Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Making Wishes

Cara Bristol had a post earlier this week about making a list of 100 Wishes. You can find it here.

I took the challenge, opened a Word document (it does the numbering for you) and made my list. It was a very interesting exercise and I encourage all of you to give it a try.

Some of my thoughts on doing this.

  • At first I was treating it like a bucket list of things to do rather than a wish list of things to hope for, but once I got that distinction in my mind it was more fun. What I mean is, instead of a list of things I would like to do or own, I could add things like wishing for financial security for a friend. That doesn't mean I have to provide it (but wouldn't it be nice if I could?)

  • I have very few wishes for things. And because I live a pretty simple life, the things I did want are probably taken for granted by many people. For example, my house doesn't have a bathtub (don't worry, there is running water and a shower, just no tub) so that is on my list.

  • A couple of times I asked myself if I wanted to wish for something for a particular person in my life and then thought "No, not really." Sorry.

  • Many of my wishes had to do with improving or mending relationships. (See my less than generous attitude referenced above. Hmmm.)
  • A fair number of the items on my list are things I could make happen now.

  • One wish I made was to meet some of my online friends in person. Wouldn't that be fun?
This exercise has generated some interesting discussions with my husband and friends, too.

Take a few minutes to really think about what you want in your life and make a list. It'll be fun. Really.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Regency 101---What's For Breakfast?

Breakfast in Regency London
Breakfast. It seems like such a simple thing. Of course, I knew they probably didn't have Pop Tarts or Frozen Waffles (poor them!) during the Regency Era, but I still wasn't exactly sure what they did have. Or when.
Here's what I found out. Because of the time it took to get a fire going in the mornings and prepare food, breakfast usually didn't take place until 10 or 11 am. Closer to 10 in the country and closer to 11 for the fancy city folks. In the time before breakfast, Ladies and Gentlemen would write letters, practice the piano  (ladies) or take a stroll. Of course, getting dressed and coiffed took some time as well. It's not like they threw on a pair of shorts, a T-shirt and some flip flops then shoved their hair into a ponytail.
Breakfast was generally a fairly large meal consisting of toast, rolls, butter, jam and an assortment of meats (possibly yesterday's leftovers served cold).
In Lady Katherine's Comeuppance, I played it safe and only mentioned toast. But, as you can see from this excerpt, even an innocent piece of toast can lead to naughty thoughts.

When she entered the breakfast room, Thomas stood and held out her chair for her.

She steeled herself against him. “Thank you,” she said on gritted teeth. 

“It is my pleasure to assist you with your seat.”

She could swear his tone mocked her as much as the mischievous glint in his eye did.  He would not be favored with a reply.  She refused to look at him and continued with her breakfast, covering her toast with butter and taking a bite while scrupulously pretending he did not exist. 

“Spread more.”  His words had her choking on her breakfast. Had he not said the same thing to her just hours ago, as she sat before the mirror in his bed chamber, her sex glistening back at her from the mirror?

 Surely he would not refer to such a thing in broad daylight, and in front of the help, no less.

 If the help were not already curious about relations between Lady Katherine and the new earl, they certainly would be if she continued to act as though his seemingly innocent, though obviously intended to provoke, statements held any meaning beyond the obvious. 

“My lord?” She looked at him indolently over her tea, once she had her coughing subdued. 

“The butter. You will want to spread it further. Get wide coverage. Leave nothing untouched.” 

“Of course,” she said, fighting to maintain her composure, though she could not help but squirm in her seat as additional memories plagued her mind. His fingers joining hers in exploring her sex. His mouth…she could not think of what he had done with his mouth upon her…no she would not entertain a single thought about the feel of his mouth sucking on her most intimate places, pulling the hardened nub of her sex into his mouth to lave it with his tongue until she cried out with helpless surrender. She most assuredly would not remember how she had moaned and buried her hands deep into the thickness of his hair while his mouth plundered her core. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

#SatSpanks What Happens To A Proper English Lady?


Guess what? This week's snippet is from my soon to be released Regency, Lady Katherine's Comeuppance. I're stunned.
Last week, Lady Katherine got caught with her hands in the cookie jar, so to speak. This snippet takes place a few moments later.

“Show me how you pleasure yourself.”

The languid feeling which had been building within her vanished and she looked into his face with disbelief.

“No, I cannot do such a thing.”


A sharp swat landed on her bare rear end. The shock of pain contrasted with the dreamy pleasure that had been coursing through her body and brought her back to reality.

She stood, naked, in front of a man whom she did not know other than that he was a distant relative of her late husband. His hand explored her most intimate places.

She had never felt more alive.
Blurb: The House of Winchester is set on its ear when Thomas, a distant cousin of the recently deceased earl, arrives to assume his role as Lord Winchester. In addition to an elegant London home and a luxurious country estate, Thomas "inherits" Lady Katherine, the widow of the former earl. Lady Katherine, herself the daughter of an earl, is horrified that a barbaric American will not only be the new lord of the manor, but also responsible for her future support and livelihood. Lady Katherine is determined to maintain her position in society and equally determined to ignore the brash American. That is, until their passions override their good judgment.

     When a scandal erupts and forces them to marry, Thomas uses both tenderness and discipline to prepare his wife to face society and regain her good name. Will this fine English Lady surrender to the American?
Be sure to visit all the other Saturday Spankings blogs to get your dose of Saturday Morning Naughtiness!

#Spanking Stories Book Club---Spank and Run by Renee Rose

Today will be our last discussion of the stories from Coming to Terms. But, don't worry because the same gang will be getting together to create Milestones which will be released in December.

Spank and Run by Renee Rose

One moment Claire's life was perfectly normal, in a living alone, vanilla sort of way. In the next, her casita was torn apart in a burglary, her client (the mayor of her small town) discovered her spanking implements, and she was over his knee for a bare-bottomed hair brushing! But despite her overwhelming attraction to Luis Valdez, the tall, handsome politician who had taken an interest in her backside, Claire doesn't roll that way. She wants a serious, domestic discipline relationship -- not just erotic spanky fun. Can she and the mayor come to terms?
This was a fun and sexy story, no surprise where Renee Rose is concerned. :)
I read this story several weeks ago and enjoyed it, but when I read it again during my detailed and frenzied preparation for this high quality blog post, I was struck by something which hadn't stuck out so much before. I think it was because of what was going on in my own life at the time.
My point?
At the beginning of the story, Claire returns to her casita to find that it's been burglarized and ransacked. She's stressed and upset. The mayor insists on spanking her until she cries.
Back to me. I had been out of town for a few days and when I came back, I was exhausted and I had too much to do, plus it seemed like each time I turned around, someone else wanted/needed something. I was wound so tight I couldn't really function and I thought "I'm a woman who needs to be spanked until she cries." You know that feeling? Like when you see a child who is so tired they are spinning in circles but can't wind down to go to sleep? That's how I felt. (NO, I am not suggesting spanking children, just making a comparison).
So, I understood how Claire felt. At least to that point. The rest...well, Claire had a better evening than I did.
I also thought this story was interesting because it raised the point of someone who wants a DD relationship, to be disciplined and held accountable, rather than "just erotic spanky fun".
I thought this was an important distinction.
Oh...and the mayor was so hot.
Renee---will we being seeing more of these two in Milestones?
Next week we'll talk about Destiny's Chance by Cara Bristol.
Destiny Grable can’t help that she's fallen in love Chance Everett, her best friend's boyfriend, but she's never, ever acted on her feelings -- until she and Zoe are in a car accident, Zoe is killed, and Destiny is reincarnated in her body. She never wished for something like this to happen, but perhaps now she’ll be free to love Chance the way she always wanted to.

Chance might have had pursued Destiny, but he has a kinky side and she was a nice girl. But now she’s dead, and the accident has forced him to take in his ex-girlfriend. As soon as she recovers and moves out, he’ll get on with his life.

Can two star-crossed lovers ever find happiness?
Looking forward to discussing this paranormal spanking story with all of you. If you haven't read it yet...what's wrong with you? You've got a week. Now get to it!
Also, there's a schedule at the top right of the blog with buy links. I'd hate for you to miss any of the fun.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cover Reveal for Lady Katherine's Comeuppance And An Interview With Cover Designer Anthony Walsh

I'm just all sorts of squirmy giddiness today because I'm so excited to share the cover for Lady Katherine's Comeuppance with all of you. Have I mentioned that it's coming out August 14th?

I was so thrilled with the cover that I invited designer Anthony Walsh to visit my blog and answer some questions. He was kind enough to agree and I think you'll find his interview very informative.

But first....get ready....


Coming August 14th


Isn't this cover wonderful? After designing a couple of covers myself and then rejecting the first cover LazyDay sent, it made me wonder a bit about the whole process, so I am thrilled to have Anthony Walsh here to answer some questions about himself and about cover design.

Celeste Jones: Anthony, please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be a Cover Designer with Lazy Day Publishing.

Anthony Walsh:  Hi Celeste, Thank you for the interview and I'll try to keep this answer as short as I can... I have been active in graphic design for around 16 years now, I simply fell into by accident. At the time I was playing in a heavy metal band and we were doing a lot of shows that were of a DIY nature. We had nobody that knew how to make flyers for the shows we were putting on, so I decided to try my hand at it. Armed with nothing more than a version of the windows 95 paint program, I set out to design a flyer for an upcoming show. After much trial and error I was able to at least give the flyer an artistic edge. The flyer was really well received and I continued to produce them for most of the concerts that were happening in town. It was then realized  that I really enjoyed working with graphics and wanted to continue doing so. I was able to get my hands on an early version of Photoshop and the whole world of art and graphic design was opened up to me. After finishing high school I went directly into an art college and got my associates degree in Graphic Arts.  Shortly after that I did a great amount of freelance graphics for websites,bands, teams,businesses, magazines, etc. Fast forward a few years and I come across an ad to be a cover designer, and as luck has it I was studying publication design and had even taken it on as a hobby. I contacted Lazy Day  and they had me do a skills test,  they loved it and had me start doing covers for them. So far I have done about 15 covers for them and I love every bit of it.
Celeste Jones: What are some of the challenges of your job?

 Anthony Walsh: I have to say that one of the biggest overall challenges would have to be taking an idea from the author and turning it into something that they love.  This is also my biggest thrill, I get such a great sense of satisfaction when I hear the author’s comments and words of appreciation. As far as the design process goes, I think the main challenge is to incorporate most of the author’s ideas and suggestions without the cover becoming too busy. This is usually remedied by trial and error, I like to change the elements of the cover around to where I feel that it is the most eye catching and appealing to the reader.


Celeste Jones: I know that Lazy Day asks its authors to complete a Cover Art Questionnaire for each title. What suggestions or advice do you have for writers which would make it easier for you to create a cover for them? Is it helpful if they direct you to other covers or artwork that they would like you to emulate or does that just create more confusion?

Anthony Walsh:  I love the questionnaire! I think that it really helps the author paint a picture with words to help the designer create what they are looking for. My advice for the authors would simply be, take a few minutes and try to envision the cover in your head before filling out the form. I think that this helps get a more accurate description and also creates a better understanding of what the author wants to see on their cover.

 It is helpful to have a reference, however as a designer I usually wouldn't want to copy the cover completely. I would like to have a more original approach to the design process but when in need I reference a cover or piece of artwork that has been done before. I am in a constant state of learning new things and sharpening my abilities so I always keep an eye out for elements that I think could be useful. I have at times looked through Amazon and other bookstores to gather influence, especially if the cover I'm working on wants something unique to the genre or I notice something on a cover that I think is particularly amazing. Confusion has not been a huge issue as of yet, but you never know what the future holds :)  

Celeste Jones: Can authors who do not publish with Lazy Day hire you to design covers for them or are you strictly a Lazy Day guy?


Anthony Walsh: Lazy Day are wonderful people to work for! However I do work as an independent designer and I always love working with new clients. I am in the process of starting a cover design service of which Staci and Mark of Lazy Day have been a huge help and inspiration.  They have always been such a tremendous support and I really can't thank them enough for all they have done for me. I will always love working for them.

 Yes, I would love for authors  to contact me about doing covers for them. Like I said before, I am in the process of starting a new cover design service entitled THE COVER ARTISAN. It will mainly cater to the self published and unsigned authors but I encourage anyone that needs design work to contact me. The website for the service will be launched in the very near future. It will be a wonderful pathway to easily getting your cover art work done for a very reasonable price . I have yet to solidify a domain at the time of this interview but with with your permission I could drop a link for you to include into this interview once it has been launched.  That would be wonderful! Let me know.
 As always, if anyone is interested in having my help with their book cover or any other design needs all they have to do is drop me a line.

 Celeste Jones: What do you think makes a particularly good book cover? 

Anthony Walsh: I would have to say some of my favorite book covers are the covers that catch your eye, even if you don’t want to look ;).I think a good book cover should capture your interest and hold it with no intention of release. I enjoy when the cover can tell you a story in just the first few seconds of looking at it. I most always like a cover that has the just the right amount of simplicity while also maintaining depth. Balance is definitely the key when I look at a particularly good book cover.     
Celeste Jones: I think that for many authors, especially those who are considering self-publishing, designing and creating a cover seems to be very intimidating. What advice do you have for the do-it-yourselfers out there?

Anthony Walsh: My advice would be to not feel overwhelmed with the project and make it as fun as you can. One of the first things that I realized when I started creating covers was that it was always best to take a few minutes to visualize the story and the characters. Read over the notes and ask yourself a few questions. How will the characters look on the cover? What will they be doing? What colors best represent the book? Are there any special items that are integral to the story? What type of fonts would work best? Why is the sky blue ;)? Usually after that I sketch out a few designs, either mentally or on a piece of paper and then I put on some music and get to work. With that process, I have found out that it tends to lessen the intimidation factor quite a bit.

Celeste Jones: Anthony, I’m sure you’ve noticed the two fabulous covers I made for my two self-pubbed books: Underwear Probation and The Birthday Wish. If I were to create different covers, how could I improve them?

Anthony Walsh: They are great covers Celeste! I think that you have a basic idea of what you want to see on them. I would probably only make a few changes. I would definitely take advantage of the open areas to use more decorative fonts and perhaps even add an ornamental aspect. I think that they would look good (Underwear Probation especially) with a nice vignette and a some nice shadow and light play. Other than that I think that the covers have a nice solid base and could only use a few minor adjustments. Hmmm. I think you're being too kind, but thank you.

Celeste Jones: Anything else you’d like to share?

Anthony Walsh: Thank you Celeste, I had a wonderful time with this interview. I also enjoyed  working with you on LADY KATHERINE’S COMEUPPANCE and look forward to working with you again in the future.  I would also like to thank LAZY DAY PUBLISHING for all the support and encouragement. Again I would  like to remind the readers to keep an eye out for THE COVER ARTISAN design service and if you need any design work done, feel free to contact me at  Thank you!
****UPDATE**** Anthony now has a Website and Facebook Page. You can find him at The Cover Artisan and on Facebook and on Twitter @TheCoverArtisan



Monday, July 22, 2013

Regency 101---What's a Dowager?

Dowager (pronounced dów əjər ) is the widow of a man who held a title. She can continue to use the  title she had during his lifetime as long as his successor is not married because his wife would have that title.


Maybe this will make more sense if I use an example that's probably familiar to many people: Downton Abbey.

I haven't watched many episodes, so I may not have all the backstory straight, but I'll give it a shot.

The fabulous woman pictured above is Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham.

She is the mother of the current Lord Grantham. But, because he has a wife, his wife is known as Lady Grantham, so Violet becomes the dowager.

Also, going back to last week's Regency 101 discussion of Lady Firstname vs. Lady Lastname, notice that Lord Grantham's daughters are known as Lady Mary, Lady Elizabeth and Lady Sybil because their father is an earl.

In my book, Lady Katherine's Comeuppance (to be released August 14 by LazyDay Publishing), Katherine's husband has died, leaving her as a dowager, regardless of the manner in which people refer to her, because she is the widow of the former earl.

I don't know about you, but when I think of a "dowager", I picture someone old and maybe even someone with a dowager's hump. Well, Lady Katherine is far from that.

Thomas, the American who inherits the title Earl of Winchester from a distant cousin, is just as confused by the term dowager as I am. Here, the solicitor for the estate tries to explain things to him.

Thomas, the Earl of Winchester shook his head from side to side in slow disbelief. “To tell you the truth, Mr. Whitmore, I had myself convinced this whole thing was some sort of big mistake or a prank, though who would go to so much expense to make a fool of me, I do not know.”

“I assure you, sir, this is all quite serious. The duties of the Earl of Winchester are numerous and there are many people whose livelihood will depend upon you.”

“Why? Did I inherit some children?”

“No, my lord, the tenants on the estate. They work the land, which is owned by you, and in exchange they pay a portion of their profits to the estate. But it will be up to you to manage the estate, the grounds and the fields, in order to ensure their success.”

Thomas’ brow furrowed. “You told me my cousin died a year ago. Who has been running things since that time?”

“There is a steward who manages the day to day operations. In addition,” here the solicitor paused, unsure of how much to share with Thomas of his new life, “Lady Katherine Winchester, the dowager countess, your cousin’s widow, continues on at the estate and, I understand, is very much involved in the day to day operations.”

Thomas cocked his head to one side. “Dowager? Is she infirm?”

Percy sighed and hoped his annoyance did not show. “No, my lord. Dowager refers to the widow of an earl. It has nothing to do with age or infirmity.” Had he elaborated, he might have mentioned that Lady Katherine was known to be an energetic and lively participant in ton social gatherings, or at least she had been before she entered a period of mourning for her husband, though he believed the proper period of time for a respectable mourning had passed.

“What shall become of her?”

Here the solicitor paused, peering over his steepled fingers at Thomas, before he answered. “That,” he said, “would appear to be up to you.”

The new earl raised his eyebrows in a silent quest for explanation.

“She has no family. Her mother is now deceased, so Lady Katherine is quite alone. She does have a small income of her own which is the result of monies settled upon her by her family when she married. As the dowager, she is entitled to continue on as a member of the household, though where she resides is up to you.” The solicitor shuffled some papers on his desk.

“Are you saying she and I will live together?”

Yet again, the American’s directness stunned the solicitor. “I assume that is one option. I believe  currently the countess has a hired companion who lives with her, for the sake of propriety. In most cases, the dowager is set up in a separate, smaller household, of her own,” he said.  “Unless she remarries.”

“So why is what happens to her up to me? I am not expected to marry her am I? I inherited my cousin’s title and estate but I’d like to select my own wife, if I ever decide I need one.”

“Of course, Lady Winchester is not property to be inherited. She is a lady, in every sense of the word.” The solicitor felt the color in his face rise at the suggestion that such a fine, and beautiful, woman would be included in an estate like a clock or family Bible.

“I believe we have covered all of the documents which needed your attention, my lord,” the solicitor said, changing the subject. “If you would like, I would be happy to travel with you to your new London residence and make the proper introductions.”

Thomas looked the solicitor up and down, scanned the pile of papers on his desk and stood up. “Thank you, but I believe I would prefer to make my own introductions.”

As the man left, the solicitor felt a pang of regret. Watching Lady Winchester and this man’s first interaction would have been the highlight of his day. If not his whole week.

Blurb: The House of Winchester is set on its ear when Thomas, a distant cousin of the recently deceased earl, arrives to assume his role as Lord Winchester. In addition to an elegant London home and a luxurious country estate, Thomas "inherits" Lady Katherine, the widow of the former earl. Lady Katherine, herself the daughter of an earl, is horrified that a barbaric American will not only be the new lord of the manor, but also responsible for her future support and livelihood. Lady Katherine is determined to maintain her position in society and equally determined to ignore the brash American. That is, until their passions override their good judgment.

     When a scandal erupts and forces them to marry, Thomas uses both tenderness and discipline to prepare his wife to face society and regain her good name. Will this fine English Lady surrender to the American?

Friday, July 19, 2013

#SatSpanks Regency Stress Relief

I'm going to be out of town this weekend with limited access to the internet. That means I probably won't visit all the other Saturday Spankings Blogs, so please pick up the slack for me and make the rounds of all the great spanking writers. Also, I probably won't respond to comments right away, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate them.
This week we are spending more time with the characters from Lady Katherine's Comeuppance, a Regency spanking story that will be released August 14 by LazyDay Publishing.
Set up: After Thomas' unexpected arrival and intrusion on her dinner party, Lady Katherine has resorted to self-help to relieve her stress. When Thomas, whose bedroom adjoins hers, hears her moans, he assumes she is under attack and charges to the rescue. 
 Eyes closed in ecstasy, Katherine bit her lip in an effort to stifle the erotic sounds escaping her mouth. The pleasure her fingers created in her loins grew from warm to hot to steaming hot and she welcomed the climax building within her like a summer storm on the horizon.

Just as she was about to cross over to a place of utter rapture the covers of her bed were ripped away. As though she had been pelted with cold water, her eyes flew open and her mouth formed an astonished O as she looked up to see Thomas, her bedcovers in one hand, staring down at her. His face showing as much shock as she felt.

“So, this is how a proper English lady behaves?”

Although she had stopped pleasuring herself, her hands remained in place and to her amazement,  despite a lack of stimulation, her clit began to throb lustfully at the look of desire on Thomas’ face.

“Who said I am a proper English lady?” she replied and slowly began stroking herself again, well aware of his watchful gaze.
Blurb: The House of Winchester is set on its ear when Thomas, a distant cousin of the recently deceased earl, arrives to assume his role as Lord Winchester. In addition to an elegant London home and a luxurious country estate, Thomas "inherits" Lady Katherine, the widow of the former earl. Lady Katherine, herself the daughter of an earl, is horrified that a barbaric American will not only be the new lord of the manor, but also responsible for her future support and livelihood. Lady Katherine is determined to maintain her position in society and equally determined to ignore the brash American. That is, until their passions override their good judgment.

     When a scandal erupts and forces them to marry, Thomas uses both tenderness and discipline to prepare his wife to face society and regain her good name. Will this fine English Lady surrender to the American?

Spanking Stories Book Club--- Tomorrow by Anastasia Vitsky

We're almost at the end of our journey through the seven stories in Coming To Terms. But, don't be too sad....the fabulous writers from Coming to Terms have all agreed to create another treasure trove of spank-a-licious stories to be released in December.
But, until then, let's savor the rest of summer and the rest of the stories.
Speaking of "the rest of the stories" we'll read Renee Rose's Spank And Run from Coming To Terms next week. After that, the schedule will look like this:
Friday, August 2: Cara Bristol's Destiny's Chance
Friday, August 9: Patricia Green's Correcting Kathy
Friday, August 16: Sheri Savill's Bound for Disappointment 
Friday, August 23: Emma K. Gardner's Headstrong Miss Henley
Friday, August 30: Kate Richard's Spanking Miss Whitman
You may have noticed that instead of one per month, we are reading one book per week. With a month per book, the discussions sort of lagged after a couple weeks, plus, with one per week, we can read some shorter stories.
Whew. Now that we have all of that out of the way, let's talk about Tomorrow by Anastasia Vitsky.
Picking up the pieces after an unexpected separation, thirty-something Kat Astra tries to make sense of a relationship gone wrong. Ever since the two met as college roommates, Natalie has been an infuriating mixture of confidence, overprotectiveness, discipline, and emotional unavailability. Natalie expects openness and honesty from Kat, but she forgets one thing: Natalie has needs, too.

When they seek help, the couple receives a mandate: create new, positive memories to replace the old, hurtful ones. In an uncharacteristic move, Natalie plans a trip for them to get away from their daily grind. On their first vacation together, they come to terms with their relationship roles. How will they make things work? Will the fun of their time in the sun carry over into their ordinary life, or will they continue their cycle of misunderstandings?

"Tomorrow" serves as an intermezzo between The Way Home and Lighting the Way, the first two books in the Kat and Natalie series. The third book will be available in November of 2013.

A couple of things stood out for me (but feel free to chime in with your own) as I re-read this story.

First, the idea of creating happy memories made me stop and think. I like to think that I am fairly upbeat, but if I stop and think about it, am I really making an effort to create happy memories for the people in my life? As someone said last week, it was like a public service announcement reminding me to make the effort.

Second, there was a sweet scene with a gentle Sarsi World employee named Bas who came to Kat and Natalie's assistance with kind words, reassurance, and a couple of Sarsi world pins.

And, of course, there was the fabulous writing and the ever complicated story of Kat and Nat. It was nice to see the two of them have fun together.

For those of us who have been following Kat and Nat, it was fun to get this little bonus visit to their world.

What about everyone else? What were your thoughts on this story?

I'll be out of town this weekend with limited internet access, but please feel free to carry on the discussion without me.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Reformed Do It Yourselfer

Last Fall I self-published Underwear Probation and The Birthday Wish. I was very pleased with how easy it was to do and even created my own covers. I wrote several posts about the benefits of self-publishing and encouraged others to give it a try.

But...Lady Katherine's Comeuppance is being published by LazyDay. What made me decide to go that route?

A couple things. When I was invited to participate in Coming To Terms, I got to know Staci Taylor at Lazy Day and was pleased with the professionalism of their operation.

I also wanted to increase my sales. I'm not sure if going with a publisher guarantees better sales (and of course, I need to sell more to make up for the fact that I'm now sharing the proceeds), but I wanted to see if there was a difference.

Professional editing. I have several friends, writers and bloggers, who very generously give of their time to read my work and give feedback. However, there are only so many times I'm willing to ask "what do you think of this?" because I don't want to take up their time (or show off how needy I really am). Also, it's a tricky thing to critique for friends and give the tough love.

On the flip side, I had to be willing to submit my work and take the risk that someone would write back and say "What were you thinking?" That's scary. Fortunately, that didn't happen.

A professional cover. OMG Seriously, when you see the cover for this book (planning to reveal it a week from today) you'll die of envy. But, even before I saw the fabulous cover, I was relieved to have someone else do it. My skills are limited (stop nodding your heads).

Other benefits, in random order.

  • The time lapse between submission and release. With self-publishing I'd get the book done and within a couple days it was for sale. I ought to have planned better and worked on a marketing scheme to increase anticipation to boost early sales of the book.

  • I knew Lazy Day wouldn't take anything less than 20K words so I pushed and wrote something twice as long as I'd ever written before.

  • I am someone who needs accountability. With self-publishing, if I said "I want to have X done by Y date" and it didn't happen, so what? But, I hate not doing what I say I'm going to do, so when Staci gave me deadlines, I didn't want to miss them. She also told me no naps, but what she doesn't know won't hurt her.

  • I like having someone to answer my questions. Again, because I know there is a financial benefit to LD from our relationship (or will be) I don't feel badly asking. There's only so much I can ask of my friends without feeling like I am taking up too much of their time. (However, I love helping others, so please don't take this as meaning I don't want to hear from you and help you out.)

  • Let's admit it: It's cool to say "My publisher says..." or "I need to get back to my publisher right away." Or "I have to get that contract back to my publisher."

Does this mean I'm done with self-publishing? I doubt it. I like to keep my options open. But for now, I'm excited to say "My publisher is LazyDay."

***Staci didn't say no vacations, so I'm going out of town for a few days. I might not respond to comments right away but that doesn't mean I don't want to hear from you all.****

Monday, July 15, 2013

Regency 101---What I Learned On The Way To Writing A Regency #Spanking Story

Until now, all the stories I've written were contemporary with modern women, usually with a professional job. If you want to see for yourself, just click on the book covers to the right and buy, buy, buy. :)

So what made me decide to write a Regency spanking story? A couple reasons. First, I find the era rather intriguing with all it's rules about behavior, particularly for ladies. Second, I'm just geeky enough (or too much) to enjoy learning about a different era. Once I got started, I realized there was so much to learn, I think I have barely scratched the surface.

For today's lesson let's talk about titles. No, not book titles, but the proper form of address for certain people.

The heroine of my Regency spanking story is Lady Katherine Winchester. She is referred to as Lady Katherine.

Now...that seems simple enough, right. Oh no...there is a difference between when you can call someone Lady Firstname and when you call them Lady Lastname.

To be honest, I'm still not sure I got it right.

Initially, Lady Katherine came from a modest background and when she married Lord Winchester, she became Lady Winchester. But I wanted to call her Lady Katherine and not Lady Winchester.

Don't worry, I think I figured it out. Turns out that if you are the daughter of an earl, you are referred to as Lady Firstname all your life and you can retain that title regardless of whether your husband has a title or not.

So, I just changed Katherine's backstory from modest to being the daughter of an earl. Voila!

However, being the daughter of an earl didn't mean that she would have a life of financial security, as this excerpt shows.

She retired to her room to rest before dinner. She had come to love her private sanctuary at the London house, nearly as much as she loved her suite of rooms at Aprilvine Park. Her husband, Charles, had indulged her every whim and she had used his accommodating nature to her advantage, creating a sumptuous boudoir filled with comfortable furnishings in the most luxurious fabrics available.

She ran her fingers along the heavy velvet curtains attached to the posts of her bed. It was not simply the opulence of her surroundings which meant so much to her, but the security that they represented.

The only daughter of an earl, she had grown up in luxury and indulgence. Her brother had inherited the title, but soon gambled away most of the assets set aside for the care of Katherine and her mother, which left Katherine’s unsurpassed beauty as the only real asset she and her mother had to support themselves. Her mother had guarded her daughter’s virtue like the treasure it was until Charles, the Earl of Winchester, had fallen madly in love with Katherine.

Charles had been an attentive and kind husband and Katherine found that over time she had grown to care for him very much. Her deepest regret was her inability to conceive an heir.

Not only had it saddened both Charles and Katherine to be childless, but because the estate was entailed upon the male line, sudden widowhood had thrust Katherine into the role of dowager, though without any relationship or affinity with the new earl, she assumed he would consider her as simply an extra responsibility to be dealt with as expediently and thriftily as possible.

She could live out her days in the role of dowager countess, but even the mere sound of it was too dreary and uninspired to consider. Life was meant to be experienced and enjoyed. There were balls and concerts to attend. Gossip to be shared.  How she longed to promenade along Hyde Park in a fine new dress and hat. She had performed the requisite period of mourning for her husband and the social season was just beginning. She had no intention of sitting on the sidelines.

Her best option was to find a new husband, no small task, even for her. For one, although still beautiful, she was no longer a maiden. Secondly, her inability to conceive had not gone unnoticed by the eligible gentlemen of her acquaintance.

Beauty, without fertility, would only get her so far.

Friday, July 12, 2013

#Satspanks from Lady Katherine's Comeuppance

I've taken some time off from Sat Spanks, but I'm happy to be back and even happier to be able to share this snippet with you from Lady Katherine's Comeuppance, which will be released by Lazy Day Publishing on August 14 (Mark your calendars!).

Blurb: The House of Winchester is set on its ear when Thomas, a distant cousin of the recently deceased earl, arrives to assume his role as Lord Winchester. In addition to an elegant London home and a luxurious country estate, Thomas "inherits" Lady Katherine, the widow of the former earl. Lady Katherine, herself the daughter of an earl, is horrified that a barbaric American will not only be the new lord of the manor, but also responsible for her future support and livelihood. Lady Katherine is determined to maintain her position in society and equally determined to ignore the brash American. That is, until their passions override their good judgment.

     When a scandal erupts and forces them to marry, Thomas uses both tenderness and discipline to prepare his wife to face society and regain her good name. Will this fine English Lady surrender to the American?

Set Up: Here is a snippet from the first time Thomas and Katherine meet. Lady Katherine is hosting a small dinner party and discovers an unfamiliar face...Thomas.

“If any behavior has been disrespectful it would be the actions of a man who entered a home and a private gathering without being invited.”

He held her gaze while he sipped from his wine. His eyes never left hers until they slid down her throat and again, took in the swell of her breasts, then took another slow trip back up to look int her eyes. He lowered his glass and said, “I know I am not fully informed of all the customs here in London, but I did not expect a man would require an invitation to his own home.”

Katherine could not form a reply before he continued, “In fact,” he said. “It would appear as though you are now my uninvited guest.”

Thanks for stopping by. Please be sure to visit all the other Saturday Spanking Bloggers.

Talking About Myself----Spanking Stories Book Club

Anyone who knows me will tell you I have no trouble talking about myself, so why do I feel a bit awkward about talking about my story, Reconnecting, from Coming to Terms?

Maybe it's the idea of asking others to talk about it. I guess it doesn't matter, though, because it's happening today.

Reconnecting is the continuing story of Reece and Daisy from Underwear Probation.

Blurb: When Daisy's online time begins to interfere with her relationship with her husband, Reece, he takes matters into his own hands. In addition to applying a liberal dose of discipline to her backside which has spent too much time sitting at the computer, he arranges for them to spend some time at a remote resort with no Wi-Fi. Sometimes you have to disconnect in order to reconnect.

Underwear Probation was a pretty sexy book so when I set out to write more about this couple, I expected them to behave the same way. They didn't. I was as surprised as anyone that Reconnecting didn't involve sex. As I wrote the story, I thought they were getting into some serious issues so the idea of then hopping in the sack (or other places) for some hot sex when those issues were unresolved didn't feel right to me. Apparently it didn't feel right to them either. There were a couple of references to things like "after a night of hot hotel sex" but no descriptions.

This scene is one that stands out for me.

     He hated it when she treated him like an adversary.  He didn’t expect her to clap her hands in glee before being disciplined, but he wasn’t the enemy.

            He rubbed soft circles on her buttocks, then moved on to do the same across her back, and even reached up to her shoulders,  which were probably sore from leaning over a computer screen all day, though she’d never admit it.  He worked on the knots there before making his way back down to his intended target.

            He spoke softly.  “I realize you don’t agree with my decision to discipline you.”  Although he couldn’t see her face, he imagined her cheeky expression in response.  “But, I appreciate the fact that you have not resisted.”

            His hand lifted and lowered to connect with her left cheek.  Usually the first stroke of red to her fair skin excited him.  Tonight it saddened him.  

            He continued his duties.  Three quick swats to the same spot on her left cheek, followed by an equal number on the right.

            Daisy neither spoke nor moved.

            By now warmth spread across her buttocks.  His fingers started to sting, but his task had just begun.

            He brought his palm down repeatedly on the same spot on the underside of her cheek, but it brought no response from Daisy.  She did not complain or resist.  Her stoic submission created an ache in his heart.  While he tried to connect with her, she shut him out.

            Usually a firm spanking helped them to resolve their differences, but this one seemed to be having the opposite effect.  Unwilling to allow her to avoid punishment, Reece set his resolve and swung his hand down upon her backside with even more force.  By now, her entire rear end colored deep crimson, her thighs nearly as dark.

            Under normal circumstances, Reece would have deemed this amount of punishment sufficient, but he could tell she had not given up control.  Had not given up her righteousness.

He reached for the nightstand and pulled out the leather paddle.  Her body stiffened at the sound of the drawer opening and closing.  They both knew it could only mean one thing.

            He’d honestly hoped realizing he had the paddle would create a stronger reaction in Daisy, but it hadn’t.

            He sighed again.  He knew what she needed even if she refused to believe him.

            His already stiff fingers wrapped around the handle of the paddle.  He repositioned Daisy on his lap and held her close to his side with one hand.  Anticipating the next move, they each took a deep, steadying breath.

            The paddle cracked against Daisy’s cheek and the sound echoed in their nearly silent bedroom.  Daisy remained quiet, but he saw her dig her hands into the deep pile of the carpet.

Perhaps he had progressed against her resolve.  He continued with the paddle.  The color of her backside went from crimson to magenta.  A part of him had to admire her stoicism, or sheer stubbornness.  He’d given her much less severe spankings in the past, which had caused such an outcry from her that a passerby might have thought she was possessed.  But tonight, nothing.

            Her fingers continued to dig into the carpet and he continued to punish her bottom.

            Daisy’s ragged breathing mixed with his own.  By now sweat beaded on his forehead and he sensed he was digging a hole to nowhere.

          He returned the paddle to the nightstand and softly closed the drawer in resignation.  After he applied a thick layer of lotion to her chafed backside and thighs, he gently lifted Daisy to stand in front of him.  He longed to cuddle her in his lap, but given the severe punishment he’d administered, he knew sitting would cause her even more discomfort.

            Once she stood, he held her hands in his, kissed them, and gazed into her face.  Her eyes, though less defiant than when the punishment session began, still held a spark of insolence.  Her lips were swollen and red from being bitten in her efforts to keep from crying out.  He retrieved a tissue from the nightstand and blotted at small spots of dried blood on the side of her mouth.  

            He rose from the bed and pulled back the covers, then guided his wife between the sheets. He tucked her in, brushed errant hair away from her face, and gently kissed her forehead before he left the room.




Friday, July 5, 2013

Spanking Stories Book Club---Days WITH You By Jade Cary

Welcome back! I'm a little confused about what day it is, but if it's Friday, that means it's time to get our geek on (I'm stealing that phrase from a commenter) and talk about spanking stories.

We're still working out way through Coming To Terms and this week we're talking about Jade Cary's contribution, "Days With You". (My apologies for calling it Days Without You earlier. What a major screw up.)

"Days with You" by Jade CaryAll of your favorites from The Point of it All (including Val, in flashbacks) return in this heartrending short story about love and loss, and about keeping dreams, and hope, alive.

Diana Kenyon-Rios arrives in Chile for the Christmas holidays--her first after losing her husband, Val. As she prepares to celebrate the holidays in Val's home country, she reminisces on her short but wonderful relationship and marriage to Val, and how she tried to come to terms with his...way. Not exactly a DD lifestyle in the truest sense, but let's face it--Val liked to spank an ass. Why? And why did Diana allow it? Did she benefit? Did he? Did it define their life, or did it take up a small, but not insignificant part of their relationship?

And as Diana attempts to reconcile his death with the life she must lead now, something keeps her from fully accepting that he is gone.  She feels him in her bones so deeply, it is as if he is still alive Through intimate talks with friends and reminiscences, she finds a way to hold on to the greatest love she will ever know.

But will her dreams be enough?

Wow. How does Jade Cary create a story where one of the main characters is dead and still have me totally in love with him? Plus, now I want to visit Chile. What have you done to me Jade?

This story was so poignant and vivid, I felt like I was right there drinking the Chilean wine and walking on the beach.
What about everyone else? What did you think of this story? If you read The Point of it All, how did you feel about this continuation of that story?

Monday, July 1, 2013

If You Can Read This....I Still Have A Blog

A couple weeks ago I found an email in my spam file from Blogger. I read it quickly and didn't give it much thought. It sort of said something about taking down blogs what had links to porn sites. I think.

Then I got on Facebook and saw many others were concerned. I looked at my blog and the only thing that I think would qualify as monetizing my blog are the links to my books since I am also enrolled in Amazon Associates. That means that if you click on one of my books and either buy that book or buy something else on Amazon I get a few cents.

I was bugged about Blogger saying I couldn't do that since I don't think that my books are porn. I also don't think that if you also buy a box of diapers or a frying pan while you're on Amazon and I get fifty cents that I am somehow doing something wrong.

I don't much care for being told what to do.

On the other hand, Blogger is a free service and they can set their own rules.

Plus, my monthly earnings from Amazon Associates is usually about $2, hardly worth getting worked up over.

So, I made a couple changes. My books are still available and I hope you'll click on the covers and go buy them. But, if you also buy a couple other books or a pair of shoes, no kick back for me. Frankly, I can probably make as much picking up loose change in a parking lot.

Should I stand up against censorship? Yes. Is what Blogger is doing (or threatening to do) censorship? I don't necessarily think so. Blogger is a privately owned for profit enterprise. I can choose to participate or not. At this point, I am not planning to go anywhere, more because I am too lazy to bother, but also because I don't think it will affect me.

FYI---in case anyone is wondering. This is not a free speech issue. Freedom of speech has to do with government actions, not the actions of private enterprise.

So, if you can read this, I'm still here. If you can't... well...