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October Steamy Paranormal Romance Freebies

 

 

 

Summer is seriously gone and the rains have begun in earnest here at Grace Manor. I’m trying not to let my SAD get the best of me. My antidote for dark and gloomy weather is always a good writing session or a good read. Both always make me feel the dark days a little less, and appreciate the power of words a little more. And a good read brightens up my day even more if it’s a goof FREEBIE!

 

October Steamy Paranormal Romance Freebies

 

Ah! October! Honestly, can you think of a better time to curl up with sexy witches, vampires, ghosts and shifters? With Halloween on the horizon, followed closely by All Hallows, the Day of the Dead, what could be a better treat than a scary-sexy demon? And the treats are even sweeter when they’re FREE! The October Steamy Paranormal Romance Freebiespromo offers a whole yummy list of sexy, steamy, scary reads by your favorite PNR writers, plus a chance to get acquainted with some new authors as well. Of course yours truly has a novel on that list. What a wonderful way to celebrate the autumn and gird your loins for the winter fast approaching.

 

Author interview with Queenie Black @queenieblackwr1 #topfive #amreading #romance

What is your favourite and worst part of the writing process?

I love the initial discovery, putting the story down in its first raw form. It’s an exhilarating and beautiful journey of discovery. I don’t know where it’ll go, and I love every minute of the process. The part that kills me, exhausts me and feels like walking through syrup is the rewriting, editing and polishing process. I can write the first draft in a few weeks, but the other stages can sometimes take years because I keep putting them off.

 

What are common pitfalls for aspiring writers? 

  • Waiting for inspiration. Too many aspiring writers think they can only write when the mood is upon them when really, it’s about discipline.
  • Thinking they can circumvent the process, cut corners and not do the learning. The end result is putting their work out there before it’s ready.
  • Giving up on a WIP because of rejection.
  • Trusting friends and family to critique their work and then believing it over professional feedback.

 

You use a pseudonym. Why is that? 

In my professional life I teach adults English as a Foreign Language and I also teach people how to teach English. I really don’t want my erotic writing to become common knowledge because I teach a lot of people from countries where things like this might be scandalous. I like to keep the two completely separate.

 

What do you think about writer’s block?

I’m in two minds about it. I believe people sometimes struggle to write but that’s often because they haven’t taken the time to fill the creative well, or because things in their life are emotionally challenging. Some situations can suck out the emotional resilience you need to be able to write. Time, self-nurturing and being kind to yourself should help. I’m not sure if I’d label that as writer’s block though.

 

Where did the inspiration from Hard-Pressed come from? 

Rose Dainty popped up in my mind. Dainty name versus big muscled woman and I started thinking about what would make this woman afraid to reach out and be who she needs to be sexually. After that I needed to find a partner for her who would be able to handle her strength, the work she does and her penchant for MMA and competitive contact fighting. Lucien was the perfect foil. A man confident with who he is, and well able to support Rose, be the partner she needs without stopping her from being her.

 

What are your three favourite books?

I never get tired of reading Edge of the Enforcer by Cherise Sinclair, Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Cruise and Bob Mayer, and What I did for a Duke by Julie Anne Long.

The last two are hilarious and the authors manage to twist the tropes so that the stories don’t pan out in the way you think they will. The first one is just stunning in terms of the characters and the way two people with hang ups and very different needs find a way to have their Happy Ever After.

*****

Excerpt:

I mounted the six shallow steps and faced the double front doors. Twin carriage lights cast a soft gleam over the brass plaque with its discrete lettering:

Club Hard

Private Members Only

I desperately wanted to run back down the steps, leap into my car, and drive home, but if I did, nothing would change, and I’d go back to dividing my time between working out, Candy Crush Saga, and the occasional night out with my friends. I might miss out on learning something about myself, something that could make a difference in my sex life. Worse, I might miss a chance at love.

I stayed, my feet rooted to the floor, but the insides of my hands were so damp, my finger slipped on the brass bell, setting off a short, discordant jangling. I winced as I rang it again properly this time. That certainly wouldn’t endear me to anyone.

Shifting from foot to foot, trying to keep the blood circulating in my toes, I looked around. Behind me, the gravel drive snaked away to a discreet carpark, and trees and shrubs created shadows within shadows. Autumn had finally reached London and in this exclusive part of it, crisp, clean air and earthy leaf mulch replaced the smell of fast food and exhaust.

I shifted again, starting to get irritated. If you were going to demand a woman wear nothing but a skirt that barely covered her butt, and a top that was little more than a bit of elastic bandage—on me it was ridiculous, if I sneezed, I’d pop out over the top—then you should damn well open the door promptly. Now, despite wearing my warmest coat over the absurd ensemble, there was a distinct draught zipping under my hem and freezing my exposed butt cheeks.

I lifted my finger to stab the bell again, and the door swung open.

Bloody hell. A real butler. I was no stranger to mansions with staff. Working as a bodyguard meant I saw the inside of a lot of wealthy homes, but so far, a liveried butler was a new one to me.

“Can I help you?”

I cleared my throat, wondering if there was any etiquette for addressing a butler, aware that my finger was still lurking in the vicinity of his eye. “Umm, I’m, ah, it’s Ms. Dainty. To see Mr. Dufort. I’m expected.”

He waved me through into a large marble-floored hall with a fire burning at one side. A wide, elegant staircase at the back curved away to the upper floors.

“I’ll inform Mr. Dufort that you’re here, if you’d like to take a seat.” He indicated a collection of sofas and easy chairs huddled as if for warmth around the fireplace. I made a beeline for the heat.

“May I take your coat?”

I crossed my arms tightly. No way was I exposing my scantily clad self. “Ah, thanks, but I’m a bit cold.”

“I see my guest has arrived, Henry.”

I turned away from the fire to see Lucien Dufort crossing the hall toward me. The floor seemed to drop a few inches and I had to grab the back of a chair to steady myself as his delicious, rich chocolate voice with its faint French accent wound around me, setting my heart hammering.

A tall, elegant man, he moved toward me with predatory intent, covering the floor in loose, confident strides, but it was his eyes that held my gaze, dark eyes, sharp with intelligence and power. He wasn’t a handsome man. His narrow-bladed Gallic nose, inherited from his mother, was slightly overlarge for that, but his lips were sensual, and the mix of tenderness and lust in his expression as he looked at me sent electric tingles charging down my spine.

“Rose, welcome to Club Hard.” He lifted my hand and pressed a kiss to the back of it, his tongue flickering into the little hollow between my two smallest fingers, mimicking the act of sex. Normally, that would be an instant turn-off, but when Lucien did it, everything inside me melted. I tugged my hand free and shoved it into my coat pocket. This was bad. We hadn’t even started yet and my hormones were doing a happy dance.

“Your coat, ma petite.”

I undid the buttons reluctantly and he stripped it off my shoulders, giving it to Henry before indicating my feet. “Barefoot, please.”

I obeyed, steadying myself with one hand on Lucien’s forearm. I could have rested it there all day, enjoying the feel of thick bone and the flex of hard muscles, but I quickly unzipped my boots and gave them to Henry, who took them as solemnly as if I was handing him the crown jewels for safekeeping. He disappeared, taking my things with him, and I stood shivering, waiting for Lucien to say or do something. I shouldn’t have felt vulnerable. I fought with this amount of flesh on display, so it shouldn’t have bothered me, yet insecurity and apprehension crept hand-in-hand up my spine. “Lucien?”

He cupped my chin, his palm warm and sure, his thumb stroking my cheekbone in a gesture I found calming. “Tonight, you will address me as Monsieur, or Sir.” His words sank deep inside me, reaching a place I wasn’t aware existed. A place I didn’t want to believe existed. I stepped back, dislodging his hand.

Lucien’s cheek creased in amusement. “So, ma belle perle, the challenge begins. Are you ready?”

*****

Buy links:

Amazon USA: https://amzn.to/2lXpCSP    

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2kswibm  

Evernight:  https://www.evernightpublishing.com/hard-pressed-by-queenie-black/    

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/958783  

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/hard-pressed-18  

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/gb/book/hard-pressed/id1480423303

 

Blurb:

Master Lucien has one night at Club Hard.

One night…to show bodyguard Rose Dainty that he can be the Dom she needs,

One night…to show her that submitting to him doesn’t make her weak, that true submission requires strength and trust.

Will pushing Rose to her limits prove to her she can trust him with her body and heart, and can she let go of her deepest fears long enough to enjoy her surrender? `

They both have everything to prove and everything to lose.

*****

Author bio:

I’ve always loved writing and I won my first prize for a short story when I was still at primary school. I’m an avid reader of romance and erotic romance and can usually be found with my nose in a book. The dynamics and sheer variety of human relationships fascinate me, and this is what I like to explore in my writing. I live in North Yorkshire with my husband and cat where I enjoy running and Tai Chi.

social media links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/queenieblackwr1

Website: http://www.queenieblackauthor.com/

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/queenieblackauthor/

*****

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Being Stuck is the Beginning

Like most writers, my first thought of being stuck is always in relation to my work, though this past year is one of the first times’s I’ve ever had writers’ block, because it’s basically been a very tough year emotionally, so I am learning to think of being stuck differently. Like writers, I have a lot of unfinished stories, most have been tucked away because I had other more pressing projects, or the energy just wasn’t there for them at the time. Some get finished, some don’t. Others have evolved into something else entirely or have been cannibalized by still other stories. Even if I am stuck in some part of a story with a plot logjam, almost always a good long walk will help me figure out what to do to move forward.

 

There are a thousand other ways to be stuck that don’t involve writing, and hat got me thinking about the anatomy of stuck. Just exactly what does it mean to be stuck? Stuck is the starting place for a lot of great novels. When I got to thinking about it, it seems to me that stuck is the starting place for most archetypal stories. It certainly is the starting place of the hero’s journey, which is the ultimate story plot, because stuck is quite possibly the scariest place of all — standing on a cliff with toes curled over the edge oblivious to the peril.

 

Stuck often takes the form of the perfect life, the ideal happy-ever-after being lived out day to day. While in the real world, that may be what we dream of and hope for, in fiction, there’s the reason why the happy ending is, in fact, the end of the story. What comes after the happy ending, from a reader’s perspective, is boring.

 

The subtext of happy ever after beginnings is “hold on to your hats, shit’s about to get real.” Our hero or heroine is stuck, and they are about to get unstuck in a really brutal, horrible way. In happy at the beginning stories, spouses die, are murdered, run off with someone else, kids are kidnapped or killed, great wealth is suddenly lost, in fact everything that matters is lost. That shattering point of becoming unstuck is where the story really begins. It is the being kicked out of Eden that we readers have been waiting for. Living the good life does not make for interesting reading unless maybe in a how-to book.

 

The second kind of stuck in story happens when the main character is truly stuck in a rut, same old same old, bored now, want out. This kind of stuck involves the hero or heroine of the story wishing something would change, wishing they were anywhere or anyone else. They are waiting, desperately waiting, for their life to begin. The story starts when they get their wish, and it turns out to be way more of a challenge than they bargained for. They are well on the path to discovery and adventure that will change them forever, if it doesn’t kill them first. It’s only at that point we readers have a story worth reading. And that’s the point at which we writers strive to make readers willing and happy to take that leap with our characters.

 

Whether the character is happy with his life and then loses everything or is bored with his life and then has change thrust upon him, the story can now begin. Enter chaos!

 

While stuck is the jumping-off place from which the real story begins, once that happens, it’s chaos that rules the day. Nothing is easy, nothing is orderly, nothing is safe. The driving force of the story is the mess that keeps getting messier and messier until the hero or heroine muddles their way through and out on the other side to their happy ever after, or at least their happy for now. At that point, there are two choices for the writer. Either consider the tale finished and write THE END, or make a sequel that tears away the stuckness of a happy ever after and cast the poor hapless character back into chaos for round two.

 

I wonder sometimes if, for the “bored now” characters, stuck is hard to endure because stuck isn’t the natural state of things.  For those characters basking in their happy lives, there’s always a neurotic dose of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Either way, stuck doesn’t last because life is in flux, and everything about it is in
motion. Nothing stands still for very long. The journey is cyclical, not static, and moving from stillness into chaos and back again is as much the shape of our natural journey as it is the shape of an interesting story. That being the case, it’s not surprising that readers love to live that journey vicariously, magnified, larger than life. And we writers love to write it for the very same reason. We see ourselves in that cycle, and on some level, even from the safe distance of story, we feel right at home.

 

My Favourite Reads by Jane Fenwick @jane_fenwick60 #neverthetwain #historicalcrimenovels #romance #victorianwhitby

I am an avid reader. As a child I loved all the usual classics. I remember aged eleven getting a hardback copy of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and spending all Christmas with my head in the book. Needless to say I still have that book.

I was also horse mad as a child and loved all Ruby Ferguson’s horsey books – not that I had a horse! I remember a rainy caravan holiday curled up with Jill’s Gymkhana! It took me to a world where I could use my imagination and live vicariously through the main character. I was desperate to be Jill.

I first got hooked on crime novels as a teenager with Agatha Christie. For me she will always be the queen of crime. I have every Miss Marple and Poirot book she wrote – more than one copy in some instances as I love the old 1930’s covers. I also have some really nice hardback copies too. I have read and reread them over the years. Some are so old and battered the spines are falling apart but I can’t throw them away.

I like all types of crime books including historical, police procedural, psychological thrillers and who dunnits but I have one or two favourite authors I go back to time and time again. In particular I like C J Sansom’s Shardlake series. His detective is a likeable hunchback who lurks about Tudor England solving murders. With remarkable ease Sansom weaves together a cast of characters and knits his murder story into a vivid tapestry of historical happenings. His attention to detail and research has kept me gripped through all seven of the tomes.

Another favourite author is the Peter James’s “Dead” series. All fifteen of them! Again he has a very likeable Detective in Roy Grace. He’s not tortured and full of angst as is so often the case, but is sensitive, believable and effective.

I also have a fondness for Donna Leon. Her books are set in Venice and are very evocative. Her sense of place makes me feel as though I’m there walking around the city with the gorgeous Commissario Brunetti, her lovely detective.

***

Jean Plaidy and Georgette Heyer were my first taste of historical fiction and although a recent reread showed them to have not quite stood the test of time I will always remember them fondly. Thomas Hardy also made an early impression. As a teenager I adored The Mayor of Casterbridge and Tess of the d’Urbervilles. I have recently reread Tess many times and loved it just the same. The writing, though very descriptive, is wonderful.

I have read most of Philippa Gregory’s books including the Wideacre sagas which are so different to her Tudor novels (of which The Other Boleyn Girl was a highlight). I also like Marina Fiorato’s writing. The Glass Blowers of Murano and the Crimson and The Bone are particular favourites of hers. Books such as these which are historical and crime are a perfect choice for me. Another classic which took the author, Michel Faber, twenty years to write is The Crimson Petal and the White. Racy but the book remains with me years after reading it.

And then there is my all time favourite read which has everything in one package – well twelve packages to be fair. The Poldark sagas by Winston Graham have it all: romance, crime, history and a beautifully depicted Cornwall – not to mention glorious writing. The characters just leap from the page, the writing is poetic yet accessible.

The central character of Ross Poldark is complicated and flawed – he’s not a hero but a “real” man who makes mistakes and frustrates his wife whilst trying to navigate his way through hard times and difficult situations. He has his own moral compass and is not above breaking the rules when he thinks the laws are unjust. Yet it is the love affair between Ross and Demelza that stands out; it is so beautifully written. Some of the trials and tribulations the couple experience in their marriage are the same as everyone else’s and that’s what makes it so special. Their marriage is relatable and real.

Winston Graham wrote about what he knew- Demelza is supposed to be based on his wife. He lived close by the old tin and copper mines. To a large extent Cornwall, where he lived for a large part of his life, is as much a character as his cast. Graham’s historical accuracy is outstanding and lifts the books from good to great in my opinion. From the opening prologue to the last page of book twelve I have been emotionally attached to the character’s lives, following their stories through the ups and downs, the joys and the sorrows. I have read all the books at least three times and the first three volumes more than that.

Graham has the knack of making the ordinary extraordinary. Recently I joined an on line Poldark book discussion group where fans of the books look more closely at the text and talk about the finer points. I’m so at home there! I really enjoy debating the various nuances of Winston Graham’s wonderful writing.

From the other on line Poldark addicts I found that as much as twenty percent of the first book, Ross Poldark, was edited out when it was released in paperback. There are copies of the unedited Ward Lock versions available but they often sell for over a thousand pounds! I can’t justify paying so much for a book, though I was sorely tempted. Then I was sent a link by a Danish member showing there was an unedited copy on Canadian Amazon. It was a House of Stratus version for sale – not as collectable as the Ward Lock, but much cheaper than any I had seen before. I managed to buy it for forty pounds. So now I am in the process of going through the paperback alongside the unedited version and reading whole passages that I’ve never read before. Fabulous. Yes, dear reader I am obsessed!

The Poldark saga is one of those books that when I can’t find something I want to read I go back to time and time again and always find something new and refreshing to discover. They are my comfort blanket. They also inspired me to write a saga of my own. The first is called My Constant Lady and is set in 1765 on the North East coast. It features a romance between Gabriel Reynolds, a shipping magnate and Eleanor Barker a woman with strong opinions. The story is set against a backdrop of shipping and moves between Whitby and Alnmouth. The first book in the series will be available as an eBook and paperback in early 2020.

 

Never the TwainNever the Twain: A twin tale of jealousy and betrayal, love and murder.

The year is 1890. The port of Whitby is heaving with sailors and where there are sailors there are brothels doing a roaring trade. Beautiful identical twins April and May are in desperate straits. They have been abandoned by their actress mother and are about to have their virginity auctioned off to the highest bidder by a notorious brothel madam.

Their fate is hanging in the balance when Captain Edward Driscoll a handsome, wealthy shipping tycoon from Glasgow saves them before they can be deflowered.

But have they exchanged one form of slavery for another?

April, reluctantly swept up in her twin’s secrets and lies unwittingly becomes embroiled in a murderous conspiracy. Is May’s jealousy stronger than the twin bond which has always connected them?

Available from:
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2mbA6hp
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2ksAaZI

Never the Twain: A dark blend of Gothic romance and murder.

Jane Fenwick lives in the market town of Settle in Yorkshire, England. She studied education at Sheffield University gaining a B.Ed (Hons) in 1989 and going on to teach primary age range children. Jane decided to try her hand at penning a novel rather than writing school reports as she has always been an avid reader, especially enjoying historical and crime fiction. She decided to combine her love of both genres to write her first historical crime novel Never the Twain. Jane has always been a lover of antiques, particularly art nouveau and art deco ceramics and turned this hobby into a business opening an antiques and collectables shop in Settle. However her time as a dealer was short lived; she spent far too much time in the sale rooms buying items that ended up in her home rather than the shop! Animal welfare is a cause close to Jane’s heart and she has been vegetarian since the age of fourteen. For the last twenty years she has been trustee of an animal charity which rescues and rehomes cats, dogs and all manner of creatures looking for a forever home. Of course several of these have been “adopted” by Jane!

Jane has always loved the sea and although she lives in the Yorkshire Dales she is particularly drawn to the North East coast of Yorkshire and Northumberland. This coastline is where she gets her inspiration for the historical crime and romance novels she writes. She can imagine how the North East ports would have looked long ago with a forest of tall masted ships crammed together in the harbours, the bustling streets congested with sailors, whalers, chandlers and sail makers. These imaginings provide the backdrop and inspire her to create the central characters and themes of her novels. As she has always loved history she finds the research particularly satisfying.

When she isn’t walking on Sandsend beach with her dog Scout, a Patterdale “Terrorist” she is to be found in her favourite coffee shop gazing out to sea and dreaming up her next plot. Jane is currently writing a historical saga series again set on the North East coast beginning in 1765. The first two books are being edited at the moment; My Constant Lady and The Turning Tides. Look out for My Constant Lady in 2020.

Find her on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook , Pinterest or Web.

 

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Taking a Pole

Most of you know by now that I’m having a masochistic love affair with a sadistic metal pole. This has been going on for two and a half years now, and my husband is okay with it, in fact, he rather likes it. It’s been a long, hard, and bruising journey to get where I am now, and while I know I’ve come a long way in an sport/art not usually frequented by women of a certain age, I have a long way to go and every bit of it a challenge. You can see the beginnings of my pole journey here.

This summer I took part in a photo shoot and just recently got my photos back. I’m very pleased with the end results, so I thought I’d share them with you today. I’m also including a few photos from the early days for comparison.

 

 

I feel like I’ve come a good ways since those first classes.

 

 

It’s been a bruising and sometimes difficult journey, but always exciting.

 

 

 

And nasty bruises still happen, though not as bad. Oh, this one was from my first class ever.

 

 

It’s good to look back and see results from all of the hard work.

 

 

From this ….

 

 

To this. While I’m pleased with the results, two and a half years is just long enough to give me a good taste of just how far I still have to go. Truly, the journey is only beginning.

One of these days I might get brave enough to post a video.

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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