Welcoming 2016 With Stories and Changing Tastes

books

Every year I keep a log of books, short stories, and articles of note that I’ve read. In 2015, I logged an awful lot of books. Some were new releases, but more often than not, not. By this log, though, I figured that I read more how-to books, gardening books, and history books than anything else. I don’t know why it happened this way, but maybe because I’ve been sort of fighting a dark depression and anxiety with hobbies–gardening, sewing, and just about anything I can do which would keep my hands busy. I’m the kind of person who needs to be doing something, even if it’s something small, such as mending a buttonhole or planting a seed. And, once I’m focused, that’s it. I’m addicted to something new and you’ll soon find me in bookshops and online seeking out books regarding my new hobby, whatever it may be. I can’t just be a novice at anything. I will constantly strive to master it.

But, in 2010, for example, I logged mostly romance and horror novels. In 2011 and 2012, same. In 2013, by some strange tap of the reading fairy’s wand, I changed directions and returned to my science fiction and fantasy roots. You see, the firsts books I really loved–and I mean REALLY loved–were sci-fi novels, comics, fantasy tomes, and short stories in magazines involving elves, ghosts, goblins, werewolves, aliens, and vampires. I started reading time travel novels again. I started picking up newer novels by authors I’d forgotten I loved so much in high school. And, I began to change the way I think about things again. I think that’s just something that happens ever so often in life. Your life changes direction, so your reading lists change direction, too.

By 2014, I’d changed completely. I haven’t completely let go of reading romance, but I want to read everything about everything. Sometimes there just isn’t enough space on a year’s worth of bookshelf for all of the books a person would wish to read. I think that might be what happens to me. I am too ambitious. But, there are just so many books!

But, back to 2015.

Last year, my children grew. My fortunes changed (sort of) with the coming of a move which will take me from living in a small 3 bedroom house with a small yard to a small 4 bedroom house with a yard that reaches beyond what the eye can see (my husband’s family’s farm). In anticipation of this move, my family and I have discussed a lot of changes. We’re letting go of cable because it won’t be available. We’re going to have an internet connection to watch Netflix and Hulu and do internety things. But, we’ve also decided that we’re going to raise some chickens and continue growing beautiful herbs and Cherokee purple tomatoes (which are to die for, by the way, and can be found at Burpee’s online). On the farm, my father-in-law and brother-in-laws (and their wives and families) raise chickens, horses, cows, pigs, and sometimes goats. And, I think my niece has some rabbits somewhere. So, with all of this in mind, I’ve been reading about soil, about how to raise animals (because I’m absolutely terrified of horses and have no clue how to manage livestock, much less live with them), and about how to live a simpler life.

Now, hold on, people. Before you start thinking ahead, NO. No, we are not homesteaders. Absolutely, just no. I have mad amounts of respect for homesteaders, but that’s not what we’re doing  at all. We’re just simplifying things and moving forward with raising our family in an area where I won’t have to worry about being so close to other people. Well, except for my husband’s family. Two of his brothers, their wives, their collective six children, and my mother-in-law and father-in-law all live on the same stretch of property, but it’s big enough that none of us have to look at each other if we don’t want to. Or unless I need to be saved from the horses (ha ha).

The beautiful part of how life changes your reading habits, though, is that when I move to my little farm shack in the middle of nowhere, I’ll have new places to read. Also, I have a niece and a sister-in-law who both love to read, too, so maybe we can exchange good books ever so often. Who knows–we might even start our own book club right on the edge of the mountain. I’m sure the new experiences I have there will absolutely reflect in the 2016 reading log. I have plans to pick up a Farmer’s Almanac and a Gardener’s Almanac next time I’m in the Dollar General store in town. And, beyond that, there’s a discount store in Beckley (about 35 minutes from me) where I can pick up as many books about flowers and plants as I want because they’re really cheap. I’d love a book about flowers so I can learn about which ones are the easiest to grow and which ones need what because I do have plans for a white rose bush and roses are not things I know a lot about, although I’ve always loved white roses (among other white flowers, I also love the white moonflowers/Datura).

bookThere are a few crime fiction novels I plan to read this year, though, and they’re already sitting on my nightstand. AND, I do have some drama, history, and romance novels sitting in my shelf, waiting on me to give them some attention. First, though, I have a book filled with the love letters between Lucrezia Borgia and Pietro Bembo. The book is called “The Prettiest Love Letters In the World” because they truly are. I’ve already taken a peek at them.

scandalsAnd, of course, it’s January 3rd, which means I’ve already read a book this year. It’s was called “Treasury of Royal Scandals” and it was published some years back, but still such a great read. Books aren’t like food–they don’t ruin after a while. They stay great. I’ve learned that there is also a book out there called “A Treasury of Great American Scandals,” which I’d like to add to my collection, too. The author, Michael Farquhar, has many books out I’d like to snatch. Seriously, where has this guy been all my life as a reader? “Treasury of Royal Scandals” was brilliant. It was a great way to start the year, in my opinion.

I’m curious to know how everyone else feels on the subject of changing tastes in books. Is it just me? Do the rest of you change tastes every now and then? I can’t imagine I’m the only person on the face of the planet who sometimes switches from medieval kings and queens to cyborgs and werewolves.

 

Why I’ll Never Write A Happy Ending

There are an awful lot of romances in my stories and I try to make them as realistic as possible. I don’t go for characters no one can ever resist–the brooding, muscle bound hero meets the dainty, helpless damsel in distress–and I don’t see anything wrong with that. It’s real and it’s something a lot of readers can identify with. I read a lot of romances, too, and I love them. I just don’t want to write them.

gentlerogueRomantic heroes are often stereotyped and, while that may suck, there’s a reason for it. Apparently, lots of women like the man next door, the hunky fireman, the long-haired, shirtless werewolf… And, this stereotypical romance hero is often given a bad name for being just that, so let’s not do that here. As I said a paragraph ago, I read a lot of romances. I like them. But, you’ll never see Fabio rescue a fair maiden and ride of into the sunset on a unicorn in one of my books. Never.

The closest to a perfect romance novel hero I’ve ever come to writing was The Demon King. He was close, but no cigar. He had the look, he had the brooding demeanor, and he had an excess of power, but he was flawed from the beginning because he wasn’t in it to marry the girl and live happily ever after. I just don’t think demon kings get that sort of an ending. Realistically, they might achieve other goals, but how on earth would a romance really work in the Underworld? I just don’t get it.

Moving past romance novels, other stories with happy endings make my head spin, too. Does every single time traveler make it home safe to live out the rest of their lives as though they hadn’t just traveled through space and time? What about the traveler who becomes trapped? Or is obliterated en route? What about the traveler who wanderers onto an alien planet and is captured by the emperor of the Zed People and thrown into a rusty cage for the rest of his life?

And, what about crime stories? Does the PI always capture the bad guy? What if they didn’t? What if the main character lets the guy go because he’s paid an amount of money he simply can’t refuse? Or, what if he doesn’t let the bad guy go. What if, during the climax of the story, the PI meets up with the mass murderer in an alley somewhere and the murderer does what he does best–murder?

I don’t write happy endings. I did when I was a kid, but then life floated through me and I through it. At some point in my life I realized that not every story has to have a happy ending to be a good one. Not every book has to end the way we all want it to. Characters can fall into their destinies the way in which they are meant to and the endings of THOSE stories can be just as satisfying, just as wonderful, just as horrifying as a story with a happy ending. And, people will continue to read them because some of us enjoy a good book full of wonderful, flawed characters doing beautifully flawed things. I enjoy it when the outcome of a book isn’t what I might have thought it was going to be. I don’t like coming to the last chapter of a story and already knowing what’s going to happen before it happens because at least a million other stories have ended that way. I like to be surprised, both pleasantly and otherwise.

I think that’s why I’m drawn to horror and realism. There isn’t always a happy ending in those stories and it’s almost expected that the author is going to shred their character’s lives into a zillion pieces. I like that, no matter what’s going on in my life, I can crack open one of these stories and realize that it’s entirely possible that someone else out there might just be having a worse day than me.

All of the many things that go through my head kill me sometimes. I’m a constant thinker. Sometimes my thoughts are darker than velvet and sometimes they’re light as air–but, they are always realistic because I can’t stand the thought of writing a story that isn’t somehow true (even if it’s not). There’s no way on this earth I could ever convince myself to write a story where everything turns out okay because that’s just not how the world works. I will always tie up loose ends in my stories and if I leave something up for interpretation, it’s because sometimes life does that, too.

gwtw

“I can’t go all my life waiting to catch you between husbands.”- Rhett Butler, Gone With the Wind

Romance novels are notorious for their happy endings (there are few without them, but Gone With the Wind comes to mind, though I don’t think that book was classified as just a romance novel). It’s totally possible that I might write romance again one day, but know that if I choose to do so, you’re not going to see the hero rescue the damsel in distress and ride off in a million dollar car to a million dollar wedding where their friends and families are waiting on them with smiles and bags of rice to choke the birds with.

It’s more likely that my romance novel will end with the anti-hero and anti-heroine in some sort of stand-off. They might be together at the end of the book, but at what costs? Their fortunes? Their dignity? A limb? Or, possibly even their very lives.

I don’t write happily-ever-afters because that just isn’t real. People pay taxes, they lose properties, they have accidents causing permanent impairments, and they fight like cats and dogs (or demon kings and half-mortals, as the case may be). So, ask me again why I don’t write happy endings.

In short, because shit happens, that’s why.

frankly

“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”-Rhett Butler, Southern gentleman not giving any damns (on film) since 1939.

Twenty Things To Do Between Writing Projects

 

booksYay! You finished writing your novel/short story/article/comic/other stuff! I used to love this period of time because of the sense of accomplishment I gave myself after typing “The End” as I grinned like a…well, whatever grins. As most writers can tell you, it’s a wonderful, wonderful day when a project you’ve been working on forever finally comes to a full stop and you’ve told the entire story, start to finish. You’ve conquered the beast!

Now what?

Well, just walk away. That’s the best advice anyone has ever given me and I’m all too happy to pass it along. Walk away from the manuscript and leave it alone. Do other things. Live your life and gain some new experiences before you do anything else. Most writers (though, I can’t speak for everyone) have a family and/or friends who love them and would appreciate knowing they’re still alive somewhere. Now’s the time to reconnect with those people. Or not. Just do stuff.

I’ve made a good list of things you can do between writing projects. I hope it helps someone.

  1. Relax and do nothing for a few days. Writing can drain a person and you need to recharge your batteries.
  2. Do something nice with your significant other. Go to the movies, have a nice dinner or just watch a documentary together on Netflix and eat grilled cheese sandwiches on the couch. Either way, pencil them in and spend some time with them. They’ll appreciate it and you will too. You need this.
  3. Get online, update your blog layout and give it a facelift. Write a fun post or two. Write emails to your friends, return emails from your friends. Clean up your email accounts—delete old emails, rearrange emails you’re keeping. Go through your social media accounts and get them all up to date, too. Get EVERYTHING online up to date. It won’t take as long as you think.
  4. Go shopping and buy pens, notebooks, printer supplies, editing supplies, post-it notes. Go home. Put these items in a box or drawer and just leave them there. Smile that you saved seventy-five cents on your notebook paper.
  5. Buy or borrow five novels or novellas. Make coffee. Start reading the first one. Keep going and read the entire thing in one sitting. Nap. Repeat.
  6. Write reviews for books you’ve read. Post them wherever you usually post reviews.
  7. Go to a museum. If you’re lucky enough to have a museum around town, take an afternoon and go.
  8. Bake a cake, muffins, or cookies. Arrange them on a pretty plate. Take them to your elderly neighbor.
  9. Find a good Youtube channel and learn something new. Sewing, baking, carpentry, anything. Learn how to make brownies in your microwave if you want to start small. Or, you could learn how to build shelves with real hammers and real nails and real wood from a real hardware store—the sky is the limit.
  10. Buy a packet of seeds and start growing something indoors all by yourself or buy a plant at the local nursery and bring it home to care for it. Digging in dirt can be refreshing to creative people. Do yard work even.
  11. Go to your book stash. Whether you store your book all in shelves or in a series of odd places around your house (or just in boxes somewhere), go find your stash. Put an empty box or bag at your feet and dig through your books. Really, really dig through them. Anything in there you know you won’t read again? Yeah, we all have a few of those. You can donate them to local libraries for other people to enjoy. Or, box them up and send them off to a friend who would like to have them.
  12. Contribute or attend a local theater presentation. Is the local theater troupe performing Romeo and Juliet? Buy some tickets to support the locals and have yourself a great time.
  13. Start a collection of something (besides books…we’ve already established that you collect those). Paperclips, glass bottles, antique dishes…whatever you like.
  14. Get a haircut. No, seriously. A lot of writers I’m friends with have told me they sometimes neglect haircuts/salon appointments. Take care of this while you’re between writing projects, even if it’s just a quick trip to Supercuts.
  15. Play music and listen to something you wouldn’t ordinarily listen to. REALLY listen. Listen for the lyrics, decide how the songs make you feel.
  16. Volunteer at a nursing home. Often, our elderly are lonesome and many of them have no one to talk to through the day. Just talking to them is sometimes the greatest gift anyone can give. If you’re lucky, you’re going to be old one day. Remember that.
  17. Read more books you haven’t read yet.
  18. Call your mother. She misses you and while you’re in book mode, she doesn’t hear from you enough. I know this because I’m a mother and I’m also a daughter—I know how it goes.
  19. Reorganize your workspace. Prepare like your life depends on it.
  20. Go snack shopping. Buy coffee, vodka, and cookies. Or, ya know, whatever you like. Now, you may begin writing your next project. I’m sure you have a million ideas by now.

Don’t Call Me Baby

GET “DON’T CALL ME ‘BABY'” FREE ON KINDLE

AUGUST 17, 18, 19 ONLY!

DON’T CALL ME BABY

NEW ADULT EROTIC ROMANCE AT ITS FINEST!

Buy Link

Don’t Call Me Baby – Amazon Kindle

Don’t Call Me Baby – Amazon UK

baby_night_owl_cover

Don’t Call Me Baby

It’s 1983 in Maryland and Catherine Stone is sex on wheels. She plays the field the way men have done for aeons. Not content to strive for her MRS. degree like so many young women her age, she seduces men of all stripes.

When she tries multiple partners and bondage for the first time as a submissive, she believes she’s found the sexual bliss she is looking for – and with a man who not only introduces her to the fineries in life, but also cares about her like no man ever has before.

DON’T CALL ME ‘BABY’ is a fast-paced, quick-witted, and sexy novel about a young woman exploring her sexuality and the cultural morés she collides with on a daily basis. Does she meet her match in this new man who introduces her to sexual ecstasy she has never before experienced?

night_owl_top_pick_badge

 

 

 

 

NIGHT OWL TOP PICK!

Review by Hitherandthee

Don’t Call Me Baby is a fast paced, very adventurous romantic novel that will take readers on a roller coaster ride of scorching romantic fun. The main character, Catherine, is a woman after my own heart. She is young and fiercely independent, and beyond gorgeous. She is not wealthy, but she wants to live the good life and is not afraid to go get it. She is also very sexually liberated, and in the 1980’s this was sometimes a good thing, and sometimes a not so good thing. The story is so blisteringly hot and steamy; it’s difficult to put down. It took me back to a better time, and a time I enjoyed much more. It is a novel I truly enjoyed reading, and will definitely be reading time and time again. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s also not to be missed.

So many men, so little time. Catherine has a long list of men that she sees on a regular basis, and at the top of the list (for the moment, anyway) is Brian. He’s one of her professors at Quincy, and a married man, but that’s never been a problem. But he’s so demanding! So maybe some time apart will be just the trick. A summer theater camp at another local college for local teens should make him realize that Catherine is not his possession, right? That is, until she gets to the camp and meets the other counselors. Ryan is gorgeous, and the rest? Well, what’s a girl on her own to do? Why, enjoy as many as she can! In the meantime, Catherine will come to grips with her mind and her heart, and will figure out what she really wants in life.

elizabeth_black_photo

About the Author

Elizabeth Black writes erotica, erotic romance, speculative fiction, fantasy, dark fiction and horror. She also enjoys writing retellings of classic fairy tales. Born and bred in Baltimore, she grew up under the influence of Edgar Allan Poe. Her erotic fiction has been published by Xcite Books (U. K.), House Of Erotica (U. K.), Cleis Press, Circlet Press, Ravenous Romance, Scarlet Magazine (U. K.), Naughty Nights Press, and other publishers. Her dark fiction and horror has appeared in Kizuna: Fiction For Japan, Stupefying Stories, Zippered Flesh 2: More Tales Of Body Enhancements Gone Bad, Midnight Movie Creature Feature 2, Teeming Terrors, Voluted Tales, and Mirages: Tales From Authors Of The Macabre (edited by Trent Zelazny).

An accomplished essayist, she was the sex columnist for the pop culture e-zine nuts4chic (U. K.) until it folded in 2008. Her articles about sex, erotica, and relationships have appeared in Good Vibrations Magazine, Alternet, CarnalNation, the Ms. Magazine Blog, Sexis Magazine, On The Issues, Sexy Mama Magazine, and Circlet blog. She also writes sex toys reviews for several sex toys companies. She has appeared as a speaker at numerous conventions including Balticon, Arisia, NoVaCon, SheVaCon, JohnCon, and two Worldcons.

Excerpt

Catherine awakened to feel Duncan putting a blindfold over her face. Frightened, she

jerked and raised her hands to her face to remove it.

“Calm down, gorgeous. It’s only me. Let’s play a game before we get up for the day.”

“What do you have in mind besides making me blind?”

As he brushed kisses against her back and shoulders she relaxed face down on the bed.

“That’s better, sleepyhead. How about a morning fuck?”

“I’d love to but you better use lots of lube. I’m sore as hell.”

“Instead of straight fucking, how about a little backdoor play?” His finger drew circles down her spine, across her buttocks, and slid to her anus.

“Mmmmm… I’m game. I’m a backdoor virgin so be easy on me.”

“I’ll make it exciting for you. And look what I found in your suitcase. Oh, I’m sorry you can’t see. I blindfolded you. Well, give me your hand and I’ll let you guess.”

He took her hand and fastened something tight around her wrist, then hooked it to the bed. When she realized what it was her heart lurched in excitement.

“You found my handcuffs! Oh, yes, restrain me. Take me as your slave.” She wanted to give her entire will over to Duncan, as she had never done before for any man. When Duncan restrained her other wrist to the bed, leaving her arms spread and immobile, the thrill of what they were about to do overcame her, leaving her shivering with anticipation.

“You will be my submissive pet, my dear. And now, here’s a little gift I bought you last night while you were in the bedroom with Sam.”

A silicone ball moved its way between her teeth and a leather strap fastened behind her head. So he’s gagged me! Gagged and restrained! This is new and exciting. Duncan is my dream come true. I finally met a man who brings out my kink and isn’t put off by my fucking around. Accustomed to being in charge and taking the lead, letting go of her aggressiveness felt incredibly freeing. In charge, Duncan took over her morning and she wanted to do whatever he wanted. She also knew he would take good care of her and give her the excitement she waited for.

“We need a safe word but obviously you can’t speak, so if you want to stop for any reason, make five loud grunts. Sound good?”

She nodded and gave Duncan five loud and staccato grunts that would act as their safe word.

“That’s perfect. I won’t do anything you don’t want me to do. Now, you relax and let me take care of you.”

When she felt his hand take hold of her ankle, she gasped with a heady mixture of nervousness and sexual arousal. His palm rubbed up her calf, eliciting shivers from her warm skin. Then he took her foot in his hand, pulled her leg taut, and fastened a cuff around her ankle, restraining her to the bed. With only one leg free, she enjoyed the feeling of immobilization, wanting Duncan to take over her sexual pleasure. When he cuffed her other foot to the bed, she lay face down, blind and mute, trapped and pinned for his pleasure, never before having been in such a subservient position—and she liked it! She knew she welcomed any of Duncan’s advances, no matter how adventurous he chose to be with her.

The delicate scent of pink lotus reached her nose mere seconds before the warmed oil dribbled on the back of her legs. Duncan’s big, meaty hands rubbed the oil into her skin and then he pressed his fingers into her pressure points on her calves and just above her Achilles tendons. His thumbs found her arches and pressed hard and deep, sending jolts of pleasure up her legs to slam into her groin and ass. She wanted to feel his hands all over her body but he took his time with her, not rushing their pleasure. His slow pace turned her on. In Duncan’s home, she could relax and lose herself in their sex play. As Duncan worked her awakening muscles, she realized she rushed her fucking far too often, mostly in response to the fear of not being caught by wives, cops, or college administrators. To be taken by a man at his slow, attentive speed felt much more arousing than the fevered groping she was used to.

His hands rubbed the sleep from her thighs, awakening a sexual urge from her that needed release. She craved the touch of his fingers against her pussy, rubbing against her erect clit, or better yet, inserting one or two at a time in her anus. She dug her knees into the mattress, raising her bum slightly in the air. Duncan responded by massaging her ass cheeks so hard that he pushed her body into the bed, making Catherine grunt with exhilaration. She giggled when warm oil dribbled on her ass to run down her crack, and she wiggled her hips as the oil tickled her skin. Duncan’s strong hands massaged the oil into her ass cheeks, his fingers approaching her anus but not directly touching it. Stop teasing me! I want to feel your fingers inside me. I want to feel your hard cock ramming in and out of me!

He teased her anus, approaching and driving Catherine into a frenzy of arousal only to pull back and massage her ass cheeks. She gripped the headboard rungs with her hands, wishing she could grip his cock and shove it deep inside. As she arched her back, hinting for him to enter her, he rubbed the entire length of his hand along her crack, pressing over her anus but not entering her. The stimulation drove her mad, made her blood rush through her body to flow into a hot pool around her pussy and ass. When she thought she couldn’t take any more of his incessant teasing, he slid one slick finger into her waiting opening.

She rocked back and forth against that finger, feeling it go completely inside her. Then, she felt a second finger join the first. Her heart thumped hard in her chest, taking her breath away she felt so aroused. Her pussy throbbed with pleasure, wanting to be filled and plugged as well. As Duncan stretched her anus, she rocked in time with his movements, enjoying the sensations that grew from deep inside her. So focused was she on her own arousal that she barely heard the sound of the condom wrapper tearing. When Duncan pulled his fingers from her she felt the cavernous opening and knew it needed to be filled.

When Duncan slid his cock inside her he stopped at the end of his head, helping her to adjust to his girth. She held her breath, bracing herself to take in his entire length, when he slid in another inch. She moaned in ecstasy, putting all her weight on her knees so he could take her up the ass the way she wanted to be taken. He slowly moved out of her and then slowly slid back in, an inch deeper. And then another inch, making her see the blood rushing behind her eyelids. She arched her back in response to the enormous, full feeling he gave her, yet he was not finished. The humming was so faint she barely heard it but when she felt the device on her clit—he homed right in on her most sensitive spot without needing a map to find it—her body shook with pleasure. Lifting her ass to invite him fully in, he pulled out slightly and then slid completely inside, filling her to the brim and properly plugging her. Immobilized and trussed for his pleasure, she relished her submissive pose and the hot fucking he gave her.

Fuck me hard, slam into my ass! If only she could speak! But the ball gag made her position all the sexier. She motioned with her ass, lifting it up as high as she could to signal to him that she wanted him to bang her good and hard. He pushed himself as deep inside her as he could get as he rubbed the vibrator against her pussy lips and clit. She gripped the restraints with both fists as she rocked back and forth to take the movements of his cock as he thrust in and out of her. No longer an anal virgin, she relished the feel of his massive cock inside her, making her feel aroused as never before. He slammed into her, faster and faster, and with a grunt came hard inside her. Without warning he ramped up the power of the sex toy’s vibrations. She stiffened her body until it nearly lifted off the bed and with a loud cry, came hard against his cock and the vibrator that rasped against her swollen clit.

After wave after wave of intense orgasm, she collapsed on the bed, too tired to move. He blew butterfly kisses on her shoulders and back as he released her from her restraints. Her heart slowed from a frenetic gallop to a slow crawl as she languished in her afterglow. Freed from the cuffs, she removed the blindfold and ball gag. Spent, she curled into a ball on her side and cupped her pussy with her hands.

Duncan crawled into the bed beside her and wrapped his arms around her. “I take it you enjoyed your anal deflowering?”

“Mmmmmm…”

“So you’d like to do that again sometime soon?”

“Mmmmm!”

“You are truly incredible. A free spirit. I like that. I’m glad I found you at the resort.”

“Same here. Only one problem.”

“What’s that?”

“I don’t think I’ll be able to walk for at least a day. I’m sore inside and out.”

“You got quite a workout. I know exactly the thing to recharge you. How about a traditional English breakfast, a shower, and then we head to your party?”

“That sounds wonderful and I’m famished.”

“You rest here while I make breakfast for us. It’s only eight. We have plenty of time to get ready for the party.”

BRUSHING UP-10 Facts about The Demon King you may not know.

 

Artwork by Danny Kelly

Artwork by Danny Kelly

In celebrating that THE DEMON KING’s long awaited sequel has been picked up by KnightWatch Press, I thought some of us could use a quick brushing up about our much loved and much hated king of the underworld…So, here you go. Ten whole factoids. Demon Cover

1. I was highly influenced by Jonathan Rheys Meyers portrayal of Henry VIII in The Tudors when I wrote The Demon King.  henry

2. The first fact on this list will become quite evident in the sequel.

Am I hinting? Maybe. But, it may not hint at what you think.

Am I hinting? Maybe. But, it may not hint at what you think.

3. I wrote many, many scenes of the first book as a way to work out my own nightmares and fears.

4. The king’s birds will play a bigger role in the second book.

5. The Demon King was originally written with the intention of the story being an erotica novel. But, it took on a life of its own.

6. There will be new characters in the second book.

7. The second book still has no title. I’m working on that. I’m not good with titles. I could write ten books before I could come up with a decent title. I usually have help titling stories.

8. One of my favorite characters from the first book, Thrack, was modeled to look like Michael Clark Duncan (RIP, MCD).

mcd

9. A character from my Immortal books will make an appearance in The Demon King’s sequel. In the Immortal books, Lilleth was my bad guy. In The Demon King’s sequel, she’s just the girl next door. Though she’s the same person, she is perceived as quite evil in the mortal realm, but once you put her in the Underworld, where she’s known Draken his entire life, she’s nothing out of the ordinary. Well, maybe a little out of the ordinary. As a matter of fact, the king will be giving her quite the honorable title. I won’t tell you what that title is, though. Spoilers!

10. The second Demon King book will be longer than the first. Yup.  You asked, I’m delivering. You’re welcome.

HAUNTED VALENTINE GIVEAWAY!

bones coversWant to win a copy of my brand new novel, BONES OF WILLOW LAKE? It releases this very Valentine weekend. How exciting! Read the rules below:

RULES:

Leave a comment on this post telling about your most memorable Valentine’s Day or just the one that sticks out the most. Tell me what you like or do not like about this holiday. Write whatever comes to mind pertaining to Valentine’s Day. Lets keep this PG (we don’t need those kinds of details lol). The winner will be chosen and announced on the morning of Monday, February 17th, so please also give me an email address to contact you should you be the lucky winner. It’s that easy!

You can read an excerpt and blurb for the book, BONES OF WILLOW LAKE, here.

OTHER RHIANNON MILLS NEWS:

Not much info as of yet, but be looking for updates on an anthology called HER DARK VOICE. Filled with stories from many different female horror authors (including CYNDI AND THE DEMON ASMODEUS, which I wrote), this one’s going to be a must read!

Bones Of Willow Lake to be released on Valentine’s Day!

bones covers

Back cover, front cover. Both originally artwork by Mark Hogg. Link to his fanpage can be found at the bottom of this post.

Well, the day I’ve been waiting for since forever (no really…FOREVER! LOL) is finally upon us. My most recent novel, BONES OF WILLOW LAKE, has a release date! And, of course, the novel will be released on the very same day my awesome novella, THE DEMON KING, was released. FEBRUARY 14th! That’s Valentine’s Day, in case you didn’t know. Also, it’s my son’s 7th birthday, so Valentine’s Day is special to me for many reasons. Not just book releases, although I do believe I should probably just go ahead and reserve that day every year to release a new book because it looks like it’s just my day.

I promise I won’t just sit here and prattle on and on about how absolutely enamored with myself and my release date I am, though. I promise! Instead, how about I give you a blurb and an excerpt? Will that appease the masses? I sure hope so. We’ll start with the little blurb intended to be printed on the back cover.

BLURB:

Celia Burne bought a house in LaGrange, Georgia, thinking she’s found a place for herself and her dog, Barnibus, to find rest and solitude–a break from the heartbreak of her mother’s death and the resulting incarceration of her younger sister. What she finds in the beginning of her new life, however, isn’t what she bargained for.  Celia discovers two of the house’s former residents still live there decades after their deaths.  

 Although artist Paul Gray only wants Celia’s friendship, and perhaps a little bit more, Celia begins to feel that finding Gray’s body would allow him to pass over into the light.  In order to find the body, however, Celia has to solve a 1947 triple murder mystery, and the angry spirit of Ruth Wilkins doesn’t want this to happen.  With help from an elderly neighbor and her cartoonist grandson, Celia wrestles with the mystery until she’s thrown into a tailspin and is forced to decide whether she is willing to let Gray go or if she would rather keep him for herself.  All the while, the story begs the question of who is helping whom? 

EXCERPT:

The fire is warm and I like to sit in front of it, but the sound of boxes shuffling around is still distracting me.  “Gray!” I shout again. “What on earth are you doing up there?” Frustrated, I push the covers back off my legs and get up to wander to the attic.  I stomp up the stairs, as though my noise is going to aggravate him enough to stop making his noise, and stop at the small opening to the attic at the top of the stairs.

To the left, there is a small broom closet where I keep my ladder.  I pull it out and open it up.  As I climb the few steps to the top, I push the attic opening back and poke my head inside.  It’s dark, but I can see a blue glow from the window.  “Gray?” I whisper as I push myself into the attic.

He doesn’t answer, but I knew that he wouldn’t—he can’t.  “What are you doing up here?”

I walk to the window.  Gray is sitting in the windowsill as still as a picture.  In his hands, he holds a lady’s hatpin.  It is a blue flower, but plain and ordinary.

“Ruth’s.” I say.  It isn’t a question.  There is no one else it could have belonged to.

Gray nods and shrugs before peering back out the window. He is lonely, I think to myself, feeling a bit discarded.  Doesn’t my company mean anything to him—the way his does for me?

I want to shake him.  Ruth is dead.  Henry is dead. They’re obviously not here, but he is.  What’s the connection?

I sigh and rest my hand on his shoulder for whatever comfort I can offer him.  I don’t know what happened to my sweet Gray, but whatever it was, it scarred him for his entire afterlife.

I am going mad, I tell myself.

Gray turns from the window and looks up at me.  There is hopefulness in his eyes and he rests his head against my chest. He raises a finger and sits up.  He begins to trace a word in the dust that’s settled on the glass. I give this one hundred percent of my attention.  His fingertip begins to curve around on the glass until he’s formed a perfect C.  He traces the letters very slowly, as though it’s been a very long time for him—and I’m sure that it probably has been.  Eventually, he’s written my name in the dust.  When he’s finished, he looks up at me and goes back to tracing.

Next, he traces the word alone and looks to me for approval.  I nod.  “I am lonely.” I say.

He folds me into his arms and pulls me close.  He is cool, but not cold.  I allow him to do this because I feel no fear whatsoever in what the dead can do—it’s the living that scare me the most.  Gray rests his cloth-stitched face against my cheek and I feel the weight of each horrible, likely painful stitch and wonder why the bits of dark blue material would be stitched over his entire face like that, but it’s not likely that he’ll tell me anytime soon and I’m too polite to ask. I smile at the awkward ridiculousness of the situation—I have no one alive on this earth save for Velma, but it seems I’ve made a really great best friend in this dead man.

I look up and realize that Gray’s hair is showing today. Typically, he keeps it back somehow and I can’t tell if he even has any.  Gray, it seems, is/was a ginger. I reach up and roll my index finger around in an unbelievably soft lock of reddish-blond hair.  It’s short, but neat, and combed out of his blue-gray eyes.  His face tightens rom under the cloth and I realize that he’s probably smiling at me.

“I like your hair.”  I tell him with a playful grin.

Slowly, he reaches around to teasingly pull at my long, dark ponytail.  Then, he holds his finger over where his mouth should be to tell me to be quiet. Or to shut up.  I’m not sure which one he means, but it makes me laugh and I am enjoying his company.

I wonder if, wherever they are, Ruth and Henry Wilkins can see what Gray and I are doing tonight in the attic—playfully enjoying the night. Then, another thought creeps into my head and I have to ask Gray another question. I’m positive that my questions are an annoyance, but I want to know anyhow.  “Did you know Velma Beatty?”

He nods, but doesn’t look at me.  Instead, he’s staring out the window again. I don’t push the questions further.  Something I’ve said has made him sad.  I wonder if maybe he might have been a lover of Velma’s so many years ago.  I shake the idea from my head—she had a husband and he died in the seventies.  Sometimes, he was all she ever talked about.

Gray releases me and I take that as my cue to leave him to himself.  I back away, but as I reach the little crawl hole over my ladder, I see that the ladder is gone. It isn’t down there at all, so the possibility that my larger than life dog has knocked it over is out of the question and there isn’t anyone else in the house—or at least I thought there wasn’t up until now.

“Gray?” I breathe.  He turns to face me and shifts his weight in the windowsill.  “Gray, my ladder is gone.  I can’t get down.”

It takes only a few seconds before he materializes at my side.  He looks down the hole and then at me.  He is just as puzzled as I am.  He groans as he lifts me in his arms.  He’s cradling me like a baby and, with his index finger and middle finger, closes my eyelids.  He holds his fingers there for a moment and when he removes them, I open my lids and see that we are standing at the top of the stairs and he is no longer holding me. It’s as though time was temporarily erased.

I have no idea what to say, but manage a quick thanks and a nod.  Gray disappears in a low flash of blue light and I look up to see the opening to the attic shut behind him.  He’s up there again, all by himself, and I have no idea where my ladder is.

I go to the broom closet and open the door.  Cold water flows out of the closet as though it’s been submerged.  Some of it falls down the stairs like an indoor waterfall.  My feet are freezing cold now and I see my ladder folded carefully inside the closet. I’m shaking as I step forward and inspect it.  The top rung has a spot of dried blood on it and a discarded sewing needle with twine laced through it.

Of all the houses in LaGrange, I had to pick the one with dead folks, I think to myself. I pull my flannel pajama pants down and pick them up as I  wander to the upstairs bathroom and push them into the hamper. I go to my bedroom and pick a clean pair of sweats from a drawer and put them on before going downstairs to the kitchen and reluctantly pull the mop out of the corner and grab my bucket.  I take the mop and bucket back upstairs to clean up all the water, but when I reach the stairs, the water is gone.

I swallow hard and walk up the stairs to the closet to see that the ladder is back underneath the opening to the attic.  There is no spot of blood or needle on the top rung.  There is no water damage to my closet.

It’s as though the entire thing was a figment of my over worked imagination.

EXTRA STUFF: 

As promised, here is the link to Mark Hogg’s fan page on Facebook, Mr.  Markzilla Artist! Go give him a like and check out all of his artwork!

STAY TUNED FOR: Okay, so we’re going to have a contest called the HAUNTED VALENTINE GIVEAWAY. Yes, we’re giving away a free copy of BONES OF WILLOW LAKE! Stay tuned to this blog because this is where the contest will be posted FIRST.