Happy 2023! It’s almost release day for a series of horror short stories revolving around Friday the 13th. I will be sharing each story on my post, one per day. Today, I’m pleased to welcome Robert Herold with his story, The Devil Sheds a Tear…
I imagined some of the Seattle area’s rich and famous (unnamed of course) were actually members of murderous covens!
*** Pre-Order the Friday the 13th stories for only 99 cents!!!
Hiding from a homicidal coven of modern witches, Steven Metcalf thinks he is safe. The devil-worshipers are not through with him, and a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues. Will joining forces with a witch-hunter save his life?
A Friday the 13th Short Story: 13 authors ~ 13 suspenseful stories. Murder and mayhem on Friday the 13th… Find each story in the series on Amazon.
I made it to the door and yanked the knob with sweaty hands, but it wouldn’t open. I swung around. Ken emerged from beneath a library table across the room. He held the knife. Tim lay flat on his back with a pool of blood around his head. Though I’d never been violent in the past, I hoped I’d killed him.
Ken strode over to the body and commanded, “Get up.”
Tim stood. He straightened his nose, fetched two teeth from the floor, and reinserted them. Then he lifted the hem of his robe and swiped blood from his face. He looked at me and grinned. “Naughty, naughty.”
Robert Herold has had a fascination with horror since he was a child and his mother refused to allow him to watch creature features on tv. She caved in (well, not literally). Herold hopes his books give you the creeps in the best way possible.
Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.
I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Dan Rice…
Author Dan Rice – Photography in my New Release: The Blood of Faeries
Since college, I’ve been passionate about photography—specifically, anything nature-related. The photo bug bit me while visiting Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. I recall being impressed by the refined beauty of Delicate Arch, which is often seen on postcards and advertisements promoting the area. But what blew my mind was a book I picked up at the visitor center, Our National Parks by Ansel Adams. I was addicted.
This was in the early 2000s, so digital photography was relatively new. I spent several years shooting slide film and scanning slides with a film scanner. Not the ideal workflow, let me tell you. The scanners weren’t the best back then, and dust was a great annoyance. Switching to digital was a godsend, although it didn’t eliminate the dust problem. Every time you change a lens on the camera, there is an opportunity for dust to invade. However, the overall workflow is vastly improved with digital photography, and the cost of film is eliminated.
I’ve had great fun hiking and traveling with my camera. In the summer of 2021, my older son and I visited Yellowstone and the Tetons. Both are superb locations for landscape and wildlife photography. It was a memorable trip for both of us. At the time, he was trying out photography for himself and was obsessed with snagging photos of a bear and a wolf. He got his wish, capturing both in Yellowstone.
In my novels, Dragons Walk Among Us and The Blood of Faeries, the protagonist, Allison Lee, is a high schooler with dreams of becoming a photojournalist. She shoots photos for her school’s online news source and rarely leaves the house without her camera. In Dragons Walk Among Us, her photography plays an essential role in the plot as she attempts to capture photographs of antagonistic characters who might not be from this world. In the sequel, her photography doesn’t play a prominent role in the plot, but it is still central to her characterization.
I decided to make Allison a photo bug because I believe in writing what you know. Photography is an activity I know quite a bit about, so it’s easy to impart that characteristic to Allison. She spends most of her time behind the camera photographing high school basketball, her squad, and a street protest. I’ve never photographed a basketball game, but I have taken thousands of snaps of my sons playing soccer. The protest Allison photographs is far and away wilder than anything I’ve experienced. However, a few months before the pandemic resulted in a lockdown in my neck of the woods, I participated in and photographed a woman’s march. It’s not my typical photographic event, but it was invigorating to document it.
Writing about photography in my fiction is a fantastic way to share my passion with more people. Also, it adds a sense of verisimilitude to Allison that would otherwise be difficult to achieve without time-consuming research. For the busy author, time is a priceless currency.
Sometimes there’s no going back.
Allison Lee wilts under the bright light of celebrity after being exposed as a shape-shifting monster. She’d rather be behind the camera than in front of it. Being under the tooth and claw of her monstrous mother is even less enjoyable. All she desires is for everything to go back to the way things were before she discovered her true nature.
But, after she accidentally kills a mysterious man sent to kidnap her, she realizes piecing her old life back together is one gnarly jigsaw puzzle. When Allison’s sometimes boyfriend Haji goes missing, Allison and her squad suspect his unhealthy interest in magic led to his disappearance. Their quest to find Haji brings them face-to-face with beings thought long ago extinct whose agenda remains an enigma.
“This is the Seattle PD,” booms an announcement from a loudspeaker. “Do not attempt to breach the police line.”
Like everyone else, I turn toward City Hall. I stand on my tiptoes but can’t see much. The vanguard of protesters is within feet of the police line. When I turn back to where I expect to find Drake, he’s gone. The march has slowed almost to a stop. People gather in small groups chanting and dancing. Sunlight glinting off her copper scales, Mauve towers above the crowd off to the left at least twenty feet behind me.
“We the people demand the mayor take measures to make Seattle carbon neutral now!” someone shouts into a bullhorn. “Come on, everyone. Let’s make sure Mayor Andretti hears us! Carbon neutral now! Carbon neutral now!”
The chant reverberates through the crowd, growing into a roar. I join the chanting and shoot pictures of young people screaming and waving signs. I dart between people, desperate to take photos of the action up front.
“In fact,” roars the voice from the bullhorn, “we want Seattle to be carbon negative! We want Seattle to be the capital of carbon capture technology! Invest in carbon capture technology now, Mayor Andretti! Before it’s too late!”
The mob repeats: “Carbon capture! Carbon capture!”
I weave between clusters of protesters, occasionally brushing against people. The screaming and sign waving are riotous near the frontline. I stop and snap more photos, zooming all the way out to 20 mm and getting up in peoples’ screaming faces. A couple people give me offended glares, but most are too caught up in the moment to notice me. As I continue onward, I review the photos on the camera’s LCD. A few are wicked. I can see teeth and spittle and tongues and wild eyes while still having a view of the seething mass all around. I smile when I break through the crowd to the frontline.
A handful of brave souls are yelling in the faces of stoic riot police lined up on the lower steps leading to City Hall. A tall man with a bushy beard, reflective aviator sunglasses, and a red bandanna wrapped around his head shouts into a megaphone, leading the crowd in climate protest mantras. Off to the left are the drummers, frenetically thumping on their instruments. I start shooting and keep shooting until my SD cards are full.
DAN RICE pens the young adult urban fantasy series The Allison Lee Chronicles in the wee hours of the morning. The series kicks off with his award-winning debut, Dragons Walk Among Us, which Kirkus Reviews calls, “An inspirational and socially relevant fantasy.”
Happy 2023! It’s almost release day for a series of horror short stories revolving around Friday the 13th. I will be sharing each story on my post, one per day. Today, I’m pleased to welcome Chris Farris with his story, Stripes…
The first version of “Stripes,” written years ago, was a rather vanilla “war in Iraq” military story based upon real life characters I knew during my time in the Arkansas Army National Guard. Those characters have changed significantly in this story, so no risk of meeting a real Josiah should you choose to visit the Natural State. Their accents, cares and personalities, however, live on.
“They Call Me Beaver,” the original story, did not have the punch that I was looking for but, after a night of tossing and turning, it occurred to me that with some changes it might make a fine story of mayhem and murder. In Beaver (Josiah) I had the character I wanted, but I needed a hook, something strange and menacing. My granddaughter and I had just visited Turpentine Creek, a local Arkansas big cat rescue park, and the way one of those tigers looked at us gave me all the inspiration I needed. Still, the problem remained, how to put a tiger in a combat zone? That proved to be easier than I suspected.
Perhaps the most far-fetched part of my story, the Baghdad tiger, is based on reality. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Baghdad Zoo was partially destroyed. The zoo workers, fearing for their lives, suspended the feeding and care of the 650+ animals living there. During their absence, the zoo was looted, cages were opened, herd animals were stolen and eaten by a hungry populace and multiple predators (including twenty-three lions) were released into the city. Of the original animals (including Mandor, a 20-year-old Siberian tiger owned by Uday Hussein,) only 35 survived their wartime ordeal. The U.S. military rounded up many of the escaped lions using armored fighting vehicles and returned all but four to their captivity. Those that would not return were killed.
The wildlife community responded quickly once the situation was known. South African conservationist, Lawrence Anthony traveled with two assistants into the heart of the danger zone to bring relief to the remaining animals. The U.S. Army assumed command of the zoo, stopping the looting and vandalism and providing a secure place for Mr. Anthony and other volunteers from the Thula Thula game reserve, Wildaid, Care for the Wild International, and IFAW to work.
The zoo reopened in 2003 following improvements and renovations by U.S. Army engineers. It was populated by eighty-six animals, including the surviving nineteen lions as well as tigers, brown bears, wolves, foxes, jackals, camels, ostriches, badgers and some primates that had been collected from the Hussein family’s private menageries.
So “Stripes” is a strange amalgamation of personal military experience and a surreal story of war-time collateral damage. If you are interested in the whole story of the Baghdad Zoo, see Lawrence Anthony and Graham Spence’s book, Babylon’s Ark. As a side note, during an ill-considered 2003 party held in the zoo a U.S. Army Sergeant had his arm severely mauled by one of the captive tigers. The animal was consequently shot multiple times and bled to death in its cage.
Life is, sometimes, stranger (and sadder) than fiction.
*** Pre-Order the Friday the 13th stories for only 99 cents!!!
Meet Josiah Poopart, high school dropout, construction worker and part time soldier. His friends call him Jo, most everyone else calls him Beaver (because of his buck teeth.) He’s in love with a stripper named Cinnamon and enjoys reading hard-boiled fiction with his best friend, Harmon. He’d tell you he lives a pretty good life, even though his daddy left when he was young, and his momma got blown up in a freak mobile home accident. Everything else is working out fine. The only fly in his ointment is that everyone around him keeps dying. It’s inconvenient, but what can you do? They say those with thirteen letters in their name are cursed. But Josiah doesn’t see it that way. As far as he’s concerned, one man’s bad luck is another’s good fortune. And fortune, somehow, always favors Josiah.
A Friday the 13th Short Story: 13 authors ~ 13 suspenseful stories. Murder and mayhem on Friday the 13th… Find each story in the series on Amazon.
“Then you killed him and Roger!” Her words came out as a hoarse shriek. She sounded like an oversized crow. It made me jump.
“I never did.” I yelled back.
She whipped around with a giant butcher knife she’d got from the block. “The stupid sheriff may not believe it, but I know you did it. I saw you out by his Jeep. You—you—” She took a big hitching sob and slapped the tears from her cheeks. When she spoke again, she was real quiet and real mean. “You get the hell out of my house, you little pervert, or I’ll stab you through the heart.”
I thought about arguing, but she lurched toward me from the counter. Not fast, but steady-like. She had a look in her eye that told me she meant it. I ain’t afraid of much, but like I said earlier, that woman had a way of coming at you that could be intimidating. At that moment, I don’t think I meant more to her than a cockroach you step on and kick to the corner. That knife looked sharp, too. I didn’t figure I wanted to bleed out on her kitchen floor, so…I split.
Like I said, that was the last time I saw her and, of course, I didn’t end up finding out where Cinnamon went.
I guess that argument sparked Mrs. Smith’s interest in food again. When they found her dead on the kitchen floor, she’d shoved most of an apple pie down her gullet. She’d got it all the way back behind her tongue and packed her throat solid with apples and sugar crust. She’d smeared it all on her cheeks and it had dripped down the front of her rooster dress. She’d even got it in her eyes and up her nose. She was a mess. The coroner ruled it accidental death. He said it was asphyxiation by airway obstruction. Death by apple pie. That’s just sad.
Christopher Farris lives in a very old, very small house in a very old, very small town nestled deep in a valley of the Boston Mountains of Northwest Arkansas. His novels, The Fountain, and Intersection: A Trucker’s Christmas Carol are available at Amazon.com, as are his Friday the 13th short stories.
Happy 2023! It’s almost release day for a series of horror short stories revolving around Friday the 13th. I will be sharing each story on my post, one per day. Today, I’m pleased to welcome DJ FitzSimons with her story, Eyes to Die For…
I am from a neighboring town of the one used in my story.
*** Pre-Order the Friday the 13th stories for only 99 cents!!!
James Bucknall can get any woman he wants with one sultry look from his bewitching blue eyes. Handsome, charming, and clean-cut, he’s the epitome of a GQ guy. James is also a maniacal serial killer, who murders women as casually as he dates them. At least that is his modus operandi until he meets Frankie Wilson.
There’s something entrancing about the sad, young woman, that has captivated James’s interest, and right now, she is more appealing alive rather than dead. The surprising discovery of Frankie’s connection to James’s last victim, Charlie, arouses the killer’s interest to unexpected heights.
And that’s when Charlie’s ghost decides to intervene.
Tonight, I’m on the hunt, but I can’t seem to get into it. I’ve danced with a couple of women who look like they spent hours getting ready to come out here, but they’re just not doing it for me. I’m just leaving the dance floor with yet another bimbo, where I feel someone’s eyes on me. Instinct makes me stop and look up.
A blonde. Nothing special, but she’s pretty in a natural kind of way, though it’s tough to see as the lighting isn’t great right here. But even in the dimness I can clearly see she’s on the hook.
I ditch my dance partner at the bar. She doesn’t seem to care as there are already horny, jock-types angling to get her attention. Mine’s shifted to the girl I just saw. I plan to find her.
DJ is originally from London. She currently publishes short stories which are set in various parts of the U.K.
Happy 2023! It’s almost release day for a series of horror short stories revolving around Friday the 13th. I will be sharing each story on my post, one per day. Today, I’m pleased to welcome Michelle Godard-Richer with her story, Avenging Angel…
For this story, I researched the inner workings of the car trunk, including how spacious they are.
*** Pre-Order the Friday the 13th stories for only 99 cents!!!
A Friday the 13th Short Story: 13 authors ~ 13 suspenseful stories. Murder and mayhem on Friday the 13th…Find each story in the series on Amazon.
On Friday the 13th, sweet college student and barista, Maya Pendleton, leaves Rowena’s Coffee to walk home alone. The streets of Gideon’s Hollow are empty. The locals believe the spirits of the witches from nearby Salem roam on this cursed night, seeking revenge on the descendants of those who burnt them at the stake.
Maya’s lonely footsteps echo through the empty street in a steady rhythm until they’re interrupted by another pair. They belong to Rand Roosevelt¾an evil man with murder on his mind. But he picks the wrong night, the wrong victim, and he messes with the wrong witch.
Maya’s eyes fluttered open to reveal darkness. The floor moved beneath her as a waft of exhaust fumes turned her stomach.
Where am I?
She shifted her head and the world tilted as a sharp pain shot through her head from the base of her skull, jogging her memory.
The creep from the coffee shop. What an ass!
Maya moved to reach around the back of her head to assess the damage. Her elbow hit something hard. Her funny bone tingled, then her heart pounded in her ears as the smallness of the space suffocated her.
The urge to panic was almost impossible to resist, but she needed to resist to have any chance of escaping this horrible predicament.
She rolled onto her back. A handle glowed above her head in the darkness. She stuck her hands out and moved them along a hard surface, and the horrid reality of her situation became clear.
Metal. He stuck me in the trunk of a car!
Her breathing accelerated. Her thoughts scrambled like a puddle of eggs, and she gasped for air. She forced deep breaths into her lungs and her brain cleared.
Maya reached around the back of her head, careful not to smack her elbow again, and ran her hand over a large bump below her ponytail. Her hair wasn’t sticky, so thankfully, she had no open wound to contend with. But considering she’d lost consciousness and the lingering dizziness; she must be concussed.
Once more, her gaze shifted to the glowing handle over her head once more.
A trunk release!
She tugged on the handle, and nothing happened. With the handle in her grasp, she pushed on the trunk with her feet at the same time. Nothing.
Her captor must have anticipated that means of escape and disconnected the handle. Not escaping, giving up, and dying at age twenty wasn’t an option. Her mother must already be losing her mind with worry and Maya was all she had.
Michelle Godard-Richer is a Criminology graduate with a passion for crime, human behavior, and the written word. She is also a thriller and romance author living in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada. She writes edge-of-your-seat, suspenseful stories with strong protagonists and diabolical villains.
Fantastic mystery/suspense. I love the unique funeral home setting. The author seemed to know a lot about the topic. Very vivid writing and well developed plot. The characters were relatable and realistic, and the mystery kept me guessing. Really enjoyed this one!
A delightful cozy mystery that provided plenty of chuckles. I love, love the old ladies in this book. They all have different personalities and the author did a great job of making them come alive. The mystery was cleverly done, the setting was authentic, and the author’s writing is engaging. Thoroughly enjoyable!
A romantic and well-written historical romance. I loved the gambler aspect, so unique and interesting. And the characters were fabulous. The heroine was strong and admirable and the hero was swoon-worthy. I enjoyed the plot twists and the villains were wicked and fun. And who doesn’t love a treasure hunt? Fast paced, enjoyable read.
Such an excellent read! Great world-building and the characters were wonderful. I love the angst and banter between the hero and heroine. The heroine is kick ass and tough with a good heart. The hero is sexy and strong. The paranormal aspects, the magic and the shifters, were compelling and perfectly written. I would love to read more in this series!
A wonderful and unique novel. Such an interesting setting and I love that it featured ‘true’ historical figures. The author weaves a vivid and compelling tale that was not only entertaining, but I felt like I was getting a bit of a history lesson. Beautifully written with authentic characters and situations, this book will transport you to another time and you’ll be thoroughly engrossed. Highly recommend!
A passionate and delightfully magical romance. The hero is soooo sexy and the half-fae heroine is adorable and I could really feel her emotions. The medieval setting was vivid and the writing was flawless. I loved the Scottish setting and the brogues in the dialogue. Just a splendidly entertaining read!
Wonderful read! A stellar romance and mystery. I enjoyed the fascinating details about the horses and the competition world. The author did a fabulous job of setting the scene and making me feel like I was there. The mystery kept me guessing to the very end. Very well done!
Tremors Through Time combines fantasy and romance in a compelling and engaging read. The author has created realistic but flawed characters who I found myself rooting for to find their happily ever after. With lots of conflict and a beautifully crafted setting, this novel is an entertaining read from beginning to end.
A delightful Christmas story with a sweet romance and a fun who-done-it. The characters are well developed and the bits of humor sprinkled throughout made me chuckle. The writing is flawless and engaging. I love a good mystery and thoroughly enjoyed watching this one unfold.
Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.
I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Wendy Kendall…
George’s Best Friend
George loves his career as a chef at an assisted living facility, and he loves his family. Phil is his family, and what a tail-wagger he is. Once these two lost souls teamed up, they never looked back and a corner of the world became a brighter place. After therapy training together, this beagle and his partner enthusiastically serve up emotional support and nourishing meals for the facility residents who delight in Phil. When this dear beagle with the pudgy silhouette and low-to-the-ground amble enters a room, all eyes immediately fall on him and coo’s encourage him from every direction. His whispered “arf” stirs laughter, and his celebratory howls are legendary. This doggone beagle’s company is a treat, and George’s heart skips a beat as he savors the relief and delight Phil brings to others. His own life is brightened by their caring gift.
Researching this noble endeavor of animals and their owners was a labor of joy. I learned so much and met wonderful people and dogs. A therapy dog is a dog that offers affection, comfort, and stress relief to a group of individuals. These dogs are commonly seen in nursing homes, schools, courtrooms, and hospitals. These dogs help multiple people throughout their day. They do not solely provide comfort to their handlers. These dogs are usually certified and evaluated by therapy dog organizations. Therapy dogs are trained to master certain skills and must have a very good disposition. Therapy dog handlers are only allowed to enter public spaces with permission.
A husky/german shepherd adorable mix named Leela is the inspiration for adorable Phil. The beauty of Leela’s soothing temperament and personality embraces compassion and empathy around any troubled spirit. Leela, and Phil, are filled with the heart of Christmas. They jump in joy and run with ribbons of love.
Ribbons of love run through the heart of Christmas
Liz buried her hopes three years ago when she buried her husband. She hides under a corporate desk, struggling for time with her young son and his grandmother Violet.
George is chef at the assisted living facility where Violet recovers from an accident. He loves his adopted beagle, Phil. This tail wagger is George’s only family. They are a therapy animal team for the patients.
Juggling work, her son, and Violet is complicated for Liz. Continual collisions with meddling George irritate, and intrigue her.
Violet plots a cookie bake, as matchmaker and to reunite her family. She conspires with George as chef, not realizing it puts his job at risk. Could baking together soften Liz’s heart?
Phil’s sudden disappearance interrupts plans. George is desperate to find his dog. The search leads him into a surprising twist of fate, and accidentally pulls Liz along with him.
She approached the car and noticed the back tire. Flat. She rolled her eyes and groaned. She put her hands on her hips and paced back and forth next to it. She gently kicked the rubber, but it squished against the rim, confirming no air inside.
She crouched down and pulled her wallet out, searching for her road-assistance card. Phil walked around her and licked the back of her hand. “Thanks, Phil, but that won’t help me get to work on time.”
She stood up again and turned around to see George. His hands on his hips. “Flat tire? Can I help?”
“Thanks, but I’ll call somebody.”
“Do you have a spare?”
“Yes, in the trunk.”
He grinned. “Assuming your spare is in good shape, I can get this changed faster for you.” Her mouth dropped open. Someone willing to help.
“Really? I couldn’t put you to the trouble.”
“No worries. Lunch is over, and we came outside for a break.”
“This isn’t a very nice break, but I’d really appreciate it.” She unlocked the trunk.
George took off his black chef shirt, putting it on the front seat of the car. He rolled up the sleeves of his blue shirt, revealing toned forearms. Liz’s glance lingered. She called her assistant to have the VP of Sales step in to host the client. Disaster avoided. Someone else could help.
She felt like celebrating. She scratched Phil’s tummy, talked nonstop to George about his cooking, baking, and recipes, while she stole admiring glances at his physique, including his broad shoulders and flat stomach.
When he finished, he put the jack and flat tire into the trunk. “You’re all set to drive.”
“I don’t know how I can thank you, but I’ll find a way. This was really nice of you.” Impulsively she hugged him. The warmth of his arms wrapped around, then her phone rang. They broke apart, and Phil barked. She looked into George’s brown eyes.
He grabbed his shirt off the driver’s seat. “I’m happy to help.” He turned toward the building and called Phil. She glanced at her phone screen and let it go to voicemail. Had she misjudged George? She’d actually felt comfortable talking with him. She hadn’t talked about baking in years. It felt good. When she hugged him, she’d surprised herself. What a pleasant embrace.
She drove across the lot to the exit, smiling to have all tires turning. She waited for a chance to turn onto the road, one problem solved. Maybe today she could dream of a little dream? In the rear-view mirror, her back window was fogged. She turned onto the road with an unfamiliar feeling of hope, although she had no idea what might be around the corner.
The result of Wendy Kendall’s passion for purses, mystery and romance is the intriguing In Purse-Suit Mysteries. Kat Out of the Bag introduces Katherine Watson purse designer/sleuth. As Kat moves from designer bags to body bags, she’s uncovering clues to a murder. The prequel, Purse-Stachio Makes A Splash delves into a chilling cold case. Finalist for Best Romantic Suspense at Killer Nashville, Snow Kiss Cookies To Die For creates a tangle of mystery and love and raises suspicions about Desiree’s romantic new sweetheart, Leo. A summer read that will keep you on the edge of your beach towel, Cherry Shakes In The Park blends danger, divas, and frothy delights. And ribbons of love run through Wendy’s newest book, Heart of Christmas Cookies and Dreams. Wendy enjoys investigating the Pacific Northwest life, and she leaves a trail of her own clues as a blogger, YouTube podcaster, speaker, project manager, and syndicated columnist.
Please help me welcome today’s guest, L. M. Gonzalez…
She didn’t believe in true love.
He vowed never to love again.
The place was decorated with twinkle lights and red, green, and gold garland. And then her eyes settled on Ray. Her breath caught in her throat as she glimpsed the bracelet of a gold watch at his wrist. He seemed a different man than the one at the Adult Center and the one in jeans who’d gone to her house. He seemed charming and sexy and likeable.
“They have a variety of entrees,” Ray said.
“Oh.” She hadn’t looked, so she opened her menu.
“What do you like?”
Jennifer stared, mesmerized with him. Oh, I don’t know—you. He grinned, and embarrassment filled her. He probably knew what she was feeling. And she
would not feel that way, not with him. Especially not with him.
“I’ll eat salad. I’m not very hungry,” she said.
“Umm…eating dinner together is the first step of the foreplay to romance, didn’t you know?”
“Romance isn’t sex.” She glared at him.
His smile didn’t falter. “Eating can be an aphrodisiac. Feeding each other can be very romantic.”
Jennifer swallowed hard at his words. “I’m not feeding you anything.”
“Jenny, this isn’t going to work if you don’t cooperate.” Ray winked at her.
Her nipples peaked at his wink, and she was glad she’d worn a scarf. She picked up her glass of water.
“My name is Jennifer, not Jenny.”
“You don’t like nicknames?”
“Not from you.”
“I think I know now why you’re blocked in the love-and-romance thing. You’re tight. You need to loosen up.”
L.M. Gonzalez writes about the loves and lives of Latinas and the challenges of romance the second time around. Her stories, set against a backdrop of strong Latino culture blended with an American lifestyle, are refreshing and capture the essence of everyday Hispanic life.
Please help me welcome today’s guest, Shirley Goldberg…
How I Write the Smoochy Scenes
Some readers like it hot, while others prefer it sweet or steamy. Despite the title of my new book, A Little Bit of Lust, writing love scenes is more about the feels and less about lust.
Here are the first two sentences from an early chapter in A Little Bit of Lust. The main characters, Lucy and Deon, take a trip to the beach. Their friendly relationship changes that afternoon. No, this isn’t a spoiler since this tidbit is in the blurb for the book.
Later that same evening, Deon has these thoughts:
It wasn’t easy kissing his best friend.
Well, not true. Once they made it up the sidewalk and through the door, him fumbling with the key, it was easy, way too easy.
Writing smooching scenes is part of the job of the writer ‘cause someone’s gotta do it. If I know my characters well, writing love scenes comes naturally as a logical progression of the relationship.
Everyone’s idea of what is appealing in a love scene differs. When I’m writing a smoochy scene that’s early in the book, I’m all about discovery, going slowly, a few moans, lots of kissing and…talking. My characters need time to warm up to one another.
The couple are connecting and dialog, brief bits of banter, teasing, and even a few questions, add to the fun. Sexy scenes can be playful. They can be fun and gentle. A drawn out smoochy scene with agonizingly slow undressing is a way to show the emotional connection between characters.
As a reader, I’m open to all kinds of love scenes, from playful to serious, from silly to steamy. As a writer, steamy is a new thing for me. So far, my sex scenes are closed-door, so when the characters get heated, the door swings shut and the reader imagines the rest.
But I’m working on a book that takes place in Crete, the largest island in Greece, (I lived there for eleven years.) and my heroine, a widow, rediscovers love and sex. I’ve left the door ajar after a long buildup to the major sex scene. No buzz words and no specific naming of moving parts, by the way.
Sometimes, the perception of “steamy” depends on that reader’s experience. When my first book, Middle Ageish, came out, one reader told me she thought my sex scenes were “pretty hot.” This surprised me because the love scenes are closed door.
Foreshadowing of a sex scene can start way before the couple ever embrace and go on for pages. That’s emotion and perhaps a little banter at its best. Here’s a brief example where the characters, Lucy and Deon, are dancing to a band at their favorite hangout:
“I haven’t felt like singing for a while anyway.” Deon turned Lucy gently and pulled her in again, sang along with Elvis about rivers flowing and fools rushing. “I am annoying you, aren’t I?”
“Not at all.” Dancing with Deon was… intimate. Lucy lifted her head. His lips were six inches away, full lips.
“You have Elvis lips,” she said and put her head back down on his chest.
The reader gets the hint from this short teaser that Lucy and Deon will connect in a more intimate way later on in the story.
If the feels shine through and the characters connect with each other, I’m doing my job as a writer.
Diana Gabaldon, who knows a thing or two about writing sex scenes, says, “Where most beginning writers screw up (you should pardon the expression) is in thinking that sex scenes are about sex. A good sex scene is about the exchange of emotions, not bodily fluids.”
I agree. And I’m open to a variety of love scenes in my reads.
What do you think?
Please post a comment. Are you a sweetie when it comes to love scenes or do you like them steamy?
Anyone interested in more of author Diana Gabaldon’s wisdom on the subject may like to read her excellent book, I Give You My Body, How I Write Sex Scenes. I’d also recommend her Outlander series, but you’re probably well aware of it already.
How many second chances will she give him?
Love-cynical Lucy Bernard delights in her independence. Baking, all things Instagram, the occasional special guy, and most of all hanging out with best friends Deon Goldbloom and Phoebe Karis. But when Deon kisses Lucy at the beach on a chilly afternoon, the two friends jump into a lust-filled romantic weekend. So what’s with slotting her into “ignore” status afterward?
Deon Goldbloom is a widower who can’t move on after his wife’s death. Is he a little crazy spending a sexy few days with Lucy and calling it the best time he’s had in four years? Yeah. Except blue Monday comes calling, and Deon isn’t ready for the guilt.
Lucy wonders how a smoochy weekend turns into a friends-with-benefits disaster. And Deon wonders if he’s made the biggest mistake of his life putting Lucy on “ignore.” Using all his nerdy charms, he launches a campaign to bring Lucy around. Maybe they can chart a course back to one another if Lucy will only forgive him.
Excerpt from A Little Bit of Lust
Lucy aimed her phone at Deon’s Patrick Dempsey hair. The young Patrick.
“Throw your head back. Run your hand through your––”
“Come on. Unbutton a few buttons.” He’d been working out more, she could tell by the swell in his arms and chest. The nerd was looking good.
“Stop it.” He held his hand up blocking her view.
“You’re all gussied up for this eight-minute dating thing. I just wanted to mark the occasion.” She climbed up the ladder. No fun teasing Deon if he wouldn’t play.
“You tried on this crap already?” He gestured to the bed where her dress, jeans, and tops lay splayed like scarecrows minus the stuffing.
“Pardon?” She shot him her most stern teacher look. “Deon Goldbloom, it isn’t crap. You’re supposed to be my calming influence.”
“Relax, Ms. Bernard. I’m here, aren’t I?”
True. Irritatingly present, like a fungus.
“What happened? Did Noelle cancel?” Noelle was their friend who taught at the high school.
Lucy took a few shots and climbed down to reposition the ladder. “Yeah. Phoebe needed help.”
“You’re saying I’m your last resort?” He looked genuinely hurt.
“Of course. You’re a guy.” Lucy smirked. “I didn’t even know you were coming.”
“Not just any guy. A guy with sensitivity and extraordinary taste.”
“Sensitivity, my ass.”
“Are you bickering?” called a voice from the hall, and Lucy’s daughter, Lily, flew into the room to say goodbye. Lucy wobbled on the ladder, almost dropping her phone. Lily was on her way out for dinner with her grandparents, who lived one town over, in Hamden. “Play nice, you two.” She shot them an amused glare.
“Hey, Lily, nice to see you.” Deon and Lily hugged. “When do you start the internship?” Lily, visiting for the weekend from grad school, had snagged a much-coveted internship at the NPR Boston station.
“I’m so excited I can’t stand myself,” she snorted and ran a hand through her wild mane. “Staying with my besties. It’ll be a blast.”
Lily and Deon caught up for a few minutes while Lucy took more photos and rearranged the flat lay.
“So,” Lily said, eyeing her mother on the ladder, “ice cream dating is a thing now?”
“Crap, I hope not,” Deon laughed.
Lucy was glad Lily barged in with her freshness and humor, and her white jeans shorts and tiny, blue, raggedy-cool top. Her daughter disappeared a moment later, and Lucy got off the ladder.
She should stop picking on Deon. A tad sick that getting under his skin had become a game. Forty-seven years old, and she’s playing games. Pitiful.
What she’d like to do is punch him in the mouth. Since she kick-boxed Mondays and Wednesdays, this wasn’t an idle threat, even way inside her head.
Only a month ago, her legs had turned to marshmallows when he touched her. Now she’d happily crush his thumb in a vise. Or stomp on his big toe with her hiking boots and ask him, “How does that feel, dear?”
Shirley Goldberg is a writer, novelist, and former ESL and French teacher who’s lived in Paris, Crete, and Casablanca. She writes about men and women of a certain age starting over. Her website http://midagedating.com offers a humorous look at dating in mid-life, and her friends like to guess which stories are true. A Little Bit of Lust is her third book in the series Starting Over, although all her books are standalone. Shirley’s characters all believe you should never leave home without your sense of humor and she agrees.
Please help me welcome today’s guest, C.B. Oresky…
Hello C.B., please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?
I grew up in suburban New Jersey. Over the years, I have collected a wheelbarrow full of degrees. I have a passion for plants and can grow just about anything. I currently live in a small town in Connecticut that most people have never heard of called Gales Ferry. I have a body-builder husband, a naughty Scottie dog and cat, ten chickens, and a magnificent perennial garden.
Where did you get the idea for The Warlock’s Curse?
My debut novel all began as a dream… I sailed a white ship on a pristine sea of whispering turquoise waves. The inhabitants of this alien watery world, mystical whales, surrounded my vessel, their eerie voices lifted in song. I made a story out of this…and other magical dreams.
What is your favorite scene in The Warlock’s Curse
There are many wonderful scenes in The Warlock’s Curse, but my favorite occurs when Captain Claudius Grace brings his twin granddaughters on an oceanic journey to encounter magical whales. He hopes the massive leviathans will open the portal to their birthplace: the realm of Oceana where the wise Master lives. Far beneath the rolling waves, The King and Queen of the Whales sing a haunting song. A massive ethereal whale appears swimming right before Claudius’s approaching schooner. The phantasm of a whale opens its yawning maw. Claudius’s schooner hangs momentarily on the edge of the watery precipice of light, then slips straight down the monster’s wide-open chasm.
How did you come up with the book’s title?
I kept the title to my book short as suggested by my diligent, hawk-eyed editor. Of course, the title also had to do something with the story. My original title for my novel was The Master, The Captain, The Warlock, and The Warrior, however this was longer than a flight to the moon. I therefore shortened the title to The Warlock’s Curse, as the story is about twin sisters going on a perilous journey to remove an ancient curse.
Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and do you like it?
The theme in my life is software developer by day, writer by night. I do like writing code…it’s like composing a symphony. However, if I could, I’d prefer to write full time.
What do you dislike that most people wouldn’t understand?
It may sound weird, but I dislike shopping… I’m not into running after a bunch of stuff that just doesn’t make me happy.
What’s your favorite childhood book?
I love C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series, especially The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. This quick-moving adventure is full of amazing imagery and sensory delights. In The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, I feel the soft fur coats as the children jostle through the wardrobe. I hear the snow crunch under their feet and shiver in the bitter cold as they traipse through the forever frozen land the White Witch has enchanted. Finally, I love the deep magic found in Narnia: the mystical, speaking animals that are so believable…the written wonders that whisk me off to a place so real—I never want to leave.
What actors would you like in the main roles if your book were made into a movie?
A monkey, two Siamese cats, dancing whales… Wait! This actually is a really good question. I’ve always thought that if my book were made into a movie, I’d like it to be cast by unknown actors with loads of talent. It gets tiring to see the same people over-and-over again in films. I believe in giving someone new a chance.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is from J.R.R Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, where Strider, secretly Aragorn the true king of Gondor, appears to be a mere Ranger.
“All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”
This quote is for all those that run against the wind and holds a message about ceasing judgement on outer looks alone. From the moment one is born, the busy bees of society are whispering in your ear…how to act, how to be. Many are followers, attracted to the flash…a rolex or bmw gives one a certain status. But what about someone with purpose and inner goodness…all that is beautiful and true, existing without glitter. Someone who wanders their own path, following their own internal calling, may be seen as a fool, but may truly be a queen or king. To be true to one’s own calling involves strength and perseverance in the face of darkness and strife.
Your most prized material possession? Why?
My Scottie dog, of course. Scottie dogs are so adorable, loving, and intelligent…they keep me on my toes for sure.
What do you want your tombstone to say?
So long and thanks for the food…
If you could spend time with a character from your book, whom would it be? And what would you do during that day? (PG-13 please 🙂
I would spend time with Phileus, The Bliss, a joyous, magical creature who transmits healing light, loves nature, and only takes what little he needs. I would explore his enchanting underground home full of plants, gardens, flowers, and relaxing pools of hot water. On this adventure I would certainly enjoy listening to his words of wisdom about cherishing the natural world.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are a few important messages in my novel… The importance of caring for our good Earth. Also, no matter how bad life gets, there is always someone out there who will lend a helping hand. Finally, Magic exists and is everywhere.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I idolize J.R.R. Tolkien, the father of fantasy. I love how Tolkien’s artistry with words, masterfully paints scene after scene about a magical world where creatures talk and everything from the trees to the mountains seem alive. The Oxford English scholar could do it all when it came to world building: he created his own languages, geography, unique races, and relatable characters who fought for justice and those they love. I find myself easily swept away into his ingenious books and totally connected to the characters.
Twin sisters on a perilous journey to remove an ancient curse…
Clara and Angelica Grace have never met ghosts. They’ve never sailed on a tall ship, ridden wild unicorns, or fought with magical weapons. Instead, the teenage twins have a wretched existence, ignored by their troubled parents in a rundown home and tormented by the town’s snobs.
Everything turns topsy-turvy all of a sudden when discovery of an ancestor’s hidden journal with an odd key to an unknown door leads them into an entirely different realm.
The girls go on a thrilling oceanic voyage to search for mysterious whales, train with a seasoned warrior, and are befriended by a wise Master. But all is not a bouquet of lovely lilies…they are hunted by a cunning warlock and must rid themselves of The Warlock’s Curse.
Winner of The Literary Titan Gold Award
“Help! Please help!” Angelica cried, turning toward the direction the voice had come from.
Veils of darkness greeted her eyes.
Suddenly, a strange sight seized both girls’ attention. The oddest-looking creature the girls had ever seen emerged from the gloom, waddling along a curved path near the pool’s edge. Its shape gradually came into view.
The squat creature stood about two feet tall, an amethyst stud adorning its short nose, its long face crowned by a single lock of fair curly hair. In place of normal clothing, a grasshopper-green mossy material covered its small hands and feet, while an amber mesh filament, appearing like thinly braided laces, swathed its arms and back. It eagerly flew toward the girls, appearing like a goldfinch, its smooth, translucent body quivering like firm jelly and glowing as the shimmering sun. The creature’s unforgettably deep eyes were grave and dark and splashed with touches of ocher, like glossy black beetles.
Clara trembled in her well-worn boots, imagining the approaching creature as a monster in some horror movie. She wrapped her wool cape more tightly about her, wishing it might somehow guard her from harm.
Angelica also eyed the peculiar-looking being fearfully and staggered back a step.
The golden creature stopped just short of them.
“It smells good…like meadow grass and flowers,” Clara whispered.
“Hummmmmm, Hummmmm,” its melodious voice buzzed, like bees flitting over flowers. The odd creature licked its rubbery lips.
Fascinated by the works of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, award winning author, C.B. Oresky, began writing her own fantasy novel, The Warlock’s Curse, after dreaming of being whisked off to an alien realm. Besides her debut novel, she has seen four of her short stories published in a small, national literary press: Conceit Magazine. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering through the woods, dancing flamenco, or planting flowers in her garden. She currently lives in a small town in Connecticut with her bodybuilder husband, their exceptionally naughty Scottish terrier and Siamese cat, ten chickens, and a yard filled with majestic flowers.