the used side, but ultimately, a hidey-hole for my craft, for my imagination, a place to shut it all away for just me. When it’s closed, no one even knows that it’s there. Ooh, I love secret places, don’t you? But when I open those doors, I’m gone – to another place, to another time, to another planet. I’m someone else, I’m multiple someone elses all with a story to be told. Opening those doors is another reminder that, to paraphrase Joseph Campbell, I get to follow my bliss! I get to pursue your deepest passion every day. How lucky am I? The desk is a symbol of where it is I go when I write. It’s a bit battered. It’s used. It has secrets, secrets I’ll never know. But now it’s mine. Now it opens to me. Now my stories and my secrets will fill it every day.

 

I’ve dusted and cleaned and tried out each little compartment and cubby hole inside, filling it with my treasured tools of the trade. At the moment, the room that’ll be my study isn’t ready, but my desk is ready. It’s temporarily making itself at home in my living room right next to the jumble of workout equipment, and I’m making myself at home with it. I can’t keep from wondering what stories I’ll write in this space of my own, and what adventures will result from the simple act of laying claim to space.

 

Shameless Selfie Just Got Kinky with A Bird in the Bush

 

After a break for the holidays it’s time for another Shameless Selfie and, while this photo isn’t actually a selfie, it does fit the story, and it’s perfect that it was Kay Jaybee taking the piccie at Sh! Women’s Store, since this selfie is from my story, A Bird in the Bush, from the fabulous Brit Babe collection, Sexy Just Got Kinky. This morning, I’m sharing a little feather kink. Enjoy!

 

Sexy Just Got Kinky Blurb:

Welcome to Sexy Just Got Kinky, the third instalment of the Brit Babes’ Sexy Just series. Tantalise your dark side with kinks to make you think. From lovers behind bars to lone ladies behind the lens—fisticuffs and feathers, lilos and lube, scissors and sticks, whips, canes and bondage, there’s sure to be a kink within these pages to whet your appetite, tickle your fancies and heat up cold nights.

 

A Bird in the Bush Excerpt:

Cockerel, rooster, male chicken – whatever the hell you wanted to call him, he was enormous! Think Big Bird of the barnyard, and you get the picture. Oh my God! I wanted to bury my face in those gorgeous scarlet and emerald tail feathers while he wriggled his arse and cock-a-doodle-dooed at the top of his lungs.

Okay, let me just clarify before you get the idea that I do obscene things to animals. This was not a real cock … not the barnyard kind. I did say think Big Bird, didn’t I? This was a man strutting around Stoke Park in a fucking chicken costume! And it was a bloody brilliant one – no cheap-arsed papier-mâché, not this cock, no siree! Even from a distance – and it wasn’t much of a distance because I nearly ran into him on the sidewalk in front of the duck pond – I could tell those luscious plumes were genuine ostrich. Even the very thought had my nipples drilling through my vest.

The ginormous rooster stepped back all chivalrous-like and gave me a well-executed bow. Before I could ask what a big cock was doing parading around the duck pond in Stoke Park, he reached into a leather bag that hung over one broad avian shoulder and pulled out a lollipop, which he unwrapped. And then the cheeky cock stuck it in my mouth brushing the tip of my nose with the soft golden feathers that covered his hands. My dirty mind went crazy. I’ll admit I might have even moaned out loud and rolled my eyes. I mean it was a cherry lollipop, for godsake! The end resembled the tip of a penis all bright and hard like it was anticipating some serious in and out, and the giant rooster just sticks it right in my mouth! It’s bad enough that I moaned, but then … I slurped. Loudly. I didn’t mean to, honestly I didn’t. It’s just that I was already salivating and having something hard stuffed into my mouth when I was fantasising about a tumble behind the shrubbery with those thick, silky feathers wrapped around me, how could I not slurp? Of course I couldn’t see his eyes inside the chicken head. I couldn’t tell if he was checking out my happy nips, and I sure as hell couldn’t tell if he had a hard-on when his entire body was well decked in plumage. I couldn’t even hear if he was breathing hard because before I could manage to cheek the sweetie and politely thank him, the yummy mummies descended in a flock of excited kiddos, all grabbing and reaching – the kiddos, not the mummies. Without missing a beat, my gloriously well-plumed cock offered me a flyer from his bag and then began handing out lollipops to the kiddos and flyers to the parents. I was left to slurp and watch him shake his tail feathers and flap his winged arms for his young audience. At least they thought he was doing it for them. But I knew he was doing it just for me and my perky buds, and I stood there slurping and watching shamelessly. As he bok-bok -boked and cock-a-doodle-dooed and strutted and pranced and, as his jaunty plumage shimmied and shook, I got wetter and wetter, and I found myself in need of some serious me time.

I’m an avid birder, it’s true! I’ve happily spent days in wet muddy woodlands and in stuffy hot hides to catch a glimpse of birds in action. I don’t care if they’re common blue tits or something rare and exotic just blown in from Africa on a storm. My reasons for watching are a bit different from my fellow birdwatchers and, since there’s no way to put this delicately, I’ll just come right out and say it – I consider watching birds foreplay. I don’t care if they’re fucking or singing or just loafing. It doesn’t matter. They turn me on, and the reason is because they all have feathers. It’s the feathers that heat me up to a sizzle. When I see a blackbird preening, fluttering and flicking its wings and running its beak through its glorious blue-black plumage, or a starling flitting about in a birdbath, chittering and flapping and dazzling, like a sequin-clad can-can dancer in Vegas, well it’s spontaneous orgasms for me! Feathers will get me there every time.

I recognize most British birds by sight, sound and feather, as well as a good few from other countries, so I know my birds well enough to know that as amazing as they are, they had to give up a few anatomical bits to be able to fly. No teeth, hollow bones and, the bad news – no cocks. The good news is that the no cock thing isn’t true of all birds. Did you know that some male ducks have enormous corkscrew penises? But in spite of the dearth male members among avian male members, I was quite confident that my Barnyard Big Bird was very well equipped.

On the verge of an orgasm, I watched mesmerized as the glorious rooster danced and pranced, and then turned and headed out across the formal gardens at a trot that was way more graceful than one might expect from a man in a chicken suit. When I could see him no longer, still slurping on my lollipop, I glanced down at the flyer. It read:

Gallinaceous: Chicken to Tickle Your Taste buds!

Have a quickie in our food court or enjoy chicken of the world in our fine restaurant at your leisure.

There was an address on Epson Road just up from the row of estate agents and across from the Turkish grocery store. A chicken restaurant? Seriously? My raucous rooster was strutting his stuff to advertise a chicken restaurant? Fast chicken even, and with a KFC just around the corner. That was seriously plucky. Of course KFC couldn’t boast fine dining now could they? And they sure as hell couldn’t boast a giant prancing rooster. I read the rest of the flyer.

Gallinaceous: sophisticated chicken at an affordable price

Taste the chicken of your dreams.

Would that I could, I thought to myself. Would that I could. I tucked the flyer into my bag for later. Right now, I was in a hurry to get home and take care of some far more urgent business.

As soon as that glorious big cock was out of sight, I quickly pulled the lollipop out of my mouth and tucked it in a candy wrapper that had migrated to the bottom of my bag at some point, and then I hurried home. I barely had the door shut behind me before I was stripping. I suppose it was my version of a molt, leaving a trail of clothes from the door, all the way down the hall and into my room, the butter and seashore scent of my heat getting stronger as I went.

 

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Voyeur or Body Thief?

From the archives

One of the most intriguing parts of story for me has always been the way in which the reader interacts with it, more specifically the way in which the reader interacts with the characters in a story. I find that interaction especially intriguing in erotica and erotic romance.

 

To me, the power of story is that it’s many faceted and it’s never static. And, no matter how old the story is, it’s never finished as long as there’s someone new to read it and to bring their experience into it. Like most writers of fiction, I’m forever trying to analyse how a powerful story is internalised, and why what moves one reader deeply, what can be a life-changing experience for one may be nothing more exciting than window-shopping for another.

 

In my own experience as a reader, there are two extremes. I can approach a story as a voyeur, on the outside looking in from a safe distance, or I can be a body thief at the other end of the spectrum and replace the main character in the story with myself.

 

One extreme allows the reader to watch without engaging and the other allows the reader to create sort of a sing-along-Sound of Music- ish experience for themselves. As a reader, I’ve done both and had decent experiences of novels doing both. As a writer, however, I don’t wish to create a story that allows my reader to be a voyeur or a body thief.

 

As a writer I want to create a story that’s a full-on, in-the-body, stay-present experience from beginning to end. I want characters that readers can identify with and are drawn to but don’t necessarily want to be. I want a plot that feels more like abseiling with a questionable rope than watching the world go by from the window of a car. I want to create that tight-rope walk in the middle. I want to create that place in story where the imagination of the reader is fully engaged with the story the writer created. That place is the place where the story is a different experience for each reader. That’s the place where the story is a living thing that matters more than the words of which it’s made up. It matters more because the reader has connected with it, engaged with it, been changed by it, and the story continues to affect them long after they’ve finished reading it. In that place, the story and the reader are in relationship. Neither can embody the other, neither can watch from a distance. The end result may be a HEA, the end result may be disturbing and unsettling, but at the end of a really good read, the journey to get there is at least as important as the end result, and the result is on-going beyond the final words.

 

Erotica and erotic romance are by their nature a visceral experience. Though I think that’s probably true of any good story. I don’t think good erotica can be watched from a distance any more than it can be the tale of the body thief. While either will get you there, there’s no guarantee that the journey will be a quality one. And I want a quality journey. I want to come to the end of a good read wishing I hadn’t gotten there so quickly, wishing I’d had the will power to slow down and savour the experience just a little longer. I want to come to the end wondering just what layers, what subtleties, what nuances I missed because I got caught up in the runaway train ride and couldn’t quite take it all in.

 

A good read is the gift that keeps on giving. Long after I’ve finished the story, the experience lingers, and little tidbits that I raced through during the read bubble up from my unconscious to surprise me, intrigue me, make me think about the story on still other levels, from still other angles. When I can’t get it out of my head, when I find myself, long after I’ve come to the end, thinking about the journey, thinking about the characters, thinking about the plot twists and turns, then I know the story has gotten inside me and burrowed deep. There was no pane of glass in between; there was no body for me to inhabit because all bodies were fully occupied by characters with their own minds and their own agendas. The experience extends itself to something that stays with me long after the read is finished and makes me try all the harder to create that multi-layered experience in my own writing.

 

Lily Harlem’s Hot Ice Series Re-Released

 

 

Lily Harlem’s sexy Vipers have been re-released and are available on Kindle Unlimited for the first time.

 

HOT ICE is a series of hockey-themed 7 novels, the first HIRED is only 99c/99p, and the 7th, RUSSIAN HEAT, comes with a FREE bonus short story ROOKIE RULES. They are predominantly M/F erotic romances with the exception of HIGH-STICKED which is M/M and TEAMWORK which is menage a trois. Go on…get lost in Lily’s bad boys of the ice and the women who tame them.

 

HOT ICE BUY LINKS

 

 


Excerpt from HIRED

“You grab the cushions,” Logan called over the noise of the flapping shrubbery. “I’ll anchor down the parasol.”

Unlocking the door to the living area, I grabbed three pillows and chucked them inside. I went back for the other three then tumbled in, half shutting the door behind myself. My hair was wild, my cheeks stung and my heart pounded as I caught my breath.

I watched Logan close the umbrella and secure the pole into place. He glanced around, shading his eyes with his hand, checking for anything else that might blow away, then headed my way with a train of dry, flat leaves skittering past his feet. I opened the door wide to let him through. He stepped in, still squinting against the dust, as I pushed the door shut with a loud click.

The world went silent. After the howling wind and the roaring sea, the quiet of the house was acute and heavy and fell around us like a dense cloak.

Leaning back against the door, I pulled in a deep breath. “Made it,” I gasped.

“Yeah,” he said, stepping up close—real close.

When I looked up, his cheeks were stained red, several grains of sand hung in his long lashes and his hair was tousled and dusted with gold. “Is that everything tied down?” I asked, trying to ignore my breasts heaving against my halter-top.

“Well, almost everything,” he said with a decidedly carnal grin.

I flattened my palms against the cool glass door behind me. “What else do you need to tie down?”

The right side of his mouth creased upward and he gave the tiniest of twitches with his eyebrows. “I’d like to tie you down,” he said, his gaze coming to rest on my mouth. “To the bed.”

My stomach knotted as excitement, anticipation and sin collided in a delicious tangle.

“But I guess that’s moving a bit fast,” he murmured, bending his head lower. “We only just met.”

“A bit fast for me,” I agreed, absorbing the burning heat from his body as it radiated toward mine.

“Brooke.” He raised one hand and rested it against the wooden doorframe by my left ear. He moved in closer still. The gorgeous spiced aftershave he wore invaded my nostrils and settled not just on my tongue but somewhere else deep inside me. “You remember when you walked out the water yesterday?” he asked in a low, rumbling voice.

“Yes.” How could I forget the toe-curling embarrassment? He’d stared silently as me as I’d ambled up the beach, trying desperately to look cool and unflustered. I felt my cheeks warming further at the memory as my stomach twisted.

“It was a million times better than any Bond movie.”

“It was?”

“Hell, yeah. If they had you as a Bond girl it would be my favorite film. Not just 007, but any film ever.” His mouth slid upward in a grin. “You just about blew my mind.”

“I did?” He’d liked what he’d seen, and I thought he’d been unimpressed with my curvy attributes.

“Oh, yeah, my mind and other parts of my anatomy.”

He ducked his head, his lips a whisper from mine. I could almost taste the salt on his mouth.

“Well, we wouldn’t want that would we, Logan?” I murmured.

“Wouldn’t we?” He raised his eyebrows.

“Sounds painful.” I swallowed, my throat tight.

“It’s already getting painful.” He shifted his weight to the other foot. We were so close now my breast brushed against his chest and my nipples, which had tightened to hard pinched peaks, scraped against him through my clothing.

I reached up to touch his jaw, his bristles catching on my fingertips. Our gazes connected and I rose onto the balls of my feet and pressed my mouth to his.

He opened up and took immediate control of the kiss. He tasted so good—man and ocean, wind and sun—he tasted of everything I was missing in my life and had been for so long. I moved my hands to his shoulders and squeezed hard muscles through his soft cotton shirt. My tongue searched for his and began to explore his mouth.

Logan groaned and let go of the doorframe, cradling the base of my skull in his palm and winding his other arm around my waist. He pulled me close and as the length of our bodies touched, right in the very center of my abdomen, he pressed his steely erection forward. He was right, he was painfully hard.

“Damn, you taste good,” he murmured, trailing a gentle kiss across my cheek.

I tipped my head back and let him explore the base of my ear, the angle of my jaw and the hollow of my throat. “I taste like salt,” I said.

“You taste of the beach and flowers and coconut,” he whispered between kisses. “Delicious.” He pulled back slightly, slipping his fingertips under the shoulders of my cardigan and easing it down my arms. It fell to the floor and he slid his palms back up over my elbows to the base of my neck.
Each tiny section of flesh he touched came alive with sensation and pricked with greedy little goose bumps searching out his caress. I found his mouth again and ran my fingers into the hair at the nape of his neck. I pulled his head to mine harder. I wanted more. Much more.

He was busy, fiddling with the knot at the back of my halter-top. It was cleverly designed with a fitted bra, it had cost a fortune but was well worth it. I felt it slipping free and pulled back from the kiss, crossing my arm over my chest and gripping my opposite shoulder to hold it in place.

“What’s up?” Logan asked, his eyes heavy with desire and his voice thick with lust.

“I’m…I’m big,” I said in a rush then felt silly for saying something so insecure and obvious.

“Me too,” he said, a provocative grin playing on his mouth.

 

 

About Lily Harlem

 

Lily Harlem lives in the UK and is an award-winning author of erotic romance. She writes for publishers on both sides of the Atlantic including HarperCollins, Totally Bound, Pride, Evernight, All Romance eBooks, and Stormy Nights Publishing. Her work regularly receives high praise and industry nominations.

Before turning her hand to writing Lily Harlem worked as a trauma nurse and her latest HarperCollins release, Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse draws on her many experiences while nursing in London. Lily also self-publishes and The Silk Tie, The Glass Knot Cold Nights, Hot Bodies Bite Mark and Shared have been blessed with many 5* reviews.

Lily writes MF, MM and ménage a trois, her books regularly hit the #1 spot on Amazon Bestseller lists and Breathe You In was named a USA Today Reviewer’s Recommended Read of 2014. Her latest MM novel is Dark Warrior and you can grab Part One of her series Caught on Camera for FREE! Don’t miss HOT ICE a popular hockey series, again first book FREE!

Lily also co-authors with Natalie Dae and publishes under the name Harlem Dae – check out That Filthy Book which has been hailed as a novel ‘every woman should read’ and is available in book stores nationwide.

One thing you can be sure of, whatever book you pick up by Ms Harlem, is it will be wildly romantic and down-and-dirty sexy. Enjoy!

Check out Lily’s website for details of her other books and her Amazon Author Page. Subscribe to her newsletter to get a FREE ebook and be the first to hear of new releases and free reads, and if you enjoy Facebook, hop on over there and say hi!

 

 

Find Lily Here:

 

Website http://www.lilyharlem.com/

Newsletter Subscription http://www.lilyharlem.com/newsletter.html

Blog http://www.lilyharlem.blogspot.com/

Twitter https://twitter.com/lily_harlem

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lily.harlem

Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/LilyHarlemAuthor

Pinterest http://pinterest.com/lilyharlem/

Raw Talent http://rawtalentseries.co.uk

BritBabes http://thebritbabes.blogspot.co.uk

Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/106837751333678531161/posts

Harlem Dae http://www.harlemdae.com

 

 

Waxing Paranormal

I’m now working on the final rewrite of Blind-Sided, the sequel to In The Flesh  and the second novel in Medusa’s Consortium Series. Like ITF, Blind-Sided has its share of demons, angels, vampires, and monsters — a real mash-up of fun, scary, sexies. But as the series unfolds, what continues to astound me is that, though I know the villain is to be avoided at all costs, like my heroine, I STILL want to shag him! And the truth of the matter is that in Blind-Sided, the dilemma of who the real monster is has been one of the highlights of writing the novel.

 

Our attraction to the villain is one of the wonderful contradiction that makes a great paranormal story — makes any great story actually. And the delicious and frightening opposite side of the paranormal coin is that as a reader, and a writer, I want to be almost as afraid of the hero as I am of the villain. I want to shag them both! Oh the angst! I honestly can’t think that anyone could really fall for a vampire or a werewolf or a demon or a powerful witch, or any other paranormal hero/heroine without being, at the same time, terrified. In fact just the right combination of fear and attraction is, in my opinion, one of the most powerful aphrodisiacs ever. I think it’s absolutely essential in a sexy paranormal story. A part of what makes good paranormal work for me is knowing that the hero or heroine could easily turn and destroy the very thing he or she loves and longs to possess. More often than not, the hero is little more than a villain, striving to be greater than his nature, and the more difficult the struggle, the more endearing I find him to be.

 

In fact, there are times when the only separation between the hero and the villain is how willing they are to do battle with their own flaws. Of course the battle with flaws is nothing but the age-old human struggle magnified and highlighted for the sake of the story. Few of us literally rip people’s throats out when we’re having a bad day, and most of us would be horrified if the love of our life did that before morning coffee. That niggle of fear, that edge of uncertainty is what raises the stakes, what raises the level of tension and excitement in a good paranormal story. The lover is not safe, and yet that danger makes the sex all the hotter and the angst all the angstier. In my opinion, it’s the lack of safety that makes paranormal romance so stimulating in those larger than life ways that are more difficult to achieve in ordinary romance, though are definitely brought into play in BDSM stories. In fact, I would suggest that BDSM, at least on some level, is in part, the desire to make our sexuality a little more dangerous, a little more edgy, in the absence of demon lovers and vampires. The whole sexy, super-heated, blow-your-mind purpose of good paranormal erotica is to make totally dangerous sex and plunging-off-a-cliff romance a vicarious possibility for the reader. The possibility of vicariously loving something wild and untamed, even unnatural, can make for a gripping read.

 

I remember seeing Frank Langella’s Dracula back in the day and thinking, as I panted my way through the horribly delicious scene in which Dracula seduces Lucy, that even with the terrible truth of what the end result of his sexy attentiveness to her will be, who could possibly have refused, even if they hadn’t been under his thrall? He was a gentleman, he was charming and mysterious, he was hypnotic, he was gorgeous, he was terrifying. And I wanted him!

 

In the paranormal realm, one good fuck may be all you ever get, but it will damn well be worth it! Give us a demon, whose power is lust, whose sensuality is deadly, a vampire who is terrified he may just rip his lover’s throat out in his passion, a succubus who can bring her lover to exquisite ecstasy but at the risk of stealing his life force. Oh yes! Bring it on! In paranormal romance, that edge of ecstasy, that infatuation that may well be deadly, is drawn out to a thin dangerous edge and, as readers, we get to ride the edge, wondering if there will be pleasure or death or both. I get goose bumps just thinking about that moment when le petit mort could very easily end in the real thing!

 

I love the paranormal contrast of light and darkness and the way the two are blended. After all there’s only awareness of one in the presence of the other. I think the balance of fear and lust and the highlighting of flaws through otherness, done well, is the making of a good paranormal romance. Conflict is the main ingredient of any good story, and when a story is paranormal, there is, by the nature of the beast, or the witch, more room for more conflict. And that’s a big part of the fun. Wanting what we know is very bad for us while at the same time not trusting what might be good for us keeps us on that delicious edge that, in every good story, pulls us forward, makes us fantasize and lust and speculate. And seeing the characters in a paranormal novel get exactly the thing that both attracts them and terrifies them is part of what makes paranormal so outrageously hot.

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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