A Tribute to Jack Young

Ravenous Wednesday has been going on for about a year now, I guess, maybe longer. Ever since we started we’ve had a few regular visitors and posters who have made up the core of a very special group of writers, readers, friends and fans. Without taking away from anyone else in the group, I think hands down we all had a favorite: Jack Young.

I ‘met’ Jack years ago after he emailed me about a story of mine he’d read on Homepageofthedead.com. I emailed back and thus our friendship was born, started over a mutual passion for zombie fiction and film, bolstered by our respective love of animals (especially cats), and continually fed by Jack’s optimistic spirit, kindness and passion for literature and life. He supported my writing, picked up my spirits when I was down with his insightful and enthusiastic comments, and always made me feel that it was a two way street and that our friendship brought something positive to his life as well. It didn’t matter that we’d never actually met in person. As Adele said, it’s the impact a person makes on your life that counts and not necessarily the time spent sitting next to them. And Jack’s impact on my life was huge and 100 percent positive.

Jack was a regular visitor to Un:Bound. He added to the conversation every time, the kind of guest you want to have at any occasion. We all loved his comments so much that I asked him to be our special guest and write a post for the rest of us to enjoy. In Jack’s honor and memory, I’m rerunning his Halloween post below and leaving up all the comments that were posted in response so you all can get an idea of why Jack Young was so special. Please add to the comments below with your own memories and thoughts of Jack.

I don’t feel I’m doing him justice at all right now… but I know all of you who shared the Un:Bound RR Wednesday virtual parties with Jack know what I mean.

I’m cracking open a bottle of bubbly to celebrate Jack’s life and the joy he brought to all of us. Jack, here’s to you. You will be missed more than I can possibly express.

It’s October, and most of my thoughts turn to “the other side” of things. You know what I mean. It’s called by many names: the Dark Side, the Other World, the Happy Hunting Ground, and, yes, the Land of the Dead.

I was born, you see, the day after Halloween, and to a child this meant the time of endless goodies: Trick or treating the night before and a lot of birthday goodies the next day.

Only with time did I come to a second conclusion, mainly that Halloween had marked me, even though I escaped birth on that day by merely two hours.

How was I marked?

Well I’ve always been overly interested in ghost stories (beyond that of the average child my age). Make a reference to a spooky event and you have my solid attention. I still never tire of hearing about someone’s weird or paranormal experience, and I never tire of reading pure ghost stories, either fiction or non-fiction.

Have I had such experiences myself? I have not but have learned to trust certain people who have. You can usually tell when someone is “performing” or relating a particularly shocking experience. Am I really this naive? Probably. But again when someone such as Dana describes an experience at ghost hunting (as she does in her MC article Hunting Ghosts) then I have no reason to believe that she is not telling the truth. ( She also gives a personal experience from her childhood in Things That Go Bump describing an incident which would have sent me on a screaming run. She recognizes that the experience may have been “more of gravy than grave” but still shows a strength beyond what any other child might have done.)

One of the attractions of RR for me is that several novels and stories step across the border from the “normal” (whatever that is) into the so-called “paranormal”. Ghosts, shamen, wiccans, incubi and succubi,and, lately, zombies wander in and out like “normal” travellers wander through strange and foreign cities. The authors certainly write as though such “interventions” were possible. Are these stories based on genuine experience? You’d have to ask them. Certainly they all reflect the belief that such things just might be.

But belief is not necessary for a good ghost or horror story. The greatest practitioners of this particularly “dark art” did not: H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, M. R. James, H. R. Wakefield, E. F. Benson did not. M. R. James went so far as to declare himself ready to hear the evidence and consider it. HPL ( who adopted the philosophy of atheism) certainly did not. (How ironic that his major creation The Necronomicon, has become “Sacred Scripture” of certain occultists, who have had to actually write the book in order to give it the reality it never actually possessed. HPL must be spinning in his grave at Swan Point Cemetery.)

Stories are motivated by the characters in them. They’re about people attempting to get through lives with the usual worries, struggles (financial and otherwise) while hopefully finding that the much touted concept of “love” is as real and sweet as it is cracked up to be. The intrusion of the paranormal can add to these burdens, though sometimes it can actually prove the hidden solution to most of the character’s problems. Presuming it exists at all (and the jury is still out) the paranormal is simply another factor of life on this planet and not always a negative factor. As with most speculative fiction, there is much territory still to explore.

My own preference as a reader is for the spooky, the scary, the dark shadow which reaches from wherever to produce the chill which turns into “goose flesh”. Stories of the flesh eating dead which, by the way, is one of our oldest and darkest nightmares. It’s enshrined, for example in the oldest epic of the lot: The epic of Gilgemesh. (Which also produced the earliest account of a massive world wide flood which comes down to us as the story of Noah in the Bible.)

So to all of you who practice “the dark art” of spooky fantasy, this reader while preferring to be scared out of his gourd bids you to write what you see of this as yet unknown world impinging upon ours.

What the…! Just thought I heard someone whining (or was that screaming) outside somewhere. Probably just the wind. There IS a storm kicking up. Sure. Just the wind.

Or maybe not. I’m glad the doors are all locked. I should be safe enough. Now to continue my book: Stephen King‘s IT, just in case you were wondering….

See you around. Maybe.

Ravenous Wednesday with Kristabel Reed!

Howdy, all, and welcome to another edition of Ravenous Wednesday! They’ve been a bit sporadic the last few months because yours truly (that’s me!) has been overwhelmed with work, writing, and promotion for the writing. There are times when adding one more item to my ‘to do’ list is enough to send me over the edge, which is never a good thing. I tend to scare my cats and my boyfriend when this happens, so I’ve learned to slow it down a bit.
Given this schedule, the subject chosen by our guest author for her post today is eeriely apropos. And no, I did NOT put her up to it !
So I’d like you to welcome Kristabel Reed, new to Un:Bound, as she talks about just why the song Time is on Your Side is one big fat lie in her case. 🙂 Take it away, Kristabel!

I first discovered this blog months and months ago when I was originally published in Ravenous’ Once Upon a Threesome Anthology. Since then, Dana has asked me to do a blog (I still have that email!) and I jumped at the chance and said yes! Of course I’d love to do a blog…

And then time passed.

And then more time passed.

And here it is, November. (Technically, as I type this, it’s October 30 so there!)

Why did it take me so long to do this? The short answer is time. It is not on my side, no it isn’t, Mick! The longer answer is that I suck at juggling. I have a family and day job, then try to squeeze in writing time between it all. I won’t tell you I’m at work typing this.

Using the computer is a huge time-suck. OK, that wasn’t a revelation to anyone, I’m sure.

But once I get online, weed through the junk email, the personal email account, the online bills, the online banking, do any writing-related research I need, I don’t have time for much else. Facebook? Myspace? I’m not on either. I don’t have a Youtube account, a Twitter account, a Yahoo Group, or a newsletter, and I’m not planning on getting any of the afore mentioned. I don’t have a website, either, and can’t imagine the time it’d take to make one.

I blog. Poorly. My blog is updated MAYBE 4 times a month. Five if I’m feeling particularly guilty about not doing anything with it.

Who has the time? I suppose if there was no family, dog, or job, I could while away my days online, but until I hit the lottery, my books go viral or some rich aunt I’ve never heard of let alone met dies and leaves everything to me and me alone, in some tax-free offshore haven, time is a limited commodity.

I barely have time to read the news, let alone people’s status updates. I can’t keep up on the blogs I do follow, so end up not commenting on anything even if I enjoyed the post.

How do you manage? How does everyone else do it?

Join the conversation and then make sure to visit Kristabel on her blog!

Ravenous Romance

Hi all, for those of you dropping by for Ravenous Wednesday, due to everyone’s insane work loads it’s been postponed till next week, but it will be back and as awesome as ever. In the meantime in the next 24ish hours there should be something new up about our sekrit project so pop back later and see.

Ravenous Wednesday with Special Guest Kit Marlowe!

So today we have another special guest … one I’ve not yet met. She is a friend of our own Kate Laity and C. Margery Kempe, which means she’s bound to be trouble on the hoof. In the best possible way, of course!

Ahem… 🙂

I don’t know what Kit’s post will be about as this is a case of me begging for someone to write something for today’s RR Wednesday. Yes, someone lost track of the time, day of the week, home address, you name it… So luckily for me Kate and Margery said they’d do the equivalent of a literary press gang and get Kit to be our guest.

I do know Kit is a writer of historical fiction with humor. How do I know? It says so on her website here. Being Kate and Margery’s friend, I’m betting she enjoys a tasty alcoholic libation now and again. I will be very disappointed if all she wants is a pot of tea. I won’t know this until a bit later – I’ve been told Kit will be sending me a post later this evening, which means this intro might serve as a placeholder to let everyone know we are indeed having Ravenous Wednesday today, but SOMEone (BAD Inara/Dana) didn’t get her act together this week…

Ooh, and the placeholder can now give way to the actual post, so please welcome Kit Marlowe to Un:Bound!!

Cant, Argot and Jargon

Kit Marlowe

I love language!

I know, I know: all writers do, but I love the superfluity of language that supplies slang. I think in part it’s like knowing a secret handshake or being part of an exclusive club. I specialize in rather obscure languages: for my graduate work I studied Old English, Middle English, Old Norse, Old Irish, Old High German, Middle High German, Modern German, Modern Swedish, Modern Icelandic and Latin (whew!).

But what I really love most are informal vocabularies that define a time or place. In my forthcoming novel, The Mangrove Legacy (coming in November from Tease Publications) I used a lot of Regency era cant even though I often stretched the narrative to a later time period. But the cant from that period was so much fun! I first learned it from the pen of Georgette Heyer, whom I first learned about from the fabulous Stephen Fry, who listed Heyer among his guilty pleasures on his 50th celebration.

The slang from that time is so rich: “foxed” means you’re drunk, as does “disguised” and “tap-hackled”—how quickly slang dates! But some terms can be easily understood even much later, like “swimming in lard” which refers to someone with considerable wealth, and “making a cake of yourself” which describes someone making a fool of themselves.

Often Cant and slang belong to a different—and often lower—class, marking out their standing verbally in any social situation, like rhyming Cockney slang—if you like your Tilburys pulled up as you head up the apple and pears or have done for yonks [I love the word “yonks”]. Like the thieves cant in the 18th and 19th centuries, the secrecy was a necessary part of things to keep from being caught.

Of course you can go to far and I always think of the Monty Python RAF sketch that shows what happens when people try too hard to develop a special patois for a given group and end up being completely incomprehensible. Sometimes, too, it comes back: a lot of the jazz age hipster terms I used in the novella I have coming out next month from Noble Romance, “The Big Splash” have not gone out of fashion.

Here’s an excerpt:

It would have been quite impossible for Constance to account for such a thing, but about forty-five minutes later she slipped into the table next to Mr. Wood at the Lorne Acorn. “Darling, what a day I’ve had!”

“How late you are, Constance,” Mr. Wood drawled, exerting as always as little effort as possible to make conversation, though his dark eyes caressed her form.

“I would have been much later had salvation not appeared this afternoon,” Constance said, perusing the menu with an eager gaze. “You’ll never guess what happened! How many martinis have you had?”

“Only two,” Mr. Wood said, leaning toward Constance to rest his rather large hand upon her thigh.

Constance hid a smile. “Do be a dear and order me one immediately. I think I ought to have some kind of beef for lunch. Meat will bring me back down to earth after my extraordinary good luck. I am quite giddy!”

Mr. Wood nodded to the waiter who whisked himself off to accomplish this task. Her companion’s fingers slipped across the ruffled length of her skirt to hook under its edge and begin drawing the fabric back to expose her stocking.

“Need I remind you that we are under the bright glare of luncheon lights, Mr. Wood?” Constance said severely even as the familiar tingle of desire warmed her thighs.

“I don’t know what you mean, Constance,” Mr. Wood said with a nearly believable tone of innocence.

“Why don’t you order the brisket? I have enjoyed it many times.” Why did nearly every thing he said seemed aimed to raise a blush? Or could it be merely his hand on her leg?

Constance closed her eyes to enjoy the sly touch of his fingertips along the top of her stocking and sighed happily. To think only this morning her life had been in disarray. Now everything had gone back to normal—well, as normal as her days ever got.

“Your drink, miss,” the waiter murmured, setting the delicate stemmed glass before her.

“Very good,” Constance said with a sunny smile, picking up the beverage with her slim fingers. “I shall have the brisket.” With practiced ease, she threw back the martini, which struck her throat with a cool thrill then warmed the path to her stomach. “And another martini,” she added. The waiter smiled, took her glass and backed away in silence.

“You’re lucky they have long tablecloths here,” Constance scolded quietly. Mr. Wood said nothing but leaned in to kiss her cheek sweetly even as his hand slipped deeply between her thighs, his pinkie just tickling the silk of her knickers as he did so. With an effort, Constance maintained her composure.

“Care for a cigarette?” Mr. Wood asked, a wicked smile curling his lips.

“Not at present,” Constance said. “I feel a trifle warm. Ah, here comes my second martini.” She put the cold glass to her lips and tried to ignore the insistent touch of Mr. Wood. “Don’t you even want to hear my news?”

“No, not especially at present,” Mr. Wood said, wiggling his defiant finger in such a delicious manner that Constance no longer wanted to discuss the changes in her household staff, important though they might be.

“Can we have the brisket to take away?” Constance asked the waiter with a sweet air when he arrived with the steaming plate. Within a few moments, the two were headed out onto the busy street where a cab arrived at once as if aware of their urgency. They made it all the way to her parlour before Mr. Wood dropped the neatly boxed lunch, grabbed Constance and pulled her into a kiss that was anything but polite.

“My mother does not approve of you,” Constance whispered fiercely when Mr. Wood extricated his tongue long enough for her to do so.

“Your mother can go hang,” Mr. Wood said unfeelingly as he reached under her skirt to run his hand down the front of her knickers, slipping two fingers under the elastic band and putting an end to any further commentary from Constance apart from a very quick “oh” that sprang from her lips…

Ravenous Wednesday with C. Margery Kempe!

Is it just me or does our Succubus mascot here kind of look like Kate Winslet? Why I only now just noticed this is one of life’s little mysteries and one that does not need to be solved. For we have far more important things to discuss today, the first being welcoming the lovely C. Margery Kempe back to Un:Bound!

First we had to get her and her evil twin, Kate, back from England where they gallivanted around the pub scene with our own Adele. For those of you who think I’m just a LITTLE jealous about this gallivanting … you’re totally right. 🙂

For those of you who’ve visited us here before, or, who are Ravenous Romance readers or writers, you will remember Margery as the author of one of my fave RR books, CHASTITY FLAME. Hopefully we’ll see a sequel to that in the near future! In the meantime, Margery and her evil twin (or is Margery the evil twin? I get so confused…) have been busily writing and publishing other stuff (see below for a list and links!). But luckily not so busy that she was unwilling to write a post for us today and stop by for drinks! Vodka martini, Margery?

Today’s post is about the lure of fairy tales. And may I just say I grew up reading the original Grimms Fairy Tales and was mightily disappointed at the lack of bloodshed in the Disney retreads.

Anyway, onto Margery’s post!

The Timeless Lure of Fairy Tales

My latest story for Noble Romance Love Me Like a Reptile is another fairy tale narrative. This time it’s set in the modern world, unlike my last one, Spinning Gold, an M/M tale set in the Middle Ages. Madeley, a young woman who works in a pub Thameside, wonders why it is that she always seems to be kissing frogs instead of princes—and then she meets a talking frog who promises he’s something more. Should she believe him?

Setting aside the Motörhead song that did inspire the title (no, not a big fan of Lemmy, it just got stuck in my head and ended up a story, as so often happens J), the real inspiration is of course the fairy tale of the Frog Prince. Spinning Gold grew out of Rumpelstiltskin. I’m already working on a Cinderella story, too.

That’s not all: under my real name, I have a fairy tale novel Pelzmantel out as well, based on All-Fur (also known as Thousand Fur) and my previous short story collection, Unikirja/Dreambook was also based on myths and fairy tales from Finland. But I’m not alone: my colleagues at Ravenous Romance and Noble Romance also write an awful lot of fairy tale stories, too, like Bednobs and Beanstalks and Rapunzel’s Release.

Why do fairy tales eternally return? We never seem to get tired of them. While most people know the Disney versions best (shudder), surprisingly few have read the Grimm versions upon which they were based, in turn based upon oral retellings of German and Alsatian women which were then shaped by the brothers to form a “national” heritage. The Kinder- und Hausmärchen had a political intent as well as a literary and linguistic one. The idea of a German nation (as well as many other European nations) did not exist until the 19th century. Just as a Neapolitan wouldn’t consider herself that same “nation” as a Sicilian at that time, the various republics had a local outlook, which the Grimms and many others thought should be united. The stories were a rhetorical device for forging that identity through a shared heritage of stories.

If you read the actual tales, you may find yourself surprised at all the clever servants who outwit their masters, parents who kill their children and siblings who actively fight against one another to the death. We forget how harsh life was in fairly recent times. In our time of relative comfort where children are coddled and made the center of their parents’ existence, it’s hard to imagine a time when parents might have to choose between children and survival.

But these are the stories that have sunk into our bones: tales of survival and magic. Across the world versions of these stories are told and re-told with different names and different details, but they have the same power. These narratives explore how we cope with danger, with grief and with opportunity—how we make choices at those pivotal moments. And that’s why they’ll never go out of style.

Excerpt from Love Me Like a Reptile:

Why do I always get the frogs? Madeley wondered for the umpteenth time as she wiped down the bar. They come on as such charmers, but once they move in—ah, well, it was the same old story. For the first few days after he left, the extra expanse of mattress was luxury enough, but the lack of sex was taking its toll. While she’d gotten rather creative with her sex toys of late, she had to admit there was no substitute for the real thing.

Marshall had lasted in her flat as long as he did only because he lasted so long in bed each night, bringing her to several exquisite peaks before coming himself. Of course, the way he always screamed, “Rock and roll!” when he came got up her nose, but compromise was part of life, or so her mum always advised. Good sex outweighed an annoying tick or two.

She sighed. It had been really good sex.

Madeley, can you take the rubbish out to the tip?”

Mr. Dudek poked his head out from the kitchen, his bland face looking concerned.

Madeley grinned. She was the only one who knew his secret—her boss was afraid of the dark. This strapping guy with the barrel chest, whose very presence could discourage the most belligerent drunk, trembled at the thought of facing the dark passage behind the pub.

“Yeah, all right.”

Madeley heaved the two bags into the skip and stretched her tired arms over her head, looking up at the sky. Not even a star to wish upon. Damn light pollution. She turned to head back into the pub when something caught her eye. Bending, Madeley squinted to see what had caught the thin beam of the security light.

It was a frog.

The pub lay so close to the river that it wasn’t a bit unusual to see all kinds of skittery creatures hanging around the bins. A salamander even appeared in the gents one night, but Noel swore someone had smuggled it in. Was there a large international ring of salamander smugglers, she’d asked him.

This creature, however, was no ordinary frog. For one thing, it was enormous. Madeley couldn’t be certain, but she would easily guess it to be more than twenty centimeters long. Gold streaks along its back glistened in the weak light, but the rest of its skin was a kind of olive green like fatigues. Most startlingly, its yellow-gold eyes appeared to be following her every movement.

Don’t be daft; it’s just scared. Madeley put her fists on her hips and took a step forward. “Shoo,” she said, her voice too loud in the darkness. The frog picked up its forefeet and adjusted its position slightly to follow her movements. She could almost hear the wet sound of those little green feet on the tarmac. A shudder of revulsion passed through her. Disgusting creature!

“Love me like a reptile,” Madeley said the words out loud to assuage her sudden discomfort. “Don’t make me laugh.”

“Frogs aren’t reptiles, you know.”

Madeley’s heart jumped into her mouth. She jerked her head right then left, but there was no one to be seen. Her eyes narrowed as she leaned toward the creature. “Who’s doing this?”

“I am,” the frog said, its mouth snapping with finality on the second word.

“Pull the other one,” Madeley said with a snort. “Noel?” It would suit his sick sense of humor, but as she cocked her head to listen, there was only the rush of the river out of sight, the gabble of passing crowds, and the cars whizzing by on the Embankment.

“Seriously,” the frog continued, its voice as reasonable as if the two of them had been chatting about the weather. “Frogs are amphibians, not reptiles.”

“Well, I guess you have your category for Mastermind.” Madeley shook her head, but it didn’t get any clearer. And the frog was there still, blinking its giant golden eyes at her.

“Will it help to tell you I’m enchanted?”

C. Margery Kempe writes sexy stories for people who appreciate a little humour with their steamy romance. Visit her website (http://www.cmkempe.com) or stop by Sundays at Nights of Passion (http://nightsofpassion.wordpress.com) for more.

Ravenous Wednesday | Open Forum

Our beloved Inara is crazy busy at the moment and since I can’t arrange a holiday in the Maldeves with a dozen gorgeous semi naked men to do her bidding, I am covering here instead.

Romance then, like all areas of writing has some bad, some excellent and many reasonable writers. It gets a hard time though, over all the genres it seems to draw endless criticism for bad writing, cliches, rubbish characters etc.

So today I open it up to all my wonderful Ravenous Wednesday folks and the passers by, grab a drink, pull up a cushion, mix your own cocktails as I lack Inara’s mad skils with a shaker and ice and tell me:

Why does romance get such a hard time?
Why are it’s critics wrong?
What are the best and worst experiences you have had of reading or writing romance?

Ravenous Wednesday with Rebecca Leigh

Howdy, all! Anothr Ravenous Wednesday here at Un:Bound and since summer has officially kicked in, I’ve mixed up a huge pitcher of mojitos and another of Top Drawer margaritas. Ice cold beer (the good stuff – you name it, we’ve got it), champagne, water for those not inclined towards decadence, and coffee for those needing to stay awake.
Since our guest today hails from Hawaii, I’ve also got a ton of fresh fruit (the best pineapple to be had) and am handing out virtual leis (no, not ‘lays,’ you naught people!) as well.
Rebecca Leigh is one of my favorite new writer friends, both because of her generous, sunny-natured personality and her writing talent. Okay, and also ’cause she shares my love of zombies. Although her zombie love (as you’ll read below) is a little kinkier than mine. 🙂 I’ve had the pleasure of reading what was then a work-in-progress and now a completed novel with what I have to admit is a pretty damn sexy zombie. Coming from an old school Romero zombie gal, that’s saying something! Anyway, I’m looking forward to No Brainer getting picked up asap by a smart publisher (perhaps Ravenous?) and maybe someday touring with Rebecca with our respective zombie novels! Wouldn’t that be sweet!
Anyway, please welcome Rebecca to Un:Bound and find out why she writes!
I Write, Therefore I am.
Sitting down to write this blog post I wonder . . . is there one concept that sums up who I am? The answer is yes. And the answer is no. Many things combine to make up who I am. They are:
I write. Erotic romance and erotica. You name it, I write it! 
I work. Although I do write a lot in my day job as an attorney, legal statutes and case law are not nearly as fun as hot, steamy sex! 
I have a husband and two kids who keep me busy when I’m not doing Number 1 or Number 2 (hmmm, that didn’t come out right). Did I mention my kids are young – they love potty humor!
I live in paradise. No, really – beautiful, sunny, warm-all-year-long paradise! 
But writing flows through every aspect of my life. 
I write at work. I write at home. I write on the beach. I write in the car. 
I write when I’m not busy with work, husband, kids, and going to the beach. 
I write because if I don’t I get really cranky. Seriously, my family could testify to my mood swings when days go by and I haven’t found time to write. 
I write in order to get the crazy characters in my head down on paper, calm them down, and let them live their own lives. 
I write because I love sexy, hot vampires. 
I write because I love zombies with a heart of gold. If you don’t think zombies can be sexy — then you haven’t yet met my zombies. 
I write because I love men. And women. And the men and woman whom they desire and who desire them right back. 
I write to stay sane. 
I write, Therefore I am. 
I write! 
What do I write? 
“Have Stake, Will Travel” about a dhampir vampire slayer who falls for a vampire is now available at Noble Romance Publishing: https://www.nobleromance.com/ItemDisplay.aspx?i=132
“Tea Time” about three 1950s woman who get together one every week for tea and sex is now available in “Once Upon A Threesome: An Erotic Anthology of Historical Ménage A Trois” at Ravenous Romance: http://www.ravenousromance.com/anthologies/once-upon-a-threesome.php
“Tight End” about a quarterback and his tight end is now available in “Tightends: An Erotic Gay Football Anthology” at Ravenous Romance: http://www.ravenousromance.com/m/m/tight-ends-an-erotic-gay-football-anthology.php
My next release is “One Way Trip” a short M/M space odyssey in which Captain Jay Marcos finds sex and love with a Martian, available on July 3, 2010 through Silver Publishing: http://silverpublishing.info/index.php?main_page=product_book_info&cPath=45_53_60&products_id=42&zenid=78f26649265d302d1eb388d9d3974d57
Other upcoming releases include two erotic legal short stories and a M/M steampunk novella!
I also recently finished my next novel – with a hot, sexy zombie that falls in love with a government employed zombie killer – “No Brainer.”
A straight-laced attorney by day, Rebecca Leigh gets lost in erotic fantasies at night. Those fantasies find their way into her steamy erotic romances. Visit Rebecca’s blog for more info about her!

Ravenous Wednesday

Which is hotter? Vampires or werewolves? I’ve seen several debates on the subject on various online forums/blogs and while the majority of votes seem to fall in the vamp camp (heh) there are definitely fans of shapeshifters out there and a lot of werewolf love floating around these days.

Personally whether or not one or the other floats my boat depends entirely on the characters and the skill of the author … and our guest today definitely stands a good chance of winning another vote for the werewolves!

Here to talk about the sexual appeal of werewolves is Ravenous Romance author Vanessa Vaughn. Judging by the excerpt she’s very kindly provided us, she’s put a lot of thought into the subject. And I expect her readers will do the same and quite happily. So please settle back, have a drink and a snack, and welcome Vanessa to Un:Bound!

The Secret Sexual Appeal Of The Werewolf

Vampires have long been the bad boys of paranormal romance. But werewolves are trending right now. We love the vampires’ ethereal beauty, their refinement, their hypnotic stares. But what is it about werewolves that is making us swoon?

Werewolves are beasts at heart. They’re animals. But that is part of their charm! Sometimes we long for an Alpha male who is ruled by instinct, someone willing to use their muscles and teeth and claws to claim what they want. Sometimes we prefer a man who is a little feral and dangerous. . .a man who wants to play rough.

Don’t get me wrong. I love a good vampire tale as much as the next girl. Vampires are elegant and beautiful. Their haunting stares make us forget ourselves and give in completely to our darkest desires.

But sometimes I long to read about a man who is a little more raw. And that is where werewolves come in.

Werewolves are controlled by a powerful urge to mate, just as vampires are controlled by a powerful urge for blood. But while the vampire’s urge is symbolic of sex, the werewolf’s urge is sex itself. What the werewolves feel is primal and savage. It is unstoppable.

Where vampires are elegant and pale and sensual, werewolves are all hard muscle and brute force. Both are the ultimate bad boys. Both make us to do kinky twisted things we never thought we would. Both can bite us savagely and make us part of their world. Both can even go too far and kill us.

But only the werewolf is truly transformed by his hunger. Only the werewolf loses all control and utterly forgets himself. That complete loss of control is what sets werewolves apart. For the werewolf, absolutely everything is permitted and nothing is held back. What he wants, he takes.

If that isn’t a recipe for hot sex, I don’t know what is!!!

Check out my new erotic werewolf novel Pack Of Lies. (Available now in ebook. Print edition coming very soon to Amazon!)


When Jack is attacked by a powerful werewolf one moonlit night, his world is forever changed. Marcus is that wolf, the strong leader of his pack, who never imagined a mere mortal could ever escape him, much less ever become one of his kind. And yet, as time passes, he can’t deny the handsome human is slowly beginning to change. No longer the civilized architect he used to be, Jack feels a new power coalescing inside of him. He barely even recognizes himself as he becomes more sexual, more impulsive, more wild in
every way.
But as the bite transforms him, it also binds he and his attacker together forever. The two share a powerful unbreakable link, no matter how forcefully they may each try to deny it. Marcus is already hiding secrets from the other wolves, and his position as Alpha is threatened. Could Jack be the new ally Marcus needs to set things right, or will their desire for one another draw them away from all they know and alter the course of their lives forever?


The moon.

That soft sensual glow is always with me. Even when I can’t see the night sky, I feel its dark caress.

As the moon’s phases change, it breathes a coy suggestive whisper in my ear. It presses close, and I feel its fingers brush my skin. That light sparks something inside of me. Something primal. It starts a fever somewhere deep and spreads like slow-burning fire through my limbs.

I can always sense the Change starting. The full moon’s strong hand curls around my throat. I feel its grip tighten like a man’s thick fingers on my neck. When that grip makes me suddenly lightheaded, my pulse quickens, and I sink quietly to my knees. I know I have to give myself over, and I know how impossible it is to resist.

Some humans dream about submission. They crave it, complete with soft tortures and the smooth caress of expensive leather. They want to be bound and made to feel wonderfully, blissfully helpless. They enjoy feeling compelled to give in.

Humans like to play with their toys.

But what do they know about pleasure and pain so naturally intertwined?

When the animal in me takes over, I feel sensations more intense than any whip could offer. My teeth descend to sharp lethal points against my tongue, and I feel the lovely, horrifying ache as bones lengthen and skin is stretched. But that ache only makes me smile.

In that instant of agony, my instincts wash over me like a hard drug flooding my veins. Desire takes over—the desire for sex and for the hunt—obscuring all logical thought, all worries, absolutely all guilt. I feel ecstasy as I flex my teeth and claws. I feel a need building urgently and unstoppably between my legs with an intensity that few experience.

So, you see, as the gut-wrenching agony of the Change grips me, so does the all-consuming pleasure.

Perhaps that is why we wolves prefer our hunts so vicious. And our sex so rough.

Visit Vanessa at her website!

Ravenous Wednesday with Isabel Roman (both of them!)

A lot of writers who work in different genres have split personalities; different pen-names and personas depending on what they’re writing at the moment. For instance, yours truly (that’s me!) write under the name of Dana Fredsti for mysteries, horror, and miscellaneous, and under the nom de plume Inara LaVey for erotic romance. Basically my mom knows if it’s under Inara, she probably won’t want to read it. 🙂 

And then we have Isabel Roman. You’ve met Isabel here before. You know her as the talented author of the Dark Desires of the Druids series published by Ravenous Romance (the ones with the absolutely gee-orgeous covers!) and frequent visitor to Un:Bound whether she’s the guest author or just visiting to support her fellow Ravenous writers. What you probably didn’t know, however, is our lovely Isabel not only writes under a pen name, but is actually two different people! But I’ll let Isabel tell you all about it. So settle in with a drink, enjoy the company and welcome to yet another RR Wednesday at Un:Bound!

Who Is Isabel Roman?

I’ve worked very hard on the mysteries for my romantic suspense novels. I’ve worked very hard on many mysteries: including that of my identity. Even Suspense Magazine (pages 16-17), who scoured the internet for clues about me, at first came up empty. And now, on Un:Bound, I’ve decided to unravel that mystery.

When I say I, I mean in the Queen Elizabeth II terms. The Royal We. I am Isabel Roman. And Isabel Roman consists of a We. Several years ago, a partnership developed between Christine Koehler and Marisa Velez where we collectively agreed to be known as Isabel Roman. Isabel for Marisa’s middle name, and Roman as a sexy shortened version of Christine’s grandmother’s maiden name, Romanowski. terms.
Why did we choose a pseudonym? Because we’re a 50/50 collaboration (with the legally binding contract to prove it) and we both wanted to be first. Somehow, over time, we’ve also become one half of the other’s brain.

Many people ask if we work twice as fast, since we’re two people. No. But you’d think we would! But no, we both work on every single scene in every single one of our stories. We’ve just managed to create an odd synergy with each other. It’s our combined voice that creates Isabel Roman—hence the I on everything we do!

So who are you really talking to when Isabel responds? Probably Christine, since she does most of the online stuff. But, since we do talk incessantly, Marisa knows everything that’s going on in Isabel’s world.

So why are we coming out now? Because we wanted our online friends to know the truth. And since we have two Ravenous novels coming out in bookstores this summer, we wanted to stave off the inevitable confusion of “So which one of you is Isabel?”
Honestly, it’s not as hard to write with a co-writer as you think. And there you have it, mystery solved.

Please visit both Isabels at their website!  And now that we’ve got you here, do you write under more than one name?  Are there more than one of you lurking under the umbrella of a singular pen name?  And if you’re a reader, how do you feel when you find out one of your favorite authors write under more than one pen name in totally different genres? 

Ravenous Wenesday with Dawn Jackson!

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Un:Bound and Ravenous Wednesday! When I was younger (how much younger, you ask? None of your business, I answer), I had a thing for bad boys. My first real crush, one that sent off my hormones and imagination into areas in which I had no real experience (okay, we’re talking about sex here) was Christopher Lee, a British actor well known for his portrayal of Dracula in several classic Hammer Horror films. The role, however, that first captured my thirteen year old imagination, was Rochefort, D’artagnan’s nemesis in Richard Lester’s The Three Musketeers, and its sequel The Four Musketeers. Not for me the young and impetuous D’artagnan or the suave Aramis. No, I liked the bad guy.

When Star Wars was released (I’m talking the first release in theaters, rug rats), I fell heavily into the Han Solo camp. A lot of my friends liked Luke because he had the whole young surfer thing going for him, but I liked the anti-hero. The guy who (until the end of the movie) was in it for himself. Dashing, charming, borderline sociopath. While I’ve grown up a bit since then and found an appreciation for charming nice guys, I still see the draw of those bad boys. And it’s on this topic that today’s guest, Dawn Jackson, expounds. So please pull up a comfy perch, have a drink and welcome Dawn Jackson back to Un:Bound!

Hi, my name is D.L. Jackson. I’m an author, daydreamer and world-building fanatic. I’m thrilled to be here and I’m even more excited to talk about one of my favorite subjects.

The bad boys of fiction.

The bad boys of fiction come in all shapes and sizes. Some we love, some we love to hate, but all add that something extra to a story that keeps you turning the pages. Sometimes they’re the hero, sometimes an anti-hero or villain and when they’re well developed, they can bring a novel to a whole different level.

Here are a few of my favorite bad boys from fiction.

We’ll start with Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars. Anakin was a slave who was freed, separated from his mother as a child and taken to another world to train to become a Jedi Knight. He later engages in a forbidden romance and secretly marries the love of his life. When he returns home, he learns his mother has been kidnapped by raiders and sets off to locate her. When he finds her, he’s too late to save her. Anakin destroys the village where she was being held hostage, killing every man, woman and child.

Even after he destroys them, he carries the guilt of his mother’s death instead of any regret for butchering the village and innocents caught in his path. He carries this guilt forward and it plays out later when he learns another he loves, Padme, will die in childbirth. He does everything he can to save her. He gives himself over to the dark powers of the force, turns his back on his friends, betrays the Jedi and murders young children in the Jedi temple. In the end, the power to save her costs him the one thing he couldn’t bear to lose, Padme Amidala.

Young Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal rising is a classic socio-path the reader should have zero sympathy for. However, the way Thomas Harris writes Hannibal is brilliant and I found myself relating to Hannibal on a deeply emotional level. He’s a villain. He’s evil and yet you can’t help but sympathize with his plight.

Harris takes the reader through the metamorphosis of a young innocent to a monster. During the transition the reader can feel Hannibal’s pain as he watches Nazi soldiers murder his mother and father and later murder and eat his baby sister. You see him as an orphan who is ostracized and as he grows into a troubled young man who moves in with his uncle and aunt. Later, when he finds those responsible for the deaths of his mother, father and sister, the reader understands the rage that drives him toward revenge.

Clyde Shelton. What can I say about Clyde? The recently released movie, Law Abiding Citizen, explores the dark side of a man who loses his family in a violent home invasion. Clyde is portrayed to be the victim, an innocent man caught up in a tragic situation, but that doesn’t last for long.

When the law releases the man responsible for the deaths of Clyde Shelton’s wife and daughter by accepting a plea bargain, it triggers a chain of events that change our victim into an anti-hero. Clyde sets off on a mission not only to teach the men who killed his family a lesson, but to punish the legal system that failed him. We soon learn who Clyde is, how deep the darkness has seeped into his soul and how far a man will go for vengence. We see a once loving father and husband dismember a man while he’s alive, kill several people in car bombings and murder a judge with her own cell phone. We get a look inside the man who holds a city hostage with fear. Is he justified or wrong? Is any vigilante?

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. A well developed bad boy can make or break a story. They can be the hero, the villain or both. Regardless what role they play, they all have one thing in common. They have layers. So if you like bad-boys, hold on. I’ve got a bad boy for you.

Ian Saefa is an enforcer, a member of a corrupted legal system and a futuristic version of a bad cop. My goal when writing Slipping the Past, my urban fantasy erotic romance with Liquid Silver Books, was to give you a villain that was nearly as developed as the hero and heroine. Like the examples above, I wanted him to have layers. He doesn’t run around chuckling in a deep evil laugh, doing nefarious things just to do them. He has a method to his madness, a reason to be what he is.

That being said, I’ve included a few excerpts that feature Ian in his current incarnation and past lives. They peel back the layers and give you a deep glimpse into the mind of a serial killer and a man that so desperately loved a woman, he would kill for her, again and again.

Here you meet Ian in a past-life as Justinus in ancient Rome. Below is a view through the heroine’s eyes.

Justinus eyed her from across the room. Handsome, powerful and wealthy, everything she should desire. He’d been a friend from childhood. They used to sneak out and ride together, play in the fields and they even learned about sex together. He’d been her first and at one time she thought herself in love with him. But lately he’d taken on a serious air, watching her with hunger, always questioning where she went and with whom.

“Where were you this night, Jocasta? I came by earlier.”

She shrugged and twisted a beaded bracelet on her wrist, a trinket Augustus purchased for her earlier. “Taking in the celebration.”

“Did you attend with someone?”

She glanced up and caught the look in his eyes. Fire. Lust. Her stomach fluttered. “Alone.”

“You shouldn’t go out unescorted. A beautiful woman could find herself in trouble. I might lose you to another lover.”

Jocasta laughed. “You tease me, Justinus. You’re not my lover.”

“I tease not. I’ve asked your father for permission to marry you. He has agreed that the arrangement would be quite satisfactory.”

“Marriage?” Jocasta’s heart thumped in her chest. She could do worse. She cared deeply for him, but regardless she could never love him, not like the Centurion with the amber eyes.

He rose from where he’d reclined and walked toward her. “I’ve loved you all my life.”

She tipped her head back and stared into his face. “You’re my closest friend and I love you as such, but not as intimately as you profess.”

“I hope it will become so much more.” He knelt before her, pulled a bundle wrapped in bright fabric from the folds of his military tunic and held out a jeweled collar. “I’ve had this brought this all the way from Egypt for you. I’ve heard Cleopatra wore something very similar. Here, take it, a small token of my affections.”

Jocasta glanced down at the beaded bracelet she wore and back at the lapis and gold collar. “It’s lovely.”

He reached forward. “Lift your hair.”

Jocasta shook her head. “I can’t take that. I’ve fallen in love with another.”

Justinus’s glared and a tick pulsed in his jaw. His black eyes looked darker, full of rage. “Who?”

“Does it matter?”


“His name is Augustus. He’s a Centurion.”

“Augustus?” Justinus’s eyes fell, a frown creased his face. Pain burned across his countenance.

“Justinus?” There was more there than he was saying. “Do you know him?”

“He’s my brother. Anyone but him. I can’t kill him, but I can’t let you go either. I could never let you go.”

Ouch. Jilted for his brother, but is that a reason to carry a grudge for centuries? In Ian’s mind–it is. This sets into motion a series of events that put Jocelyn Miller in danger of losing her soul.

Let’s move forward several lifetimes to Ian’s final incarnation and again we find ourselves in Jocelyn Miller’s head. She’s now homeless and on the run for past-life crimes. If she’s caught she won’t lose her life, she’ll lose her soul.

Yeah, the source. There was no way anyone would believe her over Enforcer Saefa. He was the best of the best, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t crazy and he wasn’t wrong.

She’d heard stories of the reading of her warrant and of Ian’s visit to the hospital nursery from her mother. Saefa had been fourteen at the time and was considered a prodigy. They claimed he was one hundred percent accurate when reading and not once had he been proven wrong.

He’d walked from basinet to basinet, studying each child, listening as they cried. A man followed behind him, recording everything he’d said. He’d stop every now and then to nod at a baby. Murderer, rapist, drug addict, he listed crime after crime in a cold tone, unconcerned those he accused were but days old and helpless to defend themselves.

Most he passed without mention, but when he’d reached her, he’d stopped, stood in place and stared down for over twenty minutes. When he began to speak he’d looked at her mother and smiled. “Murderess.”

You learn several things here. For one, the past hasn’t been kind to Ian and he’s got it in for Jocelyn. Not only that, he’s got power. Scary power. What you don’t see in the excerpt–he’s a reader, a genetically enhanced psychic referred to as a reaper for his ability to take souls, but more than that, Ian has a special gift he might be using to frame Jocelyn. Did he fake the warrant or did she commit the crimes? Is it Karma?

One last scene, twenty six years later. Here we have Jocelyn caught out alone at night and who of all people do you think she bumps into on a dark street?

The barking dog began to howl, long and painful cries. Jocelyn stopped and tipped her head to listen. Animals were sensitive to energies. Even someone not attuned to the sound would know something wasn’t right. A charge raced across her skin and she turned to peer into the darkness. A streetlight overhead began to buzz and pop. The light flickered and shadows danced across the sidewalk at her feet.

“Hello?” Jocelyn let go of her jacket. Her gaze swept the empty street. The darkness appeared empty. Something told her it wasn’t. Psychic senses or not, someone watched. She shifted her weight to the balls of her feet and braced. Two ways to flee, both into the dark. She could make a run for the room, but something told her she wouldn’t make it. That something had the hair on the back of her neck standing on end and that hadn’t happened since she’d last blacked out.


“Who’s out there?” Either she was sensing energy, or she was spooked by the howling dog. Since it took a lot to scare her, Jocelyn bet on the other.

“Jocelyn Miller.” The voice. Deep, familiar and not Gabriel.

S*!#. That would be the other one. She took two steps back and a gust blasted her from behind, lifting her hair from her shoulders. She whipped around and stared into the dark. Ice pelted her face and stung her cheeks.

She couldn’t see their aura. When he took her energy, Gabriel rendered her vulnerable to the Enforcers. Gone was her ability to see and sense them coming, an ability she could really use right now.

“Identify yourself.”

Somebody tsked. “And I thought we had something going.”

“Who are you?”

“Don’t you recognize my aura?” A man slid out of the shadows and pulled a staff from behind his back. She knew the face and the brand that scarred the side of his cheek and neck. She didn’t need to see his aura. The wind caught his charcoal hair and whipped the loose strands around his face. He stood there smoking in his boots. Two words described him. Lethal and sex. He was far from ugly, but if a girl played with him, she’d end up dead.

Jocelyn instinctively took a step back. Cloaked head to toe in black, Ian represented evil to its fullest potential, and could make the devil rejoice. “Psycho reaper.”

“Hello, love.” Ian stepped closer and spun his staff. No sparks like before, but she knew they were there. Every time she’d ever seen him, he was awash in angry red. “You’ve been a bad, bad girl, Ms. Miller.”

Um, so he’s not a toad. Ian is charming, attractive and dangerous. A lethal combination and a bad boy with lots of layers.

So there you have it, a glimpse at the villain and the bad-boy of Slipping the Past. For more Ian Saefa, Enforcers and reapers, check out my novel, Slipping the Past, available at Liquid Silver Books. http://liquidsilverbooks.com. For a chance to win a copy, leave a comment on this post and I’ll draw the lucky winners name on***date*** and announce the winner.

A big thanks goes out to Dana for her hospitality and allowing me to ramble on her site. Thanks to all who stopped by to visit and I hope I can blog again with you in the future.


D.L. Jackson

Visit Dawn’s Blog, Take it to the Stars