I wondered for a while, what I should write about. It occurred to me I was struggling with the characters in my current WIP. So, I thought, my ideas about characters in a novel hopefully could be of interest to others, particularly anyone else, having the same fight with them!
Recently I’ve posted about how my novel, Resolutions, came about. I’ve talked about the locations I’ve used and even about how long it took me to write it- five years if you’re interested – really!
It occurred to me that the one thing I hadn’t really discussed is how I created my characters. To some extent characters can create their own personality and often take over the story. But, I think that tends to happen as you grow as a writer and are more confident about letting them take the reins. That hasn’t happened to me yet.
Initially, I will admit that all my characters were fairly two-dimensional. I made all the new author mistakes of describing them in detail and what they were wearing in the first couple of paragraphs. It was hardly ‘the hook’ to get the reader interested. I learned to ‘drip feed’ information about the characters’ appearances, personalities and their back stories, and not overload the reader. I learned to be more subtle.
It took me some time, to understand that the main point of any romance is the development of the main character or characters. The way the protagonist grows and develops throughout the story is the backbone of any story in this genre.
Character development, often known as the character ARC, centres around your main protagonist, usually the heroine in romance. So how do we define this ARC and how do we get the character to change?
At the start of a story, the character is usually flawed in some way. They will have suffered loss or trauma. They may have been mistreated emotionally if not actually physically. The character will probably have had their trust abused and feel they can never trust again. In short they are vulnerable and unhappy.
In Resolutions, the heroine Carly Mitchell, returns to the town where she believes everyone will hate her. She is anxious, worried and almost at the point of turning back. As the story develops we learn that Carly was controlled, even bullied by her former fiancé. She needed to gain self-esteem and belief in herself and to overcome the compulsion to run from her problems.
By the end of the story the reader wants them to have grown and developed into confident people, to have discovered they can trust, and most importantly that they can love someone, hopefully the hero!
Carly Mitchell returns to the small town of Yeardon in Yorkshire almost a year after running away on her wedding day. Now she wants to try to make amends with Steve, his family, and the townspeople who had prepared a huge party to celebrate her New Year’s Eve wedding.
She intends to stay only for a few days at the Resolution Hotel, owned by Steve’s parents. However, her plans change when Steve’s father is taken ill, and she feels obliged to step in and help with running the hotel. This also means having to deal with Steve’s antagonism since he has never forgiven her for humiliating him.
A further complication comes in the form of Ben Thornton, the local doctor, to whom Carly feels an immediate attraction. They enjoy getting to know each other and falling in love, until a famous model from Ben’s past arrives in the town, and stays at the hotel.
Steve attempts to get his revenge on Carly by driving a wedge between her and Ben, and by threatening to reveal what he knows about Ben’s troubled past unless Carly leaves town.
The resolution lies in Carly’s hands as she struggles between wanting to flee from the town again and wanting to stay with the man she has grown to love.
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2ACs7gz
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2ACrV0P
Belle turned with a smile. “What can I get you?”
Dismay made Carly’s heart lurch as she realised she would have to remove her scarf to ask for a drink.
She pulled it from around her neck and forced a smile. “Hi, I’d love a hot chocolate and a flapjack, please.”
Recognition flickered across Belle’s eyes and her smile faded. “Okay.” Belle turned her back and prepared the drink, putting it and the flapjack on the counter without speaking.
This was worse than Carly had expected. Her hand wouldn’t stop shaking. She fumbled as she took the coins out of her purse, and there was a clatter as the money dropped through her fingers onto the tiles and rolled away. Her neck burned and the heat rose into her cheeks as she scrabbled on the floor to pick the coins up.
With a sigh of relief, she placed them on the counter, and Belle took them without a smile or a thank you. Balancing the mug and plate, Carly turned around. All the customers seemed to have spread themselves out, taking up spaces with their coats and bags. Glances and whispers drifted in her direction.
With as much dignity as possible, she zigzagged her way around the bookshelves. In a gloomy and almost forgotten corner was an empty chair. Forcing herself to walk slowly towards it took determination, when every nerve inside her wanted to run to reach it, as if it was a safe haven. At least here was a seat hidden away from everyone. Closing her eyes, she forced herself to relax and calm down. Her heart continued to pound against her ribs.
Resolutions is Carol’s debut novel and is set in a location close to where she lives.
Writing has been her love since childhood. She started by making small comics for her dolls, progressed to training as a journalist for a short while. Once the family had grown up Carol settled down to writing and published short stories, poems and holiday articles.
In recent years she has become a judge in the short story section for the HysteriaUK competition and also for the RNA’s romance novel of the year.
Carol lives in Yorkshire, surrounded by some beautiful countryside, which is ideal for her other passion of walking, often with a dog called Sam. This lovely area is the location for her first novel, Resolutions.
You can find Carol here
Blog tour organised by Writer Marketing Services. Follow the entire week’s tour here: http://writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/carol-warham/
The Prison of the Angels intro:
If there’s a special Hell for the world’s worst girlfriend, I am condemned to it.
I killed Azazel’s daughter. Yes, it was in self-defense. Yes, Roshana was bleeding her father slowly to death to enhance her own five-thousand-year lifespan. I don’t think that makes much difference. The fact is, I put a foot-long iron blade through her skull. That makes me a murderer. And she was Azazel’s daughter. No matter what the circumstances, no father is going to be able to forgive that. Not even a fallen angel.
I thought I was a good girl. I thought that no matter what happened around me, no matter the company I kept, and no matter what others did for my sake, that I could stay innocent. I thought that, as long as I acted out of love, I’d be blameless.
I was wrong, wasn’t I?
I betrayed Azazel twice over. Not despite love, but for it. Even before I killed Roshana, I betrayed him. With Egan.
For love. For lust. For a need I don’t even understand.
I had everything with Azazel. The most beautiful and powerful man imaginable, if man is the right word for something far beyond human. His unquenchable passion and wicked appetite. The fierce protectiveness that went hand-in-hand with his dominance. And sometimes—just sometimes—a privileged glimpse of his secret vulnerability. Oh, I just did not pay enough attention to how easily I could hurt him. He’s a hurricane made flesh, but in the still center of that terrible destructive power he has his fears and his loneliness just like the rest of us. He responds with instant visceral panic if I grab his wrists. He’s afraid of confinement, and control, and underground places. He’s desperately afraid that I will stop loving him. Well, he was.
He trusted me, and I broke that trust.
I wanted him to desire only me—I told him I needed him to stay away from other women—and at the same time I went and fell in love with someone else. A mere man. An emotionally-messed-up mortal whose one aim, moreover, is to lock Azazel back in his eternal prison. What is wrong with me? What is wrong with me?
I am a jealous, hypocritical whore.
I am a murderer.
I always thought I was a good girl, but it’s just not true. And it isn’t even Azazel who brings out the worst in me, as you might expect of a demon. There’s a darkness in my soul that surfaces in Egan’s presence, though the poor guy has done nothing to deserve it.
And now I have nothing. Not Azazel. Not Egan. Egan does love me, but he’s a goddamn celibate Catholic priest and his first loyalty is to God. Roshana smashed his legs to pulp and I surrendered him back into the hands of his creepy, secret Vatican conspiracy, Vidimus, because there was no one else who could save him.
I haven’t seen Egan in weeks.
If this is Hell, it’s exactly what I deserve.
Milja Petak’s world has fallen apart.
Her lover, the fallen angel Azazel, has cast her aside in rage and disgust. The other contender for her heart, the Catholic priest Egan Kansky, was surrendered back into the hands of the shadowy Vatican organization, Vidimus, after sustaining life-threatening injuries.
She has killed and she has betrayed. She is alone, homeless, and at the end of her tether – torn apart by guilt and the love she has lost.
But neither Heaven nor its terrifying representatives on Earth have finished with Milja.
Both her lovers need her in order to further their very different plans, and both passionately need her, though they may try to deny it.
Milja is once again forced into a series of choices as she uncovers the secrets Heaven has been guarding for centuries. But this time it is not just her heart at stake, or even the fate of a fallen angel.
This time, the choices she makes will change everything.
This time it’s the End of the World.
The Prison of the Angels is the third in the acclaimed Book of the Watchers trilogy, following on from Cover Him with Darkness, and In Bonds of the Earth.
Excerpt from The Prison of the Angels:
The cold water flashed like white fire over every inch of my skin. It burnt my eyeballs and my lips and the inside of my throat, and beyond the white fire was a darkness so immense that it swallowed me whole.
I fell forever.
Something grabbed my wrist. Something so hot that it boiled away the darkness, so that there was suddenly light flashing in my eyes. I felt myself grabbed up bodily and lifted. I felt heat against my lips, blowing fire into my frozen lungs. I saw the wooden posts of a flight of steps, and then I pitched forward onto hands and knees in the shallow snow, choking up pond-water. In front of my blurred vision an inchoate swirl of darkness poured up the steps onto the lit porch and then disappeared. Unseen, something slammed against the door, a knock that made the house shake.
I was on the ground beneath the back porch of John’s house, I realized, shuddering.
Mama. Oh Mama. The thought seemed to come from nowhere.
Three times the knock sounded, and on the third the door burst open—outward, onto the porch—to reveal Egan in the lit room within; shaven, shirtless, and frozen mid-lunge for what I could only assume was a weapon of some sort.
I tried to cry out.
Grabbing his pistol he ran out barefoot onto the porch and looked around for enemies that were not there. Then he clattered down and pulled me up into his arms. I pressed my face to his neck and he carried me up the steps and over the threshold—not like a bride, but like a child he could hold tight against his torso, his wrists locked under my thighs. His skin blazed against mine. He hefted me into the kitchen and propped my ass on the table in front of the range.
“What the hell?” he demanded in a low fierce voice, sweeping locks of sodden hair back from my face. My hat seemed to have disappeared. “What happened, Milja? What were you doing out there?”
“Ice. I fell in the lake.” My jaw chattered. It was obvious I was telling the truth—I was soaked from head to toe, and after clasping me so close he wasn’t much drier himself.
“Feckssake, woman!” he growled. “What the hell were you thinking of?” He shucked off my coat, which lifted a sodden ton from my shoulders, then stooped to pull my boots off; ice-water spilt all over the floor.
I tried to strip off my gloves but my fingers weren’t capable of gripping anything.
“Come here, come here,” he said softly from where he knelt at my feet, grabbing my wrists and peeling away the useless gloves. He pressed my hands on either side of his warm neck, holding them there. They must have felt like ice-blocks to him, but he didn’t wince.
He looked like a knight kneeling before his queen, I thought. I could feel his pulse.
“I’ll go get towels, Milja. Are you going to be okay a sec?”
I nodded, though he probably couldn’t see it through the shuddering. He rose and hurried off, leaving me with the radiant warmth of the stove. I thought I should probably get the rest of my clothes off, but even after I struggled with my fly zipper my jeans seemed determined to cling to my bum-cheeks.
I heard the back door bang shut and I flinched.
Had he been gathering himself to come get Egan? Was he the one who had saved me from the black waters? Where was he now?
Egan came back in carrying armfuls of towels. “Alright?”
“I’m okay,” I told him, smiling through my shudders. He was still shirtless, and I could see the faint Ethiopian scars on his arm and chest.
He wrapped my hands one at a time in a towel, chaffed them dry, and then set them deliberately against the hard, hot wall of his torso.
Then he slipped all the buttons on my thick flannel shirt—the one I’d chosen this morning precisely because it wasn’t provocative or distracting—and he only slowed when he realized I was wearing just a bra-top underneath. My nipples stood in shamefully hard points under the stretch cotton. I tried to wriggle out of the long tartan sleeves of my shirt on my own, to spare his blushes, but everything clung like a freezing cold second skin and he had to help.
The shallow slash on my forearm wasn’t bleeding anymore, but each brush of his fingers felt like hot coals.
My wet garment made a slap as it struck the floor.
He draped a towel around my shoulders and another over my head. He started rubbing the water from my face and hair and scalp, his movements precise and gentle. For long moments I was buried in a soft darkness. I reached out, blind, to put my hands back on his bare ribs. I could feel his heart pounding beneath them, like a beast pacing a cage.
I have no idea when it all changed for him. When his grueling self-denial simply fell apart, like a garment worn and washed until the fabric was weakened beyond all use. All I knew was that he dropped the towel off my damp head, cupped my face in both his hands and—absolutely without warning—kissed me.
Janine Ashbless is a writer of fantasy erotica and steamy romantic adventure. She likes to write about magic and myth and mystery, dangerous power dynamics, borderline terror, and the not-quite-human.
Buyer beware! If you like dark romance and a hard-won Happily Ever After, try “Cover Him with Darkness,” “Heart of Flame,” or “The King’s Viper.” If you prefer challenging erotica, go for “Red Grow the Roses” or “Named and Shamed” instead. All her other books lie somewhere on the spectrum between.
Janine has been seeing her books in print ever since 2000. She’s also had numerous short stories published by Black Lace, Nexus, Cleis Press, Ravenous Romance, Harlequin Spice, Storm Moon, Xcite, Mischief Books, and Ellora’s Cave among others. She is co-editor of the nerd erotica anthology ‘Geek Love’.
Born in Wales, Janine now lives in the North of England with her husband and two rescued greyhounds. She has worked as a cleaner, library assistant, computer programmer, local government tree officer, and – for five years of muddy feet and shouting – as a full-time costumed Viking. Janine loves goatee beards, ancient ruins, minotaurs, trees, mummies, having her cake and eating it, and holidaying in countries with really bad public sewerage.
Her work has been described as:
“Hardcore and literate” (Madeline Moore) and “Vivid and tempestuous and dangerous, and bursting with sacrifice, death and love.” (Portia Da Costa
Janine Ashbless website: http://www.janineashbless.com/
Janine Ashbless on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janineashbless
Sinful Press website: https://www.sinfulpress.co.uk
Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here: http://writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/janine-ashbless-4/
About Lost Faith:
Gabriella Moreno was just a job, in and out to gain the objective, the death of her father. She turned out to be far more than that to Tobias Casey, however, from the moment he laid his hands on her too hot for words body.
Gabriella had just come home from a two-year stint abroad. The first night home she snuck out, never dreaming for even a moment anyone would be stupid enough to take her. Boy, was she wrong.
Faced with brutal truths, Gabbie followed her gut, and her heart, which, it seemed, all led to one place, Tobias. The heat of her homeland was nothing compared to the touch of this man. In his arms, she found something she had craved all her life, the other half of her soul.
Yet, how can she ignore the fact that the man who owns her heart is also the man who wants to take the last of her family?
Find it here:
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Another day, another dollar. Only these days, Tobias and his team were getting paid a hell of a lot more than they had been in the military. Now they could set their own fees for doing the jobs that no one else wanted to do, or maybe couldn’t do, since they did on rare occasion work for their government’s shadier sectors. But there was no oversight, no backseat driving, and they paid big to get shit done.
Their current operation was one they’d been working on for nearly three weeks now with no success. The first week had been recon, getting oriented, and making sure they had their exits memorized for when they achieved their strike.
The only thing was, as they’d discovered during week two, the target they were after didn’t ever leave his super secure compound. Not that Tobias could blame the guy. Their target was a dictator, an arms dealer, a drug dealer, and a mass murderer. There were people worldwide hoping that Tobias’ team finally managed to do what no one else had to date.
Now it was week three and they were still watching the compound to figure out their way in. Or as Tobias was beginning to believe would be easier, how to get the asshole to come out. They’d tried forty different ways to infiltrate the compound. None had worked. Which actually made sense, given the target, Juan Moreno, or Senor X as they referred to him over com, had hired himself an ex-Special Forces soldier to be the head of his security. Tran Quan was American born but had ties to the Yakuza. Extra weight to be brought to bear should it be requested.
Taking a small drink from his canteen, Tobias ignored the sweat trickling down his spine. His attention was locked on a small group of vehicles approaching the compound. Binoculars up, he brought the lead car into focus and easily recognized one of Moreno’s drivers. His attention moving to the second car, he was surprised to see Quan in the front passenger seat. The man was normally glued to Moreno’s side so to see him out without Moreno… this was big.
“Ripper, we have four cars approaching the compound. I need to know who exits the second car once they stop inside. Get pictures.”
“Roger that, Rogue.”
Ripper and Cherry were up on the mountain using some seriously high-powered tools to stare down into the compound. Their position was treacherous since they were, literally, dangling off the face of that mountain. One wrong move and they’d be headed straight down toward death.
“They’re turning toward the gate now. Not stopping either, they’ve been waved right through,” Tobias reported. The gates slid shut but not before he spotted a slender leg wearing a dainty shoe at the end slipping out of the door being opened by a guard. Instantly, he felt his gut clench in need to see the body went with that limb.
A soft whistle came through the com. “Damn, she’s fucking hot. Think she’s banging senor X?” Herc asked.
“Too young for him, you oaf,” Cherry said.
“Like that would stop the old fucker. We all know he doesn’t care about age. One of the reasons why we’re here to see him shot,” Herc told her. “Personally, it’s my only reason to see his head explode under the impact of my bullet.”
“Cut the chatter. Tell me you have photos for everyone that came in those vehicles.”
“Confirmed,” Ripper said.
“Good, get your asses down from there. Scout will be here to relieve me soon, then we need to get back and review everything.” Tobias was hopeful that somewhere in those photos he might find a way to pull Moreno away from his security blanket.
* * * *
“It’s his daughter, Gabriella Moreno.” Rainer said. His words had everyone’s attention. Tobias couldn’t figure out who was more shocked. Turning in his seat Rainer shook his head. “I had to dig, and dig deep. The old man has her buried.”
“Makes sense,” Winston muttered. “She’s his Achilles.”
He was right. “We need to keep eyes on her. If we get the opportunity, she’ll be the one we grab. I have a feeling that even with all his enemies gunning for him, he’ll do anything to protect her.” All they had to do was get their hands on her and use her to bait Senor X.
Picking up the picture Rainer had printed out Tobias stared at it. It wasn’t a shot from the compound but one he’d pulled from social media. Gabriella had her head tipped back, laughing at something or someone. She looked carefree and totally at ease. Young, too.
The young woman was just over five foot three inches but those come fuck me heels made her closer to five feet seven, she was thin but not waiflike like so many of the women today. Her hair however, was a riot of auburn red curls that seemed to have a mind of their own, and she didn’t bother trying to tame them. Which said something about the woman herself. She might not have the largest breasts that he had seen in his life but hers seemed to work her body perfectly, like a perfect handful, that distracted him completely.
“We need everything on her from birth until the moment she went through those gates, Rainer. Leave no stone unturned. I think we’ve just found our hot button for daddy Moreno. We grab her and he’ll deliver himself right to us.”
“You sure you want to do that, boss?” Cherilyn asked. At his sharp look, she held up her hands. “I’m down with it, but even if she does leave the compound, you know she’ll have a taskforce worth of guards with her. No way is Moreno letting her out in this country without protection up the ass.”
“And we’ll be ready for that. Our best shot will be if she goes into the city. It’ll allow us to blend in and when the time’s right, grab her up.” At Cherilyn’s snort, Tobias turned a glare on her. “What?”
“Dude, no offense or nothing, but you do not blend.”
Rainer was shaking his head. “I have to agree with her, boss. You tend to stick out.”
“I can blend just fine, I’ll have you know.”
“You keep thinking that. In the meantime, I think I’ll update the other boys and we can add their hilarity to the vote count against you.” Cherilyn patted his chest, walked past, and promptly burst out in laughter.
“I can and will fire your ass,” Tobias called after her.
“No, you won’t,” she bellowed back.
No, he wouldn’t, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t think about it, in great detail.
Please welcome special guest the fabulous January Bain.
Winning Casey, the first book in the Brass Ring Sorority Series, is available exclusively at Totally Bound! You can download it right now, (just like I did ) and read it an entire month before it hits other vendors. Or you can pre-order, at Amazon or your preferred book store! (Also Available in PRINT!)
January has consented to submit to what I like to call an author interview, so here we go… JANUARY BAIN…
What was your favourite book as a child/teenager?
Wow, so many! I was like a sponge as a child, always had a book in my hot little hands. My mother would tease me that if I wasn’t careful there would be no books left to read in the local library! My copy of Gone With the Wind became tattered from being read so many times.
Who was the first author or what was the first book you read that introduced you to the genre that you most enjoy writing in?
You know, still enjoy writing in many genres: Romance, thriller, erotica, paranormal, science fiction—I enjoy learning about them all.
Have you always been a writer, even from your earliest recollection? Has being published always been one of your goals? And if not, what made you take that leap to submit your work to potential publishers?
Yep, I was one of those! “The dreaded teenage poet.” The proverbial bookworm that loved words. And yes, publishing is the best route to be able to share your stories, thoughts about the world, experiences you’ve had or imagined, with others. I feel so blessed to be publishing my new series about a badass group of women with Totally Bound. And so happy to be able to share the journey with readers and writers. 😊
Is there a particular word you overuse or writing technique that your editor(s) ride you about?
I really want to become a better writer, so I pay careful attention to every nuance, every suggestion made about my work and hope not to make the same mistake twice. But, I do remember liking the word “awesome” to much a few years back!
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? (Or do you even believe in it?) If so, how were you able to overcome it?
Nah, don’t believe in it! And now I got to pray I haven’t just jinxed myself, eh! I think, sitting down every morning, knowing from the night before which scene is to be written next, curtails that for me. At least it has so far.
If you could bring one of your own characters to life, who would it be and why?
Ah, that’s easy! My very first book was about a healer, and I so-o wanted that gift. I wrote my first book after watching, The Green Mile with Tom Hanks just after my beloved brother died young, and I wanted to experience that superpower in the worst way imaginable. Writing about a character that had that awesome gift helped heal the grief in me.
What are you reading right now?
I read about five books a week. Mostly research books, like for Winning Casey that required about a dozen books, most which are listed in the front section. I wanted to know enough about the subject of Canada’s Oak Island’s Money Pit that I could speak about it with authority. Sometimes I read an entire book for one important paragraph or fact. It’s important to me that research be accurate for readers. Very important. And I also read books on how to become a better writer, and of course, other romance authors books.
When you read, do you prefer a stand-alone or a series?
No real preference, I tend to chose a story line that interests me.
What would you like to be remembered for?
As a human being that tried daily to become a better one! I often fail, but I try.
Do you believe in love at first sight? And if so have you ever been so afflicted? Did you do anything about it? (Did you go for it?)
Oh yeah!!! My husband and I were so afflicted! I LOVE to write about how awesome that feels. See, I love the word awesome!
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Why?
Right exactly where I am. In Buttonland. That’s the name of the sanctuary my wonderful handsome husband and I call our house and land. We live on twenty acres of jackpine right smack dab in the center of Canada. I love living in the country. Peaceful with less distractions. Great for writing!
If you were to do a reality show, which one would it be?
Cooking with Button. I love to cook!
What is the craziest, most exciting, or most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?
Name a celebrity, athlete, musician, etc. you’d most like to get naughty with.
My husband is the one for me.
If they were to make a movie about your life, what would the title be?
Life in Buttonland. My husband tagged me with the name when we first met, calling me “cute as a button”. He’s a romantic guy. And I know I’m lucky.
What is your favourite way to promote or connect with fans?
Facebook is becoming more common for me. I also have a blog and an email address. Face to face would be great, but hard to do living in the country.
😉 The Quickies! 😋
Starting a new book feels like a vacation to me.
Favourite Ice Cream Flavour?
And last, what can readers look forward to next?
Another series has begun in addition to the Brass Ringers caper series. I’m currently writing Racing the Tide, a fast-paced thriller romance due out in December. The book that introduces the Tetrad series is Racing Peril, a kindle worlds book coming out in December also connected to Desiree Holt’s Omega Team series. I love her writing! So intense and well researched.
Download it at Totally Bound right now and dive right in!
Also Available in Print!
January Bain has wished on every falling star, every blown-out birthday candle, and every coin thrown in a fountain to be a storyteller. To share the tales of high adventure, mysteries, and full blown thrillers she has dreamed of all her life. The story you now have in your hands is the compilation of a lot of things manifesting itself for this special series. Hundreds of hours spent researching the unusual and the mundane have come together to create a series that features strong women who don’t take life too seriously, wild adventures full of twists and unforeseen turns, and hot complicated men who aren’t afraid to take risks. She can only hope the stories of her beloved Brass Ringers will capture your imagination as you follow their exploits as much as they did when she wrote them.
If you are looking for January Bain, you can find her hard at work every morning without fail in her office with two furry babies trying to prove who does a better job of guarding the doorway. And, of course, she’s married to the most romantic man! Who once famously remarked to her inquiry about buying fresh flowers for their home every week, “Give me one good reason why not?” Leaving her speechless and knocking her head against the proverbial wall for being so darn foolish. She loves flowers.
If you wish to connect in the virtual world she is easily found on Facebook, twitter and writes a weekly blog about her journey on Blogger. Oh, and she loves to talk books…
And thank you for having me visit with you today, Kymmie! Much appreciated. 😊
A pleasure, January! It was great getting to know you. Come back any time! All the best with the new series!
🍁 What better way to kick off the celebrations than with a fellow Canadian author. 🍁
Congratulations on the new release, Magali!
When Celina Leviet escapes the brutal home invasion that kills her husband, she’s left with a bullet in her gut and vengeance in her heart. An alluring demon, Mekaisto, offers an irresistible deal—in exchange for her soul, he’ll let her live long enough to get her revenge, but she must hunt and kill the murderers herself.
After sealing the contract, Celina digs into her husband’s past for clues about his murder, and what she uncovers makes her question everything she thought she knew about him.
His company never existed.
His family history was a lie.
And he was involved with The Lumen, a shadowy religious order whose members know too much about demons. As the life she thought she knew crumbles around her, Mekaisto’s charms become harder to resist. Forced to face a horrible truth, Celina struggles against her late husband’s betrayal and the dark seduction of the devil she knows.
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“I am a demon, Celina, and above all else, demons love the hunt.” He smirked when her eyes widened.
“So, you see having sex with someone as a hunt?”
He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. “By your expression, I would say you still do not quite understand.”
“It’s your twisted logic.”
“I take my time, stalk my prey first, count the number of breaths she takes, imagine her screams…”
She arched an eyebrow. “That’s not at all creepy.”
Kai ignored her. “I am a creature of infinite time; the world creeps by, yet an intimate moment is so fleeting, it feels as though it is gone in less than a second.” He stopped, expecting an interruption again, but she stayed silent. “The pleasure is heightened by the danger, and in the throes of passion, I could lose my control and revert to the form least likely to be found pleasurable by my … partner?” He lost himself in the images in his mind, pinning down Celina’s body, taking her in a way she would never be able to recreate with a mere mortal man. “Hunting is simple. There is always one in the crowd that stands out—rarely is it the one searching for the one-night stand—no…” Kai locked his eyes with hers and goose bumps rose on her arms and legs. “No, the one unsure of what society wants her to be, the one who is desperate to be loved and appreciated. She is the one I seek.”
“So, social outcasts are your type?”
His eyes pierced her until he could see through her mind again, to all those curious little fantasies.
He smiled. “It’s about finesse, Celina. I listen to her, and as she speaks more confidently, I brush a hand over her skin”—his hand skimmed Celina’s neck as he brushed her back—“just enough so she shivers with anticipation of what my lips would feel like in the same spot.” He delved into Celina’s mind as his words worked against her disdain for him. “Then I caress her in a way she won’t notice, but her subconscious will let her lean into, let her mind take over and her body will beg for more.”
“She’d notice if…” She followed his gaze to his hand on her knee.
“Are you certain?” He’d worked his own body into a sensual frenzy as he’d drawn her into his web.
She stared at him, her cheeks flushing. “I—”
“Eventually, I suggest a night filled with pleasure.” He couldn’t contain his smile as he moved closer. “I keep touching her in small ways—maintaining physical contact at all times.” His hand inched up her side, until he tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. She sucked in a breath and he cupped her cheek.
He sat close to her and her scent calmed and excited him at the same time.
“Kai?” Her voice wavered.
“Sex is fleeting.” He took her chin and drew her close. “But intimacy is endless, a continuous moment of gentle touches”—his hand dropped back to her knee, and then made its way up her thigh until she let out a small gasp—“personal boundaries broken, and pleasures that go beyond sex.”
She sat as if frozen. “It’s still a one-night stand.”
“Mine last longer—and you reveal not only your body.” His hand moved to the middle of her chest. “When you are intimate with a demon, you reveal your soul. You make yourself vulnerable and open.”
“Considering you’ll have my soul sometime soon, I’m not giving you a free sample.” She drew away from him and stood. “I won’t be your prey tonight.”
Another surge of heat rushed through him, but he pushed it down with a long, deep breath. “You would set me loose on another human?”
She glared at him. “I wasn’t aware I had a choice about what you do outside of our deal. This would be on you, not me.”
“You think you control what I do within our deal?”
She rubbed her arms when he stood. “Not when you say it like that.”
“Celina…” He stopped in front of her and leaned into her personal space, drawing a lungful of a scent he would only ever associate with her.
He wrapped his arms around her, swallowing the shiver that shook her body. “What are you—?”
“Let’s play, Celina. I can assure you, you will not regret a night in my arms.”
I want you… Against all my instincts, I need you close.
Celina pushed him as hard as she could, and he withdrew as disappointment withered his gaze.
“Let me go, Mekaisto.”
You are trembling again, my dove… Is it because you are scared you will give in? How far can I push you until you bend?
“What if I say no?”
She glared at him, but Kai’s smile widened. He could feel, even smell, the pulsing between her legs begging him to take her.
“Isn’t it enough you’re getting my life and my soul? Now you need my body, too?” She pushed against him again, but he only held tighter, unable to let her go. “Why are you doing this? I just lost my husband, found out things that break my heart. I can’t sit and flirt with you.”
“I am offering you the chance to forget.”
“No!” Her hands clenched to fists as she shoved even harder against his chest. “No! You want to take everything I have left.”
He grabbed her wrists, pushed her back on the sofa, and pinned her down, his body hovering over her. “What is your life without your body?” He tilted his head and flicked his tongue across his lips. “You never asked what selling your life and soul meant specifically. Allow me to enlighten you now.” He moved until his face loomed only an inch or so from her face and her breath caught. He let go of her wrists, but his gaze pinned her to the spot.
“What?” Her voice ached just above a whisper.
“I own every inch of you … body and soul.”
Her face flushed and her lips trembled. “I never agreed to that!”
“You agreed to living. The details did not matter to you.”
“I was dying! You told me I didn’t have much time left, so it—”
His smile widened. “Even if you had all the time in the world, it would not have made a difference. Humans never read the fine print.”
I’m passionate about writing, reading, photo manipulation artwork, animals, anime/manga, video games, the fandom world of TV shows and movies, and stuff like that. I’m a proud Ravenclaw: I’ve always been sorted into this house, but the recent Pottermore sorting placed me in Gryffindor―I don’t care since the Sorting Hat couldn’t consider my choice, so I identify with Ravenclaw, and that’s where I’ll remain!
I have two main hobbies: writing and creating book covers. I’m also a gamer (Diablo, Zelda, Final Fantasy), enjoy listening to music (and always singing along to Disney), have a passion for Japanese culture, and adore reading. I love anime/manga, Japanese Dramas and consider myself a proud fan of many different TV shows including Buffy, Supernatural, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin, Game of Thrones, Outlander, etc.
I wrote my first story when I was 12 years old (and we’ll never talk about that story), but started writing three years later. Since then, I always write, and this particular novel is my 19th story. It’s always been a dream to be a published author, and I can happily say I’ve reached that goal―I plan on continuing writing and publishing for the rest of my days.
Bill and Jane
Author, The Tryst (Dodo Ink)
Couples like Bill and Jane are everywhere. Heterosexual, well matched, or so it seems to the outer world. Happy and iconic in their coupledom, the kind of couple others watches, aspire to, like to have in their life. Couples like Jane and Bill are the brick and mortar of the whole system of hetero-normalcy. They keep the planet spinning, hold the status quo in place. They are the real deal, the idea of a hieros gamos, a sacred vanilla marriage: twined souls who’ve met and committed to the sacrament of hooking up for life. How happy they look! How happy they are. Let us look at them with respect and awe and let is honour them. And let us try to be them, too.
And yet, like so many couples, for Bill and Jane, something is wrong. Something they keep secret, and something which troubles them a lot.
Their bed is cold. Cold and unfucked. There is no fire between them. Yup. Common, oh so common, and yet many of these common couples cover this up. Sex carries so much shame and taboo, but there’s nothing like the shame of a celibate marriage or relationship. The ‘no sex’ marriage isn’t a kink or a fetish; it’s something else, especially for younger couples, and yet it’s so so hard to speak about, or it was for me, long ago, when I was a younger woman. What was wrong with me, I used to rail. But back then, I was so invested in patriarchy, I was too meshed in, that I didn’t know where to start or who to go to for help. I only knew PIV (penis in vagina) sex, thought, then, it was the only real sex to have. I was an Innocent, just like Jane, in my new novel, The Tryst.
Therapists say there are always four other people in the bed with the couple, two sets of parents. Creepy idea, eh? Getting it on with Mummy and Daddy watching. Euhhh. And yet there is something here, maybe there is a silent watcher, a judge, and maybe this is one of the problems in the unfucked bed: the parents who crippled us and shamed us at a very young age. For sure, this is true of Bill and Jane in The Tryst. They have sexual instincts, but they are repressed; if you read carefully, the words father and mother weave in and out of their stories. Their marriage is dead till Lilah shows up; Lilah has been living in Jane’s consciousness for some time. Eventually, it’s as if Lilah is actually part of Jane and she is made manifest from Jane’s erotic imagination.
The Tryst, blurb – By Monique Roffey
London, midsummer night. Jane and Bill meet the mysterious Lilah in a bar. She entrances the couple with half-true, mixed up tales about her life. At closing time, Jane makes an impulsive decision to invite Lilah back to their home. But Jane has made a catastrophic error of judgment, for Lilah is a skilled and ruthless predator, the likes of which few encounter in a lifetime. Isolated and cursed, Jane and Bill are forced to fight for each other, and, in doing so, discover their covert desires.
Part psychological thriller, part contemporary magical realism, The Tryst revisits the tale of Adam’s first wife, Lilith, to examine the secrets of an everyday marriage.
Praise for The Tryst
“What makes The Tryst an unexploded virus isn’t just the quality and brightness of Roffey’s writing on sex, even as it uncovers inner glades between flesh and fantasy where sex resides – but the taunting clarity of why those glades stay covered. A throbbing homewrecker of a tale, too late to call Fifty Shades of Red.”
DBC Pierre, Booker Prize winner
Extract from The Tryst
Bored. I could see she was bored the moment I entered the bar. Withdrawn, watching but not seeing much. Bored and unfucked. I could tell that every time, could see it in every fibre: the way the flesh was dead and the eyes were unglowing and the face looked a little doomed. I could read the prig like a book. Always could. The unfucked always watch, looking out for someone else, for they know they’ve made a fundamental error. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I have chosen wrong. I used to see married human females like this all the time, who’d chosen a man who loved them, who was right in all the other ways, a man who didn’t rock the boat, which was why the relationship floated, worked.
The English never knew what to make of me, my forwardness, my daring ways. It was like taking candy from babies. It was always so easy to get laid. I took what I needed from whom I wanted. Easy. But mostly from those couples like Jane and Bill, who had nothing going on down below, no desire between them. It’s not a crime or a sin, to fuck a man till he faints, to release some dumb stupid bitch from her own constraints. They never saw me coming, couples like Jane and Bill; they never believe predators like me exist even though plenty of tales of me, and my like, can be found in the ancient books. Modern humans have forgotten them, the impure woman, the insubordinate. I’m the one who ran away. I am there, in their history, those books the moderns no longer read. I often went to bars alone, hunted alone. The English are such hypocrites. Fuck them and fuck their tight-ass Queen. I saw Bill and Bill saw me. Immediately. He already had the memory of me, all men do. But she didn’t notice him noticing me. Didn’t see him glance at me several times over by the bar, didn’t hear him cough, blush, try to cover himself. Amazing how much a so-called second wife can miss. When the wife-pussy isn’t happy, there’s nothing to safeguard, nothing to lose. I could never infiltrate a fuck- happy couple. But so few of these exist.
She thought it was all her idea! That she set up the entire thing, that it was all her doing. Silly little prig. She had been a looker once and some of that was still there. I could see she once turned heads. Great tits. Nice ass. Good legs. She had a kind of grace she did, Miss Repressed, a kind of – ha ha, impenetrable-ness, little Miss Unfucked, an unused sexiness in her polo neck, her hair tied back. But she was beginning to lose what she’d had and never used, beginning to regret this, I could tell, beginning to fantasise she could have it all back, do it all again. I had it over older women: my pearly taut skin, my edible flesh, my curves and humpable bumps. I had all this forever and ever amen. God I turned myself on looking in the mirror!
I liked the look of Bill, a big-boned voluptuous tree of a man, a mature and bearded oak. All generous with himself, I could tell by his loose and supple boughs, the curve of his stomach, the girth of his thighs, his broad arms. His skin was sun-browned, the colour of heartwood. Our eyes clashed in that bar and he was ashamed and then he was uncertain and tried to look away. But I was taken and determined and knew I’d snare him with all my tricks. Another man sat with them, a different type who saw me too, a fellow predator who appraised me quickly and knowingly. He leered. I smirked with disdain.
I watched and waited.
Yes, Bill. We’ve met. I’m the First. I exist in the loins of all men, including yours.
When Little Miss Polo Neck got up to go to the bar I didn’t have to make a move. Both men looked over and smiled at me. Different smiles. Bill’s was tentative, a despite-himself smile, curious, intense, unsure of himself. The other man gave me a well-known-to-me, broad and welcoming grin. ‘Hello, there, Miss Lady Pussy.’
This with an open-armed gesture.
I slid off my barstool and appeared before them, all radiant four foot ten inches of me. Both men were shocked, impressed. My shortness never fails to make men want to fuck me. My girl-womanliness is a fateful mixture. A fantasy. A child with a whore’s smile. The girl-next-door with a cleavage of rare and captivating beauty. Both men gazed at me. I smiled and sat down on the stool the dark-haired man drew up for me. I wriggled, thrusting my tits upward, twiddling my hair. Bill was uncomfortable, I could tell. He squirmed. I loved it all, loved the attention, wanted to take them both to bed, take off my clothes there and then. I opened my legs, just a crack, spreading my scent.
“Greetings, my friends. This is a kind invitation.”
“I’m Sebastian.” The dark-haired man glowed. “This is Bill.”
“Am I at Elysian Fields?”
Blanche DuBois, of course, a tragic Southern belle of American literature, so pathetic, always made me laugh. I would make these men nervous.
“Oh nothing, just a little joke with myself.” I batted my eyelids. The man called Sebastian openly ogled my chest; the alpha human males are so easy to capture.
“I mean I feel fortunate,” I gushed. “To make your acquaintance, I’m always so happy to receive the kindness of strangers.”
The men stared. My cunt scent had already intoxicated them.
Monique Roffey is an award-winning Trinidadian-born writer. Her novels have been translated into five languages and short-listed for major awards including the Orange Prize, Costa Fiction Award, Encore Award, Orion Award and the OCM Bocas Award for Caribbean Literature. In 2013, Archipelago won the OCM BOCAS Award for Caribbean Literature. Her memoir, With the Kisses of his Mouth, was published in 2011. She is a Lecturer on the MFA in the Novel at Manchester Metropolitan University. She divides her time between the East end of London and Port of Spain, Trinidad.
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