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Miguelina Perez: The Vicar’s Deadly Sin
Sunday, September 10th, 2017

I remember being in my early teens and hearing voices in my head. Good thing these voices were stories. Stories I told my little sister to put her to sleep. And they were stories of heroines in trouble and the heroes who came to their rescue with the much required happily ever after endings.

In my high school’s library, I discovered Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney. They were my introduction to romance and mystery and from there on I was hooked.

As I got older the voices quieted down. Then one day they started up again. All types of adventures. Still I ignored them for I did not know what they meant.

Then in my thirties I discovered Nora Roberts and Jane Austen. Love the regency period. Voices came back. After meeting with several authors, I realized the voices were stories waiting to be told.

I loved the retelling of Jane Austen’s stories so I decided to create my own, especially when I could hear Lady Jane Bartholomew and Miss Margaret Renard wanting their stories told. This brought about The Vicar’s Deadly Sin.

The Vicar’s Deadly Sin

A Touch of Romance…A Touch of Regency…A Touch of Murder…

Lady Jane Bartholomew and Miss Margaret Renard have been friends since the age of twelve. Together they share their dreams, hopes and a love for reading. However, it is their wild imagination and a penchant for solving mysteries that will test their abilities when the Vicar of Dover is found murdered.

The young ladies are joined by two gentlemen, also eager to find the murderers and prove to the ladies that detecting is a man’s job, though the gentlemen find their beauty, wit, and pride more troublesome than solving a murder.

Get your copy here!

About the Author

Ms. Miguelina Perez is a writer and jewelry artist. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of the District of Columbia. As a jewelry artist one of her lariats was showcased in the San Antonio Express-News. She has won several awards including a critical Writing award for an essay on the gender roles of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

It was during her high school years at the school’s library that she first encountered her first romance mystery writer – Ms. Victoria Holt and then Ms. Phyllis J. Whitney.  Her love of romance novels stems from those discoveries, especially the Romance mystery genre.

Several of her poems have been published in anthologies, and she was named “Poet of Year in 1995”. She finished her first book, The Vicar’s Deadly Sin – a Regency romance mystery, the first of a seven-part serial based on the Seven Deadly Sins.

Currently, she is in editing mode with “Angel’s Lust” from her Seven Deadly Sins series and working on “A Hero of Her Own” a contemporary romance thriller, about a serial killer terrorizing New York.

Ms. Perez is a member of the Romance Writers of America and two of its chapters:Washington Romance Writers and Maryland Romance Writers . As newsletter editor for WRW, she contributes articles about writing and author interviews.

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Ms. Perez resides in Gaithersburg, Maryland and can be reached at: miguelinaperez@miguelinaperezauthor.com. You can also follow Ms. Perez via twitter at: @MPerezAuthor.

Just in time for your weekend reading pleasure…. (Contest – 3 Winners)
Saturday, September 9th, 2017

UPDATE The winners are…Katrina Whittaker, Gail Siuba, and Jana Leah!

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For those fans of the Night Fall series, here’s another tale—slightly removed from the timeline by a few centuries… You honestly don’t have to read any other story in the series to enjoy The First Knight. And isn’t that cover droolworthy?

The story is set back in Merry Old England, in a musty old castle. My heroine’s plucky and determined to trap her former betrothed in marriage, but he has brought back an “affliction”, which makes his lust a dangerous thing to tempt. And once the deed is done, another problem presents itself that only a naughty ménage can solve. Of course. Ahem. I do love my job. Enjoy! ~DD

The First Knight

While hiding her true identity, Maddie must seduce the mysterious Lord Garon to cement their marriage contract and ensure she won’t be returned into her lecherous stepfather’s care.

Fresh from Crusade in Palestine, Lord Garon has a secret he must hide, a hunger that must be fed, and a dark and uncertain future. Having shed himself of a fiancée he’d never met, he’s home to lick his wounds. The only thing he wants is a warm-blooded meal—but the new housekeeper is strangely insistent on giving him so much more.

Maddie’s seduction doesn’t progress without complications, but one secret from her own past might put an end to the love she nurtures for her dark, tempestuous lover.

Get your copy here!

Contest

To celebrate the release of The First Knight, I’m giving away copies of Night Fall stories, one each to three winners! All you have to do is answer two little questions!

Do you like ongoing series? How many sequels do you prefer? 

Sm(b)itten Truly, Madly ... Deadly Knight in Transition  Knight Edition

Night Fall On Dark Mountain Frannie and the Private Dick Sweet Succubus Truly, Madly...Werely (Night Fall Book 9) Bad to the Bone

And excerpt from The First Knight

Maddie shivered at the creaks and groans the portcullis made as it slowly rose. The rain-laden wind carried the noises and filled the silences in between with a howling that sounded like the hounds from hell had arrived at the castle gate.

Shouts outside the curtain wall had alerted them only minutes before of Lord Garon d’Albermarle’s arrival. With only a bliaut covering her sleeping shift, Maddie stood on the first step of the keep, holding a tray with a goblet of wine, ready to offer a proper greeting to her overlord.

“Are you sure this is the way you wish to go about this, M-Maddie?” Egbert asked, fidgeting at her side.

She swallowed against the sudden dryness in her mouth and nodded.

“It be on your head then,” he said, his always-mournful tone as dire as one of Father Ansel’s Sunday sermons. She sent thanks above that the cranky priest was away, or her deception wouldn’t last past the introductions.

The clatter of dozens of hooves on the cobbled bridge beyond the gate filled the castle yard with thunder. From the encroaching darkness, the sounds were as ominous as the dark shapes looming on the gatehouse walls. The torches she’d ordered lit sputtered and flared, distorting and elongating shapes, so the men riding through the entrance appeared as tall as giants.

Already tired and on edge because she hadn’t slept since a messenger had arrived, warning the castle of his lordship’s arrival days before, Maddie’s fevered imagination painted them darker and larger still.

“Be they devils?” Egbert asked, his narrow shoulders shaking. “No one travels on a night with nary a speck of light in the sky.”

“Hush!” The storm whipping at her clothing and the fatigue from months of worry over this very moment combined to make her hands shake and blackened an already foul mood.

The horsemen entered the bailey, and a large figure separated from the contingent who approached the keep. As he drew closer, her fears weren’t eased one whit. The warrior sat atop a huge black destrier, forcing her to raise her gaze quite high to seek his face.

He wore a helm that left only his square, stubbled jaw exposed. The darkness cast by the metal nose guard concealed his eyes. Only his mouth gave a hint of his mood—a thin, straight line with the corners crimped downward.

Under his stare, Maddie’s knees trembled, but her tray never rattled. She squared her shoulders and shot a glance about her at the castle folk. “Stephen!” she called to the stable master. “See to their horses.”

In moments, boys scrambled to accept reins, and the creak of leather and the clank of iron filled the air.

The stable master himself approached the dark warhorse at the foot of the steps, but the mounted warrior’s gaze never left Maddie.

She licked dry lips with an even drier tongue. “Lord Garon?” she asked, although there could be no question who led this contingent. All gazes remained on his intimidating figure. “Please come inside, milord. Your people will see to the comfort of your men.”

His mouth twisted. “And who will see to mine?”

Maddie’s heart leapt to the back of her throat. “I will, milord.”

A long pause indicated he looked her up and down. “And who might you be, madam?” he asked, his voice a deep, hollow rumble.

Maddie remembered to curtsy, and then straightened, girding herself to speak the lie aloud. “Your housekeeper. I take care of things now.” The latter, at least, was the truth.

Lord Garon grunted. Without a glance at the stable master, he tossed down his reins and dismounted.

When he turned toward her, Maggie’s breath caught. Lord, he’s a tall man. I thought it was just the horse.

Maddie lifted the ornate chalice from the tray to deliver her much-rehearsed welcome.

Instead, his lordship’s lips pressed into a tighter line, and he brushed past her.

She was left gasping on the bottom step. “What a rude ogre!” she exclaimed, annoyed he hadn’t fallen in line with the first step of her plan.

“Watch your tongue, madam,” an accompanying knight said tersely as he followed the lord up the steps. “He has exceptional hearing.”

“M-Maddie?” Egbert said, nodding toward the door.

She shoved the tray at his belly and grasped her skirts high to rush up the steps.

The plan had seemed so simple. All she needed was to get him alone and addle his sight with a little wine or ale, so he’d not care she wasn’t the comeliest creature in the keep. Then she would seduce him.

And the sooner, the better. The longer she took losing her virginity, the greater the risk he would discover her identity. The truth was, she would rather copulate with the devil himself than be returned home.

However, this business of copulation, which had seemed a simple, messy, perhaps even enjoyable act—according to the cook—now promised to be a daunting trial.

The lord of the keep had turned out to be a giant and as dour as a priest at confession. The thought of being naked with him and accepting his manstaff into her body frankly petrified her.

She rushed through the massive doors, hoping her preparations would meet with his approval. Nothing else could be allowed to mar her well-thought-out plan.

His lordship stood in the center of the hall, his hands fisted on his hips. Unlike his men, he wore no chain mail, only a leather hauberk to protect his body. He’d removed his headgear, revealing hair as black as midnight and a face as hard as carved granite.

He was everything she’d remembered and more—more frightening, more imposing—and more beautiful because of the differences. Thanks be to God, he hadn’t recognized her.

His gaze narrowed on the hall, and she looked around to see what might already have displeased him.

Around him, servants scurried, delivering warm food to the men-at-arms as boys eagerly divested them of their armor. If she hadn’t been observing him so closely, she might not have detected the change in his posture. He scarce seemed to notice the din of activity. His mouth lost a little firmness, his hands unclenched on his hips, and his chest rose and fell deeply.

In that instant, Maddie lost a measure of her fear. Here was a man savoring his first night home after a long absence. He had a heart and cared for something at least. Perhaps he wouldn’t be a complete troll when making her his wife.

Heather Long: Should’ve Been a Cowboy (Contest)
Thursday, August 24th, 2017

Some days I feel old because I remember long before Internet, long before video on demand and MP3s, I listened to .45 records, watched black and white westerns on Saturdays and had showdowns in the apartment complex corral everyday as we battled it out for the roles of cowboys and Indians.

The Simple Joy of Being a Cowboy

Cowboys always seemed to have the freedom to live life on their own terms.  As an adult, I recognize that living on your own terms also means surviving against the odds.  Beyond the simple romance of riding the trails, there were the sore muscles, the threat of disease, the lack of medicine, the constant search for viable drinking water, dealing with wild animals, hostiles and again, the natural fury of Mother Nature whether it was a storm, the landscape or something else.

Yet, cowboys remain romantic.  They are the dusty knights of the Old West, with jingling spurs instead of suits of armor and six guns instead of swords.

Back in Time

When it came to writing Marshal of Hel Dorado, I imagined that I was diving into a novella, a short romp back in time to world that mingled the spaghetti westerns of Clint Eastwood with the sweeping epics of John Wayne and some good old-fashioned Saturday afternoon fun ala Big Valley and Bonanza (both series that heavily featured brothers), but an odd thing happened when I started to write.

I immersed myself, I found that by eliminating modern conveniences, a ten-mile ride on a horse could take half a day or more instead of twenty minutes in a car. These opportunities were tremendous for character interaction and development, but also challenging because the very elements that attracted me to writing the story were the same elements that stretched my novella into a full-length novel.

But the best part of Marshal of Hel Dorado was taking those risks, taking the time to ride for weeks, to take risks in an unfriendly environment.  I would find myself imagining the soreness after riding all day (fortunately, I rode horses for years so I knew what would hurt) as well as spending time trying to figure out what you can eat when you’re on a trail all day, what options you have for treating wounds and better yet, what kisses were like if they weren’t drugged kisses…

A Whole New Adventure

I think the Fevered Hearts series represents a personal challenge, but it’s also a chance to go back to those days when I played cowboys and Indians, when there was a distinct line between right and wrong, honor meant something and the world was doused in shades of gray.

Admittedly, it doesn’t hurt that the brothers are hot.  Some are bad boys, some are easy-going and more than a few have hidden mysteries.  If I’ve piqued your curiosity, you meet most of the boys in Marshal of Hel Dorado.

Won’t you come play cowboy with me?

Marshal of Hel Dorado Excerpt 

A welcoming whicker from Dawn jerked her eyes open and lightning split the sky wide open, backlighting the figure filling the cave entrance.

She couldn’t believe it.

Sam stalked inside the cave, water rolling off the brim off his hat and dripping down the sides of the horse he led inside. He dropped the reins and pounced her before she could go for the gun.

Water from his oil coat soaked through her britches and undershirt as he plucked the gun from the holster. She scrabbled, but he was already flipping her over, sitting on her abandoned rock. She landed on her stomach, across his knees. She turned her head, glaring up at him.

“You wouldn’t dare!”

“Oh wouldn’t I?”

She yelped as his hand landed on her backside with a stinging slap.

“That’s for running.”

The second slap wrung tears of surprise and outrage from her eyes.

“That’s for hitting me.”

The third set her lower lip trembling as a fire of tingles burned through the numbness of her backside.

“That’s for charming Micah into letting you keep going.”

By the fourth slap, Scarlett’s cheeks burned in humiliation and fury.

“That’s for taking my damn gun.”

He stood, dumping her onto the rock floor in front of him before retrieving his gun and going to his horse. Her ass stung worse than the time Wyatt had switched her for nearly burning down the outhouse.

With Wyatt in it.

Sam stripped off the horse’s gear, rubbed him dry and pulled out a pouch of feed from his saddlebags. She eased over onto her side, careful to not sit. Her bottom protested even that little movement. It took Sam minutes to feed both horses and then he was turning back to her, walking over, and reclaiming the rock to sit on.

Even in the half gray light of the cave she could read the thunderous look on his face, the tightness to his jaw, the outline of a bruise on his cheek and the red lump swelling just below his hairline. He opened a canteen, a twin for the one that Micah passed off to her, and held it out to her.

“Now, you were going to explain…”

Giveaway

One lucky commentator will win their choice of an eBook copy
of a Fevered Hearts story.

About Heather Long

You can keep up with Heather and her releases via her website at http://www.heatherlong.net Heather Long lives in Texas with her family and their menagerie of animals. As a child, Heather skipped picture books and enjoyed the Harlequin romance novels by Penny Jordan and Nora Roberts that her grandmother read to her. Heather believes that laughter is as important to life as breathing and that the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are very real. In the meanwhile, she is hard at work on her next novel.

Susan A. Royal: Not Long Ago Interview (Contest)
Monday, August 21st, 2017

UPDATE: The winners are…Debra and Tamara!

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Author’s Note: When Erin found out I’d been invited to do her character interview, she insisted on writing her own article. Go figure.

My name is Erin. Just out of college. Young, energetic, enthusiastic. On the threshold of adulthood. All about finding THE job that’ll make four years of working my butt off worthwhile.

You’d think being in the top ten percent of my class would help, but no luck so far. Maybe it’s my major. Research and Development Management. My brother, Aiden, tried to talk me into something else. Maybe I should have listened.  He says I’m stubborn. I prefer to call it determined.

He’s the only family I have. When our parents died, they left him to handle an impulsive, immature teenager with a chip on her shoulder. Before long before we came to the mutual agreement that he’d be better off going back to work overseas, while I stayed with the housekeeper who’d been in our family for years.

Don’t get me wrong. My brother would help in a heartbeat. All I had to do is ask. Only that wasn’t happening. It was time for me to learn to take care of myself.

That’s how I ended up at a temp agency, looking for a job to pay the bills until something better came along. After hounding a friend who works there, she finally consented to let me interview with an author writing a novel set during the Middle Ages.

Talk about a dream job. Once I convinced March to hire me, I found myself cataloguing mountains of information about medieval weapons, castles and their inhabitants. Even learning to dance and loving every minute of it.

Until all hell broke loose. In the middle of examining an artifact during a terrible thunderstorm one night, lightning zapped March and me into the middle ages. I’m talking time travel. He considered it a wonderful opportunity to observe history in action, but I had my doubts. Especially after he convinced me to masquerade as a young boy.

We found work at a nearby castle. A place to sleep and regular meals while figuring out how to get home. Only being a squire, even on a temporary basis was not my idea of fun. Even though Sir Griffin was a patient, kind man. Not to mention handsome. And, yeah, I fell for the guy. Against better judgement.

In the end, my little adventure taught me some things. Like how to stand on my own two feet. And face my fears. Best of all it helped me realize what I really wanted out of life.

If you love time travel adventure with a twist (and a love story) I’m giving away ebooks of Not Long Ago to the first three people who comment on this blog (Be sure to include your email address). You can continue Erin and Griffin’s story with From Now On, and I’m working on the third book in the series. I can promise you it will be an adventure.

Not Long Ago

Erin has met the man of her dreams, but as usual there are complications. It’s one of those long distance relationships, and Griffin is a little behind the times– somewhere around 600 years.

Erin and her employer, March, are transported to a time where chivalry and religion exist alongside brutality and superstition. Something is not quite right at the castle, and Erin and March feel sure mysterious Lady Isobeil is involved. However, Erin must cope with crop circles, ghosts, a kidnapping and death before the truth of her journey is revealed.

Forced to pose as March’s nephew, Erin finds employment as a squire for Sir Griffin.  She’s immediately attracted to him and grows to admire his courage, quiet nobility and devotion to duty.  Only she must deny her feelings.  Her world is centuries away, and she wants to go home.  But Erin can’t stop thinking about her knight in shining armor.

Mini-Excerpt:

I am a stranger in this world, even though I’ve traveled this way before.

Fate and not design brought me the first time. It hurled me into a distant future, with no idea how or why, taking me from an existence dependent upon modern technology to a place where people fear such things and those who use them. While searching for my way home from this harsh and sometimes violent world, my admiration for its inhabitants who valued honor and duty above all else grew into admiration and respect. I found myself drawn to one in particular, a man who saved me more than once. Only I never expected to fall in love with him.

Torn between my feelings and a longing for home, I returned to my time with only vague memories of my experience. My life went back to normal, but part of me sensed the loss of something more precious than anything I’d regained. Until one day, I saw him again.

This time I’ve come by choice, and it is where I’m going to stay.

Fate willing.

Links:

Not Long Ago (time travel, adventure, romance): http://tinyurl.com/85vgye3
Book trailer: http://youtu.be/vOIQVdWUigU/
Susan’s website: http://susanaroyal.wordpress.com 
All books available at MuseItUp, Amazon, B&N, Goodreads

About the Author

Born in west Texas and raised in south Texas, Susan shares a 100-year-old farmhouse in a small east Texas town with a ghost who harmonizes with her son when he plays guitar. She is a mother of three and grandmother of five unique and special children. Her family is rich with characters, both past and present. Susan’s grandmother shared stories of living on a farm in Oklahoma Territory and working as a telephone operator in the early 20th century. She learned all about growing up in the depression from her father and experienced being a teenager during WWII through her mother’s eyes.

Susan loves taking her readers through all kinds of adventures. So far, she’s written two books in her It’s About Time series, Not Long Ago and From Now On, and is working on book three. They are time travel adventures about two people who fall in love despite the fact they come from very different worlds. In My Own Shadow is a Fantasy adventure/romance. Xander’s Tangled Web is a YA fantasy with romance. Look for her books at MuseItUp/Amazon/B&N.

Want to know more? Visit susanaroyal.wordpress.com for a peek inside this writer’s mind and see what she’s up to. You never know what new world she’s going to visit next.

Pam Champagne: Days of Old (Contest)
Thursday, July 27th, 2017

“Old roads, old dogs, old folks and old ways still have a lot to offer in this sped up world we live in.”

I grew up in rural Maine so I learned some of the old ways of survival. Our food consisted of what my father trapped, shot or caught fishing. I can still smell the rabbit stew brook trout and fiddleheads. My mother canned vegetables from our garden, and we stored cabbage, carrots, potatoes and turnip in the root cellar. By today’s standards this was considered hard living.

My thoughts often wander back to the colonial days.  Women worked from dawn to dusk cooking outdoors in the summer, hauling water and toiling over chores.  Today, if we want a candle we drive to the store and buy one where we can choose from numerous scents.  There are thin ones, fat ones, small ones and giant ones.  Have you ever wondered what it was like in the 1700’s when candles had to be made from scratch? They weren’t used for decorative reasons or to set a mood in the home. It was the main source of light.

The majority of colonial people made candles from tallow (animal fat).  These tapers didn’t burn well and emitted an offensive odor.  Only the wealthy could afford beeswax, which was rolled to make sweet smelling candles.

Another type of candle was made from bayberries.  These berries have a waxy texture.  The berries were boiled down and the wax was skimmed from the top.  Many pounds of bayberries were needed to make these candles.

I researched candle making in the colonial times for my time travel story, The Enchanted Inn. My heroine from present times traveled back to 1778 where she found huge surprises and hard times!  To celebrate the re-republication of this story with Entangled Publishing, I am giving away a bayberry candle made from natural ingredients.

To enter the contest, please sign up for my newsletter at http://pamchampagne.us16.list-manage1.com/subscribe?u=deb383ea22963fda6536b61e9&id=92609443e1.

 

The Enchanted Inn

Their love is timeless…

When snow forces Gina to stop and spend the night at the Enchanted Inn, she’s less than happy to find her ex-fiancé there, too. But she can be civil for one night, especially after the innkeeper gives them a bottle of homemade wine to share. A few glasses of that wine sends Luke and Gina back to 1778, where Luke seems to think he’s someone called John—a man who knows more about life in colonial times than he should.

Gina may be able to deal with the hardships her new reality throws at her, but she doesn’t give up hope of finding a way home. And when she does find a way, she’s determined to take John with her—whether he wants to go or not.

The book will be released on August 21 by Entangled Publishing and will be ready for pre-order by August 1 for only $.99.  Find the buy link at https://entangledpublishing.com/books.html or on my website at www.pamchampagne.net.

 

Lizzie Ashworth: Caerwin and the Roman Dog (Free Read)
Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

Yes, Friends, here’s a full-length novel FREE to newsletter subscribers and certain other special friends (see details below!). This time around, Delilah fans are very special! Jump into another world and another time as you meet Caerwin and the man who will destroy her life.

We’ve all met men like that, haven’t we?

Caerwin of the Cornovii, a young woman with a promising life ahead. How could she anticipate the horrors about to unfold? Nothing in her experience prepared her for the Roman Army or this commander who would make her his sex slave. Yet between her hatred for him and his deliberate conquest of her body, a strangely luminous emotion takes fragile life between them.

Here’s a scene from the book Caerwin and the Roman Dog. Warning: this exchange is non-consensual.

Her wrists chafed raw at the bindings. Shadows grew dark on the forested hillside and frogs sang in the marshes. Overhead, cloud bands took on the late gold and crimson of sunset. Thin columns of smoke rose from campfires and the smell of roasting meat sent gnawing pangs to her stomach. Chills gripped her body and her teeth chattered in the spring cold.

“Have you tired sufficiently that I dare bring you inside?”

She startled at his voice. He had bathed and wore a long draped garment with a broad red band around its hem. He stood with hands on his hips, watching her. She turned her face away, afraid to speak.

“I asked you a question,” he said, wrenching her head back by her hair and holding her face toward him. “And I expect a respectful answer.”

“You will have no respect from me,” she said, her lips moving stiffly in the cold. “I will kill you at my first chance.”

He gripped her hair tighter forcing tears to her eyes. “Antius,” he shouted. “Come.”

An older man with dark eyes and an oversized nose emerged from the tent. Gripping her arms on both sides, they brought her inside. Warmth from a charcoal-heaped brazier filled the interior. A narrow sleeping platform occupied the far corner, while a small table with chair sat near the entry. Oil lamps flickered and a heady scent wafted through the air.

She stumbled forward as the men dragged her to the center post where her wrists were briefly untied. Her ripped dress was removed and her upper arms and ankles then tied loosely to the post behind her.

“Bathe her,” the tall man said with a wave of his hand. “She stinks of her kind.”

Antius hurried to fill a pan with warmed water and set it near her feet. With a sponge, he scrubbed her face and neck then proceeded down her arms and legs. The warm water soothed at first but then the scratches burned and chills swept over her as air hit her wet skin. Her teeth chattered loudly.

“A drink, Antius. Give her warmed wine.”

The cup rattled against her teeth as the wine came to her mouth. She clenched her teeth with no intention of drinking, but on the man’s order, Antius held her head back by her long braids and poured the sweet wine through her lips. Some of it escaped to trickle down her neck, but more of it filled her throat with acidic warmth. When the goblet emptied, Antius returned to the bathing.

Humiliation consumed her as the sponge scoured every inch of her flesh. Once the bathing had finished, the squat dark-haired man scrubbed her with a dry cloth until her skin heated. He then applied herb-scented oil. She stood naked and gleaming in the lamp light as the tall man came to inspect her.

“My name is Marcellus,” he said. “I am your master. You will learn to do as I say, or you will die.”

“I wish to die,” she said hoarsely. Her tongue felt thick. The day had lasted an eternity and the shock of its events had hardly begun to settle in her. The wine hit her empty stomach and spread dizziness across her forehead.

He waved his hand dismissively. “Easy to say. But death doesn’t come quickly to women in our camp, not to one such as you. Without me, you would wish to die many times before your last breath.”

His touch spared no part of her as he examined his trophy. How many war trophies had he already captured? Surely the Romans took what they pleased. Virico had spoken often of the intelligences carried from other tribes, how the Romans swarmed like a plague of insects covering the land, how bargaining for life came with terrible sacrifice of freedom and hard-won goods. She would not bargain.

She bit her tongue against another remark as Marcellus’ hands cupped her breasts then her buttocks. Her eyes dipped in the effects of the wine and her warming after so long in the cold. He took his time touching her, one hand now between her legs as he fondled her most private parts with studied concentration. A particular spot captured his attention. He stroked her there, inciting tremors in her legs.

“Ah, she is a woman, Antius,” he said with a laugh. “I will tame you,” he said, leaning his face close to hers as his fingers continued a wretched play. “You will cry out on the end of my prick, and joyfully.”

Giveaway

Enjoy this thrilling historical story of Rome’s conquest of ancient Britain. Nab the full novel FREE with coupon code ST46J at Smashwords. This offer expires July 6.

About the Author

Lizzie Ashworth lives in the wilds of the Ozark Mountains with three cats, two hound dogs, and too many deer in her yard. She’s been writing her entire life and wants her readers to know how much she enjoys sharing her naughty stories.

Follow her for free erotic short works, hot photos, and the occasional rant on her blog at http://lizzieashworth.com/

Like Liz’s Facebook author page for updates on other nice and naughty works https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLizzieAshworth/

Enjoy some amazing eye candy? Check out Liz’s Pinterest page at https://www.pinterest.com/ashworthlizzie/

Sacchi Green: Strong Women, Fairy Tales, and a Short Story Writer’s Lament (Giveaway)
Monday, May 15th, 2017

UPDATE: The winner is…Annie Chanse!

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I like to write and read about strong women.  Probably all of us do, from time to time, but even if I start out trying to write a more submissive character, by the end she’ll be as strong-willed as any hero. In my very first long ago erotic short story (eventually published in Dream Lover, an anthology edited by Kristina Wright for Cleis Press,) the central character is a prostitute dominated and brutalized by her pimp, a woman who has given up on herself and drifts through life. By the end, though, she has saved a demon imprisoned in a huge gargoyle outside her penthouse window, and become a powerful demonic angel herself. Yes, I also love fantasy stories.

I love to write historical fiction, too, but I don’t even bother any more to try giving my heroines a softer edge. In “Flight of the Falcon” (in Delilah’s anthology Hot Highlanders and Wild Warriors) the Armenian Lady of Aragatsotn is every bit a match for the Mongol General from Ghengis Khan’s Golden Horde. In the other relatively few straight erotica stories I’ve written, I have heroines like a hot-air balloon pilot in 1800s San Francisco, a WWII Russian bomber pilot in the factual all-women Night Witches squad, and a semi-witch who saves the supposed “ogre” in the Puss in Boots tale. All strong women letting you share in their fun, and their sex.

With my preference for strong women, it’s not surprising that most of my work in recent years has been centered on lesbian characters, where I can have two (or more) strong women to play with. When I was invited several months ago to write a lesbian superhero novella, I wavered for a while—I’ve never actually been into superheroes, and I’ve never written anything longer than a short story. But I had a hint of an idea, and it seemed like a good time to take the plunge into a somewhat longer form than a short story, so I signed a contract, did great amounts of research, and actually got my piece done by the deadline. Whew. But—let me rephrase that. BUT! I was then told that I’d squeezed so much plot into the novella that I had to expand it into novel length. Which I’m trying to do, but there’s more difference between short stories and novels than just the word count. The pacing is different, and so is the way the characters are developed, and my editorial inclination to say the most in as few words as possible (I edit short stories for anthologies) makes it hard to adjust to the novel form. In short, this project is really kicking my butt. I love my characters, and I’ll finish the book, but it may well not be any good. It certainly won’t be what superhero fans expect, but it WILL be about very strong women. The title, probably, will be The Shadow Hand, from Ylva Books in 2018

I am now officially in awe of people who can write novels.

Back on the short story anthology front, I’ve been trying for years to get my main publisher to let me take on a fairy tale theme that would center on strong women and tweak the traditional expectations.  Finally, success! My newest anthology, Witches, Princesses and Women at Arms: Erotic Lesbian Fairy Tales, is written for those who have had to settle for envisioning “he” as “she” when they’re reading fairy tales. I know similar books like this have been done every now and then, but I got such great stories from excellent writers that the stories themselves are worth reading as stories, regardless of the orientation of the characters—or of the readers.

Most of you probably don’t do this private re-gendering of characters in stories you read, and you may not like to read fairytales at all. Or if you do reimagine the characters, more likely you try now and then to envision “she” as a second “he”, which is fine. I’ve dabbled in m/m fantasy myself. Any variety is good exercise for the imagination (and the senses.) All else being equal, though, I take a story where it needs to go, with the characters who can best get it there. More often than not, these characters turn out to be lesbians, and this new anthology is a prime example. I know there are many readers who have longed for flights of imagination that could sweep them up into worlds of magic and sensual delights—if only all those heroes winning the day (and, of course, the girl) didn’t get in the way. Why can’t we have heroines who win each other?

As it turns out, we can. I asked writers for erotic romance, magic, and wild adventure, with women who use their wits, special powers, and/or weapons, and come together in a blaze of passion. The writers didn’t fail me. Some adapted traditional tales, and some updated old stories to contemporary times, in every case not merely changing the gender of a character but making the female aspect essential. Some created original plots with a fairy tale sensibility, while some wrote with merely a subtle aura of fantasy.

Their heroines are witches, princesses, brave, resourceful women of all walks of life, and even a troll and a dryad. There is laughter, sly wit, and an occasional tear; curses and spells, battles and intrigue, elements of magic and explorations of universal themes; and, yes, sex, sensuality and true love, all bound together into complex and many-layered stories. Whether a character is royalty or a miller’s daughter, a woman warrior passing as a man, a sorceress in flowing robes, or even a window inspector dangling in harness on a modern high-rise building—who better to rescue a long-haired captive in a tower?—all the relationships are passionate, intense, sometimes quick to ignite, sometimes all the hotter for restraint that flares at last into a fierce blaze.

If this just isn’t your thing, though, that’s okay. Maybe you could imagine that one of the “shes” is a “he”, although the fact of the characters being female is essential to most of the plots. But you might well discover that these stories of strong women in fantasy settings are well worth reading just as they are.

The Library Journal Review says of the book, “There is one creative hit after another…An excellent series of Sapphic fantasies. Highly recommended.”

Here’s a very non-representative excerpt from my own story in the book, but really, the stories are so varied that it would be hard to cite one as being representative. I went for humor in this one, but with more than humor at its core.

Trollwise by Sacchi Green

Trip, trop, trip, trop. Hjørdis stood back in disgust as Princess Tutti pranced across the bridge, hips swaying, the false tail strapped to the seat of her gown twitching. A coy toss of Tutti’s head knocked the goat horns on her headdress slightly askew. “Oh, Mr. Troll,” she piped in a falsetto voice, “are you there today? Don’t you want to eat us up? Look, this time there is a meatier prey than just we little goats!” She cast a mocking glance back toward Hjørdis. “A buxom brood mare!”

Hjørdis would have swatted the silly girl’s rump if there had been enough of it to be worth the trouble. Or, more truthfully, if she herself had not been bound by oath to abide peaceably among these puny southerners. For now. As it was, she took a threatening stride onto the wooden planks. Tutti ran off giggling toward the meadow, from which sounds of pipes and laughter and occasional playful shrieks rose above the lazy burbling of the stream.

Princess Vesla, also adorned with horns and tail, came up timidly beside Hjørdis. “There truly was a troll under the bridge a week ago,” she said in a tremulous voice. “When Tutti called out, I heard its voice, like the rumbling of stones. She thinks it was Werther, the dancing master, trying to frighten us, but I’m sure it wasn’t!”

“Oh? What did he say?” Hjørdis made some small effort to tolerate Vesla, who was not so spiteful as her sister Tutti. She felt also a slight sympathy for the girl, who had formed a hopeless passion for Hordis’s captive brother Harald. At least accompanying them on their outing, however nasty it promised to be, was an excuse to leave the castle.

“It said, ‘Scrawny bones not fit to pick my teeth! Get you gone!’” Vesla shivered. “But we haven’t heard anything since.”

Hjørdis knew a great deal more about trolls than these little twits ever could. More than anyone could who had not known Styggri. That sounded all too much like what Styggri would say, in a humorous mood. But Styggri had crossed into another world from which there was no return.

Hjørdis looked more closely at the bridge. Its sides and the pillars beneath were stone, with wooden planking wide enough for two carriages to pass side by side over its double arch. And wide enough for a troll to lurk beneath, although why one should wish to, or venture this far south at all, was beyond her. Still… She gazed far upstream to where water surged out from a cleft in a rocky hillside. Nothing to compare with the jagged mountains and plummeting rivers of her home, but still part of a long arm of hills and ridges reaching out from those same mountains.

“You go on to your frolicking.” She gave Vesla as gentle a shove as she could manage. Gods, these pampered southern girls were brittle, twiggy things! And their brother the prince—her husband under duress—was no better. “I’ll sit a while here in the shade of the birches. This heat annoys me.”

“Oh! Are you, then…already…”

“No! And if I were, it would be too soon to know. Go along now!”

Vesla went, trying to keep the gilded wooden heels of her shoes from making as much noise on the bridge as Tutti’s had done. Once safely across she looked back over her shoulder. “Give Werther a few stomps from me,” Hjordis called. The foolish dancing master deserved whatever he got, with his tales of ancient times in foreign lands where satyrs danced on goat hooves and bands of women ran wild under the spell of a wine god.

Get your copy here!

Giveaway

Comment about strong women, fairy tales, or short stories versus novels, and be entered for a drawing to win a paperback copy (in North America) or an ebook (elsewhere) of Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms.

About the Author

Sacchi Green is an award-winning writer and editor of erotica and other stimulating genres. Her stories have appeared in scores of publications, including eight volumes of Best Lesbian Erotica, four of Best Women’s Erotica, and three of Best Lesbian Romance. In recent years she’s taken to wielding the editorial whip, editing thirteen lesbian erotica anthologies, including Lesbian Cowboys (winner of a Lambda Literary Award,) Girl Crazy, Lesbian Lust, Women with Handcuffs, Girl Fever, Wild Girls, Wild Nights (also a Lambda Award Winner,) Me and My Boi, and Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year 20th Anniversary Edition, all from Cleis Press, as well as Through the Hourglass: Lesbian Historical Romance and Thunder of War, Lightning of Desire (Lethe Press.) Sacchi lives in the Five College area of western Massachusetts, gets away to her NH mountain retreat as often as possible, and makes the occasional foray into the real world to do readings in New York and other exotic locales. She can be found online at www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com and on Facebook..