My Secret Favorite…

I know authors aren’t supposed to have favorite stories. Each new book should be better than the last, and therefore should surpass earlier works, in both quality and the writer’s fondness.

However, I’ve always had trouble living by the rules, and I’m breaking one today by saying that, of all the Ancients stories, The Girl With The Golden Eye (free on Amazon Jan.29-Feb.1) remains my favorite. Why, I cannot say exactly. Something about Khorshid’s character, her loneliness, her resilience, the inner hidden workings of her heart, draw me in. Of all of them, she resonates most in my soul — as does Ardeshir, the man who, finally, comes to find her.

Perhaps it has to do with where I was in life when I began writing it. I read the article about an ancient woman with a golden eye way back in college. I was probably 19 or so. The story bloomed in my mind — still as a budding writer, of course, not yet confident enough to put my work out into the world — and I just sat down, and wrote it. Naturally, it was crap. Which is why, ten years later, I took the time to revise it and bring it into its own. The time and care that demanded made me intimate with the setting and characters. They came from within me, perhaps more than the others. When I read it again, I am reminded of all I’ve done so far in my life, and the many possibilities that remain.

So please enjoy the last of the free “Ancients” stories: The Girl With The Golden Eye.

Read all about my inspiration here: A mystery from the grave

History as Fantasy

Historical fiction is always an exercise in fantastical thinking. However much research is done, artifacts unearthed, or primary sources studied, the past remains ever mysterious. When reading about people in the distant past — or present, if their culture is vastly different from your own — it’s important to let yourself be carried away by their reality, instead of attempting to compare it with yours.

This was the challenge I put to myself when writing my short story about the origins of foot binding in ancient China. (How The Lotus Blossoms — free on Amazon Jan. 26 – 29!) Sure, I can imagine how life might have been for a young woman with deformed feet, in the time before medical care. I can ponder how it might have felt to be torn from her family, sold away in the face of famine. I can channel her triumph and desperation, as she pours herself into one night of passionate seduction.

But can I ever truly understand her? No. At some level, Yao Niang’s character remains a mystery. Even though I created her, there are some things she never shared with me. And maybe that’s appropriate; like the past, we can only ever know so much. The rest is mere wonder, and imagination.

Grab your copy of How The Lotus Blossoms free today!

And Read the original article: Three-inch Golden Lotus: the erotic history and legend of bound feet in ancient China

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Seducing the Seductor

I’m back in the saddle after winning a bout against a monster cold virus (cough cough); it’s been going around. And I’ll celebrate my renewed good health with another free story giveaway! This one is Biblically flavored: Sheba’s Lovely Maidens.

At another point in my life, where I was also sick with some nasty bug, and didn’t have anything else to do, I went ahead and cracked open the complete (Protestant) Bible I got in the fourth grade. Promptly I went to Genesis, chapter 1, verse 1, and didn’t stop until the last page of Revelations. (Yes, I read the whole thing in one go — like I said, I had a long convalescence! And no TV.)

Anyway, all the really fun and crazy stories are — no surprise — in the Old Testament. It’s full of war, betrayal, rape, seduction, lies, incest, miracles, sex, foreign invaders, sacrifice (human and otherwise), prostitution, masturbation; basically, everything interesting. If you can get through the long lists of who begat who, you can find plenty to tantalize your imagination. However, even in the midst of this excitement, one chapter continues to astound me: the Song of Songs.

What’s a love song doing in the Bible? It’s beautiful poetry, but erotic too; there is lengthy description of the beloved’s body, not to mention what our lovers intend to do with one another. I have no idea how the book made it through the Council of Nicea. But there it is — and it’s wonderful. My favorite part of the whole Bible.

As an author, I couldn’t help but take that scene, and run with it. Why not throw the Queen of Sheba’s epic visit to King Solomon into the mix, as well? The result: your free story of the week, Sheba’s Lovely Maidens. Enjoy!

Read the original blog post: Untold Stories of the Bible: the Queen of Sheba

Somewhere in the Sahel…

The two years I spent in West Africa remain forever imprinted on my mind. Nothing in my life to date can compare to the intensity of my experience there. Though I’ve had many adventures since then (and no doubt will continue to!), nothing, perhaps, will ever equal it.

Whether that had to do with my age (a tender 22), my naivete, my cultural isolation, or any combination thereof, the Sahel has marked me. That strip of arid land, tenuously holding back the Sahara desert, is a place where people understand the value of water. More than anywhere else, perhaps, they rely on the vagaries of Nature to provide. This is especially true in the small, rural village where I lived. No road; no electricity; no plumbing. Most people there are subsistence farmers, and farming is only possible during the rainy season, a mere three months of the year. The rest of the time, water comes from one place only: the village well.

And who’s in charge of getting water? The women.

How many times I went to the well with them, worked the pulleys, filled our buckets? How many times did I carry home the full bucket on my head, cushioned by a roll of old scrap fabric? How many hours were spent collecting water, storing water, using water, conserving it? (And I was only one person – most women were in charge of getting water for their whole family.) In short, village life revolved around the well. Water is life.

Which led me to think about Timbuktu. Legend has it, that great city began as merely a well in the desert. A place of refreshment; a woman’s place. How could I resist a story about that? Get it for free on Amazon (January 16-19): Buktu’s Well.

And read more about this fascinating city: The Legendary Origins of Timbuktu

Beauty Never Dies

For my second “Ancients” collection giveaway, I’m going to go ahead and offer what is perhaps the best story in the entire collection: Queen of Beauty. It’s the best, I think, because of the situation and Nefertiti’s character – an older woman, uncertain in her role, battling midlife worries everyone faces. At the same time, her husband is dying, the kingdom is being torn apart from within, and if that weren’t enough, she’s falling in love!

Falling in love is the worst thing that could possibly happen to you. Also, potentially, the best. What I tried to explore with Nefertiti’s story is the many ways love can manifest, especially as we mature and grow into ourselves. (Which begs the questions: is teenage love the “real thing?” Is love ageless, or does it deepen with time? Is romantic love possible without physical attraction? At what point does friendship give way to love?)

Sink deep into love’s many incarnations (and the meaning of beauty, too) with this free story. It’s a visit to a fascinating moment in Egypt’s history, too, during the reign of the first known monotheist king.

History fans: read the original post here: Nefertiti On My Mind

And every kind of fan, be sure you grab your free copy of Queen of Beauty!

Seven times the fun!

In honor of Flowers for the Ancients’ “book birthday,” I’m doing another round of free giveaways! This time, through Amazon, admittedly the most convenient retailer around. (Ah, I remember when they were still the underdogs, a little online bookshop tapping on the behemoth of Barnes & Noble and company… how the mighty fall! How the hungry rise!)

Anyway, this time I thought I’d start off with the biggest of the bangs, if you will: A Bride for Seven Brothers. My imaginary adventure into ancient Tibet, and subsequent exploration of a polyandrous family, resulted (somewhat by accident) in a seriously kickass female character. I love this lady — she is the kind of woman on which dynasties are built, communities are founded, and empires rise.

By which I mean, she’s a housewife.

The most underestimated of all careers, and the most important. Who holds the family together? The wife. Who manages the household? The wife. Who keeps the kids and husbands happy? Yeah, you get it. While writing this story, I began to get a feeling for how much responsibility was involved in home-keeping. First of all due to the rugged, isolated, and rural nature of a Tibetan highland farm, but especially if multiple husbands are involved. A housewife who could do all that — and do it well — is pretty much a superwoman.

Want more sexy Tibetan history? Read the original blog post: Ever heard of polyandry? Didn’t think so.

And don’t forget to grab your copy of A Bride for Seven Brothers — free on Amazon January 8-11!

Tie me up!

Like many modern women, I enjoy a spot of light BSDM. My husband, wonderful as he is, always strives to do his part of the fun — alcohol has been a great help in this, as I’m sure is the case for many other couples! One of the hardest things to do in bed, I’ve found, is talk about what you want. Especially if you want something kinky. Even after years of marriage, and plenty of erotic romps, I get shy when it comes to verbalizing. (Clearly, I should be spanked for this.)

Which is what makes author Pandora Spocks’ “Dream Dominants” series SO MUCH FUN! When I read the first in the series, Luke & Bella, I fell head over heels for sexy, sensitive, Dominant Luke. (Bella, of course, being his sassy, redhead, secret-submissive perfect match!) It’s such a pleasure to read about safe, loving, respectful D/s relationships, especially with all the bad examples out there. (Smut-literary world, you know what I mean!) Plus, I have to say, the sex is damn hot.

lostandbcoverTherefore it’s with great excitement that I announce the cover reveal and pre-order for Ms. Spocks’ next Dream Dominant: Lost & Bound. (Order now; release on January 31st). Friends, this one’s going to be GREAT. Here’s a little sneak peek at one of the steamy scenes:

**

After painting the exteriors of the first two cabins, Blake and Shasta took a break. In the kitchen of the main house, he quickly made turkey sandwiches for their lunch. “How’s that plug feeling, kitten?” he asked as he sat across the table.

“It’s fine. I mean, I can feel it, but it doesn’t hurt.”

His grin was sly. “Does it feel good?”

She shifted uneasily in her chair. “I just know that my pussy is about to go up in flames if it doesn’t get some relief soon.”

Blake laughed. “We’ll see what we can do about that.” Rounding the table, he grasped her arm and led her to the kitchen counter, where he bent her over. A sharp tug dropped her shorts to the floor around her feet. He released his monster erection and impaled her roughly.

“Oh, shit, yes!” she panted.

After three strokes, he pulled out and restored his jeans, returning to the table to finish his lunch.

Shasta, still leaning over the counter, watched him incredulously. “Are you kidding me?!”

Blake smirked confidently and gave her a wink. “I’m telling you, kitten, by tonight you’ll be begging me to fuck your ass.”

**

Right?! You KNOW you want to read the rest!

Check out the blurb, and pre-order Lost & Bound today!

**

Blake Walker is no stranger to tragedy. Immediately following a horrific event years earlier, he was lost for a while until he embraced his Dominant nature and found his true calling. But things change and now he’s back where he started, helping to run his family’s secluded lake lodge.

When pampered Hollywood starlet Shasta Pyke gets into trouble with the law, she’s sent to the wilderness of northern Ontario to cool her heels for a few weeks.  There she meets sexy bush pilot Blake, who is tasked with seeing to her needs as the sole guest at the lodge.

Initially, Blake isn’t impressed with the spoiled actress, but he’s happy that her visit allows for his sister Jackie and her kids to go on a much-needed vacation. Try as he might, he can’t figure out what the hell Shasta Pyke is doing so far out of her element.

Shasta’s attracted to Blake’s obvious good looks, but there’s more to him than that. He sees through her armor to the vulnerable little girl she hides from the world. The Daddy Dominant in him craves to shelter her, to make her his own.

Is there any way Shasta will agree to submit to Blake’s Dominance? (Note from Fionna: I bet there is! And it’s going to be awesome!)

Lost & Bound is Book 2 of Pandora Spocks’ Dream Dominant Collection, a series of stand-alone novels featuring sexy, Dominant men, and the strong, red-haired submissives who find them irresistible. It is a contemporary erotic romance novel with a light BDSM theme, and features a DD/lg relationship, and is intended for mature audiences.

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2017 Writer’s Resolutions

Making New Year’s resolutions is rather silly, really. If you want to do something, why pick an arbitrary date to get started? However, I understand that the calendar year is a handy tool for setting goals, so this year I shall plow forth and attempt to lay out these, my 2017 writer’s resolutions.

  • First, I am determined to finish and self-publish all the stories I have rolling around in my head around the fairy tale theme, and compile a collection. Because I simply can’t go another year pondering how to make frogs sexy. I just have to do it. (I’m thinking something about the slippery skin…)
  • Second, I resolve to write more themed short stories for anthology submission. I’d like to get my name out there more with other folks in the genre, and anthologies are a great way to do that! I have a few thoughts lurking, just waiting for the right potential publisher to appear…
  • Third, I resolve to start a mailing list. I tried this once, got stuck, and gave up. This year, I’m gonna do it!
  • Forth, I plan to give away more books, and do a better job promoting said giveaways. The whole point of writing is getting your stories into readers’ hands, and I’ve found that giveaways are a fantastic way of accomplishing just that. Stay tuned for upcoming freebies!

And I think that’s enough for now. After all, the whole point of making resolutions is because you want to keep them! How about you, my fellow writer friends? What are your plans for wonderful, newborn 2017?