Friday 31 December 2010

Ring Out The Old, Ring In The New.

New Year's Eve means so many different things to different people. For some, it's a farewell to what was maybe not such a good old year, a chance for things to change for the better. For others, it's the opportunity to state, almost publicly, the things they're going to achieve in the next twelve months - lose weight, quit smoking, maybe even finish that novel....!

Me, I don't make resolutions any more, partly because I rarely keep them and can't stand the beating-myself-around-the-head moments when those bathroom scales show the lbs creeping back up, or the clock hasn't quite made it till 6pm before I reach for my much-needed Friday night glass of wine! Nowadays I don't sign myself up to anything other than perhaps simply the acceptance that things will happen anyway and sometimes you can't do a thing about them other than grabbing the lemon squeezer and a big jug full of ice and see what good lemonade you can make!

If you insist I call that a resolution and have to give it words, okay. I resolve to 'live in the now' as much as I can this year, and will take whatever comes my way with as much good grace as I can muster. Watch this space!

I read in the paper this morning about New Year traditions throughout the world. The Scottish capital city of Edinburgh, a place steeped in fiercely guarded tradition, has developed a whole new set of celebrations right in the centre of the city - a massive, open-air concert in the beautiful Princes Street Gardens followed by a huge firework display from the Castle ramparts. Edinburgh knows how to party! (Look out for my short story Edinburgh Fog coming from Muse It Up Publications next year - I told you I'd be open to opportunity!) It'll be cold in Edinburgh, but in Sydney, Australia, it's midsummer, and it'll be fireworks and parties in shorts and summer dresses. Times Square, NYC, has the famous ball-drop, while in Spain you'll gobble up one green grape for every stroke of midnight to ensure a year of good luck.

However you celebrate, I wish you all the very best for 2011. Enjoy every moment, and remember - make lemonade whenever you can. Happy New Year!

About the author: Jane Richardson's tagline is 'strength...intelligence...passion...stories worth telling,' and according to reviewers, it doesn't lie. Love Romances and More said she 'writes wonderful characters that reach out to the reader and pull her in to the story,' and Camellia at LASR said 'she is a writer I'll look for again and again. Find out more at

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Kristal McKerrington

Hello, I would like to thank Lindsay for having me here today and would also like to say its a pleasure to be hosted by someone else who is a UK author. I'm very grateful to have the chance to be here with all of you.  All those readers who are reading this and don't know who I am. I'm Kristal McKerrington. I have put a little about me below along with my latest release and the three coming soon pieces I have. I hope you enjoy them and look forward to hearing back from you the British readers.

Kristal McKerrington is a twenty one year old writer from Scotland, UK. She has a love for Scotland and for Vikings. Kristal has only recently started to publish with XOXO Publishing, she lives with her boyfriend in the heart of Glasgow. Kristal also has a love for going out with her boyfriend on their motorbike and spending long ours soaking in her bath tub writing her stories.

She is the current author of the following books in order of their release. 'The Highlander With The Ink', which is apart of the Tattoo Anthology Volume 1' (now on Amazon), 'Freedom Is Earned' (now available on Amazon), 'Shetlands Immortals: Against My First Love', 'Leather Bound Hearts and A Different Life: A Christmas Tale of Two Heart, which are both apart of the Sweet Christmas Anthology', along with 'Immortal Chief's Christmas With King Arthur'.

I would like to introduce to you first.

Shetlands Immortals: Against My First Love


'Carla McBain was just an ordinary sixteen year old girl, until one late night in October; Carla was murdered in her dorm room. Carla was scared until Oscar and Daryl meet her on her return to the Islands, to meet her parents.  After confronting her, they realise that she is a new Immortal.

After staging her death, the pair convinces Carla to return to their Holy Ground, where they tell her everything that they know. They train her until the day comes that the Islanders grew suspicious of her presence there within the Old Viking Temple.

Deciding it’s safer to leave, they head out into the night in search of someone else who can tell them the truth about why they are Immortals. What will they find?

Can Oscar and Daryl survive outside of the Temple with a young Immortal?

How did they end up Immortal and why are they protecting her?

What happens when she meets her first love who is responsible for her being Immortal in the first place?'

I would like to now introduce the next two pieces I'm have released under 'Sweet Christmas Anthology' with XOXO publishing.

A Highlander Norse God Story:
Leather Bound Hearts


'Fernier and Tina, are two young demi-gods in the big sea of the Norse God's love, they are the children of bitter enemies.  When these two fall in love and decide they want it all, what will Odin and Loki do?  Can they accept a marriage that brings them together? Will they stop the cycle?'

A Different Life: A Christmas Tale of Two Hearts.


'In a world where there is no certainty, a woman, who did what was believed impossible, fell in love with two brothers; Two of the best wrestlers in the world.  Only now this Christmas the beginning of her long journey starts with the end when Layla decides to share part of the ending of her story in this Christmas Tale that challenges not just the brothers, but the bounds of loyalty and love.'

Immortal Chief's Christmas With King Arthur


'The Immortal Chief tells the tale of his Christmas with King Arthur. How he meets Krystal-Marie, and saves King Arthur from becoming and immortal too young!  What will happen between the two of these young Immortals who have walked into the unknown together?'

I would like to thank Lindsay once more for having me along with Amanda for the great covers, Gina for giving me a voice and for all the editors who has worked really hard with me.  I would like to thank to everyone who has been reading my books and supporting me.

You can buy stuff here.

I hope that Lindsay will have me again and good day to you all.

Kristal McKerrington.

Sunday 19 December 2010

Booksigning in Bonny Doon

Well, that was the intent. Four authors, lots of books, no customers. Ah, well...
It was a rainy day in Santa Cruz. Even the shoppers were fewer. The weather? The economy?

I'm scheduling a number of guest blogs and other promo spots to launch the next release--IN LOVE AND WAR. Look for it on January 24th, 2011.

Saturday 18 December 2010

Mac Liam: Book 2 of the Emerald Isle Trilogy Now Available!

Mac Liam
Book Two of the Emerald Isle Trilogy
(December 2010)
Turquoise Morning Press
ISBN (Print): 9781935817321
ISBN (Ebook): 9781935817345

Buy Now:

"MAC LIAM, the second book in the EMERALD ISLE TRILOGY, is a delightful historical romance. Amazing author Renee Vincent carries her readers off to another place and time, allowing them an escape from their own cares. Filled with love, plot twists, secrets, danger, steamy sensual love scenes, an interesting plot, complex, compelling characters and plenty of wit, this is a story you will hate to see end. If you enjoy this story, you will also want to read the first book in this trilogy, RAELIKSEN. Mara’s story, which originated in RALELIKSEN, is continued in MAC LIAM. Having read both stories, I look forward to reading the next book in this exciting trilogy. Be sure to get your own copy. You won’t regret it!"
4.5 Blue Ribbons ~ Dottie of "Romance Junkies"

Breandán woke to the sound of a twig snapping under foot. He remained still against the hard, uncomfortable trunk of the tree, examining his surroundings with only a careful shift of his eyes. Marcas was sound asleep a few feet from him, the fire burning warmly, and his dinner—which Marcas must have cooked anyway—beside him on a spit.
Despite that their two horses were not stirring, their ears were perked high and their faces alert. Peering in the direction the horses stared, Breandán unsheathed his dagger and stood carefully, knowing full well the sound he heard was not of a nightly scavenging animal. Its weight was too large to make such a prominent snap, more closely resembling the accidental misstep of a prowling human.
He tried to awaken Marcas with a hard shake of his shoulder, but Marcas only grunted and rolled over, muttering something about “get your own wood.”
While keeping his eyes on the distant spread of darkness ahead, Breandán frowned in irritation and decided to search the woods alone. He didn’t bother with his bow, as it was too dark to make out a target anyway. His plan of attack was to sneak up on the intruders in the same manner as they had snuck up on him, all the while hoping he would not be too terribly outnumbered.
He slowly rounded the horses and darted to the right behind a tree. Cautiously, he looked again, allowing his vision to adjust from the bright light of the fire to the dim obscurity of the dense woods. Once the woodland objects started to emerge and be recognized, he scurried past a few more trees, taking refuge behind a larger one. His path was deliberate, wide and circular, scouting the area as he crept, in order to flank whoever was trespassing his hunting grounds.
Suddenly, he caught sight of a single dark figure, in a hood and cloak, moving closer to where he and Marcas had made camp. The stranger was not close enough to the fire to do any harm to Marcas yet, but it was obvious the person was advancing in that direction.
Breandán reached down and picked up a stone. To distract the man, he launched it distantly behind the prowler, hitting a tree. As planned, the hooded figure turned in the direction of the sound and walked guardedly away from Marcas, but foolishly in the direction of the ricocheting stone.
Breandán was glad to see the man was quite short in stature and virtually unintelligent, or at the least, not at all skilled in the ways of combat or hunting. He could easily take him alone, considering he wasn’t getting much help from his sleeping friend. Taking a deep breath, he pressed on, this time, cutting a path straight toward the stranger.
He padded a bit further between the scores of trees and shadows, and once he was close enough, he leapt forward, taking the hooded man’s back by surprise. With one arm around the man’s forehead, Breandán stretched his neck to meet a well-placed dagger. “Who are you? Speak your name!”
“Please!” a woman’s whimpering voice proclaimed. “Do not kill me!”
Breandán’s heart stopped and his breath caught deep in his throat. He knew that voice, but he couldn’t believe his own ears. He frantically spun the woman around, jerking the hood from her head, only to gasp at his find. His feet automatically retreated a bit, his steady hunting hands shook at his sides, and the knife dropped from his grip.
Breandán was the first to speak, but Mara’s name came out so erratically, he sounded more like a stuttering fool.
She smiled in relief, hearing her name on his lips. “I feared perhaps you would have forgotten me.”
Breandán stared at her, thinking he was only having another dream and she would soon disappear. But he watched her step forward and heard the sound of the wet autumn leaves beneath her feet. He saw the few wisps of hair blow back from her face. And he even swore he felt her light, warm breath on his cheek as she neared.
He swallowed hard, trying to pull himself together, but he was failing. Even his breathing refused to cooperate, staggering out of him in the same troubled fashion as her name. And now, to make things worse, he could smell her. He could smell the fragrant oils from her body and the honeyed scent of her hair falling out of the hood and down around her shoulders. It was the most pleasant scent he could ever imagine—like honeysuckle, only sweeter.
This is not a dream, Breandán convinced himself. Mara was real and standing before him. The only thing that helped him to finally react like a sensible, grown man was the flashing image of him holding the dagger at her precious throat. His eyes widened and his stern, rich voice returned.
“My God, Mara! I could have killed you!” Immediately his hands came up and cradled her jaw, tilting her head to the side to examine her neck. To his relief, her skin had not even reddened from the gruffness of his choke hold.
Mara looked deep into his eyes and spoke ever so softly to him. “You would never harm me.”
Breandán caught her sensuous stare and held it with his own, a slight grin tugging warmly at his lips. “Aye, I would never harm you, Mara.”

Visit Renee Vincent at

Friday 17 December 2010

MISTLETOE EVERYWHERE--Regency Christmas comedy, great review

I've just received a great review for Mistletoe Everywhere!

From Marissa D at Sizzling Hot Books - 5 hearts out of 5
"Mistletoe Everywhere is fast paced and keeps us involved with the characters. I was happy to see these happy-for-everyone endings and the warm fuzzy I was left with."

Enjoy a hilarious Regency Christmas with Mistletoe Everywhere.

A man who sees mistletoe everywhere is mad--or in love.

Charles sees mistletoe. Not surprising, since he's spending Christmas at Mistletoe Manor. But why does no one else see it? And why does it always appear above Penelope, the despised lady who jilted him after their last meeting?

Penelope wants nothing to do with the faithless Charles, the man who cried off after she accepted his marriage proposal. But he still stirs her heart--and he stares at her all the time. Or rather, he stares at the empty ceiling over her head…What does he see?

According to folklore, mistletoe is the plant of peace. Can Penelope and Charles, so full of hurt and anger, heed the mistletoe's message and make peace?


After Charles had heaped his plate with more food than he wanted, he took one of the empty chairs at the table bottom, as far from Penelope as possible.

His tensed muscles eased as he joked with his friends. Smythe made a comment and Charles turned to answer. He caught sight of Penelope…and a monstrous bunch of mistletoe above her.

"Gordon? What is it?" Smythe swiveled in the direction Charles was staring. He looked up and down, and from one side to the other. "I say, with your mouth hanging open like that, you must see something spectacular, but damned if I know what it is."

With an audible click, Charles clamped his jaw shut. "I thought I saw…" He forced his gaze back to his companion. "Nothing. I imagined I saw mistletoe."

Smythe's eyebrows rose. "Mistletoe?"

"Yes. The house is named 'Mistletoe Manor', so the place is filled with mistletoe decorations. Pictures, wall hangings, ceiling trim, whatnot."

"Indeed." Smythe's eyebrows rose higher. "That 'mistletoe' you saw is over that Miss Lawrence. Lovely little filly." His lips curved into a knowing grin. "My jaw dropped the first time I saw her, too."

Charles stiffened. "I was not looking at Miss Lawrence. I believed I saw mistletoe over her."

"'Mistletoe'." Symthe's grin widened. "Of course."

And I hope you will get what you want for Christmas, too!

Buy Link:

Thank you all,
Welcome to My World of Historical Hilarity!

Saturday 4 December 2010

My Dream of Madonna/An Ecstatic Rendezvous

My Dream of Madonna/An Ecstatic Rendezvous is actually two short stories written by author, David Russell.
The first story, My Dream of Madonna is about a dream the character had about his desire to be a sex object for Madonna - the pop singer. The story overall is a little weird but does have some sensual elements. The author's use of description in this story clearly shows that the story is a complete fantasy as it sometimes did not make sense and appeared very unrealistic. I understood the use of references to songs by Madonna and even flamboyant scenes that appeared to act out scenes from her videos, but it sometimes made this story a little off-balanced.

The second story, An Ecstatic Rendezvous was actually more enjoyable and had more sensual elements. It was about a very handsome but shy man who yearned to have a one night stand with a sexy woman. One day he decided to step out of his comfort zone and gained enough courage to ask a girl out. Their sexual encounter was interesting. I liked the imagination that flowed with this story. It showed how he overcame his shyness to live out his fantasy for at least one time.

Overall, both stories were "non-traditional" in terms of each story line, and sometimes appeared a little exaggerated as it seemed that both stories explore a man's fantasy about being intimate with a special female lover. What I liked about both stories is that is shows how fantasies and dreams can sometimes be ambiguous and unclear but can make sense at the same time.

This ebook would be an interesting read for someone who is looking for something different.

My Dream of Madonna
I was tossing and turning, half-dreaming my way into wakefulness. The telephone rang. Before it had finished its third ring, I picked up the receiver.
"Hello honey, you got through."
I sensed the voice with an ethereal shudder. It was hers and no other's. It must have been that chain letter, or that very special message on the Contact Line. "We've got to meet. Midnight at the Imperial Palace. Look your best; be your
So it was all going to happen, Madonna would approve me, fulfill me. I was all atremble. I hurriedly shaved, showered and dressed. I looked intellectually smart-casual in dark brown cords? What the hell? Whatever fashion I chose, Madonna was sure to do some really imaginative permutations.
I went down to the vestibule, meaning to call a cab. There, waiting for me, were her bodyguards
 about five foot eight. They were wearing white silk robes with pink sashes. They beckoned me to kneel at the altar, and then to stand. The lights dimmed. Then, from the rear, Madonna entered. She looked exquisite in a purple velvet ball gown, glittering with a handful of jewels flashing all the colors of the rainbow, revealing her shoulders, so wonderfully toned by all that sensual exercise. Her hair was now black and straight, her complexion fresh, without make-up. She stood between the two rows of girls, and then she smiled at me. "You're looking great," shesaid, "I must see more."
"Hi! We've come to collect you. This is your honor and ours."They ushered me into a plush Chevrolet. The engine purred. The upholstery was resilient and pliant, in time, in tune with my quivering anticipation. I was going to be a
sex-object for Madonna.

The cathedral's columns tapered into the infinite darkness, like seductive limbs in erotic dress. The bodyguards motioned me to go in, then turned and left. The interior was swathed in a dim red light. I could hear the dulcet, ethereal sounds of
a choir. But no singers were to be seen. I looked ahead. I was obviously in the chamber of state, where the emperor made his proclamations. There, in two lines, were twelve beautiful girls, all the same height
She lifted her arms in the air and nodded at the girls. The one on the far left undid her sash, parted her robe, and pushed it back over her shoulders. It fell to the floor to reveal the girl's athletic body, tightly encased in a white girdle and a black bra-top. She came and undid my jacket, then bore it away.

Each girl did the same with one more item of my clothing. Madonna's eyes gradually lit up as my body was revealed to her. At last I stood before her, just wearing black briefs. Madonna was feasting at the sight of my torso and legs. Our faces edged together. Our lips touched and our tongues drew together as we held our breath through
a five-minute kiss.

"Wonderful," she whispered. "Could you help me with my preparations now?"

Now I was to undress Madonna! I went up to the altar, put my hands on her slender waist, and looked her straight in the eye. The gown had a zipper at the back. I undid it and eased it down. As it fell to the floor, it captured a moment of eternity. The song resounded in my ears, "I close my eyes. Oh God, I think I'm falling, out of the skies, I close my eyes."
tall, coffee-colored, muscular hunks, perfect role-models for my workouts.

Therapy Rapture

Product Description
Ever had secret thoughts about a counsellor? Fitness trainer? Ever put two and two together? Therapy Rapture does just that, skillfully blurring the boundaries between fantasy and reality.

The accompanying poems deal with aspects of romantic sensuality, with some emphasis on the aesthetics of disrobing and the relation between swimming and sex. They have been featured in several anthologies produced by Forward Press in the UK, and three of them, ''Bathing Girl'', ''Beach Girl'', and ''Lovers Undress'', are on the internet. The story, the poems, the illustrations set out to explore the erotic with delicacy, refinement, and sensitivity.

About the Author

Born 12 June 1940 and living in West London, UK, David is a writer in all genres, including poetry, fiction, and criticism, and he is a guitarist and singer-songwriter. Some of David's erotic poems have been featured in anthologies produced by Forward Press. He has a collection of poetry and prose entitled Prickling Counterpoints, that has been published in many magazines. He has written two novellas: High Wired On (speculative fiction) and Self's Blossom (romance). The latter, together with the short story Explorations, have been published by Silk's Vault. His albums include Bricolage (Hangman Records, 1992) and Bacteria Shrapnel (Posterity Recordings, 1997).

Product Details

  • Paperback: 46 pages
  • Publisher: Dorrance Publishing (July 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1434992160
  • ISBN-13: 978-1434992161
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.7 x 0.5 inches

He has a desire for the right woman to spend some time with, enjoying each others company. A romantic interlude that would lead to that one fabulous encounter bringing complete ecstasy.
Rowena is a therapist who has endured a repressed childhood. She loves dressing up and feels that the clothes have a way of caressing her body. She wants him to open up his mind to his dreams.
He beings to ache for his therapist, Rowena. He finds her dark, sultry and somewhat reserved. He finds hard professional women sexy, and she happens to be just the one that he believes could bring out that strong urge that he needs to release. Rowena wants him to incorporate his dreams into a healing process. She is able to help him release his inner self as the two have some romantic interludes that lead to total satisfaction. By giving into what their hearts and mind desires, they are able to find that one medium that captures their souls. After everything is over, will they be able to face the world positively?
Therapy Rapture is a thought-provoking book. I found it a deep fantasy of sorts, with direct frankness throughout the story. It was interesting reading how the mind viewed certain aspects while acting upon them. I have to say the sketches are very nicely done indeed, and the way they are sketched, the reader can get a feel for the story while viewing the pictures. With some poetry enclosed, the reader can certainly get an expression of David Russell's writing. The incorporation of the poems and the drawings, that accommodate the story, make it an interesting read. I found it fascinating how the male character allowed his mind to view the aspects that surrounded his life.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More
He has a desire for the right woman to spend some time with, enjoying each others company. A romantic interlude that would lead to that one fabulous encounter bringing complete ecstasy.
Rowena is a therapist who has endured a repressed childhood. She loves dressing up and feels that the clothes have a way of caressing her body. She wants him to open up his mind to his dreams.
He beings to ache for his therapist, Rowena. He finds her dark, sultry and somewhat reserved. He finds hard professional women sexy, and she happens to be just the one that he believes could bring out that strong urge that he needs to release. Rowena wants him to incorporate his dreams into a healing process. She is able to help him release his inner self as the two have some romantic interludes that lead to total satisfaction. By giving into what their hearts and mind desires, they are able to find that one medium that captures their souls. After everything is over, will they be able to face the world positively?
Therapy Rapture is a thought-provoking book. I found it a deep fantasy of sorts, with direct frankness throughout the story. It was interesting reading how the mind viewed certain aspects while acting upon them. I have to say the sketches are very nicely done indeed, and the way they are sketched, the reader can get a feel for the story while viewing the pictures. With some poetry enclosed, the reader can certainly get an expression of David Russell's writing. The incorporation of the poems and the drawings, that accommodate the story, make it an interesting read. I found it fascinating how the male character allowed his mind to view the aspects that surrounded his life.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

Therapy Rapture is a very interesting book by David
Russell. The book comprises itself of various types of
abstract fantasies instilled in the story line, poems and art
featured within the book.

The story explores the boundaries of how the mind can
sometimes compromise the perception of fantasy verses

The story details the journey of one man's fantasies and
desires for his therapist and fitness trainer in an altered
reality of sometimes romantic and sometimes
compromising sexual situations.

The writing of the entire story is very poetic rather than
direct or even subtle as the author explores this man's
yearning and desperation for the attention and stimulation
of a female. The depth of the writing is intriguing and
shows aspects of refined sensitivity.

The book is a very short read. The story, as well as many
of the poems and art in the book are very abstract and
sometimes unclear. The book in total clocks in at 46
pages. Comprising of 10 pages for the story, 16 pages for
the drawings/art and the remaining pages comprised of

There are interesting variations of drawings in what
appears to be done in pencil accompanied by poetry that
is off topic from the short story and drawings. The
drawings appear to be fantasies of different types of
romantic encounters. The poems vary in topic from the
sensitivity of love to poems that appear to be devoted to
the author's perception of the pop star
Madonna in his
fantasies namely poems such as:(1) Reveal Yourself (2)
Madonna (3) Like a Prayer 2  (4) I'll Justify Your Love  -
just to name a few.

I appreciate the author's ability to explore fantasies from a
abstract perspective and romanticized view of love and

If you are one to appreciate interesting abstract fantasies,
than perhaps this is the book for you. However, if you
prefer fantasies that are more direct in it's approach, than
perhaps this may not be the book for you. The choice is
yours. Happy reading!
Reviewed by Natasha Brooks, Editor-in-Chief,
Bare Back Magazine
Posted October 2009

Explorations by David Russell


Newly divorced and looking for interesting new experiences, Janice takes an art class with live models and the star makes her want more than a coincidental meeting.Art model, Cedric, thinks he knows the lady from somewhere when he sees her again at the pool. Body language says a lot and chance meetings lead to a desire for more. Will Janice ask Cedric over for a private modeling job and will he accept? 


Could it have been her whom he had seen at the party, full-skirt, petticoat, doing that Spanish gypsy dance, her hips propelling an elevating swirl, to hint—as a foretaste, of what he had missed at the pool? Or was it she striding along the street that time in the white jumpsuit, which caressed her as he longed his body to? Like a dream she had flitted past. Now was the time to infuse a little wakefulness into that dream—but not too much. It must be at the pool they would meet again, be openly undressed and break warm water ice with bodies free. She’d see his progress, enjoy his physique in its new trim—arm, shoulder, calf and thigh muscles toned up to match her form. His black trunks would set off the other parts.
Trembling with anticipation, Cedric set off. He recalled the old adage about finding something once one had stopped consciously looking for it. His eyes drank in trees, sky, sunlight—enjoyed their immediacy…but gradually, that shape ahead grew clearer. So sunny nature was to be the setting and, like himself, did not have to stand alone. Energy suspended became energy decisive.

Self's Blossom

Self's Blossom by David Russell
David Russell's romantic, erotic novel is a vivid portrayal of the quest for> inner truth, empowerment and sexual liberation of Selene, a woman searching> for primeval abandon and reckless adventure. It contains many flashbacks> from the heroine's past life.

Selene is intelligent, a university graduate and a successful careerist.> Emotionally, she has been scarred by unhappy relationships. Part of the> unhappiness has been caused by her very sensitivity, and her unwillingness> to make materially beneficial 'career moves' in terms of relationships. She> has been riled and taunted through the years by her former college room-mate> Janice - a cynic and a materialist who always seems to 'land on her feet' -> including being able to have gratifying casual affairs when she needs them. Selene develops a long-term desire to 'get one back' at Janice by having a> passionate holiday encounter. (There are some similarities with the plot of> Shirley Valentine)

When Selene arrives in the Central American holiday Paradise, she is immediately drawn to the sea. After making love to the brutal, sensual>waves, she feels the first deep stirrings of her passionate soul. She seduces a young boy on another deserted beach. Once she meets the mature and> powerful Hudson, Selene finally begins to claim her sensual destiny. This is a slow process, accentuated by Selene's shyness, introspection and circumspection. There is a long and elaborate interplay of leading on and> rejection. The volcanic passion builds until there is a blazing row, a> possible drowning, and at last, the final ritual undressing leads to the> ultimate flowering of Selene'senraptured Self, and then Selene, liberated and independent, rejecting Hudson.

There is much emphasis on the workings of Selene's mind, and portrayal of the factors which have oppressed her. The novel contains social observations, and being set in a Third World country, some political ones.


Sample 1: The green leather of the seat of the taxi in which she arrived was a double bolster, pliant and resilient, yielding under her weight, but still sustaining her. She could not tell whether it had down or foam rubber inside. The airport precinct gave her clouded brain a full illusion of mist on a clear day. Real human forms scurrying in transit to and from pinpoints on the globe, failed to rivet her attention. The images, which presided over her half-dream, shone strong and clear, polished and yet shallow. The aircraft's cabin had shrouded her like a magnified bed, its sensory> associations filing past her, a meandering column. . . The aircraft took> off, coming to life, as she would take off in heart.> The imaginary mist, which she had conjured up for her own dramatic effect at> Heathrow, stayed with her throughout the flight. It was thinned out a bit by> the landing, customs, and passport control. So now she had a souvenir stamp> of an exotic country on her passport. The first one she'd had since she> renewed it. Then back she went to the taxi where her vanity was deepened by> that gorgeous upholstery. The cab driver wore a navy blue uniform that was> quite tasteful - dazzlingly incongruous with those of the hotel staff, who> wore blancmange pink with dark blue braid. Their uniforms were the only> grotesque element in a setting of excellent taste, blending sandstone,> granite, marble, teak, mahogany, porcelain, feathery shrubs, palms, ponds,> and ornamental birds. But driver and staff alike illuminated their contrasting uniforms from within. They had probably won them in the face of keen competition, and it was with them that they would flaunt their own defiance of poverty; whatever degree of servility was obligatory beneath its façade.

For right now, Selene put all that complex business at a distance. Here, she was on a beach, pure and simple. Now the sea breathed heavily, whispering and murmuring to her. It was returning her stare, speaking to her. It was the spirit of love, beckoning her with a pulsing, sinewy body. In all its lines, shades, and fleeting forms, Selene saw the essence of pure beauty,all grace of form, flesh, limb and feature. It was in one all the lovers of whom she could possibly dream, conflated into one elemental ideal. He, pure love in soul, bade her enter his domain, and make it hers. His arms moved her hands to unclasp, unbutton, and unzip . . . the blossom emerged. The sun became the eye of all that was not earth, and Selene loved fully, though the pallor of her skin left her momentarily abashed. At first she lay in the tide's path, the top of her head at its most extreme mark. The sand bank a soft bed. The sea lover smoothly caressed her calves, thighs, hips, breasts, shoulders, and cheeks before retreating for a pause to his mossy pinnacles. Three times this action was repeated, then Selene stood up and waded in, her arms outstretched. Her arms were linked as she> stood up to her neck in the saline flow, the balls and heels of her feet> wobbling, slithering on the moss. With the next wave, she lost her balance> -her breath prepared in unison with the hissing around her. She threw her> head back, once again horizontal, and launched into a backstroke, sweeping> and circling. She parted her legs wide with each thrust of motion, each> sweep of self-propulsion pushing out to answer the cavernous currents of his> passion. Seven circles gave her a delicious, warm bliss - then the sea> lover, well pleased, carried her back to a near-dry bed. Aching and> contented, Selene dozed a while.> That could have been everything happening at once, the essence of it all. In> its light, anything subsequent to it, confined to human form, might pale> ever after into insignificance, but maybe not. After all, elements were not> evolved to the level of flesh and their spirit seemed hollow across that gap. But things would go on, for tides look linear . . . earthquakes, tidal waves, volcanoes - all were on the cards here. Though most of the scars of recent damage had healed for Selene, here their throbbing was numbed. She jotted down a few impressions in her notebook. Through the years, she had put a lot into words. At first they had emerged clogged, and then were coagulated into dry seminars. Then they found their tunnels, growing limpid and live, making a three-cornered, ding-dong battle. Words that caught unguarded, un-thought emotions unawares; thoughts, double-knocked, giving form and point to shapeless passion, until she sheer power of concussion would project the ball upwards and downwards to the depths of desire. Selene had never wanted to write anything out of her system, but rather to work into it, to engender new experiences. The experiences, perhaps, could best be celebrated in a vacuum, in silence, unless dialogue was opened in true passion. Selene was a honed journalist. She could skim surfaces, always edging round the thin ice. She had been doing that for years, and had grown brittle in the process. But now she must cut deeper, at the risk of freezing immersion, in one direction or its contrary, knowing that the two contraries could ultimately be one - each other's mirrors. If one alternative was made material, the other would be all the more firmly secured in the realm of> dream. But if she attempted to do the total two-in-one, then her system would be unseamed and she fancied neither suicide nor accidents.

Final Chapter Six-thirty p.m. in the lounge - the prearranged rendezvous time if things had been normal. Selene was first to arrive. Would Hudson now feel inclined to turn up? Would he be in any state to turn up? She noticed on her way that his key had not been returned to reception. In fact, he arrived at seven, looking incredibly coy, bashful and apologetic - just like Selene felt. He was carrying a gold lacquered gift box. She gave him a nod and a smile, beckoning him to sit down beside her. They kissed tentatively - reticently. "Oh Selene, I really am sorry I got carried away like that. It was dreadful of me." Selene patted him on the knee. "Darling, I should be apologising for getting all hysterical like that." He put the box in front of her. "I went diving, wanted to come to my end in the depths; felt I couldn't live with myself, but I was obviously called to find something. I guess I realised one of my ambitions." He opened the box. In it was an oyster containing a huge pearl. Selene gave him a hug, tearful in her appreciation of his courage. "I've had to reflect an awful lot on my past experiences, you know. I've had to study feminism, and I really feel that if both sides - both sexes open up more, accepting more of each other, then life will be so full and enriching. I know that an awful lot happened between us . . ." he hesitated. "And?" A dreamy glow came over Hudson. "We've got so close, taken plunges together;> you were so magnetic in that costume." A lump came to his throat. Selene was now aquiver with suspense. They were at the point of that final something> for which she had yearned so desperately for so long. Selene took the words out of his mouth. " Let's make everything perfect - the absolute right time, the absolute right place, and in the perfect way. Let's take the bridal> suite together for our last night here!" The final overt proposition synchronised absolutely with Selene's memory tensions. A split second before her utterance, she had a vision of being at a ceremonial hair shearing before becoming a nun, and then of a mythical white wedding (the reality of which had never come near her). She thought of the flying buttresses of a cathedral, stained glass tinted in the morning sun, angled to the light of daring love, lifting to heaven. Hudson had at last uttered the key word to the elusive combination of the ideal seduction! This just had to have one fragment of impulse and spontaneity in the context of everything else being utterly premeditated.> The peak of experience had been rehearsed to the finest detail. True seduction was total theatre. To hell with all those 'ideals' of 'naturalness'! She had seen through them in that turgid forest. The true> ideal lay in laced artifice!> Here was the final trigger. Ages ago, they had talked away all thought of marriage and domesticity. But Hudson's superb artistry in taking hold of the last remnant of conventionality for the final act of defiance against it. The flouting, the inversion of all the oppressive concomitants of a straight wedding night, was genius. They went into a torrid clinch nearly upsetting one of the tables in the process. "Oh darling," said Selene in a half-whisper, "you've done everything right;> let's go!"
* * * *

The suite was, of course, available, and the deposit no problem for Hudson. The labyrinth of corridors in the hotel did not slow them down. Having located the apartment, they rushed back to their separate rooms for their belongings. Selene was the quickest to pack, but had a little delay with the lift. They arrived at the suite door simultaneously. What a scene of luxury for the dénouement. Selene now took firm control. "OK Hudson, you go and take a bath while I get ready, and get fully dressed again when you've finished. I've got some special things in store for you!" Now all of Selene's fantasies came flooding in to her. Tonight she was the> greatest actress, singer, ballerina, priestess-demagogue. She would dazzle the universe in the visual sphere, and then go on to the realm of touch. Her mastery of the lovely art of dressing and undressing would now be shown to the full. In a flash, her clothes were off. As she fitted her cap, she got a tingling premonition of what was to come. When one had meditated on the art of love as deeply as she had, one knew that the extra precautions, far from detracting from the experience, could enhance it, by stretching the> partner's anticipation. The outfit to replace her casuals was all in order in her expanding suitcase. First, her brief white satin underwear, then a pale blue body stocking, easy to confuse in the half light with a bathing costume, over it her diaphanous slip, then three petticoats - crisp, archaic, Latin and lusciously provocative, sheer white stockings, and then the purple ball gown in all its splendour. She stepped into a pair of white, lacquered high-heels. A touch of eye shadow and lipstick completed a breathtaking work of art. Hudson had seen her in her other gown, in a bikini, and a variety of outer garments. Now he would know all the stages im between, and then beyond, as she would of him. The bath water lapped mutely in the background.> "Ready now, darling." The waste pipe gurgled for a few seconds, then Hudson entered. Crisp, white suite approached purple gown, as moon to tropical night sky. They embraced, near-chastely. Then Hudson drew back, a suspicion of anxiety on this face.> "Darling, are you . . .?" His question needed no verbal answer, for Selene> had left her packet of pills conspicuously on the dresser. "Shall we?" Come on." So now for that languorous, full-drawn-out unrobing, decelerating to the depths of frenzy. For a few seconds, they both felt an adolescent shyness - quite naturally, for this was to be an eighteen-year-old's dream brought to fruition. They tiptoed. For all their obvious freedom, they each had a slight twinge about the hazard of being overheard. Selene's wardrobe planning had been right; something would have been lost if Hudson had started the encounter in a bathrobe. After Selene's hips propelled a last, tantalizing, elevated swirl of her gown, the grand undress began.

Knowing their beauty and proud of it, they matched each other's motions with caresses of sight. Shoes, stockings and socks peeled gracefully off to open the gambit. Hudson's jacket broadened his shoulders as it left his body. The buckle of his belt harmonised with the front clasp of Selene's gown as they were both undone, then the zip of his trousers with the back zip of the gown. Hudson's fine, tapered legs were now revealed. His torso was bared in two stages: shirt and vest thrust back, and pulled over his head without a> struggle, revealing gleaming white briefs - or were they bathing trunks? Selene loved those half way garments. She lit up. Great minds had thought alike about foundation garments for this occasion! Hudson had led in one stage of revelation. Selene was transported by his wonderful body control, with ballet assurance - this smooth, eased, arched shedding of reticence. The dream had come to roost. Who rules love, if anybody? The one who strips first, or the one with more finery to shed? But what did rules matter now anyway? The loose gown was ready. Gentle touches on the shoulder straps lowered it, shimmering, to rest. After that departure from simultaneity, action embroidered the first dream. Selene stepped out of the gown, cast it in the corner, and moved towards Hudson, holding him tightly in her beaming, commanding gaze - him with legs astride, deep chest out, briefs gleaming in the light from the open window. At his deft touch, petticoats flowered, rose and fell, floating to make a crest upon the gown. With a ripple of biceps, and lissom forward thrust of legs and hips, the cloudy slip came up head high, and was suspended for a second in the suspicion of a breeze, then, too, wafted to rest. Now they faced each other, almost as if for a first swim. Selene thrust her breasts forward, and tossed her head, making her hair cascade. Hudson took her hips and swung her round. With an almost imperceptible stroke, the zip of the one-piece parted. Hudson swirled her round to face him again, and> slid the garment down the front. "Bikini belle," said Hudson, with a giggle. He sensed the precise moment when his briefs were redundant, enhanced his looks no more for her, or for himself. They dropped, with a thrust of thighs and swing of hips. By being> deferred, prepared so well, Hudson's nudity, for Selene, now became suffused> with total beauty. "Undo me," she half-sang, raising her arms. Hudson's unerring hand tended the clip of her bra, which tumbled asunder and fell on the chair. A breeze kissed Selene's rising breasts as they were bared. Her own hands removed her briefs, finalising her own nakedness. The execution of those actions had been faultless on both sides. "What a fantastic sense of timing!" cried Selene. Each, to the other, became universe god and goddess. After so many times in their pasts when the brakes had been applied, when both had been frozen by reticence, or had their yearnings derided, the soul's - the universe's currents now galvanised their bodies. Now words could be uttered in acceptance of total immersion. With their slow speed they generated maelstroms, their every part revealed with deep exuberance, two bodies showing themselves as two complete presences. Now there was a full, tight-clinched embrace - thigh to thigh, torso to breasts, groin to groin. Hudson, a bit taller, took Selene round the shoulder with his right arm; his left beneath her buttocks, as he swung her on to the bed. "Now for the real backstroke" cried Selene. She pulled Hudson on top of her, thrusting her breasts alternately in his armpits. Gradually, Hudson hardened, as if with muscle and bone. He entered Selene delicately. When he had penetrated to full depth, he made a clockwise rotation. Fully erected, fully aroused, Selene responded to him anticlockwise. Slowly the two built up, using all their bodies, legs and groins, repeating the motions of their past swims. Bodies were kneaded, relishing their stately, relentless build-up, making love total in its depth, undulating, higher and lower alternately. Then full and strong it reared! There were two sighs, a lunge, slow whirlpools, swimmers' wakes. Hudson paused, then put all his weight on his torso. Then, recharged by Selene's breasts, now fully swollen, build up his speed and depth of thrust, had a body-absorbing struggle through some moments of near-exhaustion. Then the knowledge of certainty shone, flooded on them both, hips in friction - dams' swinging sluicegates, volcanoes' glows and thunder's shudders, glands pumping to fire's, water's synthesis, all metaphors blown by that endocrine cataract! At the end of the flow, Selene held Hudson in, turning him again on his back. Sleep claimed them, breathless, riding over their peak.
 * * * *

Sweating and still clinched, they arose as a maroon dawn unveiled the night skies, lending a mellowed rosiness to their tanned bodies. With restored light, passion revived. Being two, they had to enact their fulfilment's wholeness twice. Tempered by one satiation's level, they went smoothly and took their time - finally to outbrim the first flow. After this, the bed could afford no further comfort. Selene got up.> "We need to freshen up a bit."She took two bathrobes from the wardrobe, pulled one on, jerked Hudson up by the shoulders and draped the other one around him. "Come on." The bathroom curtains had not been drawn. Water now gurgled into the> capacious bath from both burnished antique brass caps. They held each other, half-draped, until it filled up. Hudson had almost begged Selene not to> cover herself, but saw that, as a last delight, that extra robing and> unrobing would complete the idyll - cap the euphoria. Selene thrust the robe> from his shoulders; it sank down his arms to collapse on the floor. "You may assist me," said Selene, holding her arms apart. Hudson's hands ran down her back as he pushed off the robe. Once more they matched each other in nakedness. The bath (designed for a bridal suite after all) was ample for them both, to soap each other over, put legs to hips, massage, and laugh> amidst the bubbles. What an element! With seawater they had started; with> bath water they ended.

* * * *

Their breakfast conversation started with trivialities, then Selene honed in> on to more serious matters. She had sounded out Hudson's character. Although> he had a high level of intelligence and maturity, he was underneath, rather malleable. He was in a state of transition, reminding Selene in some strange, indefinable way, of the first love lecturer, and that young boy. Although he had let nothing on, Selene sensed that his career was in the balance. Whether from this point on he would mature or merely regress, would probably be determined by the sort of stimulation he received, and the dependencies available to him. She was convinced that they had given each other all they could in the course of this encounter. If they tried to prolong the relationship, things would surely deteriorate. Hudson could become awfully clinging; some submerged, unwanted aspects of his character would surface. He wanted and needed to control those aspects; and would be better equipped to do so on his own. So the movie must be frozen at its zenith. "Hudson, I think you and I must have a proper talk, before things get . . .> you know, hopelessly involved and entangled. The thing is, you're awfully nice, and I wouldn't want to hurt you . . ." Hudson remained quite calm; Selene was put off a little by his nod and his smile. "You surprise me a bit; you don't seem hurt or upset." "I'm not. I feel fine. You're not hurting me. I've got a grip on reality, though it's great to escape from it once in a while." Selene's face lightened with relief. "That's great! You were magnificent, body and soul, superb. You did the hell of a lot for me. Now I feel revived, rejuvenated. "All reciprocated, rest assured." Her smile broadened to its extremity. "You're so cute. Most men are really difficult when it comes to being reasonable. You really are a mature man. You know, I don't think I'm as free as you are; I'm certainly not as free as I would like to be." Hudson nodded. He did feel a twinge of disappointment, but sustained his equanimity. "I think I may well do the same; I've got to head for the States." Selene had a parallel twinge: Hudson's cool had both relieved her and slightly unnerved her. She had proved her capabilities to herself. Remarkable how much could be achieved in the course of a brief encounter if one really devoted time, energy and attention to the finer points of preparation. Funny to have done it in quite this way though, since most fantasies tacitly assume that things can be extended. Nice to be selective with experience. On the whole, however, being on one's own was great - distraction-free, serving one's own purposes.
* * * *

Without more ado, they packed their bags, checked out from he hotel, and took a taxi to the airport. There was a last kiss, a last wave, and some near tears as Hudson headed to Passageway Ten. His flight was leaving first. Off he went - that refined sensuality, that shyness covering exquisite fathoms of passion. Selene wondered just what was passing through his mind for those few seconds. What had happened? A touch of aggression and initiative on her part aroused him, liberation and masculinity fulfilled, anticipation and realisation melting into each other lent some extra poignancy by a touch of mystery. Had she just abandoned an ideal, or an illusion untarnished by reality? Just how shallow or deep had it been? His experience was obvious; so, she was sure, was her own acumen. Did it really matter? 'Magnificent Lust'; she had once read that term in a feminist book. There's no real reason why a temporally brief experience cannot be profound. There's infinity in a second, after all; time scales are relative. She wondered how fatuous or perceptive his remarks really had been. Could she really be that powerful? And there were so many fatal accidents reported these days.


Thursday 25 November 2010

A wintry London scene from A KNIGHT'S CAPTIVE

Here is a wintry London scene in 1066 from my historical romance, A Knight's Captive, where the heroine Sunniva and the hero Marc are having to travel through the tense, newly occupied Anglo-Saxon city to meet William of Normandy - the new ruler of England.

The sun was still rising when Sunniva and Marc set out for old King Edward's new abbey church at Westminster. Sunniva was uneasy and not only at having to pass through London.
          "What manner of man is this Odo of Bayeux?" she asked, whispering in case any townsfolk heard the French name. Marc had said London had now sworn allegiance to William. If they had, it was only because William's army were camped close by and he and his men had burned and devastated parts of the city and the surrounding countryside. Each time Marc had cause to slip out into the narrow, twisting streets she had been in an agony of anticipation and dread until his safe return, especially last night, when he was gone for hours. He could pass for English now but only two nights ago when - praise be to Freya! - the children had been sleeping, she had heard a dreadful hue and cry echo through the deserted streets: "A Norman! A bastard Norman!"
          She had been trembling at the shouts and curses and shivering at the frantic footfalls under their window. Marc had warned her not to look out but listening to the mob and seeing the glare of torches through the chink in the shutters had been bad enough. She did not dare to think what had happened to the hapless foreigner: kicked and hacked to death most likely. They had not run him down by the Goldsmith's Inn but she had heard his desperate sprinting and once the wall had shaken as the stranger crashed against it.
          Putting the stranger's ghastly fate from her by a deliberate effort of will, she said, "How do you know Odo?"
          "I sold him a war-horse in Brittany," came back the flat, laconic reply. "And gifted him several more."
          The way he spoke, Sunniva knew that the "gift" had been delivered by some kind of force. Marc confirmed this by saying next, "Odo and his men had set up a hunting camp close to my mother's. He saw my horses and liked what he saw."
          "Hence the gift," Sunniva remarked. "I suspect that he is the kind of man who does not take 'no' as an answer."
          "Not when he was within reach of my mother, certainly," Marc agreed, his handsome face stripped of all expression. "Odo also took a drink from her well, in my mother's best silver cup."
          "He kept the cup, too," Sunniva guessed, stepping round a pile of rotting cabbages whose unwholesome stink had briefly made her gag.
          "He did indeed. Odo likes treasure."
          "But he is a holy man!" Anxiously Sunniva glanced up, in case anyone was leaning out into the street and could hear this.
          Marc snorted at that. "Bishop he may be, but he is William's half-brother first and the same grasping blood flows in his fat, bald body." Marc glanced at the staff in his hand; he was using it to prod the ice puddles, in case any were hip-deep under the frosting. "Do you know he has a mace, studded with nails, or something like? It is said he uses it in battle to brain his enemies." Marc's eyes gleamed for an instant. "Of which there are many."
          "How did you find him in this huge city?" she asked, falling into step with Marc down some stone steps showing fire-scorch marks.
          Marc scowled at the fire-marks, his bright brown hair ruffled by a chill breeze as he raised his head, staring off into the distance where smoke still rose from field and woodland blazes lit by William's plundering army.
          "Such men as Odo are easy to trace. In William's army camp, his was the most opulent tent. I bribed a guard and sent a copy of my seal ring ahead, in wax, as token of my good faith, and he remembered me. He saw me yester evening and promised he would speak to the king on my behalf."
          Yesterday evening Marc had been out past curfew, Sunniva remembered again, and while he was away she had tried to teach the girls to hem neatly, her fingers cold and fumbling in her terror for his safety. Now he snapped his fingers, as if this whole lethal business was easy, and smiled to assuage Sunniva's constant dread. "Odo gave me a parchment to show the guards at the coronation," he said, "so we may pass through unhindered."
          If we reach Westminster safely, Sunniva thought, though she said nothing. Nearby, a group of ragged beggars lurked in the ruins of a charred house and these now shuffled forward, blinking, into the misty half-light of the morning. Seeing their wasted faces and desperate eyes, Sunniva looked about herself for coins but found none. Snug from the whipping wind in her new white furs, she felt ashamed.
          "We can do nothing for them," Marc breathed, flipping the lead beggar some small coins and hurrying her on. "Come, I can smell a fuller's and I would be past that as soon as we may."
          Her breath held in against the truly vile, stale smell of urine, Sunniva ducked under a low house beam jutting out into the alley and rounded the corner into another deserted street. She could see the river ahead, milky-white and glossy as a new ribbon, lined with wharves and jetties. Already the air seemed sweeter, the houses more fine. Some were still the sunken-floored huts she had hurried past in other parts of the city, but more were bigger, with many shutters and brightly painted doors.
          "Where is everyone?" she mused aloud, and Marc answered, "At Westminster, perhaps." His teeth showed very white in his lean face as he grinned at her. "Maybe even you English are learning to cheer the Normans."

Best wishes, Lindsay Townsend.