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Jane Riddell Shares How to Get Your Words’ Worth

I’m very pleased to have editor and novelist, Jane Riddell, at my place today. Every writer has nightmares about not giving their babies the best possible editing, and nothing. We certainly want the best for our readers. Knowing my own angst about giving my book the best editing, I jumped at the chance to have Jane on my blog so that I could pick her brain for some ideas that might help both writers and readers at the end of the day. And so that she could tell you all about her wonderful new book on editing, Words’ Worth. Welcome, Jane!

 

book-cover-guide-a-4-smallKD: Jane, what inspired you to write a book about editing?

 

JANE: When I began editing my first novel, Daughters of the Lake, I had a small list of things to check for but found myself constantly adding to it. The more I learned about writing, the more things I felt required checking. It felt overwhelming, so I decided to put my checklists into table form, so that I could tick things off when I’d done them. It also meant that I didn’t have to follow a particular order in my checklist because I knew exactly what had and hadn’t been done.

When finding myself longing to explain my system to any writer who’d listen, it became obvious that I should turn it into a book and hence Words’Worth: a fiction writer’s guide to serious editing was created. It’s a small guide – 54 pages – but more comprehensive than it looks at first sight. I continue to use this method of editing my novels because it works, although it takes time and can be tedious.

 

KD: Tell us a bit about yourself, Jane, and about your other books.

 

JANE: I came to writing seriously quite late in life. For many years it was a hobby, something I fitted in around work. When we planned to move to France for three years (2006 – 2009), I knew I wouldn’t be able work there with such limited French. A month or so before we left, on a wet Saturday afternoon at the gym, walking on a treadmill and listening to Martha Reeves and the Vandellas singing Dancing in the Street, I had a defining moment.: I thought ‘I’ll give writing a go.’ And I haven’t looked back. Interestingly, it was only during our second year in Grenoble that I was able to tell people I’m a writer, without that critical demon in my head accusing me of being a fraud.

My first novel was Daughters of the Lake, a contemporary family drama set in Switzerland. The idea came for this while I was on holiday in Brunnen on beautiful Lake Luzern in Switzerland. It’s told in four viewpoints – the mother’s and those of her three daughters. I think that at a subconscious level it was inspired by Anita Brookner’s Hotel du Lac, although the plot isn’t at all similar.

Chergui’s Child is my second novel, and it’s about a woman who receives a large inheritance from her aunt, and also a revelation which changes her life. It’s set in London, Morocco and the south of France.

I’ve recently completed a novella – The Bakhtin Chronicles: Academia, about a Russian cat who comes to Edinburgh to final-cover-for-final-cover-for-daughters-of-the-lakestudy creative writing and struggles with literary theory. The inspiration for this came from my own experience of failing to understand the relevance of French philosophers and literary critics to writing, while I was studying for a Masters in Creative Writing. It was therapeutic after a miserable academic year.  Doubtless some will consider me mad when they read it, but as all writers know, insanity is a good personality trait. I plan to publish Bakhtin some time before Christmas.

 

KD: What is the biggest editing problem you think novelists have?

 

JANE: Eliminating unnecessary words. A big chunk of Words’Worth is devoted to this. Strong, descriptive verbs don’t require adverbs. And sometimes verbs are surplus: ‘I’m going to have to’ can be shortened to ‘I’ll have to’ without sacrificing meaning. People don’t ‘begin to laugh’, they simply laugh. By deleting words that can’t justify their space on the page, it’s possible to lose thousands of them. And I do – in each novel…

 

KD: If you could give just one piece of advice to writers to make their editing tasks easier what would it be?

 

JANE: Have checklists rather than keeping in your head everything that needs to be done. Allow enough time for the editing process – it may take longer than writing the first draft did.

 

KD: Tell us a little bit about your next project.

 

JANE: When I’ve finished my current novel, I plan to write a second version of Words’Worth, this time targeting business writers. And I’m considering writing another Bakhtin novella, perhaps about working life after university, or perhaps about a writer struggling to promote his/her work.

 

KD: Do you, as a writer, have editing shortcuts that make your life easier? If so, what are they?

 

JANE: Not really. I plod through my lists each time. But a key point in Words’Worth is that the writer can personalise the checklists for every novel. Initially, I included checking for unnecessary adverbs and unnecessary prepositions. I don’t include these items now because searching for them rarely showed either of these and I was wasting time.

 

KD: Is there anything else you’d like to share with writers?

 

JANE: The often dispensed advice, ‘Keep going’ is fine, but only if at the same time you are working hard to improve your writing technique. This makes sense: if you made a chocolate cake that no one liked, you’d find another recipe rather than continue to use the old one in the hope of finding someone who thought the cake was yummy.

I’ve found that the best ways to improve my writing are to read the ‘how to’ books, read fiction as much as possible to see how other people write. Receiving feedback on my writing has been invaluable, but it’s important to be discerning about choosing readers.

 

Buy Words’ Worth Here:

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/WordsWorth-fiction-writers-serious-editing-ebook/dp/B01H2B9ZF0/

 

https://www.amazon.com/WordsWorth-fiction-writers-serious-editing-ebook/dp/B01H2B9ZF0/

 

Here’s a peek at Jane’s novel, Chergui’s Child:

 

Blurb for Chergui’s Child:

 

cc-front-cover-jpgOlivia is recovering from a traumatic event five years earlier, when she is summoned to the bedside of her dying aunt, Dorothy. Shortly afterwards, she learns that her aunt has left her a large sum of money and a letter containing a startling revelation. From Morocco to London to the south of France, this is the story of one woman’s journey to make her life whole again.

 

Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Cherguis-Child-Jane-Riddell-ebook/dp/B00YTE9XWE/

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/ebooks/dp/B00YTE9XWE/

 

Extract:

 

Two days later as I handed a £20 note to the taxi driver, I could still visualise my aunt’s pallid, dying face.

‘Hey – your change,’ he called after me.

I took the money, scrambled up the steps and pressed heavily on the brass doorbell of the lawyer’s office.  In reception, I removed my jacket and perched on a leather armchair, wondering again why I’d been summoned.  What was so important it couldn’t be discussed over the phone?

The paintings on the drab green walls did nothing to lift my spirits: cherubs hovering round a tormented loin-clothed man; mountains tumbling into a murky lake.  My fingers drummed the armrests as my thoughts reverted to the evening before. James had arrived late, and from the window of my third floor flat, I’d watched him adjust the metal coat hanger that served as an aerial for his Citröen.  His perfunctory peck on my cheek irritated me.  When he left early, claiming a headache – from my incense, of course, not his smoking (nothing that happened to James was ever his fault) – I’d been relieved.

Exhaustion permeated me: no Dorothy, and the funeral to endure tomorrow.  Ten fifteen.  Where was the lawyer?  I flicked through a National Geographic article about Iceland, closed the magazine.  The door opposite opened, two men shook hands and one of them left, smiling at me as he passed.

‘Miss Bowden, I’m Charles Minto.  Apologies for summoning you at such short notice and for keeping you waiting.’

I followed him into a large, sparsely furnished room, sat down and surveyed my surroundings, wondering if their soothing cream colours eased the stress of divorce, financial worries and problems with neighbours.  Outside, the wind buffeted leafless trees and the sky showed no inkling of sunshine.

‘I am sorry about your aunt’s death,’ he said, smoothing back his white forelock.  The glare from his specs reminded me of my former headmaster, but the lawyer’s aura was calmer.

‘I didn’t manage to talk to her.  I was in St Albans when she had her stroke.’

‘Your father told me.  I contacted you to tell you about Dorothy’s will.’

How much more caring he sounded, using Dorothy’s name.  ‘Her will?’

He nodded, studying me with sudden intensity as if I were a specimen in a lab.   I wanted to parachute myself home, to work, anywhere.

‘She changed it the day before she had her stroke.  You are the main beneficiary.’

My pulse raced.   ‘But… this isn’t…  What about William, what about my mother?  Does she know?  Will I have to tell her?’

His eyes softened.  ‘Your aunt was adamant you have the money.  She has provided well for William but the rest has been left to you.  The figure is about £700,000.’

I imagined Mum’s outrage.  £700,000!

‘There’s something else.  Dorothy dictated a letter to you on the day before she died.  This was when she changed her will.’

‘A letter?’

He handed me the envelope.  ‘Take your time – the contents are… unusual.’

My heart clamoured for escape.  I wanted Dorothy, not her money.  I didn’t want to read a letter, I didn’t want to discuss finances.  All I yearned for, in fact, was my cosy duvet and sleep.

After peering at my name on the envelope, I opened it and scanned the letter.  Then I reread it, the letters dancing like pixies.  When finally I glanced up, the green and maroon circles on the lawyer’s tie swirled.  Struggling to breathe, I reached into my bag for my inhaler.

Mr Minto waited for a moment, then handed me a glass of water.  ‘Drink this, please.  You’re in shock.’

 

 

About Jane:Jane Riddell

Jane Riddell is a Scottish writer based in Edinburgh. For years she worked for the NHS as a dietitian and health
promoter, writing being a hobby. In 2006 she impulsively moved her family to France, and during her three years there writing became a passion.

Jane summarises herself as: enthusiastic, well-intentioned, hopelessly inadequate with technology, having a dysfunctional relationship with time and addicted to chocolate, her only vice (to date). Her partner describes her as a benign crocodile. She loves: sash windows, perfume, wild weather, photography and films. Travel is her passion, especially pet sitting in other countries. To date she has looked after: dogs, cats, stick insects, turtles and parrots.

 

Find Jane Here:

 

www.quietfiction.com.

 

Jane also offers an editing service. Check out Choice Words Editing on her website.

 

Marissa Farrar’s Dirty Shots Now Available!

 It’s my pleasure to welcome Brit Babe extraordinaire, Marissa Farrar, to A Hopeful Romantic today to share a little hot snippet from her novel, Dirty Shots. 

 

dirty_shots_finalDirty Shots Blurb:

Eric Rutherford is a photographer at the top of his game. Young, handsome, and rich, he burst onto the art scene like a rock star. His black and white portraits sell for massive sums, but Eric wants to take a new direction in his work. He longs to create erotic art. He wants to photograph the imprints of rope across a woman’s skin, and the red stripes left by a flogger on a pale bottom. And so his search for the perfect model begins, and when blonde Anya walks into his apartment, his only fear is she’ll say no.

Art student Anya Rhinne knows all about Eric Rutherford. She knows how he’d had every spotlight turned on him, only to fall from grace spectacularly with some kind of breakdown he only described in interviews as his ‘dark days.’ When he offers her the job as his model, and their sessions together grow more intimate, she struggles to divide what is professional from personal. As his work takes a turn toward obsession, a desire to create perfection at all costs, she has to wonder if she’ll ever mean more to him than just a beautiful image on a photograph. Will she sacrifice everything for his art?

 
*Please note, this book was originally released as the serial ‘Model Wanted’ and has been rewritten and relaunched as the novel, ‘Dirty Shots’.

 

Buy Dirty Shots Here:

Amazon: viewBook.at/Dirtyshots

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dirty-shots-marissa-farrar/1124567347

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1151472567

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/dirty-shots

  

Dirty Shots Excerpt:

She stood before him, completely naked, her breasts jutting forward, the small powder puff of blonde hair nestled at the juncture of her thighs. “Because I’ve opened myself up to you in a way I’ve done to no other man and you haven’t so much as laid a finger on me.”

 

He remembered what he’d done in the shower the previous morning and glanced away guiltily. To hide the emotions he
felt sure would be clear in his eyes, he busied himself by reaching into the box where he kept all the accessories he’d gathered for the photo shoot. With a clinking of metal, he pulled out a set of handcuffs and placed them on the floor, followed by a spreader bar. Her eyes widened at the spreader.

 

dirty-shots-fb-meme

 

“Is that what I think it is?” she asked.

 

“It’s designed to hold either the arms, or more often, the feet apart at the ankles. These cuffs,” he lifted one in his palm, “are designed to go around your wrists or ankles, and then the bar can be adjusted, depending on how wide you need to be spread.”

 

A smile played on her lips. “Sounds kinky.”

 

He held her gaze, one corner of his lips quirking up. “I thought you wanted kinky.”

 

Without another word, she held out her wrists to him, but Eric shook his head, dropping the spreader and picking the handcuffs back up. “Turn around.”

 

She did as she was told and he reached down to grasp her hand from her side, pulling it behind her body and clicking on the cool circle of metal. He took her other hand and repeated the motion.

 

“Are you trying to punish me, Eric?” she said, a teasing tone to her voice.

 

“Why? Do you need to be punished?”

 

“I guess you’ll find that out at some point.”

 

Not knowing what to make of her words, he busied himself with the spreader bar. “I want you to get down on your knees.”

 

Carefully, her hands cuffed behind her back, she did as he asked.

 

“Put your face, shoulders and breasts on the floor, but keep your bottom lifted high, your legs spread.”

 

“If I try to lean forward like this, I’ll smack my face on the floor.”

 

She was right; he’d clearly not thought the practicalities through. He should have done the cuffs last.

 

“Here, let me help you.” Careful not to allow his hand to brush her breasts, he reached around her body and supported her upper chest, so she was able to lean forward into the position he wanted without fear of hurting herself.

 

In this position, he attached one cuff of the bar to her ankle and then spread her legs farther to attach the other one. A small chain connected each cuff to the bar, allowing some movement but not enough for her to close her legs to him. He’d never been this close to her before, not naked with her pussy spread open just inches from his face.

 

Eric cleared his throat and forced himself to his feet. His job was to photograph her, not imagine how she would taste as he pushed his tongue inside her.

 

dirty-shots-fb-meme2

 

He adjusted the lighting hanging from the rail on the ceiling and then picked up his camera. He started with shots of her face, one cheek crushed against the white paper-covered floor, her eyes wide and innocent, portraying her vulnerability. Such contrast to the pose she was in. He moved to her back and hands, taking shots of the metal bound around her slender wrists.

 

Finally, he moved the camera to aim between her thighs, at the way her spread position exposed her pussy and ass to him in all their perfection.

 

“Are you going to fuck me like this?” she asked out of the blue.

 

He lowered the camera in shock. “That isn’t what this is about.”

 

She twisted her neck as best she could and locked eyes with him. “What if that’s what I want this to be about?”

 

“Anya …”

 

But he didn’t know what he was going to say. Surely he didn’t intend on telling her no? The position she was in, with her cheek pressed against the floor, her ankles forced apart, her perfect heart-shaped bottom pushed into the air, was just ripe for fucking hard. Between her slender thighs, the swollen lips of her vulva peeped out. He didn’t think he imagined the sheen on her pussy or the inside of her thighs.

 

His balls ached and his cock lengthened in his pants. Her gaze shifted, resting on the increasingly obvious bulge in his crotch.

 

“Anya,” he tried again. “It’s crossing a line. I don’t want to be that kind of man …”

 

“But I want to be that kind of girl,” she said. She spread her ankles wider, pulling the small chains between the spreader bar taut. The metal clinked in response. The position widened her stance, her thighs even more spread than before, exposing the star of her asshole and the delicate inner folds of her pussy.

 

“Oh, God,” he moaned.

 

Fuck it. He might want to be a professional when it came to his photography, but he was still a man.

 

About Marissa Farrar:

Marissa Farrar has always been in love with being in love. But since she’s been married for numerous years and has three young daughters, she’s conducted her love affairs with multiple gorgeous men of the fictional persuasion.

 

The author of more than twenty novels, she has been a full time author for the last six years. She predominantly writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy, but has branched into contemporary fiction as well.

 

If you want to know more about Marissa, then please visit her website at www.marissa-farrar.blogspot.com. You can also find her at her facebook page, www.facebook.com/marissa.farrar.author or follow her on twitter @marissafarrar.

 

She loves to hear from readers and can be emailed at marissafarrar@hotmail.co.uk and to stay updated on all new releases and sales, just sign up to her newsletter! http://forms.aweber.com/form/61/19822861.htm

 

Shopping for an Heir (Book 10 in the Shopping series) by Julia Kent (@jkentauthor)

sfah-graphic-1

Blurb:

Gerald Wright works for billionaires. He never imagined he’d become one.

The former Navy Seal is a chauffeur by day, artist by night, so when hotter-than-ever ex-fiancée Suzanne Dayton interrupts his nude model sculpting class to serve him with inheritance paperwork from a man he’s never heard of, he assumes it’s a joke.

Turns out the joke’s on him. There’s just one catch. A big one.

And it might be Suzanne — in more ways than he ever dreamed.

Shopping for an Heir is the 10th book in the New York Times bestselling Shopping for a Billionaire series by Julia Kent.

Buy links:

BN/Nook: http://bit.ly/29DaZZv

iBooks: http://apple.co/29ssiMd

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/29ZkKTg

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2a3mXRh

Amazon Canada: http://amzn.to/29IQds1

Amazon Australia: http://amzn.to/29JqH84

Google Play: http://bit.ly/29MNgdk

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2afregI

Goodreads:  http://bit.ly/2atJMcM

*****

shopping-for-an-heir-finalExcerpt:

He smelled like home. Like love. Like promise and comfort, like passion and disbelief.

“What’s wrong?” he snapped, his face alternating between joy and anger. “Why are you here?”

Coming to her senses, she extracted the thick envelope from her brief bag, looking him square in the eye. “Legal matter. I’ve been instructed to deliver this to you.” She used remarkable restraint in not peering around Gerald to get more of an eyeful of Declan McCormick’s stately form.

Then again, Gerald was an impenetrable wall of muscle himself, not easily subverted. She’d need taller heels to peer around him. He did not move his palm from her arm, and his touch infused her, a deeply satisfying sense of connection slowly creeping along her skin, her breath quickening, his touch ringing bells inside her that had been dormant for a decade.

“What is it?”

“Read it. You’ll understand.” She turned on her heel and started to leave, shaking inside so hard she might trigger the New Madrid fault.

He glared at her. “What? That’s it? Ten years and that’s it?” He pulled back, breaking contact.

All her anxiety faded, like an antidote injected straight into the heart, his words kicking in, providing such clarity.

“Ten years you chose, Gerald,” she hissed, mouth curling, throat seizing. “You do not get to put this on me.” Grief flared in her, a burst like a fireball, and then it turned to the ash of anger, a light coat settling over every spare surface of her heart.

His eyebrows shot up, eyes gliding away, his nose twitching and mouth tightening as if holding back.

Squaring her shoulders, Suzanne decided to make this easy for him. God only knew why. “My law firm is handling the estate of deceased billionaire Harold Hopewell. You’ve been named in his will.” She tapped the thick envelope in his hand. “These papers explain everything.”

“Explain what?”

“You’re his heir. One of them, at least.”

*****

Author Bio:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men’s room toilet (and he isn’t a billionaire). She lives in New England with her husband and three sons in a household where the toilet seat is never, ever, down

Social Media Links:

Website:  http://jkentauthor.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/jkentauthor/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/jkentauthor

releaseblitzbutton_sfah

Release blitz hosted by Writer Marketing Services.

 

Beck (Hollywood Hitmen, Book 1) by Maggie Marr (@maggiemarr)

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Blurb:

Hot Hollywood Nights… Box office breaker, Natalie Warner might be the Princess of Tinseltown, but she’s a starlet with a bad attitude, a frightening past, and a stalker. Former SEAL Beck Tatum has a mission and no patience for Hollywood bad girls. He must protect Natalie and stay out of her bed–both missions seem nearly impossible.

Natalie Warner can’t ignore the risk any longer. A star on the rise, her latest film is on track to be the biggest box office breaker of the summer but Natalie isn’t safe. Someone is after her. Could it be her angry addict father or her mother who always wanted to be a star herself? What about her ex-boyfriend who just did time? The Studio refuses to ignore the threat and forces Natalie to take on a bodyguard, but that bodyguard comes in the shape of rugged, irresistible Beck Tatum, because whoever is after Natalie isn’t going to stop until someone makes them.

A question, wrapped in a riddle, Beck Tatum doesn’t know what part of the government he worked for before he lost his memory or what exactly his mission was. He can remember that he loved and that he lost that woman as well as his memories on that final mission. Now with a second chance, he’s assigned to protect a high-value asset. Rich and entitled but yet kind and vulnerable, Natalie Warner isn’t the spoiled rich woman Beck expected. But falling for her would put her life on the line and Beck isn’t about to lose anything else.

Buy links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2czmNko

iBooks: http://apple.co/2cEjhnx

Nook: http://bit.ly/2cUBjnK

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2caDAcO

*****

beck_1400Excerpt:

Beck welcomed darkness. The night was a cloak of anonymity that provided him with a freedom the daylight never did. When he chose to be, Beck was soundless in his movements. Swift and stealthy under the cover of night, he could move before anyone knew of his presence. You didn’t get nineteen confirmed kills without embracing silence.

He entered Natalie’s bedroom. Moonlight glanced through the window and shone on her face. Her dark hair lay like liquid night on a pillow. Those perfect lips barely parted. Her sleep was peaceful. Restful. A thought . . . a memory . . . a moment from before, with Marisol, flashed through Beck’s mind like lightning in a summer sky, then was gone.

Natalie was tough. She might appear like a sexy girly-girl, but with all the treachery she’d endured from her family and friends, she’d developed a thick hide to survive and thrive.

Beck circled the room. Tested the locks on the French doors that led to the balcony. Her room was on the second floor, but if a person was determined they’d find a way to get inside. He scanned the bathroom. Pretty damn swank. Next was the walk-in closet, which was bigger than his last apartment and filled with more shit than one of those fancy-ass high-end department stores.

He circled back to the bedroom and stopped beside Natalie’s bed. She had no reason to trust Beck. All the people in her life had failed her when she’d trusted them. Why would she expect anything different from him?

Because Beck wouldn’t fail. Not again. Not this time.

“What are you doing in my room?”

“My job.”

*****

Author Bio:

Maggie Marr is the author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She writes smart, sexy, women and the men they love. She got her start in Hollywood pushing the mail cart at ICM, but quickly rose through the ranks to become a motion picture literary agent. As well as writing, she maintains a boutique legal practice dedicated to the needs of creatives & entrepreneurs. She is the current President of Los Angeles Romance Authors (LARA) and legal adviser to the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA). Maggie loves all things pop culture and when she isn’t taking care of her clients or writing she can be found reading, chasing kids, or exercising her rescue pup

Social Media:

Website:  http://www.maggiemarr.net/

Newsletter:  http://www.maggiemarr.net/about/newsletter

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/maggiemarrbooks

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/maggiemarr

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30741954-a-forbidden-love

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Release blitz hosted by Writer Marketing Services.

 

It’s Release Day for In The Flesh!

kdgrace-itf-finalIt’s release day for In The Flesh, and I couldn’t be happier! I just got my gorgeous author’s copies yesterday, and the good reviews are already coming in. I’m all ready to celebrate!

When I began In the Flesh as a serial on my blog, I never imagined it would grow from the short story it started its life as ten years ago to a novel. It started out as just sexy horror, but it never felt quite complete, so I thought I’d let the story tell itself. WOW! What a story it turned out to be! It evolved into a full-length novel and became a strange mix of demons, vampires, angels and Medusa – that’s right, even Medusa shows up for the fun. And why not? It is the first book of Medusa’s Consortium, after all. I didn’t see that coming either, since I’d already written the third book of The Medusa’s Consortium series, thinking it was the first.

What I discovered as I wrote it is that the characters who joined the cast throughout the novel may have come to the party uninvited, but they were always a welcome addition that made the story better and stronger and juicier as it unfolded. Those new characters and the chemistry and complications they created opened the doors to whole new possibilities and made the novel shine and sizzle in ways I could have never achieved without a little party-crashing mash-up of characters from my short novella, Landscapes, and from the third novel Buried Pleasures — and yes, it became the third novel because In The Flesh’s mash-up of party-crashers added a big fat juicy twist to the novel that absolutely guaranteed Michael, Susan and the Guardian were gonna need a sequel. That will be Blind-Sided, which I’ve already started on.

 

If you like sexy, chilling, thrilling urban fantasy/paranormal romance, then In the Flesh is right up your ally. Here’s a sneak peek, along with a little bit about the Medusa Consortium Series.

 

In The Flesh Blurb:

 

When Susan Innes comes to visit her friend, Annie Rivers, in Chapel House, the deconsecrated church that Annie is renovating into a home, she discovers her outgoing friend changed, reclusive, secretive, and completely enthralled by a mysterious lover, whose presence is always felt, but never seen, a lover whom she claims is god. As her holiday turns into a nightmare, Susan must come to grips with the fact that her friend’s lover is neither imaginary nor is he human, and even worse, he’s turned his wandering eye on Susan, and he won’t be denied his prize. If Susan is to fight an inhuman stalker intent on having her as his own, she’ll need a little inhuman help.

  

 

EXCERPT from In The Flesh: Susan’s Secret Writings:

I wasn’t alone in the dark. I knew that the first time I entered the crypt at Chapel House. I could feel a presence there, almost as though someone stood just behind me, about to reach out and touch me. The shiver over my skin was not so much from fear, though certainly there was an element of fear, as it was from longing, bone-deep longing. I could barely breathe for it, I could barely stand under the weight of it, and I couldn’t imagine how such an ache, such a hunger could exist inside my flesh and not tear me apart. I was astonished that Annie seemed completely unaware of anything out of the ordinary, and to be quite honest, I wasn’t anxious to share it with her.

She continued to chatter on about her plans to make Chapel House over with a state of the art kitchen—she who didn’t cook, and a master suite that would rival the finest hotels in London. Strange that I could listen with one part of my brain and comment on her ideas for an open plan living space, for a library in the choir loft, for a wet room in the sacristy, while with another part of my brain I felt like every cell of my body was responding to whatever it was, whoever it was that I was certain waited there in the darkness, just beyond the beam of Annie’s Maglite.

***

The departmentalizing of Annie’s plans and the feel of the presence in the darkness became much more difficult when I felt the closeness of a warm, hard body against my back and the humid nip of a kiss on the nape of my neck. I explained away my little gasp of surprise to Annie by saying I’d almost lost my footing. I should have been frightened. I should have been terrified, and believe me, I was. But by the time I felt a large hand splayed low against my belly, by the time I was certain of the maleness pressed hard and low just above my butt, I was far more intrigued than I was frightened. Even if terror had won out, I don’t think I could have forced myself to move as the hand in the darkness migrated to cup my breasts and thumb my nipples, first one, then the other, and the slow grind and undulation from behind became more demanding.

“The roses, they smell lovely.” I managed a breathless response to Annie’s ramblings about plans for the overgrown mess of a garden. “You might want to consider a scent garden.”

She laughed. “I can’t smell anything, but then you were always the one with the sensitive nose. Of course I’ll make suregraveyard-angel-1
there are lots of roses.” She knew they were my favorite, but I couldn’t imagine her not smelling them; the scent was nearly overwhelming in the tight space of the crypt. To my surprise, as she rambled on about a patio with a Jacuzzi, the smell of roses was subsumed in my own scent and the humid, piquant scent of a man well aroused. The hand on my breast began a slow, torturous descent, and I wanted nothing more than for Annie to keep talking, keep planning, anything to keep her from dragging me away from this place, at least for a few more minutes.

I asked about the Jacuzzi, hoping that would give me another minute. By the time she got started about the sites she’d looked up online and the builders she’d talked to, I was rocking back against the hardness, craning my neck to yield as much bare skin as possible to teeth and tongue and lips all soft and warm and wet and sharp and hard and demanding. Oh,

I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible, but looking back, I wonder how the hell Annie couldn’t see? How could she have missed it? But she rattled on and on about some builder just up the road near Keswick who was supposed to be really good, some guy named Michael. Like I gave a fuck.

The study suddenly felt stuffy and overheated, and Michael’s grip on my hand convulsed. His jaw tightened, but he didn’t look at me.

Magda paid little attention to either my discomfort or Michael’s. She just kept on reading.

He was cute, Annie said. That led to observations about this Michael’s broad shoulders and nice arse and speculation as to whether or not he would be any good in bed, and was it wise to seduce him before he put in her Jacuzzi or wait till after and seduce him in it. All the while I nodded and pretended to be interested.

I was thankful for the extra time, but Christ, how could she not notice me standing there, legs apart, rocking back and forth and shifting from foot to foot like I had ants in my knickers? In truth, what I wanted in my knickers surely couldn’t actually be there, and yet I felt it, fucking hell, how I felt it! I swear, I could feel muscle and sinew. Hell, I could feel the actual shape of an erection as though we were both naked, as though all he need do, this dark being who surely was just my imagination, was bend me over and open me, me struggling to keep my breathing quiet, me struggling to focus enough attention on my friend that she wouldn’t suspect I was about to come. Oh yes, I was terrified. I would have, should have, run, if I hadn’t been so intrigued, so turned on. I just wanted one more second, and then another and another.

In desperation that shocks me even now as I write this in the dark silence of Annie’s flat, I grabbed onto a wrist that I swear was as solid and warm as my own and guided the caress, the tease, the fondling of fingers and palm down my belly toward where I really needed it to be.

Annie yammered on about this Michael, all the things she’d heard about him, all the things she wanted to do to him—at least I think she did. My God, my whole body felt alive, every cell, every molecule. I could damn near feel the coursing of my own blood through my veins. You have no idea what an exhilarating combination fear and arousal make. I lost track of what Annie was saying, and the air was filled with the scent of sex. I could smell him, actually smell this phantom man, who was as near release as I was, and I was sure, as my knees gave beneath me, I felt the warm wet of his orgasm against my lower back. And then for an instant everything around me was silk and darkness, so perfect, so ecstatic. But just beyond that warm tight space, I knew. I knew as well as I know my own breath, I was terrified, and what I felt was like no terror I’d ever known before and, holy God in heaven, I want to feel it again.

And then I was shivering on my knees against the stone floor in the crypt at Chapel House.

“Susan? Susan, you’re scaring me.” Annie’s worried face invaded my field of vision before she half-blinded me with her Maglite. “Are you all right? What the hell happened?”

“Sorry, I got a little lightheaded there. Probably just blood sugar. I missed lunch,” I lied, stumbling quickly to my feet, making a quick swipe at the back of my skirt, surprised to find it was dry. Glancing over my shoulder into the narrow beam of the Maglite, I saw only the empty darkness of the crypt and the tunnel that led back to the rusted barred door. But I was certain someone was there, someone I hungered for way more than I hungered for food. And I was equally certain that I would have Him.

  

Buy In the Flesh Here

 

 

About the Medusa’s Consortium Series:

 

Contrary to popular belief, Medusa is alive and well and living a quiet life in the English Lake District. But don’t let that fool you, ever since she escaped Greece and the Olympians, Medusa/AKA Magda Gardener, has been secretly kicking ass and taking names.

 

431px-medusa_mascaron_new_york_nyMedusa may be public enemy number one with the Olympians, but in the modern world, Magda Gardener never turns away someone in need. For those she helps, those who are drawn to her, those she seeks out, life will never be the same. Like the Godfather, those who owe Magda Gardener never know when she’ll call in the debt, or what will be required of them when she does. Magda is a rescuer of monsters and demons and a thief of all things dear to the Olympians. She is irreverent, powerful, rich and has her own agenda, in which the lines between right and wrong are not always clearly drawn. Even more importantly, she and her consortium are all that stand between the modern world and a new age of Olympian tyranny. Magda Gardener is a female Nick Fury in dark glasses commanding her monsters, gods and demons version of the Avengers.

 

But what’s at the heart of the gorgon? Can she ever really heal from the rape of a god or overcome the curse of a goddess? As her consortium of powerful misfits grows into a cohesive, if rather troubled, family, it becomes more and more difficult to keep her distance from the lives of those who belong to her. Scheming to keep one step ahead of the Olympians and wreak as much havoc upon them as possible, can Medusa find redemption and possibly even love among the monsters? The Medusa’s Consortium Series is Magda Gardener’s story and the stories of those drawn to her.

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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