Monday, December 29, 2008

One more Squee for 2008

AmyC has some more nice things to say about my writing, this time in a combined review of Crossing Swords and Bound by Steel. Here's a bit of what she wrote:

The depth of the relationship between Gil, Lianon and Kaela was extremely well thought out and very satisfying. The plot, the characters, their relatioships and interactions were wonderful, making both Crossing Swords and Bound by Steel highly engaging reads.

Mmmmmmm yummy, now that's good review!

Of course, now I have to get off my lazy butt and finish Chancellor's Bride. :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Oooh! Oooh!

In the "Squee" column, just lookit what I got! I knew I was getting it, I'm even the one who wrapped it, and I'm still all excited.
*Victorian tinsel strategically placed to obscure my mild-mannered alter ego.

You know, one thing I love about Samhain is that they have so many titles available from MBaM in SONY pdf. Including mine, heehee! AND even if you've already bought them in a different format, you can go back to your bookshelf and get them in SONY. Yay for my TBR pile!

In the "Total bummer, I haz sad" column, my dog started peeing all over the house yesterday. I'm hoping it's just a bladder infection, but whatever it is, the vet won't be back in his office until Tuesday. So if Slip doesn't like cranberry juice, she's just gonna have to stay in that cage for the next several days. Poor dog...

If it isn't a bladder infection, I don't know what we're gonna do about it. Heroic measures are out of the question for us. But as big a pain as she is, I'm not quite ready to send her off to that big old dog-hair covered couch in the sky...

But adding to the "Squee" column, my kids haven't gotten into a single argument so far today. We didn't forget to go to the liquor store yesterday when it was still open. I made $150 in 6 hours at work on Christmas Eve, our turkey is smelling totally blammo, and I have ten scratch and win Bingos to get through before supper. Oh, and I'm two glasses down, so I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy, too.
Merry Christmas, everyone! Hugs and big ol' sloppy kisses for all of you!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I feel like a kid again...

...Christmas just does that for me. Not the getting, but the giving, the stuffing of stockings and piling of loot under the tree. The kids shaking parcels and trying to figure out what on earth is inside them before ripping them apart and holding that treasured whatever-it-is aloft and doing a victory dance...

The turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes with a gallon of gravy, and an excuse to drink before noon, dammit! Being with family when we're all half-cut and laughing at just about anything.

I love Christmas. Love it.

Whatever holiday all of you all are celebrating, have a great one!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

An Early Christmas Squeeeeeee...

Lookie what I found!

(Actually, AmyC emailed me yesterday to give me a heads up that she was really enjoying Healer's Touch, and I've been pretty damn stoked ever since.)

Behold, yon snippet:

This was truly an erotic romance, not merely explicit scenes. With the voyeurism so prominent throughout, it plays on your senses. The book is not riddled with explitive words, but has scenes that are highly charged regarding the nature of them, rather than the blunt usage of nouns describing anatomy.

Without a doubt, I am a fan of Ms. Saell and will continue to follow her work as it's published. Her compelling prose will grip you and sink under your skin.

And this is doubly awesome since I believe Healer's Touch is the reviewer's first foray into the realm of hot girl-on-girl action in her steamy romance. I'm totally thrilled that she liked it so much, and I'm all pinned and needled over the fact that she's reading Crossing Swords as we speak.

I tell ya, there is nothing cooler than to find out someone really connected with something you wrote. If you could package that feeling, it's all I'd want under the tree this year.

Well, that and a Sony...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Global Warming...

...where are you?

In all my years living on the North Island, it's never been so cold for so long so early in the season. I mean, yes, we've had snow in the past. It typically falls for a few hours sometime in January, then melts before the kids have time to finish building their snowman. Sometimes it sticks around for a day or two--just long enough to pay for the local body shop owner's vacation in Mexico--before our regularly scheduled rain resumes.

And yes, we've had freezing conditions before. But I've never seen the water that runs in ditches and cascades down the embankments along the highway frozen solid. Last year, for a week or so, I had to go out each morning and break the crust of ice on the top of the water in my dog's bowl. This year, we had to bring the bowl inside--once we'd chiseled it off of the surface of the deck--because it had four inches of solid ice in it. As I watched a group of poor, brave, foolhardy, insane kids sledding across the street, the wind tore a Crazy Carpet from a little girl's mittened hand to carry it half a block before depositing it on the roof of my neighbor's toolshed. Guess when you only get snow a few days a year, it's hard for a kid to pass up the chance to play in it--even when you stand to lose a body part.

Now I know all of BC--all of Canada, in fact, and a good portion of the States--is in a deep freeze. And I know, those of you in Winterpeg or Edmonton or Toronto or Halifax are probably muttering under your breath right now about where I can stuff my wussy -5C (to which I will give the standard British Columbian's reply of "But, it's a damp cold."). But with gale force gusts nudging the windchill down to -10 and lower, with snow piling up inside my carport, with the windows rattling and the heat in my barely insulated house cranked, I feel like I've earned the right to moan.

So hear it is, my big whine: It's effing cold. I don't like it. So if the Sierra Club or whoever is in charge of this global warming stuff wanted to send some my way, at this point I wouldn't complain. Come on. All I'm asking for is five degrees.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dudes, I'm up for grabs...

...or rather, my first loverly book is, over at Ciar Cullen's blog.

Apparently Ciar is not a Scrooge. Far from it, she is amply imbued with Yultide cheer. She is overflowing with generosity and love for her fellow reader. She's got Christmas spirit out the ying-yang, and is looking to spread it around. If there are any of you all who have still not bought, begged, stolen, won, absconded with or otherwise procured a copy of my debut, Crossing Swords, now you have the chance to rectify the situation.

Just mosey on over to Ciar's, leave a comment telling her how desperately you're jonesing for my book, and in the New Year you could be the proud owner of your own shiny new digital copy.

Or, if you've already experienced the sheer bliss that is my timeless prose, check out the other titles she's promoting through her contest. A few of them are from fellow Samhellions and I betcha there's at least one up there that you'd enjoy. Who knows? You could discover an author you adore.

Do it. You know you want to...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Attention Samhain Readers!!

In the spirit of transparency, the PTB at Samhain have pledged to provide a list in the New Year of their top ten bestselling books of 2008.

And because the most awesome, unique, spectacular, groundbreaking, top-quality stories (not talking about my own books, necessarily, heh) are not always the bestsellers (okay, now I am, lol), they're also giving all you readers a chance to speak up about which Samhain books you loved most. AND they've provided a place to tell them what you love about Samhain, what you think they could do better, what you want to see more of, etc.

So here's your chance, guys. Let them know what you think. And if you don't happen to pick one of my titles as your mondo-ultimate-OMG-it's-the-best-book-EVAH!!1!-all-time fave, well, I forgive you. I mean, hey. Spirit of the season and all. :D

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hooray, I have a headache!

No, really. Hooray!

I have a headache. I've had it since Friday. And yes, that's a good thing. I spend a lot of time lying down when I have a headache, not reading or watching TV or even sleeping. Just lying there, not quite asleep. Thinking. Playing scenes in my head. Letting my mind wander.

And that's when my best ideas are born. That's when the magic happens. Revelations occur in random flashes of brilliance that sometimes hurl me from my half-slumber, heart pounding and out of breath with the sure knowledge that this--this is the way I need to go. Forget all the crap I thought I knew about my characters and their stories. I knew nothing. I was a fool. Now I know better.

Saturday around 6 PM, I learned something about the villain in my current WIP that completely invalidates all the plotting I made myself do a couple weeks ago. It also makes every aspect of the story that much more perfect, makes everything fit together with perfect elegance. It was one of those POW! moments when my subconscious kicks in and overrides everything else. And damn, if that isn't almost better than sex.

About ten minutes after 6, another revelation hit me, an epiphany about the nature of my creative process--an amalgam of headaches, parental guilt, and getting things done. Last December, I got my tubes tied. Consequently, I was able to go off the birth control pill. When I did that, I went from having three migraines a month, to one--or none. And my daily word count plummeted. Between being more busy than ever, recently becoming a single parent, and no longer having an excuse to lie around on the couch playing pretend in my head, I hit a creative lull. Lie down? Who has time to lie down? What kind of mother lolls around daydreaming when there's laundry to be folded?

Well, this kind of mother, from now on. As of today, I've scheduled in two mornings of downtime every week for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, that will get my muse back on speaking terms with me, and my wordmeters chugging back along.

And if not, well, at least I'll be well rested. :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Warm and fuzzy, one more time...

Well, it is a week of awesome with a side of awesome sauce, because Shannon C. at The Good, the Bad, the Unread just reviewed Healer's Touch, and though she didn't love it like she loved Crossing Swords, she gave it a B+.

Here's some of what she had to say:

As Ms. Saell said in an e-mail to me, this book is essentially one long seduction. I'm not sure I would have believed anyone could actually wring that much of a story out of a prolonged seduction, Ms. Saell does so wonderfully. I loved watching Aru gradually begin to succumb to the many and varied ways Viera used to seduce him. This was one of those books where none of the sex felt gratuitous. And since Viera and Aru were already friends at the start of the story, I believed in their romance.

In addition to Aru and Viera, we get a great secondary romance between one of Aru's patients and an apothecary. Karal, said apothecary, absolutely stole the show in whatever scenes he was in, and I hope that Ms. Saell does more with him.

I do have Bound by Steel, which is the third book in this series, on my TBR, and I will definitely be revisiting this world again soon. Fans of fantasy romance should pick up this series. The characters are great, the world-building is subtle but well-done, and the plots are interesting!

I am totally jazzed. Especially since the book is probably almost half sex, and she didn't think any of it was gratuitous. Wahoo!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I feel all warm and fuzzy...

You know what's awesome? When a fellow writer, when asked for examples of good, intense fight scenes, cites your book as one of their three favorites.

That is all.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

With Apologies to the Tragically Hip...

Thirty-eight years old, never kissed a girl.

Yes, as of last Friday, I am thirty-eight. And yes, regardless of how I may feel about myself and how I fit into the dynamics of sexual and interpersonal relationships, I have never had the pleasure of kissing a girl. (And no, this post is not about confessing our most deep, dark secrets.)

But there's some talk going on at Dear Author in regard to Writing What You Know, and whether an author has to be it or have experienced it to be able to write it with any claim to authenticity. While being a forensic anthropoligist undoubtedly helped Kathy Reichs pen her Temperance (Bones) Brennan novels, was her professional expertise truly necessary to the process? Could a part-time hairdresser with a high-speed modem and access to a good university library have brought that level of authenticity to those books, or would her efforts have been an epic fail? Should authors really limit themselves to Writing What They Know?

When it comes to writers like Thomas Harris and Jeff Lindsay, the question is ridiculous. Lindsay, you hack, pack up your lame Dexter books and come back when you've chopped up a few people--then you can talk to me about homicidal sociopaths. What, Mr. Harris? Never eaten a person? Or a fava bean? Take a hike!

My own typical reaction when folks waggle their eyebrows and ask me if I "do all the things you write about, hur hur" is an enthusastic, "Well, of course! You can't write convincingly about chopping a man's fingers off or how it feels to pull a sword out of someone's belly unless you've actually--what? Oh, you mean the sex? Nah, I don't do any of that." But as the Dear Author debate unfolds (venturing predictably into that well-worn area of female writers who pen male/male sex), I have kind of begun to ask myself:

How can I convincingly write girl-on-girl sex having never even locked lips with a woman? (And no, Sue, that birthday kiss didn't count!)

How can I convincingly write guy-on-guy sex, never having been the proud owner of a penis? (Except by proxy, that is.)

Well, I'm sure there are things that will give my practical inexperience away--at least in the guy-on-guy department. Woman writers of male/male erotica are often accused of focusing on characteristics women find attractive in men, and largely ignoring those that tend to appeal to gay guys--the over-abundance of sandalwood in lieu of the kinds of "ripe, sweaty, gamey" smells (bluh) gay male writers evidently celebrate being just one. (The reverse of this is even more appallingly obvious in male-produced "lesbian" porn. I shudder every time I see some bimbalicious babe with full-on, red-painted talons plucking and prodding at her bottle-blonde, boob-enhanced screen-partner's squoogey bits. Now that's an invitation to an injury if ever there was one.)

But reasonable research measures aside, if you have to know "it", do "it" or be "it", to write authoritatively about "it", I'm in big trouble, as is every writer of fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, and pretty much all books where people get killed. Because no matter how well you research a subject, it's fiction. It never happened. And in real life, a hundred people will experience the same event in a hundred different ways.

And even when you do get it right, there's gonna be someone somewhere who goes "Come on! That's totally implausible." Just like I'm sure that somewhere out there, there's the odd gay guy who loves the smell of sandalwood, the rare lesbian with three-inch-long fingernails and a girlfriend who doesn't live in fear, and a homicidal cannibal freak who doesn't grimace at the mere mention of fava beans.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Diva Workshop

For anyone who loves historical romance, writes it or would like to, or would just like an insight into the nuts and bolts of the genre, head over to Romance Divas on the 12th of November.

Business, writing, fun, and some of your favorite authors--it'll be like a party, only no hangovers and no crap to clean up the next day. :D

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Another review...

No, not for one of my books, but a review I wrote for this blammo book:

It's up at Loving Venus- Loving Mars, go check it out!

Saturday, November 1, 2008


After discovering one of my fave writers of the dirty books--the awesome Portia da Costa--has finally, after 20 years, become a Harlequin author, I knew I had to pimp her out to all y'all:

A Spice Briefs erotic novella, published 1st November 2008.

The videotape shocked and thrilled her...and really turned her on. She’d found it in a small, out-of-the-way sitting room of Blaystock Manor, where she was working. Now everyone was away and she finally had an opportunity to watch at her leisure. There on the screen was the Marquis, her much fantasized-about boss, administering a very sexy spanking to some girl. The intense erotic sizzle she felt compelled her to begin touching herself. And as she lost herself in pleasure, she suddenly realized he’d entered the room and had been watching her.

But embarrassment turned to excitement when he urged her to continue, then began to touch her intimately. It was only the smallest hint of what she’d witnessed on the tape, but she knew she had to have more...much more!

Hot excerpts here and here. Chance of a Lifetime is available from eHarlequin, Fictionwise, Books on Board and Amazon Kindle. To purchase Chance of a Lifetime for 89 cents, visit eHarlequin Afternoon Delights between noon and 3pm on Monday 3rd November 2008

Spanking, huh? I am so there...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Smokin Hot Sex

Blogging buddy and fellow girl-on-girl aficionada, Madame Butterfly, has just reviewed Bound by Steel, and has lots of nice things to say about it.


That said, Kirsten Saell writes some of the most smokin hot sex out there and I had to keep the fire extinguisher next me in case my eBookwise spontaneously combusted. Whoa!

As usual, for me anyway, Kirsten Saell’s gritty, bawdy, colorful way of writing is so entertaining in itself, and that made this book so much fun to read even outside of the story. Her writing and story telling seems to be maturing with each book and I hope there is a third Emissaries of Belthalas because I’m totally addicted.

Guess I better get writing. :D

Saturday, October 25, 2008

No, it Isn't Snow

It's dog hair.

Yes, it's that time of year once more: Shedding season.

"What's this?" you say? "A dog, shedding in the fall? But spring is the time of year for dogs to molt!"

To you doubters, I say "Pooh"--right after I spit out a mouthful of dog hair.

Every October my fat, stupid, lazy, coffee table of a dog drops her entire coat. Yes, her entire coat. Like any fashionista, she is unsatisfied with merely expanding her current wardrobe--twice a year, she requires a completely new one.

This means for about three weeks, the rest of us are forced to wade through drifts of soft, ivory fluff that aspire to the ceiling. Woe betide the child who climbs sticky-fingered onto the sofa. We hostages to the hair wear dark colors at our own peril. Why, just this morning, I couldn't get the F on my keyboard to function. The problem? A matt of dog hair stuck under the key.

There's dog hair in the butter dish, dog hair in my freezer, dog hair sprouting from the window screens, dog hair stuck to my mascara wand. And yet there is still, defying all laws of physics and common sense, dog hair on the dog. I can brush her for hours, harvesting bales of the stuff, and three and a half minutes later she'll wander by in a cloud of freshly molted fur, depositing her dubious bounty on every piece of furniture within fifty feet.

I have fought this biannual war of attrition with a multitude of inadequate weapons: brooms, dog-combs and vacuum cleaners, lint-rollers and sticky tape. I have even considered applying a generous coat of spar varnish to the dog so the whole mass comes off in one, solid shell. But this year, I simply no longer have the energy to fight. I concede defeat. The hair wins.

I'm not even going to vacuum until the saturation bombardment of dog-follicles ceases. The battle is unwinnable, so why even try?

If any of you all are looking for me, I'll be under the dog hair until the second week of November.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Release Day!!! And a Contest!!

Well, today's the big day--Bound by Steel is now available. Unfortunately, the Canadian federal election and the tryptophan in last night's turkey have conspired to steal all my verve. Even if I hadn't overindulged in the ubiquitous bird and all its assorted accompaniments, I'm pretty sure the notion of braving the weather today so I can exercise my democratic responsibilities would have me equally nauseous. Bluh.

Methinks perhaps when I am done eenie-meenie-miney-moeing at the polls, I will bundle up with a blankie and some flavored coffee and partake in my usual release day tradition: read the book, surf yon webs, post an excerpt and give away a book or two.

I expect that y'all will be acquiring this beauty before doing anything as unimportant as voting for whichever political tool you hate marginally less than the others. (And I hear the economy is bouncing back, so you all got no excuse now to not buy it.) Heck, at least with a book, there's a chance you won't feel like you've wasted your time, right? I mean, if I want to participate in a giant wank-job, well, I'll pick one that isn't political, and has a hope in hell of getting me excited. :D

For all of you who still fear impending economic disaster and are looking to save yourself five bucks and change, you can head on over to Loving Venus- Loving Mars for a chance to win a copy for nothing. And even if you aren't the contest type, you can still pop in and read the hot girl on girl excerpt.

Now, to vote. One potato, two potato...

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Where on earth does the time go? Feels like Healer's Touch just came out yesterday, and here I am staring down the gaping maw of another release day.

Bound by Steel will be available on Tuesday. As it happens, BbS shares its release day with another significant event for those of us who live north of the 49th. Yes, Tuesday October 14 is election day for us Canucks. The political choices, they are as lame as ever. The fiction choices, however, are looking much more peachy.

In honor of election day, and in anticipation of Bound by Steel's release, I am going to post an unusually clean excerpt. All right, not clean, precisely, considering the questionable politics. Please remember, the political views expressed in this excerpt are not necessarily those of the blog owner.

"Tell me, Master Gil, do you know much Fjorn history?"

"As much as any man who is neither Fjorn, nor a historian."

"Then you must be familiar with the fall of the Temple Knights?"

Gil frowned, wondering exactly where this was going. "What man isn’t? High Prelate Eddard of Banebury wanted his brother Hillard on the Fjorn throne, despite the fact it was already occupied. His Knights would have succeeded, but for perfidy within the ranks of the Temple priests. After the debacle, it was decided that the clergy had too much earthly power, and the Order of Temple Knights was disbanded."

"A foolish knee-jerk reaction if there ever was one," the chancellor concluded.

"How so?"

The chancellor deftly peeled a prawn and bit it in half. "They disbanded an entire order of elite fighters—fighters who had, up until that one incident, been unerringly loyal to king and country—who then had no choice but to turn mercenary and find positions in the private armies of the Fjorn nobility. In essence, the disbanding of the Templars only increased the chances of civil war."

Gil sat back and took a long sip of his wine, intrigued despite himself by the man’s unorthodox politics. "What would you have done, chancellor?"

"The crown would have been better advised to enact measures to prevent nobility from rising to supremacy within the Temple. I will not need to tell you how such measures would have benefited Fjorg in its more recent troubles with the Dragon’s Head. And they ought to have written legislation consolidating all the armed forces of Fjorg under the aegis of the crown. A king cannot effectively rule if he must always tiptoe around his lords and their personal militias."

Gil stabbed at his salad with a three-pronged fork cast from pure silver. "But allowances must surely be made for a lord to defend his land, his vassals and tenants, and of course his family. Even these days, the world is a dangerous place. The Bal-shar may be gone, but brigands and raiders still victimize the innocent, especially in more isolated regions. You can’t possibly advocate the total abolition of the traditional household guard?"

Chancellor Collin smiled with a dry humor that did not quite reach his eyes. "That is exactly what I advocate."

Gil set his fork down on the edge of his plate, the delectable salad turning tasteless in his mouth. He may not be able to see quite where this conversation was leading, but he was beginning to feel the first stirrings of unease, and he’d learned over the years to trust his instincts.

The chancellor’s smile widened, but did not grow any warmer. "It is my belief that a strong king, with the proper resources, must be the ultimate authority of the land. If he is granted sufficient wherewithal through taxes and manpower, it should be his sole responsibility to govern, and to protect his subjects. And the first rule of good governance is upholding the law."

"And if a man has a grievance with his neighbor?"

The chancellor lifted his glass in a salute. "A king who cannot smooth over a neighborly feud has no business being king."

"And what," said Gil, trying to maintain a certain lightness of tone and not entirely succeeding, "ought a man do when he has a grievance against his king?"

"Then that man has a problem," the chancellor said quietly, his smile gone.

Gil pretended a keen interest in his wine as the serving girl brought in the second course, a roast pork sirloin with pearl onions, baby peas and a loaf of white bread hot from the oven. Everything looked delicious, but Gil’s appetite had fled. Over the course of the long wait in the salon, he had largely discarded the possibility of working with this man, and this…discussion only reinforced that decision.

The girl finished dishing out their meal and retreated. Gil picked up his knife and speared an onion, not with any real intention of eating it. All he wanted now was to finish this ridiculous conversation and get the fuck out of here. "Your interest in the topic seems more than a passing one, chancellor."

The chancellor’s smile was back full force. "I’m a man of ambition. A such, I aspire to change the world for the better."

"Surely you have no royal aspirations? After all, Belthalas has no king."

"Belthalas may be a city-state," the chancellor said affably, "but it is more similar to Fjorg than you might realize. Scaled down, it possesses all those parts that comprise a kingdom—a ruler, his loyal nobility, the civil service, a strong clergy, the commons and a militia. Unfortunately, it also abounds with mercenaries who threaten the stability of its righteous governance."

And there it was, out in the open. Gil stabbed a second onion onto the point of his knife. "The Emissaries."

Chancellor Collin’s teeth flashed, but the coldness of his eyes lent his smile a predatory aspect. "The Emissaries."

Gil’s fingers tightened on the haft of his dagger. Without being too obvious, he made a note of the exits, and where they were likely to lead.

Oh, dear. It looks like someone has an agenda. *sigh* I guess this is what happens when politicians don't get enough action in the bedroom...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cool Blog Post!

Lissa Matthews over at Kiss and Tell just did an awesome post on the hot girl-on-girl action and why there isn't more of it out there in romance. You all should go check it out--and leave a comment, too!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Holy Crapoly!!!

This just in:

Please join us at Romance Divas THIS WEEKEND!Friday October 10th and Saturday October 11th, we will be joined by some huge names in fantasy and fantasy-romance for a workshop on what the difference really is between the two genres.

OMG, I am so there.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Well, it Doesn't Rain.... pours. Of course, when it's pouring good reviews, you won't find me whining about the weather, let me tell you.

Ciar Cullen, who recently started reviewing books on her blog, just posted a "two thumbs up" review of Crossing Swords today, and she has plenty of nice things to say. She actually called my writing "superb". I am seriously blushing here.


If you've read fantasy, then you've read a tavern scene, with grime, a fireplace, floozies and quirky characters aplenty. What could have been really cliche is dead on here. The setting reminded me of the film Gangs of New York, or Oliver Twist. Am I comparing the description to Dickens? Gosh, guess I am. That's a first.

The first chapter is so good, ending with such a bang and a twist, you're totally hooked. Gil is a great hero and Lianon is a very, very sympathetic heroine. Their motivations ring true, their actions makes sense.

I am so jazzed that I've managed to impress two avid fantasy readers in as many days. It's also really cool to be compared to Dickens, whom I totally love. (Although personally, I think if Dickens had included a public blowjob in all his books, his work would have been even more popular, LOL.)

Now all I need is that one bad review so I can feel like a real writer. Any takers? LOL

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Neither Bad, nor Unread

Shannon C. at The Good, the Bad, the Unread has posted her review of Crossing Swords and apparently, it was good. An "A", in fact.

Behold, a snippet:

In short, Ms. Saell writes exactly the kind of book there needs to be more of, one that is both empowering and sexy. And she accomplishes more in a short novel than others can manage in an epic doorstopper. Yes, I'll be following this series, and I recommend it to anyone who likes well-written fantasy romance or romance with subversive elements.

I couldn't be more pleased.

That is all.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I'm Even More Neurotic Than I Thought...

Okay, I totally stole this from Madame Butterfly, who stole it from Portia da Costa. You're supposed to tag six people, but I'm too lazy *ahem* I meant to say I hate to bug others with trivial stuff.

Six Unspectacular Quirks About Me:

1) I have issues with food--if I have potatoes left over after my meat and veggies are done, it ruins the experience. Likewise, if I'm eating pancakes or a burger, I save the middle for last, and if I'm too full by the time I get to it, I get all annoyed.

2) I am a compulsive self-editor. I can't even toss off an email to my mom without reading it through twice and rearranging my sentences and adding stuff in the middle.

3) I pluck my eyebrows every day, and can't tear my gaze from women whose brows need work--you know the ones. They waxed a month ago, and haven't done any maintenance since. Also, women who bleach their upper lip--helloooo! A blonde mustache is still a mustache!

4) I have worn a skirt exactly twice in the last ten years or so. To weddings. Even though I wore jeans to my own.

5) I hate asking anyone for a favor.

6) The only people I'm really nice to all the time are the ones I don't like.

There you go. Six things you now know about me, but wish you could unlearn.

All right, I'm not quite ready for the men in white coats, but...

Friday, September 19, 2008


It has come to my attention that today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. To commemorate this occasion, I will write a few sentences in pirate-speak and post an amusing and appropriately themed picture.

So: "Avast ye, mateys! Behold yon scrap o' wenchly humor!"

Also, "Arrrr, do ye dare plunder me booty?!"

That is all.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Couple of Things...

Okay, as those of you who are paying attention will have noticed, I've made some progress on The Chancellor's Bride. Unfortunately, I totally cancelled out that progress (and then some) by increasing my initial estimate from 50k when complete to 70k. During the course of writing Bound by Steel and this latest WIP, I've come to the irksome realization that when you have three people involved in a romance, the book is just going to be longer. On the bright side, it's also going to have more sex scenes, yay!

Also, I just finished writing my first ever book review. Check it out.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I Feelz Laik Reel Riter!

So the coolest thing just happened. Okay, prolly not so cool to all you non-writer types, but kinda cool for those of us who eventually want to make some real bucks at this writing gig.

I just got my galleys for the print version of Crossing Swords. For you non-writer types, a galley is kinda like the dress rehearsal for your book. It's the last version they make before it goes onto the printing press--and it's the last chance for the author to make any changes or correct stuff like spelin erurs.

In addition, Crossing Swords now has a second ISBN#--one for the ebook, another for print.

It is now officially on its way to becoming a real, dead-tree book. Yay!

In other news, Blammo was up barfing last night, and is in fine, tyrannical, 6-year-old form today. I may have to sell him to some gypsies.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hey, lookee here!!

All right, after a frantic week of collaboration, my like-minded buddy Leah and I have got it up and running: Loving Venus, Loving Mars, a blog dedicated women who enjoy romance featuring the hot (or sweet) girl-on-girl action.

Our mission statement:

This blog aims to provide a venue for all women who appreciate sensual fiction that celebrates female/female love and sexuality--whether within the scope of a heterosexual romance, a lesbian love story, or a full-on polyamorous relationship.

Discussion on industry and reader blogs has brought to light a small but vocal group of us who enjoy this type of story, but feel it is underrepresented in female-targeted romance and erotica--especially in ebooks.

We hope to maintain a safe environment for women to gather and discuss f/f and f/f/m erotic/romantic fiction written with a female readership in mind. If you're an author or reader of these kinds of books, and would like to guest blog, promote or review a book, offer industry info or even write a story to post on the blog, feel free to contact us.

So if you all are part of this poor, neglected demographic of romance readers, head on over and leave a comment on one (or both) of the first two posts. You could win one of my ebooks!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Smokin' Hot!!1!!

Okay, it's finally been approved by those in power, and I'm now free to post it. Voila!

<===Lianon, drool, drool.

<===Kaela, mmmm, yummy....

<===Gil, oh swoon!

Told you all it was smokin' hot!

To celebrate this auspicious occasion, I shall treat you all to a snippet. A wee one, mind, with no actual smexing, because despite my delight over this wonderful cover, I am feeling a tad contrary today. And although my mood has nothing to do with you guys, I have no qualms about taking it out on everyone, lol!

Kaela sat huddled in the water, hugging her up-drawn knees. She looked so fragile, so lost, it made Lianon’s heart ache. “Let me help you with your hair?”

“All right.”

Lianon knelt beside the tub, just at Kaela’s shoulder. Reaching for the ewer, she filled it with steaming bathwater and poured it over Kaela’s unbound hair. The heavy black curtain plastered itself to her shoulders and back.

“Lean your head back.”

Kaela’s neck arched, the fine cords standing out. Her collarbones jutted, and Lianon imagined her mouth on them, her tongue dipping into the hollows. The girl’s knees were pressed tight against her breasts, but that only enhanced her cleavage. Lianon felt a familiar heaviness settle between her legs, but forced her eyes from the sight, and her mind from thoughts she knew Kaela would not be ready to acknowledge.

Gingerly, taking care not to startle her, Lianon washed Kaela’s hair and back, her hands skimming gently over the marks of her experience with sur-Marus. As she worked, the girl began at last to relax. The cooling water raised gooseflesh on the parts of her above the surface, and she hunkered deeper down. When Lianon finished with her hair, Kaela lay back, closing her eyes and resting the base of her skull on the contoured edge of the tub. Her crossed arms covered her breasts, but one pink nipple peeked from the crook of her elbow. Lianon’s eyes fastened on it as her belly coiled and tightened.

Gods, what was she doing? Her feelings were premature, to say the least. Even if she was able to guide Kaela toward an acceptance of her body and her sexuality, even if she helped her get past the rape, there was no guarantee that the girl would be remotely interested in any kind of liaison with another woman. If Lianon wasn’t careful, she’d end up with a broken heart.

“Hungry?” Lianon asked, flinching inwardly as her body responded involuntarily to the subtext of the word. Gods, she was hungry. Ravenous.

“Mmm,” Kaela sighed, smiling. “Starving.”

Lianon grabbed the tray and headed into the main room, where padded chairs and a settee would offer more comfort than the kitchen, and where there was no beautiful, naked woman in a bathtub to tempt her. She set their meal down on the low table and continued on into Kaela’s room. “I’ll bring you your shift and robe,” she called over her shoulder.

When she returned to the kitchen, it was to see Kaela wrapped in linen, one foot propped on a chair, drying her calf with a corner of the towel. Her limbs were displayed in all their contoured glory, her sleek, black hair seeming to caress her shoulders and upper arms. As Lianon stood there, transfixed with desire, the towel slipped loose and Kaela scrambled to retrieve it. Her creamy skin was flushed pink from the bath, and trails of water from her hair wove their way down her naked torso. She straightened, staring in horror at Lianon, clutching the damp linen to herself as her face went red. With a start, Lianon realized the girl wasn’t trying to cover her breasts so much as the scar above them.

“Don’t look. Please,” Kaela whispered, her chin starting to go wobbly.

Lianon turned her back, as much to dash the tears from her own eyes as to give the girl her privacy. The look on Kaela’s face hadn’t been the expression of violated modesty you’d expect in a young woman caught without clothes. It was a profound horror at being seen at all. And how could Lianon blame her? Kaela bore the marks of sur-Marus’ brutality all over her body, from the crescent-shaped bite-marks he’d put on her back and shoulders, to the scars on her face and chest from his bodyguard’s dagger. She didn’t see her body as a thing of beauty or a source of pleasure and comfort. To her, it was a constant reminder of an event she had to get past, if she was ever to be happy.

“I’m sorry,” Kaela whispered, clearly miserable. “I’m sorry.”

Lianon turned back to find Kaela modestly wrapped in her towel, hugging herself. “I’m sorry, Kaela. I didn’t mean to stare. It’s just that…”

Reaching up to tug a sopping lock of hair over the scar on her cheek, Kaela looked away, blinking frantically. “I know. You don’t have to tell me how ugly I am.”

Lianon swallowed a startled laugh, her eyes stinging. She shook her head, bemused. “What are you talking about? You’re beautiful… Beautiful.”

Okay, that's enough of that! You want more, you'll have to catch me in a more agreeable humor, lol! :D

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Waiting is the Hardest Part...

Warning: huge, whiney, complainy post ahead...

Ever have one of those days where it just feels like you're waiting and waiting and waiting? For me, that day is today.

Waiting on that first royalty statement to find out how Healer's Touch did in its release month. Will it sell better than Crossing Swords did? I have to assume so, since it actually made the top ten at MBaM for almost a day, yay! Will Crossing Swords experience a surge in sales this month due to Healer's' release?

Waiting on final approval for the cover for Bound by Steel, which is so smokin' hot as is that I can only imagine how scorching it will be if it's undergoing a face-lift.

Waiting for reviewers to do their thing. I only wish they were all as flattering as Madame Butterfly was in her haste to read and lavish praise on Healer's Touch. At the same time, dreading the moment when those reviews go up, on the chance that they are scathing, or worse, tepid.

Waiting for my stepson and his friends to go home so I can have my house back. You have no idea what it's like to have four 21-year-olds, three kids and two adults living in a 1200 square foot, three bedroom, 1 1/2 bath house with no basement.

Waiting for my kids to go back to school so I can actually write.

Waiting for October, when Bound by Steel releases. At the same time, dreading October because I promised my editor I would have Chancellor's Bride finished and in her hot little hand by Hallowe'en.

Waiting for the rain to stop and the sun come back. Please, please come back, summer.

Waiting for customers to walk in the door. I mean, it's the last dang Wednesday of the month (otherwise known as "Welfare Wednesday"), the day everyone's government money comes in: GST rebates and child tax benefits and guaranteed income supplements and welfare cheques and pension cheques and all that, and usually it's so busy in here I can't even check my email. But today, for some reason, I have had two--count 'em--two tables since I came in at 11. It is now 1:30.

Waiting waiting waiting for the other waitress to get here at 5 so I can go home. And wait some more.

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that the weather is to blame for my discontent. It's been pouring rain and cold (12C) all week--we even had hail, ffs. I guess we already had our summer on the North Island, and it was all of three and a half weeks long.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

I did a bad, bad thing...

What bad thing did I do, you ask? Well, with Chancellor's Bride hovering near the midpoint and an October deadline looming, I went and started a new project last night.

2000 words in. Planning for 40k. WTF am I thinking??!!

That is all.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Permission to Squeeeeeee?

My first review for Healer's Touch--from Madame Butterfly--is in, and I couldn't be more pleased. Here's a snippet or two:

Healer’s Touch is a deliciously arousing and touching story of love and healing. Full of yummy sex and characters who’ll steal your heart, this story sucks you in and doesn’t let go. It will break your heart at times and melt it at others, but by the end you'll be feeling warm and fuzzy all over. Over at Samhain it’s a “red hot,” but for me it was more like experiencing a super nova.

Super nova? Dang!!

Kirsten Saell’s prose, which is very graphic, amusing and raunchy at times, also expresses a very deep intimacy between the characters such that I needed a break here and there while reading it, feeling almost as if I was interfering in something very personal somehow.


There's nothing better than having someone read what you wrote, and just totally "get" every single thing you tried to convey. You can read the whole review over at Madame Butterfly's.

And here I was feeling all anticlamactic with the post-release day blahs. This just made my day!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

SamhainCafe Winners!

Well, my random number generator of extreme numerical randomness has chosen two--count 'em, two--cafe denizens to be the proud and hopefully exuberant recipients of one of my lovely, lovely books (Healer's Touch or Crossing Swords). Huzzah! Without further ado, here they are:


Janie Mason!

And because I'm contrary and have questionable arithmetic skills,


Yeah, I know that's three. Wanna make something of it?

Winners, just let me know whatcha want--which book in what format. Email me at kirstensaell AT yahoo DOT com with the info and I shall send forthwith!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bwahahaha! Release Day! And Contest Winners!

It's that day, people.

Healer's Touch goes on sale today!

Now before you all go rushing off to purchase the wonder that is my second book, please read yon excerpt. The set up: Inella, Viera's partner in seduction, needs a job, and she needs it like, NOW! The only dude hiring is Karal, the local Kurgan apothecary who, for reasons which escape him but are glaringly obvious to everyone else, can't seem to keep an assistant for more than a few weeks at a time.

But as Viera will discover, Karal knows things about Aru, mysterious things that ought to make her think twice about her seduction plans.

Winners of my pick-up line contest are announced waaaayyyy down at the bottom of the post!

*Mom, you've got the green light to read on!

“No fucking way.”

Beside Inella, Viera let out a long-suffering sigh. “Karal—”

“By god, I could eat this one for lunch and leave the table hungry,” the huge Kurgan growled, his voice like two rocks sliding against one another. Inella felt all the blood drain from her face at the sight of him leaning back against the counter. Even slouching, his head nearly touched the ceiling beams. Muscled arms folded across his broad tunic-clad chest, he stood and smirked, his gaze raking Inella in disdain.

“Karal—” Viera said again.

“She’s a twig,” the Kurgan went on. “A strong wind would knock her flat.”

“You get a lot of wind in here?” Viera asked with a half-smile. “Perhaps you ought to close your mouth once in a while.”

Karal’s glare narrowed on Viera. From the corner of her eye, Inella saw the other woman smile sweetly. Clearly Viera had gone mad. When faced with an angry bear, one ought not pick up a stick and commence poking it.

Inella shuddered and hugged herself. All morning, her imagination had conjured visions of what the Kurgan might be like, images of a face bordering on demonic, with a cruel, hard mouth, teeth meant to rend flesh and eyes that glowed like coals. Several times she had bit her tongue in the middle of asking Viera to call the whole business off. She’d had to tell herself to calm down, that Viera would never put her in the path of a monster, that the Kurgae’in were no longer the enemy of the Andun at all. But now that she was here and confronted by the reality, this entire proposition seemed insane. How could Viera have imagined Inella would be able to work with this brute? Even with his gaze on the other woman, Inella felt herself shrivel under the weight of his presence, as if the room were too small to contain him.

Karal’s withering glare seemed to be having the opposite effect on Viera. She drew herself up until it almost seemed she was looking down her nose at the much taller man. “You said someone who can read. Inella can read. She’s uneducated, but clever enough. And she’s willing to work with you. You ought to be down on your knees kissing my feet in gratitude.”

Karal’s face split into a wide grin and he looked Viera up and down, his expression completely different now. He chuckled softly. The sound raised gooseflesh all along Inella’s spine. “You know me, Viera. If I get down on my knees for you, it won’t be your feet I kiss.”

A choking noise escaped Inella and she slapped a hand to her mouth. Viera had done…that…with a Kurgan?

Viera stepped gracefully around a stack of crates that teetered in the middle of the floor until she was standing only inches from the Kurgan. She walked two fingers up his chest, making a moue and batting her lashes. “Look at this place, Karal. It’s a mess. You need the help and you know it. Give her a chance, Karal? For me?”

With a growl he snatched her hand and pulled it to his face. His nostrils next to the translucent skin of her wrist, he inhaled deeply. As Inella watched, his eyes darkened. Softened. Good god, she thought. Are they going to do it right here? At the notion a shiver ran through her, not altogether unpleasant.

“Mmm,” the Kurgan murmured. “You don’t come around at night of late, Viera.”

Viera cleared her throat delicately, a flush creeping up her cheeks as Karal straightened, pulling her even closer. “Aru keeps me busy…”

Karal’s carnal grin slipped a notch. “Busy at what?”

Viera smiled pertly. “Are you jealous now?”

“Should a man be jealous because the sun shines on others and not just on him?” Karal said quietly.

“So poetic,” Viera teased, bringing his hand to her mouth and licking his knuckles. Inella’s stomach tightened watching, and she felt a tingling between her legs that signaled a release of wetness, a sensation that was becoming more and more familiar. But Karal wasn’t in the mood for flirting anymore.

“Have you bedded him, Viera?” he asked, all trace of his smile gone.

She frowned, retrieving her hand from his grasp and taking a step back. “Not precisely. Why?”

“I would advise you to tread with care around the Omahru-azhi.”

Viera was scowling now, and Inella stepped forward to stand at her shoulder, silent support. “What are you talking about?”

Karal shrugged. “The walking dead are an odd people. They have odd ways. It would grieve me if you were hurt.”

Viera’s throat worked as she swallowed. “Aru would never hurt me.”

“The snake does not bite out of a desire to cause pain,” Karal said cryptically. “It bites because it has no choice if it wants to survive.”

Inella slid her hand into Viera’s and squeezed it tight. But Viera’s discomfiture was swiftly transforming into irritation. “You think I need to be afraid of him? Is that what you’re saying?”

“You need fear him no more than you would any other man,” Karal said stolidly, folding his arms across his chest once more. “But it is always wise to learn the nature of the beast before you assume him tamed and bring him into your house.”

Viera’s pout turned more playful. “What if I’m not looking for something tame?”

He laughed and the dark mood suddenly shattered. “Then you’re liable to get bitten.”

Oh, dear, something awful is bound to happen, I just know it. Will Viera discover the truth about Aru? Will Karal hire Inella? Will Aru finally succumb to Viera's demands?

Um, yeah, there's a pretty good chance, but you won't know for sure unless you read the book!

And now, because I can't reasonably put it off any longer, the winners of my pick-up line contest are:

3rd place: Seeley for "I can haz kok now?" (Although the "hard" thing was also good, despite what I might have said elsewhere *ahem*)

2nd place: Michelle for "Can I help you with your pants?" (Has nothing to do with anything, but still brilliant!)

1st place: Trisha for "Celabisee...Not so grate, akshully." (OMG. Stunning. I am in awe.)

As you may have noticed, I have a special affection for the literary gold that is lolspeak. Winners please contact me at kirstensaell AT yahoo DOT com with your preferance of title and format.

Now I'm off to obsess over whether my book is selling or not. Where's my booze?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Another Excerpt!

The seduction is on! Viera isn't going to let something as insignificant as a vow of celibacy stand between her and the man she wants. If that means she needs to call in reinforcements, well, she has the perfect ally.

Poor Aru doesn't stand a chance...

*As you might suspect, what follows is for grown-ups who are over 18 and are also not my mom

Aru looked up and couldn’t believe his eyes. She stood just inside his door, her body sheathed in a thin silk robe, her hair hanging loose to her waist, her lips parted on deep, swift breaths. For a moment, he couldn’t drag his gaze away. To his shame, he felt his cock stir and begin to fill with blood.

"Inella," he whispered, sitting up against his pillows. "What are you doing here?"

And then Viera was standing behind her, her hands coming up to settle lightly on Inella’s shoulders, her face hovering close at the side of the other woman’s neck. As he watched, transfixed, she brushed her lips across Inella’s cheek and slid her hands in a slow caress down her arms.

"I asked her to come."

He shook his head with the frantic denial of a horrified child, even as his member throbbed in his lap. God in Antuine, she would kill him with pleasure. And if she stopped, he might just kill himself.

He opened his mouth to speak, to plead, to scream for her to be gone, but then her hands closed on the fine silk of Inella’s robe, slid it from the woman’s shoulders, and as her beautiful, mortal body was bared to his eyes, the power of speech utterly abandoned him. His heart began to slam against the cage of his chest, an aroused beast that wanted to be let loose. His cock was already salivating like an animal at its first whiff of game.

"Light a candle, Aru. I want to see her too."

With shaking fingers he found flint and struck it, hardly capable of keeping his eyes on his task. Viera’s arms encircled Inella, her hands sliding up the softness of her belly to cup her small breasts. In the candle’s sudden flare, her fingers plucked at the pointed nipples and Aru’s breath wheezed to a stop in his chest. Inella’s eyes fluttered closed, her head falling back on Viera’s shoulder as those pale hands toyed with her breasts, tugging and twirling, until the nipples stood straight out, hard and straining. Inella’s body was no longer perfect—bearing two children had left her skin less than taut and her abdomen was covered with a fine tracery of stretch marks, showing silver where the candlelight struck them. Aru didn’t care. Standing here in his room with Viera’s hands skimming lightly over her, she was beautiful. Soft, half-formed moans issued from her throat, and she reached behind her, holding to Viera’s waist as if her arousal left her too weak to stand. And she was aroused—even in the dark, Aru could see it all. Her skin was flushed a deep rose, her pores were wide open, pouring out sweat and pheromones, her blood thrummed through her veins.

His hand was on his cock, gripping hard. His eyes were on Viera’s pale hands as they danced across Inella’s paler flesh, down her belly to the apex of her thighs. Her fingers brushed against dark blonde curls, teasing him with their hesitancy. Would she really do it? Would she really slide her fingers into that beckoning valley? He remembered a winter night a few short months past, a brief and brilliant vision of two women on a bed, and his cock wept.

Viera’s lips worked at the nape of Inella’s neck, her tongue playing, her teeth nipping and grazing that delicate skin. And as he watched, his hand beginning its own torturous dance up and down his cock, her fingers dipped down through that blonde thatch and into the other woman’s furrow.

"Ahhh!" Inella hissed, pushing her hips forward to increase the contact. Aru could see Viera’s fingers moving, exploring, delving deep, then retreating. When they emerged, they were shiny with the other woman’s slickness.

"I brought her here for you, Aru," Viera said softly, slanting a wicked glance at him through her lashes. "So you tell me. What shall I do to her?"


Of course, if all y'all had given me more pick-up lines, Viera might not have had to resort to such desperate measures. But don't despair, there's still time to enter your silliest, cheesiest, sexiest, lamest, most poetically alliterative and least coherent pick-up lines in the post just below.


ETA: Waiting for the first lolpick-up: "Iz can haz pik-up line?"

Friday, August 15, 2008


Okay, okay, I promised you a contest and a contest you shall have. It is, as I also promised, pretty much the height of lameness, but oh well. To set the stage:

Viera, a woman of questionable virtue and not inconsiderable sexual appetites walks into a seedy tavern. She spots alone at the bar a man of ambiguous age and appealing face, who appears *ahem* limber enough to sate even a woman such as she. Without delay, she moves in for the kill, only to have a tavern girl take her aside and sympathetically inform her the man, Aru, is nearly 1200 years old, and has been celibate for two thirds of those years, loyal to the wife he can never see again.

Viera shrugs and thanks the girl. But alas, Aru's inconvenient devotion to his wife has only piqued her interest in him. With narrowed eyes and a predator's smile, she sidles up to him, leans close so her lips are right next to his ear, and whispers...

You tell me. What line could she possibly use that will lure Aru to her bed? Do your best. Do your worst. Sexiest, cheesiest, wordiest, whatever. Give me pick-up lines, give me lots of them and give 'em to me by noonish [ETA: deadline extended to midnight pacific] on Monday the 18th. Winners get a free ebook, either Crossing Swords or Healer's Touch, whichever you prefer.

I'll pick my favorites and name the lucky few Monday night.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

One Week and Counting...

So time, it is passing, and release day for Healer's Touch approacheth with a speed I can hardly credit. Between now and August 19th, I plan to run a contest or two (provided I can think of a contest or two, because how lame am I that my editor had to suggest the Purple Title contest back in May?) and post a few fun snippets.

For those of you not in the know, here is yon blurb:

She’s determined to break his eight centuries of celibacy—at any cost!

Darjhian healer Aru has been in exile for eight hundred years, barred from the Deathless Land and parted from his wife. Now fallen from grace and no longer immortal, he can never return to her.

Yet he cleaves to his marriage vow and holds himself apart from everyone—especially Viera, the former prostitute whose sexual energy provides the power needed for his healing work. She presents a temptation he must constantly hold at bay if he’s to keep to his vow.

Viera isn’t interested in fighting temptation. She wants Aru. He wants her. What could be simpler? After three frustrating months working with him, her need for him has reached the breaking point. He claims he can never touch a woman again, but Viera isn’t the type to take no for an answer.

Over four glorious nights, she shows Aru everything he’s denied himself for eight centuries. But a shadow hangs over their passion. Aru is keeping secrets about the nature of his mortality. And now he faces a terrible choice…

Break Viera’s heart, or risk destroying her with the knowledge of what he truly is.

Warning: This title contains: graphic sex, including anal sex, f/f and m/f/f; bad language; inappropriate use of a kitchen work surface; flagrant tickling of ivory; and a wagon-load of good, old-fashioned voyeurism.

So there you have it. The whore and the 1200-year-old almost-virgin. And now, behold! The first excerpt:

***Warning! Mom, you can just skip this part if you like, because it's...ah...well, just go back and read the warning, won't you?

Aru let himself in and shut the door silently behind him. Creeping through the front hall to the infirmary, he assured himself that Inella was well, and took note of the two children asleep in the second bed. He stood and listened to the snores emerging from the salon.

The mother.

Something brittle inside him cracked and fell away at the thought of what Viera had done, how she had welcomed these people into his home. His eyes burned, his breath coming swift and hard, and he paused, holding his head in his hands until he was once more in control of himself.

His limbs were steady as he crossed to the stairs. He had half-carried Gil back to his own apartment in a state of inebriation bordering on coma, but it took a very great deal to intoxicate a Darjhan—even a fallen one. Aru’s coins had vanished one by one down Aliannet’s bodice until his purse was empty, and still, he was lamentably sober this night.

Sober and in pain. Even before he reached the top of the stairs, he was achingly hard, as if all it took was being in the same house with her. On the landing, he stood and stared at her door, then deliberately turned and entered his own room.

Gods, it was hot up here. With a muttered curse, he opened the window, jerking at the ties of his shirt. He tugged it off over his head and leaned on the window frame to let the chill spring breeze caress his bare torso. Across the street, a pair of whores plied their trade, calling offers to passers by, flashing their breasts at those who showed interest. There was a time when Aru would have watched their games, but he had no stomach for it anymore. His erection was like a steel rod, but it had nothing to do with any woman outside.

Crossing to the bed, he reached for the buttons of his trousers, but his straining cock reacted with a bolt of pain and a wet surge of fluid.

"Paldir help me," he muttered, flopping facedown on the mattress. He closed his eyes, but she was there waiting for him, her pale skin dotted with freckles, her auburn hair like a river of silk pouring over his white hands, her breasts peaked with the dusky pearls of her nipples. Gods, he had seen her naked in all her glory, had sat beside her, one hand on her belly as she writhed and screamed in the extremity of her arousal. He had seen it. He had caused it! It was but a tiny step further down the road to madness to imagine her breasts filling his hands, her nipples pressed between his lips as he suckled her, his cream-slicked fingers sliding high up inside her heat. He groaned at the thought of that pink tongue of hers lapping at his chest, licking a wet trail across his belly and down to his shaft. Her face, smiling up at him as she took him between her sweet lips and sucked him in, hard and deep, her hair spilling across his torso and between his legs.

Damn. With a start, he realized he was grinding his cock into the mattress. Sitting up, he rubbed his hands up and down his face, hard enough to chafe his skin. He’d never be able to sleep. Downstairs in the kitchen, he had a large cask of mead—the closest thing to hennath he could find in Anduni lands—but he couldn’t fetch himself any without risking waking Inella or her family. And to be honest, he doubted even a river of drink would soften his cock tonight.

Damn, damn, damn. Rising, he tiptoed to the door and peeked across the landing to Viera’s room. Her door stood ajar, a bar of candlelight slanting across the floorboards. She always left one burning next to the bed, in case a patient needed her in the night. Before Aru realized what he was doing, he was standing just outside her door, peeking in.

She slept, her hair like a dark cloud against the stark white of the sheets. She wore no shift—the dusky tip of one breast peeked at him over the edge of the blanket, and one long, curvy leg thrust out from the covers. Her bare toes enthralled him—so mundane, yet so delicate. He thought about taking them in his mouth, one by one. She stirred, shifting so that her other breast emerged from under the blanket, and he felt his shaft thicken in response, hardening until he thought his trouser buttons might end up permanently imprinted along its underside.

Heat flowered from the root of his member to spread its licking fingers all along his limbs. He pressed a hand to it, closing his eyes on a wave of need that left him dizzy. When he opened them, he was somehow standing right beside her bed, looking down on her face.

And she was looking back up at him, confusion etching a delightful crease between her brows. Her eyes flicked down to his crotch, widening as she took in the state of him. Her gaze might as well have been her fingers—his organ leapt in response and he let out a long, shaky breath.

So you can never touch a woman again? Gil’s earlier words resounded in his mind as he stared down at Viera in an agony of longing.

But what if he didn’t touch her? What if he didn’t touch her at all?


His hand pressed against his shaft through the wool of his trousers, stroking upward the way he wanted her to do. He stared into her eyes, willing her to understand what he needed.

As if she read his mind, she drew the blanket slowly down, baring herself for him. Her nipples tightened as his gaze raked them, and she drew her fingertips across them, plucking them gently as her breath quickened and deepened. With shaking fingers, he slipped his buttons loose and his cock fell free. He moved to encircle it with his hand, but she shook her head.

"I want to see it."


So there it is. One stubborn, stubborn man, and one very determined woman. Oh, what on earth will they get up to?

No, really. What?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

OMG! It Moved!!!

For those of you paying attention (and I know you are legion, haha), I just thought I would do a post to reassure everyone that I have not entirely given up writing. If you haven't noticed, my word meter for Chancellor's Bride


has gone up by 2000 words.

*This burst of creativity brought to you by my stepsons' two-day camping trip.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

This Pain in My Knee is a Pain in the Ass

Just got back from the doctor, and the x-rays were fucking normal. The verdict: Patellofemural Pain Syndrome.


Why do I say "ugh"? Because it means they can't fix it with surgery, won't go in with a scope to see what's under the kneecap, won't spring for more effective imaging than an x-ray, and pretty much the only treatments available are the ones I've already been using with less than spectacular results. Those treatments--taking painkillers, walking to relieve the discomfort, and applying ice--are either inconvenient or of questionable effectiveness.

How much does it hurt? Well, speaking as someone who has given birth to an 11+ lb baby the natural way, this latest flare-up--at its worst--hurt as much as early to mid-stage labor. Only you don't get that couple of minutes between each wave of pain--it just hurts all. The. Time. And it isn't dull or throbbing, either. It's like someone is jamming a knife under your kneecap.

All. The. Time.

The swelling is disturbing. The heat of the inflamed tissues, even immediately after you take the ice pack off, is alarming. Advil (even twice the maximum recommended dose) does not touch this pain. Codeine is its bitch. The only things that have worked for me is walking, and ice. Unfortunately, I can't even use this as an excuse to take time off work--being a waitress means my job is like physiotherapy.

Not being somnambulatory, I am left with one option at night. Every three hours or so, my knee wakes me up to let me know my ice pack needs changing. The walk to the freezer is a welcome relief, and by the time I return to bed, I can usually almost stand it. Sometimes, I need to walk circles in the living room for five or ten minutes before I can lie back down.

Of course, this flare-up could not have happened at a worse time. Sitting hurts. Driving is excruciating. Driving six hours so I could sit through my cousin's wedding ceremony and reception dinner was agony, even with an inexhaustible supply of ice from a cute bartender at the reception, and enough codeine to drop a bull elephant. In spite of all that, I managed to have a wonderful time. My cousin was handsome and charming, his bride beautiful and gracious. The ceremony was short and sweet, the venue stunning, the weather glorious, the food delectable and--most importantly--the bar open. Wild horses stamping violently on my bad knee couldn't have dragged me away.

That was more than a week ago. The pain and swelling have mostly subsided now, but the doctor gave me a prescription for naproxen sodium to take the next time it acts up. Of course, after looking at the list of side-effects in the product monograph, ice is looking better all the time. Generally, ice doesn't give you intestinal bleeding, heart attack or stroke.

But ask me again during the next flare-up. I'm notoriously fickle when I'm in agony.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

So Far, So Good

So the hordes--I mean relatives--have been here for a few days, and with the exception of a few minor fiascos (and one huge one), things have been going *bad pun alert* relatively smoothly. There have been more meals than fights, more laughing than cursing, more good luck than bad, and unbelievably, NO RAIN. The horrifying discovery (two hours from home, enroute to fetch my sister and her kids at the airport) that my van's registration and insurance had expired (possible $700 fine + tow charges and impound fees, yikes!) only delayed us three hours, thanks to an admirably peace-oriented peace officer, the random kindnesses of several strangers, and that rarest of treasures to find on a Sunday afternoon, the helpful, friendly bureaucrat.

My parents have been here since the 10th, my sister V and her kids since Sunday, and my sister M and hers since Monday. I have been having a blast. Yesterday we all went out to a long nature trail that leads to a beach on the west coast of the island. Nothing between us and Japan but water. We roasted hot dogs on sticks and climbed rocks and walked on some seriously weird spongey sand that sinks six inches when you step on it. The kids weathered the death march back to the car with the aplomb of seasoned campaigners--which is to say, they dragged their asses and grumbled, but kept moving until the bitter end. No bears or cougars showed up to spoil our day--although we got to see a teenage black bear and three tiny cubs with their mama by the highway on the way home. Then we all ate a mess of barbequed ribs and wedge potatoes and drank gallons of cheap U-brew wine.

Today fourteen of them turned up for lunch at the restaurant where I work, and made my day exciting for about an hour. Everyone was very well-behaved (even my kids, which is pretty damn unusual, hehe), and I have to say my brother-in-law, even accounting for some pretty blatant nepotism, is one blammo tipper. After I got home, we made homemade pizzas, pigged out, and then went out to the rented cottages to walk along the beach.

My littlest niece, who is two years old and teeny-tiny, has a rare dietary disorder and cannot eat foods containing complex carbohydrates or refined sugars. As a result, she eats lots of fruits and vegetables, and (non sugar-cured) meat. My dog now has a purpose in life: To follow this child everywhere she goes and scavenge the bits of ham, bacon, chicken, beef and pork she leaves in her wake.

So really, everyone seems to be having a wonderful time. Even the dog.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's Up!

For those of you who are paying attention (few and deeply disturbed though you might be), you will have noticed that the cover for my next novel, Healer's Touch, has been approved and is up on Samhain's coming soon page, yay! It is also in its pace of honor, in the right hand margin yonder. ===>

I am really, really pleased with this cover. There were so very many ways the artist could have gotten it unbearably wrong--always the case when one of the characters is not quite human--but Chistine Clavel managed to capture, almost in one pass, the feel of this novel and the look of the characters. She is totally my hero.

So to give you all a hint of what this story is about, I'm going to post an excerpt--not from Healer's Touch, but from Crossing Swords, where Viera and Aru make their first appearance. This is the scene that made it impossible for me not to write their story:


Aru let the candles gutter and the fire burn low. He didn’t need the light, and the cold had no power to touch him. He sat for a long time, trying to summon an image of Zharina’s face, but each time, his wife’s beloved features faded as if in a mist, to be overlaid by those of the whore Viera.

In the eighteen years since his fall, Aru had laid his hands on many Andun—both the injured and the surrogates who were sometimes necessary to heal them. He had never encountered anyone as…ardent as this woman. As open and uncomplicated in her responses. When he’d first placed his palm on her belly, he’d felt a crackling surge of power leap from her flesh and into his, so strong it almost made him afraid. He had done more with that power tonight than he would have thought possible.

And now, he could not banish her from his mind.

As if of its own volition, his hand reached out to hover in the air above her sleeping form. His eyes roamed across her slumbering features—the softly rounded cheek, the full, pink lips, the delicate, intricate shell of her ear. One arm was bent, her head pillowed on it. The other lay on Lianon’s hip as if reaching for comfort. The sheet was pulled taut across Viera’s full breasts, and the growing chill in the room had affected them in predictable fashion. Her nipples thrust up against the linen as if inviting his touch. He resisted, as he must.

Closing his eyes, he tried to focus on something else, but he should have known better. Cut off from physical sight, his inner awareness sharpened, yearning toward her. His hand still hovered inches from her skin, but now his consciousness was descending even closer, skimming over her sleeping form. The fingers of his thought caressed creamy soft skin dotted with freckles and minute imperfections, each one fascinating to the Darjhan. He drew in a deep breath, the scent of her arousal filling his nostrils, even as his spirit reveled in the unique redolence of her soul.

Beneath the clinging blanket of his consciousness, her body began to respond, her heartbeat quickening, her breaths deepening. He sank partway into her and felt her muscles flex and shift around him as she stretched, her chest rise and fall on a sigh. In the air above her, his hand began to tremble.

And then it was grasped.

With a vertiginous feeling of being drawn across a chasm, he returned to himself and opened his eyes.

Viera stared up at him, her eyes wide and vulnerable, his hand cradled between both of hers and held to her breast. He felt suddenly breathless, unable to drag his gaze from the woman’s. Heat poured from her hands into his flesh, and his cock hardened at the sensation. Ruthlessly he willed the erection away. What had he been thinking? To touch her uninvited—even in spirit—was a presumption, an abuse. He was no better than a lecher pinching the bottoms of tavern girls. He tried to think of something to say that might excuse his behavior, but what excuse was there? Weakness and loneliness could not pardon his trespass.

She lifted his hand to her mouth, and his stomach tightened in an agony of self-restraint as she pressed a searing kiss to it. Her face blurred for a moment, then the tears slipped free of his lashes. He kept perfectly still, but for the air that rushed in and out of his lungs.

She took his hand and placed it over her heart. Even through the sheet, the feel of her was unbearably hot. Her eyes closed and she drifted back into dreams, but she did not release her hold on him.

He sat beside her and felt her heart beating evenly beneath his palm. He thought about his wife. Thought about what Lianon had said to him tonight. Thought about what he had become.

He gazed down at the sleeping woman’s face for a long time. Then, ever so carefully, he made himself draw his hand from her grasp.


Oh, swoon. Is it any wonder I fell in love with him?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Everyday Writer I Ain't

You spend any time among authors and you hear a lot of advice on writing. Much of it has to do with the oddly yet aptly monikered habit of BICHOK. Butt in chair, hands on keyboard. The belief is that the proper, disciplined, career-oriented writer needs to write every day. Anything less, and you're just a wannabe.

Well, anyone who has been paying attention to my word meters ===> to the right will have noticed they aren't zooming into the stratosphere of late.

Okay, let me clarify. I have been writing plenty, mostly making a pain of myself on other people's blogs and forums, offering my opinion even (perhaps especially, hehe) when I know it might not be appreciated. And I've been doing a little proofing of my WIPs, tweaking sentences and trying to get back in the mood. But to be honest, I don't think I will get back into the required brainspace for writing fiction until after my cousin's wedding on the 20th, when most or all of my invading hordes--I mean, visiting relatives--will head back home.

According to prevailing wisdom, I should live by the code of BICHOK. I should sit in my chair every day and make myself write, even if all I produce is crap. But I just can't make myself do this. It seems like pointless self-flagellation to force out words when I'll likely just end up deleting them anyway. It isn't as if I haven't tried this exercise in futility. But writing scenes that start out as garbage and end up that way, too, can't help but make me doubt my abilities as a writer--and honestly, this business already provides writers with enough reasons to doubt themselves.

Plus, forcing myself to do stuff I don't wanna do is NO FUN.

I write in spurts. I'll spend weeks daydreaming and getting nothing accomplished, and then BAM! I'll finally sit down and bang out 15 000 words in a few days. I know myself better than any self-appointed expert ever will. Taking a day or a week or a month off will not be the end of my career.

So a big NYAHHH! to prevailing wisdom. I'm not your BICHOK. I don't have to do what you say. Those word meters will move when I'm good and ready.

For now, I'm off to Dear Author to see if I can't annoy someone I don't even know. Wheeeee!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

My Own Personal Apocalypse

Summer. Oh, crap.

This last week was so busy with grads and awards assemblies and x-rays (I sprained my ankle) and spring cleaning (I missed spring cleaning because we had no spring this year), the end of school snuck right up on me. I was like one of those silent film heroines tied to the tracks--only I'm stuck untying myself because ain't no one coming to my rescue--and I know the train is barreling towards me but I'm too busy clawing at the ropes to even look.

And then SPLAT!

Summer. The season where I transform from a part-time waitress with three kids in school to a part-time waitress with 5 1/2 kids at home. My stepsons are 17 and 21, so they don't precisely count as kids--but they aren't adults, either, not by a long shot. They have to be reminded to pick up after themselves, to make sure their laundry makes it into the utility room, to pitch in around the house. It helps that the oldest brings his girlfriend. She offered to help me in the kitchen one day two summers ago and I almost cried.

Our house is small. Three bedrooms--my oldest (14) shares a room with my youngest (6). The stepkids sleep in the family room when they visit. Normally, the 17-year-old would already be here (his mom likes to send him ten minutes after school lets out in the summer), but he put his foot down this year and won't arrive until the 9th. 21 and his girlfriend arrive on the 19th or so.

But between the one and the other, I will be swamped. Overwhelmed. Invaded. Besieged.

Yes, my family--two sisters, the bil, gram and gramp, and six nieces and nephews--in their infinite and appalling wisdom, have decided to turn a cousin's wedding on the mainland into the perfect excuse to visit little Kirsten on the island. They will begin arriving on the 12th. They will cease arriving sometime on the 14th. They plan to stay for many days. And although they will be sleeping and recreating some at a campsite/resort where I've booked them cottages on the ocean, I'm sure they will spend plenty of time in my teeny tiny shoebox of a house.

I am of two minds on this. On the one hand, I am squeeing and peeing my pants for the joy of having everyone together. Just imagine the barbeques, the Sunday dinner sentimentality, the pitter patter of many, many, many little feet! We've recently made improvements on our house that make our nice backyard more accessible and there's a park right across the street. There are all kinds of awesome things to do and see on the north island in the summer, and I'm happy to show my family all of them.

On the other hand...I'm terrified. Just feeding everyone is going to be a major production. Not to mention the fact that among my relatives are a few...volatile personalities. These personalities have been known to clash when forced to coexist for any length of time. And all those kids--Oh my god.

So pray for me. And for now, I'll repeat that mantra: "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger. And provides fodder for yet another book..."

Monday, June 9, 2008

This Sex Scene is Doing Nothing for Me--It Must Be Good

I know. Sounds like I'm talking about Norman Mailer's work, right? But no.

I'm talking about my own.

Fiction is filled (one would hope) with emotionally charged scenes, and while I'm writing one of them, be it a death scene, a declaration of love, the HEA or a sex scene, I'm often entirely caught up in the moment. Me, I am an emotional animal. I'm the kind of person who cries at movies, whether they're sad or happy or genuinely moving or shamelessly schmaltzy. I've been moved to tears over episodes of The Simpsons and Futurama, for godsakes!

I cried once to the point of exhaustion while banging out the scene that mercilessly killed two of my favorite characters in my grand, huge, massive, epic WIP. I had to tell people for two days after that I'd had an allergy attack, and that's why my eyes were all puffy and red.

I read that scene now, and I'm "meh". From sobbing to stoic after four passes of my dispassionate editorial eye.

Sex scenes, too. While writing them, I'm affected in predictable fashion--sometimes to my great discomfiture when I have to abandon a scene in the middle and say, function at work in front of, you know, people and stuff. By the time a book is ready to submit, that same scene often leaves me entirely cold. I have to remind myself of how I felt while writing the first draft, tell myself over and over--"Yes, damnit, it is hot! The reader will think so, too!"--because usually, by the time I've polished the living bejeesus out of it, well, it pretty much does nothing for me anymore.

My latest novel, Bound by Steel, which should be out in October, was a major departure from this phenomenon. The hot scenes in that book are, well, still hot to me--even the ones at the beginning. I don't know exactly what this means. I didn't sit on the manuscript as long as I usually do before sending it off, and let my editor know this. I was concerned the writing wasn't ready. She came back with an enthusiastic "I love this book!", which is an enormous relief. Perhaps it's simply a function of increasing confidence. I know I write pretty damn clean (editorially speaking, not smexing-wise, heh) and if I can submit a solid story without agonizing over every sentence, that can't help but be good for my mental health.

And even if the back-and-forth of edits with this one takes longer than it did with Crossing Swords or Healer's Touch, well, I think I'll be able to live with that for the opportunity to keep getting misty over the happily ever after. Because for me, getting all emotional is what good fiction is about.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ugh, It's Raining. Again.

June. And raining. Not a gentle spring shower, a deluge with gale-force winds. The clouds are so low and dark, my whole house looks like a dungeon. Welcome to summer on the northern tip of Vancouver Island.

At this moment, my five-year-old is having a school-sponsored swimming lesson in an outdoor pool in the middle of a freezing, torrential downpour. My handy-dandy-man Alan is chopping up my balcony railing while bent beneath frigid sheets of driving rain. For my part, I am debating whether it's worth it to get soaked crossing the yard to the place where my table-saw sits under its veil of spiderwebs, so I can rip this window casing to width (since the idiots who built my house didn't make anything standard, from window-depths to the length of drainpipe under the bathroom sink).

Can't install the baseboards until the sliding door is framed. Can't frame the door until the casing is ripped. Can't rip the casing until the table-saw is unearthed. Can't unearth the table-saw without going out into the rain.

So you know what? Screw it. I'm staying inside with my laptop, two lovely gentlemen and their reluctant bride, and I'm not even going to feel guilty about it. Maybe if I let myself get lost in the writing, I'll stop wondering why I live in this godforsaken soggy wilderness where porphyria sufferers roam free...

Saturday, May 31, 2008

We Have Wieners!

Thanks to all who entered, and to all those who helped me in my search for the perfect title. I know you've probably been losing as much sleep over this as I have, so I'll let you know right now you can stop worrying. The title search is officially over. The book shall henceforth be known as "Bound by Steel".

Due to my much lauded largesse, I and my panel of self-appointed experts have chosen three--count 'em, three--winners of my Name This Baby contest.

First up, Nonny, with her paean to brevity: "The Lying Cheating Double-Dealing Swordsman's Wife's Not-So-Secret Not-Quite-Bride"

Second, Sylvia's very succinct and practical: "A Bigger Bed"

And finally, Laughingwolf's completely adorable, cheese-free: "Lianon's Heart"

All y'all, email (kirstensaell AT yahoo DOT com) me with your details and let me know which title you would like in which format (keeping in mind Crossing Swords is available now, Healer's Touch will be out in August, and Bound by Steel won't be available til October). Make sure to put "Name this Baby" in the subject of your email so I don't condemn your missive to spam purgatory. I shall have the copies sent as quickly as is humanly possible. Perhaps even quicker than that.