Best terrible review ever!

Disclaimer: you can think whatever you like about my books. Seriously, I don’t mind. I’d prefer you to think they’re the best thing since Julia Quinn, but you can hate them if you want! It’s ok! I don’t like everything I read either.

Saying that, bad reviews aren’t always the easiest to swallow. This one, however, I just love!

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I must be getting better as a writer: it’s the first time I’ve been both predictable and far fetched at the same time!

Oh well. She bought the book, so I can’t complain. Thanks Pat!

It’s live!

Sorry for the delay, but Alfred the Great decided that I’ve been far too mobile at present, so he decided to trip me up and sprain my ankle. Yes, that’s right, for a cat who gets annoyed by the amount of time it takes me to get downstairs to feed him in the morning, he’s certainly making it hard for himself because now it takes me twice as long to hobble there!

However, as my ankle is now merely the size of an apple rather than a grapefruit, it’s time to catch up on a few things!

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You can buy it from Amazon in the US, Amazon in the UK and from the Blushing Books website.

It has six great stories set in different historical time periods, from the medieval to the Victorian age. My own contribution is The Incorrigible Annabelle Spencer, and you can read the first chapter for free here! Just click the link above. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Vanessa Brooks and Juliette Banks in person, and I can guarantee that you’ll enjoy their contributions to this mammoth compilation. For just $5.99, or £4.80 in proper money, you get six full length novels  – that’s 386000 words!

An absolute bargain – what are you waiting for?

Breaking news – a new book!

Cancel your plans and charge up your Kindles – The Victorian Vices Book 4 will be available on the 21st April 2017!

In Spanking Lady Lavinia we meet the wilful Lady Lavinia Carstairs, youngest sister of the Earl of Beaumont, hero of Spanking The Heiress. She’s been a handful since the day she learned to walk, and she’s only got better at it as she’s got older!

The only man who has a hope of reining her in is William Evans, her brother’s private secretary. Sparks fly between them, but his humble birth means that a future together is impossible in Victorian London’s rigid class-driven society.

At least, it would be, if William Evans really is who he says he is….

I’ll post the cover as soon as it’s made by the fabulous people at Blushing Books! Meanwhile, have  a look at Flora by Titian, the painting that draws William and Lavinia together when William first applies to join the Beaumont household.  A shocked William is introduced to Lavinia’s rather inappropriate sense of humour in the sneak peek snippet below!

 

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He walked up and down the foyer, admiring the artwork on the walls. One in particular, right at the back near the discreet door for the servants’ use, caught his eye.

It was a Titian, he thought, although he could not be sure. The incredibly minor public school he had attended had not spent a great deal of time on the study of art. The painting was of a woman, with reddish-blonde hair that fell loosely over one bared shoulder. She was wearing a sort of nightgown, William thought, one that dipped scandalously low over her breasts and off one shoulder entirely. A reflection of colour from the pink shawl draped over her left arm drew his eye – or wait, was that a hint of rosy nipple that could be seen?

He couldn’t be sure. Without realising what he was doing he peered a little closer at the picture, and started back in alarm when a rather young, cultured, female voice said loudly,

“It’s her nipple, you know. Well, not the full thing, just the bit around the edge. Mama and Anthony had a huge row about whether it was indecent or not. Anthony played the earl card and got it hung in the foyer, but Mama made Nash move it to the back. It’s ridiculous, don’t you think? It’s not as if we don’t know what nipples are, after all.”

William whirled around to see a confection of a young woman standing on the staircase that led up to the private, family rooms of the house. She was tall and quite striking – not conventionally pretty, not with that nose and that chin in combination with each other – but she was possessed of a wicked smile that lit up her eyes. She was dressed in the height of fashion, William could tell, although he knew nothing about how women clothed themselves. She was wearing pastel shades, which rather made her resemble a flower, although with that mouth on her, she was very much a wild flower, rather than a hot house rose.

He didn’t think that he had ever heard a woman say the word ‘nipple’ before. Especially not one who couldn’t be more than sixteen years old.

“I wasn’t…” he began, his words starting to trip over themselves. “I mean, I was looking for the artist’s name. I’ve never seen…”

“Oh, it’s one of the Italians,” the girl said dismissively, descending the stairs and floating across the marble floor to stand beside him.

“Titian, I think. It’s called Flora. It’s not a patch on some of the ones we’ve got upstairs. She’s rather wishy-washy, don’t you think? All that staring off into the middle distance with an enigmatic look on her face. You can’t tell anything about her, except that she must be a bit chilly.”

“A bit chilly?” William said, bewildered.

“Her clothes are falling off, so she must be cold,” the young woman said helpfully. “Although she is in Italy, after all, so perhaps she’s warm.”

A mischievous look crossed her face, and somehow, instinctively, William knew what she was going to say next, probably because he was also thinking it.

“She must be warm,” she said decisively, “otherwise her nipples really would be showing through that dress!”

She burst out laughing, a real, unadulterated laugh, not the pretty giggles that the very few young women of his acquaintance seemed to be in favour of. William hesitated, part horrified at her lack of decorum, part intrigued by her forthright nature.

“Lavinia!” a female voice called from above.

“Blast,” she muttered. “Caught in the act.”

Guest author – The Russian Bride by Juliette Banks

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Viktor took her to a dark and frightening place. It was the love of James that saved her.

 

Natasha, a Russian-born woman living in London, catches the eye of Viktor, a middle-aged Russian gangster. He wants her as his wife, the mother of his son, and his submissive partner in the kinky sex he enjoys at his isolated home near Saint Petersburg. But he doesn’t ask her to accompany him – he just takes what he wants.

Surprisingly, Natasha begins to accept her new life. Is she really a natural submissive, or has Viktor brainwashed her? Viktor is adamant that he will not have sex with her until they are married, but he shows her just how kinky he likes it by taking her to orgies held by his friend, and tells her that this is the type of life she can expect as his wife.

Everything turns sour, however, and on a visit to London, Natasha has to flee for her life – where businessman, James Miller, comes to her aid. Over the course of the next few days, Natasha tells James her story, and as horrified as he is, he cannot deny his attraction to the beautiful young woman. He vows to help her.

Neither of them realize quite how much danger they will be in for defying Viktor, but James is willing to risk everything to rescue her from this man. Can he do it? And does Natasha return his feelings?

Publisher’s Note: This fast-paced tale contains explicit themes including power exchange, capture, multiple sexual partners and discipline. If such material offends, please do not purchase.

Enjoy a sexy snippet from The Russian Bride by Juliette Banks!

 

Natasha ate her food as though someone was going to take the plate away from her at any moment, hardly looking up as she forked it eagerly into her mouth, while James sipped his coffee and studied the young woman in front of him. She had beautiful blue eyes, he noted on the rare occasions that she looked up from her plate. Her lips were plump and looked eminently kissable, should he feel so inclined, and her face was heart-shaped, with prominent cheekbones. Even in the state she was in now, she was undoubtedly a beautiful woman. Scrubbed up and wearing a designer dress and diamond earrings, she would be stunning. What on earth had happened to reduce her to the desperate circumstances she was in now? Would she tell him? Did he really want to know? Or should he just give her some money and be on his way?

Natasha eventually looked up from the now depleted plate of food and realized that he was looking at her with an amused expression.

“Sorry. I was very hungry. I don’t normally eat like that.”

“I’m sure you don’t. Can I get you anything else? Perhaps something to take away for later?”

“No, that will be fine. This meal will last me until tomorrow, thank you.”
“It was my pleasure. I’ll get the bill.”
He was pleased that sleeping rough had not removed her manners. As they left the restaurant, he had a crazy thought. Why not offer her his spare room for the night? He was reluctant to leave her in that cold, dark car park, where any drunken tramp or drug user could molest her. He doubted that she could fight off such an approach, not in her present state at least.

They walked to the car while he weighed up in his mind what was the best to do. He didn’t think that his conscience would allow him to just eject her from the car and drive on to his warm, comfortable apartment. But would he wake up in the morning and find all his valuables gone? He doubted it somehow. He was usually a good judge of character and he was certain that this woman was not a thief. As for what else she was, he wasn’t sure. Perhaps he would soon find out. His mind was made up.

“I’m taking you home with me, Natasha. I don’t think the car park is a safe place for you. I only live a short distance away and you will be perfectly safe with me. You can have my spare room for the night, and tomorrow we’ll try and find somewhere for you to live. Perhaps the Social Services will be able to help.”

She looked a little uncertain, but after a moment, nodded her head in assent.
“Is there anything that you need to collect from the car park? Any valuables?”
That was a rather stupid thing of him to say. The woman clearly hadn’t two pennies to her name, so she was unlikely to have a secret stash in the car park. She shook her head.
“Good, let’s get you home then. It’s freezing outside now.”

James not only saved her life the day he rescued her from sleeping rough, but he also saved her soul.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon US           https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XH4C3BW

Amazon UK          https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XH4C3BW

Amazon Canada      https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B06XH4C3BW

Amazon Australia   https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B06XH4C3BW

To be or not to be…too dominant

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel; my quest is nearly at an end; I’m in lobbing distance of that ruddy great volcano in Lord of the Rings and the Precious is neatly in my hand.

Yes, I’ve just about finished another book!

This is the fourth book in my Victorian Vices series, which are not as intense as my Ruttingdon series. They’re also set further back in the nineteenth century. This follows Lady Lavinia Beaumont, who was mentioned but never seen in the third Vices book, Spanking The Heiress. She’s the fearless and demanding youngest sister of the hero of the third book, and as soon as I had written about her I knew that I needed to make her a heroine of a future book.

In this book Lady Lavinia meets her match in William Stewart, a young man with a mysterious past. The difference in class between them seems an impenetrable barrier, but Lavinia is used to getting her own way, and she wants William! William, however, is firm in his belief that Lavinia’s behaviour is in need of correction and he finds himself the only person who can tame Lavinia’s wild streak.

I’ve done all the heavy lifting. I need to go back and insert the spanking and sex scenes and do a general edit for consistency, pace, word choice etc and then it’s off to the beta readers.

My problem, however, is with William. I think that he may not be dominant enough for some readers of this genre of fiction. His position in the class structure puts him beneath Lavinia, which creates tension in the book (or, at least, I hope it does!) but it also means that he cannot act in the ways that dominant heroes in these books seem to do. He can’t just sweep her up in his arms, kick down the bedroom door, spank her backside red and ravish her. It’s just not possible. He can’t dictate her actions or chide her in public. He certainly can’t punish her in public. Nobody would accept him behaving in any way that wasn’t deferential and respectful. Well, Lavinia would, but she doesn’t get to have her way in this, sadly!

My other problem, which is one that I’ve touched on before, is that if William did do these macho, alpha-male things, then I’d absolutely hate him. There is a line between dominant behaviour, agreed in advance by both parties, and outright abuse. I think that some authors blur the line between them. I also think that some authors accelerate over the line as if E L James’ legal team was chasing them for copyright infringement on her trademark abusive dom stereotype.

I want to write books that I would like to read. I think that’s a basic core belief for all writers, or if it’s not, it bloody well should be. I hate books where the hero’s dominance is so absolute that it borders on, or is in fact, abuse. I won’t turn William into one of those heroes no matter what the disappointed reviewers will say on Amazon, but I am wary of not making him dominant enough  to satisfy most readers of this genre.

Decisions, decisions.

I’m off to edit.

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Live, laugh, love, throw up violently…

It’s too much.

I’ve held this in for too long.

I can’t do this anymore.

If I see one more screen-printed cushion, wall decal, framed poster or ceramic bookends with this sort of pastel-hued inanity vomited over it, I’m going to take exothermic action to remove it from the planet.

That’s right: imagine those terrible pictures from Nazi Germany where huge piles of books were gathered and torched in the name of fascist dogma. Now, replace centuries of philosophy, political theory, social reform and just good stories with a pile of mass-manufactured tat that you can buy anywhere from Primark to Selfridges, depending on your ability to tolerate polyester.

You’ll know it when you see it. The font is always italicised, and the colour scheme runs from baby-girl pink all the way through to pale lilac, via buttercup yellow and mint green. (God forbid you show your thoughts on how to cope with life in a shade that can be seen easily against a white background.)

The sort of people that buy this crap are probably the sort of people who have an ornately stylised anchor tattooed on their ankle along with the phrase “I refuse to sink” while the irony passes them merrily by.

Why are the phrases on this rubbish so bland and so vague? “Best friends are like diamonds, precious and rare” – yes, and responsible for so much suffering in the lives of the poor people forced to work the diamond mines in Africa? Don’t even get me started on “Friends are angels that lift our feet when our wings are having trouble remembering how to fly”.

I can actually taste the vomit at the back of my throat.

I love my friends. They’re amazing, witty, intelligent, passionate, loving women. If I ever referred to them as foot-grabbing angels or chips of pressurised carbon, they’d be the first to show their support for me by throwing the nearest moderately heavy object at my head and telling me to stop being so bloody stupid. And to stop hogging the chocolate.

So, when I win the lottery and can get rid of the day job, I’m going to open one of those kitschy shops that sell overpriced home furnishings but instead of the vaccuous crap infecting our shops today, all of my cushions, throws, posters and ceramic objects will have far more realistic messages to guide you through the daily struggle of life. If you’re so in need of a motto emblazoned on your wall or sofa, I’d suggest a cushion with “Fuck off and leave me alone” on it, or a framed poster that says “If you bother me during Doctor Who, I will cut you”. I like the idea of a wall decal that greets you as you come home, exhausted from your commute, that says “Congratulations on not strangling the man-spreading fuckwit on the train!” Or one that says “I love my children, but I couldn’t eat a whole one.”

All in pastel italics, naturally.

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passionate about the past