Monday, June 29, 2015

Instincts Awaken Cover Reveal

I'm delighted to share the cover for Instincts Awaken, the first novel in my new Fae Surrender series here today!  This cover was created by the awesomely talented Lawson Craighill, and I love it so much I can't even find words (and finding words is my job!).  It's standard practice for authors to squeal over their covers, but this one genuinely took my breath away and made me want to run out and buy that lovely book right now...but I guess I'll have to wait till July 16 for that!  Seriously, could this be more lovely and magical?

I'll be sharing an excerpt from the novel here soon, but for now have a blurb while you get ready to meet Clare Askar and discover the sensual pleasures of Fae Surrender!

In the hidden community of magical Chicago, where humans, fae, and supernatural predators live side-by-side, half-fae Clare lands in trouble when her long-suppressed instincts begin to surface in inappropriate displays. Though she's an adult by human standards, the fae kinship courts order Clare into the custody of an uncle she has never met. Though fearful that she will be mistreated, her uncle's strict, affectionate treatment brings her a deep submissive pleasure. Long-neglected Clare begins to blossom emotionally and sensually as she submits to preparation for a traditional fae mating, and it's not long before her burgeoning desires draw attention.

Forestkeeper Rory Seaborn is a full-blooded fae whose cynical attempts to keep a distance can't withstand the submissive signals Clare is putting out. But if she chooses to accept Rory's attentions and become his mate, Clare is committing to a life among the clannish fae—and a life of complete submission. Can Clare surrender herself entirely to gain her deepest desires?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

G is for Good Girl #SpankA2Z

I took a few days off this blogging challenge because I was beset with a migraine and a lot of work, but I couldn't let G go past without some recognition because G is for Good Girl, and I absolutely adore good girls.  I know many authors of discipline fiction prefer to take bratty types for their heroines, but to me, a good girl who chooses surrender and discipline is something really lovely.  In her we can see the true submissive heart and all the loveliness it can hold as she gives herself over to her beloved for protection and guidance. 

And as much as I love reading about hard spankings earned for misbehavior (and even good girls mess up sometimes!), I also adore maintenance spankings that are part of the reassurance and structure given to a good girl.  That girl, after all, may crave spankings as an erotic release and form of reconnection with her dominant as much as anyone else, but the very thought of displeasing purposely with bratty behavior would frighten and distress her.  No matter--her loving dominant makes sure she gets what she needs without the emotional baggage that would unsettle her.

And what's more tender and lovely than a sweet girl seated at her beloved's feet, her head leaned against his knee, his hand caressing her hair?  As much as I love the erotic, I love romance too, and that, to me, is the very heart of romance in a power exchange relationship.  Not the spankings and discipline, but the lovely quiet time between the two as she rests against him with affectionate trust and dependency, receiving in turn the gentle attentions she craves just as much as firmer forms of reassurance.

And of course there's nothing to say a good girl can't be very wanton indeed...if that's what her beloved desires from her.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

F is for Fantasy and Fae #SpankA2Z

Cheating a little again today, but I'm so thrilled to be able to talk about Instincts Awaken that it's hard to contain myself.  From the first time I conceived the urban fantasy setting that would develop into the Fae Surrender series, I was hooked.  You see, one of the things I love most about writing is world-building.  A good writer does this with any book, whether it's set in New York in the 1950s or contemporary Montana or a made-up universe, but in fantasy literature, it's absolutely critical.  Would Harry Potter have enchanted so many people if J.K. Rowling had skimped on her world-building?

So imagining a community where humans, fae, werewolves, etc. all coexist and to some degree marry and mingle was pretty much a dream come true for me.  I chose Chicago as the setting for my series because I wanted a traditionally urban environment, but I also wanted something a little less obvious than New York or Boston.  And as I developed the world, I began focusing more and more closely on the fae--strange, clannish creatures who have perhaps accepted modernity on the surface, but have powerful biological drives that are reflected in their family structures and customs. 

I'd say more, but explaining a sexy thing, like explaining a joke, rather ruins it.  So here, just for you, is a first preview for Instincts Awaken, the first novel in the Fae Surrender series, due out July 16 from Blushing Books.

When Bard was gone, Liam turned to face Clare, and lifted one large hand to grip the back of her neck. “Settle,” he murmured. The touch—his hand—there--it seemed to send an electric shock through her, and Clare's head drooped submissively like a wilting flower, quite of its own accord. Her breathing sped up intolerably, and when her lips parted, a tiny, needy mewl escaped them. It was happening again, Clare realized with horror, and one hand flew to her mouth to contain the sound. Oh, no. Just as when that fae boy had growled at her from the doorway of the apothecary shop, her body was taking over, the powerful instincts that she had ignored for so long she hadn't realized she had them taking complete sway over her. Tears of distress filled her eyes as she tried to contain the intensity of her instincts at war with her upbringing.
To his credit, Liam didn't seem unduly taken aback or upset at her outburst. He squeezed firmly at Clare's nape, then released her. “It will be all right,” he said, looking at her for a long time, then handed her his handkerchief. “Wipe your eyes, good girl.

Those instincts may end up costing Clare her freedom as she is subjected to restrictive and old-fashioned training to prepare her for mating...but they may also be the key to her ultimate desire.

Friday, June 5, 2015

E is for...Elven: New Series Announcement #SpankA2Z

It may seem a little soon to be announcing new books, with Late Blooming Lily only three days released (and, I'm delighted to say, currently hanging out in the top 100 of Amazon's BDSM list and gaining lovely responses from readers who enjoy late-life romance as much as I do).  I do hope you'll pick it up for some weekend fun if you haven't yet!  But I just received a publication date of July 16 for my the first novel in my new Fae Surrender series, Instincts Awaken, yesterday, and...well, E was hard.

Did you know that before Tolkien wrote Lord of the Rings, the standard spelling was "elfin"?  He thought the spelling was too twee for his stately conception of the elves and he battled with his publishers until they accepted his "elven" and "elvish." All the elves you see running around in modern fantasy novels are pretty much the direct result of Tolkien's massively popular reimagining of fairies and elves based on Icelandic legend.

But sometimes, I feel like Tolkien made the elves a little too magical, stately, and remote.  Certainly, I'd be very scared to write my brand of sexy romantic discipline with them.  But the elves, speaking in literary terms, are close cousins to the fae and, like many other modern authors, I've taken the fae and twisted them to fit my own perverse desires.  The Fae Surrender series takes place in modern Chicago, where the fae have integrated and intermarried to a large extent with generations of humans.  This vibrant magical community exists right alongside our mundane one, hidden with glamors and illusions. 

In my conception of the fae, they co-evolved alongside humans from a different source, one with a feline background.  Hence their luminescent eyes, pointed ears, and rather unusual mating rituals.  You see, while the fae will sometimes just get married, that's not really satisfactory to their powerful instincts.  Instead, as I hinted in my C is for Claiming post, the males want to publicly mark and claim their mates to demonstrate their complete mastery in an act of ritual dominance.

And what does that mean for a half-fae girl raised outside the more traditional community when her submissive instincts become too strong to be denied?

You'll just have to wait until July to find out.  But tune in Sunday when F is for Fae for a first peek inside Instincts Awaken.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

D Is for Daddy Play #SpankA-Z

A long time ago, I was listening to Susie Bright's weekly podcast on Audible (and if you are ever going to pay money for a podcast, this is the one to break down for), and she was interviewing one of the grand dames of feminism and sex positivity...I wish I could remember who it was.  The woman was seventy or so, and had a lover who was much younger.  Susie asked if that limited the kind of games the two could play in the bedroom.  "Oh, no," the woman answered.  "We do whatever we want.  He can be doesn't matter."

What a wonderful philosophy.  I love daddy play and daddy doms because there's a wonderful tenderness to that kind of ageplay and dominance.  I think "daddy" is a very powerful concept for a lot of women, and perhaps not for the obvious reasons that would leap to the mind of your average amateur psychologist.  Gertrude Stein once said, "There is too much fathering going on just now and there is no doubt about it fathers are depressing."  But maybe there needs to be more daddying.  

Because, every now and then, who doesn't want to be someone's adorable little kitten, to be petted and praised and soundly spanked when needed?  Daddy will do all those things.  He may be quick to pull you over his knee and strap your bottom, but he's quick, too, to kiss your tears away and promise that you're his good, sweet, precious girl afterwards.  Daddy doesn't skimp on aftercare any more than he skimps on discipline (that other wonderful D!).  That's because the whole idea of a daddy is someone caring and loving.

And being with Daddy is freeing.  You don't make any decisions--you're just his little girl, and you trust your daddy to look after you.  It's a submission that's a little like falling into a warm, fluffy cloud that envelops you entirely.  It's a joyful, liberating surrender with a taboo edge that only adds to the pleasure.

Yup, no doubt about it.  Daddies rock.  And who's my fantasy daddy?  Don Draper from Mad Men.  Just thinking about that is...  Oh my.  Do excuse me.  I have to go fan myself.  Tell me yours in the comments!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

C is for Claiming...and some very exciting news! #SpankA-Z

erotic romance spanking domestic discipline
Before I dive into talking about Claiming (one of my favorite sexy romance tropes!), Late Blooming Lily is now available for sale!  You can pick it up on Amazon, or on Barnes and Noble, or privately via the Blushing Books website.  If you'd like to check out a sample of this steamy, tender romance before you buy it, there's an exclusive excerpt here on my site!  I couldn't be prouder of this book because not only does it deal with late-life romance, something I find very beautiful and hopeful, it's also very focused in positive consent--another very sexy C!  I believe that the heart of power exchange and domestic discipline should be about consent and trust, and Late Blooming Lily reflects those beliefs without sacrificing one iota of panty-dripping hotness.

So, let's talk about Claiming--what do I mean by that word, and why do I mean it so?  I think of claiming as the moment when two people commit exclusively.  That sounds like I'm talking about marriage, but it doesn't have to be.  In Late Blooming Lily, Rob claims Lily by shouting his love for her to the stars.  He claims her, too, when a drunk starts hitting on her at a bar, and he tells the man to back off in no uncertain terms.  This isn't about a kind of leg-lifting macho behavior (okay, there's a little of that, he's a man after all!), but it's about a powerful recognition and desire to display that the beloved is yours.  And not only men claim!  Women do it in their own ways too.  A hand on the arm, a look that tells other women to back off...  We show ownership over our men.

But the most powerful claiming is what happens privately between two people in bed.  When bodies impress on each other the urgency of their desire.  When urgent lips and teeth and hands grip and hold and mark one another because the two know in their hearts that they've found their partner, their mate, their love.  Love bites are a result of that kind of claiming, and so is soreness after a really long, marathon lovemaking session.  So are the marks that can follow a hard spanking.  These are ways people claim one another that are just about the two of them and bodies learning what hearts already know.

And, in my forthcoming urban fantasy series, the fae have a very different meaning for claiming...but we'll talk about that another time!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

B is for Bondage (Verbal)...and Bryony!

I'm jumping into the Spanking A-Z challenge a day late, but B is also for Bryony, so I feel it's fitting I make my first contribution today.  I know Bondage is an obvious choice for B, but stay with me here, because I'm going to be talking about verbal bondage, not the ropes and handcuffs type.  Mr. Grey and his zip ties (most uncomfortable bondage tool ever, dude) can go somewhere else.

While my work fits in the BDSM category because people take pleasure in the exchange of power and pain, I tend to be more interested in discipline and the emotional bond created between two people by acts of consensual punishment.  That's why, while bondage doesn't play a big part in my work--or any, so far--verbal bondage does.  Consider the following snippet from my forthcoming romance Late Blooming Lily, in which the lovely Lily faces stern punishment from her beloved Rob:

I made a hickory switch. 'f my boyhood recollection will serve, it stings like hell, but won't do too much damage.” He flipped on the light and led her to a corner where the switch stood upright beside a musty old bale of alfalfa. “You'll have to bend over for it—I can't hit properly with you over my knee. Do you need me to tie your hands?”

She considered that for a minute, then ventured, “Let me try without first? I...I want to take it like a good girl for you, show you how sorry I am.”

A little smile eased the sternness of his face, and he nodded. “Okay. Bend over now and get your skirt up.”

Lily bared her bottom and went into position quickly, bracing her hands on the hay. She closed her eyes, visualizing her fingers taking root there so they couldn't move, even if she tried. 

 Here Lily's desire to show her obedience further cements their bond during a tense moment in a way that no rope or chain could do.  Because she loves Rob, because she's genuinely sorry for her fault, she wants to make every effort to not only accept her punishment, but do it gracefully. But it's not just romantic, it creates tension too--will she be able to keep control?  Will she make things worse for herself by disobeying?  Verbal bondage is great because it requires real control from the dominant, the kind that's enforced not with a variety of kinky tools, but from inside the submissive's head.  The kind that makes a woman's knees go weak and her mouth go dry at a stern look.

That's the real thing, and it has nothing at all to do with zip ties.