Saturday, May 30, 2015
OK, back to Musing. On the shevles I actually found a mixture of epic fantasy and contemporary science-fiction, and a lot less, "women-in-a-leather-jumpsuit" paranormal. Also B&N has made more room in the fantasy section. Good news for books and the genre in general? Possibly.
As for my purchases, I have Susan Murray's, The Waterborne Blade. A brand new epic fantasy, which is always good to see! The Thorn of Dentonhill, by Marshall Ryan Maresca and Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence, who incidentally has a very well made site.
It's still difficult for me to come here. I see all of the new books coming out and I want to be there so badly. It isn't easy to keep going sometimes but I love writing and being an author. I said to my Big Brother recently, "You know sometimes I wish I could get my hands on a time machine, go back to when I was fourteen and tell myself, don't be a writer. Be a ballerina or gymnast or something."
But I suppose if I wanted to be either one of them I would have.
It's just hard to figure out what I'm doing to stop it from happening. I know I can write and I've sold e-books, some actually having a good run. I've gotten requests for fulls and partials. So what is it? One agent once told me, in her email that, "Although it [Tinderbox] had a good premise, I didn't fall in love with the voice like I thought I would." I had no idea what that meant and others I asked didn't seem to know as well. I mentioned this to Paula Bernstein of The Writing Show fame during a LinkedIn conversation we were having, and here is what she said, "Voice is your writer's personality, your style. It's a very individual thing. It's like meeting someone and them either liking the way you present yourself or not.Some voices are so strong that you either love them or hate them. Some are mellower and more likely to appeal to a wider range of people. Some are so boring they're like dial tones."
So the agent didn't fall in love with my voice. I just wish I knew why. Was it too strong? Mellow? Boring? What? I have no idea what I need to change. One thing I do know is that I'm so absolutely certain, that I have so much confidence in Tinderbox that I know if someone takes a chance they won't be sorry.
Well, I'm still at it though. I've pretty much finished my lesson for the week, so when I go home I'm going to work on a couple of things. Tomorrow, my last day of stay-cation is for chilling only.
Saturday, May 9, 2015
It’s been ages since I’ve had a guest on my blog! And who better than my good friend and fellow author, Claire Thompson! She’s been a guest here at Black Satin before but I’m always pleased and eager to have her back! Today, Claire is pleased to announced her newest work, The Keyholder, scheduled for release on May 22,2015. Erotic Romance at it’s finest! Claire is offering a pre-order special ~ purchase The Keyholder at either Amazon or Romance Unbound and you will receive a 20% coupon code for your next purchase (no limit) an Romance Unbound! The Keyholder is available at the incredibly low price of just $3.99!
Abducted by an evil Master Keyholder – rescued by the Dom of her dreams…
Eva Sandler’s dream job as a house submissive at Hawthorne Dungeon becomes a seven-week nightmare of intense captivity at the hands of a dangerous Master Keyholder. Though forced to submit to the cruel taskmaster’s every erotic whim, Eva’s inner spark of survival burns hot. She will escape, whatever the cost.
Long-time Dom Jack McQuade aches for a loving D/s connection like that shared by his friends, Nora and Charles. When Nora finds desperate clues left by someone held prisoner in Hawthorne Dungeon, it leads them all to a harrowing discovery and introduces Jack to Eva’s stunning courage and determination.
Jack and Eva’s possible D/s relationship should be perfect, but when Jack holds back because of Eva’s previous experience—fearing he’s pushing her too far, too fast—it will take every bit of Eva’s spirit to show the Dom that his sub is much stronger than he ever realized.
A powerful story of passion, betrayal, erotic submission, but most of all—love.
“Go upstairs and prepare yourself,” he said, his words sending shiver of delicious anticipation through Nora’s psyche. “We will join you momentarily.”
“Yes, Sir.” Nora left the two men and flew up both flights of stairs to the second floor. She walked quickly down the hallway toward the harem room. It looked different during the day, with sunlight streaming in through the high windows. The floor was white marble shot with gold, several well-worn but fine oriental carpets placed about the open space. Large, plump throw pillows were set strategically near silk-upholstered antique sofas and chairs.
In a place of honor in the center of the room hung a wooden pillory, suspended on either side by thick iron chains. Nora had spent many a delicious hour with her head and wrists locked between the wooden slats, her perfect Master subjecting her to erotic torture and sensual play that never failed to leave her thoroughly and properly used, and utterly sated.
Nora quickly shed her coat and street clothes, which consisted of a blouse and simple skirt—she never wore pants or underwear, since it pleased Charles, and her, to know she was always accessible to him. Stepping out of her shoes, she collected her things and folded them neatly. She moved quickly to the wardrobe and opened her special drawer. She slipped into a satin bodice, positioning the stiff stays beneath her breasts and pulling the laced sash tight. Her breasts were clearly visible through the sheer fabric, her pierced nipples already jutting in anticipation.
Next she pulled on the matching crotchless pantaloons, tying the satin bows at her thighs to properly expose her smooth, shaven pussy for her Master and his guest. She glanced down at the small diamond sparkling at her bellybutton and flexed her flat, strong stomach muscles in anticipation. Finally, she slipped the dozens of thin gold bangles that completed her outfit over both wrists.
She heard the sound of footsteps on the stairs and then the men coming down the hall, their voices a soft, masculine murmur. She hurried into position, kneeling on a cushion near the door, arms behind her head, back straight, heart thumping in anticipation.
“Very nice,” Jack murmured as the two Doms entered the room. “You’re a lucky man, Charles.”
“Don’t I know it,” Charles said with feeling, his words sending a rush of warmth through Nora’s loins. “Nora is my true love. I may own her body and her obedience, but she owns my heart.”
“I can see you’re still a hopeless romantic,” Jack said with a smile.
“And you remain a hopeful one, am I right?” Charles shot back.
A look of longing flashed over Jack’s features, quickly replaced by an impish grin. “Hey, Nora, do you have a sister?”
“Lots of sister subs, Sir,” she replied with a smile.
“Matchmaking later,” Charles interrupted with a laugh. “I want Nora to dance for us.” He moved to the glass breakfront that housed the sound system. The room filled with the soft, haunting sound of exotic Eastern musical instruments that wove together a complex, sensual rhythm. Nora rose to her feet in a single fluid, much-practiced motion.
The men sat on the large red sofa. Nora looked from Charles, who smiled encouragingly at her, to Jack, who was eyeing her with a frank and appraising eye, the swell in his jeans testament to his appreciation. For a moment she felt self-conscious, half-naked as she was in front of a man who, though he was staying with them temporarily until he found a place of his own, was basically a stranger.
Her eyes moved back to Charles and, as she let herself fall into his dark, commanding gaze, the nervousness fell away like a discarded shell. She let the music move around and through her, allowing its mesmerizing rhythms to command her body. Nora’s body became an extension of her soul as she let the music and the dance claim her.
Charles scooted forward on the sofa, gesturing for her to come closer. He placed his hand on her bare mons as she swayed before him. He pressed his fingers into her wetness and an involuntary shudder moved through her. He moved his fingers sensually inside her, the flat of his palm rubbing against her erect clit.
“She’s extremely orgasmic,” Nora’s Dom calmly informed his friend, who was watching intently. “She can come on command, isn’t that right, my sweet slut?”
A rush of heat moved its way through her body, splashing onto her cheeks—part embarrassment in front of Jack, but mostly pure, molten lust. “Yes, Sir,” she answered, her voice hoarse.
“Spread your legs wider. Offer your cunt.” Charles rubbed harder, the friction perfect. Nora moaned.
“I didn’t tell you to stop dancing,” Charles said softly, though with undeniable command. “Use your torso and arms. Stay focused on the music.”
Nora nodded, a stab of shame moving through her at his reprimand. She knew better. She had forgotten herself because Jack was there. She executed an upper-body shimmy, moving her arms in graceful waves that made her gold bangles slide in tandem along either arm. Charles continued to stroke and tease her now-sopping, throbbing pussy, each perfect thrust of his fingers making it that much harder to concentrate.
Finally it became too much. She was seconds away from an orgasm she couldn’t control or postpone. Sweat had beaded on her upper lip and at the small of her back and her entire body was trembling. Please, she begged silently, let me come, Sir. Let me come!
Her beloved heard her silent plea. “Come for us, sub girl. Now,” he instructed, his palm grinding in perfect rhythm to the hypnotic music.
Nora let the last vestige of tremulous control go with a cry of relief. The climax shot through her like a rocket exploding from deep inside, its sparks igniting every bit of her from her toes to her scalp. She nearly fell over, held up only by Charles’ firm hand still cupping her sex, several of his fingers still buried inside her.
Finally he pulled his hand away and held out his arms. Nora fell gratefully into them. Her husband held her tight until her trembling subsided and her heart slowed its pounding. She must have zoned out for a moment or two, because she only heard the last part of his sentence, “…was something else, didn’t I?”
“You did, and I repeat,” Jack replied. “You are a lucky man. I can’t wait to learn more about this place firsthand. Where do I sign up?”
Eva lifted her head sharply at the sound of tiny skittering feet behind the wall. She must have dozed off for a few minutes. She wriggled her fingers. They weren’t numb—that was good. He hadn’t bound her wrists as tightly this time. Her legs hadn’t fared as well. They felt numb from knee to ankle, but that was better than the stabbing pain of the raw rice he’d made her kneel on last time. That had been worse than a whipping. Fortunately, she’d managed to be a good girl since then, and he hadn’t found the need to punish her.
She lifted her shoulder in a partially successful effort to scratch the tip of her nose. Her scalp tickled and she did her best to ignore it. Her bladder felt full, painfully full. Don’t think about it. Don’t focus on it. She was getting much better at holding it in. She hated kneeling on wet newspaper, hated the pungent smell of stale urine, hated the humiliation when he entered the small room, his icy blue eyes gleaming with a combination of malicious pleasure and fury. She hated the inevitable punishment that followed.
Her gaze shot to the door as she heard the scraping click of a key in the lock. The door opened and Master Phillip appeared. She looked down quickly, not wanting to be caught staring, his most recent admonishment still stinging on the backs of her thighs from her last disrespectful act of failing to keep her eyes properly downcast.
Though she knew it made no sense, she still found it hard to reconcile his angelic good looks with such an evil heart. He looked like an ad for fine cologne, all golden perfection and masculine beauty from his wavy blond hair and brilliant blue eyes down to his perfectly sculptured physique. But she’d learned all too well what cruelty lay behind the beautiful features.
“I would have been up to check on you much sooner,” he said as he approached her. “Some unexpected guests.” The thought of other people somewhere in the house made Eva nearly sick with longing. Somehow—somehow she had to get out of this room! But how? He always left her bound in some way, even if just tethered to her bed. Though he no longer gagged her, she couldn’t risk calling out when she was alone, not daring to risk his wrath. But the thought, the realization there were others in the house, others who had no earthly idea she was imprisoned in this attic room, subject to this monster’s every sadistic whim—it was almost worse than being completely alone.
A heavenly scent of fresh coffee and warm, yeasty cinnamon bread assailed her nostrils, jumpstarting her cramped, empty stomach. Oh, let it be for me. Let it be for me! Please, please, please. She clamped her mouth shut, realizing with dismay she’d made a small, involuntary mewling sound. Had he heard it? Would it count against her? Would he turn around and leave, taking the promise of sustenance with him? She blinked back tears.
Show me your submissive grace, slave. Strive for serenity in the face of suffering. Back straight, cunt offered, breasts thrust proudly forward. You belong to Master Phillip. You exist to serve and please him. Remember that, and he will reward you. Forget it and you will suffer.
These words had been drummed repeatedly into her head over the past days—weeks—months? How long had she been held in this small, windowless room by this monster? It was terrifying to realize she had no idea. Time had ceased to have meaning in a linear sense. Her life was marked only by when he entered and when he left. When she would be permitted to eat, to drink, to use the bathroom, to sleep. When he would beat her, when he would make her come—the forced orgasms sometimes wrenched from her until she passed out. And those occasional moments of kindness, of gentleness, that were almost more terrifying than the abuse, because she had come to treasure them so, to long for them, to almost feel a certain pathetic, twisted connection to the Master who controlled her world.
The sound of his boots moving over the floor recalled her to herself and she arched her back, spreading her knees wider and trying to thrust her hips forward as best she could in her kneeling position. Keeping her eyes down, she lifted her chin as he’d taught her to signify her slavish pride. She almost shook back her hair—the habit still there, though the hair was not. All that was left was the prickly fuzz of new growth.
How she had cried when he cut it off, her tears partly for the loss of what she had always considered her best feature—thick, shiny blond hair tumbling in a cascade of gold down her back—and partly because he’d been so uncharacteristically gentle and kind as he’d done it, explaining it was necessary to help her get in touch with the essence of her submission. He had to break through the arrogance of vanity, he’d said. It was essential to tear her down, to reduce her to nothing, in order to build her back into something worthy of his training and care.
Master Phillip crouched in front of her. The heady aroma of the coffee and buttery cinnamon nearly undid her, and she bit down on her lower lip, so hard the metallic taste of blood seeped onto her tongue. She could see the small tray he had placed on the ground between them. Beside a mug of coffee was a breakfast roll sticky with plump, sugared raisins and swirls of cinnamon. A dollop of melting butter had been pushed into its center.
A gush of saliva pooled in her mouth. Her stomach growled audibly. Oh god, would he punish her for that?
She flinched as he raised his hand toward her face. But he didn’t slap her. Instead, he caressed her cheek, his touch gentle, even sensual. “You please me.”
Thanks, Claire for dropping by! You’re always welcome here at Black Satin!
Claire has been writing for nearly two decades, and has published over 70 novels. She writes BDSM romance and non-con abduction tales, spanning both m/f and m/m genres. Claire’s love affair is with all things D/s (Dominance/submission). Her work began as a romantic exploration of the BDSM life style, and then veered to the darker side of fantasy. She is fascinated with the dark psyche of a twisted mind, and seeks insight into what might motivate such a person to do what they do. Rather than the all-evil villain and heroes as pure as the driven snow, Claire strives to develop real, complex and flawed human beings.
She seeks not only to tell a story, but to come to grips with, and ultimately exalt in the true beauty and spirituality of a loving exchange of power. Her darker works press the envelope of what is erotic and what can be a sometimes dangerous slide into the world of sadomasochism. Ultimately her work deals with the human condition, and our constant search for love and intensity of experience.
Social Media and publishing links:
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
So about the industry.
I did go to the bookstore this weekend. I've been feeling really stressed and uptight lately and I thought it would calm me down. It did a bit but I didn't really pay attention to what was on the shelves this time.
Thanks to the miracle of modern technology -- otherwise known as my Motorola Droid Maxx smartphone, I was able to access Twitter and participate in their #askagent forum.
Me: Are agents interested in futuristic sci-fi that is NOT dystopian?
JB: For kids or adults?
Me: Adults but I believe teens would enjoy it as well. Thanks!
JB: Not sure of the market for adult, I’m sorry to say. A genre I don’t rep.
MKH: Depends on the book, really. YA sf can be a tough sell with editors...often, but not always.
Me: I guess the inevitable question would be in this case, what isn't a hard sell?
JB: In adult, thrillers, suspense, mystery, romance, but of course there are nuances.
So my general tweet was, "Participated in #askagent #asktba today. Asked what was selling? No one said fantasy or sci-fi. That's discouraging..."
Of course this is just one agency's opinion but it was enough to, as I said, be a bit discouraging. So as always, when faced with a conundrum, I did some research. I started. By the way, I also asked about Young Adult Heroic Fantasy but I'm still waiting for an answer.
So I hopped on over to the Manuscript Wish List site and looked up fantasy. There are several lists like this but this one is at the top of the list. Oh, yes and this is agents only, not editors, since most don’t accept unsolicited anymore. I hope they don't mind me providing this information here but since it's the agents saying what they'd like it may be useful.
Laura Crockett of TriadaUS is looking for, "Great storytelling + parallel narratives (like Kate Morton) or lush, light fantasy writing (like Paula Brackston)" I looked up both and Ms. Brackston's book is going on my TBR list. Both books seem to take place in what appears to be an alternate reality London in different time frames-- as many seem to be doing lately, Ms. Morton's is closer to modern day . Authors feel free to correct me here if I'm wrong.
Marlene Stringer of Stinger Literary only lists contemporary fantasy. As far as I’m aware, it’s where the fantastic is intermixed with the modern day world. Here’s Amazon’s list of Best Contemporary Fantasy.
Although some of these seem to be paranormal fantasy to me or maybe urban fantasy? So what’s the difference? They all seem to include the standard vampires (seriously, are they really still that popular?), werewolves (ditto) and sometimes zombies (eww, sorry I don’t think zombies are sexy, they are decomposing people, people!) and shapeshifters, which could actually still be filed under were’s.
Amazon’s Paranormal and Urban list are tied together and still seems to contain the same tropes.
You know, I actually remember (yes, I’m old!) when none of these offshoots were around. You had contemporary, literary, romance, mystery, science-fiction, fantasy and horror and that was it! I know, I know this gives readers and authors more variety, but still, sometimes…
But back to the subject at hand.
One agent, Lane Heymont of The Seymour Agency (who has my query for Tinderbox BTW) wants these according to his blog:
In Fantasy he asks for, “… Dark and gritty Contemporary in the vein of Chuck Wendig, but says no Urban Fantasy.”
I looked at Chuck Wendig’s site and his work seems along the lines of futuristic science-fiction and urban fantasy. Again, please feel free to correct me.
In Science Fiction: “Military science based in our world but no space opera.” I’m assuming futuristic. He also wants “horror elements” apparently along the lines of Halo, Aliens or Frankenstein. He continues with adult and hard or soft like Coherence and Carl Sagan’s Contact.
By the way he also states fantasy/paranormal romance with no vampires or werewolves. Bravo!
Maria Vincente of the PS Literary Agency actually does want both Fantasy and Magic Realism (so wouldn't magic realism be the same as contemporary fantasy?) in both YA and Middle Grade.
Bridget Smith of Dunham Literary would like to see: “SFF (YA or adult) about sisters (born or fostered) who end up on opposite sides of a war.”
Hmm…come to think of it, so would I.
I only went back to the beginning of the month and only included certain listings.
I glanced at science-fiction. Laura Zats of Red Sofa wants, “Lighthearted Sci-fi for adults.”
Hmm…I’ll ask for examples and let everyone know what she says in my next musing.
So that’s all I’m going to do for now. Another case of doing a lot of writing and not even noticing.
I’ll do a bit more research and see what I come up with.