Verily Setting Ye Scene, Forsooth…

I recently tried writing something new for me, a historical story. In fact, an early medieval story, set in the twelfth century.

In all my writing, I try hard to set the scene in my readers’ minds (yes, revealing my naked ambition by aspiring to multiple readers) by “painting” in what I hope is enough detail for their imaginations to fill in everything else they need to see the scene in their mind.

I blame being exposed to Len Deighton’s The Ipcress File at an impressionable age. But it’s a style I like for being economical and usually engaging.

But how can I imagine being there, watching my characters do their twelfth century … stuff?

Research? As a leisure-time writer with no access to academic libraries, opportunities for “proper” research are a bit restricted.

Yes, of course I used google for some things, but you need to have a good idea of what your real question is before you can figure out which hits are helpful answers.

Some answers are just pretty simple, of course, assuming we remember to ask ourselves “is this right?”

Not long ago, I read a novel set in the 1920’s, in which the main character produced a Glock pistol. A fine choice of weapon for self defence, I’m sure, but an implausible one… Glock wasn’t founded until 1963.

Want to set a scene in a fast-food restaurant in London in say 1970? McDonalds won’t open their first branch there for another four years.

Sometimes it’s kind of convenient to rely on other people’s research, particularly if you’re confident it’s reliable enough, and it looks pretty good.

I found a lot of helpful information in Ian Mortimer’s The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England. He’s a professional academic historian as well as an historical fiction writer, so has access to the right resources, and can probably even read Latin and Middle English. He wrote this book to help readers see the past as real rather than as history, describing what you might see and experience as a visitor to the period. It gave me some insight into how people lived, what they ate and wore, and about their world. He’s since written two similar books, covering the Elizabethan and Restoration periods.

And of course Dr Mortimer isn’t the only writer whose work we can benefit from, if only for some ideas and scene-dressing.

A few examples? Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose paints a vivid picture of a 14th century Italian monastery. Edith Pargeter (aka Ellis Peters) set her well-known Brother Cadfael murder mysteries in early 12th century Shrewsbury, in western England. Sarah Woodbury’s Gareth and Gwen mysteries are set in 12th century Wales, when it was still a separate country from Norman-ruled England, and Dublin was a Viking city. Or there are the Stanton and Barling mysteries, by EM Powell, again set in the 12th century, where the two main characters were the nearest thing the English justice system had to detectives.

There are factual TV shows and series which can help us “see” the past a little more clearly as a real time and place, particularly the “re-enacting” ones. There were several excellent British TV series about agricultural life in the past – the Tudor Monastery Farm, the Victorian Farm, the Edwardian Farm and the Wartime Farm (ie 1939-1945). The “supersizers” series by Giles Coren and Sue Perkins were factual entertainment about the history of food, including the two of them trying out things from the period, like clothing and historically accurate meals. It’s worth remembering our ancestors ate a far wider range of animals, birds and fish than we do. That wasn’t because these were notably tasty, more of an “eat it or go hungry” choice. I’ve read that swan tastes pretty awful.

I’ve read plenty of books (or listened to the audiobooks) which conveyed the period nicely for me. The Sherlock Holmes stories, written between 1887 and 1927, mentioned telegrams, daily postal services, messenger services, the introduction of telephones, and using frequent train services. The unrestricted access to opium and cocaine is surprising to modern readers, but both were readily available at the time, when it’s been estimated that a quarter of doctors were addicted to opium.

Other books I’ve enjoyed which were set in the early 1950’s in Britain described a time of post-war austerity, limited private car ownership, commonplace use of trains with helpful station staff (including porters), and, in some areas, telephone calls still connected via operators who might just be listening in.

On the other hand, books actually written in earlier periods may not be that helpful, as the authors expected their readers to at least be familiar with the world the characters lived in (eg Fielding, Austen, Hardy or Dickens).

What about old TV shows and films, from the 1920’s on? These might show regular life in the US before air conditioning – wiping the back of your neck with a handkerchief in summer – everyone wearing hats and other period fashions, steam engines in widespread use on the railways, horses and steam traction engines being used on farms, manual typewriters, rotary dial telephones, telex machines, card index systems, hot metal newspaper printing…

Some modern shows and movies made a big effort to create realistic-looking settings, and I thought Versailles, The Musketeers, Taboo, and Poldark certainly gave the impression of being true to period. The 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice with Matthew Macfadeyn and Keira Knightly was a notable hatchet job of the book which had some fabulous background details about life for the rural “comfortably-off” around 1800.

Although it’s primarily fantasy, there’s a lot of historical accuracy in the Game of Thrones world. Not the dragons, obviously, but the background details of life in a castle and so on.

The TV series Britannia ran rings around historical accuracy and even plausibility. But what the heck, it’s only a story.

I watched Die Hard the other night (my go-to Christmas film), made in 1988 complete with women’s “big hair” styles, clumsy-looking computer systems, CB radios, but no mobile phones. Richard Gere’s character in Pretty Woman (1990) had a mobile phone, which looks hilariously clunky today, like two house bricks. Even Dirty Dancing had a wealth of background detail you could study – the idea of annual month-long stays at the same stuffy resort centre, the entertainment, fashions, and manners.

It’s probably wise to resist overdoing your scene-setting. While you might be tempted to include things in the narrative like books or albums popular at the time, unless these are subjects discussed by the characters, it might come across as “telling”. Perfect incidental visual details in a TV show or film, though.

We may be fortunate in Britain with our long history, as we have some great places to visit which can help our imaginations. Neolithic constructions, iron-age hill forts, Roman forts and buildings, assorted castles and historic houses, and some decent museums…

The Weald and Downland Museum has more than forty historic buildings representing a thousand years of history. Blists Hill Victorian Town, operated by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, recreates a Victorian town for visitors, complete with a cast of re-enactors. The Beamish Open-Air Museum lets you glimpse industrial life in the northeast of England during the 19th and 20th centuries. I know the US has something similar at Colonial Williamsburg.

A lot of historic buildings and sites in Britain run events where visitors can meet re-enactors and get a brief glimpse of a version of the past, such as a medieval camp, or a Victorian mill or kitchen.

And then there are jousting displays and re-enacted battles and skirmishes, typically Viking or English Civil War. There are groups of enthiasts who do Roman, Napoleonic, Victorian and WW1 or WW2 military displays.

How about the large-scale annual Battle of Hastings rematch? Somehow, the bloody Normans always win, but maybe one year…

One thing we can’t get from these museums are some of the grim realities of even our recent past, which can be invaluable for the historical fiction writer. Dreadful poverty. The feudal system. Insanitary living conditions. A monotonous and limited diet. Frequent poor years for farming, with not infrequent famines. Thousands of people affected by ergotism. Half of children dying before the age of twenty-one. Huge numbers dying and suffering from disease, with no health or dental care, aggravated by malnutrition. Lives ruled by superstition and religion. The acceptance that the rich and noble were more important simply by right of birth. An almost matter-of-fact indifference to cruelty and suffering. Crusades, literal witch-hunts, wars, revolts and uprisings. The high death toll on long sea-journeys from disease, including an expected 50% from scurvy.

Or how about a disaster story set during one of the many fires which destroyed or severely damaged largely-wooden medieval European cities and towns? London had three great fires (1135, 1212 and 1666) and twelve major ones (two in Roman times, then in 675, 798, 892, 1087, 1130, 1132, 1220, 1227, 1299 and 1633). Lots of other towns and cities had similar incidents: google “list of town and city fires” and feel relief for modern building codes and well-equipped professional firefighters.

The past has all sorts of “detail” things which can help or hinder a writer, too. These are often overlooked for convenience in fiction.

Clothing

Between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, various European countries and the Massachusetts Bay Colony in America had “sumptuary laws”, restricting people’s choice of clothing. And fashions changed in the past almost as rapidly as today.

Religion and religious practices

In England, until the fifteenth century reformation, fast days (or meat-free days) occupied almost half the year – including every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and all of Lent. Vegetables, or if you were lucky, fish. The selection of vegetables available was surprisingly limited, too. And don’t forget that people then were generally incredibly devout and very superstitious compared to us.

Language

As an example, for 200 years after the Norman Conquest of England, the general population spoke English, the ruling classes spoke Anglo-Norman and French, and very few of either group spoke the other’s language. Church services were conducted in Latin, of course. Legal cases could only be conducted in English from 1362, and the court switched to English by the end of the fourteenth century. By English I mean Middle English – check out Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” in the original text for a written form in the modern alphabet. And language use changed as fast in the past as it does today. There were also a wealth of local accents and dialects in all languages, some even more strikingly different from the norm than we have now.

Actually, language raises another question – dialogue. How closely do we follow what we think the speech styles would be in that period? It might sound perfect to someone from that time, but seems at best flowery and roundabout to us. How “realistic” does it need to be in order to convey a sense of the period? At the time, it was everyday language, after all.

Inevitably, there are a few books available to help those keen to write historical fiction.

Medieval Underpants and Other Blunders caught my attention when I perused Amazon, if only for the title. Historical Fiction Writing – A Practical Guide and Tool-Kit by Myfanwy Cook and Bernard Knight looks like a useful book, based on popular workshops Myfanwy has run. She’s a successful writer herself.

As with all other aspects of writing, there are no hard rules, only conventions. Even spelling’s just a convention, after all.

Readers who enjoy lots of historical fiction may well have expectations, so it’s probably worth becoming familiar with the genre or sub-genre you’re writing in.

Unless you’re writing an alternative history or steampunk, if you include significant factual details, do check them as best you can.

Other than that, well, have fun developing your ideas and writing your stories.

Oh, and do keep an eye open for intriguing historical discoveries. Spotting a mention of medieval underpants in a story might not actually be something to snigger about…

Oh, by the way, the comments I had back on my story from some of my collaborative critiquing group certainly left me feeling I’d got the “feel” right, which was rather nice to know. I’ve got some revisions to do, then I’ll see if I can get the story published.

Advertisements

New erotic romance – Later

Today’s blog is about the forthcoming publication of a new erotic romance, Later, by Charlotte Howard.

Facebook

I’ve read and enjoyed some of her other stories, and I’ve taken advantage of the special launch price by pre-ordering a copy for myself. I’ll post an honest review once I’ve read it. It will be published on October 26th, initially priced at $1.39 or 99p.

Book Blurb:

Claudia Martins and her boss, Elliot Shepherd have worked together for five years, and have become close friends. After her boyfriend cheats on her, Claudia turns to Elliot for support. But, she’s been offered a job with a rival company – one that comes with the opportunity to climb the corporate ladder and make something of herself, and one that means leaving Elliot behind.

Would you pick a man over your dream job?

 

Buy Links:

Later is available on pre-order at a special price of $1.39 from Amazon US, and 99p from Amazon UK.

The e-book will retail at £3.80 from November onwards, when a print version  will be available for £8.49.

 

Extract:

Later -ebookShe stared at the computer screen and the letter that stared back. Her finger hovered over the mouse; the white arrow-shaped cursor sat on top of the button marked ‘PRINT’. She took a deep breath and clicked it. The office printer whirred into action. It groaned loudly at having to work so late at night, blinking a single green light into the darkness. Claudia stood up when it finished and retrieved the paper. She folded it into a neat rectangle and pushed it into an envelope, scribbling Elliot’s name on the front. She went into his office and placed it on the keyboard of his computer. It was an impersonal way of handing in her notice, but she couldn’t face giving it to him in person, and it had to be done.

Her phone sang out, alerting her that she had an hour until Charlie’s gig started. It was more time than she needed. She checked her bag to make sure the VIP pass was still in her wallet.

“You’re working late again.” The sound of his deep voice made her jump. She glanced up to see Elliot leaning against the doorframe. He was still dressed in the same dark trousers and white shirt he’d been wearing all day, although he’d shed the jacket and tie. The top two buttons of his shirt were undone, and his sleeves had been rolled up to his elbows, yet he still managed to look smart and professional, where a lesser man would have looked unkempt.

Claudia’s breath caught when she remembered the letter she’d left on his desk. She’d hoped that he wouldn’t find it until morning, when the office was a little bit busier, and he wouldn’t be able to make too much of a scene. “I…” She stumbled over her words, her tongue tied into knots, searching for a reasonable lie.

“Go home,” he said, folding his arms across his chest. “Get ready for Charlie’s gig. I don’t want him blaming me for keeping you here.”

She tucked a stray hair behind her ear and felt her cheeks heat. Standing up, she hoicked her bag onto her shoulder. “You’re right,” she said. “I’ll see you in the morning.” She walked towards the door, but he blocked her path. He had a good eight or nine inches on her, and she had to glance up to look at him. Elliot stepped to the side. She felt his stare burn into her neck as she walked out of the office. She wondered if he’d already found the letter, if he knew that she planned on leaving Aries Limited within the next four weeks.

About the Author:

Charlotte says her career as a writer started when she was young, writing poetry and flash fiction for her friends and family. After a few minor successes of having pieces published in anthologies, and later on-line, she decided to have a go at writing a full-length novel. That first attempt was a bit of a disaster, but after years of practice, she finally got that coveted First Contract. Since then, she’s written several more novels and short stories, and doesn’t intend to retire for at least another 50 years.

​​Award-winning author, Charlotte lives in Somerset with her husband, two children, and growing menagerie of pets and can always be found with a cup of tea in her hand. When she’s not writing or running around after small people and animals, she loves to eat curry and watch action films.

Charlotte is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association.

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.charlottehowardauthor.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CharlotteHowardAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Shy_Tiger

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/choward_author/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Charlotte-Howard/e/B00935EFFE

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5829768.Charlotte_V_Howard

 

Other Titles Available:

Tirgearr Publishing –

SEVEN DIRTY WORDS

FOUR LETTER WORDS

THE BLACK DOOR

THE FINAL STRAIGHT

CITY NIGHTS: ONE NIGHT IN ABERDEEN

CITY NIGHTS: ONE NIGHT IN EDINBURGH

CITY NIGHTS: ONE NIGHT IN INVERNESS

 

Totally Bound Publishing –

TAKING CARE OF LEAH

 

Evernight Publishing –

A DIFFERENT KIND OF THERAPY (Winner of Evernight Readers’ Choice Awards 2017, and LR Café’s Best of 2017)

 

Self-Published –

STRANDED

 

It Isn’t All In The Mind

Today, I’m blogging about A Werewolf State of Mind, the new book by UK author Lucy Felthouse. I’ve read and enjoyed it myself, and happily recommend it to anyone who likes steamy paranormal romance novellas.

In my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, I gave it five stars:

I thought this was a fresh and interesting idea for a werewolf story, where an unsuspecting new shifter approaches a psychiatrist for help with disturbing dreams. Fortunately, the psychiatrist just happens to be an empath. The fact that they both have an instant attraction for each other adds a nice twist and something they try to put to one side. I liked both characters, and enjoyed the climax of the shifter side of the story. And the romantic resolution was rather fun too!

 

Blurb:

Anneke’s typical day at the office is thrown into disarray when she finds her next patient is an unwitting werewolf. And it doesn’t end there.

awerewolfstateofmind_teaser02From the moment Caleb Kitt walks into Doctor Anneke Lund’s office for his psychiatry session, she knows his problem isn’t mental. He’s been experiencing night terrors, having violent and bloodthirsty dreams, and waking up naked in strange places. But he’s not losing his mind, as he suspects. He’s actually a werewolf—he just doesn’t know it yet.

Anneke isn’t just a psychiatrist—she’s also an empath, meaning she can read minds, and influence thoughts and behavior. She rarely uses her powers, but recognizes she may have no other choice as Caleb must be convinced of his supernatural status before the next full moon arrives. When it does, though, she finds herself going way beyond her duty of care to ensure Caleb doesn’t hurt or kill anyone when he transforms. But at what cost?

Please note: A Werewolf State of Mind was previously published in Coming in Hot: Rescue Me boxed set.

*****

Excerpt:

The intercom buzzed. “Anneke?” came the voice of her receptionist, Ellen. “Your one-thirty is here.”

Anneke pressed the button to respond. “Thanks, Ellen. Send him in.”

“Will do.”

Anneke took a moment—knowing she had a few as her patient made his way from the reception area, down the short corridor and to her office—to pull up and glance at his notes on her computer. There wasn’t much information, since he was a new patient, but there was a brief description he’d given of the problem, which had spurred him on to book the psychiatric consultation with her in the first place.

Caleb Kitt was a thirty-five-year-old personal trainer who, in his own words, thought he was losing his damn mind. He was experiencing night terrors, having violent and bloodthirsty dreams, and waking up in strange places—certainly not where he’d gone to bed.

A multitude of potential diagnoses popped into Anneke’s head, but she refused to jump to any conclusions. There was no way to know for sure what his problem was, not without speaking to him, hearing his story, finding out more. And if she struggled to get to the root of his issues using traditional methods, there was always her back up plan.

Anneke was an empath. Her unique talents comprised of mind reading, mild mind control, and being able to sense supernatural creatures. However, using those talents was always a last resort. She preferred to do things the right way, the way she had been trained to in her years at medical school. It felt like cheating otherwise, and she couldn’t help feeling it was unethical to tap into people’s brains without their knowledge or consent.

For the vast majority of the time, she didn’t have to use her gifts—just her skill and hard-earned education. But occasionally—very occasionally—when a patient wasn’t being forthcoming, or their problem proved elusive, tricky to diagnose, she would reluctantly tap into her powers. Rather that than have a patient suffer unnecessarily, when she had the tools to help them. This fine balancing act between using her paranormal abilities and her training and education made her an incredibly effective psychiatrist, and she had to be incredibly careful not to come across as too good, too quick at diagnosing patients, otherwise she’d attract attention for all the wrong reasons. She dreaded to think what would happen if people found out what she could do.

There came a knock at the door.

“Come in!” she called, minimizing all the programs on her computer screen, activating the screen saver, then getting to her feet.

The door opened, and a tentative looking, but incredibly handsome man entered the room. To her surprise, a millisecond later her gifts kicked in and she realized what his problem was—he was a werewolf. And he clearly didn’t have a clue.

She frequently sensed other supernatural creatures when she was out and about—in the street, the supermarket, the cinema. But this was the first time she’d ever had one walk in to her office, as a patient. This was going to be interesting, to say the least.

*****

Buy links:

https://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/a-werewolf-state-of-mind/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07GPQ9GSM

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GPQ9GSM

Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller), Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller), The Persecution of the Wolves, Hiding in Plain Sight and The Heiress’s Harem series. Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 170 publications to her name. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter or Facebook. Join her Facebook group for exclusive cover reveals, sneak peeks and more! Sign up for automatic updates on Amazon or BookBub. Subscribe to her newsletter here: http://www.subscribepage.com/lfnewsletter

 

Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.

Award-winning erotic novel at a special offer price

Today’s post is to help a writer attract the attention of potential readers. I read and enjoyed this story myself in 2017, and posted reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, so I’m very happy to help Scarlett as best I can.

Until 10th July, author Scarlett Flame has a Kindle Countdown special offer on her award-winning dark romance  “From Willing Sub To Enslaved Captive”, just 99p in the UK and 99 cents in the US.

This book was a “Best Indie Book” finalist in 2017, and nominated for the Golden Flogger Award for “Best BDSM Book of the Year”.

 

Kindle sale Captive

 

captive-amazon-final

The Blurb:

After discovering her submissive nature, Suzie Foster finds a Dom who she believes can give her everything she needs. But after a time, his attitude and treatment begin to change. Even with her limited experience in the Lifestyle, Suzie knows she has to end their Dom/sub relationship.

Then, just when things seem to be going right for Suzie, she is taken from her life and held captive.

Will Suzie ever get to experience the true Dom/sub relationship she seeks? Or is the life of an enslaved captive; at the hands of a cruel Dom, the last thing she will ever know?
 

 

**BE WARNED: Some descriptions are vivid and can be a trigger for sensitive readers.
**Graphic
**Sexual Content
**Language
**Suitable for ages 18 and over

Links:

Customer Review

 5 stars Outrageously thrilling.

ByAnthony Mcmanuson March 1, 2018

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

A terrific and outrageous romp. Outrageous? For sure. Scarlett Flame sets the page on fire. How can she write this stuff? But I’m glad she has as it’s so exciting.

Though not the main ingredient of my reading diet, I’ve been reading erotica since I was sixteen. In those days it was illegal, under the counter in plain brown covers stuff. My first encounter was with a novel called, ‘The Libertine’ translated from French and printed in France. I read it at night under the bedclothes and hid it among innocent boy’s books, terrified that my mother would find it. Nowadays anything goes.

I still read erotica, but it has to be good. And I know very quickly if it isn’t. And so much of it isn’t. This one is. For a start it has a credible and original story, fleshed out believable characters and a delightful protagonist in Suzie. I fell in love with Suzie, and her adventure held me spellbound. I should add that it’s a very well written novel.

I enjoyed the book immensely and recommend it highly. I look forward to more of Scarlett Flame.

As a writer of thrillers, I have to say that writing erotica is not an easy genre. Many writers think it is. They see it as easy way to make a quick income on the side. That’s why there is so much junk out there. I would never attempt it. I recognize my limitations. Writing erotica is like playing the violin. You do it very well or not at all.

 

All Available to read for #FREEwith

 

 

Lottery Losers, by Lucy Felthouse

I’m very happy to help the prolific British erotica writer Lucy Felthouse publicise her latest book, Lottery Losers, available as both an eBook and an audiobook

I really enjoyed reading this story myself, and this is the five-star review I posted on Amazon and Goodreads

An entertaining and well-told story

I really enjoyed this, two plausible characters in an entertaining story. Their less-than-blissful domestic situation is set up nicely, and the surprise holiday was a nice touch. There are some rather deliciously steamy scenes, then the couple’s adventure starts. I’d sort of guessed what might have been going on, but Lucy had a nice twist hidden up her sleeve! Overall, I particularly enjoyed the mix of tender and sexy moments within the rest of the story.

Blurb:

Winning the lottery is a dream come true… isn’t it?

lotterylosersSusie Parmenter and her husband of almost twenty years, Peter, are lottery jackpot winners. They’ve been able to do everything they’ve ever dreamed of—quit their jobs, design and build their perfect home, buy expensive cars, travel the world… So why is Susie bored out of her mind? She thought being a lady of leisure would be amazing, but unfortunately the reality is far from amazing. How can she possibly tell anyone that, though?

Climbing the walls, sinking deeper into irritation and misery, Susie can’t see a way forward. But what she’s not betting on is that Peter has noticed his beloved wife isn’t happy. And he’s taken steps—drastic steps—to turn things around. But will they live to tell the tale?

 

 

Note: Lottery Losers was previously published in the Love Me Hard boxed set.

All eBook and audio buy links here: https://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/lottery-losers/

Add to your Goodreads shelves: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40233468-lottery-losers

*****

Excerpt:

Susie Parmenter let out a heavy sigh and closed her book, then put it down on the table beside her. She closed her eyes and let her head loll back on her shoulders, enjoying the warmth of the summer sunshine on her skin, which was pleasant but not too hot. It wasn’t the book that was boring her—under normal circumstances, she’d have been riveted by the crime fiction novel featuring a hunky lead detective—it was life. Just lately, her world had become so dull, so predictable, that she just couldn’t summon any enthusiasm for anything.

The worst of it was, she couldn’t tell anyone. It was a problem so utterly first world it was embarrassing. Humiliating, even. Admitting her permanent state of apathy would be ridiculous, and she doubted anyone would understand where she was coming from, anyway. After all, how could you possibly tell your friends, your family, your husband, that you were bored out of your damn mind when you had, quite literally, everything? Since winning a lottery jackpot twelve months ago, Susie and her husband, Peter, had had their worlds turned completely upside down.

At first, of course, it had been amazing. They had won more than enough money to live incredibly lavish lifestyles for the remainder of their years—even if they lived to be very old indeed. So, once the cash was safely in the bank, they’d quit their jobs. Then they’d taken off on an incredible round-the-world trip, spending much of their travel time plotting and planning what else they were going to spend their winnings on. By the time they arrived home, they were ready to hire an architect to draw up plans for a custom-build home. Another two weeks later, they’d found and purchased the plot of land, and were talking to builders. Things moved fast—but then, Susie had found that was often the case when large sums of money were involved.

Now their dream home was complete. It was, naturally, stunning. The huge house stood high on a hillside in the Derbyshire countryside, with only a handful of other properties in sight. It was situated so that from one side of the house, you could watch the sun rise in the morning, and from the other, you could watch it set in the evening. There was a covered and heated swimming pool, a Jacuzzi, a sauna, a gym, a home cinema… everything a person could possibly need or want, and then some.

They employed a cleaner and a gardener, so aside from cooking meals three times a day—if they didn’t eat out or order takeaway, that was—there was nothing to do around the house. Susie had moved the furniture umpteen times, which was a novelty at first, given their old house had been so small that every single item had a place that it fitted into—barely, in some cases—and that was that. She now found herself swapping pictures around and tweaking the positions of ornaments on a regular basis, often putting them back where they’d been to start with.

She’d gotten into a routine of using the pool, gym, and sauna every morning, but that still left hours and hours of the day just waiting to be filled.

It was all right for Peter—he might have ditched his job, but these days his time was divided between playing golf, and being involved in a bunch of stuffy business boards. She didn’t really understand what he did at the meetings, if she was honest, but it didn’t matter. What did matter was that, only weeks after moving in to their beautiful new home, Susie’s boredom was at fever pitch. She was climbing the walls. Surely even board meetings were more exciting than this?

*****

Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller), Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller), The Persecution of the Wolves, Hiding in Plain Sight and The Heiress’s Harem series. Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 170 publications to her name. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter or Facebook. Join her Facebook group for exclusive cover reveals, sneak peeks and more! Sign up for automatic updates on Amazon or BookBub. Subscribe to her newsletter here: http://www.subscribepage.com/lfnewsletter

 

Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.

A reverse harem romance – Mia’s Wedding

Having just read and enjoyed both Mia’s Men and Mia’s Wedding, parts 1 and 2 of The Heiress’s Harem, I’m very happy to help Lucy Felthouse promote the latter, which was published earlier this month.

These are the first stories I’ve read from the “reverse harem” genre, where a woman is involved romantically with multiple partners, all of whom know about the others. In reality, I can imagine a situation like this might be a tad emotionally fraught, but it’s a nice escapist fantasy all the same.

I gave both books 4 stars in my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

Blurb, buy-links and an extract giving a taste of Lucy’s writing below…

Mia’s Wedding (The Heiress’s Harem #2) by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985) 

Blurb:

Planning a wedding is stressful enough, and that’s without a harem of gorgeous men to deal with.

miaswedding

Mia Harrington has had a difficult time of it lately—her father’s illness and subsequent death, then finding out she must get married if she is to inherit what’s rightfully hers. Fortunately, she’s tough and resourceful, and has emerged relatively unscathed from this period, as well as finding herself a suitable husband.

However, things are far from simple. Mia might be planning to marry investment banker Elias Pym, but she’s also having a relationship with his best friend, Doctor Alex Cartwright, and is in love with her gardener, Thomas Walker. Add to that broken dates, flashy proposals, a sexy Asian tech billionaire, and a nosey housekeeper, and you’ve got a situation hectic enough to drive even the most capable person to distraction. Can Mia juggle her men, her job, and the wedding arrangements, or is her happily ever after over before it has even begun?

Mia’s Wedding is the second book in The Heiress’s Harem reverse harem romance series.

Buy from Amazon or read in Kindle Unlimited: http://mybook.to/miaswedding

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38588135-mia-s-wedding

*****

Excerpt:

Mia locked up and put the key in her bag, then took Elias’s arm. They walked down the steps and out into the chilly January night to the waiting black cab.

“I’m afraid,” Elias said, once they were settled into the back of the car, “Alex isn’t coming.”

“What do you mean, he’s not coming?” she squeaked.

Elias looked apologetic, but gave a one-shouldered shrug. “There was an emergency at the hospital—as their nearest surgeon, he got called in. Couldn’t very well say no, could he?”

Mia shook her head and sagged back into the seat, her heart sinking to her stomach. “No, of course not. I’m very sorry he won’t be joining us, but although we’re scintillating company, we don’t count as a life or death situation.”

He reached out and squeezed her hand, then kept hold of it. “No, we certainly do not. I hope, though, that I’ll be entertainment enough for you by myself this evening.”

She squeezed his hand back, then leaned over and kissed his cheek, pulling in the scent of his delicious cologne at the same time. “I’m sure you will. Besides, this was part of what you two meant when you were talking about being able to give a woman the attention she deserves between you, wasn’t it? Alex unfortunately can’t make it, but because I’m dating—or whatever the hell we’re calling this—both of you, it means I’m not left high and dry. I’m sure at some point you’ll be the one who has to cancel. These things happen.”

With a smile, Elias said, “They sure do. Though I don’t really get emergencies at work—and if I do, they’re all about which person gets to line their pockets the most, rather than saving lives. But enough of that!” he added brightly, clearly eager to change the sore subject of his chosen career. Though she still didn’t understand why he was so embarrassed about it. And if he hated it so much, why was he still doing it? She wasn’t going to broach that particular topic, though, not tonight. She already had one potentially hairy subject to discuss.

But then how could she, now? How could she talk about the situation with Thomas without Alex present? She stifled a sigh. Fuck it. Looks like it’s going to have to wait.

“So,” she said, “where are we going?”

“You’ll have to wait and see,” he replied with a smirk.

She jabbed him in the ribs. “Seriously?”

“Yes, seriously. Patience, woman! We’ll be there in…” he peered out of the window, presumably to check where they were, “in less than ten minutes, traffic permitting.”

“Hmph.” She folded her arms and pouted. “Guess I’ll just have to wait, then.”

“Don’t sulk.” Elias tapped the end of her nose. “We haven’t seen each other in a little while, so I want smiles and laughter, not pouting. Even though I know you’re faking it.”

She gasped. “I never fake it!”

“I should hope not,” he shot back, his grin turning wicked. “My future wife deserves nothing but the best, and that includes orgasms. Real ones.”

Her tummy flip-flopped. Bloody hell, she’d almost forgotten about that. She’d been so focussed on working up to telling Elias and Alex they weren’t the only two men to be sharing her that there hadn’t been much capacity left for thinking about her impending wedding. But then, technically speaking, she wasn’t engaged yet. They’d discussed it and informally agreed to it, but there’d been no proposal, no acceptance, no ring.

There was plenty of time left for all that, though. If she and Elias had to grab a couple of witnesses and go to a registry office at the last minute, it would still count—her father hadn’t specified a type of ceremony, thankfully. But that wasn’t how she wanted to do things, and she suspected Elias wouldn’t be too keen on that idea, either.

“Ooh, your future wife, am I?” she teased, figuring that since the topic of Thomas was off the table, she might as well put the topic of their engagement on the table, instead.

Elias frowned. “Of course you are. I know we haven’t sorted a ring yet, but we still know we’re engaged…”

She shrugged, hoping it appeared more nonchalant to him than she actually felt. “Well, not exactly. We never made it official, did we? More of a loose verbal agreement.”

Elias groaned and screwed up his nose. “When you put it like that, it sounds bloody awful. I know to all intents and purposes it’s a practical arrangement, but I want it to be much more than that, Mia.” He cupped her cheek and brushed his thumb over her skin. “I’ve missed you.”

Warmth bloomed where he touched her, and radiated across her entire face and down her neck. She smiled and placed her hand over his. “I want it to be more, too. And I’ve missed you, as well. It’s been a long month, hasn’t it?”

*****

Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller), Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller), The Persecution of the Wolves, Hiding in Plain Sight and The Heiress’s Harem series. Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 170 publications to her name. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter or Facebook. Sign up for automatic updates on Amazon or BookBub. Subscribe to her newsletter and get a free eBook: http://www.subscribepage.com/lfnewsletter

Kiss Me, Bite Me…

No, the title isn’t meant to be a request, suggestion or hint, but who knows if I might not be tempted to accept an interesting offer…

Today, I’m posting about Saraya St Clair’s new release, Kiss Me, Bite Me, the first book in her Blood Kissed series. I’m very happy to help her publicise this new book because I like the sound of it. It looks like a nicely-told erotic paranormal romance, a story updating the vampire to our world. I’ll post reviews on Amazon once I’ve read it myself.

(BK1)KMBM copy

She’s a scientist at a blood bank. He’s a newbie vampire with control issues. Is theirs a match made in heaven? Or hell?

I’d learned early on in life not to show weakness. Like messy emotions. Shedding tears in front of my family had a similar outcome to busting out of a shark cage wearing blood cologne.

The world hasn’t treated Kayana Castello Branco particularly kindly. So it’s no surprise to her when she literally bumps into her soul mate, only to find he’s already taken. He’s gorgeous, strong, smart, kind—every woman’s ideal guy. Of course he’s unavailable for soul-matey business.

When fate shows pity, putting Greg Morgan in her path a second time, the resulting collision is colossal. Their connection is epic, the stuff of romantic legends, fairy tales, sonnets. They’re like Romeo and Juliet (only, the R-rated version).

But something has happened to Greg. Now, every time he gets near Ana, he gets long and hard…and pointy in the fang area. He doesn’t know whether he wants to kiss her, lick her, do-that-thing-that-rhymes-with-duck her. Or bite and deprive her of every last molecule of haemoglobin.

Loving a newbie vampire with control issues really and truly sucks.

 

Excerpt:

When I reached Dean’s Coffee House, I was relieved to see my usual table in the back was the only one not taken in the otherwise crowded café. I rushed in before anyone nabbed my spot, sat down, and was busy rifling around in my bag, trying to get my hands on my book, when I felt someone standing beside my table.

I saw a pair of long legs clad in worn jeans. I looked up farther to see a muscular chest, broad, broad shoulders and bulging biceps that strained against a fitted grey T-shirt. This guy was a big, big bastard. I started to feel a little shaky and was almost too nervous to look at his face. Swallowing hard, forcing myself to do it, I looked up, way up, until I met his gaze. And was confronted by the most amazing deep green eyes I had ever seen in my entire life.

Or rather, that I’d seen once before in my entire life.

Holy. Freaking. Mother. Of. God!

Seemed like suddenly my physiological systems went all out of whack. I couldn’t breathe right and my heart took off with a rhythm like a white boy dancing.

Did Tall Dark and About To Give Me a Heart Attack remember me? Probably not. Perhaps he made a habit of grabbing girls in corridors all the time. Oh, plus I’m not six feet tall. Or blonde. Or a model. My nips went hard, though, at the sight of him. And since he must be attracted to hard N.I.Ps… But then, he didn’t even know I’d named his lover Nordic Ice Princess, a.k.a. N.I.P., so he wouldn’t get the connection—

‘Um, since you’re sitting in my chair,’ he began in that deep voice I remembered so well—the one that haunted my dreams. ‘I mean, my favourite chair,’ he amended, ‘the one I sit in every Saturday morning. And since all the other tables are taken, I was wondering if you’d be prepared to share?’

I blinked at him in utter disbelief. And had the urge to start screaming obscenities. His ass—his perfect, gorgeous ass—had been warming my chair on Saturdays, while my stupid ass had been sitting at home?

Well, fuck a goddamn duck!

I sat there gaping at him, unable to formulate a response. Attempting to calm myself, I tried some deep breathing, soon realizing it would take way more than a few ins and outs of my breath to regain my equanimity.

I heard chairs scraping the floor and my gaze flicked to the adjacent table, where the couple was leaving. The attention of the man who was waiting to share my table, however, didn’t waver. He stared into my eyes with such intensity it was as though he were willing me to comply by the sheer magnetic pull of his eyeballs. Lucky for him, he ignored the fact that there was now a free table. Because after all this time, if he went and sat somewhere else, I think I’d pick up a chair and brain him with it.

Apart from this strange potential for violence, I felt all teenage-crush fluttery. Be cool. Just be cool. It’s entirely likely he doesn’t even remember you.

I inhaled one last big breath—an attempt to suck up some nonchalance along with my oxygen. ‘So what—you think I’m like, Goldilocks perhaps, sitting in your chair?’  Ah, my level of nonchalance was awesome.

He bit the inside of his cheek and looked at me for a handful of seconds. ‘Yes, I think so.’

‘And if I’m Goldilocks, then I guess you must be…Papa bear?’

‘I might just be.’

‘Well, you’re certainly big enough…to be a bear.’ My voice did not waver. No sir, it did not.

‘I am indeed.’ He gave me a closed-lipped grin. And oh my hell, just kill me now, dimples appeared in his cheeks when he did it.

‘Problem with this scenario,’ I paused to tug at one of my own very un-goldy locks, ‘wrong hair colour.’

He eyeballed my long dark locks appraisingly, which caused a slight shiver to run through me. ‘No, not at all. Actually, your hair is…just…right.’ He said the last two words slowly, for emphasis.

I clamped my hand over my mouth so I wouldn’t laugh outright. After a few moments of us both pretending I wasn’t smiling behind my hand, I said, ‘Well, I’ll have you know, this happens to be my chair Monday to Friday.’ I watched his eyebrows as they took a trip towards his hairline. ‘But since it’s Saturday, and it’s usually your chair on Saturdays, I guess we can share. The table, I mean. You can sit over there,’ I said, pointing to the chair across from me. ‘I don’t think you’ll fit on this chair with me. Besides, I’ve already broken one of the chairs in your little cottage in the woods.’

‘There are a couple of ways we could both fit on that chair,’ he answered, now sporting the most beautiful, devious grin. ‘But maybe I’ll sit here for now and…we’ll see.’

 

Amazon US buy link

Amazon UK buy link

About Saraya

If someone told a young Sayara St. Clair that one day she would be an erotic/paranormal-romance-writing Aussie expat living in Thailand, she would have snort-laughed and yelled, “You. Be. Crazy!”

If someone told her the same thing now, she would not yell, only nod solemnly. Because that actually happened.

Sayara has a science degree, with majors in both microbiology and biochemistry. Working in the fields of serology and tissue banking, she got to do lots of cool and sometimes slightly weird stuff. She was employed as the manager/buyer for furniture retail stores, where she had a chance to unleash her inner interior decorator. (Interior design is one of her great passions.) And for a time, she taught English to students in Asia. (Hanging about in a roomful of extremely loud, pint-sized humans is not one of her great passions.) She has written: ads for TV, print and radio; real estate brochures; website copy; and a screenplay. Now she’s writing fiction and has discovered it’s her favorite thing to do. She’s also learned that writing sultry romances is so much more fun than writing dry old scientific journal articles. No one has sex in scientific journal articles. Not the ones she wrote anyway.

When not writing, she may be most commonly found in a horizontal position reading, in the kitchen baking, in the garden planting, or somewhere else singing at the top of her lungs. She loves music and is prone to spontaneous bouts of dancing.

With regards to vampires and chocolate: she bites one on a daily basis and has had a lifelong obsession with the other. And she’s not telling which one’s which.

SSC erotic & paranormal romance banner

Saraya’s social media and other links:

Website    Amazon Page   Twitter      Facebook