Bronwyn Green

The Corner of Quirky & Kinky

 

This month’s flash fiction is called  “Towers Fall into the Sea” by Clock and Clouds, who I adore. You can listen to it up above. And since it’s an instrumental, there are no lyrics to link to. But if you like this, I highly encourage you to check out more of their music. 

 

Felicity bounced on the corner of her friend’s bed. “Brooklyn, let’s go outside. There are robins hatching in the nest in the porch rafters.”

She continued to read, not even bothering to acknowledge that Felicity had spoken.

Brooklyn!”

She didn’t even glance up.

Felicity waved her hand in front of the other girl’s face.

Nothing.

She grabbed Brooklyn’s shoulders and shook her. The sudden chill that shivered along her limbs was the only indication she’d felt anything at all.

Tears burned Felicity’s eyes. It couldn’t be happening again. Not so soon after she’d lost her last friend. Britney, Brooklyn’s older sister, had been her playmate for years, but she’d moved on, and it seemed Brooklyn had too. Just like all the other children before her.

Once, she’d tried to keep one of them with her. It hadn’t taken much. A dare to slide on the ice-covered pond–the ice that had been far too thin to hold his weight. She’d succeeded. She’d kept Anthony with her. But he never spoke to her. He just hovered in the corners of rooms, glaring at her and shivering–his skin blue and his eyes hard. No, she wouldn’t make that mistake again.

The bedroom door creaked open, and Felicity whirled toward the sound, Brooklyn barely looked up, though.

“C’mon,” Brooklyn’s mother said. “Time for your piano lesson.”

The girl rolled her eyes and folded a page in her book before closing it and leaving it on her bed.

Her mom glanced around the room after Brooklyn exited, squinting at the bed. For a moment, Felicity wondered if the woman could see her, but just as quickly, she turned away, absently rubbing her growing stomach.

Soon, there would be someone new in the house to play with.

That’s it for me today. Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories. 

Siobhan  *  Gwen

 

 

The prompt will be bolded in the story. 

Mallory lugged her backpack and suitcase up seven flights of stairs to the stupidly small apartment she’d agreed to share with her sister, Nina. After a total of three flights and twenty-three hours worth of layovers, all Mallory wanted to do was wash the airport off her, crawl into bed and sleep for at least three weeks. That wasn’t too much to ask, was it? When she finally reached her floor and heard the techno-punk base pounding out of what sounded like her flat, she realized it was.

She shoved her key into the lock and discovered that her sister hadn’t bothered to secure it in the first place. Mallory rolled her eyes. Apparently, Nina had never gotten the memo that older sisters were supposed to be responsible. Opening the door, she spotted a strange man standing next to the kitchen table and stopped dead. Was this the wrong apartment? She glanced at the number on the door, then at the canvas hanging on the wall. That was her painting–she was in the right place.

The guy turned around from where he’d been chopping vegetables, paring knife in his hand. For a moment, confusion marred his brow, then his expression cleared. “You must be Mallory. Hi.”

“Hi…?”

He extended his hand–the hand still clutching the knife. “I bet this is a surprise. I’m Jace.”

Mallory stared at him, her gaze dropping to the cutlery still pointed at her.

“Oh. Yeah. Um…sorry.” He tossed it on the table behind him and offered his hand, again. “Like I was saying, I’m Jace, Nina’s boyfriend.”

What the fuck, Nina?! I’ve only been gone two weeks and you move someone in and don’t bother saying shit? Shaking his hand, she said, “Nice to meet you.” After all, she was from the Midwest. “So…is Nina here?”

“Nah. She picked up an extra shift. So, it’s just me and Clive.”

Mallory set down her bags and shut the door. She really didn’t want to ask, but she had to know. “Clive?”

Jace looked confused. “Nina’s kitten.”

Oh good. So Nina had not only moved in a strange guy while she was gone but had also gotten a kitten. They were going to have to readdress the apartment rules later.

“I was just starting supper,” he said, gesturing loosely toward the stove. The stove that was coverer with what looked like three months’ of baked-on food splatters. Which was impressive, really, since she’d only been gone for a week.

“It should be done soon, if you’re hungry.”

She glanced at the mountain of dishes in the sink that had spilled over onto the counter, noticing the slightly rancid smell that permeated the air. Yeah…she wasn’t eating in this kitchen until she had the chance to bleach the fuck out of it.

“I think I’ll just have a cup of tea and go to bed. I’m exhausted.” That was provided she still had a bed. Who knew what else Nina had done while she was gone.

She walked toward the cupboard where they kept the tea and reached for the knob, but Jace got there first. The cupboard stuck like usual, and he wrenched on it, driving it straight into her forehead.

Mallory let loose a torrent of curses and cradled her throbbing head, and slowly realized blood dripped against her hand.

“Oh shit! I’m so sorry…I didn’t mean to–”

“Just get me a wet washcloth, please.”

He pulled a sopping, sour-smelling dishcloth from the sink.

“God no! What is wrong with you?!” She stomped over to the bathroom, yanked open a drawer, and grabbed a clean cloth with her free hand.

Jace followed her. “I”m so sorry. I feel terrible.”

“Good.” She glanced at him as she wet the fabric.

He stared at her, eyes wide.

“What?” she demanded.

“Um…well. It’s just that all that blood looks good on you.

 

He shrugged. “It really brings out your eyes.”

That was it. Nina was going to have to find a new place to live. And take Jace with her.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories

Jess  *  Siobhan  *  Gwen

I feel like you’ll be unsurprised to know that I have opinions about this. All kinds of opinions, so let’s get to it. I also probably definitely have Poldark gifs.

Okay so for me, the best sex scenes are full of…thoughts and emotion. It doesn’t matter if it’s a low heat scene or an absolutely filthy, erotic scene. I want to be so deeply inside that character’s head that I know what they’re thinking and feeling.

And what they’re feeling doesn’t need to be love–especially not in the beginning–but they need to be thinking and feeling something. This is true of any scene–not just sex scenes. Without the characters’ thoughts and feelings, it’s impossible for a reader to connect emotionally to a character. And if a reader can’t connect emotionally to a character, they’re not going to care what happens to them. And if they don’t care what happens, they’re not going to care if they finish the book or not. And it’s highly unlikely that they’ll want to get your next one. And I don’t want to be told what the character is feeling, I want to be shown.

I also want all the details. Now, I’m not just talking about detailed descriptions of body parts or actions. These characters aren’t just getting it on in the vacuum of space. There are things to consider like weather (if they’re outdoors–or hell, even if they’re indoors), surfaces–bedding, hay bales (just say no), grass, carpet, alleyway, etc., clothing texture and how much stays on or comes off, light–how little or how much can they see?  Scents–and not just arousal/perfume/cologne. Sounds, tastes. You get the picture.

Those are the bigger details, but there are little things, too. For instance, having sex on a dresser? Where is your character putting his or her feet. I used the drawer pulls for a character. It’s a little detail, but it grounds the reader in the scene. It’s important to find the the right balance of details in a sex scene. Not so many that the reader is wondering if the heroine is paying attention to the guy going down on her but enough that the reader is basically there with the character.

Also, I really love dirty talk in sex scenes. But, that’s not as crucial for me as thoughts, feelings, and details.

Moving on to the worst sex scenes, I have a list.

Rapey sex scenes are way, way out. If the POV character is saying or thinking “no” and the other person/people continue(s), I’m out. Now, I’m not talking about saying “no” because it’s part of a scene and the character has a safe word. But literally, if the characters aren’t into it, nether am I. I’m also not into a scene where a character basically browbeats another into a sexual encounter. Even if the character decides they enjoyed it afterward. I’m still out.

Stilted dialogue. Nope.

Sex scenes that are antithetical to the characters established. You know that old adage, “start as you mean to go on”? This holds true for sex scenes, too. It drives me nuts when authors have established their characters. And they’re they’re in the middle of sexytimes and out of nowhere–literally nowhere–they start kinking it up. What I mean by this is you have a couple who heretofore showed zero interest in anything kinky. There’s been no talk of adding kink elements into the relationship or even experimenting. And then bam! It’s a case of SUDDEN ONSET BDSM™. It’s all riding crops and latex hoods up in there. It’s obvious that the elements are being included because of perceived popularity. But, if those things don’t fit the characters, they don’t belong in the book. Period.

What are your best/worst sex scenes? Share! And be sure to check out Jess and Gwen’s posts, too!

I’m part of a great group of writers called the Grand Rapids Region Writers Group. We meet once a month for a (very) brief business meeting, lunch, and a presentation. I met the woman I’m about to introduce you to at one of these GRRWG meetings. Her name is Diana Lloyd, and she’s wonderful–she’s funny, kind, and gives great hugs.

Now, it’s unlikely that most of you will ever get to experience a Diana hug. And that sucks for you. However, I’m about to tell you something awesome–basically it’s the best part.

Ready?

Okay.

Diana is a fantastic author.

I had the pleasure of reading an earlier version of this Golden Heart Nominee (Hello!), and I absolutely adored it. Diana’s characters are a delight and her playful sense of humor shines through–in both dialogue and narrative. I adored HOW TO TRAIN YOUR BARON, and I’m hoping you’ll give it a chance, too. I’ve got the blurb and excerpt below, but before we get to that, I thought we could get to know Diana a little better, first.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

It’s such a cliché, but I LOVED books as a child. I decided I wanted to be an English teacher or a librarian because when I was young I associated those jobs with being around books. When I was older and not a teacher or a librarian, I started writing down story ideas in a notebook, but I was still afraid to actually start writing. When the kids were a little older I got up the courage to attend a Romance Writers of America local chapter meeting. That’s how I found out that my writing really sucked. I dropped out of the group and spent the next few years learning everything I could about the craft of writing. When I came up with Quin and Elsinore, I knew they were the characters that were going to finally get me to write the story. I rejoined Romance Writers of America, entered their Golden Heart contest and became a finalist. I didn’t win the award, but I got offered a 3-book contract from Entangled Publishing. Twenty years passed from the time I first scribbled down the idea of having a baron lose his shoe at a ball and the day my novel was finally published.

 

What made you realize you wanted to write romance?

I started out reading everything—history, biography, true crime, Steven King and Daniel Steele. As I aged, like fine wine, I realized the books I most liked had an HEA. Romance guarantees that. Having an HEA is like ice cream on cake, not only do you get a satisfying story-you get a little sweet something at the end.

 

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

  1. My children. Because they grew up to be kind, thoughtful, well-adjusted adults despite the fact that when they were toddlers I told them that yogurt was ice cream.
  2. Going to Europe all by myself. I suffer from anxiety, so getting on that flight (my first) alone was the hardest thing I’d ever done and I’m proud of myself for doing it. I navigated Paris by myself, participated in a German Volksmarch, and drank a bier at the Hofbräuhaus.
  3. Getting published. From initial idea to first sale it took me 20 years.

Do you have any pet peeves?

So, so many. Number one right now is people at a store check-out counter who do NOT HAVE THEIR SHIT TOGETHER. I’m waiting for the day there is a special line just for people who know what the hell they are doing. Also on the list; slow drivers who camp out in the middle lane on a 3-lane highway, parents who let their children run about like drunken sailors on shore leave, litterbugs, and chatty old men.

 

Are there any skills you’d like to learn?

I have always wanted to play a musical instrument. Despite many attempts (violin, flute, clarinet, piano), the only thing I can play is the radio.

 

Which of your characters would you least want to take a road trip with, and why?

My heroine, Elsinore. What a handful. She’s perky and chatty and a wee bit impulsive. She’d play with the radio, want to stop to see the Corn Palace or the world’s largest ball of twine. She’d wave at strangers and yell “hello there” out the window. All I want to do is hit the gas, crank the radio to my jams, and sing along with the wrong words loudly and off-key like I do when I’m alone.

 

Who are your favorite book boyfriends?

Colin Sandhurst from Tessa Dare’s A WEEK TO BE WICKED. And my Mr. Darcy, Matthew MacFadyen, from Jane Austen’s PRIDE and PREDJUDICE. Colin appeals to me because he’s calm with an unconventional sense of humor. He’s like a kid’s toy, he wobbles but he doesn’t fall down. He’d be a riot to have around. Mr. Darcy appeals in the opposite way. He’s thoughtful, overly serious, and a bit dour. But he’s loyal and steadfast, you could rely upon him in an emergency.

 

What’s your least favorite word?

Mucus. Phlegm. Quim. I’m not too thrilled with “moist” either.

 

What’s your favorite curse word?

Shit. It’s the Swiss Army knife of curse words. I’m pretty sure it will appear in every book I write. Of course, in historical romance, it might slip in there as “shite.”

 

City or country?

City. I’m not fond of dirt. Or bugs. Or gardening, which combines the two.

 

Introvert or extrovert?

Introvert. If it had good Wi-Fi I could happily live in a cave on a deserted island. Addendum—as long as there was no dirt or bugs in the cave.

 

Questions about the book.

 

How to Train Your Baron is your first ever release. First off, congratulations! What can you tell us about it?  How did the idea come to you?

As a child I loved the story of Cinderella and other fairy tales. We had one of the very old editions of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Mother Goose, and Hans Christian Anderson in the house, with the original stories before they were…sanitized. Dang, those original tales were dark! When I started writing I thought about twisting those fairy tales around and even mashing them together. After all, those stories endured for hundreds of years for a reason.

 

What do you like best about Quin?

He’s a survivor. Despite all the horrible things he’s witnessed in his life, he keeps trying. He doesn’t wallow in misery, but he carries the baggage along until he’s forced to deal with it. He tries so hard to keep himself together, keep everyone safe, and keep everything chugging along like the little train that could. Despite that, he still recognizes love and allows himself to fall into it a little bit at a time.

 

What do you like best about Elsinore?

She hasn’t been tarnished by the world yet, so she possesses the sort of wide-eyed innocence that makes her think she can accomplish anything if she just puts her mind to it. She knows she has a lot to learn and just barges ahead to learn it first hand, so she can move on to learning the next thing. She’s a lot like the younger, more naïve me. I grew up very sheltered and didn’t learn how the world really worked until I got my own apartment. I find Elsinore a refreshing change from characters who already have their shit together when the book starts. Elsinore has to earn her happy ending.

 

Were there any scenes that were particularly difficult to write? If so, how?

Quin’s fear of poison and the reason behind it. In doing family genealogy research, I discovered my great-grandfather died from being poisoned. That death immeasurably effected the next two generations, determining who moved away, who stayed behind, and which children were farmed out to other relatives to raise. Further research pointed to the most likely suspect and their identity shocked me to the core. I’d sat on this person’s knee, held their hand while I walked to school—all while other people in the family secretly suspected them of murder. I’ll never know if the person I suspect really did it, they passed away before I even started my research. Any family members who might have known more took their suspicions to their grave.

 

If you were to cast your book as a movie, who would you choose to play your characters? 

Jude Law is Quin.

Heather Graham is Elsinore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s up next for you?

I have a Historical Romance Holiday novella coming out November 1st titled LOVE REKINDLED AT CHRISTMAS. My novella LET IT SNOW is the story of how a friendly holiday game can go terribly, terribly wrong when a bit of fire is involved.

 

I’m also working on books 2 and 3 of my “What Happens in the Ballroom” series. Book 2, ESCAPING THE EARL, is a Georgian era mash-up of Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, Julianna Latham meets an Earl who wears his scars on the outside and hides his heart and an Earl with a wise, smiling face who would do anything to hide his treachery. As she decides which Earl is the real beast, she is offered passage on the sea journey that could take her back home and away from them both. Publication date TBA.

 

Book 3 is LAST LORD STANDING where rake Kerrigen Northam survives on looks, wit, and little white lies. When one of his falsehoods turns out to be not so harmless, he struggles to make everything right again. Caught in his web of lies, Liberty Chalford must find a way to save both their reputations. In this Regency mash-up of Pinocchio and The Three Little Pigs, Liberty and Kerrigen discover the truth of what they seek exists in each other. Publication date TBA.

 

What would you most like readers to know about you and your books?

Perfect people are boring. I’m not perfect and neither are my characters. They have quirks, flaws, irrational fears, temper tantrums, unreasonable expectations, and make impulsive missteps. Just like me. I want my characters to be relatable and likable. Readers should care about what happens to them, cringe when they do something stupid, laugh when they make a joke, and cheer them on toward their happily-ever-after.  I hope readers find my characters’ adventures entertaining and enjoyable. I hope they find me on Amazon and buy some books and leave a review.

Bio: 

Diana Lloyd, mother of gingers, writes stories with kissing and cravats. Diana lives in Michigan with her husband of 32 years, also a ginger. Writing historical romance demands that much like Alice in Wonderland, Diana falls down a lot of rabbit holes for the sake of research. If you enjoy things like spending four hours researching the etymology of a single word only to delete that word in the next editing pass, you can write historical romance too. Diana loves writing engaging stories of romance where couples learn to work together to create their happily-ever-after.

I encourage anyone who enjoys historical romance to give me a follow or a shout-out.

Website  *  Twitter  *  Facebook Author  *  Facebook Personal  *  Goodreads

Amazon  *  Barnes & Noble  *  KOBO

Here’s the blurb: 

When Elsinore Cosgrove escapes a ballroom in search of adventure, she has no idea it will lead to a hasty marriage. The youngest daughter of a duke, all she wants is to make her own choices. Now she’s engaged to an infuriating, handsome Scottish baron who doesn’t even know her name! Using all her feminine wiles, along with advice gleaned from a training guide for hunting hounds, Elsinore is determined to mold her baron into the husband she wants.

Quin Graham is a man with many secrets. If another scandal can be avoided with a sham marriage, so be it. Only his fiancée isn’t at all what he’s expecting, and the clumsy, curious, and clever Elsinore refuses to be set aside. For reasons he’s unwilling to explain, the last thing Quin needs is to fall for his wife

Excerpt:

“Papa?” Elsinore clutched the shoe to her breast as her father avoided her gaze. A dull ache began throbbing behind her eyes. Surely she would not be forced into a poor match. She’d only be twenty next week, hardly a spinster. Her father was not a cruel man. His laughter had echoed through the halls just this afternoon as they readied for the ball—she’d made a witty remark, and he’d vowed it so clever that he was going to repeat it at his club.

“I don’t believe you could make it through the rest of the season without another scandal, not with the disobedience you’ve already shown.” There was no anger behind his words, only resignation.

“What disobedience?” she asked warily, afraid she already knew the answer.

Her father harrumphed and shook his head. “Did you not climb up, unassisted, in a complete stranger’s high-perch phaeton on Bond Street last week?”

“I’d never been in a high-perch before, and it was so smart. Brother promised to teach me the ribbons this year, and I decided I wanted a carriage just like it.” It was a quick and convenient lie. In truth, she’d spied Lady Throckmorton and her dandified son and scrambled off the walkway to avoid them. Pendergast Throckmorton, heir to a viscountcy, wasn’t only an uneducated, self-centered fop, he was permanently attached to his harridan of a mother’s elbow. Elsinore would have thrown herself in front of a moving carriage to avoid yet another invitation to take tea with Lady Throckmorton.

“Half the ton saw you scampering up into a phaeton like a circus monkey,” her father continued.

“I assure you, I was as un-monkeylike as possible,” she said meekly.

“Oh good. I was worried you’d made a spectacle of yourself.”

Elsinore winced at the sarcasm in her father’s voice. As the youngest, she was accustomed to a measure of clemency not enjoyed by her older siblings and his words stung.

“Shall I mention the incident at the Trent’s musicale?” he asked.

Deciding a bit of truth would serve her better, Elsinore stood up straighter before explaining. “In an attempt to avoid unwanted attention from Lord Butterworth, I chose the most efficient point of egress.”

“You jumped out of a window!” her father roared back. A large man with long, stark white hair, his tone of voice reminded Elsinore of why he was considered a persuasive force in the House of Lords.

“It was a French window,” Elsinore muttered. “And it was more of a skip than a jump.”

Her mother stopped sniffling long enough to ask, “And what is wrong with Lord Butterworth? He’s the heir of an earl, for heaven’s sake.”

“He smells like rotting eggs.” Elsinore wrinkled her nose.

“They all smell, dear,” her mother said. “You need to learn to breathe through your mouth.” Her father snorted at her mother’s explanation.

“I refuse to spend the rest of my life breathing through my mouth. I’ll look consumptive. A measure of cleanliness should not be too much to expect from a prospective husband.”

“Have you already forgotten the scandal at the Dardens’ country house, which caused your season to be deferred to this year instead of last?” her father interjected, clearly unhappy with the direction their conversation had taken.

“For the hundredth time, I didn’t realize they were going to swim. I thought the young men were going to have an adventure, and I didn’t want to miss it. I left as soon as I saw… That is, as soon as I realized they were unclothed. It was an innocent misunderstanding, hardly a scandal. There was no harm done to any party involved and no reason for Darden to tell his father he spotted me.”

“No harm?” her father exclaimed. “If their cousin hadn’t chosen that very weekend to elope and distract everyone, I don’t know what we would have done about your reputation.”

“I had to tell everyone you had a putrid throat all last season and had been sent to the country to recuperate. We’re lucky beyond measure that their scandal was more interesting than yours, or people would still be talking about it,” her mother added.

Elsinore looked down to the drooping hem of her ripped gown, the ragged edges of white silk now gray where it trailed along the floor, and the telltale spots of red wine marked her as unsuitable. She clutched at the sleeve that, thanks to popped stitches, refused to stay in place on her shoulder, as she gathered her thoughts. She had to admit, she really did look a fright. She was tired of explaining herself, and every time she tried to consider the possible consequences, her stomach flipped in the most alarming way. She wanted to scream.

Instead, she whispered, “I just wanted to make my own adventure.”

Eric stared at the TV hanging from the ceiling in the local sports bar and grill. He was supposed to meet his date at seven-thirty, but he’d gotten here early. He’d wanted to get his pre-date jitters out. And he was nervous. He really liked this woman–Amelia. They’d been chatting online for weeks and for the last two they’d talked on the phone almost every night. Normally, he hated talking on the phone, but with her, everything was easy. She was smart, funny, fucking gorgeous. And even though they hadn’t met in person yet, he couldn’t help thinking that she was perfect. That she might be the one.

His eyes drifted to the TV again. One of those tabloid news programs was playing. The ambient noise around him was loud enough that he couldn’t hear the reporter’s voice, but the closed captioning was on.

Since the 2016 election, more and more Millennials have been turning to witchcraft. Occult practices are on the rise, and witches of all different orders have banded together to support victims of sexual violence and to publicly name and shame their accusers. 

The camera panned to a groups of women sitting around tables in cities all over the world, writing the names of sexual assault victims on individual pieces of paper. The view suddenly changed to a divided screen. Multiple images of groups women climbing to the tops of buildings with handfuls of paper clutched in their hands, all chanting together filled the screen. They all released the pieces paper, and has he watched, those papers seemed to shift and breathe. Suddenly, he was looking at hundreds of thousands of bats. A chill ran through him. He fucking hated bats.

The closed captions filled the screen again.

Since the spell was cast–the largest group spell in the history of the recorded world–the bats have been finding their way to predators everywhere. 

The screen flashed to the congressional hearing chambers where swarms of bats hovered–not only around Brett Kavanaugh but around tons of other political figures. The were everywhere. And nothing seemed to get rid of them. It was fucking creepy.

Men afflicted by the bats are claiming innocence, maintaining that they’re the victims of lies by malicious witches.

He was still staring at the TV when he sensed someone standing nearby.

“Eric?”

He turned to find Amelia standing there and smiled. Standing, he gestured for her to sit down. “I’m so glad to finally meet you in person.”

She grinned. “Same.”

They talked forever, barely stopping long enough to order food. The waitress brought their meals, and he watched as Amelia immediately took a bite of her fancy mac and cheese. She was just so pretty. No, she was fucking perfect. How the hell had he gotten this lucky on a dating app?

In less than thirty minutes, he was imagining their entire lives together spread out in front of him.

She was in the middle of telling him about her younger sister when she froze mid-sentence–her face suddenly pale and her eyes wide.

“Are you okay?” he asked. When she didn’t respond, he reached across the table for her. “Amelia?” His fingertips brushed the back of her hand, but she jerked it away.

Her gaze was riveted above his head as she pushed back from the table and stumbled to her feet.

Dread, sluicing like ice water down his spine, he looked up. There was a bat. Written on the nearly translucent flesh of its wings was the name Annabelle Moorely. He hadn’t thought about that slut in years.

He glanced back at Amelia. She’d already grabbed her purse and was backing away, disgust and horror clear on her face.

That’s it for me this week. Be sure to check out the other stories. 

Gwen

How the hell is it the last Friday of September…I don’t even…

*sigh*

Anyway, last month, I said I wanted to:

  • Finish all scheduled audio preps. (Yep)
  • Finish all scheduled edits. (Yep)
  • Finish and submit that freaking short story! (Nope, but I finally took Alex’s advice and put it on hold.)
  • Work on my new Bound book. (YES!!!)
  • Work on my project with my girl, Jen. (Doing research!)
  • Get ready for my FB Book Club event for REWRITTEN. (Yep)
  • Get ready for my October 1st bookstore chat and signing. (Yep)
  • Get ready for my TRIP TO BOSTON (I’m getting there)

So, for October, I want to:

  • Finish all scheduled audio preps. 
  • Finish all scheduled edits.
  • Work on the new Bound book.
  • Do more research for the Jen project.
  • Start knocking out Christmas presents. Tis the season to start crafting!

Be sure to check out Jess’ goals and share some of your goals for October!

Soooooooooooooo many things make me cranky. And I’m sure there will be a bunch that I forget. But, let’s do this. As usual, these are in no particular order.

10.) Hall and Oates and Journey in general and  Phil Collins’ “Invisible Touch” and “Sussidio” in particular. The 80s brought some good things to music. This shit wasn’t it.

9.) Bra-ditions. The unmitigated awfulness of having to audition new bras after your favorite has been discontinued.

8.) Shopping of any kind. Unless it’s like at a Ren Faire or Etsy. Maybe a fabric or craft store. But literally fuck any other kind of shopping. Especially grocery shopping.

7.) The sound of loud engines–cars, trucks, motorcycles. And NASCAR, especially NASCAR.

6.) Never getting any alone time. That’s not a euphemism for anything. I just get super cranky and depressed when I never get time alone to recharge my introvert batteries.

5.) Not getting enough sleep. I’m soooooooo cranky if I’m overtired. And if I’m super tired, cranky quickly slides into what my husband refers to as slangry. It’s like hangry, but it’s sleepy and angry.

4.) Vaguebooking. Say it or don’t. I mean, I get that sometimes, you have to have a place to vent and maybe what you can’t fully talk about things yet. But I’m talking about those posts that are purposely written to be vague so people clamor to ask what’s wrong and then information is doled out dramatically a little at a time.

3.) One-upping and, it’s fraternal twin, one-downing. I think we all know someone who, no matter what awesome thing someone is sharing has to top the other person’s news whether it’s their accomplishment or that of someone they know. One-downing is the other person we all know who, when you’re sharing something terrible that happened, has to top it with something even worse, that happened to them or a loved one, and let you know that their tragedy was soooooooo much more significant and important than the current recent awfulness in your life.

Now, I’m not talking about the natural sharing that goes on when people try to let each other know that they’re not alone in whatever they’re facing. That’s more of a supportive thing. The kind of one-downers I’m talking about are the people who act like bad shit happening to someone is some sort of competition in which they’re going to win a crown for being the most put-upon soul in all the land. She with the most sympathy wins…I guess…?

2.) Entitlement. Entitlement of any kind makes me stabby. Now, I’m not talking about things like life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, or the ability to make our own choices in life. I’m talking about people who feel that they have a right to things that don’t belong to them and that they haven’t worked for. For instance, I don’t have a right to the sales numbers of someone who’s selling more books than me. Those aren’t my sales. I’m not entitled to that person’s readers or reviews. Nobody owes me those things.

A more serious example is the terrifying men in the equally fucking terrifying incell movement who feel that they have a right to sex with women simply because they want it. And it’s cool to do whatever they feel is necessary to get it. Women owe it to them simply because the men want it. Related to this is the friend zone. Dudes who are upset because a woman sees them as a friend but doesn’t have romantic feelings for them. They feel that because they’re nice to these women that they’re again entitled to a romantic/sexual relationship with those women. Newsflash: Women don’t owe you shit. Bigger newsflash: No one owes anyone shit.

1.) Lack of personal responsibility. Everybody fucks up. Literally everyone. No one is immune. Just. Fucking. Own It. Yeah, I know. it’s no fun to admit that you screwed up. I don’t like doing it either. No one does. But accept responsibility for it, and move on. Don’t constantly try to lie or shift the blame to someone else or something else. Fucking up or simply being wrong doesn’t diminish your value as a person. Never apologizing or admitting you’re wrong or blaming others does.

That’s it for my crankyass self, today. What makes you cranky? Share! And be sure to check out what made the other bloggers’ lists.

Jess  *  Gwen

Today, on the blog we have Kathryn Nolan who I freaking adore, and she’s got a new book out that I also freaking adore. I discovered Kathryn’s books when I was shopping for a shower curtain. But Amazon knew what I really needed. 

Kathryn was gracious enough to hang with me and answer my nosy questions. *settles in* So, let’s get to know Kathryn better. And later, I’ll have a peek at her new book! 

However, you should all be aware. Kathryn has a dark side. I found out this week that she likes…*gasp* Hall and Oates. 

What’s a typical day like for you?

Besides writing, I also own my own consulting small business, providing fundraising and marketing services for nonprofits. So my day is basically all words all the time!

I wake up around 6:00 am and start a pot of coffee. Depending on how much time I have, I try to write 2,000 words (or spend those hours editing a completed draft). Later, I’ll head to a co-working space and complete work for my nonprofit clients or do marketing tasks for my romance novels. I like to end my days with either a yoga class, beers with friends, or exploring Philadelphia with my cute husband.

 

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

ALWAYS! From the youngest age I always wrote, although I never conceived of an actual career as a writer until two years ago, when I turned 30. From elementary school through high school, I wrote poetry, stories, books and articles for various school newspapers. I received a small creative writing scholarship to attend Washington College, but dropped creative writing a year in to pursue political science and human rights work.

 

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

When I turned 30, I finally had the courage to fully pursue a life that made me a happier person. Over the course of a year, I wrote and published my first novella (Cuffed), quit my high-stress job, gave away most of my things and moved into a Ford Passenger van with my husband. We spent six months living in Van Morrison and traveling across 18 states – it was absolutely, positively the best six months of my life and my greatest accomplishment.

 

Do you have any hobbies?

Like most writers, I’m a huge bookworm and I love all genres: fiction, romance, science fiction and fantasy, mystery/thrillers, memoirs, etc. I read it all! I also very committed to a yoga practice and I love bike riding! I’m a big hiker and my husband and I love to camp and hike on the weekends – I’d say our biggest hobby as a couple is being Weekend Warriors. As soon as the weather changes, we’ll spend as many weekends as possible road-tripping in our little van!

 

Which of your characters would you least want to take a road trip with, and why?

Probably Edward’s father in STRICTLY PROFESSIONAL. He’s cold, overly-critical, completely unaware of social graces, and withholds love and affection from his children. He’d be HORRIBLE on a road trip! What music would we even listen to? He probably hates hilarious podcasts and would only listen to the most boring books on tape. Oh and he’s a giant asshole.

 

What are some of your writing goals?

I don’t have a specific goal except to just keep writing. I get really emotional when I think about how this was a passion I’d given up so easily when I got to college. Rediscovering that hobby – and now doing it as my career – is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.

 

What are three of your best writing tips?

#1. Read everything! This is classic ‘writerly advice’ and it’s the truth. The more you read – the more beautiful language you take in and process – the easier the words will flow onto the page.

#2. Quiet the mind: While living in the van we had limited access to TV and the internet, and often spent hours and hours in the woods, hiking. I’ve never had so many ideas for books in my life! Without distraction, I think your brain increases its ability to tap into your creative, childlike imagination. Lets you explore without judgement, which is immensely helpful in brainstorming and noodling out tricky plot issues. (This also includes breaks from social media – as hard as it can be – because it can limit that sense of imposter syndrome, which can be very crippling when you’re writing).

#3. Read Anne Lamott’s ‘Bird by Bird: just do it! My all-time writing bible!

#4. Do it every single day: I do taking writing breaks – it’s important – but I see writing as a habit and a muscle that you flex the way you would any other muscle. The more you work it, the easier it gets. It doesn’t mean that you won’t have Bad Writing Days (I have them all the time) but just that your brain will respond to the habit. For me, at 6:00 am, with a cup of coffee and a quiet house – even if I’m tired, even if I’m overwhelmed, I have to write. There is no other wishful thinking or inspiration needed. You just….have to do it.

 

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what do you listen to?

No music with words – I’ll just end up typing the lyrics – but I do love Harry Potter Study Sounds on Youtube (AMAZING!!) and any kind of Focus app that provides white noise (like ocean waves or forest sounds).

 

What’s your favorite word?

Divine, ethereal, languorous, transformation, serendipity, knick-knack, sticky-wicket, illustrious, universe, galaxy, illuminate etc. etc. etc. (I love words!)

 

What’s your least favorite word?

Can I say the phrase “touch base”? I have worked in the nonprofit industry my entire career and the amount of meetings I sat in that seemingly went on for an entire millennia were always about needing to “touch base” about something.

 

What’s your favorite curse word?

Fuck! Always and forever.

 

What sound do you love?

All nature sounds ‘cause I’m a nature girl! Bird song, wind in the trees, thunderstorms, ocean waves, creeks in the woods, rivers. I’m also a big fan of good music!

 

What sound do you hate?

Corduroy brushing together! Arrgghhh! Growing up in the 90s I couldn’t stand being put in those corduroy OshKosh overalls!

 

Dog or cat person?

Both!

 

City or country?

Both!

 

Morning or night person?

Morning all the way! I think the mornings are just the most beautiful thing in the entire damn universe.

 

Introvert or extrovert?

SUPER EXTROVERT! I love people, talking to people, being around people, long conversations, small talk, etc. etc. I do, however, have the ability to be by myself and have ‘alone’ time, and after doing a ton of social things I really need that.

 

What do you like best about writing?

That writer’s high, when you read back what you wrote and every single fiber of your being sings ‘this is magnificent!!’ The development of characters (especially their flaws and vulnerabilities). Crafting a scene with really intensely drawn out sexual tension (goosebumps!). And on and on and on….

 

What do you like least?

ACTUALLY WRITING. No, I’m mostly kidding 😊 The hardest part of writing, for me, is working through the bad feelings that come from having a Bad Writing Day. Working through Imposter Syndrome.

 

What was your favorite childhood book?

The BFG!

 

Let’s take a look at Kathryn’s latest release, STRICTLY PROFESSIONAL. Full disclosure, I got a chance to read the ARC, and I adored it.

 

Strictly Professional is your most recent release. What can you tell us about it?  How did the idea come to you?

 

I write short pieces of erotica in my Facebook group, The Hippie Chicks, and I had the idea for a short piece about a man in a suit (I can’t remember why). And I love the ‘opposites attract’ trope, so as I conceived of this suited-up man, I started to think of his total opposite. A fancy, polite, wealthy man in a suit (Edward) began to take place next to a scowling, punky, bad-ass tattoo artist (Roxy). I thought it would be interesting to have them meet under strange circumstances, so I made Edward recently dumped (as in, that night) and Roxy trying to talk him out of getting a ‘break up’ tattoo at her parlor.

….the rest is history!

 

What do you like best about Edward?

What I loved best about Edward was his desire to help Roxy achieve her dreams – he saw the best in her, always. And I loved Edward’s yearning to be better than his parents – better than his upbringing.

What do you like best about Roxy?

Roxy loves big: she loves her parents and her sister; she loves her employees; she loves hot sex and tattoos and rescuing dogs and cats. She’s a Big Beautiful Heart and I loved that about her.

 

What other characters in your story are you especially fond of? Why?

I love side characters, and I adored Fiona (Roxy’s little sister) and Elliott (Edward’s best friend) who both serve very crucial roles in their story and character growth.

 

Were there any scenes that were particularly difficult to write? If so, how?

I hate writing the break-up scene. So much! And I cried writing this one because I was just SO SAD about it! (Luckily, they get their HEA in the end!)

 

If you were to cast your book as a movie, who would you choose to play your characters?

Ooooh! Tom Hiddleston as Edward of course! And maybe….Ruby Rose (with white blonde hair) as Roxy?

 

What’s up next for you?

I’m working on my WIP right now (4,000 words in and I hate every one of them! #WritersLife) and I’ll be coming out with an anthology of short erotica in December!

 

What would you most like readers to know about you and your books?

I’m so appreciative of the amazing support I receive from my readers every day. They really champion my books everywhere and I honestly would not be as successful as I am without them.

Blurb

STRICTLY PROFESSIONAL

What have you accomplished with your business school mentor so far?

  1. 1. Developed a strategic marketing plan.
    Pined for him.
    3. Denied my feelings for him.
    4. Dragged him into an alley and had my way with him.

Roxy Quinn thought she’d never see Edward Cavendish III again. The wealthy, English hotelier had wandered into her tattoo parlor, slightly drunk and broken-hearted. Roxy judged him on the spot: too polite and reserved for her punk-rock tastes. But Edward was more than just a handsome stranger with a sexy accent.

He was a man desperate to unleash his secret desires. After a night of exquisite passion, Roxy sends Edward back into the night. She has no time to be tempted by his charming wit when her business is failing and she’s struggling with her MBA classes. Besides, they couldn’t be more wrong for each other.

After a lifetime trapped in his parents’ legacy, Edward remembers his night with the tattooed, scowling vixen as glorious freedom. But it’s not freedom he needs now. It’s to find the right wife so he can finally take charge of the hotel he loves. Roxy, with her ripped stockings and secret piercings, is not the kind of wife that would fulfill the terms of his trust fund.

Months after their memorable one-night stand, Edward and Roxy are paired up in a business school mentoring program where they must maintain a strictly professional relationship for the semester.

With the future of Roxy’s business and Edward’s inheritance at stake, can they do it? Or will they surrender to their desires, risking everything?

 

And here’s a particularly delightful excerpt:

 

Edward laughed darkly. “I concur with your analysis.” Then he walked behind his long, sleek desk. Sat down in the chair and leaned back, looking like royalty. “Up on my desk, love.”

What?” I asked, looking around. We were alone, of course, the only windows facing the city skyline.

“Crawl up onto the table,” he said, “and don’t make me repeat myself again.”

The night we met, I’d teased and taunted the dominant side of Edward that he’d suppressed his entire life—poked and prodded until he’d snapped, twisting his fingers in my hair and forcing me to my knees.

This was the side of Edward I’d craved these past months. He’d appeared last night, fucking me against that alley wall like his life depended on it. And now here he was again, although I was wary.

Unsure of what punishment I was facing.

Edward looked down at his watch. Then back up at me.

“Yes, sir,” I said, crawling up onto his desk, mimicking the fantasy I’d had in the beginning of this meeting.

I was on my hands and knees, eyes locked on Edward’s. He gave me a cool assessment, approving. Nodded, then crooked a finger at me. “Come.”

I came. Crawling like a supplicant to the edge of his desk. Some part of me understood this as a pivotal moment between us—a changing. And the longer I was on my hands and knees, the hungrier I became.

And Edward, leaning back, considering me with a neutral expression. Although the tic in his jaw gave him away.

That and his erection, visibly pressing against his suit pants.

“Sit,” he said, patting the space in front of him. I slid my legs around until they dangled over the edge. Legs closed like a good girl. He laid his palms on my knees, squeezing.

“Did I make you upset?” I asked, surprised when I heard my voice shaking.

Edward’s expression broke for the merest of seconds before hardening again. “Quite the opposite, Roxy darling. Quite the opposite.” He peeled my knees open, slow as molasses, letting the cool air caress my inner thighs. “You know those two Board members have been a thorn in my side for months now. Total fuckheads, as you saw. And you, my love,” he said, pausing to press a reverent kiss on the inside of my thigh, “frightened them into silence.”

“I’m sorry,” I said, and he stilled. Eyes on mine as his mouth hovered near my skin.

“You’re sorry?” he growled, yanking me closer. My ass hit the edge of the table. “Sorry for what? Sorry for roaring into my life like a fucking hurricane? Sorry for up-ending everything I thought I knew I wanted? Sorry for standing up for me all the times I needed you to?” His fingers climbed higher, curling into my underwear and pulling it down my legs. I felt suspended in time, a moment so vitally alive it couldn’t possibly be real. Edward leaned forward, head beneath my skirt, and gave my clit a long, broad lick.

“Oh my God,” I sighed, smile breaking across my face.

“Don’t you ever apologize for being who you are,” Edward growled again. “It doesn’t fit you.”

“That’s true,” I said, twisting my fingers in Edward’s hair. Pulling him back into my pussy. “All hail.”

“You want to use me, love?” Edward hissed, fingers coming around to bruise my ass. Spreading me further. “Because I think I could be quite happy being your fuck toy.”

I smiled languidly, loving the push-pull of Edward’s sexuality. Such a dual desire to submit and dominate at the same time. It was addictive, letting myself be both with him.

“I thought I was being punished,” I said, stroking his cheek. One of his long fingers was teasing against my pussy, dipping in and out. His thumb was pressing against my ass. Tempting.

“While the thought of punishing you is quite captivating, love,” he said, breaching both openings in my body at the same time, “my intent was to reward you.”

His finger curled; his thumb pushed, and then his tongue landed on my clit again. I squealed, attempting to close my legs against his head, but he snarled a warning against my skin, and I stopped. Spread my legs further.

“Then don’t stop until I come,” I commanded softly, our eyes connected for one blazing second before he dived between my legs. Filling me everywhere, a blurred dance of tongue and fingers and thumb. His tongue twisted and lapped, taking me right to the edge and back again. Kept me suspended in limbo, balanced between orgasm and relief. I moaned against my own hand, aware of an entire hotel filled with staff and guests scurrying outside, the threat of getting caught sending the most delicious thrill up my spine.

And even sexier than the scenery, the table, my spread legs was the sounds Edward made against my wet cunt—this delicate, incessant groaning like he was moments from coming himself.

“Edward,” I whimpered, back arching off the table. Tears in my eyes. “Edward, I can’t… I think… God please…” because I was moments away from shattering into a million pieces, and there was no way I wasn’t going to scream this hotel down. Let every single person in this fucking place know that Edward Cavendish III was tonguing me to a glorious climax.

 

BUY STRICTLY PROFESSIONAL

$2.99 this week (before the price goes up on Friday) and free in Kindle Unlimited

 

Author Bio

I’m an adventurous hippie chick that loves to write steamy romance. My specialty is slow-burn sexual tension (aka “The Goddess”), with plenty of witty dialogue and tons of heart.

I started my writing career in elementary school, writing about Star Wars and Harry Potter and inventing love stories in my journals.

I blame my obsession with slow-burn on my similar obsession for The X-Files.

I’m a born-and-raised Philly girl, but left for Northern California right after college, where I met my adorably-bearded husband. After living there for eight years, we decided to embark on an epic, six-month road trip, traveling across the country with our little van, Van Morrison. Eighteen states and 17,000 miles later, we’re back in my hometown of Philadelphia for a bit…but I know the next adventure is just around the corner.

When I’m not spending the (early) mornings writing steamy love scenes with a strong cup of coffee, you can find me outdoors — hiking, camping, traveling, yoga-ing.

Follow Kathryn on Social Media

Amazon * BookBub * Instagram * Facebook Group * Newsletter * Facebook * Book+Main

Unless you’re new here, I feel like my answer is going to be super predictable. I want to go on my big Ireland and UK writing retreat. Ideally, I’d like to spend two weeks in each country. Yeah, I know, it’s also not terribly realistic. So, I guess what I’d really love is to hang out in Cornwall.

Thanks to Poldark, (and also the ruins of Tintagel — one of the rumored locations of Camelot) I’ve fallen in love with the countryside of Cornwall. I mean…look at this place!

Look at this freaking awesome King Arthur sculpture! I REALLY want to see this.

Oh… Now, how did this get here?

What about you? Where would you go? Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ vacation dreams!

Jess  *  Siobhan  *  Gwen

This month’s song fic is inspired by James Bay’s Need the Sun to Break. Here are the lyrics and video if you want to check them out. I hadn’t heard this song previously, but I really love it. And fair warning, this is probably going to be a really short fic, because as much as I love this song, I’m having trouble coming up with a story for it. 

I’d given up on sleep hours ago. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to sleep. I did. Desperately. But, I wanted you more. Though, after last night, I wasn’t sure that was something I was going to get. Not after the way you left–dragging your broken heart behind you like a child’s pull toy with a busted wheel.

I needed the sun to break. I needed the dawn. I needed to know if it was just the endless night closing in around me, wrapping me in fear, making me want to chase you down, or if it’s just you I need. It’s not fair to you, this doubt. I know that. I need to decide in the cold light of day. I just hope that when I figure it out, it’s not too late.

That’s it for me. Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories! 

Jess  *  Gwen  *  Kris