Sunday, September 27, 2015

I Think My Illustrator is Tired of Me...

I think my illustrator, Jotham, is tired of me bugging him for covers. He's sent me the next few covers for Delilah already, and he says he's hard at work on the last remaining ones for the first six of that series.

Just wait until I start bugging him for Villainess and Janus Key Chronicles covers, as both of those take a LOT of photomanipulation... not just adding flames and the framework to a silhouette (and cleaning up the edges--he still does a lot of work on the so-called "simple" covers). So, let's all take a moment and thank Jotham for his very hard work (which he does get paid for, it's not like he does this for free!). Half of his covers actually help to inspire the story I write, and he often contributes to title names. For example, the Rock Hardin books are hard for me to write (they're fun, but they take research), but he was so inspired by the idea he went and made nine covers for it. Nine. And he titled every single one... but the titles were so awesome, I have to keep them.

So, we'll turn this into a promo for Jotham and for Rock--which is the next book I'm concentrating on. Here's the cover he made for Operation: Deep Nine. You tell me what it's about... that's what I mean by his covers are inspiring. He does a fantastic job on them.

Seriously, how can a writer not be inspired by that?
It's underwater, got a hot chick, frogmen, a sunken ship...
The book practically writes itself! Except that it doesn't.

Mindy Book Snitch Reviews The Devil and Delilah! (And, uhm, some other thoughts....)

Yes, this is exclamation point worthy!

I also have two books to review myself, so hopefully I shall get those in a couple of days here. I simply must continue writing... because I'm excited to continue Delilah's adventure and Caprice's as well! However, Rock has been waiting patiently in the wings (*pats* Poor secret agent, we're working on it!), and Dirk and Debbie have their adventures to continue as well... not to mention Selena from Back End is tapping her foot at me.

*points above* All of these people live in my head. It makes it crowded. I really wish I could sit down and concentrate on one at a time, finish a series, and move on. However, my brain just doesn't work like that... and as my tabletop players for the games I run can attest, the longer my brain sits and works on something, the better and more twisted it ends up being. In the long run, switching my attention from series to series helps each book be the best it can be. In the short run, it's frustrating because I would like to see what happens next in these stories too! I'm writing stuff I want to read, and when I deviated from that... the writing turned to hack writing. It was ok, but my heart wasn't in it. I could tell.

Each of these series appeals to a different part of me. Delilah hits most of my marks with the Weird West (it's my favorite niche genre), horror, dark fantasy, and tons of lore. Villainess hits the rest of them that weren't tagged before in the super hero genre, psychopaths, and flat out sadism. Yet Rock is a lot of fun, with his cocky grin, his American CAN DO spirit, and lots of car chases and spy sexy times. The Witches of Back End? Well, there's my paranormal urban fantasy love right there, done light-hearted and silly at times, but with the sexiness that's often hinted at but avoided by urban fantasy authors. And then there's the pulp serial aspect of the Janus Key Chronicles. So much fun writing Dirk & Debbie... it's like Indiana Jones on steroids. Sexy steroids. With butt-fucking raptor men. So, yeah, all of them appeal to me, but today is Delilah's day. Her star is rising.

I am so fucking glad Mindy enjoyed the book. Bryce had told me it was right up her alley, and I was like, "Yeah, but weird west isn't something that people really... talk about." I mean, it's not steampunk. I love me some steampunk, don't get me wrong, but it's all so Victorian and clean and proper and stuff. I had a talk with a good friend of mine about how the 'punk' part of steampunk is often ignored, and that it's actually a dystopian genre, with a glint of hope for the future in it. People concentrate on that glint, but forget that steam requires coal... and mining coal in the Victorian age led to a lot of early deaths. And child labor. And a down-trodden underclass. If I ever write steampunk, it'll concentrate on that aspect of it, but that's for another day.

So yeah, not a lot of people gush about the Weird West. There's Jonah Hex, of course, in the comic world (and the movie wasn't bad either. Not great, but not bad), and there's various games like Deadlands and Werewolf: the Wild West which help to expand it... for television, there's the old classic Wild, Wild West (which was awesome. The movie... not so much, but it had its moments), Firefly (yes, it's Weird West. In space, but still Weird West), and of course Brisco County Jr (Bruce Campbell FTW!). A lot of other shows often had one-offs touching the genre. Trigun, an anime, is Weird West. Some of the best examples come from movies. Ravenous (LOL ignore the Casio music theme--like I don't know what the composer was thinking for that) is a perfect example of the genre. It's a take on the legend of the Wendigo, of course, and it has some horrific, bloody parts to it, all set in a remote military station in the mountains. Plus, the movie is fucking awesome. The Good, The Bad, The Weird is another Weird West tale, set in Korea I believe. It's basically the Hong Kong equivalent to the American genre, and it's awesome. The action is fantastic, the characters are funny yet relatable, and there's so much kick ass in it, it'll knock your socks off. The Warrior's Way is another one Hong Kong style, yet filmed in New Zealand (so it's in English). It wasn't as good as The Good, The Bad, The Weird, but I still enjoyed it. However, the classic Weird West tale which got me started on the genre is the spaghetti western High Plains Drifter. It's a classic tale, which I won't spoil, but suffice it to say one of the characters in the Delilah series is directly inspired by this film. If you haven't watched it yet, I highly recommend it. (Of course, I love all the Eastwood spaghetti western films, they're just awesome... and they introduced me to Kurosawa too, always a good thing)

Hm. This is not so much about the review but rather thoughts on the genre and my series so far. Let's get back on track, shall we? Mindy did receive a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review (ARC, or advanced reader copy), and I'm so pleased she enjoyed it. I also note that she says she is now a weird west erotica fan... and if you look for "weird west erotica" on Amazon, you'll see exactly two stories: Delilah and a steampunk tale. That is all. I WILL CORNER THE MARKET!

Well, it would be cool to start a new trend, but I highly doubt that will happen. It doesn't matter though, as I love the series, will continue to write it, and will finish it to completion, wherever that may lie. The links below link directly to her reviews, but I highly recommend taking the time to go over her other reviews. Not only are they spot on and tell you exactly what you want to know (how hot is it? How good is the story? And so on), but they are funny as hell to read. It's so much fun seeing someone who enjoys reading like that.

But the BEST part about her reviews is when she makes pictures for the series characters. That never ceases to both crack me up and amaze me that she gets that into them, and then presents these pics like, "Hey! Here's what I see!" That's just awesome.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Devil and Delilah is Live on Amazon!

A few months in conceptualizing and writing, The Devil and Delilah is now live on Amazon! I've always had a thing for the Weird West. It's probably one of my favorite genres, and the Weird West is to America what steampunk is to England. A twist on history, a weird what-might-have-been, it's a genre filled with magic, monsters, and gunslingers. If you like Stephen King's Dark Tower series, then you like the Weird West.

The cover looks awesome as always! I love Jotham's covers, and it conveys exactly what I want in this series, as this one is the first of many more to come.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Awakening (Sorceress of Desire Book 1) Review

Dat ass!
It's been a while since I've done a review. Now, I've done a couple reviews on my RL account, so it's not like I haven't been reading... I just haven't been reading things as Alana. (Boy, it can be
exhausting sometimes having an alter ego. It's like being Batman, but way less cool.) However, today I'm back and we are looking at Awakening, Sorceress of Desire Book 1 today by Aaron Abson.

I don't remember exactly how I came across this book. I think it was from an author post on the eroticaauthors subreddit. Intrigued by whatever post they had posted, I followed them to their blog and read up on their monthly totals and then checked out the book. I thought, "Hey, the cover looks nice, and 'Sorceress of Desire'? Sounds interesting!" So, I borrowed it... and I am very glad I did so.

In the tradition of erotica shorts, it's pretty shortish, but not TOO short. We are introduced to Sasha, who is female wizard. Wizards in this world bond with spirits to make them more powerful. Like, the best they can do is parlor tricks, really, without that spirit. Each spirit is different and can be of varying degrees of power. For instance, a wizard could bond with the spirit of a tree (like A particular tree), a forest, the idea of "trees" (like all trees everywhere), or Nature... and so on. It can be something concrete like earth, or an idea like intelligence. Sasha goes in for her test... and bonds with a spirit of Desire. Here's where the hijinks come in.

Yet not really. I told you it was short, and basically while there's a lot of sex in it, it's all sort of... imaginary sex. You'd have to read it to understand. Still good. Still hot. But imaginary. The idea of the book itself is very simple, but executed very well. It sets up why the lead character is going to be a banging bunny, why she's super hot, takes care of all the inherent problems in erotica with practicality. I like the lead character, which is good since we're stuck in her head. Not so much with the spirit of Desire, but I think she's supposed to come off a bit like a sexy-know-it-all. I like that there's male and female guards, but really don't like the idea that most wizards are dudes. I would like that prejudice explained more fully in the next book, or if there really is a specific reason why women can't wield the powers of magic very well. For what appears to be an equal world otherwise, that prejudice struck me a little odd.

The only other complaint I had was the beginning with the lead wizard droning on and on. I think that speech could have been done better, and the author could benefit from a beta reader to get suggestions from. However, it's very minor quibble, and I soon sank into the rest of the story.

I can't wait to read the next one... because I can only see how things can escalate from here! It should be exciting. I definitely recommend checking it out as I give it eight imaginary orgasms out of ten.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Knob Jobs and Broomsticks Live on Amazon!

My poor blog, how I forget you! But yes, Knob Jobs and Broomsticks is now live on Amazon... and it has a review! We likes reviews, precious. It's not a bad review, nor a good one. Like literally middle of the road. I'll take it.

How this review came to be was interesting. Tooling around on Facebook while chit-chatting one morning at work, someone approached me about reviewing it. I was like, "Hey, sure." So, I sent Nessa a copy and told 'em to be honest. They were like, "You sure, bro?" and I was like, "Yes, duh?" So, it was mostly positive, with a few criticisms and that's fantastic. I can't say I love criticism, because who does? But that's how you get better. Anyway, I shan't repeat the whole thing here. Let's just leave it as I was thrilled to see it, and if you want to check it out, it should be live on the Amazon page.

In the meantime, here's the cover for Knob Jobs! I just love Jotham's covers. He hit the light-hearted spirit of the story perfectly.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Size Matters

It's been a while since I've written, and I can honestly say I've had no new insights into writing smut until two days ago. I just finished the first draft and edit of "The Devil and Delilah", which is going to start yet another series of mine (really, brain, you have to keep giving me ideas? Can't you let me finish a series first?), and a writer friend of mine looked it over. I was pleased to see that most of the corrections weren't of the 'your eye is dumb and glossed over that' variety, save for one, and they had to do with changing up a few words or clarifying here and there. I was chill with that. They were all very useful corrections, and I cannot thank him enough for doing that.

However, the biggest complaint was something that can't be fixed easily. He asked why it was so short when it felt, to him, that it was just the beginning. It comes in at about 12K words, which is sizable without being overly large, and is definitely longer than most erotic shorts out there. It IS the beginning of the series, and I feel it's complete in an of itself while he maintains it feels too short or just when the story is getting started, it's done.

That got me to thinking about the different books out there, especially for erotica, and why they are the way they are. There basically are three different kinds: shorts, serials, and novellas/novels. Shorts are just that... they are short stories, one-offs, with different characters in each story. They may all be related (ie, my femdom series. Every story has a different set of characters in it, but they are linked together by the kink, hence it's called an "anthology" series), and many erotica authors do write a series of stories in a particular kink or fetish to bundle into a collection later on. Serials are short stories to novella length pieces that have the same characters moving from situation to situation. The Janus Key Chronicles is a serial. They range from 8,500 to about 15,000 in length, depending on how long it takes to tell that segment, and then that "book" ends. Many, MANY erotica writers write serials because it draws people in, and when they read the first one, they often follow it up. The last, of course, are novellas/novels, I would say pieces over 25,000 in length or so which can either stand alone or be part of a series. Everyone knows what a novel is, so I'm not going over that, but I do lump novellas in with them rather than serials because very often the writers in this category put a lot more plot and character development in them rather than wall to wall sex, or JUST get the characters in situations to have sex, which is often the point of serials and shorts. Two examples of mine would be The Queen of Swords or Operation: Thrustmaster. There are plots in both, and while one is more tongue in cheek than the other, the entire point is to tell this story which happens to include a fair amount of sex. Since The Queen of Swords turned out much more serious and I felt could stand up without the sex, I put it into a non-erotica category. Operation: Thrustmaster is a bit of the opposite: the whole reason it was written was to have spy sexy times, and thus, it's erotica. And believe it or not, at least in one place the plot can't move forward without the sex. It could... I guess... but the whole point was for sexy times.

So, which is better? The answer is many and varied, and if you ask someone else, you'll get a different answer. I prefer serials and novels to shorts. I have a lot of stories to tell and some will take a lot of space to tell and some won't. Back in the days of "KU1" where when the reader read the first 10% of a book, the author would get paid anywhere from $1.35 to $1.50, shorts was where to be if you wanted to make money. You'd want to aim around 4K words so that you'd get paid after only a few page turns on a kindle. Now, with "KU2", the author gets paid per page read, so that it's more advantageous to have a longer story which captures the reader's imagination (or other parts) and keeps them reading.

I don't like shorts. I might come up with stories here and there inspired by things. The Cosmic Erotic series is two sci-fi shorts that I had inspiration for. I wrote them to be as long as they needed to be and that was it. I had no further plans to go with either character. The JKC was conceived as a serial from the beginning, and while they may be considered "shorts", I consider the whole series as one big long book, that I'm just publishing a chapter at a time. I did a whole series of femdom shorts, and while I like femdom, I grew really tired of having to think of new situations and new characters every time. It's just not my thing.

At the same time, while I love writing novels, they are much, MUCH harder to do great. I can keep track of stories in a serial much better than I can with what's happening in a novel I'm currently writing. I have invested in Scrivener to help with this, and so my philosophy might change eventually as I become accustomed to using it. When it comes down to it, I am writing the story as long as it needs to be and no more. I might make more money padding it, but it's not necessary.

So, serials are the way to go? Not necessarily. It really depends on the writer's style and time commitment. If someone has the time to write a novel, I would say to do it! However, many aspiring writers don't, and writing a serial can be a way to get instant feedback on a series or world without the huge time commitment novels require.

The other thing to consider too is that writing short stories and writing novels take two different sets of skills, believe it or not. With a novel, you have the luxury of building up tension and character arcs. With a short story, you need to get right to the action, yet still explain who these people are and why we should care about them. A serial is a middle ground there, requiring the skill sets of both.

In the end, I think authors need to go with what works for them. What I would personally recommend is working on shorts first, to simply build up your writing chops and get used to disciplining yourself to write every day. If you are not going to finish the novel, or if you can't focus on it for that long, shorts or serials might be the way to go for you. If you can focus, and have the time to do so, then novels would definitely be the way to go. In the end, the most important thing to do for an author is simply to write and to tell that story, in whatever form it's in. I personally prefer serials, because it allows me to get paid quicker, but still tell the long story. I get involved in characters, and I really don't have the time to invest in too many novels. Hence, writing about characters in bite-sized pieces really appeals to me.

When I dreamed up the Delilah Devilshot series, I envisioned starting her off in tragedy right away. However, upon thinking about my beta reader's feedback, I may lengthen the beginning slightly so we see more of her life before tragedy strikes. I won't guarantee it'll add more than a couple thousand words, at the very most, but at least we'll have some attachment first. Still thinking it over because to me... it starts in action, ends in action, and she's moving forward. Although it might be short, one would hope it entices readers to read the next, not that the next is out quite yet. It should be relatively soon after the first, though. If I would sit down and write out Delilah's story in novel form, it would be a huge mother fucking novel, and it seems daunting looking at it from that perspective. *shrug* All I can say is to find what length of story feels right to you, and work accordingly.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Dominating Her Men: Total Domination vol. 3 is Now Live on Amazon!

Yes, just a bundle this week, but as Dominating Her Vampire has slipped out of KU, this is a chance to read it without having to buy it, if you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription. Dominating Her Men: Total Domination vol 3 is live on Amazon!

Working hard on finishing up The Devil and Delilah, and then I will be making edits on Knob Jobs and Broomsticks. Look for that coming soon!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Dominating Her Billionaire is now Live on Amazon!

That's right, the final installment of the Dominating Her Man series, Dominating Her Billionaire, is now live on Amazon. I am ending the series as my interest in contemporary erotica has waned. I want to write weirder stuff, things that interest me more, and I would really hate to have a slip in quality due to my waning interest.

That being said, I think it's entirely appropriate that it ends on "Billionaire" as we started with "Intern". :)

Sexy Excerpt from the Upcoming Knob Jobs & Broomsticks

Hidey ho, neighborinos!

I'm done with the femdom series (and the post about the new one will be forthcoming here), and in honor of Halloween, I am going to switch things up and write some paranormal tales, kicking off a couple of new series. Because I don't have enough already. Nope.

This story is called "Knob Jobs and Broomsticks" and will be the first of the "Witches of Back End" series. With that, please enjoy. It's a short excerpt, but one I really liked. :)

He stepped into her personal space, and stretched his arms on either side of her, gripping the railing so that he had her trapped. Maeve hadn’t realized how tall he was, and she leaned her head back to look into his eyes. “Now,” he said, his voice low and rough, “where were we?”
    He pressed in. His presence filled the remaining space between them, weighing against her. She looked helplessly up at him, the low level of desire which had been running through her all night ramped up by his attention. “You were going to kiss me,” she said.
    “Oh, was I now?” he rasped. His lips hovered above her own, but instead of breaching that final tiny little bit of space, he moved his head to the side, brushing the tip of his nose against her cheek as he inhaled her. “You sound sure about that.”
    “You want to kiss me,” she breathed, her heart pounding. Maeve slid her hands up along his abdomen and chest, feeling the cut and lean body beneath the soft fabric of the t-shirt. Desire pulsed through her, and she willed him silently to touch her, to kiss her, to ravage her here on the bar.
    Jack kept moving, his motions slow. His breath caressed her cheek, his lips so close to her skin it ached. “I don’t know if I want to now,” he said against her flesh, close to her ear. When he did touch her, it was with the very tip of his tongue on her earlobe. As he traced the outside of her ear delicately and deliberately with his tongue, Maeve shuddered in pleasure. Want and need rolled through her. She grabbed his shirt, bunching it in her tiny fists and pulled him closer to her. As their bodies touched, the electricity of lust and attraction crackled between them. He was already hard; his erection pressed against her lower abdomen, almost right over her sex. “Maybe I’ll just leave you like this,” he whispered near her ear. “Leave you wanting me.”

Howling Passion Review

Hot chicks, hot dudes, hot wolves.
What more do you want?
We're back again with Renee Jordan, who contacted me after the first review and said, yeah, it was her first book and would I give something she wrote later on a try. I was like, "Hell yeah!" because I love reading. Even when it's bad, it's good. Reading is fundamental, folks.

Today I'm reviewing Howling Passion, which is the first of the Passion Moon series. The very first
thing I want to say is... the cover is much, MUCH improved from the last. It's very appropriate for an erotic romance, and it tells you what you need to know right off the bat: paranormal, shifter, m/f sex. Looking at the cover, I was excited to dive in and see what was in store!

The plot is pretty typica of romances, e-roms, and YA books. Kotie, which is short for Dakota (and girlfriend, I wouldn't want to be named after those states either. Your mom couldn't have named you after another state? Also, I can only imagine that the kids in her class called her "kotex" when teasing her), is running away from her abusive boyfriend Burt, and picks a small town in Montana at random. She meets a stranger on a bus who starts creeping her out, and when she gets to Moonrise, MT, she meets a handsome cop who sort of "saves" her from the creeper. She settles in very quickly and things start happening.

Now, I don't want to give some stuff away, but I think I'll end up doing that later on by accident as I both rant and rave about the end of the book. I'll try not to, but be aware there may be spoilers.

Ok, so it's an e-rom, so we all know there's going to be a HEA or HFN ending, and that's fine. It's a staple of the genre, so it's expected. The writing is fairly well done, and Renee was able to paint several characters easily with a few brush strokes of her pen, which is a good feat. I especially liked the giggly plump waitress. One line, I saw her in my head. Excellent description! The sex is alright, sexy stuff, nothing too outrageous, but nothing too tame either, and there were a few scattered through the book. The plot was a bit tropey, but I'm so used to the 'I don't know I'm special, whoops, guess I am' trope for women these days I just sort of... expect it. (As a side note, I think that's why I started Villainess, to break away from that particular trope) It's not done badly... and this is where I'm going to start both ranting and raving about the book, ranting meaning "WHHHYYYYY???" and raving meaning "I WANT MOOOOOORE!"

Without giving too much away, the world the author created was good. I was very interested in it. Not so much the characters, as they were... expected in a romance or erom, but the world itself sparked my interest and curiosity. There was a simplicity about it that really appealed to me, a direct cause and effect. This place is mystical, so of course it attracts mystical beings. I don't think enough authors realize that sometimes it just takes a simple premise like that to build on. The idea of ley lines not just containing mystical power, but power "flavored" by an idea (ie, life, death, nature, love, hate, etc etc) was brilliant. I literally groaned when I read it and thought, "Why have I never thought of that?!" How could such a simple concept pass me by? Yet it was the first time I read about it, in any book, anywhere. Brilliant simplicity.

That being said... I feel there was a missed opportunity with the world. I think this book could have easily been twice the size, and maybe bigger. It wasn't the romance that riveted me, it was snippets of the world the romance was set in. The first half of the book, I was like, yeah yeah yeah, whatever, but then the scene at the spring with the "Passion Moon" came up and I was suddenly glued to the book. How Renee described werewolves and their relationship to the moon... again: it was a simple idea, and executed well. She hit on all marks on the paranormal aspect of this book. The end was like, "Fuck yeah!" And yeah... there ... is some tropey things that happen too, but Kotie does assert herself (I'll explain in a minute why this is important) instead of just standing by idly with a thumb up her butt waiting to be saved.

All that being said, ranting time comes The romance was missing a beat or two. When you read a lot of romance or e-rom, you expect certain beats, a certain rhythm. While the romance was ok (and yes yes, it was fast, like almost all of them are in e-roms), I think it could have been much stronger if two things had been done. First, stretch out the tension between Kotie and Forrest for a while. Don't have 'em just hop in the sack, but you know... let us watch the push and pull between them. The romance still worked, but it could have been stronger. The second I think is the more important point: Christian, the creeper from before, could have been a rival for Kotie's affection if done correctly, yet still turned out villainously villainous at the end. I think instead of coming on so strong, if he would have been more subtle, turned on the charm, and been, well, a seducer instead of a creeper, it would have added much to the book. I really hate love triangles, but romances and e-roms thrive on them. With more choices come more 'will they? Won't they?' in books, and it could have really pushed this one into the stratosphere. Tension comes from relationships, and if both had been wooing her... then I would have been much more interested. Alas, Christian turned out one dimensional.

The last element I have to roll my eyes at is that everyone just tells her what seems to me should be a secret, and she's... a little awed, but mostly ok with it. Yeah, she saw some stuff, but she just accepts, "Oh, there's werewolves." It's a paranormal romance, so it's kinda expected.

One thing that some reviewers blasted the author on was Kotie always comparing Forrest to her ex, Burt. I am firmly in the opposite camp. Of course she's going to compare Forrest to Burt. She lived with an abusive man for two years... it's kinda on her mind. That was probably the more realistic part of the book. I'm not saying it's fun to read about at times, and it could have been a shade lighter, but that relationship affected so much of her personality for so long that's it's a BFD when she tells our villain to fuck off and that she's not going to submit to him. That was vital for her character arc. On the other hand, that she jumped into a relationship right away was both bad and good. It's good because yeah, rebounds are there, and if someone's nice to someone who has been abused, they'll latch onto them. However, it's problematic in that when she talks about her ex and how awful he was, and Forrest continues to pursue the relationship without giving her space to be by herself and heal those wounds, he's taking advantage of her vulnerability.

All in all, it was a decent read. I enjoyed it, and I could see how the author had really grown in her writing. I would like to see more of the world, and I would like to see Kotie grow more. I am all for a take charge woman, and Forrest is laid back enough that I think he would enjoy watching her grow. I'll probably pick up the second one, if it's out is it out? I dunno, at a later date to see what's shakin'. I give this seven passion moons out of ten.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Excerpt from WIP the Prince of Cups, sequel to the Queen of Swords


Wow, I start a lot of sentences with that. SO ANYWAY, I should be finishing the last, very last, Dominating Her Man story, which is Dominating Her Billionaire, but I've tapped myself out of contemporary erotica. It's not the femdom... it's the ... boringness of contemporary fiction. And for the last I picked the absolutely most contemporary erotica genre ever: billionaires. I'm dragging my feet on it. Even my illustrator is like, "yeah, you're not finishing it" as he still has yet to get me the cover for it. >.>

I also should be working on the next Rock Hardin story, and it's plotted out! Outlined and everything. Yet my brain is not in the spy writing mode. So what have I been doing while dragging my feet? Working on two new series, plotting out a Halloween bundle, and working on The Prince of Cups, which is #2 in the Villainess series. That one has been coming out really smoothly and easily, and I'm 15,000 words into it already. I decided that it's been a while since I did an excerpt, and so here it is. I think it's terribly sexy, but there's no actual sex in it.

    My hand and arm were still numb, but I forced myself to keep hold of my sword, using both hands as if it were a bastard sword. I lost some range, but gained speed with strikes using it this way, if the numbness didn’t fuck up my aim too much. He must have sensed my intention as the next strike forced me away from the mouth of the alley when I dodged. I lashed out with my teke, trying to trip him up, and knocked him back instead. With his momentary disorientation, I took to the skies again, reaching the top of the building. I inwardly gloated for a moment, reveling in the fight and that I’d lived… and then the lightning hit me. I shrieked, not prepared for it. I fell… and as before, cushioned my fall. Light danced through my eyes as I landed hard on the ground, even with the telekinetic cushioning.
    That was all it took. That’s how fast it was. You either had the upper hand or you didn’t, and I didn’t.
    Dazed, I tried to regain my feet, but he kicked away my blade and was on top of me. He ripped the mask off and cast it aside, tearing some of my hair out in the process. He grabbed my jaw and forced me to look directly into his reflective visor. “It is you,” he said, his voice quiet. “I knew it. It’s my lucky day.” He forced my head away so I couldn’t see him, which was smart. If I couldn’t see him, I couldn’t use my teke on him.
    “What am I to you?” I coughed out, looking around for anything to use. Electricity jolted through me. Pain raced through my body as I convulsed. I couldn’t even scream. Nothing was under my control, and when he lifted his hand, I could see wisps of smoke curling up from my face.
    “About a month ago,” the cop said, turning my face back to look at him, “my brother in law took something home from work, a sword. The next day, the criminal who it belonged to took it back from his house… and left my sister’s and nephew’s head on the mantle in return.” He leaned in and I could smell the minty gum he’d been chewing. “I was so hoping I’d run into you, some day.”
    Oops. Yet more fallout from that job. If I wasn’t regretting it before, I sure as hell was now. I tried to say something to defend myself, but his tasering had worked too well. All I could do was grunt. Feeling was coming back pretty fast, but I didn’t have regenerative powers. Even as I thought that, he zapped me again. I cried out, but it was an involuntary action, my body responding to the tasering. More smoke drifted up and away, and I blinked, trying to clear my head and make my body move.
    “It’s too bad you’re resisting arrest,” the cop said, but I could barely register his words. This was it. This was how I died. It wasn’t some big fight against overwhelming odds. It wasn’t some dramatic explosion. I died in an alley at the hands of a vengeful cop.
    He grabbed my aching jaw and centered me on him again, so I couldn’t help but to look at him. My brain was so fried at the moment, I couldn’t have used my telepathy even if I could get through his psychic defenses. If I lived through this, I would remember to smash helmets first, but it was looking like a pretty big if. “They never did anything to you,” he said, his gloved fingers tracing around the burn marks on my face. “You could have just taken it and gone.” Grief cracked his voice. If I had been a more normal person, I would have felt sympathy for him. Of course, if I had been normal, I wouldn’t have killed his family in the first place. “They weren’t metas. They weren’t anything… why? Why did you do it?”
    I opened my mouth but nothing came out. Everything hurt. The numbness from the tasering was wearing off, leaving behind aching agony in its wake. My vision swam, and I found it increasingly difficult to focus on his face. He knew it, and slapped me, hard. That helped me to focus a little, but I still couldn’t force words out. It was hard enough to just breathe. Instead of doing the smart thing and killing me, he kept talking.
    “People like you are what’s wrong with this world,” he said, tracing the burns along my face with a gloved finger. “I’m going to make sure you can’t hurt anyone else’s family ever again.” As he studied me, I got the sense he was looking into my deep blue eyes, looking for something… maybe a sign of remorse? Fear?
    Fuck that. I wasn’t going to give it to him. If this was it… if this was how I died… I’d do it my way.
    I worked my jaw slowly, and started to clear my throat. He tensed, waiting for whatever revelatory words I was going to speak. Instead of talking, I spat in his face and croaked a laugh. The spittle hit his visor and began to slide off as he recoiled. I couldn’t see anything more than his jaw and lips because of his Judge Dred-esque helmet, but I could read the surprise and distaste as his mouth twisted. “They were there,” I croaked.
    He raised his hand back, and I tensed, looking in myself for the last of my reserves. My head hurt too badly; the most I was able to do was push him back with a small wave of telekinesis. That was all, and it wasn’t enough.
    Blood sprayed over my face, and his jaw split in two. A brutal edge of metal shoved through the broken pieces of his face, twisted, and jerked out again roughly, sending bone, gore, and teeth flying. The carnage sprayed over me as the body fell to the side, and a new, cold body took its place.
    The fallout from that last job was neverending… but at least this time it worked out in my favor. A massive guy crouched over me, not quite touching, his skin pale as sun bleached bone. His knees bent at an unnatural angle and the vampire held his rusty, serrated sword over his knees, cutting into the flesh of his stomach. If he felt it, he gave no sign. I didn’t even know if he could feel pain, but if he did, I knew he got off on it. His face was broad and ugly in almost every sense of the word, and his eyes glowed with a dull red light. He crouched further down, the leather of his vest brushing against mine with the softest of whispers. When our noses were almost touching, he began licking my face.
    Nosferatu was a partner of mine from time to time. During the last job, I’d made the questionable mistake of letting him bite me. Since then, his human half told me he could find me anywhere… and sure enough, I’d sense his presence outside some of my safe houses. He hadn’t come close to the pad itself, yet. He’d just stay somewhere nearby, in the shadows, watching and waiting. I admit when I sensed him around I flaunted myself, letting him see bare bits of skin oh so accidentally as I moved around my various homes. I couldn’t help but to flirt with danger; it was in my nature.
    His tongue licked the drops of blood off of my cheek, rasping slightly as if it were a dried out piece of leather. The numbness had faded enough that I could feel it on my skin, and it aggravated the ache which pervaded my entire being. The action turned the pain to a perverse pleasure. He completed his first lick, and smacked his lips together. Bending to my face, he licked again, his tongue more lubricated now so that it was like a cat’s tongue more than sandpaper, a rough sort of velvetyness that aroused me. He licked a wide swath of blood from my second cheek and my heart began to pound now as it hadn’t when the cop had me pinned. I wanted him. Even in the midst of the aches and pains, suffering from defeat, that was forgotten in an instant. I wanted this creature, and I think… I think if he would have taken me then and there, I would have just submitted.
    Instead, he continued to lick my face, tracing the curve of my lips with the tip of his tongue, wiping the blood from my face in the most intimate of ways imaginable. No part was left untouched; even my eyelids were licked, erasing every bit of the cop’s life blood from me. My chest heaved, and my breath came faster, anticipating his next move. Yet when he was done, he rocked back on his heels and watched me, an inscrutable expression on his face.
    “Nos,” I breathed.
    The vampire licked his lips, as if tasting the cop… or maybe me… as an afterthought. His head cocked first to the right, then the left, and I could sense from him--his mind wasn’t barred from my telepathy after all--that he was deciding what to do next. I never knew how aware he was of my presence, so I didn’t delve too deeply… just enough to get a sense of what he was feeling. As it was, I knew he could sense my desire, my want of him. His lips twisted cruelly, but still he sat there, not moving, nor speaking. I knew he wasn’t going to hurt me, that he wanted me as much as I wanted him, but more… he wanted me to give myself to him, and that was not going to happen.
    “You can let me up now,” I said, my voice growing in strength. I didn’t stress any word, nor put any inflection in my voice. The words were dead and cold.
    I could see he still hadn’t decided what to do next; there were too many things he wanted to do and he didn’t know where to start. I smiled and waited, and finally, he eased off of me, licking his lips. I sat up slowly, not showing any weakness to him, which was laughable. He’d seen me now at my worst, my weakest. How that changed his opinion of me I was almost afraid to see.  We stared at each other, shrouded in dead silence. I could hear the harshness of my breath over the dim sounds of traffic as we stared each other down. Just when I was about to open my mouth and break the silence, he turned violently and grabbed the dead cop. Yanking the body to him, he embraced it as a lover would and turned the neck so hard the spine broke. The head lolled at a bizarre angle. Nos’s dark red eyes bored into my blue ones as he opened his mouth wide, showing his yellowed, jagged teeth and bit down hard on the corpse’s neck. Instead of biting and sucking like vampires did in the movies, he ripped a chunk of flesh out and chewed it noisily. Once he swallowed that, then he bent to drink the sluggish blood which welled within the wound.
    I’d never seen him feed before. Since he was drinking from a dead man, he wasn’t really getting much blood; the heart wasn’t pumping. He was feeding like this as a display. I had no idea if this was his idea of a romantic gesture or he was merely showing me what he was in full. When the vampire bent again, he bit off another huge chunk of flesh, cracking the collarbone this time with a loud sickening snap. Savagely he tugged on the bone with his teeth, worrying it back and forth as a dog might until he was able to pull a segment of it out. He grabbed it for a moment, and sucked at the marrow, then cast the remaining shards away so he could feast on the blood and flesh once more.
    I didn’t thank him. That would be admitting weakness. I didn’t know what else to say, so I sat there and let the tasering wear off. The aches began to fade with time as well, and I kept up a small mental lock on the area, warding people off from the alley so we wouldn’t be disturbed. Nosferatu ate a large portion of the man’s neck and into his chest before he finally seemed sated and dropped the body where it was as he stood. When he stood, I did as well, not dropping my gaze for a second. As I watched, the shadows gathered around him, gaining weight and dripping darkness over him until he faded from view. His darkness trick didn’t cloak him from my telepathy though, and I knew he was still around. Very close.
    I heard the rasp of his harsh breath behind me, blowing cold air upon my neck. I kept my telepathy open wide to sense his intentions as early as I could. Was he going to attack? Was he back to watching? Desire and sated bloodlust, these I read easily. The thoughts behind it were harder to discern though. If he wanted to fuck, why didn’t he just grab me and try to take me? Rape wasn’t anything new to him, not that it would be in this case. He took what he wanted. The littlest bit of niggling doubt wormed into my head as I caught fragments of his thoughts. Nos knew I was aroused, knew I wanted him. He approved of me watching him eat without blinking an eye, and as a reward he was leaving me unmolested this evening… because I was his pet. I forced myself to just stand there as he inhaled my scent once more. I was not going to give him the indignant reaction he was expecting, knowing I was reading his mind. Sssso… very good…. he thought, and I could mentally see his lips quirk in dry amusement. Either way, I lost in this game: either he provoked me to outrage, or I stood and took the humiliation. My face burned. He had resc… sav… helped me, and I was forced to sit by and just take it.
    I was better than that. I should have been better than that.
    A stupid cop shouldn’t have bested me.

    Cold, dead fingers caressed my cheek from behind, and I startled, not expecting him to actually touch me. Oh so slowly he drew his taloned fingernails across my cheek, just shy of actually scratching the skin, and I wanted more. I would have asked for more had my pride not been wounded. A few seconds later, he vanished. I sensed him no longer in my immediate area, and my whole body relaxed. My emotions see sawed back and forth between anger, wounded pride, and lust, so I recentered myself. I had to get paid. The mark was dead, and I needed the cash. I picked up my broken mask and my sword. Using my phone, I took a picture of the dead accountant, and texted it to the contact. When I checked my account balance, the money had been sent. Nothing left to do there, I flew to one of my many homes.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Enthralled Review

Hidey ho, neighbors! Back again with another review, and then I might muse randomly on writing later on. I haven't decided quite yet.
Custom cover from a photographer,
how cool is that shit?

The book we are reviewing today is Bryce Calderwood's Enthralled, which is the first of a vampire series. I love vampires. I love real vampires, not musty vampires who are oh so conflicted and shit. Give me blood and gore and I'm a happy camper. I am happy to report there are some real fucking vampires up in this shit.

We begin the book with Ashlyn, who hears a bunch of anguished screaming, and a blood red mess falling from the top of a very large building. This is how she meets Musette, who is a futanari vampire. I have to say now, futa girls are not my kink. However, vampires are very much in my kink sphere so I wanted to read on anyway. I don't try to take off points or give harsher reviews to stuff that's not to my taste, because writing is writing. I try to look at the characters, the plot, the writing, and so on.

Anyway, Ash brings Musette back to her apartment and then lures a futa hater back to the place for Musette's dinner. Musette and Ash have bloody sex, and it only gets more trippy from there. I say trippy because at times it felt like I was reading someone's weird blood-hazed, sex-crazed drug trip. This is a high compliment because I was sucked into the story. I could even ignore the futa sex... to a point. Until he started mixing it seriously with the bloodplay, and then I was riveted... bloodplay is one of my kinks, and he hit it really fucking hard. Like so hard, I felt ashamed at my attempt at horrorotica before. ASHAMED. BAD WRITER, BAD. Why? It was sick and fucking twisted and I loved every second of it. This is horrorotica at its finest.

However, because there's always a however, I do have a couple of problems with the book. The first is personal preference, but it's a hard squick so it's hard for me to ignore. When people fuck women so hard their "tummy distends" that is so way not sexy to me. It happened... once or twice, squicked me, and I moved on. It IS, however, a staple of hentai and futa erotica, so if you are reading this book because of the futa-ness, it hits the kink really hard. Ok, actually like really hard, because cum is everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Hell, one of the characters practically aims across the room at another one. Across the room, folks. Personally, I look at that and think, "yeah, I'm throwing three hundred dollars at a cleaning service." Plus, how do you keep your drapes clean? And who washes the ceiling?!

That's a pretty minor problem, ropes of cum aside. Personal thing. The second is a fundamental flaw which doesn't ruin the enjoyment of the book, but rather illustrates a missed opportunity. There's one scene in particular where Ash goes out and kills a couple (yes, she becomes a vampire, sorry spoilers) who she caught making out in like a barn somewhere. It's summarized in a paragraph. However, how it's summarized made me think, "Why wasn't this written out?!" She catches them, forces them to admit their true feelings to each other, and evidently the boy was like, "yeah, just saying I love you to fuck you" or something. Ash kills the boy first, while the girl looks on in neutral approval, and then when Ash goes to kill the girl, she begs to be turned into a vampire. Ash agrees, but then doesn't, and the girl realizes it too late, and dies, unhappy, tortured, and unvampirized. Sounds pretty cool, yeah? It's summarized.

Now, Bryce is one of my better friends, and we talked about this today. He said he didn't want to bore people, but the point I brought up was that it was a complex scene which went towards Ash's character development, basically chopped out. There are three ways you can look at this scene which would have added not just to Ash's development and character, but also the tension in the book, bringing to home the horror of it. Because fuck, who wouldn't want to be a vampire? Be super strong, super hot, and fuck bitches up and shit? People forget... vampires aren't the heroes: they're the monsters.

  1. The scene would have drawn a parallel to Ash's "worthiness" of being turned by Musette. Was it just payment for saving Musette? Was there something special about her? 
  2. It also would have shown a mirror between the normal "love at first sight" trope and Ash's and Musette's declarations of love. Is that a real love? Can it be trusted? Is it just the high of vampire-ness and hot, dirty, filthy, awesome sex? How can she be sure it's real? 
  3. Lastly, Ash had felt guilty over killing someone before, and stated specifically she was going out to kill again... to get over her last kill, knowing that later on, guilt will wrack her again. A lot of shows try to show the parallel between blood/killing and drugs, but I think this is truer to it than the drug analogy. There's a vicious cycle that's often mentioned and then forgotten in vampire fiction (that or dwelled on TO DEATH), and I think this would have made Ash a more compelling character. We're riding along on her ride... her highs are our highs, her lows are ours too. 
I want to see this scene written, and I know Bryce reads this, so I'm telling you now, dude, write it. Add it in. Throw it in somewhere as a bonus. I don't care. I want to see this scene. 

Some other complaints is that they fall in LURV too quickly, but honestly, I think it's a blood-high and infatuation. I would love to see it play out that way in later books, and I would love to see Ash realize she threw away her mortal life for something that seemed awesome and cool, but then, whoopsie, eternity with your ex you hate? But I'm just a negative Nancy like that. I also happen to believe villains don't get happy endings. (Forget the fact that I write about villains myself. Goes to show what I think should happen to them, which doesn't bode well for my characters, but I digress.) Besides, both Musette and Ashlyn are young, which lends creedence to my limerence or infatuation theory.

Second, the trope of all vampires are rich and blah blah blah. Yeah, that's there. It's at least explained reasonably well, but it's still there. And.. who wants to read about poor vampires? 

And lastly, this goes back to the non-extended scene... I wanted more world-building stuff. There were some really good glimpses of this world, but I'm not sure Bryce thought through all the consequences thereof. For example, there's an institute which cock girls with some high tech bio-grafting technique which costs a boatload of money. Yeah, that biotech wouldn't stop there. People would be modifying all the time, in all sorts of weird shit. And since it costs money, rich folks would be on top of that shit, controlling it, or manipulating it somehow. Maybe they're all secret pervs. Maybe making designer bodies is the new thing. 

What about furries? Would there be furries in this world? Would there actual futa catgirls running around? (The stuff of my nightmares, oh, Pocket D, how I miss you so) What about like centaurs? Or minotaurs? Mermaids? Is this where octogirls come from (from another of his books)? I wanna know! Or if the technique can't be used with animal DNA, what about three breasted women a la Total Recall? Double cocks made to fuck pussies and asses at the same time? Multiple arms like Goro? What about the ones that didn't work out so well? Could they be reverted back? Are there gangs of horrible mutants out there bent on murderizing people? (Ok, maybe I'm missing Wes Craven too much, that's more The Hills Have Eyes

I wanted to see more. And I keep talking about it, which means I really loved this book. Yeah, it's not my kink, but anything that makes me think about it after I've read it, and to such a degree? It's made an impact, and a good one. 

All in all, it hits the futa girl kink hard and the bloodplay kink hard. It could have done better with the vampire kink (which isn't bloodplay, not exactly), but it did a good job representing too. It's not sugar coated. It's fucking horror and it's fucking erotic. It's brutal and nasty, but it has its sweet moments too. Hell, I even bookmarked a page in it (and I never do this) because I loved a quote so much:

All moments pass, my love. That's what gives them their sweetness.


That's beautiful. 

I give this book nine bloody fistings out of ten.