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Piloting Fury: New from KDG

Sorry for the long delay in getting a new post out. My only excuse is that I have no excuse. I hope you enjoyed The Bus Route as much as I enjoyed writing it and sharing it. Writing and sharing my work is always the best part of doing what I do, so I have decided to share some new, never before seen KDG stuff on my blog, first of all because it’s a bit experimental and out of the KDG norm, and second of all simply because I want to be able to share some of it before I put it out to the larger world.

Piloting Fury is a project very near and dear to my heart, with a rewrite now in progress. Having said that, today is day one of July’s Camp NaNoWriMo, and I found myself inspired and prodded strongly by my Muse and her big stick to write the next book in what is a Space opera, of sorts, with plenty of political intrigue, plenty of sex, plenty of space travel — a lot of which is done in sentient ships. Piloting Fury is the first novel in that series. At this Camp NaNoWriMo, I will be working on book two, Dragon Ascending. Enjoy the first half of the first chapter, and if you’re very good, I’ll have the rest of the chapter up soon (or if I’m very good 🙂 ) From there, we’ll see where Fury leads us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piloting Fury

“Win the bet and Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.” It seemed like a no-brainer — Rick Manning’s slightly inebriated offer. If he’d been sober, he’d have remembered indentured pilot, Diana “Mac” McAlister never lost a bet. All her life she’s dreamed of buying back her freedom and owning her own starship, and when Fury’s ne’er-do-well, irritating as hell captain all but hands Fury to her on a silver platter she figures she can’t lose. She figured wrong. That’s how the best pilot in the galaxy finds herself the indentured 1st mate of a crew that, thanks to her, has doubled in size. Too late, she finds out Fury is way more than a cargo ship. Fury is a ship with a history – a dangerous history, and one that Mac’s been a part of for a lot longer than she thinks. And Rick Manning is not above cheating at poker to get her right at the center of it all, exactly where he needs her to be.

 

Chapter 1: The Bet

“Win the bet and Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.” Rick Manning was more than a little bit drunk. He had to be to make that sort of bet with me. Everyone knows you don’t gamble with Diana Mac unless you want to lose. I never lost – ever! What gambling I managed in spaceports was my sole income, and I horded it all obsessively. Every credit of it went toward paying off the contract of my indenture. Nope! I never lost because I couldn’t afford to. And yet here I stood on the small but efficient deck of the Fury, reporting to Rick Scumbag Manning, and the prick was nowhere to be found. “Probably sleeping it off in some whore’s bed,” I growled under my breath.

“You cheated, you bastard,” I said out loud. Even if he heard me, what the hell was he gonna do, dock my wages, throw me in the brig? “I know you cheated, I just don’t know how you did it,” I said to the console which, in spite of my anger at Manning, already had me intrigued. I confess, vivid visions of strangling Rick Manning with a New Hibernian cryo-whip couldn’t hold my imagination quite like the console of a good ship – even one I was now indentured to for who the hell knew how many galactic years. I’m serious when I say I’m the best pilot in the galaxy. It’s not bragging if it’s true. I’ve never met the ship I couldn’t fly. Not that I got that many opportunities indentured to the Dubrovnik, but Captain Harker had raked in the credits more than once by betting on me in an impromptu race of some sort. Of course the ship was never my own, and that made the bet even more interesting. No one ever saw it coming.

In spite of my crap situation, I couldn’t help admiring the clean lines and the efficient arrangement of the Fury’s controls. While the ship might look like a rusty tub on the outside, Manning had known to put his money where it mattered. I was already jonesing to see what the ship could do, and the truth was that the Fury was one helluva ship despite the rusty tub appearance. I doubted if Manning even knew what the original make was. If the entire ship wasn’t glued together with spit and high tensile repair tape, I’d be surprised. But leave it to Manning to win, steal, smuggle and finagled some of the best, state of the art components in the galaxy. I only knew that because he and I got drunk together on Diga Prime waiting out a lava storm one night in a bar. The man was as proud of his ship as he was his cock and, while I’d made it a point not to check out the latter, I’d wanted to check out the Fury for a long time. Just not like this.

I flopped down in the pilot’s seat, which strangely enough felt as though it molded to fit my butt. I knew for a fact that Manning’s ass needed a little more space than mine, and so did his broad shoulders. I’d admired those shoulders and that ass in more than a few spaceports where we’d pitched up together. At this moment, though, I loathed the whole damn package with a loathing hotter than the fiery pits of Diga Vulcanus. I envisioned kicking that very fine ass out the airlock somewhere in the Outer Rim. But thanks to the mess the cheating rat bastard had gotten me into, I couldn’t even do that.

It had been such a sure thing. I was sitting pretty, wasn’t I? The newly healed incision on my forearm itched like crazy, and while it was already all but invisible, it guaranteed I was as bound to the Fury as if Manning had roped me and tied me to the pilot’s chair. I should have known. I should have suspected something, but I was too busy patting myself on the back for my good fortune, too greedy for more.

I should have suspected something when Manning lost a small fortune to me in game after game of Sandirian poker. At the time, the man wasn’t yet too drunk to make intelligent decisions, and I knew for a fact he wasn’t a gambling addict. I’d heard about addicts who had gambled away far larger fortunes than the one Manning had dropped, which was just enough to buy back my indenture with a nice little nest egg to tide me over until I could find other work. Nope, Manning was a lightweight when it came to gambling losses. A minor satrap was legendary for gambling away a whole planetoid out at the edge of the Orion Nebula. I just figured it was a cock thing with Manning. I recognized the signs. The dress I wore had worked its magic just like it always did with lonely, horny punters in spaceport hoping to get laid. Men or women – it didn’t really matter. If they gave me that look and offered to buy me a drink, I knew I had them. They all just assumed because I was sitting alone, shuffling a deck of cards, I was as lonely and as in need of entertainment as they were.

And then there was Rick Manning. He’d been doing his best for the past several galactic years to get me in bed. By now it had become a game between us. He flirted, and I let it roll right on over me. I liked the banter. I liked the fact that we had intelligent, often witty conversations, as well as a lot of laughs in between his flirtatious, but harmless, advances. It was what we did, the two of us. So why should I think anything was particularly different about last night? Yes, he showed up at my table before I could reel in some sucker willing to lose his shirt. And yes, when I tried to shoo him away, he offered to play a few hands with me as a warm-up – he said, and then he’d leave me to find another victim. It was a win-win. I could skin Manning of a few credits before he decided to give it up, and then get serious with someone who didn’t know me.

But he didn’t give it up. He just kept losing, and betting and losing again. Fuck me if the man didn’t lose everything he had, all of his life savings, right down to the last credit. I know this because the Notary kept asking if he was sure and reminding him that all notarized bets were legally binding. Still all he could do was chuckle.

“It’s your hair, Mac,” he said as he motioned over the notary yet again to transfer more credits to the indentured sub-account Captain Harker had set up for me. “When you wear that dress and let your hair down like that, of course a man’s gonna lose. And you, you little minx, that’s what you’re counting on, isn’t it?”

“I need the credits, Manning.” I leaned across the table and rubbed my fingers together under his nose in a gimme gesture. “Indentured here, remember? But if it’ll help,” I grabbed up the band that had secured the battered deck of cards and pulled my hair back in it. “The dress I can’t do anything about. The butler hasn’t brought my holiday wardrobe down from the Dubrovnik yet,” I joked.

“Helluva place to go on holiday,” he said, glancing around the Nine Tails. Then he leaned over the table and offered a smile that would have shamed the Suns of Valoxia. “Tell you what, one more hand and I’ll bet my jacket.” If you win, you can cover up a little bit and maybe give me an even chance. And if you lose,” he looked me up and down.

“I won’t,” I replied shoving the deck of cards across the table to him.

He took them and began to shuffle, his eyes locked on mine. “If you lose, then I get your clothes. All of them.”

“It’s just as well I’m gonna win then because you wouldn’t look good in this dress. Teal’s just not your color.”

He only chuckled as he dealt the cards.

In no time at all I was bundled up in a vintage flight jacket that Manning swore up and down was a real Terran relic he’d won in a poker game he’d apparently done much better in than he was doing in this one. He slugged back another New Hibernian whiskey and the barmaid, who bent so he got a good view down her bustier, brought him another one. I laid down enough credits to pay for my drinks and stood. “Gotta go, Manning. You’ve got nothing left I can win off of you, and I sure as hell don’t want the clothes off your back.”

“Not so fast, Mac.” His words weren’t exactly slurred, but getting pretty close. He blocked my exit with an extended leg, nodded back to my chair, and with a shrug of his shoulder sent the barmaid scurrying for another whiskey for me. “You can’t leave till I’ve had a chance to win back all my shit.”

“I can, and I will,” I said, stepping over his leg, but even half drunk, Manning was fast. He lifted his thigh, effectively high-centering me and ending me up in his lap. He curled thick fingers around a my makeshift pony tale and reeled me in. I remember thinking it strange that he smelled more like a man who’d been enjoying the great outdoors in the Parks of the Beledine than someone three sheets to the wind on cheap-assed whiskey. I even remember not minding his flirtations at the time, but then why would I when I was a free woman at last, one with a very nice jacket, even if it was considerably too big.

“I do have something I can bet.” His breath was warm against my ear, and I felt the buzz of my own generous alcohol consumption that made me think I just might take him up on what I figured he was about to offer me. It would be a nice addition to the drunken celebration of my freedom. After all, an indentured didn’t have a lot of free time for sex. When I did have the time, I was trying to win a few more credits toward my freedom.

“Oh that,” I nodded down to his lap and gave a little laugh. “I figure I can have that without wagering for it.”

The chuckle he returned sounded positively animal, and his lips quirked into a crooked smile. “While I can think of nothing I would enjoy more than a good shag in the sheets with you, Mac, that wouldn’t win me back my shit now would it?”

I was about to say that since he had nothing to offer I saw no point. I was about to walk out the door of the bar free and clear, go straight to Captain Harker, pay off the contract of my indenture and see what it felt like to sleep and wake up as a free woman. That’s what I should have done, in retrospect. But then Manning dropped the bomb.

“One more hand, Mac. Just one. Win the bet and Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.”

Fuck me! If he hadn’t been holding me, I would have fallen right onto the floor. Now I’m not a woman who’s often speechless, though as an indentured, I know when to keep my mouth shut. But this time, all I could do was make a couple of fish gasps. He gave me that look I was sure had gotten more than a few women into his bed. It had probably worked just as well getting him out of trouble with the authorities when his cargo was less than copasetic.

“What do you say, Mac? You up for it? I’m betting the Fury along with the next three contracts I have to fill.” He shrugged. “If I don’t have a ship, I can’t fill the contracts, right? Come on. Give me at least one more chance.”

“Your ship? You want to bet the Fury?” I stumbled off his lap all but falling on my ass before I made it back to my chair. He was already motioning the notary over.

 

A Ghost, A Succubus and NaNoWriMo

Two of my favourite characters in all of my novels are Anderson, the ghost from my Lakeland Witches Series, and Cassandra, the succubus who becomes his lover in the second novel of the series, Riding the Ether. Of all the incredibly sexy, deliciously fun love stories I’ve ever written for my character, theirs was maybe the most fun. The whole Lakeland Witches series was one of the most fun series to write as well. Since this month is NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month, it seems appropriate to share something that had its roots in NaNaWriMo. Body Temperature and Rising, novel one of the series, was my very first NaNoWriMo success. This year I’m doing NaNoWriMo for the fifth time, with three of those novels having been published. The other two aren’t quite ready for the world to see yet. I hope you enjoy Cassandra’s observations of and reflections on Anderson.

 

 

 

 

Book two of the Lakeland Witches trilogy (Click here for: Book One | Book Three)

 

Cassandra Larkin keeps her ravenous and dangerous sexual appetite secret until she seduces Anderson in the mysterious void of the Ether.  Anderson is the sexy, insatiable ghost who can give her exactly what she needs.

But sex is dangerous in a place like the Ether…

When the treacherous demon, Deacon, discovers the truth about the origin of Cassandra’s powerful lust, he plots to use her sex magic for revenge on Tara Stone and the Elemental Coven, who practice their own brand of sex magic.

Cassandra must embrace the lust and sexuality she fears and learn to use its power. Will she stand with Anderson, Tara, and the Elemental Coven against Deacon’s wrath or suffer the loss of friendship, magic and love?

 

Excerpt Riding the Ether:

CASSANDRA WOKE TO THE cold mist of her own breath rising in the room above the mattress and pulled the thick duvet up tighter around her. She had expected the fire to be out by the time she returned, though she had banked it as best she could. It was then she realised she had the tiniest bit of a headache. The fact that she had a headache at all caused a clench in her stomach that was far more painful than her head.

She never had headaches unless she had taken too much. And she never, ever, did that. Not any more. She hadn’t done since she was in uni, and then she hadn’t known any better, hadn’t known what would happen, hadn’t known how to control herself. And once she did know what would happen … She pushed that thought out of her head. Still, how could she have taken too much? She had been so careful with her research, so careful with her training. Anderson was a ghost, and they’d been in the Ether, and he had seemed fine, had said he was. He’d certainly seemed all right when she had left him. More than all right, actually.

Suddenly, the clench in her stomach and the ache in her head were both overshadowed by the rhythmic thrumming between her legs that buzzed up her spine. It was the feel of him. The feel of his energy still on her, still in her. She reached between her legs and felt his wetness still there. Even though they’d been in ethereal bodies, sometimes a bit of the Ether escaped back into the World of Flesh. Fooling the Ether, her grandmother used to call it.

Even the feel of his semen against her fingers tingled. She brought it to her mouth, strangely scentless for semen, but that was the curse of ghosts who wore the flesh. They could generate no scent. She wondered if he had been able to smell her scent on him after they’d left the Ether. There was always a scent on her when she came back from the Ether. It was the scent of high- altitude cold and metallic bite. She hoped it was more than that that lingered on him when he left. But then it would be, wouldn’t it? Much, much more, though she wasn’t sure about scent.

She licked his juices from her fingers and instantly she knew that he was indeed all right, if a bit confused. He was very all right. She slid her hand down for more, feeling the buzz of energy relax the knot in her stomach and clear her headache until her whole brain felt like a window, open to all she needed to see, to feel, to experience. And fuck, it was amazing! It had always been amazing, like a drug she dare not allow herself for fear of becoming addicted to it, but this was bloody awesome! It was more than her research had ever prepared her for, way more!

With little more than a stroke, she came, trembling all over as she reached between her legs for more of his juices, unable to hold back shudders that led to moans and, embarrassingly, nearly to bellows that vibrated her whole body. With each clench and tremor, her pussy forced out more of his delicious essence, and she wiped it, rubbed it, slathered it all over her body. Great Christ, she wondered what the man must have smelled like when he lived. He was … He was a rider of the Ether. And he had been for damn near ever. He was power and virility and physicality in ways she had only dreamed of. And she could make love to him. She had made love to him. Great Goddess, how she had made love to him!

With her orgasm mellowing to ripples, she sent out her fetch, that magical part of her that was, in itself, almost like a ghost, her essence, sent forth to explore beyond her body, sent forth whenever she rode the Ether.

She could have never breached the protective magic of Elemental Cottage before. But now she was connected to Anderson. She wore his essence inside and out. She passed through those boundaries and protective spells like water. And she would be able to find him anywhere, in the flesh, or not. She paid no attention to the house, took no time to marvel at the domain of the witches she so admired. She was sure it was amazing, but she had no time for that. She had sent her fetch out for one thing, and one thing only, and that was to find Anderson, to look, just look at him, to reassure herself that she hadn’t dreamed such a man, such a coupling.

And he was there, exactly as she knew he would be. He slept in the arms of his high priestess, slept the deep, even sleep of dreams, dreams which he didn’t need – and yet he chose to have them, in the vulnerable act of sleep that he also didn’t need. He slept wrapped around her. They had had sex. Though Cassandra could not smell him, she could smell the woman, earthy and slightly piquant from the labour of lovemaking. He slept, but the woman, Tara Stone, did not.

She could sense the woman’s worry, her restlessness, but that didn’t concern her at the moment. It was Anderson in his unnecessary sleep that interested her, fascinated her, drew her. He was erect. In a thought she felt was worthy of a teenager with a crush, she wondered if he was excited by dreams of her. She could find out easily enough, but she never invaded people’s dreams on purpose. She never entered people’s private places.

She ran her hand along his flank, feeling her own essence against his flesh as surely as she felt his on her. She could take him now while he slept and he would never know it. She could give him such sweet dreams of her, such passionate dreams that he would come in his sleep, and she would wear the energy of his release, the energy of his dream, like a tight- fitting skin – a skin that would nourish her, give her strength in a way her own never could. That she could do such things frightened her. That she still wanted to do such things frightened her even more. She bent over him and pressed her mouth against his parted lips, breathing a kiss against them, and he sighed softly.

The woman started and sat up, looking around the room. Cassandra couldn’t imagine that she was able to sense her presence, but she knew Tara Stone’s reputation so just in case, she quickly pulled her fetch back to herself, back to her own bed, and her flesh felt all the more vibrant, all the more alive for having been with him, even if it had been from a distance.

Her clit felt heavy. Her nipples ached, and she masturbated again. It was in the receding tremors of orgasm that she noticed the ghost watching her, peeking around the edge of the hanging blanket that separated Cassandra’s sleeping space from the rest of the bothy.

 

 

 

A Demon’s Tale New Excerpt Celebrating 50K NaNoWriMo

While the novel is nowhere near done, I have finished the 50K required to complete NaNoWrimo, and I’m very excited to say that Magda Gardener’s world, and the world of the Guardian are just as much fun as they always are.

 

To celebrate my completion of NaNoWriMo’s 50K requirement, I’m sharing a new excerpt from A Demon’s Tale. I’d like to share with you a pivotal scene in which the two characters around which the novel revolves meet. The Guardian, you already know, but I’d like to introduce you to Elise North, whom you may remember from the first person accounts with Daniel Sands. Mr. Sands story is one for another time, however. For the moment,Private Investigator, Elise North, has a new client, and that client happens to be a demon. Please remember, this is a work in progress, so be gentle.

 

A Demon’s Tale: Chapter 7 Not What I Expected

“You’re not what I expected,” Elise North said when dear Reese shook her hand, and I felt her delicious warmth and the delightful callouses that told me the woman did more with her hands than research on a computer. She wielded weapons. I had not existed as long as I had without coming to recognize that exquisite feel. And in spite of my incarceration, in spite of the impossibility of my situation, I lusted, I lusted to feel the delight of her more deeply, knowing that even if I were free to do so, I could not. That she was somehow, inexplicably, beyond my reach made me lust all the more. All of the longing, all of the hunger that had driven me, that was my nature for as long as existence had been mine, rushed through me with such force that I forgot myself, only for an instant, and in my exuberance, in my lust, I threatened to overwhelm poor dear Reese. It was the sudden surge of blood in his veins, the shocked sensation of muscles forced to tense unexpectedly that brought me back to myself, brought me back to that horrid, human sense of guilt that haunted me these days more often that one such as myself would care to admit. And the lovely Elise North, though somehow she knew full well what I had just done, was not even slightly alarmed by my behavior. I, on the other hand was embarrassed, even humiliated that I had behaved more like a dog after a bitch in heat that a being who had seen eternity unfold and forgotten long ago exactly his own beginnings. Horrified, I whispered my apology to a confused, even slightly frightened Reese, who gratefully took the seat the dear woman had offered in front of her battered desk.

 

“I was unaware that the demon had any freedom of movement beyond the confines of Susan Innes’ body,” she said as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

 

And Reese, dearest Reese blushed at that, but he quickly added, “I suppose you could consider me the prison annex.”

 

“And you’re a vampire,” she said, holding Reese’s gaze. The poor man was very uncomfortable, for ours was both a secret and a cover-up of a secret. I encouraged him, then to ask the woman just how much she knew, for I too was surprised at the depth of her knowledge.

 

“I know a vampire when I see one.” She nodded outside her window to the deepening night. “Most of my clients contact me during regular business hours, though I once had a strange ghost who insisted I meet him at the stroke of midnight in the New York Public Library.” She shivered. “You’d be amazed how creepy the place is after dark.”

 

“You had a ghost for a client?” Reese asked. How I love the man’s delicious curiosity.

 

“Several, actually.”

 

“And how do they pay you?”

 

She smiled a very playful sort of smile that I found I liked very much, then she kicked her booted feet up onto her desk and leaned back in her chair. “Well, some of them have other, more valuable forms of currency, but it’s not that uncommon for them to have a large stash hidden away that no one living knows about. Often they want me to find it for a loved one or for a cause they meant it for before they died, and then it’s just a matter of allowing me to take my cut off the top.” Again that delicious smile, and this time I was certain it was aimed at me as much as dear Reese for the charming Elise North was as aware of my presence as if I sat in the chair next to Reese. “I really don’t appreciate being paid in pirate’s gold or heirloom jewels. While they’re incredibly valuable, you can’t imagine the hoops I have to jump through to turn them into a currency I can use.”

 

“Do you not wish to keep those that are more rare?” In my excitement to work with this woman, I completely forgot that dear Reese had not given me permission to use his voice, and he covered his mouth in surprise as though he had suddenly belched rudely in gentile company. While I apologized profusely, and silently, for the breech, the delightful Elise North only gave us a knowing smile.

 

“I’ve kept a few, even donated a couple on occasion to museums, anonymously, of course.” She righted herself and rolled her chair closer to her desk, folding her hands in front of her, suddenly all business. “Now, gentlemen, what can I do for you.”

 

This time without so much as a word between us, dear Reese stepped back and gave me control. “You wished to speak to Susan Innes enough to come to her book signing last night,” I made no effort to change Reese’s voice, when I was in control, it was always obvious that it was I who spoke. “While I am not entirely sure of your reasons for desiring to question dear Susan, I believe that you might be useful to me, and in being useful to me, you may do her a far greater service than I can say.”

 

Elise North studied us carefully, and I had no doubt that for some reason, this woman was looking at me, truly seeing me rather than Reese Chambers. The sensation was one new to me, one I found more disconcerting than I would have thought for one who had so longed for all things that wearing flesh entailed. It was at that moment I realized that the flesh I wore, no matter whose it was, I wore like a mask, a cover-up, a veil behind which to hide myself. This was not a discovery that pleased me, for it smacked of human frailty, of human neuroses, and I was, after all, not human.

 

Just when I was beginning to become uncomfortable with her intent gaze, just when I was tempted to step back and let dear Reese take control once more – such a cowardly act to consider under the circumstances – Elise North tilted her head slightly and drummed strong fingers against the desk blotter. “And Susan Ennis Doesn’t know that her demon is on a field trip.”

 

“I wish her not to know.” I said, “for I fear her response to what I must tell you if I am to help her. I have gained a modicum of trust from the dear woman, trust I value, and what is now my tale to tell could cost me that trust. But if it will ease her suffering, stop our foe from harming her, then I will do what I must. And I believe you may be of assistance because you cannot be affected by magic.”

 

She offered that teasing smile of hers again, and I found myself growing fonder of the dear woman by the moment. “By your foe, I assume you’re talking about Richard Waters, AKA Poseidon.”

 

Even with me in control of Reese’s body, we nearly fell off the chair. “You know about him?” In my state of surprise, Reese wrested control from me.

 

“I know about him, yes, and I know about how he and his son, Cyrus Rivers, or Polyphemus, I believe was his Greek name, tried to infiltrate our world to allow the Olympians to take control once more.”

 

“And you believe it?” Reese asked. Before she could answer he was out of the chair hands resting on the desk, looking down at her. “What do you know about it? Who told you?”

 

“My client’s name is confidential, as yours’ will be,” she said calmly, as though the fact a vampire glaring down at her didn’t bother her one bit. Even though dear Reese could not have glamoured her or used any vampire tricks on her, his vampire strength was not magic, and that combined with the strength of a demon inside him, surely the woman had to know we could crush her like an insect, and yet I smelled no fear on her. I smelled nothing on her at all.

 

“While I had in mind to question Susan Ennis,” Elise North said, nodding for Reese to sit back down, which he did, with a little extra encouragement from me, “I knew instantly she wouldn’t speak to me. I knew something other than the events of the Grey Goose Tunnel was bothering her. But I also knew instantly that if I waited long enough, her prisoner would find a way to contact me.”

 

“And it doesn’t frighten you, that I am a demon?” I asked, once again in control.

 

She blinked, and I realized that her eyes were the color of brown sugar heated just to the melting point. “Of course it frightens me. I know that while your magic may not affect me, the physical strength you lend to a human, let alone a vampire, could crush me or so much worse,” and then the wicked smile was back on her face, “that’s why I’m so expensive to hire.” She rolled her eyes. “You have no idea just how much my insurance premiums are.”

 

And once again dear Reese took back control with a belly laugh in which I utterly delighted. The feeling of good humor, of laughter, of a joke shared, all of those sensations are new to me. As Susan Ennis often tells me, I need to work on my sense of humor, and yet Elise North, I understood, though I did not know how that could be, since technically the woman was by far more human, more mundane than any I had ever meant.

 

“Tell me what you need from me,” she said again when the room became quiet.

 

“The sea god has found a way into my dear Susan’s dreams, I fear, and try though I might, I cannot protect her from him. He tells her lies, he tells her she is his daughter, he tells her that her mother was his lover, and I am forced to watch helplessly as he torments her. It is only the witch Glinda who is able to free her, and I do not know how.” I blurted all of this out as though I had vomited up all of my shame and horror onto her desk.

 

“Wait a minute, Glinda, as in the Wizard of OZ, that Glinda?” she asked.

 

“So I am told, though I do not know this pop culture reference and I am assured that this is but the name she shares with others while keeping her true name secret.”

 

“That makes sense,” the dear woman said, and her brilliant eyes held my gaze and studied me as though I sat there naked and shed of Reese Chambers’ flesh.

 

The planes of her face became like granite as she stared and stared and studied and studied, and I, in my nebulous place inside Reese Chambers, squirmed and writhed in my discomfort. For one who has lived an eternity, it is strange that a matter of a few seconds can seem longer still, and yet so it was as we waited for Elise North’s response.

 

“You want me to infiltrate Susan Ennis’ dreams and drive Poseidon out?”

 

“You are immune to his magic, as apparently I am not. Or if perhaps you could find this Glinda and we could work with her to find a way to shut the sea god out.” I said.

 

“I don’t see how I can do any of this without Susan Ennis’s permission,” she said. “Besides, dreams aren’t exactly magic. They’re much harder than magic. I have no idea how I could get inside someone else’s dream, even if I am immune to the magic happening there.”

 

“What about a succubus? I know you’re immune to her magic, but is there some way she might be able to help you?” Reese asked.

 

She shook her head. “She can’t infiltrate my dreams because what she does is magic.”

 

“Can you infiltrate mine then,” I asked without thinking. “Susan has always visited me in my dreams, for it would have been a violation for me to visit hers. I visited Reese only in dire need of his help, feeling that he would understand the violation, which he has. But Susan is my home, her dreams are only open to me when she comes to my dreams. There is an overlap that I cannot explain, and yet it exists, perhaps because of our unique circumstances, but perhaps you could infiltrate my dreams, Elise North, perhaps that is our way in.”

 

She cocked her head and her short pale hair was like a halo around her face in the harsh florescent lighting. “Infiltrate a demon’s dreams? And how do you propose I do that?” There was no judgment, no accusation in her voice, only curiosity.

 

“Through your own dreams, of course, for that is how Susan enters.”

 

She stroked her chin and pursed her lips. “Well, I do dream very vividly. I’ve even had some luck with lucid dreams. Perhaps that’s due to my immunity to magic, I don’t know, but I suppose it’s worth a try.”

 

It’s NaNoWriMo Time with an Excerpt from A Demon’s Tale

Yup! I’m actually doing NaNoWriMo this year, and very excited about it I am too!  This is the first time I’ve participated in a couple of years. For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, which is every November. The challenge is to write a 50K word novel in a month. While my novels are always well over 50K, to be able to get that much done in a month means enough momentum to carry on to the end.

 

I’ve had the pleasure of participating in NaNoWriMo several times when my schedule has allowed it. Those times have resulted in Body Temperature and Rising, book One of the Lakeland Witches Series, The Tutor, which is a contemporary erotic romance, and a SciFi novel called Piloting Fury, which I’m still rewriting and deciding upon a home for.

 

This year I’m writing another novel in the Medusa Consortium series. This novel is a story readers have asked for, it’s the Guardian’s story, A Demon’s Tale. With the Guardian’s permission, here is a rough excerpt from Day One of NaNoWriMo and the prologue of the novel. Enjoy.

 

Guarding Her Sleep: Excerpt from A Demon’s Tale

He watched her sleep, something that he did every night, something that, until very recently, he had enjoyed immensely, for there was always the possibility that when she slept, she would dream, and perhaps in those dreams, she would visit him.  Truly, he treasured those visits. They were a time of getting to know her, of learning to understand her a little better so that he might become a more suitable companion, might better realize what behavior would be most pleasing to her.

 

In truth it was only in dreams that his constant, though unavoidable, presence was not a violation, however unintentional that violation might be. In the beginning, it mattered less, in the beginning when he was still angry at her for what she had done to him. But the anger was nothing compared to the mourning at the loss, her loss, what she had done to herself because of him. Mourning, such a very human experience, one of which he could not have imagined himself capable. And yet he had mourned, had hated it, had raged against it, that thing that made no sense to him, that loss that was so needless, that terrible, irreversible loss for which, in his solitude, to his horror, he came to realize he was fully to blame.  Blame had always been a thing he had thrust upon others, never a thing he had felt himself, never a thing he could have understood until she did what she did, until she made the sacrifice she had made. Because of him.

 

It was in dreams that he had slowly come to realize his need for her forgiveness. It was in dreams that slowly she began to give it. It was in dreams that, for the very first time, he found himself wondering at his true nature, doubting just how well he understood it even after so very long. It was in dreams that he could sooth her, comfort her, and he knew better than anyone just how very hard she battled to heal, to learn how to live now that she had been changed, to come to grips with her own losses and to fight for the protection of those she loved. The knowledge of what she brought to him in dreams, of the weight she bore in no small part because of him meant the guilt that he thought he could never feel was his constant companion driving him to seek redemption in pleasing her, in being useful to her. The irony of it all was not lost on him – a demon seeking redemption. How often had he wondered if perhaps he only dreamed such insanity. And yet when she came to him in dreams, he wanted nothing so badly as to be redeemed for her sake. When she came to him in dreams, he believed that perhaps in time, she would forgive him and come to feel more kindly toward him.

 

Yes, he had anticipated her dreams, longed for them and now, as he watched her sleep, he fervently hoped that she would not dream, at least not that kind of reality wrapped within a dream that had brought her to him. For to his horror, dreams were the one thing from which he could not protect her. The very thought made him frantic, made him rage, that he was so helpless against a violation greater than any he had ever committed in all his years. When these dreams came upon her, he could not free her, he could not protect her, he could only watch impotently while her worst nightmare grew into a reality he could not stop.

 

That the one who had come to her aid seemed as invisible, as incorporeal as he was
did not ease his worry, for the one who called herself Glinda was unknown to him. While everyone believed her trustworthy, he did not know her, he did not understand how she was able to pull his dear Susan from the depths of the nightmare when he, who was her constant and intimate companion could not, when he, whose power Susan and her companions had called upon with confidence could only watch her suffering. Who was this Glinda? Who was she that she could stand against the gods themselves and why did he find that even as he was grateful for what she had done for his dear Susan, he hated her that she could do for her what he could not.

 

Sex Magic and Creativity

I’ve been asked many times if I believe that sex magic is real. My answer was
something along the lines that I believe sex is the only kind of magic, and certainly the only kind of magic we all have access to. But the question itself gets me thinking every time about why the paranormal and the erotic work so well together. With NaNoWriMo about to begin and with me about to begin another Medusa’s Consortium novel, I suppose now is as good a time as any to talk about sex as magic again. In fact with Halloween only two days away and with the main character of the next Consortium novel being the Guardian, a demon that feeds on sex, I’d say the time is ideal

 

Writing always exposes us, though that exposure is sometimes more obvious than others. As I thought about the question, I realized that the choices I’d made when I wrote the Lakeland trilogy were very much my psyche’s way of doing the full Monte. I’ve written lots of blog posts about the magic of sex, about what happens when we cross that final barrier and get inside the skin of another person, about what happens when we make ourselves vulnerable. Though it certainly wasn’t a conscious part of my decision, choosing to make the witches of the Elemental Coven practitioners of sex magic speaks very powerfully of my writing credo and of my own psyche and what I believe is important.

 

I started writing erotica mostly to see if I could, and because I had always enjoyed writing sex scenes. But it was the magic of sex that kept me writing. It was what the act of sex revealed about my characters and how it exposed them, all of them, in one way or another to the magic of sex that kept me writing. Somehow sex brought them closer to their humanity while at the same time increasing the chance they would experience their own divinity, and that of their beloved. And, with any luck, my readers would experience the same, vicariously. There’s something exciting in knowing that the very act of sex between two people can completely change the course of a novel. All of these elements of sex kept me writing erotica. And all of
these elements are the reason I believe sex is magic.

 

There are few parts of our human nature we struggle more fiercely to control than sexuality. How miserably we fail in that struggle is a testament to the biological drive and even more importantly the archetypal power of sex. And that’s a whole other area, the place within the sex act that borders on the mystical, the magical. That’s why paranormal tales partner so beautifully with the erotic. Once that boundary between the magical and the sexual is breached anything can happen.

 

Ultimately, sex makes people uncomfortable, and anything that makes people uncomfortable is a fabulous tool for fiction. On some level sex is all about biological urges, experiences of a much more visceral nature than the sanitized, well defined, well ordered way we like our world to be. But the power of sex reaches way beyond the procreative. I know of no other act that can connect us to our animal nature while at the same time lifting us outside ourselves to the realm of the gods. I also know of no other act in which we become physically one with another human being, in which we literally get inside the skin of another human being, in which there is the possibility of literally creating new life. The human sex act is about as close to magic as we can get, and we’re not all that comfortable with anything we can’t explain away and dress up for polite company.

 

Sex is that one little sliver of our life in which real magic happens. It’s the place where our boundaries are most permeable. So it’s not surprising that we like to team up the erotic with things that go bump in the night, things we can safely experience on the written page, where those things are free to scare us and titillate us and take away our human control thus allowing demons and vampires, ghosts and witches, werewolves and succubae to dance the tango with our libidos while we all perform our own personal versions of sex magic.

 

Whether you celebrate Halloween, Samhain, Day of the Dead, All Saints, or whether you just like to enjoy the season, I wish you much sexy magic!

 
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© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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