May 31, 2014

Guest Post from author Raven McAllan

A little racy, a little daring... you can always expect this talented author to happily deliver the unexpected... I have Raven McAllan here today talking about her latest release. (Caution adult content to follow.)

Thanks for inviting me over Stacy. I love to go visiting.
Living in Scotland I'm spoiled for choice where I chose to set my stories. And of course I end up with so many set near where I live,
As someone said to me, blimey, your neck of the woods isn't half kinky! I seem to have created two BDSM clubs in Glasgow, (The Dance Studio and Dommissimma) and one in a restored castle not too many miles away.
That's Diomhair, which is Gaelic for Secret, and the castle I based it on is about 15 miles from where I live.
I hold my hand up and admit though, I do mix my scenery up at bit. I don't want some poor unsuspecting homeowner to be faced with someone wanting to look around his house.
My first book in the Diomhair series has just been released.

Secret. What's happens there stays there.
It doesn't matter whether you want to learn or teach, be in control or controlled, Diomhair could be the place for you.
The ruined castle deep in the Scottish countryside had been rebuilt into an exclusive, private, BDSM club, where people could learn about and enjoy the lifestyle.
Not everyone approved, and not everyone appreciated it, but for those who did and fit the criteria, it was somewhere to go and be themselves, relax and play.
And if you found love there, your own perfect match, well that could only be a bonus.
For isn't the secret to true love the biggest secret of all?

Book One is Secrets Shared.

Jess is looking forward to her night out. Anticipation turns to dismay when she finds out she is being taken to a BDSM club.  After a disastrous experience in her past, Jess wants nothing to do with the life style.
David is doing a favour for a friend, and he is instantly attracted to the fiery Jess. The experienced Dom recognizes Jess's bluster for what it is—Fear. There is no doubt in his mind that Jess is submissive, but getting her to accept that fact will take some doing.
When Jess does give into her secret desires, can she truly let go, and be the sub David is looking for, or will she hold onto her secrets?
David is determined to help her, but it is up to Jess to accept. Will she break his heart or can they find a common ground from which to build a relationship.

Here's a wee tease

“Look, if I have to go to this stupid place, can we get it over and done with?” Jess tapped her toes. “I’ve better things to do with my time than spend it somewhere like that.” And, her tone inferred, with people like David.
David stared at her until she fidgeted. He looked down at her feet until the tapping ceased then raised his glance to her face once more.
“Don’t knock what you don’t know, pet.” He used the sobriquet on purpose, and as he’d expected, she bristled. Like a hedgehog—my God, she’s prickly.
“Woof woof, and don’t call me that. My name is Jess, and if you insist on not using it, you can go whistle.”
David wondered just what she’d do if he put her over his knee? If it hadn’t been for the worried expression on Kath’s face, he might well have challenged Jess. Not now, plenty of time for that later.
“Jess, please,” Kath said in a soft voice. “Argue with Jeff not David. He’s been asked to drive us, nothing else.”
Jess bit her lip.
One day I’ll show you what happens to subs who mutilate themselves like that. Subs? David had never been so certain about something in his life. Not only that, if she opened up and admitted it, he knew damned fine who would be her Dom.
“Well?” He kept his tone harsh, and couldn’t help but enjoy the trickle of satisfaction that filled him as she swallowed hard and eventually inclined her head.
“Fine, okay and under protest. But only so I can tell Jeff where he can shove his investments.” She slid into the back seat and held her handbag across her front like body armour. With an apologetic glance at David, Kath followed her.
He made a mental note to ask Jeff about her later. His remit from the owner of Secrets— he still couldn’t get his tongue around Diomhair and used the English word—had been brief. Could he collect his partner and his sister and bring them to the club. Jeff had mentioned his sister was part owner and had never visited before. What he’d neglected to mention was her antagonism. As David drove along the road it hit him in waves.
“Not a chance, Kath. No fucking way. You’re screwy, hell are you expecting me to agree to that? Well, sorry and no dice.”
The fierce argument held behind him didn’t add to his hope that not only was she a willing owner, but she might be a willing participant in what happened between the walls of Secrets. And she needs to sort the swearing out. If there was one thing David didn’t like it was foul language coming from such an attractive mouth.
“You’ve got to. Everyone does at first.”
“No, not in a million years.” The statement was emphatic, and he wondered just what Kath had said to Jess. “Then just stop the car and let me out, now.”
A thump on his shoulder made him jerk and wince. It seemed the lady meant what she said and packed a mean punch for emphasis.
He looked in the mirror to see Kath’s distressed face glare at him in a ‘don’t you dare stop’ look. He didn’t.
“Hey, are you deaf? I said stop the bloody car.”
A second, harder thump was enough to make him jerk the steering wheel, and the car swerved. David swore under his breath and controlled it in one swift movement. He began to dream up punishments he’d be more than happy to dish out. Along the lines of the lovely Jessica wide open for him, her hands bound and her ass full.

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May 24, 2014

22,000 words

It might as well be my Mt Everest. Last October, I submitted an 18k Valentines's Day story for an open call for submissions. I received an 'R' response, but some very constuctive feedback. Part of which included lengthening the story to 30k or even 50k. I am still trying to pump up my word count. I've only written one story above the 50k mark so far. Rejected for publication (I only sent it to one house), it sits on a digital shelf in my laptop waiting. I find it far easier to write novella length. But I am pushing out of my comfort zone and I hit 28k on my wip this week. Only 22,000 words to go.

May 15, 2014

Achieving Balance

Life is too busy. People are always connected... people are always on...  except us... my husband and I don't have a smartphone (yet) although he bought me an iPad for Christmas. If you're always tuned in, when is there time to decompress? Relax? In between time devoted to spouses, kids, work, housework, errands, sleep? I love my family. I acknowledge the necessity of work and sleep. But where can I find some 'me' time?

I crave balance. I wish I could relax more, but I am a complete type A personality. I play when the work is done. And the work, it seems, is never done. My list grows longer, my day grows shorter. And it's time for bed and almost time to do it all over again. And everyday I tell myself that this will be the day I have time to do something special for my husband and/or my boys; I'll be the best ever. :) By day's end, I'm exhausted. What is left to give?

All day long we manage. The morning routine is lovingly dubbed "the getting ready olympics" and then it's off to my paid job for 7.5 hours. When the digital clock strikes 4:30 pm, I pack away my papers, shut down my computer, and head for home. For 10-15 minutes (depending on how fast I walk), there is quiet; I can breathe. No crazy work people, no hyper kids, no housework. I love my commute. It's the best one I've ever had (lol... haven't worked from home yet) and my walk home is the most peaceful time of my day. When the kids go to bed is a close second. Don't get me wrong... I love my boys... But most parents understand that bed time for kids = happy time for parents. Kids drain all your energy and come back for more. But I love them. Even at 6 am... a full 15 minutes before my alarm interrupts my vivid, movie-like dreams. Yes, even then.

If only I could write and walk at the same time. Although I sometimes use my commute walk home to review my latest WIP and plot. It's a good time to think.

Balance. Putting the stressors of the day behind and seeking enough of a recharge to get through the "going to bed olympics" which starts with dinner, baths, stories, and a bedtime glass of water. Sigh. I'll miss the boys when they grow up. My baby turned 4 today. I brought out his baby book and showed him. He's not a baby anymore. Next year he goes to kindergarten.

I do love my family, but I wonder what I did with my time before I had kids. Busy boys, never ending cascade of work... <shrug> No life is perfect. Maybe there's no such thing as balance? Or, maybe, this is balance. One hug from my little guys and everything is right in my world. And I'm ready to do it all again tomorrow. Good night.

May 2, 2014

How I Write a Believeable Character

I find most times my characters pick me... not the other way around. But, like a parent, I mold them into the people they grow up to be. And, sometimes, I don't succeed in making them believable on the first try. The harshest criticism I ever received was that my heroine (I forget the story, but it was a contest, I believe, posted online) was TSTL. First of all, I had to google "TSTL" and when I realized it meant "too stupid to live", I was heart broken. Did that mean I, too, was TSTL? Well, at least, I had succeeded in one respect - invoking a response from a reader - just not exactly the one I'd been hoping for...

I didn't receive that comment yesterday, but it has stuck with me. Pushed me to (hopefully) create more believable characters. The trouble is in finding the perfect balance... telling the reader what they need to know about the character, demonstrating their behaviour consistently, and, at the same time, not overdoing it. There's such a thing as too much information. The reader needs to understand what you know - on a need to know basis - without long, heavy, unnecessary verbage. Easy? Not a chance.

I base my characters' appearance loosely on real people (famous and otherwise), but I let their personalities evolve a little on their own. But now, when the story is finished, I ask that all important question - are they believable characters? And, sometimes, counter with - are they supposed to be? :) There are, after all, many "real" people who are completely unbelievable!

Happy writing/reading! And happy Friday!