Deborah Kelsey Lazaroff Alpi

Tell us about yourself.

I was born in Berkeley, California USA and raised in Orinda, California; Columbo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka); and New Delhi, India. During my childhood I traveled throughout Asia and Europe, as well as throughout the USA with my family. I have been writing professionally since 1978, mostly as a copywriter for advertising, marketing and public relations, I am divorced and havs an adult son. I now live in Southern California.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I was always a storyteller; before I could read and write I drew my stories, sometimes like comic strips, sometimes just as illustrations. Throughout school I shined in writing. I served as Editor of my junior high school newspaper. I shined even brighter as a writer at university, where I majored in film studies and minored in mass communications.

What genres do you like to read?  Are these the same genres you write in?

I like to read erotica, including vampyr erotica. I also write erotica, most recently vampyr erotica.

Is your book for adults, young adults or children?

Adults, definitely!

What is your current release or project?

Creatures of The Night, an erotic vampyr love story.

Tell us about the key characters

Sarah is a budding author who is writing a novel about vampyrs, when she happens to meet a genuine vampyr, Trevor, in the all-night coffeeshop they both frequent. The two fall in love very quickly!

What is your blurb or synopsis of the book?

Vampyrs feature in almost every aspect of Sarah’s life. Her stories are filled with them. Her rich imagination has nothing on the real thing.

In her local cafe, she meets a man who sweeps away her imaginary world of vampyrs as he introduces her to the real thing.

Sarah discovers a world of intrigue and danger as she and Trevor learn to savor each other. Her ex and his ex create havoc as the two grow closer.

Can they survive their pasts to create a future filled with passion and love?

Share an excerpt

“I see you here nearly every night, working hard. Are you writing a novel?”

“Why, yes,” Sarah answered, turning to look at the source of the slightly mid-Atlantic-accented voice. She found herself facing a very trim, black-shirted midriff. She raised her head to meet the warm, smiling face of her mystery man gazing down at her. She was struck by just how handsome he was, by those rich dark eyes that gazed into hers. When did she get so lucky?

“I guess it’s more than obvious,” she continued, smiling up at him. She couldn’t help but hope she’d be spending some time with this handsome stranger, and perhaps more. She could use a little romance in her life. It had been four months since she broke up with James, after all, and this man seemed promising.

“If I’m not interrupting you, would you mind very much if I joined you?”

“Not at all.” Please do. She gestured towards the other seat at her table. “I was just finishing up for the evening and would welcome the company.”

“Wonderful, I’ll be right back.” Trevor fetched his coffee cup and got a refill before returning to Sarah’s table and sitting down.

“And what are you writing about?”

“Promise you won’t laugh?”

His smile was richer and even warmer, if that was possible. “I promise. Cross my heart and hope to die.” It was a wish he had never held over the last 200 years, as he enjoyed being a vampyr, but he liked the way it sounded.

“It’s about vampires, a whole community of them.”


“Yes, really.” She flashed him a broad and utterly disarming grin.

“Do you believe in vampyrs?”

Sarah smiled as her face grew hot. “Yes,” she said quietly, “I do. Or maybe I just want to believe in them.”

“There’s nothing wrong with that.” There was so much warmth and kindness in that rich voice that Sarah couldn’t help but feel drawn to this striking man.

“Perhaps I could help you with your book. I am, you see, a vampyr myself. And by the way, we spell it v-a-m-p-y-r.”

Sarah laughed. “Thanks for the tip.”

“No, truly, I am, in all seriousness, a vampyr.”

Sarah stared at him, dumbfounded.

Trevor placed a hand over hers “I don’t mean to alarm you, but we do exist, and for the most part are harmless.”

“So, you actually feed on human blood?” She laughed again. This was the wildest pickup line she’d ever experienced, even for a man as pale as this one. Could it actually be possible? Did the undead truly exist? She had to admit that she had always suspected they were real.

Do you have a favorite scene?

Probably the scene in which they go to see the original Christopher Lee Dracula film, Horror of Dracula!

What advice would you give a beginner?

I’ll share with you what playwright Tennessee Williams told me: “If you’re a writer you just have to write, there’s no question about it. And good luck to you!”

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Kaylin Peyerk

Today, I’m visiting with Kaylin Peyerk. Welcome,


My name is Kaylin Peyerk, and I live in the beautiful state of Michigan. I have five full bookshelves, a bursting Kindle library, and a total love for the written word. My favorite genres to read are paranormal romance, fantasy, and the occasional contemporary novel. I am a lover of swimming, video games, and my golden retriever/corgi mix.

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Kaylin Peyerk, and I live in the beautiful state of Michigan. I have five full bookshelves, a bursting Kindle library, and a total love for the written word. My favorite genres to read are paranormal romance, fantasy, and the occasional contemporary novel. I am a lover of swimming, video games, and my golden retriever/corgi mix.

I’ve been a reader for my entire life—starting with Harry Potter when I was seven. That’s when I fell in love with fantasy stories. The romance aspect came later in middle school and highschool when I began devouring young adult romantic fantasy titles. While I prefer to write in the new adult genre they’re the root of my inspiration. Think Vampire Academy, Shiver, and Graceling.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

When I was in ninth grade I had run out of books in my school library to read. Well, at least I ran out of titles that interested me. So I decided to write my own during National November Writing Month! I wrote an entire 50,000 word novel in one month when I was fourteen and have been on the grind ever since. Now I look back on it, that’s kind of crazy, isn’t it? Ha!

What genres do you like to read?  Are these the same genres you write in?

I wholeheartedly believe that authors should write in the genres they love to read. Only when you know the market well will you be able to cater to what the readers love to devour. I read young adult fantasy, new adult fantasy, paranormal romance, danmei cultivation fantasy, and romantic comedy. All of these are genres I’ve written in.

Is your book for adults, young adults or children?

My books are primarily for adults due to sexually suggestive content. However, I do have one title that’s appropriate for young adult readers. Bound in Death is a new adult slow burn romantic fantasy following demigods and the tragedy of star crossed lovers. Very PG but incredibly moving. I loved writing it.

What is your current release or project?

Prey in the Dusk (Omegaverse MF Romance)

Two teens—Faye Alister & Royce McKay—fated to pair from wealthy families discover the underground secrets of their world and just how dark it has become. However, they’re unsure what they’ll do when they gather it. The perpetrator is Royce’s father—the governor of their province—and many influential families they’ve known all their lives are involved. Not only will sharing this information ruin life as they know it but also the fragile world already on the precipice of disaster. I love this title because it uses the omegaverse world to explore the issues of gender and class inequality. It’s both a romance and a woven mystery of political intrigue and suspense. This one can be read episode by episode on Kindle Vella, however, at the end of the serial, it will be bundled into a KU title!

Tell us about the key characters

Prey in the Dusk has two main narrators—Faye Alister & Royce McKay. Together, they uncover a web of secrets that cannot be unseen, nor left to continue. Faye is the omega daughter of a successful alpha scientist who fights for omega rights and the creation of more effective drugs for them. Above all, she wants to follow in his footsteps and is deeply inspired by him. Her fated mate, Royce, is a supreme alpha from the highest standing family in their world. He has been groomed to take his father’s place as the province leader for his entire life, yet all he cares about is cherishing Faye. They’re like two planets revolving around each other while the universe falls apart around them. I want the series to explore the difficulties of different social classes through the use of an ABO universe. The terror of both upper and lower class crime and how it affects society as a whole.

What is your blurb or synopsis of the book?

Faye & Royce are fated for more than pairing. By accident, the two discover underground secrets of their society and just how dark it has become. . . Exposing proof of a heat-inducing drug being tested on helpless omegas from the lower provinces. Not only that, but the main perpetrator is Royce’s father, governor of Decra, and many influential families they’ve known all their lives are involved. Well aware outing it will ruin life as they know it; can they gain the courage to expose evil?

Share an excerpt

Decra is an arrogant place.

                To someone who isn’t familiar with the province, the phrase sounds strange. It’s a fact you need to experience to understand. By stepping into a room where no heads turn. Scenting the overwhelming yet intoxicating pheromones. Witness the slow, teasing gait of society’s infamous families. They move as if the world has no choice but to pause and watch them. My eyes flit from one gilded person to the next, noting the ropes of diamonds on their necks. The rubies dripping from their ears. The expensive, exquisitely made watches tick-tocking on their wrists. These people were born to be royalty. Alphas either inherited wealth or created it through grit, blood, and trickery. In comparison, I feel like dusky silver in need of polish.

I sigh, plucking a flute of champagne off a passing tray, holding it up in thanks. The server flushes, dipping his chin while scurrying back toward the kitchens. For the tenth time since arriving, I adjust the high collar of my dress. Hating that, it forces the metal protective band around my throat to dig into the skin, rubbing it raw. During high-traffic parties like this, I’m forced to wear it. Unmated omegas take responsibility for themselves. Never once would it be considered an alpha’s fault for having lost control. For if an omega becomes so enamored with an alpha’s scent that it triggers a heat, is it not the duty of said alpha to satiate them?

I hope you picked up on my sarcasm there.

More and more families arrive, filling the room with pheromones that make my head spin. I press my back into the wall, praying my burgundy dress fades into the velvet curtains so seamlessly not a person in here will notice my presence. I much prefer to watch quietly from the sidelines, taking in as much information as possible and giving nothing away. When my gaze finds my father, it sticks like glue. Every poisonous feeling brewing in the presence of such powerful alphas flowing away like water. As usual, he holds a crowd of people around him captive, leaning toward him as if hanging off his every phrase.

His emerald eyes sparkle as he laughs, tipping his head back, coffee-colored hair falling away from his face. From the looks of it, he’s run his hand through it. The style my mother spent twenty minutes on destroyed within seconds of one of his animated conversations, as usual. Many women fawn over the display, pushing further into his personal space as if today may be the day he turns his gaze on them. He does no such thing, reaching past them to shake the hand of an arriving official. If they’re crestfallen by his obvious dismissal, it doesn’t bother the crowd of women. They back down, though, slinking to the outer edges of the circle. Behind them—leaning against a pillar as if it were made for her—stands my stoic, radiant mother.

Everyone is watching her, and if they claim not to be, they’re lying.

While most affluent families of Decra choose muted colors, my mother has never so much as toed the darker side of the color wheel. She’s a radiant flower within a field of wheat. Wrapped in a tasteful crimson dress that falls straight to the floor in a pool of shimmering silk. As usual, her long blonde hair is braided elegantly atop her head, displaying the pairing mark on the back of her neck with pride. Something most alphas in the room roll their eyes in the face of. For pairing with an omega is a waste of potential unless they’re your fated one. And connections like that are far and few between.

“The governing family of Decra province has arrived,” a man announces from the top of the grand staircase, bowing low.

As if it’s a concert for their favorite musician, people scramble to form a semi-circle around the stairs. I do no such thing, keeping my distance. My mother’s eyes slide to meet mine. Burning with warmth and steady concern, as they usually do when she looks upon her recluse of a daughter. I know what she’ll say later, what she will ask. Why did you not gather with the others? You’re too similar to me. Would it kill you to show at least the bare minimum of interest? I look away from her, swirling the champagne in the bottom of my glass just to watch the bubbles pop one by one. The doors above open wide, trumpets blaring. Still, I do not turn, waiting for the familiar prickle that climbs up my neck the moment he spots me.

Because that is how nights like this always begin.

Do you have a favorite scene?

Yes! There’s a scene in this title where Faye learns that her secondary gender is something she cannot escape and will cause her problems in the future. It’s heartbreaking in its reality and incredibly moving. While she wishes to live a life free from bonds and work toward making the world a better place for people like her, it only becomes that much more difficult.

What advice would you give a beginner?

Read as many books in your genre as possible to get a feel for what readers love and expect from such stories. To me, this is better than the advice of writing to market because rather than overused cookie cutter tropes, you’re focusing on your authentic story while weaving in themes readers recognize. My greatest accomplishment is getting a review on almost all of my stories saying it’s different from anything they’ve read but it sucked them in anyway! That’s because I’ve done a lot of research on what readers love and added it subtly into my manuscript. I have the idea first, not the trope.

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Nigama RV

Mutual friends introduced me to Nigama. She writes poetry. I’ve been asked many times to read poetry and it’s so personal most of the time I don’t like it. However, Nigama’s poems spoke to me. Her books are artful and tasteful. I’m quiet excited to have her on my blog!

Tell us about yourself

I’m Nigama RV from India. I come from a family of writers. From a young age, I’ve been soul-bound to fantasies and developed a love for literature in any genre: Poetry, Dark Fantasy & Romance, Paranormal, Thriller and Sci-Fi to name a few. As long as it has a tinge of romance and adventure, I want to read it. I opine books as images of writer’s imaginations and love a good HEA.

My obsession is my pastime with my cute Li’l niece, Laasya. I’m addicted to chocolates and Pizza, and a forever believer in a carpe diem.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I started writing at a very young age, my first poetry was published when I was 7. I’ve been writing since then. I developed an habit of writing my emotions in the form of poetry, that’s how I started scribbling. But never really thought of publishing until two years back.

What genres do you like to read? Are those the the same genres you write in?

I read everything I get my hands on except autobiographies. Until now I only wrote poetry, Paranormal romance, dark romance, LGBTQ, young adult, age-gap romance, and societal based novels. Working on a fairytale now.

Is your book for adults, young adults or children?

Depending on the genre, my poetry is for everyone, societal and YA for young adults but dark romance is purely for adults.

What is your current release or protect?

My recent publication “ECHO — BEAT OF THE HEART” is second in my poetry collection called “SOLILOQUY”. And now I’m working on paranormal romance and third poetry book scheduled to be released this year, hopefully.

Tell us about the key characters

Poetry — it’s all about feelings of emotions one goes through in their lifetime. Everything from birth to death, love to hatred, acceptance to rejection and loss and lost.

Mostly any key character from my books especially fmc is strong and independent woman. I make sure to write someone who can fight and take the dragons on her own and save her prince rather than waiting for her prince to come save her.

What is your blurb or synopsis of the book?

Echo — Beat of The Heart

Book 2 of Soliloquy

The songs of the summer

The whisper of the winter

The drizzling rains and blossoming flowers

Everything would be beautiful,

If only I have you in my arms

One last time…

Gravity took hold of me, this time though, it’s centered at the utter perfection, You…

Share an excerpt

 Perfectly imperfect

I’m imperfect, but You…

Glisten like a star when I’m lost

Guide me like a polestar to my destiny

Shine all around me, as I fight my demons

You’re the light to my darkness,

Embracing my flaws,

Submitting to your love…

I maybe made of imperfections

But am, perfectly imperfect!!!

Do you have a favourite scene?

Every scene I ever wrote or I write is my favourite.

What advice would you give a beginner?

Never give up. No matter how hard it is, never ever give up. Don’t listen to anyone but your characters they know better. Just do what they say and I  promise you won’t regret it.


Read Eileen’s review of Echo on Goodreads

Virginia Wallace

Virginia and I connected up through mutual friends. She’s a blast and you cannot take her seriously on anything.


Virginia Wallace was born and raised on the Chesapeake Bay region of southeastern Virginia, USA. She’s lived all over, from the mountains of New England to the American Midwest.

Virginia first learned to tell stories as a teenager, via playing role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons and Vampire: The Masquerade. It would be years before she began putting her tales on paper, but she’s been making up for lost time ever since.

The novel When the White Knight Falls marked her debut into the mainstream publishing world, and she’s also appeared in the anthologies Desire Me Again and Cowboy Desire; all three were published by Black Velvet Seductions.

Seven Forbid was her first solo collection of short stories, which she swiftly followed up with Eternally October.

Tell us about yourself.

Now see, I NEVER know how to answer that one! I mean, where do I even start? ‘I was born an orphan at the age of four …?’ I’m an author. And also a smartass. And I really like beer. Does that work as a starter? I s’pose I can add that I like whisky, too, especially Scotch. Single Malt. Oh, and at least twelve years old.

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When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I was fourteen. I was homeschooled, and my assignment that year was to write a novel. It sucked, but I fell in love with how much fun it is to tell a story. That was the same year that I also discovered the work of comic-book writer J. Marc DeMatteis. I loved his stories so much that yearned to be just like him! I found the dark intensity of his tales absolutely mesmerizing.

What genres do you like to read?  Are these the same genres you write in?

I’ll read just about anything you put in front of me. Ooooh, look, a pamphlet on hemorrhoids!

Is your book for adults, young adults or children?

Adults. I tried writing a YA novel once. It went to hell real fast …and by hell, I actually mean Hell. No foolies!

What is your current release or project?

I’m in Black Velvet Seductions’ new anthology, ‘Dark Desire’, which should debut this spring. I’m SUPER stoked about that one!!! I have two stories in it. Romance with a body count, you know?

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Tell us about the key characters

Well, ‘Beginning Forever’ marks the return of Jillian the werewolf, who was featured in ‘Desire Me Again’, also by Black Velvet Seductions. I also have a brand-new tale called ‘The Ritual’, starring Romy—a pyromaniac serial killer. I hafta admit, ‘The Ritual’ is my favorite short so far!

What is your blurb or synopsis of the book?

Oof … I ain’t written a blurb yet. My bad! But when I announced the contract signing, I said this: ‘Meet Romy! She’ll set your world on fire! And probably you along with it.’

Share an excerpt

“How’d you grow up in North Carolina without learning to use a shotgun?” asked Romy, handing Bert the freshly-loaded weapon

“We were never allowed to have guns in the house, at least not after Dad shot Grandma.”

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“Was it an accident?”


Bert sighted carefully, pointing the shotgun at the younger man’s surviving kneecap. He was grateful that the old man was momentarily silent; he always hated it when people begged for their lives, and so did Romy. Life is short, and when it’s over, that’s it. Both he and she were offended that people would so often debase themselves seeking a mere few minutes more of panicking, wretched life.


Bert lowered the gun, aghast.

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“Ooh,” said Romy, biting her lip. “That … That wasn’t his knee, Bert.”


“Maybe we should give this guy a free pass,” said Bert regretfully, raising his gun again.


Bert sighted more carefully this time …       


“Well,” said Romy, waving away the acrid gun-smoke as she wiped the spattered blood from her pretty face, “at least you hit his head just fine!”

Do you have a favorite scene?

Yes, but I can’t share it. It’d be a spoiler, you know? It’s the scene in which Bert and Romy met, and fell in love.

What advice would you give a beginner?

How much time do you have to devote to writing? Don’t answer. Shut the hell up. Whatever you were about to say … it ain’t enough!!!

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Mercelle Valentine

Marcelle joins me on my group for our author talks. She’s snarky, funny, thoughtful, and insightful.


Marcelle Valentine has long dreamed of being an author. She wrote her first story at the age of twenty-four, but after trying unsuccessfully to find an agent, she gave up briefly on her dreams of being a writer. Only deciding to try again in her forty’s. She is the author of the Scarred by Fate Series. She lives in Ohio with her husband; she has two children, three grandchildren, and a lovable ‘lazy’ gentle giant.

Tell us about yourself.

I am a sarcastic joker introvert who only comes out of my shell after I have gotten to know you. I tend to crack jokes (hence the sarcastic part), so I always want to get to know the people around me, allowing them to get to know me. I am married to a wonderful man who supports me one hundred percent in anything I do. I have two children: a daughter and a son. They have graced our family with the little lights in my life my three grandchildren. Who are the ones that help keep me grounded when grandma goes a little crazy. And did I mention my four-legged baby? He’s a Great Dane who thinks he a lap dog, at least where I’m concerned.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

Early on, I always had a great imagination. I wrote my first story in my twenties but could not get an agent to pick it up. In early 2021 I started getting the itch to write again. In April 2021, I took the leap as I began the Scarred by Fate Series. I wrote several chapters and sent out feelers on those chapters (admittedly, these feelers mainly were with family, although they did not know the book belonged to me) to see what people thought of my book. My daughter helped get these books in some of these people’s hands, simply telling them it was a friend who wrote it and wanted to receive honest feedback on the book. Was this pipe dream something I could make a reality? Thankfully all the feedback I received, or more accurately my daughter received, was positive; they all wanted to read more.

What genres do you like to read? Are these the same genres you write in?

I really love horror and PNR (paranormal romance), but honestly, I will read just about anything that catches my attention. If it is well written, I’ll read it; aside from war stories, this is just one area I cannot make myself enjoy. My genre for Scarred by Fate is a PNR, but the book I wrote in my twenties was a horror story. I can see as I continue writing branching out to thrillers, yet I don’t think I will ever be an author who can write a contemporary romance. Not that it isn’t a great genre, and I have read books in this genre; it’s just not how my brain is wired, so I don’t think I would do the genre justice. There are a lot of fantastic contemporary romance authors; hence I’ll leave this genre to them.

Is your book for adults, young adults or children?

The Scarred by Fate Series is absolutely written for adults, but I would love to write a YA book or even a series as I continue on this path. I have young nieces who want to read my work. Also, I have thought about writing a children’s book paying homage to my grandkids. I have a grandson who is autistic, not to mention a granddaughter who started her own YouTube channel. My other grandson has this carefree attitude with a smile that could brighten anyone’s day; they all amaze me every day, so I would love to give them something back, sharing in the joy they have given me.

What is your current release or project?

I am currently working on the fifth and, possibly, the final book in my Scarred by Fate Series. I am debating the idea of a sixth book for the series that would delve into Logan’s council. I also have two planned projects that I am not ready to discuss quite yet, but one would be another series while the other would be a stand-alone novel.

Tell us about the key characters

Kenna is my female main character. She’s guarded, protective of anyone she loves or cares for, sarcastic, and has experienced a tremendous amount of loss and tragedy in her twenty-six years, yet these events have all formed her into the woman she is. Logan is my male main character; he is dedicated, kind, handsome, and once Kenna comes into his life, he makes it his mission to help her. Kat is the character that seems to resonate with readers the most; she is silly, innocent, she has no filter so she tends to say whatever pops into her head. Not only do I love writing her, everyone that I have had the opportunity to speak with regarding my series all tell me in no uncertain terms how much they love her.

What is your blurb or synopsis of the book?

This is a synopsis of book one, Ritual Nightmares: Chased for years by the demon who killed my family, I find safety with the incredibly handsome but deadly reluctant ruler Logan. Will I find the strength to let down the walls I’ve built up to let him in? And as I fall for him, will I allow Logan to put his life and the life of the family I’ve chosen on the line so he can keep his promise, or will I continue running to keep them all safe.

I know what you’re going to say Demons don’t exist, but I’m here to tell you how wrong you are because I’ve had one chasing me since I was eleven years old. Completely on my own since that one fateful night in the woods; my family is either dead or has disowned me well, except Olivia. I run, trying to stay one step ahead of my nightmare and the endless questions when people find out who I really am. Finally, finding what I hope will offer me safety, if only for a short time, I make my home in a small town named Charming. 

This is where I met him and the rest of the people I claim as the family I have always wanted. Logan is strong, determined, something so much more, and when he decides to help me, he makes it very difficult to refuse. Specifically, because he is drop-dead gorgeous, none of these things are helping me keep him at arm’s length, but when signs that my nightmare Mictulant is getting closer; will I choose to stay with them, possibly putting their lives at risk or will I run? Losing the people I care about because of my nightmare once again.

Share an excerpt

I bite the left side of my lip, suppressing the groan building up, and force my eyes back up slowly. He leans forward with his arms crossed in front of his chest, making his biceps bulge and ripple when he moves. I fantasize what it would feel like to have those arms wrapped around me, pulling me close. Warmth spreads through my stomach and settles in between my thighs, making me shift slightly. He brings his left arm up, resting his hand on the side of his face. I watch as two of his fingers drop down under his mouth, my eyes following his every movement. I continue my eye assault, moving up to those perfect lips of his and only stopping when my eyes make contact with his. The side of his mouth hitches up, revealing that sexy little grin and cue the dimples. His buddies are having a loud debate about who the best baseball player of all time is, and one of them, named Cash, hits his shoulder to weigh in on their conversation. My cheeks flush, knowing he had just caught me checking him out, but worse, I think he was doing the same thing to me. His grin increases as he shifts back in his chair, ignoring Cash entirely. Thankfully before I can embarrass myself any further, Kat sticks her face in mine.

“Whatcha looking at chica?” Which is her way of telling me she knows exactly what I was looking at. I clear my throat and look down at the bar as she starts singing, “K-I-S-S-I-N-G first comes.”

I slap my hand over her mouth, making her mumble the rest of it, “For the love of God, Kat, please don’t.” She’s mumblings something else under my hand but then goes silent. “Are you done?”

She shakes her head, yes, but when I remove my hand, she sings out, “Bom chicka wow wow.”

I groan and put my head down on the bar and begin lightly hitting it repeatedly. Hoping it might knock some sense into me. “He’s still watching chica.” She whispers to me in her sing-song voice.

“Lightning, Lava, Earthquake, Tsunami….”

“Oh, I know things that kill!”

“Nope, things that I wish would happen to get me out of this hell.”

“Oh, so drooling over boss man is hell?”

“Kat, just drop it!”

“Okay, I guess I won’t tell you that Logan and I weren’t the only ones to see you mentally undressing him.”

I pull my arms on top of the bar, resting them on both sides of my head as I begin making little crying noises, “Please don’t tell me all the guys saw it too. I don’t think I could face any of them ever again.” I groan out as I lift my head slightly to look at Kat.

“Nope, they are all completely oblivious to your totally hot fantasy.”

I pull my eyebrows together, she takes my face in her hand and turns it, so I am looking at one very pissed off Priscilla staring back at me. I am suddenly happy that laser death ray eyes are not a thing, or your girl would be toast. After getting her point across, she turns and stomps back towards the break room.

Do you have a favorite scene?

It’s tough to pick one when it comes to the series, but I guess if I have to pick one that I believe stands out, it would be a scene from book two where Kenna goes looking for Logan and Griffin. It is the ah-ha moment that provides a ton of information, and if I did my job correctly, the one you did not see coming until it is revealed.

What advice would you give a beginner?

Never let someone else tell you that you can’t. I have a saying it’s something I tell myself whenever I begin to doubt what I am doing: The greatest novels of all time began with a thought and one word written. In short, write the story you have in your heart but allow the space and grace to understand this is your baby, and like all other babies, sometimes we can be too close to our work to see where it may be falling short. If someone is offering you constructive advise take it with all hopes they are doing it to help you, which will only benefit your story.

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Stephanie Douglas/ Annabel Alan

Bio of Stephanie Douglas

Stephanie Douglas is an author with 10+ years experience in the publishing field, in both independent & self publishing. She writes under her birth name in the horror genre as well as under Annabel Allan in erotic romance. She lives in Ontario, Canada, with her three Ragdoll cats, Binks, Edgar, and Ulalume. 

Hi Stephanie!  Welcome to my book blog!

Thank you so much for having me!

I’m a fan of your writing so I’m excited to talk books with you today!  You write under 2 names, please tell me what names and what you write under each.

Well, under my real name of Stephanie Douglas, I write horror and urban fantasy. But under Annabel Allan, things get a bit spicier! I write erotic romance, specifically BDSM romance.

Which one came first?

I actually started out writing under my mother’s maiden name–so, Stephanie O’Hanlon. But when the publisher I was working with closed their doors, I rebranded and started up with my birth name. Annabel has been around since 2015, so she technically came first!

So horror and urban fantasy for one side of your writing persona – what about those genres spoke to you?

Horror has always been an interest. I grew up watching both quality and low-quality horror movies because of my cousin, who used to babysit me. So, I knew I was going to eventually try to write a horror novel. The urban fantasy was actually a bit of a surprise! I originally was working within historical settings for my vampire romances, but I read the Southern Vampires series (True Blood) and I was like…I can do this! “Fright Club” and the Bite Scene series was born!

And under Annabel, you write erotica and BDSM… what brought you to those genres?

I started out with writing erotic romance because I thought it would get my foot in the door with publishing. I wrote “Wildfire” and kind of fell down a rabbit hole. As the years progressed, I knew I needed something new and fresh for Annabel, so I tried writing a BDSM romance with a male Dominant and female submissive. That outing wasn’t successful, but did bring about “Edgeplay” and Dominatrix Ava Goode. FemDom then became my thing!

I can tell you I like the idea of the female dominant rather than male.  So how did you learn about the BDSM community?  Was it through research?

This is actually the funny part! My kinky journey actually started in high school when I was given a BDSM erotica novel as a gag gift. It kinda stuck with me…then I wrote my unsuccessful D/s novel, and personally started to explore the BDSM lifestyle. That led to meeting interesting people, as well as researching the aspects of it.

Sounds like an interesting journey.  Your Ava Goode series is on my to read list.  I’m looking forward to reading them!  So what shifted you from Male Dom to Fem Dom?

A friend of mine wanted me to write shorts for his website, he suggested FemDom. I was going to write a little short for him called “Goode Pain” because I was inspired by a KISS song called “Thrills In the Night”. Then as I wrote the first scene, I remembered an instructor from film school telling me that flip the dynamic to make it interesting. So, I took my unsuccessful D/s novel (The Wilder Side) and rewrote it with a Dominatrix.

Do you often use music to inspire your stories?

Oh, definitely! I always make a little playlist for each novel when I’m writing. And sometimes while I’m writing, I can hear the soundtrack in my head, hear the music that would play if I was watching it as a movie. Then I obsessively listen to it until I get that scene out of my head.

Tell me about your writing process, please.  Do you plot or just write?  Do you have a specific place you have to be to write?  What starts a novel for you?

What starts the novel is the Muse whispering loudly in my head. When I’m sitting on the couch trying to watch a movie and all I can think about are these characters, I know that’s it. I have to start writing. I then usually do up the first chapter, just to test the waters out. I’m a little bit of a “plantser”–I have recently started doing loose outlines, but leave enough room for me to go off in whichever direction suits the story.

I’ve heard some authors create pinterest pages and play lists.  Do you do anything like this?

I used to be obsessed with Pinterest! I decided to delete the app because it took up waaaay too much time! Haha. I want to find a way to share playlists…maybe have a portion on my site for it.

Pinterest is a rabbit hole for sure.  Lots of interesting things but easily distracted.  Do you include the playlist in the book?

No, I try to steer away from songs in my books, just because you never know when you’re going to cross a line and have people after you for money. But I do love when books include songs! Like Stephen King’s Christine.

What are you currently working on?

Annabel has a new BDSM series that’s in development! I’m so excited about it too. When I started writing FemDom, I didn’t realize it was a taboo subject, especially in publishing. I’m very grateful that BVS took a chance on “Edgeplay” and that so many people love it. But it’s time to switch up the dynamic…but I am staying in the realm of FemDom.

Oh that sounds exciting.

What got you started writing?

I have always been interested in telling stories. I used to play with dolls a lot, using them to tell stories. Then every so often, I would actually write a story down. I always excelled in English-based classes, especially when we were told to write fiction. I never thought about being an author though. My career aspirations were in science until I got to high school and it shifted to film. I went to film school in 2007 and by the end of it in 2008, I realized that I was going to have to fall back on writing…which led me write my first manuscript. Because writing is a rabbit hole too! Haha. You start by writing a short and then that turns into a whole novel.

Are you an observer of your characters or do you feel they tell you their stories?

They definitely tell me their stories. I always say they aren’t my stories I write. I have voice in my head that I need to get down on paper, telling me their own stories.

So who or what has been a big influence on your writing?  Is it books you’ve read or movies you’ve watched?  Or is it something else?

There are two things that have influenced me: one, my grandmother. She used to write children stories for me when I was little, though we also had a book of fairytales she used to read to me also. She instilled a love of books into me. She always had a book in her hands. Second, the late Anne Rice. I read the first three books in the Vampire Chronicles in 2009 and her writing just stuck with me. I always aim to write as beautifully as she did. Then, on top of that, to take risks, like she did with her Sleeping Beauty series.

I always ask this question… what advice would you get someone who wants to write?

I used to say the same old that you should just write, but I actually have a new piece of advice. RESEARCH! And I don’t mean just research for your novel, though that is extremely important too. I mean, if you want to get into writing, want to be successful, research about the publishing industry. I’m not a big fan of the “you’re a writer only if you do this” thing, so you write how you want to write. But researching the business is so, so, so helpful and I wish I had done that back in the day when I started out.

Oh that’s lovely advice!  Thank you for joining me!  I’m excited to see what you write under both names!

Thank you so much!

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Lesley Wilson

Lesley and I met through a mutual friend. I’ve enjoyed talking writing with her. I think you’ll enjoy getting to know her.

Author Bio

Lesley Wilson began writing at an early age. She turned her father’s garage into a theatre and produced juvenile dramas. Local kids who watched her shows were persuaded to donate a penny to the RSPCA. In her early teens, Lesley joined a theatre company and took part in many productions.

     In 1957, during a holiday in Italy, Lesley met a young man. A whirlwind courtship followed before he joined the British Army. Fifteen months and hundreds of letters later, Lesley, aged seventeen, boarded a troopship bound for Singapore, where she married the love of her life. 

     Lesley’s careers have included fashion modelling, market research and, latterly, running her own business, but writing has always been her passion. 

     She now lives in North Queensland and enjoys frequent visits from her adult grandchildren. When Lesley isn’t writing, she loves to read, work in her garden, entertain friends, and travel, Covid virus permitting. 

Tell us about yourself.

Born in North Yorkshire during the war, I began writing stories at an early age. Together with a bunch of young friends, I turned my dad’s garage into a theatre, never mind that his much-loved SS Jag had to stand outside in all weather. What a patient man he was. I shanghaied local kids into watching our shows and extracted a penny from each of them to donate to the RSPCA. A taste for treading the boards was ingrained, and I joined a theatre company in my early teens. My major claim to fame was when Sir John Gielgud opened a new theatre in my hometown. I had a bit part in George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra and stood within three feet of the great man as he made his opening speech. I was equally thrilled, during a recent trip back to England to see a photograph of the play in full swing, hanging in pride of place in the theatre foyer, and there I was, doing my bit in a crowd scene. 

Aged sixteen, I caught a train to Italy. Back then, it took many hours to make the journey, and I fell asleep on a young man’s shoulder. I didn’t realise, but he was to become my husband! 

In 1958, my beau joined the British Army. Fifteen months and hundreds of letters later, aged seventeen, I boarded a troopship bound for Singapore where I married the love of my life. We recently celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary. Where did all those years go?

North Queensland is now my home. My family lives close by and I see them all regularly, though my two grandchildren are now grown up. (No great grandchildren yet.)  

Various careers have included fashion modelling, market research and running various businesses, over the years, with my husband.

When I’m not glued to my computer, writing, I love to read, work in the garden, entertain friends, and travel, though the latter option has been curtailed because of Covid.

My Garden

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I have scribbled pretty much all my life and, in my early thirties I completed a course in Journalism with the London School of Writing. This exercise confirmed my love of writing.

As a young woman, the backwoods of Yorkshire were my playground and I cycled and hiked across acres of heather and gorse-clad moors, winter and summer, come rain, hail and shine. Many medieval towns and villages that exist to this day provided me with a wonderful backdrop on which to base my stories, but I didn’t begin writing in earnest until I retired. 

     After migrating to Australia, I joined a writers’ group. I also became interested in doll making. The figure of an apothecary, which I needle sculpted on a wire armature, began talking to me, and the seed for my first novel grew in my mind.  That was over twenty years ago. My first ‘G’ rated medieval adventure was published in 2015. I completed the trilogy in 2017. 

Ichtheus, the little man who kick started my writing career

What genres do you like to read?  Are these the same genres you write in?

I read many books. Biographies, romance, thriller, nonfiction—usually to do with writing techniques, mystery, psychological thriller. I’m not keen on paranormal, erotica, or sci-fi. However, I will read any genre if an author asks me to. I always leave an honest review. Even if I don’t enjoy the story, I award 5 stars if I think the writing style merits it. Anything less than 3 stars, I try to contact the author for a chat.

Is your book for adults, young adults or children?

Initially, I thought my books were for young adults, however, many older folk loved them and gave me good reviews. Of course, I have had a couple of bad ones, but I always take comments, whatever they are on board. There is always something one can learn. 

What is your current release or project?

The Final Twist. An MA rated psychological thriller/romance set in the early 1960s. I hope to release the book next year, but don’t want to pin myself down to a definite date until I am sure it’s ready to publish. I am working on my tenth, but final, re-write. LOL.  

Tell us about the key characters

Albert Tomlin, aka Albie, is an oversexed, womanizing, psychopath. He is also the manager of the Cravendale Estate in Yorkshire.  

Anne Craven. Pretty eighteen-year-old daughter of Major John and Mrs Flora Craven. 

Corporal Paul Eckland, a local boy, recently demobilized by the army. Foot loose and fancy free, he is living with his parents until he finds a job.

Secondary characters. Major John and Mrs Flora Craven. Madam Clementine De Bruisac, Anne’s eccentric aunt, divorced from her French husband and living in a villa on the Cote d’azur.  

What is your blurb or synopsis of the book?

Major John Craven must give up his army career and return to Yorkshire to run the crumbling family estate, after the sudden death of his elder brother. He faces crippling, government death duties and, to bring money into his coffers, he determines to marry his daughter, Anne, to the bucolic son of a wealthy neighbour. Outraged when she falls in love with Paul Eckland, a decent but penniless youth from the village, John determines to send Anne to finishing school in Paris and pays a year’s fees in advance. 

Paul borrows his parent’s camping gear and runs away to Europe with Anne. Their destination, Anne’s Aunt Clementine’s villa in the South of France 

Albie Tomlin, son of a London prostitute, is raised in London’s sleazy back street during the second world war. His mother dies in an air raid; Albie survives and spends time in an orphanage. In his teens, he runs away to the country. He learns about farming and land management, teaches himself to speak Queen’s English, and practices the social graces necessary to fit in with the landed gentry. He scores a job as manager of the Cravendale Estate. For several years he lives off the fat of the land, dabbling in many illegal transactions. A sex crazed predator, he ill-uses every woman who crosses his path. 

The incumbent playboy Squire is killed in a car accident and afraid of detection, Albie ceases his black-market activities. The new Squire knows nothing of country ways and relies on his manager to run the estate. Albie immediately resumes his illegal regime. Obsessed with becoming a wealthy country gentleman, he sets his sights on Major Craven’s teenage daughter.

When John learns of Anne’s elopement, he is unwilling to involve the police, for fear of causing a scandal and ruining her chances of marrying well. Instead, he sends Tomlin after the runaways with instructions to fetch Anne home.

Share an excerpt

North Yorkshire: Autumn: 1962 

Albie Tomlin hadn’t planned to kill the French backpacker—but what did she expect? Getting around his part of Yorkshire with her short skirts and cocky attitude. He’d given her a good time, bought her fish and chips. She’d got plastered on his best cider. Then he’d had to fight the little cat for a spot of nookie. Not his fault her stupid neck cracked in the struggle. 

Blades of grass, growing around the edge of a bog, rustled in the breeze. Albie lit a cigarette and contemplated his victim’s broken body. Finished his smoke, he ground the stub into her belly button.   

“Goodbye,” he said, nudging the girl into her soggy grave. Her clothes, shoes, and handbag met the same fate. A chunk of her hair hacked off with his penknife to keep as a souvenir, reposed in his wallet. 

Albie parked his Land Rover in the yard and crawled upstairs to his flat above the estate office. Exhausted after his nocturnal activities, he peeled off his clothes and forgot to turn out the hall light before falling into bed. 

Thunderous knocking jerked him awake. He snapped on his bedside lamp to check the time, but his wristwatch was missing. 

The hammering increased, as did Albie’s heartbeat. He peered through the bedroom window, his cheek twitching. 

Two shadowy figures stood in the yard below. 

“Police!” one man yelled. “Open up!”

Albie’s muddy boots and bloodstained clothes lay in a crumpled pile on the floor. Galvanized into action, he looked for something else to wear. 

‘Get rid of that lot quick smart.’ 

Albie growled at his inner voice, but it refused to be silenced.

‘Suppose somebody’s found the girl’s body?’ 

“It’s at the bottom of a bog, for God’s sake!”

‘Your choice, mate.’ 

“I hear you!” Albie bundled up the incriminating evidence, tossed it into a crawl space under the eaves, and heaved a chest of drawers across the access point. 

‘Attack’s the best form of defence.’

Dressed in jeans and a sweater, Albie thundered downstairs two at a time, and yanked open the outer door. “I hope you’re not here to tell me poachers have been after the Squire’s game—again.” 

“I’m afraid it’s worse than that, sir.” 

Rather than allow the two coppers access to his private quarters, Albie ushered them into his office on the ground floor. He perched his backside on the edge of the desk, crossed his ankles, and folded his arms across his broad chest. “You are…”   

“Sergeant Foley and PC Thomas, sir. We’re from Dramcannon Bay Police Station.”

Albie smirked. “Must be something dire to fetch two police officers from the big smoke.”  

“I’d not call Dramcannon Bay the big smoke, sir, and twenty miles isn’t too far. Who are you?”

“Tomlin! Albie Tomlin, Cravendale’s estate manager, and I don’t appreciate folk dragging me out of bed in the middle of the night. What are you here for?”  

“It’s the Squire, sir. He’s had an accident in his car.”  

Albie raised his eyebrows. It was a miracle the boss had escaped mishap to date, considering his penchant for drinking and womanizing. “In the Cottage Hospital, is he?”

Foley didn’t care for the large man’s arrogant attitude. “No, sir, the morgue, and his son’s laid on a slab beside him.” 

“Good God!” Albie catapulted off his desk like it had grown spikes. “When did this happen?” 

“Couple of hours ago. We tried to raise someone in the big house, but no-one answered our knock. We saw the light over here and came to investigate.” 

“I’m the only employee living here, full time. The manor’s empty because the boss took his son out to celebrate his twenty-first birthday.”

‘Their last supper…’ 

Albie ignored the gibe.

“Does your employer have other relatives?” asked Sargeant Foley

“A younger brother serves overseas with the military, but he’s never visited Cravendale during my time.” Albie rasped a hand over a growth of dark stubble on his chin. “According to other staff members, the pair don’t… didn’t see eye to eye.”

“The Squire’s not got a wife, sir?”

“I believe she died in childbirth. He never remarried.” 

‘The bugger didn’t need to, not with the lascivious lifestyle he led!’

Albie flipped open a pack of cigarettes, tapped one out and lit up. “Brother’s going to fall on his feet inheriting this place,” he said, drawing smoke deep into his lungs. “Always assuming he can be located!” 

“Don’t worry, sir, we’ll find him.”

“I’m sure you will, Sergeant.”

Albie slammed the front door and leaned against it until his heart rate returned to normal.

‘Thought your number was up, killing that girl, didn’t you?’

“I couldn’t give a rat’s about the silly bitch, but some bloody upstart poking through the company accounts is cause for deep concern.” 

Do you have a favorite scene?

So many different scenes, some of them confronting, I would be hard pressed to single out just one.

What advice would you give a beginner?

Before putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, read all the textbooks you can find on every aspect of writing and the correct production of the English language. How I wish someone had given me that advice before I began my writing career

Writing is a skill and must honed until it is word perfect. Many authors, me included, re-write as many as ten times before they are satisfied with their work. I have written stuff most of my life, though not professionally in the beginning. To this day textbooks remain high on my list, and I keep a substantial reference library. Reading fellow author’s work is a must, too.

When you are on a high, having finished your first book, don’t imagine that’s the end. Send it off to a publisher and hey presto, fame and fortune follow? Certainly not, unless you are one of the rare few authors who make the big time from the upshot. Writing your book is the simple part. I cannot explain the rigamarole you are likely to face, getting your publication into the public reading domain.

Finally, watch out for sharks and scammers. There are many rip-off merchants under the guise of publishers ready to butter your ego, take your money, and do nothing more to help you. With millions of books being independently and traditionally published, authors face an uphill battle to recoup their expenses. So why, I can hear you ask, am I still writing? Because I can’t help it. If I stop, I will die—simple as that 

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David C Dawson

David C. Dawson is an award-winning author, journalist and documentary maker. He writes British gay-themed thrillers featuring gay men in love.

His debut novel The Necessary Deaths, won an FAPA award in the best suspense/thriller category. It’s the first in the Delingpole Mysteries series. The latest: The Foreign Affair, was published last year.

David’s also written two gay romances: For the Love of Luke and Heroes in Love.

He lives near Oxford, with his boyfriend and two cats. In his spare time, he tours Europe and sings with the London Gay Men’s Chorus.

Tell us about yourself.

I write British gay-themed mysteries. A Death in Bloomsbury is my sixth book and my first historical novel, set in 1932. I live near Oxford in the UK with my boyfriend and two cats.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

Ha! I started writing when I was seven when I won a prize for sending a story to a children’s television programme. But being an author? That didn’t start until my fifties.

What genres do you like to read?  Are these the same genres you write in?

I’m quite catholic in my reading tastes: from what some would call classic literature through to racy romances. I’m reading a lot of books by authors of colour at the moment who are giving me a whole new perspective on world history. My writing genre is romantic suspense.

Is your book for adults, young adults or children?

Primarily adults but it’s accessible for any age from ten onwards I’d say.

What is your current release or project?

A Death in Bloomsbury tells the story of a gay man living in 1930s London when homosexuality was illegal punishable with up to two years hard labour. He uncovers a plot to assassinate the king and faces a choice between his loyal duty and revealing his true sexuality.

Tell us about the key characters

Simon Sampson is the hero. He’s a news reader on BBC radio, or ‘the wireless’ as it was referred to then. He’s in his early thirties and from an affluent background, but rejected by his parents. Florence Milne is the other main character. She works with Simon at the BBC and prefers to be known as Bill. She wears men’s suits and has her hair cut short. Like Simon she’s an outsider in the homophobic society of the time.

What is your blurb or synopsis of the book?

Everyone has secrets… but some are fatal.

1932, London. Late one December night Simon Sampson stumbles across the body of a woman in an alleyway. Her death is linked to a plot by right-wing extremists to assassinate the King on Christmas Day. Simon resolves to do his patriotic duty and unmask the traitors.

But Simon Sampson lives a double life. Not only is he a highly respected BBC radio announcer, but he’s also a man who loves men, and as such must live a secret life. His investigation risks revealing his other life and with that imprisonment under Britain’s draconian homophobic laws of the time. He faces a stark choice: his loyalty to the King or his freedom.

This is the first in a new series from award-winning author David C. Dawson. A richly atmospheric novel set in the shadowy world of 1930s London, where secrets are commonplace, and no one is quite who they seem.


Simon arrived at Piccadilly Circus at ten minutes to eight that evening and waited to cross the road to the statue of Eros on its traffic island. This part of London always gave Simon a thrill of excitement. It buzzed with activity, like a giant beehive. There were swarms of people hurrying from work, or strolling towards a restaurant, theatre or bar. The metaphor was apt, because within fifty yards of where Simon stood there were so many queens.

Across the road was The Trocadero. Its Long Bar was always guaranteed to provide a gay evening for gentlemen in search of pleasure. A little farther on was the Empire Theatre in Leicester Square. Its Upper Gallery was popular with painted boys and men dressed in smart suits who spent an evening either exchanging acid-tongued witticisms or seeking a friend for the night.

Even at that time of the evening the traffic on Piccadilly Circus was almost stationary. Simon stepped off the pavement and wove his way between taxis and omnibuses queuing to drive up Shaftesbury Avenue or down the Haymarket. Cameron was waiting for him, and Simon was pleased to see he was once again soberly dressed in his immaculate black coat. This time with a grey scarf and black leather gloves. Young men of a similar age to Cameron were also standing on the steps of Eros, and they wore far more flamboyant clothing. Simon preferred to be inconspicuous when out with a gentleman friend. There was less chance that they might draw the attention of the police, or busys as his friends in the Fitzroy Tavern would call them.

“I do hope you’ve not been waiting long.” Simon took Cameron’s outstretched hand and squeezed it firmly. “It’s getting awfully cold. I think it might snow this Christmas.”

Cameron reached out his other hand and rested it on Simon’s hip. Simon pushed it away. “Best not here, old chap,” he whispered. “Awfully public you know.”

He released Cameron’s hand and pointed across the road. “We need to head towards Leicester Square. The Lily Pond is two roads up. And we can walk past the Trocadero on the way and see who’s out gadding tonight.”

“I’m glad I’m wi’ ye,” Cameron replied. “I’m still finding ma bearin’s in London. I’ve nae come down to this part of town since I moved to York House.”

“Oh, you should.” Simon led the way through the still stationary traffic to Coventry Street. “It’s frightfully exciting. And you can always be sure of meeting someone interesting.” He pointed to the corner of Glasshouse Street. “That’s the Regent Palace Hotel. Awfully good bar. Perfect place to meet gentlemen from overseas, and they can hire a room for you by the hour if that interests you.” He grabbed Cameron’s arm and pulled him to safety as a motor car attempted to circumvent the traffic jam and drove up onto the pavement.

“Try not to get yourself killed, my dear.”

Do you have a favorite scene?

Bill has some of the wittiest lines in the book. She’s got an acid tongue but a heart of gold. One of my favourite scenes is when she has an argument with the lady who pushes a trolley around the corridors of the BBC delivering tea to the staff. Bill turns away from her and complains: “Give these people a trolley and they think they’re bloody Boadicea.”

What advice would you give a beginner?

Write! It’s that simple. Don’t judge yourself and don’t whatever you do try to edit what you’re writing in your head. You’ll never write anything if you do. The first draft is never the last draft.

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Natasha Smith

Natasha dropped in to my group on Facebook and we chatted to get to know each other a bit better. So here’s a bit about her.


I have a BA in Sociology and a MS in Health Service Administration; however, I’ve spent most of my professional career in the fields of human services and education. I recently got licensed in real estate in 2020 and started a property management company in 2019. I’m now working on my second novel and it is so exciting putting my thoughts into words and eventually on paper. I hope many readers will go on this journey with me and enjoy the stories I have to tell.

Tell us about yourself.

I have loved writing for a number of years.  As a student, I loved doing research papers, writing songs and short stories.  I even started writing a screenplay when I was in middle school.  I even loved the old oral tradition of storytelling. I think it’s about time that I fully embrace my talent.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

In 2008, I was at a point of self-discovery and training to determine what would give me career satisfaction.  That’s when I started writing again and reconnected to an old love.  I started the novel Reflections, then I started a new job and put it on hold until the pandemic.  Then I finished the story; actually, ¾ of the story was written during that time.

What genres do you like to read?  Are these the same genres you write in? 

Suspenseful romance is my genre of choice for reading and for writing as well.

Is your book for adults, young adults or children? 

I personally believe that adults and young adults alike would enjoy the story.

What is your current release or project?

I am working on the prequel to Reflections.  The working title is the Ripple Effect.  The story takes place in 1955.  Although it is a prequel, the novels can be read as stand-alone reads.

Tell us about the key characters.

The key characters are the grandparents of Vincent Barrington, Bernard Barrington and Josephine Epstein. 

What is your blurb or synopsis of the book?

The Ripple Effect is the prequel to the suspenseful story Reflections.  John Barrington, of Reflections, told us that the history and wealth of his family is built on a foundation of lies.  In this novel, you find out what lies laid the foundation of the family and how those lies ripple across time to affect the lives of the Barrington clan.

Boxed in, trapped and caged were all of the ways Josephine felt her mother wanted to keep her.  Josephine Epstein would not live the life her mother wanted her to, nor would she allow anyone to deny her the love of her life, Bernard Barrington.  He comes from a world of privilege and wealth.  Josephine comes from a world of hard work and deception.  Little do they know that both of their lives have been shaped by their family secrets.  But neither will be bound by them.

As Josephine navigates the world of her former high school peers, she sees, all too well, what her mother was denied.  But she is not her mother; she won’t be denied.  Wealth, prestige, respect and Bernard will all be hers.  But at what cost? 

Bernard will hold on to his heritage, but at what cost?  This story merges the worlds of the working class, the wealthy and the mob to provide a suspenseful story of romance and thrills.  Just like in Reflections, you are in for a shock!

Share an excerpt

Life no longer provided excitement or escape for Josephine since graduating from high school a year ago.  Whenever, she passed the massive structure known as Cass Technical High School, she longed to walk its halls once more.  It was an impressive structure built using brick and Indiana limestone blocks; it stood eight stories tall with an elevator.   To a non-Detroiter, it looked like a hotel or apartment building not a school.   It was an 831,000 square feet Gothic masterpiece that covered an entire block.  It was fitting to a city that was considered the wealthiest city in America on a per capita income basis.  Its welcoming vestibule was lined with marble and its hall floors were lined with Terrazzo.   During class, Josephine would often stare up at the barrel shaped ceilings while day dreaming or contemplating life. 

Do you have a favorite scene?

The scene between Josephine and her mother when she realizes that her mother had lied to her.

What advice would you give a beginner?

Well, I am a beginner.  I would say just write.  Don’t get lost in the unimportant things like word count.  I see so many writers in Facebook groups bragging about their word counts; a lot of it is smoke scenes and pixie dust.  This can be very discouraging to a new writer or one easily influenced.  As I said in a group to a new writer, write until your story is told in full.

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Simone Francis


I am Simone Francis. I write very naughty erotic fiction in which my glamorous heroines find themselves subjected to all sorts of spankings, bondage and myriad of other fetishes. There is sex in my books, a lot of sex, but there are always bad guys and girls to overcome, trials to endure, and mysteries to solve as the gripping story carries you along. My short stories tell you tales of women caught up in erotic situations and reveling in new experiences.

All of my books and stories follow confident, sexy women who only completely submit when the right man – or woman – appears in their lives.

My first full length book has just been published by Black Velvet Seductions

Tell us about yourself.

I am approaching retirement age but not yet ready to be put out to grass. In the past I have run businesses including a photography studio and gallery. For the last twenty years I had a job which gave me the opportunity to travel around the UK. A lot of my work involved the public so I have had the chance to meet and observe all sorts of people. All good material for an aspiring writer.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

Being an author crept up on me. I used to write articles to accompany photographs plus we produced photographs for several erotica and BDSM publishers. I decided to do an Open University degree in English Language and Creative Writing to improve my writing. I had just graduated from this when I was furloughed from my day job. I suddenly found I had a lot of time, so I set myself the target of actually finishing and submitting a book. I had written several unfinished manuscripts but, I read a publisher’s specifications for the type of book they were looking for and started The Bookshop from scratch. Two months later I submitted it and within forty-eight hours it was rejected. I resubmitted it to the next publishers and, fortunately, Black Velvet Seductions accepted it.  

What genres do you like to read?  Are these the same genres you write in?

To relax I read crime or thrillers. I find I can sit up until two in the morning reading just a couple more pages of a Lee Child or Boris Akunin book.

I read a lot of adult erotica, especially if it has a good and believable plot. Partially because this is the genre I write in and partially because I am always looking for tips as to how other authors describe sex scenes – and who doesn’t like a good naughty book.

When I was younger I used to read a lot of science fiction but now I like to read a lot of modern contemporary authors. I have missed bookshops being open as I like to pick up something interesting rather than have a website recommend forty-three other titles on the same theme.   

Is your book for adults, young adults or children?

Definitely for adults.

What is your current release or project?

The Bookshop has just been released. It dives into underworld of the aristocracy in Edwardian London. I had to do a lot of research from the type of underwear people wore to the sexual mores of the time. I was not surprised to find that there were brothels where men went to be spanked, but was more intrigued to find there were also establishments where men went to spank women and also women to spank women. We might think that BDSM is a modern idea but it is just that it is more out in the open now. This is one reason I set The Bookshop in Edwardian times; I needed some of the characters to be secretive. Also, modern forensics would probably have solved some of the mysteries quite quickly.

Tell us about the key characters

The story is told almost exclusively from Amelia Slone’s point of view. Amelia is a bright, resourceful and daring young woman but her middle-class upbringing in Victorian Britain has meant that she has had very little experience of the world. Now she is twenty-four, it is the Edwardian era, and she is a widow. Her husband, an army officer, was killed in a distant part of the Empire two years ago. Despite having a couple of lovers she is very inexperienced, especially sexually, but willing to try anything once and do it again if she likes it.

Konrad von Schellenberg is from the Prussian aristocracy. I will not tell you too much about him as his character is revealed in the plot. Let’s just say he is good looking, a man of action – somewhere between an Edwardian James Bond and Erast Fandorin.

What is your blurb or synopsis of the book?

It’s 1908 and Amelia Slone is bored until her friend Frances disappears. The bookshop and the haughty, arrogant Prussian Konrad von Schellenberg are her only clues. Determined to find her friend, her search leads her into a world of sexual submission, kidnapping and murder that seethes just below the surface of Edwardian London. Desperate to find her friend, it seems romance will have to wait, or will the new passions awakened in her help her find love as well?

Share an excerpt

The room was sparsely furnished. A writing desk and chair stood under the window. Almost in the centre was a chaise longue upholstered in maroon velvet. Its left hand end was open and the right hand side curved up to a rolled arm.

‘You must be prepared for what you will face and what you will administer. Take off your skirt’

‘What?’ Amelia heard herself squawk.

‘Take off you skirt and bend over the back of that chaise longue,’ von Schellenberg said calmly.

‘To gain access to the order you must at least appear to be a disciple of discipline. In order to be a disciple you will need to have experienced it. Later we will train you in administering it. Now take off your skirt and bend over.’ His voice suddenly acquired a hard edged note.

Amelia unbuttoned her jacket and, folding it carefully placed it on the seat of the chaise. Her shirtwaist revealed her naked arms but leaving it on to at least preserve some modesty she unbuttoned her skirt and slid it down over her petticoat. She folded the skirt in half and then half again before placing it on top of the jacket. She turned to face von Schellenberg.

‘And the petticoats,’ he sighed.

Amelia obediently slid down her petticoats and began to carefully fold them.

‘When I give you an instruction I expect it to be obeyed immediately, with alacrity, do you understand?’ Von Schellenberg barked.

Amelia turned, deep within her a memory stirred. She had never been beaten on the behind at school but slaps across palms with rulers or canes had been common and she could remember the stinging pain. Now she could feel herself pouting like a naughty schoolgirl and she was aware that only her draws and chemise covered her lower half.

‘Remove your drawers.’

‘What,’ Amelia stuttered.

Von Schellenberg picked up a leather strop from the table beside him and tapped it almost silently across the palm of his left hand.

‘Your drawers,’ he said quietly.

Amelia untied the cord at her waist and slid the cotton drawers down thankful that her chemise hung down to mid-thigh level.

‘Turn around.’

Amelia complied; every movement slowed with anticipation as if the air around her had suddenly thickened into the consistency of oil. She realised that part of her mind was fearful of what was about to happen, but a small but growing part of her brain seemed to tingling with excitement. She had only witnessing a caning once at school. The girl had wriggled and screamed but the display had stirred something deep inside her. In the following days she had even found herself daydreaming of what it would be like to be in the girl’s place. Now as an adult it seemed that she was about to find out.

‘Raise your chemise and bent over onto the head of the chaise longue.

‘What! No.’ Amelia half turned towards von Schellenberg’s voice.

There was the merest swish and a crack. Amelia felt a stinging sensation across her rump.

‘Do as you are told girl.’

Amelia’s hand moved to the left cheek of her bottom. There was another crack as the strop contacted with the still exposed right cheek. Amelia scrabbled at the hem of her chemise and. pulling it up to her waist bent forward.

There was silence. She was acutely aware that her naked behind was now on view to a man she had only met a few days before.

Do you have a favorite scene?

Yes, well two. One where Amelia indulges in administering discipline for pleasure and begins to recognize her bisexual urges and the action scene at the end. I won’t say more as they are both integral to the plot.

What advice would you give a beginner?

Write every day and write about everything from what you had for breakfast to the vase of flowers on the table. Observe people and make notes. Remember a photographer can show what a scene looks like but only a writer can describe how it tastes, smells and how a character feels when they see it.

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