Thursday, June 30, 2011

Love's Savage Whiplash Chapter Eight: Mutiny on the High Seas

Wherein a Former Duke-Turned Pirate-Turned Deflowered Captive-Attempts to Save a Ninja From Her Nefarious and Digestive-Sensitive Crew.

Colin had three very serious problems.

Insurmountable ones really, starting with the two ropes lashing his wrists to the rumpled bed he lay on. The third obstacle, he was quite certain, had something to do with the woman curled up fast asleep on his chest.

Quinn.

What on earth possessed her family to curse her with such a masculine name? Surely it had caused a scandal at the time. Everything about the female draped across him, her blonde hair making his stomach itch like the dickens, was nothing like the other women of his acquaintance. He couldn’t imagine women of genteel upbringing knowing anything about the outrageous acrobatics Quinn had performed (to his utter shame and greatest pleasure.)

The fading sunlight that trickled through the porthole danced across her skin, and she shifted in her sleep, snorting.

He frowned. There was something familiar…

The ship rocked hard to port—or was that starboard? More importantly, how could she possibly sleep with the vessel rocking so violently, to say nothing of the sweaty discomfort of their tangled limbs? He’d lost feeling in his left foot some time ago.

As though she felt him studying her, she opened her eyes, revealing that pretty aquamarine shade. Strangely enough, it was the exact color of blue in his favorite tapestry belonging to Headmaster Sidebottom.

He smiled fondly at the memory of the gaggle of geese embroidered on the fabric, inwardly scoffing at the ridiculous suggestion a friend had once made that it was actually a depiction of the royal court, naked no less, engaging in unsavory acts. No respectable Headmaster would have such a thing hidden below the school, in a secret passage that Colin had accidently stumbled upon when he fell against the mantle in the library.

Quinn yawned, stretching her arms over her head and drawing his attention down to the finest pirate booty he’d ever beheld. And her bottom was rather lovely too.

“I guess I fell asleep.”

“Quite some time ago.”

She arched a brow. “Are you suggesting I’m too heavy?”

“Trick question,” Pemberley squawked. “Trick question.”

Colin ignored the bird and opened his mouth to answer honestly, only to be cut off by Quinn’s breathless sigh.

“Either that’s your hornpipe digging into me, or you’re very eager to drop anchor in my lagoon.” She tipped her head, regarding him playfully.

“That’s it!”

She grinned slyly. “I thought you’d see it my way—” she began.

“My hound.”

Quinn stilled. “I beg your pardon.”

“That’s who you remind me of.”

“I remind you of...your hound?” She spoke slowly, as though she were addlebrained.

He nodded vigorously. “Exactly.”

“Your hound?” Her voice rose and her eyes narrowed, and he thought over what he’d said.

“Yes,” he added a little less confidently. “She was the most loyal of companions, though not a particularly skilled hunter. And she did have the most peculiar fondness for sniffing people’s bottoms.” He shrugged as much as his bonds allowed.

“What do you think I could possibly have in common with a rear-sniffing mongrel?”

“Oh, Buttercup was of the finest pedigree—”

Quinn sat up and stabbed him in the chest with her fingers. “I am a highly trained Ninja and mistress of the seas. When my family’s ship sank, I survived a horrific storm on treacherous waters by clinging to the back of a passing sea turtle, and you think to compare me to a common dog?”

“I assure you there was nothing common about her.” He frowned. “Sea turtle you say?”

“Oooo.” She scrambled off the bed, hastily donning her clothes. “And to think I asked you to show me how you buried your treasure.” She strode toward the door.

“Wait. Please, Quinn. I truly didn’t mean to upset you.”

She paused, slowly turning back toward him.

“It sounds like you suffered quite an ordeal.”

Her head bowed. “I was the only one who survived. The rest of my family was claimed by the sea.”

“How awful. I’ve never been lost at sea. Though I did once lose my way home. Had to spend the night in a tree and wait for the governess to find me.”

“How old were you?”

“Oh, it was some months ago now.”

Quinn stared at him.

“Were you afraid?” Colin continued, fascinated by her tale.

“No.” She shrugged. “Well, maybe once or twice.”

“I believe I would have been terrified in such a situation,” he added.

She cocked her head. “It takes a courageous man to admit any weakness.”

“Then should I confess to another?” He tried to sit upright as much as his bonds allowed, but the fast movement worked against the nausea he’d been fighting, and he felt all the blood rush from his face.

“Are the rough waters making you ill again?” Crossing back to the bed, she perched on the edge of the mattress and pressed the back of her hand to his clammy skin.

He shook his head. “If I have any sickness, I fear it may be a more permanent kind as I cannot imagine ever feeling normal again.”

Worry crept into her eyes. “A sickness?”

“Aye. True love.”

Quinn fell off the bed.

Colin peered over the edge. “Are you all right?”

“No. Yes.” She scrambled back to her feet. “I have duties to attend to. Responsibilities. Duties.”

“You already said that.”

“I must go.”

Ignoring his protesting stomach, he pulled hard at the ropes. “You cannot think to leave me like this?”

Before he could blink she had a blade in her hands. “I will release you from your bonds, but you are forbidden to leave my cabin.” She strode toward the door.

“Quinn?”

Her fingers tightened on the door. “Yes?”

Wondering why she was whispering, he rubbed at his sore wrists. “Buttercup really was a fine animal, you know. My hound,” he clarified.

The door slammed behind her.

Colin cringed. She was the most peculiar woman.


***

“Might be a bit too rough for you today, Captain. A storm is brewing.”

Quinn scowled at Mori, sidestepping him to reach the plank. She jerked her boots off. “There’s always a storm brewing.”

It was the unrest brewing inside of her that was a more pressing concern. What had possessed her to share her past with Colin? She’d brought him aboard thinking only to satisfy her most carnal cravings, and somehow he had managed to make her crave so much more. But true love?

Determined to settle her thoughts, she placed one foot carefully out on the plank.
A hand closed around hers. “You’re not alone out there today, Captain.”

Quinn scanned the water’s surface. “Why wasn’t I told that he’d been sighted?”

“You gave orders not to be disturbed.”

She frowned. She should have remembered that. Another reason she needed to clear her head. “We both know our friend poses no danger to me—”

“Unless you were to lose your balance.”

Her head snapped around at the suggestion her Ninja skills would fail her on board her own ship.

He immediately bowed his head. “My apologies, Captain.” He moved away, leaving her alone.

Quinn walked to the end of the plank and lowered herself into cross-legged position, her back straight and her gaze trained on the horizon.

After a few calming breaths, she closed her eyes. From beneath her she could hear a familiar tick-tock sound, but didn’t satisfy the beast by betraying any concern over his presence. How ironic—to be saved from Davy Jones’ Locker by a sea turtle, only to be stalked by the crocodile who held her personally responsible for its master’s death.

She couldn’t very well blame the oversized reptile, since she had killed the man. The very same man with six fingers on his right hand, who had killed her father and left the rest of her family stranded aboard a crewless vessel in pirate-filled waters.

It had likely been a blessing that the storm struck before they were set upon by the very bloodthirsty buccaneers she now stood against. It had taken her years to track the six-fingered man, and it was the only time in her life she had ignored her training, choosing to let him know she was coming for him.

She could have easily assassinated him in his sleep, but had wanted to look in his eyes and make sure he heard her say, “Hello. My name is Quinn Fitzgerald. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

Pushing all thoughts of her past aside, she concentrated on her breathing.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

She should feed Colin to the circling crocodile for comparing her to a hound.

No. She would not allow thoughts of the dupirate to distract her. She needed her wits about her to decide what to do with him.

Except... True love?

The man had never lain with a woman. What could he possibly know of true love?

She squeezed her eyes tighter, refusing to think of Colin any longer. It didn’t matter that the man possessed the finest cutlass in need of a good, warm scabbard. She was a disciplined Ninja and would not become a complete slave to her desires where he or any man was concerned.

She’d sooner be knocked overboard and fed to her toothy nemesis.


***

“Awk! Storm’s a comin’.” Pemberley fluttered from one corner of the cabin to the other. “Storm’s a comin’.”

Colin dismissed the bird with an irritated glare, trying to fixate on his real problem and not some unlikely weather crisis. As if a simple-minded bird could sense a pending storm.

He needed to see Quinn. He was positive he’d failed to convince her of the many fine attributes Buttercup had possessed, and simply couldn’t rest until the matter was resolved.

Voices sounded outside the cabin, and like the last few times since Quinn had departed, he scrambled to wrap a blanket around himself in case anyone burst inside unexpectedly. Thankfully, the voices didn’t move beyond the other side of the door, and he relaxed onto the edge of the bed, listening.

“The Captain won’t like this.”

Colin didn’t recognize the first voice, but the man spoke as though his nostrils were pinched painfully together.

“That is the last time we send Smeed to retrieve the supplies. He knows the hard tack is supposed to be gluten free.”

Gluten free? No, that couldn’t possibly be right. He must have heard wrong. Curious, Colin crept to the door and pressed his ear against it.

“When the Captain finds out—”

“No one needs to tell the Captain,” the second one argued.

“But she’s—”

“Shhhh. Do you want her to overhear us? We both know heads will roll if she catches wind of this.”

“Then we best make sure she doesn’t find out until the last possible moment.” The voices faded away before he could overhear anything further.

Colin paced away from the door, then back again, trying to make sense of their conversation. The door was rather thick, and he could have easily misunderstood the first part of their conversation, but he was certain he’d clearly heard the end of it.

Whatever was happening, they didn’t want Quinn to know, and it undoubtedly rhymed with gluten-free.

“Think, Colin.” He tapped his forehead. “What rhymes with gluten-free?” He continued to pace. “Scrutiny?” No, that couldn’t be right.

He stopped and faced Pemberley. “Mutiny? That’s it! That must be what I overheard. Quinn’s crew is conspiring against her to take over the ship!”

“Awk! Gluten-free.”

His blanket forgotten in his haste, Colin rushed toward the door. “I need to get out of here. I need to warn Quinn before it’s too late.” He spared only the briefest thought for disobeying Quinn’s order to stay inside her cabin, then wrenched the door open and ran off to find her.

“Awk! Still naked,” Pemberly squawked behind him. “Still naked.”


***


A Word to you, Our Dear and Gentle Readers: If you enjoyed this small offering, please do us the honor of returning to grace our humble blog with your presence one week hence, when we shall be delighted to bring to you the next installment of our little saga, which is to be entitled, Chapter Nine, The Highwayman's Runaway Bride.

And please partake of our Love’s Savage Contest. Leave a comment here or go to our Facebook page (link in the column on the right) and quote your favorite line from this week’s episode to be entered in a monthly drawing for a giftcard at the bookstore of your choice and a grand finale drawing for a signed e-reader cover.

Cordially,
The Naughty Nine

Click to read Chapter Seven

Click to read Chapter Nine-A

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What to Leave In, What to Leave Out

I came to a decision this past weekend, one I've actually been putting off for some time now. After giving the matter a lot of thought and applying a good deal of medicinal Kahlua (not to mention indulging in a Vosges Blood Orange Caramel bar...or maybe two), I decided to cut everything I'd written out of one of my WIPs and start the book over. From scratch.

I know. Ouch. Seeing it in black and white like that makes me wince too. Especially given all the time I've already put into it. However, it's not as bad as it seems...well it is, to be honest, but there's a light at the end of that particular tunnel; we'll get to that part in a bit.

This weekend's manuscript massacre was the result of on-going problems with the series, some of which I've been dealing with from day one. It's a pretty good story, if I do say so. People have really bonded with the characters and that's really helping to keep me motivated. So, thank you all for that!

But somewhere along the way the time-line for this series has gotten completely screwed up. When I told myself the story, it all made perfect sense. When I started to plot it out, however, that's when I realized I had a problem. All the action was happening at once and, trust me, there was a lot of action!

In addition, there are far too many characters for me to cram everyone's story into one book. Not even one really long book. And then there's the romance problem. Not everyone's story ends happily. And I'm still not certain how I'm going to address that issue.

Going through all of this has given me a lot of insight into how Tolkien must have felt when his editor decided to cut The Lord of the Rings into three separate books. Although, that was arbitrary and after the fact. What I'm doing is something similar, except I'm attempting to separate the different books out as I write them, which is a whole different headache-inducing endeavor.

And that's even before I try and layer in all the years and years of backstory.

The bright spot in this all? Most of what I've cut out of this book, and the one before it, I plan to add to the next book...or maybe the book after that. So it's not really wasted, it's simply deferred. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself. 

Series writing is a very funny thing. Some series come together seamlessly, with each book standing easily on its own while still forming an integral part of the whole. Other series...not so much.

If you read series, what do you look for? If you fall in love with a set of characters or a particular world, does it bother you if the individual books don't really make complete sense on their own?  And if you write series, where do you draw the line between giving too much info away in the later books, or not saying enough?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Guest Blogger M J Fredrick- Soundtracks


Once upon a time, I chose to see the first Harry Potter movie a second time instead of going to see Ocean’s Eleven, which I really wanted to see (Clooney and all that). But from the minute the theme music began, I was instantly happy. I love that movie, the innocence of it, the visuals that came RIGHT OUT OF MY HEAD, and the music.

The other day a song came on the radio, not one I particularly loved. I think it was Van Halen or something. But in that instant, I was sixteen again, pressing through the crowd at the monthly Incarnate Word High School dance trying to reach the dance floor and flop about in real ‘80s style.

If I didn’t understand the associative power of music before, I learned it when I was writing one of my very first books (that I will eventually revise some day). I would sit out on the back patio with my stereo and the Hope Floats sound track and write in a notebook while my son splashed around in his little pool. It didn’t take long before the songs on that soundtrack would take me straight into the story.

I’ve done it several times since, including with my latest release, Something to Talk about. Making soundtracks is MUCH easier now with iTunes, of course. This soundtrack made me so happy to listen to. I still enjoy listening to it now, because it takes me back to the joy I felt writing this book.

Here’s the soundtrack I made:

Santa Monica--Everclear

Love You ‘til the End--PS I Love You soundtrack

Something to Talk About--Bonnie Raitt (duh)

More Time--PS I Love You soundtrack

Devil Town--Friday Night Lights soundtrack

No Other Love--PS I Love You soundtrack

Come Undone--Duran Duran (love scenes!)

The Story--Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack

If I Ever Leave This World Alive--PS I Love You soundtrack

Breathe--Michelle Branch

Rewind--PS I Love You Soundtrack

Swans

Chances Are--Vonda Shepherd and Robert Downey Jr.

Passionate Kisses--Mary Chapin Carpenter

Are you a person who associates music with events? What songs bring back good memories for you?

Here’s the blurb for Something to Talk About, available wherever ebooks are sold:

Taking chances is never easy--especially when the whole town is watching.

Ellie Morgan is trying to stay below the radar in a small town. Her break-up with her football coach boyfriend and growing interest in her best friend's
widower are grist to the local gossip mill. Her friendship with the local psychic and the return of her prodigal mother are the cherries on the cake.

Add a meddling preacher, a water-loving dog and a man trying to shake off his past, and Ellie's got more than enough on her plate in her quest for
love.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Beauty Is Truth. Or Not.


We buy our birdseed at a feed store so that we can get it in fifty-pound bags (hey, we’ve got a lot of birds). It’s sort of fun to wander around the store because they sell stuff for chickens, goats, and horses along with wild birds. The last time we were there, I found a special shampoo and conditioner for horses’ manes. It was advertised as reducing frizziness (horse manes get frizzy?) and improving body (you mean horses’ manes aren’t naturally buoyant?) and it included rosewater. It was clearly targeted at humans as well as ponies. And here’s the really pathetic thing: I would have bought it if it hadn’t cost over twenty bucks a bottle.

I admit it—I am a sucker for beauty products. Particularly for beauty products that promise to solve problems or be a vast improvement over previous beauty products. A face cream that reduced wrinkles eighty percent in laboratory trials? A concealer that has a revolutionary new brush design so that it actually takes care of those long-term undereye dark shadows? A shampoo that will coat the hair follicle with a new polymer designed to simultaneously plump and smooth? I am so there!

I am so there even though by now I know damn well that most of the time the products will do no such thing. Purple eyeshadow that makes green eyes pop? Only if looking like you have bruised eyelids is your thing. Lipstick that lasts all day and doesn’t rub off on your glass? Only if you don’t mind lips that feel like every last drop of moisture has been sucked out. I once bought a tube of mango hair treatment in Charleston, SC, that promised miracles. I worked it into my hair that evening and was rewarded with waves like something out of a thirties musical once I’d walked a couple of blocks in Charleston humidity. No kidding, y’all, I was a ringer for Myrna Loy. I still have the mango stuff, of course. Every once in a while I try it again just to see if those waves were the result of user error (here’s a clue: they weren’t).

Over the years I have at least managed to cut back on my affection for high-end stuff. No more jonesing for Lancome. And I only go to Sephora if I have the hubs in tow (he likes the Phyto 7 hair cream, but he’ll only stick around in the store for ten minutes or so, hardly enough time for me to check all the lipsticks).

Still, five minutes with the Allure Readers’ Choice issue and I’m ready to head over to the Target cosmetics section. And why not? Hope in a jar is a lot cheaper than hope in a shoebox. As long as I don’t develop an obsession with Crème de la Mer I figure I can continue to slather stuff on myself until I’m too withered and gray to work it into the wrinkles.

Now some may say that buying hope in any form is impossible, and I must admit that that’s largely true. On the other hand, I’m a romance writer, which means I’m sort of into making the impossible possible. You might say we’re in the hope business too. So bring on the mascara, let me see that moisturizer, navy blue eyeliner? Hmmmm. Who knows? Maybe that next tube of Cherries In the Snow will be the one that finally makes my life complete.

So what about you? Favorite makeup? Or do you denounce the whole beauty/industrial complex?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Love's Savage Whiplash Contest Winners!!!

With apologies to those who've left comments, we got a little behind on the contest so we've drawn TWO winners of $10 gift certificates (winner's choice of Amazon or Barnes & Noble)...

THE WINNERS ARE

elaing8
and
Maria
Yay!

Send us an email at ninenaughtynovelists@gmail.com with which etailer you would like your gift cert from and your email addy and we will get that off to you right away!!

Thanks so much to everyone who has left comments with your favorite lines!  Keep 'em coming, we like the validation. You have no idea how much we sweat writing these weekly episodes!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer=Party Time for Mommy


I love summer because there's no going to bed early for school the next day and no homework.

Yeah, Diva enjoys the no homework, no early bedtime thing. But not as much as I do. No fighting over homework, no fighting to get into the shower on time, no fighting to get out of the shower, no yelling about brushing her teeth, no yelling to pick up the towel, put the dirty clothes away, turn out the light...what? You don't have to yell at your daughter? No, it can't just be me...

But summer is so relaxing. I don't care if she gets to bed late and goes to museum camp tired. And you know what? I don't make her take a shower every day (though she does have to brush her teeth, which she thinks is just mean.) We can stay at the YMCA or an aunt's house till 10 o'clock on a weeknight, and weekends are wide open. I can throw her in the pool at the Y or an aunt's house for hours at a time while I write. (I write dirty, dirty sex scenes while Diva's at swim team practice.)

I told the Hub and Diva that this summer, I'm finishing a novella and a full length steampunk. Summer is writering time for Mommy, so find things to keep yourselves occupied, people.

My sister is a suburban soccer mom, and she really likes summer. This year, she told Monsters 2 and 3 (Diva is Monster 1) that she would not allow them to ruin her summer with their fighting (they're one year apart, and there's a lot of fighting.) She told them that if they spent another day fighting and yelling, she'd get in the car and drive away, and "you'll miss me terribly." (And Daddy would be plenty pissed off, but I guess she didn't include that.)

So of course, first day of summer vacation, they got into a huge fight. She put them each in their bedroom, gave them pencil and paper, and told them she wanted two paragraphs on what would happen if they persisted in their behavior.

Monster No. 2 wrote: "If me and my brother keep fighting we'll have to go to bed at five o'clock. This is a problem, because we don't eat dinner until six or six-thirty."

Monster No. 1 wrote: "If [Monster No. 2] keeps acting like this, we're going to have a very bad summer." I liked that - I'm an oldest child, and that's total oldest child behavior.

So this summer, Diva's swimming and going to Girl Scouts Camp and blowing shit up at museum camp, and Mommy's writing a werewolf novella and a steampunk novel, and Daddy's working--because Daddy owns his own shop and summer is his busiest time (poor Daddy.)

Happy summer!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Love's Savage Whiplash Chapter Seven: Lady Chastity’s Lover…Or Perhaps Not

Wherein a nefarious highwayman turned Duke discovers that he has one too many fiancés and the fair but penniless Governess, upon finding herself forsaken, determines she is not interested in the Duke’s ferret after all.


He may have been a nefarious highwayman, but even Westley-now-Colin knew that rejecting a woman like Julia would be unforgivably cruel.

It did not occur to him that Dread Highwaymen likely did not care about being unforgivably cruel.

It really seemed the only way to preserve her delicate feelings was to, in fact, kiss her. A Duke (or Highwayman, for that matter) had to do what a Duke (or Highwayman) had to do.

The moment his lips touched hers, however, Westley-now-Colin knew that not only would Wickham be un-amused, but it was likely his betrothed would be a tad irritated as well.

After all, he was going to have to call off their engagement.

Julia wasn’t the kind of woman to be bedded and forgotten. Or even forgotten without the bedding. And while he wanted to bed her—or floor-of-the-nursery her—he would certainly also like to…

Julia moaned softly and pressed closer and all thoughts fled Westley’s mind but having her. Julia’s mouth was a sweet, infectious cavern of lust and, dare he say it, love. He kissed her without remorse—an emotion he’d heard of only once when Roberts told him to never feel it— and knew that he was losing his heart.

It wasn’t as if he’d been without women. Nay, he’d had women a plenty. But none that made him feel so adored, so protective, so worthy.

By God, if a fair and winsome woman like Julia could love him, perhaps he could be more than a Duke in name only. Perhaps he could rise to the occasion—the occasion of being the Duke rather than the occasion of kissing Julia which he most certainly was rising to— and serve his household and peasants (Dukes did have peasants, did they not?) in a manner befitting a, well, Duke.

Yes, he could do that. With Julia at his side he could restore the Dukedom, or whatever it was called, to prestige and wealth. Without marrying Lady Chastity. He could plant some crops, raise some animals, make some… blast it. He didn’t know how to do any of those things.

Julia tilted her head to the other side and arched closer to him and Westley knew in the depths of his once-nefarious-now-restored soul that he would do anything to be with her. He would forsake the Dukedom—or whatever it was called—and the peasants if necessary. He would travel to the ends of the earth. He would fight ninjas if he had to.

Or pirates. Pirates were cool. They were actually quite similar to highwaymen. Just on water.

And they had treasure. If he had pirate treasure he wouldn’t need to marry Lady Chastity. He would have all the riches he needed and he and Julia…

But wait. If pirates were like highwaymen on water, then highwaymen were like pirates… on land.
And they also collected treasure.

Yes. He could obtain the needed wealth. Hell, he’d been doing that for some time. How had he not thought of this before?

Julia sighed and he knew why. Until this moment, he had been fine with the plan.

Marrying Lady Chastity was far easier than obtaining riches from others. Being a Highwayman required long hours, late nights, fighting and a lot of scowling, which sometimes gave him a headache. There was also the chance of bad weather, the risk of being nicked by a sword and, of course, the chance that the coffers would be less than heavy. Being a Dread Highwayman also carried a lot of pressure. One off night and his reputation was ruined.

But Julia, whose hands were now wandering down his backside, was worth all of that.

He would amass the required riches by whatever means necessary.

Then he would work on being a proper Duke. He’d start by no longer pillaging and plundering.
And maybe he’d have a dinner party.

He tore his mouth from Julia’s, breathing hard. “Julia, I really must say…”

“What is going on?”

The shriek was shrill enough to rattle the nursery windows and set Westley’s teeth on edge.

He turned slowly, not quite managing to let go of Julia as he did so.

Ah, his betrothed. How lovely.





***
Julia blinked at Lady Chastity Feelsgood. Her mind was still quite muddled by the kiss—oh, the kiss—from Colin. For a moment she forgot why she should be abashed in facing the other woman, but the notion swam at the back of her consciousness.

“It seems that Lady Chastity is unhappy,” Ward observed from behind Colin.

Julia’s hand flew to her mouth and she gasped. No! Lady Chastity had seen Colin kiss her! As had Ward.

She wasn’t sure which she was more ashamed about.

“You!” Chastity advanced on her, her index finger pointing straight at Julia’s nose. “You whore! You Jezebel! You…”

“Strumpet?” Ward offered.

“Strumpet!” Chastity repeated. At an even higher octave. “You are nothing but a servant in this household! How dare you put your hands, your lips, on my Duke!”

Julia bristled. She was quite certain that Colin had put his hands and lips on her as well, thank you very much. And he’d seemed intent on keeping right with it. Not to mention that he was every bit as much her Duke as he was Chastity’s. Julia had been brought up in Netherloin Park.

“Ward, you should return to the nursery,” Julia said calmly, removing her hands, albeit reluctantly, from Colin and straightening her dress. “This is an adult matter. I shall be there in a moment.”

“I do believe that staying to see how the Duke handles the situation would be quite educational,” Ward replied. “That kiss certainly was.”

“Ward,” Julia said through gritted teeth. “The nursery.”

The boy went, but Julia suspected he lurked just behind the door. Ah, well. She had a more pressing matter at hand. Namely that of her true love and his misled former fiancé.

“Lady Chastity, I regret that you found out this way, but as you can see the Duke has discovered that his true affections belong with me. He just proposed marriage to me and I have happily accepted. You will understand that he cannot continue with—”

“Harlot?” came a voice from the nursery.

“Yes, harlot!” Chastity exclaimed. “Your Grace, surely you can’t be serious. The entire Duchy—”

“What’s a Duchy?” Colin asked.

“Your holdings are referred to as a Duchy,” Julia told him. What was wrong with him?

“Ah, rather than a Dukedom?” Colin asked.

Julia stared at him. “Yes.”

“Very good. I have holdings,” Colin said, looking smug.

Chastity blinked at him, then continued, “The fate of the entire Duchy rests on your shoulders. If you take up with this… this…” She glanced toward the nursery door.

“I don’t know any other terms for prostitutes,” Ward called apologetically.

“Prostitute,” Chastity sneered. “You will never help Netherloin regain its glory.”

“It had glory?” Colin asked with clear surprise.

“Such glory,” Chastity assured him.

Julia frowned at him. Why did he sound so surprised? Of course Netherloin had been glorious. At one time. Admittedly some time back. But still…

“And do I have peasants?”

Chastity smiled at him. “Of course, Your Grace. Though the politically correct term is tenants.”

Colin’s eyes widened. “I’ll be referred to as Your Grace?”

“Yes, of course.” Chastity took the opportunity to sidle closer, running her hand up his arm.

“There are a great many reasons that being the Duke of Earl is an enviable position. Once your finances are secure think of the things you can do.”

“Like what?” he breathed, intent on her words.

Julia crossed her arms and tapped her foot. What was going on? How did he not know about his tenants? Or his title? What had that pirate ship done to him?

She peered closer. There truly was something different about him. Something rougher, something harder, something… delicious. She shivered remembering his kiss. She would have never imagined Colin Darcy, the ninth Duke of Earl, capable of such decadence.

Lady Chastity moved even closer to him, adjusting the tight bodice on her gown so that more of her ample bosom was on display. “Once Netherloin is again secure and respected, you can do anything you want.” She paused. “Your Grace.”

Colin took a deep breath, his eyes bright. “Anything I want?”

“Anything,” Chastity purred, rubbing her bountiful breasts against his arm. “You can dine with royalty, hunt with the elite, travel to far off lands.”

Julia felt sick watching the other woman put her lips near Colin’s ear.

“And there are other glorious things in store for you,” Chastity whispered.

Colin visibly swallowed hard. “Are there then?”

Julia wanted to slap him.

“Oh, certainly.” Chastity pulled down on her bodice again. “The finest wines, the richest foods, the best cigars.” She glanced at Julia as she ran her hand up over his chest. Colin’s eyes were riveted to the neckline of Chastity’s dress. Or perhaps to the diamond—ten carats easily—that nestled between the magnanimous mounds.

“Jewels?” he asked hoarsely.

“The biggest,” Chastity promised. She ran her tongue over her blood red lips. “And women who can appreciate a man of distinguished…taste.”

Julia’s eyes widened as Colin appeared to be choking. He opened his mouth to respond, but no sound came out.

The mild mannered Governess then stepped forward and whacked him on the back as hard as she could. “Are you quite all right, Your Grace?”

Colin pulled at his collar. “Yes, yes, of course, of course.” His eyes managed to leave Lady Chastity’s cleavage.

Julia propped a hand on her hip. “Need I remind you that you have proposed to me?” She wanted to cry. Or scratch Chastity’s eyes out. Or perhaps Colin’s. How could he forget the kiss, the passion, the promises their hearts had made in those stolen moments outside the nursery?

“Well.” Colin’s face was red and he had to clear his throat. “I didn’t actually… that is to say… there’s been a slight misunderstanding.”

Julia scowled at him. “Did you or did you not propose marriage to me?”

He shook his head. “I did not.”

Julia stared at him. “Pardon me?”

He reached for her. “Julia, I meant to propose that you help me find Brigid.”

Julia looked at Chastity then back to Colin. “Who’s Brigid?”

“My ferret.”

Chastity squeezed his arm and leaned close. “I am very interested in your ferret, Your Grace.”

Julia glared daggers at Chastity before demanding of Colin, “You just wanted me to help you find your ferret?”

“Yes.” He gave her a smile that she supposed he thought was charming.

It wasn’t.

“Ward?” she called.

“Yes Miss Fitzgerald?” As expected he answered from just behind the door.

“I need you to cover your ears.”

“Why, Miss Fitzgerald?”

“Because I’m about to say something very unladylike.”





***
After Julia, the seemingly mild mannered Governess, told Westley what he could do
with his ferret—he wasn’t sure she understood that he did actually have a ferret, and what she suggested would not only be disgusting but probably impossible—she stormed toward the staircase.

Still speechless after hearing that sweet mouth say such unflattering things, he did not call out for her to stop.

“Now what were you saying about your ferret?” Chastity purred, running her hand from his shoulder down his back to his ass. Which she squeezed.

Westley jumped and quickly extricated himself from her hold. While he was quite capable of appreciating the woman’s— ahem—attributes, he had been overcome not by her advances but by her explanation of the Dukehood. Was that a word? In any case, he needed to get to work procuring bags of gold forthwith. “I love Julia.”

Chastity frowned. “Then why did you tell her you didn’t mean to propose to her?”

He shrugged. “I didn’t mean to. But I want to now.”

Chastity frowned harder. “What of all the things you can have if you restore the Duchy?”

Westley smiled at that. He had a Duchy. He liked the term “Dukedom” better, but it was a minor detail. “I still intend to restore Netherloin. Just not with your money, Lady Chastity.”

She frowned so hard he was afraid her forehead was going to crack. “Then what money, Your Grace?”

Westley thought perhaps his title had sounded a bit sarcastic that time. “You needn’t worry, Lady Chastity. I shall gain the necessary funds. It is none of your concern.”

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” she said ominously before turning on her heel and stomping in the opposite direction.

Westley watched her go—to be sure she was really gone— then turned… and nearly stepped on Ward.

“What are you doing, boy?”

“Are you going after Miss Julia?” Ward asked, hands on his hips.

“I don’t know where Miss Julia went,” Westley replied. He had, in fact, intended to wait right here for her. She was the Governess, after all. It stood to reason she would return to the place where she Governessed.

“She headed to the stables,” Ward said with some disdain. “And she was crying.”

“Ah.” Westley thought about that for a moment. Then he looked down at the boy who was watching him with condescension. “Do you think I should go after her?”

Ward rolled his eyes. “Yes, of course.”

Westley frowned. “Do you suppose she means to take a ride?”

Ward sighed. “Of course.”

Westley sighed too. It was dark out. And likely cold. And he hadn’t been planning on going out. But he supposed that as long as he was saddling his horse to go after Julia, he might as well see if there was anyone around with some spare pieces of gold.

He wanted to get started on the Dukehood as soon as possible, what with all the fine wine and jewels and things.

He was also sure to take his sword. Though he could not have said if it was protection from those he meant to rob or from the woman who at the moment was less than fond of his ferret.

To be continued...

****

A Word to you, Our Dear and Gentle Readers: If you enjoyed this small offering, please do us the honor of returning to grace our humble blog with your presence one week hence, when we shall be delighted to bring to you the next installment of our little saga, which is to be entitled, Chapter Eight, Mutiny on the High Seas.

And please partake of our Love’s Savage Contest. Leave a comment here or go to our Facebook page (link in the column on the right) and quote your favorite line from this week’s episode to be entered in a monthly drawing for a giftcard at the bookstore of your choice and a grand finale drawing for a signed e-reader cover.

Cordially,
The Naughty Nine

Click here to read Chapter Eight.

Click here to read Chapter six.

Click here to read from the beginning.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A kiss is just a kiss...or an osculation

What would a romance novel be without kissing? What would a real life romance be without kissing? We all know kissing is important, but why?




kiss me Pictures, Images and Photos
By shanayrios14

Let's look at the science of kissing. Yes there is a name for it! The science of kissing is philematology. The scientific term for kissing is osculation and kissing uses mainly one muscle, the orbicularis oris, which is responsible for puckering your lips. There, that takes the romance out of it, doesn't it?

The skin on human lips is the thinnest layer of skin on the body and the lips are the body region most densely populated with sensory neurons. Along with the tongue and the rest of the mouth (getting hotter?) kisses send messages to the brain and the rest of the body-- physical reactions, emotional reactions and sensory pleasure. The pupils dilate, breathing deepens, the heart rate speeds up and often rational thought disappears. Kissing can boost brain chemicals associated with pleasure and euphoria and a desire to connect with the person you're kissing.

Kiss Pictures, Images and Photos
By fltx06

Kissing is not done in every culture in the world. There are cultures in Asia, Africa and South America where people do not kiss at all. In some culturea, people kiss each other on both cheeks as a greeting, and both Eskimos and Egyptians "kiss" by rubbing noses. Certain African tribes literally kiss the ground of their leaders. In some cultures, worshippers kiss religious symbols. Friends kiss platonically. Relatives greet and kiss with affection (sometimes fake affection, which I call the "in-law kiss". Ahem.)  But even though some kisses are platonic and others are romantic, they all are usually a way of expressing some kind of positive emotion.

Analyzing kissing from a scientific perspective will probably never fully explain to us the magic and mystery and thrill of a kiss. How do we explain that one bad first kiss between a couple getting to know each other can put an end to any possible relationship between them? A Gallup survey revealed 59 percent of men and 66 percent of women lost their romantic interest in their kissing partner after a "bad" first kiss. People couldn't explain what was bad about it - it just didn't feel right.

sexy kiss Pictures, Images and Photos
 By AngilofDarknes

Well, the science is interesting but as a romance writer I'm much more interested in the emotional and sensory responses to kissing. Here is Robert Burns describing a kiss:

To A Kiss

Humid seal of soft affections,
Tend'rest pledge of future bliss,
Dearest tie of young connections,
Love's first snow-drop, virgin kiss.
Speaking silence, dumb confession,
Passion's birth, and infants' play,
Dove-like fondness, chaste concession,
Glowing dawn of brighter day.
Sorrowing joy, adieu's last action,
Ling'ring lips, -- no more to join!
What words can ever speak affection
Thrilling and sincere as thine!


~ Robert Burns

And here's a kissing scene from one of my upcoming releases, Rule of Three:


Dag turned back to Kassidy, bent his head and took her mouth. She opened for him immediately with a small sound in her throat, her mouth sinfully soft, sweetly delicious and warm as summer. Her hands came to rest on his chest. He wanted her to rub there, but they’d get to that. He kissed her, again and again, long deep kisses, licked her mouth, found her tongue and played with it. Her body melted against him, all warm soft skin and pink lace. Jesus.

            His other arm slid around her, palm on her back, pressing her against him, her breasts soft, her pussy hot. Damp heat poured off her, in fact, he could smell it, tantalizing feminine arousal. He got lost in it, in everything, the feel of her body in his arms, the taste of her mouth, the vanilla and warm amber and girl scent of her, so much that he forgot about Chris watching them and drifted off on a cloud of erotic pleasure.


Okay now! Research shows that kissing couples tilt their heads to the right twice as often as they tilt to the left, and it doesn't seem to be related to being right or left handed -  which way do you tilt your head when you go in for a kiss???

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Guest Blogger Daisy Harris - The Size of the Prize


For a while there, it seemed like men in erotic romance were getting taller and taller…and taller. As their dimensions expanded like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man, other parts of their anatomies grew, um…proportionally.

And it frightened me. Where were we going next? Ten feet tall heroes with two-foot long tools? Would they reach fifteen feet eventually? And how ginormous would said heroes’ sexual organs become? The size of a breadbox? A dachshund? Honestly, where would it end?

Then I read a statistic that claimed women whose partners’ penises were smaller than average reported more sexual satisfaction than women whose partners were above average. Despite the tendencies in erotic romance, I wasn’t surprised. Let’s face it—there’s only so much you can do with a giant wang. For example- 1. Hope you don’t have TMJ! 2. Once it gets in there it’s pretty much stuck. There’s not a whole lot of room to maneuver. 3. Not to offend anyone’s delicate sensibilities, but there’s some places that monster’s simply not going to fit.

Yet, despite my concerns over the practicality of humongous boners, I write them all the time. I’d never be so coarse as to mention inches or diameter, but I make comments that lead the reader to believe the heroine (or co-hero) is impressed, perhaps even awed. I worry—am I a hypocrite? Maybe I shouldn’t be perpetuating the myth that bigger equals better.

But here’s the thing—love makes penises bigger. It’s true! Just as a loved one become more attractive when he buys you a gift or does the dishes, the little Mr. looks bigger when he’s done a good job. Fact: 67% of women report that they’re partner is larger than average. Talk about “Awwww.” How cute is that?

Further, only 12% of women say their partner is smaller than average. And most of those women aren’t “unhappy” about their partner’s size. They just admit it’s small-ish.

So I’ve decided when I’m writing about huge, throbbing, veiny man-package, I’m not describing the size of the love-tool, but the size of the love! In some cases, my hero really is big, but mostly he feels giant around the woman he swore to protect. My heroine’s fascination is not so much with his dimensions, but with how excited she makes him, how hard he gets for her.

If my heroes are freakishly proportioned, it’s only because the heroine (or co-hero) gives him the biggest erection he’s ever had. Such is the power of true love. ☺

Birkenstock-wearing glamour girl and mother of two by immaculate conception, Daisy Harris still isn’t sure if she writes erotica. Her paranormal romances start out innocently enough. However, her characters behave like complete sluts. Much to Miss Harris’s dismay, the sex tends to get completely out of hand.

She writes about trampy mermaids, sexy dragons, and snuff-y shark-shifters. Her work also features zombie ingenues, horny gods, and some holiday characters like you’ve never seen them before. And there’s almost always a mad scientist in there somewhere.

If you like science-y subplots, fantastical creatures, and red-hot chemistry, you’ll love Daisy Harris. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook and at www.thedaisyharris.com/.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Oops, or, Internet Searches Work Both Ways



I had an internet moment the other day, one fueled in part by social media. (No, there were no inappropriate pictures involved.) Irritated by seeing a soap storyline being recycled ad infinitum, I posted a rant on my blog calling out a certain soap writer as having some culpability.



I got some comments, felt better for getting the rant out, and went about my business.



Until a couple of days later, when I got word that the soap writer in question had found a link to the blog post on a Facebook page dedicated to her former soap, read the post, and commented on Facebook about it. (She then deleted her comment.)



I immediately went through the Four Stages of Internet Embarrassment:



1. Shock. When I wrote the post, it wasn't with the intention of having said writer read it. I thought of it more as a way to blow off steam with other fans. To find out she'd read it, well, I was stunned.



2. Denial. I then slid into "No way!" territory. Was it the real writer? Or possibly someone impersonating her?



3. Mortification. I then went back and re-read the post, hoping against hope that I hadn't said anything truly offensive about her. No, I was actually quite professional and appropriate, thank goodness!



4. Acceptance. I'm now firmly in the final stage, acceptance. It happened, I survived, no harm, no foul. My take away reminder? The internet is a big, wide-open space, and what you write can get back to the people it's written about. So be sure that what you say is what you'd be fine having them read!



Have you ever had an internet moment?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Gone to the Dogs

Last January we lost our 10 year-old Golden Retriever to Cancer, and although I missed her terribly, I was almost grateful that life got so crazy I couldn't dwell on just how much I missed her. Between packing and moving and unpacking, there has been a lot to do on top of writing, which definitely took a backseat to everything else for a while.

I had planned to get another dog next spring, once we had been in our new place for a year or so. Except last week I suffered what could only be deemed a moment of sheer insanity. The kids and I got a puppy. And not just any puppy. Sure, we could have gone with a cute and cuddly breed small enough to curl up in my lap. Or even another retriever. Not one that will turn into a small horse in the not so distant future, one affectionately dubbed the gentle giant, emphasis on GIANT. We got a Great Dane.

Strangely enough, I haven't regretted that momentary lapse, even though we're still dealing with some housebreaking issues. The one thing I've been reminded about this week is how much having a puppy is like writing a book. And since you all know how much I like my lists, what better format to make my comparisons. :)

1. Establishing a routine is key.

A puppy needs to how things work, like going outside for a pee after having her breakfast every morning. Writers can usually benefit from setting up their own routine and sticking to it. I always get more writing done when I make sure to plant my butt in a chair and write the moment I get home every morning from driving my boys to school.

2. Frequent Potty Breaks are a must.

Remember that part about housebreaking? Puppies need to get out and romp around in the grass (often doing everything except going potty) as much writers need to know when to step back from a problematic scene or chapter and give their minds something else to play with. Though, I'd go with checking out the Twitterverse or reading for a bit versus eating the grass in your backyard. :)

3. It takes a lot of dedication.

Puppies are a handful and it can be pretty easy to let your frustration get the best of you. Giving up when things become a challenge only makes everything tougher. There will be days (or months in my case) when there will be little to no progress on a book, but I can guarantee it will never get finished if you let your frustration with your lack of progress push you into saying, "Screw it". Hang in there. It'll get better.

4. Periods of craziness are often followed by complete shutdown.

Puppies play hard, but when they crash, they're out for a good, long time. If you're lucky. :) Binge writing isn't so different. After pushing myself with Write or Die or taking up a few 1k1hr challenges, my brain needs to take a break or else I end up with something like this: See Dick run. See Dick turn into a big, black cat. See Dick pounce on Jane. Enough said.

5. It's all about having fun.

It's hard not to smile when you see a puppy drop into a crouch while keeping their wiggling butt in the air right before they pounce. They're all about playing and enjoying every second. Once you decide to make writing a career, it can be very easy to forget that you started writing for the sheer pleasure and challenge of it. Business, deadlines and the dreaded synopsis can really suck the fun out of writing, but reminding yourself that you love what you do and how much fun it is to spend the day making stuff up, is the only way I know of to avoid burning out.

Before I go and see what kind of trouble Simi has gotten into while I wrote this (you ever notice puppies get real quiet, like kids, when they're into something?) do you have any puppy or pet stories to share?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Love's Saveage Whiplash Chapter Six: The Ninja Most Naughty


In which Innocence is Plundered and the dire Threat of Ruination looms, and in which Jealousie rears its Head along with various and sundrie other Head-rearings


Colin gazed at the golden-locked goddess as a helpless, bound mouse might stare at a snake. She prowled in a circle around him, boldly scrutinizing his naked flesh. A profusion of blushes heated his body. He’d always been the sort to hide under the bedcovers while the other schoolboys played their naughty games. That is to say, he’d always assumed they were naughty as the rapscallions made the strangest sounds. He couldn’t help hearing even when he smothered his ears with both trembling hands and several feather pillows. And if certain shameful stirrings in his nether regions occurred, no one was ever the wiser.

But here, tied by his wrists in this faraway ship’s cabin, all hope of disguising his rampant response was gone. When the marauding maiden strolled to his backside, he stole a glance at his fleshly sword. Oh, the shame! That rascally rapier was fully unsheathed and blatantly exposed.

A slender white hand reached from behind his back and grasped his member. The naughty ninja purred. “Why, pirate, have you misplaced your peg leg or are you happy to see me?”

“What are you…why are you… that’s my private area!” Colin knew he ought to be outraged…shocked!...and yet, much to his surprise, a stealthy, rapturous anticipation seized him.

“Methinks you doth protest too much,” she said, her manner arch, her clever hands encircling his manhood.

The most astonishing sensations somersaulted through his manly muscle.

“I never…that is…Headmaster Sidebottom never…”

A sharp slap on his bottom brought him up short. “Who is this Sidebottom of whom you speak? Do I have a rival? If so, I regret to inform you that he is doomed to an early, likely watery grave. No one dares to challenge Quan-yin without paying the price with his blood.”

Suddenly she was before him, her cerulean eyes dark with some unnamed, powerful emotion. “You will be mine, pirate. I find myself strangely drawn to you. Is it those sweet brown orbs, wide with feigned innocence? Is it the taut muscles of your backside, or that dainty little hole that calls to me with such a sweet siren’s voice?”

Colin squawked as her hand hovered in the crease between his two rear globes. That utterance incited an even louder squawk from Pemberly, who fluttered with alarm.

“Awk!! Buttsecks, buttsecks!”

Both pirate and ninja ignored the feathered wing-flapper, a state of affairs which, sadly, was Pemberly’s eternal lot in life.

“What is this power you hold over me? Surely I can erase this nefarious Headmaster from your thoughts!” The masterful maiden swayed closer to him. Her scent, that of tropical flowers floating on the deep blue sea, enthralled him. Helpless before this envious enchantress, his lips drifted open. No sooner had they done so than her sweet mouth latched onto his as a limpet attaches itself to a ship’s keel. Oh, the lush flavor of those twin red cherries! Oh, the nip of sharp teeth on his bottom lip! Sweet, heedless madness overtook him. He daringly plunged his tongue into his fair invader’s mouth. Her taste was exotic and female, so different from the times he’d planted playful smooches on his childhood pup’s furry face.

A dizzying whirlpool of desire swept him off his feet, or would have if he hadn’t been securely fastened to the rafter. But what a delicious collapse it would have been! As it was, he bucked against his bonds, struggling to get closer to the tasty temptress. Soft pillows of flesh pressed against his bare chest. A cascade of heated sighs rose into the air. Lower down, something else rose into the air, defying Sir Isaac Newton’s Law of Gravity, published in 1687.

The eager racehorse between his thighs reared and charged like a stallion held too long in the stables.
He groaned as a taunting fingernail scraped the length of his masculinity. “Did your so-called Headmaster render you harder than my ship’s figurehead?” She squeezed.

“No! Never!”

She cupped the quivering sacks of flesh dangling below said figurehead. “Did Sidebottom caress these jewels with soft kisses as I intend to do?”

“What? No!” Surely she must be mistaken. She couldn’t really intend to place her mouth…why, she’d have to kneel down…this couldn’t be occurring, it was untoward, it was bad ton, it was…oh my, it was impossibly, wondrously transporting.

A stream of nonsense words gushed from his mouth. Good Lord Almighty, had anything ever felt so good? Certainly not the few times his own hand had stolen between his legs during his nighttime tossings and turnings. Definitely not the many times he’d pressed his nether regions against his saddle horn. No, this was…this was…

“Oh sweeting, my luscious one, please, I beg of you, don’t stop that disgraceful thing you’re doing.”

“Dith-grathe-ful?” Her mouth filled with his turgid flesh, she frowned up at him.

“No one need ever know. What occurs in the Mizigumo shall never leave the Mizigumo. If I survive this sweet assault, I shall tell no one of the perverted delights you perpetrated on my person.”

“Perverted…” She rose to her feet, leaving his slick stick protruding into the empty air. “Do you expect me to believe no one has ever licked your love lance before? Lewdly laved your loins? Lavished whiplashes on your quivering limbs?”

“Awk! Quivering Limbs! Quivering Limbs!” Pemberly squawked.

“But how… who…is this sort of thing really done?”

“You play the innocent to perfection. Is this some devilish ploy to chase me away? I’ll not have it. No devious pirate tricks will keep me from mounting you. I will have you, be assured of that. I’ll have you begging for my touch, pleading for my lash, whimpering my name!”

“Yes!” Unbearable excitement filled Colin the way rum overflows a pirate’s tankard. “Yes! I beg you, on my knees if I could, please continue, and please, my sweet captor…”

“Yes?”

“What is your true name, that I may adore it in words and deed?”

****

Quinn had never before felt quite so confused by a man. Was he a pirate or a romantic? An innocent or a devious mastermind? He touched something deep inside her, some fragment of vulnerability that had somehow survived her strange and brutal upbringing, the details of which would be revealed at a future moment. Fierce protectiveness battled with her lusty appetites. Untouched or no, this man with his charmingly artless utterances, his loyal bird, and his sensually intoxicating physique would belong to her. The only question was how, when, where, and would the bird ever shut up?

“You fascinate me, prisoner.”

“Me? But I’m naught but an ordinary du…pirate.”

“A dupirate?” Quinn tapped a throwing star against her teeth. That hurt, so she did it again. “Is that some fearsome new breed of marauding mariner?”

“I’m no marauder. And frankly, not much of a mariner. The seasickness, don’t you know.”

By God, he was enchanting. The combination of such hard, rippling muscles and such disarming naivete dismantled her not-so-maidenly defenses. She curled a lock of his black hair around her finger and cuddled her bosom against his naked chest. The quickening of his breath pleased her greatly. That, and the rigid rod knock-knocking at her loins as though pleading for entrance.

“Your true name, I beg you.” He gasped.

“You may call me…Quinn.”

By the Goddess O-Wata-Tsumi, had she just granted him leave to call him by her first name? The name that even now brought back such distant, tender memories, a mother’s voice calling Quinn…Julia...Quinn...do stop poking that possum, it’s quite dead. What was she doing? She was a battle-hardened survivor of the briney deep, a hellion in a man’s world who held her own and gave as good as she got, who lived her life in the service of no man, who wrote her own rules and damn the consequences. And yet this strange man had unmanned her.

Suddenly she could bear it no more. She tossed aside her belt, stripped off her breeches and shirt, and stood before him covered by nothing more than her curly golden mane. His beautiful brown eyes dropped down her body and stopped at her secret triangle of nirvana. How dare he look so…gobsmacked? Had he never seen a naked woman before? She fisted her hands on her hips in a fighting stance. “Am I not as beautiful as your precious Sidebottom?”

“No.” His voice sounded odd, perhaps a bit choked. “You’re nothing like, that is…”

“No matter.” In a move that had taken her sixteen months at the Eto-no Ninja Academy to master, she sprang into the air and wrapped her legs around his lean hips.

“Guh,” he said.

Goddess, he felt good between her thighs, all smooth sinew and bulging ridges. She licked the salt sweat from his neck, pausing at his wildly beating pulse. “I cannot wait another moment. I’m wild for you. You’ve turned me into a wicked wanton, and now I demand you satisfy me. Stick that beautiful velvet spike inside my channel.”

He made some vague thrusting movements. “But, I don’t see how, that is … are you sure I’ll fit? I’m quite large, in this state, and you…” The most endearing blush crept up his manly jaw.

She sighed. Clearly she would have to take charge of this situation. He was no ninja blessed with complete control over every muscle and limb. And she had immobilized his hands, after all. Not that such a trifle would have stopped her. Using the sleek, well-practiced muscles of her thighs, she lifted herself higher and placed the luscious lilac-hued lotus head of his man-stalk at the entrance to her lady parts. “Oh, Quinn,” he moaned. “I think I love you.”

“Yes, yes,” she said, impatiently. Words of love at a time like this? “Take me, you brawny buccaneer. Ram me hard. Plunder me, my piratical precious.”

Her words seemed to light a fire in the raven-haired sea robber. He thrust his weapon deep inside her womanly cavern, boldly breaching her fleshly ramparts. He bent his head to stab his tongue at her breasts, sending daggers of delight spearing through her nipples. Perhaps he wasn’t so innocent after all. Certainly, he was a quick learner. In less time than it took to say, “Avast, me hearties,” he was hammering away like a foremast jack, frigging her like a thirty-gun frigate, shivering her timbers like a broadside cannonade.

Hai!She screamed in Cantonese. “Yes. More. Don’t. Stop.”

Passion swept across her with the power of a China Sea squall. She flung her head from side to side, her yellow tresses whipping them both into a fine frenzy. His eyes had turned black with burning, smoldering, blazing lust. Caught in a riotous ripcurrent of ecstasy, she screamed her release in every obscure Oriental dialect she knew, though no words could ever describe the glorious rapture of their union. Never before had she plumbed such depths of delight. And in the penultimate moment of clarity just before the ultimate release, she knew, beyond doubting, that never before had her piratical pleasurer plumbed such depths of feminine…plumbing.

She’d stolen the irreplaceable flower of his innocence. Honor would demand its due.

****
A Word to you, Our Dear and Gentle Readers: If you enjoyed this small offering, please do us the honor of returning to grace our humble blog with your presence one week hence, when we shall be delighted to bring to you the next installment of our little saga, which is to be entitled, Chapter Seven, Lady Chastity's Lover...or Perhaps Not.

And please partake of our Love’s Savage Contest. Leave a comment here or go to our Facebook page (link in the column on the right) and quote your favorite line from this week’s episode to be entered in a monthly drawing for a giftcard at the bookstore of your choice and a grand finale drawing for a signed e-reader cover.

Cordially,

The Naughty Nine


Click here to read chapter five.

Click here to read chapter seven.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

But I digress...

I love that phrase. Because I digress. A lot.

I’m not quite to my daughter’s level. This girl can take a half an hour to tell us about getting her hair cut. The tangents. Oh, lord, the tangents.

But I definitely digress too. Probably makes me a good storyteller. It makes me a slow, somewhat scattered story writer sometimes though. And there’s social media. I can take ten minutes to compose a tweet. Let me tell you why…






I have this phobia of posting something wrong online. It’s not like I never have or never will again, but with social media you can be retweeted, reposted, linked to and, of course, publicly mocked. (Don’t even get me started on the tweet stream called #romfail). And with my tendency to type too fast and not read things over before I hit “send” I’ve developed this weird tick.



I’ll be in the midst of typing a response to a tweet or a reply on Facebook or a comment on a blog, etc. and suddenly I freeze. “Is that really how you spell that?” “Is that the right tense?” “Is that the proper term for that?” “Is that even a word?” So I find myself pausing in the midst of the reply and Googling things to be sure. I have Dictionary.com in my favorites (it also has a thesaurus—very handy :)). What did we ever do before Google? Oh yeah, we had to know stuff. Or we were content to look like idiots perhaps. Either way, I’m a major Googler. (As an aside—I tend to find that I’m right about most of the stuff I was going to post prior to checking myself. Not always, but enough to put me closer to the not-an-idiot end of the spectrum *g*).


Oh, by the way, I Googled “Googler” to see if it was a real term and here are the three offered definitions at urbandictionary.com.
1. An employee working at Google. Employee benefits include free massages, gourmet food, no set working hours, constant talks from presidential candidates and tons of other famous people, and really high salary.
2. A person that appears to be very smart to when you talk online , but you find out that he just uses google to find out everything
3. A person who uses Google.com often.

I also saw the term “Googler’s remorse” which led me to click and find this definition: When, after googling something, you come up with offensive and/or vulgar results that are irrelevant to what you wanted to find in the first place.

There is also, unfortunately, the word "Googlerhea" which you don’t want the definition to, as well as Googlery: the act of using Google. But I digress.


See? Told you.

Yes, this why I sometimes (often) can’t get any writing done. Though I’ve never considered myself attention deficit.


Not only do I waste horrible amounts of time following links I don’t really/actually care about when trying to simply tweet back to someone, but when I’m writing I also have to look terms and words up as I go. I know some (maybe most?) authors just put a symbol or blank line in and then find the information later so as not to disrupt their flow. Hmm. They might be on to something. But I just can’t leave it blank. I just can’t. And I’ve never considered myself a perfectionist either. At all. But holy crap, I have to have all the words in place and right before I can go on. Drives me crazy if I don’t.

So, for fun (and because I have nothing serious to say today) here are ten of the most recent reasons I’ve visited Google. Well, ten of the non-embarrassing ones. Because I’m not about to admit to you all that I Googled “What year did Doogie Howser start”—which led to reading all about eidetic memory—which I don’t need to know about right now. Oh, and no Doogie Howser has nothing to with the book I’m working on. Feel free to guess which ones are and which aren’t related to the WIP. Or feel free to share the things you Google so you don’t look like an idiot online.



In no particular order, exactly what I typed in Google—except for the ones where I went straight to Dictionary.com
1. How to make red velvet cake
2. Distance between Alliance and Stuart, Nebraska
3. Outdoor music festivals, Nashville
4. Handcuffs, toys, bulk
5. Dictionary.com- derriere(I always want to put the I in the wrong place)
6. Fruits, aphrodisiacs
7. Dictionary.com—aphrodisiacs
8. RVs, bed size
9. Shades of blue
10. Waterfalls in Nebraska

Happy Googling! Join me, won’t you?

Answers to above:
1. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sara-moulton/southern-red-velvet-cake-recipe/index.html
2. 246 miles
3. http://www.nashville.world-guides.com/nashville_events.html
4. http://www.windycitynovelties.com/6404p/and-a-half-thumbcuffs-key-chains.html
5. Derriere
6. http://www.windycitynovelties.com/6404p/and-a-half-thumbcuffs-key-chains.html
7. Aphrodisiacs
8. http://reviews.ebay.com/Bed-Sheets-for-Campers-RV-apos-s-amp-Travel-Trailers_W0QQugidZ10000000000024357
9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Shades_of_blue
10. http://www.nebraskatravels.com/tallest-waterfall-smith-falls-niobrara-river-ne.html



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Guest Blogger Pepper O'Neal - My Publishing Nightmare


The first I book had published was Love Potion No. 2-14, released by eTreasures Publishing in February 2011. The process was basically painless, at least for me. So call me naïve—or spoiled—but I wasn’t expecting to have a nightmare experience getting my second book, Blood Fest: Chasing Destiny, released by Black Opal Books on April 30, 2011. Now, to be honest, the problems I experienced with Blood Fest: Chasing Destiny weren’t all my publisher’s fault.

The first problem came to light about three weeks before the book was supposed to be released. One of the beta readers discovered a plot inconsistency that was missed not only by me, but by three editors as well. But it was a problem that readers would have caught in a heartbeat. As a result, I had to rewrite nearly half the book. In two weeks! To give you a brief idea of the problem, when the shifters, or Weres, in my world mate, they have what I call werespeak, the power to communicate telepathically with their mate up to a range of 400 miles, should they happen to be apart. However, I forgot this small detail as I wrote the last half of the book, in which two of my characters were mated. The power to speak telepathically made a BIG difference to the plot. As you can see, it had to be fixed. My editors at Black Opal were great. They spent a lot of late night hours working with me on the revisions. My local writing group was also a big help. Although, some of them wanted to start a betting pool on whether or not I’d get the book finished on time. At one point, I honestly didn’t know whether to put $20 on myself to finish in time or to put $20 on myself to miss my deadline. But in spite of it all, we managed to get the book released on time.

So imagine my chagrin after going through all that when I discovered a draft copy of the book had inadvertently been uploaded to the ebook distributors. Although, the mistake was not really the fault of my publisher, they took full responsibility. They also took measures to ensure that anyone who had purchased a draft copy got a free replacement copy of the correct version. I have heard, although I’ve luckily never had to suffer through the experience, that some publishers just ignore these kinds of mistakes, leaving their author to apologize to her/his fans and beg those fans to come back and buy the next book the author puts out. So I was very relieved to find I had a publisher who actually cared and tried to make it right.

The print version comes out today, and at least I know that is the right version. I’ve seen the proof. So I’m hoping my nightmare experience in publishing is over. I have the second book in the Blood Fest series, Blood Fest: Cursing Fate, under contract with Black Opal, and it is supposed to be released in October of this year. So as long as there aren’t any last minute plot problems, when Cursing Fate is released, it should be a breeze. If I didn’t think I’d jinx myself, I would say it couldn’t be any worse than Chasing Destiny. But if there is one thing I’ve learned about life, it’s that things can always get worse.

Award-winning author, Pepper O’Neal is a researcher, a writer, and an adrenalin junkie. She has a doctorate in education and spent several years in Mexico and the Caribbean working as researcher for an educational resource firm based out of Mexico City. During that time, she met and befriended many adventurers like herself, including former CIA officers and members of organized crime. Her fiction is heavily influenced by the stories they shared with her, as well her own experiences abroad.

O’Neal loves a good romance but that feels today’s readers deserve more than just the same old love story. So O’Neal writes Romance on the Edge of Your Seat—romantic thrillers with pulse-pumping action, mind-numbing suspense, and heart-warming true love. She attributes both her love of adventure and her compulsion to write fiction to her Irish and Cherokee ancestors. When she’s not at her computer, O’Neal spends her time talking long walks in the forests near her home or playing with her three cats. And of course, planning the next adventure.