School’s out for the summer! And so am I. Ahead of me are five wonderful weeks of relaxation and freedom, as I enjoy time with family overseas we only get to visit once a year, catch up on my pleasure reading (and pleasure of all kinds, for that matter), and indulge myself in excessive quantities of food, wine, and sex. In other words, I’m going on vacation.
And so are my books! From June 25th – August 5th (yes, I know, I have an awesome vacation schedule), a large selection of my work will be available for FREE on Smashwords and AllRomance eBooks.
So what does that mean for you? Well, quite simply, it means click on all the links and read erotica to your heart’s content, for the beach bum vacation price of nothing. Now that’s summertime freedom! (As usual, I only request that if you read it, you leave a review. Reviews make indie authors smile!)
Here’s what’s free for you this summer:
One Night To Tango : a hot-blooded one night stand… with ball gowns. (Permanently free on Amazon, Smashwords, and ARe)
Taking the Reins : sweet & sexy cowboy romance at the horse show! (Permanently free on Amazon, Smashwords, and ARe)
Lemons in their Slippers: an erotic romance retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses (with all the good bits…) Smashwords or ARe
Football Her Way : lots of halftime fun in the marital bed of this adventurous couple! Smashwords or ARe
Her Birthday Breeding : purely for fun (and, you know, to channel that primal reproductive beast within each of us), join a vibrant married couple and their sexy stud-for-hire in a birthday party to remember. Smashwords or ARe
Not So Square : this accountant isn’t as square as he originally seems… and what he does with clothespins might change the way you look at laundry forever. Smashwords or ARe
Sheba’s Lovely Maidens : a sensual visit to King Solomon’s Court in the encourage of our magnificent Queen of Sheba. Smashwords or ARe
Queen of Beauty : Nefertiti lives again! A story of the love, sacrifice, and passion that grows with maturity. Smashwords or ARe
An Amazon’s Equal : this is the big freebie, so grab it now! Novel-length erotic romance, featuring an Amazonian feminist fantasy, sexy Greek warriors, and true love. Smashwords or ARe
Also, stay connected on Wattpad to follow the story of my current work in progress, Major Arcana: sex, love, and Tarot. It’s more than halfway done now, so you can use your summer reading time to catch up! (Plus, always free to read on Wattpad, at least until it’s done. Be sure to check it out!)
There is a ravine near my house, so deep and steep even the most bloodthirsty developers shied away. In the early 1900’s it was gifted to the city and has been a park ever since. Walking there is like stepping back in time. Though no longer an old-growth forest, filled with mossy megaliths of interminable age, as it once was, the park still has the feeling of primeval nature. Towering sworn ferns compete with ancient horsetails, fighting for dominance in the swampy creek bed between the trees. Salmonberry canes sprout up here and there, as well as skunk cabbage, dandelions, weeds. The street roars above on a sculpted metal bridge, but in the ravine it is nearly silent. Nature quietly asserting her eternal dominance.
In the center of the ravine a tiny creek flows. Free to the sky for only for a little while before spilling once more into the underground pipes beneath the city, yet it burbles quick and clear, full of life, in the same track carved by its ancestral waters generations ago. Here and there wooden plank bridges cross it, so people and their dogs can walk across instead of dirtying their shoes in the viscous mud along the banks. It is rich mud, fragrant mud, the mud of life.
Once, my husband and I saw an owl, just sitting there on a branch above the creek. So amazing, to see such a wild bird in the heart of the city.
Hiking back up the ravine, I strode on the carcasses of trees dead so many years ago, their great-grandchildren have long since become lumber. Life and death mingle in every aspect of the forest, as seedlings rise from fallen trunks, mushrooms nibble away at stumps, and rain beats it all into a mush. It is beautiful, and ancient, and pure. It could be any time and any moment.
In the forest, I would not be surprised to find a herd of Diplodocus dinosaurs just around the bend. Likewise, it would not amaze me to come upon a futuristic city in the treetops.
If ever there was a portal to another world, it would be there.
Part of the writing process is letting work sit for a while – a couple weeks at least – before editing it. You have to take some distance if you want to really catch areas that can be improved, plot holes, ugly sentence structure, typos; that kind of thing. Usually, I begin to hate my work in progress about three quarters through (where it becomes a slog), and I’m thoroughly sick of it by the time I type The End, so this break is useful. When I get back to it, chances are I’m happy with most of what I wrote, and only need to make a few changes before getting it out there.
But yesterday I went back and reread one of my pieces. And I’m embarrassed to say, it was kind of bad. Reading what I had accomplished those months ago, I was appalled by my use of semicolons. (Seriously, why was I using all those semicolons?!?) Characters I’d been happy with seemed flat, when exposed to the harsher eye of now. Even the sex scenes didn’t do it for me the way they should. In short, it just wasn’t that good.
Not sure what happened. Part of it was the length restriction. Now I realize I have been lazy, giving myself all the words I like to tell a story, instead of forcing myself to get it in under a certain word count. (Want to check out a master of great erotica with specific word count? Go read Interludes: A Collection of Short Erotic Fiction, by Harmony Kent. All fabulous stories, and so impressive how she keeps them focused and well crafted in each length. An excellent collection!) Basically, I am dissapointed in myself.
So next steps are to stick it on the back shelf for now, finish up my current (and currently dragging) work in progress, and then let that sit while I revisit, revise, and rewrite the poor, mediocre story. It has the bones to be good, I know it. Just needs a little love and a hell of a lot of editing!
As most of you know, I am an avid lover of history. What fascinates me most is how human nature has stayed the same, in all its glory and ugliness, throughout the ages. That’s why I can write (what I hope is) convincing stories set in the far ancient world, where people live in times and cultures so different from my own. Because at the root of it we all want the same things our ancestors did. The beauty of historical fiction is its ability to transport you into another time, another person’s shoes. That is what author Beem Weeks is trying to do with his latest book, Jazz Baby.
Why Did I Write Jazz Baby?
Jazz Baby began life as a series of recollections. As a child and young adult, I grew up hearing the stories of my grandparents’ era. They came of age in the 1920s and 1930s. My grandfather ran bootleg whiskey and mixed with dangerous sorts of men—and women. While Jazz Baby doesn’t deal with any specific details from my grandparents’ lives, the spirit of their era is what comes through on those pages.
What Jazz Baby is meant to be is a trip into the year 1925; a shared summer with one young girl trying to find her way in life, in the world of her day. I spent untold hours in researching the era and that region of the country, and human behavior in general. The thing about human behavior is it doesn’t change, no matter the era in which we live. Stories from that era, many told to me by my grandfather, seem to suggest that the young people from the 1920s sought out the same things young people from the 2010s search after.
These weren’t asexual, sober, boring people back then. Not even close. The stories I heard, either directly or through eavesdropping, told tales of young and vibrant lives, of men and women on the prowl for good times, cheap booze, and dirty sex—not at all different from today. The thing is, today we see our grandparents (mine are long dead) as old people who spend a lot of time in church, doing good and Godly things. But they were young once. Young, and quite different from what they are today. As humans grow older, we mature and change. It’s part of the life experience. Regrets are born in old age, never in youth.
I found it interesting that opium was a popular recreational drug in use during that era. Marijuana grew wild in parts of the country, going unmolested by the local authorities, many of whom would consider it silly to dedicate time, money, and effort in trying to eradicate a weed. The young people of the 1920s, the partiers, were the very ones partaking of these forbidden fruits.
The thing is, I could have set Jazz Baby in any era and achieved similar results. But writing about a time and place I’ve never known became a challenge I was eager to tackle. And while it took me the better part of eight years from outlining to publication, this is the one story that made me a better writer, and more importantly, a better storyteller.
So while avoiding actually sitting down and writing – a common occurrence lately; creativity languishes when real-life pressures start compounding (the cure for which is plenty of TV shows, I have found) – I came across this treasure. Actually, it was highlighted on NPR (see this article) and I just had to give it a try. Yes, it is a newer, sparklier, just-as-hot and equally-as-much-fun, version of Sex & The City!
In Accra, Ghana.
And it’s fabulous!
All the quirky girlfriends are there, each one a personality condensed into essential character traits, yet still relatable as a person. Yes, just like our old friends Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte. They are modern women who want it all. Sophisticated women, educated in the USA and England, coming home to Ghana and its dubious relationship offerings. (Great business ops, though!)
In short, it’s everything Sex & The City was, and just as good now as when I used to do marathons with my own girlfriends in college. I love that some truths stay the same no matter when they come about – money troubles, annoying family, and hilariously bad dates certainly included! I love that it’s set in West Africa, where I spent some vivid years of my own. I love that the experience of participating in these romantic ups and downs of life is making the rounds of the world. It’s feminist, it’s fun, and it’s about time!
If you’re even vaguely curious, you must absolutely check it out. An African City – all on Youtube. Here’s the link to the first episode. Enjoy!